Former Shows & Episodes

Shrink Rap Radio

Shrink Rap Radio – Laughter As Medicine

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. If you’re old enough you may recall Norman Cousins 1979 book, Anatomy of An Illness. Norman Cousins was the editor of the Saturday Review magazine and he had come down with a serious, life threatening disease and he decided to treat himself using laughter. I seem to recall that he checked himself out of the hospital and into a hotel room where he watched old Marx Brothers movies and Laurel and Hardy comedies. In other words, he watched videos that would get him laughing. To the amazement of his doctors, he was able to heal himself from this life-threatening disease.

Are you getting enough laughter in your life?

I recently read that “Children laugh an average of 400 times per day whereas adults laugh an average of 15 times per day” I don’t know about you but I do think that I laughed a lot more when I was younger. And I like to laugh. I used to do a lot of business travel and to keep myself from getting burned out on it, I would find the local comedy club. Today’s guest knows a lot about laughter and healing. You may have heard of him. He’s a medical doctor from Mumbai, India who is known as the Giggling Guru and he’s the inventor of laughter yoga and has started thousands of laughter clubs around the world. His name is Madan Kataria, M.D. and he’s been featured on Oprah and Time Magazine among others. Please join us now.

Shrink Rap Radio – Unlock Your Psychological Wealth

Are you as wealthy as you’d like to be? Probably the first thing that comes to mind in response to that question is your bank account, stock portfolio, or real estate holdings. Seems like you can never have too much money, let alone enough. Yet, all the great spiritual traditions emphasize inner wealth over material wealth. In fact, some spiritual traditions even suggest that material wealth may be an obstacle.

So there are definitely other kinds of wealth, such as spiritual wealth and psychological wealth. Mother Theresa, who worked with the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh, was appalled by spiritual poverty she encountered in the West. In her visit to America, she perceived an epidemic of loneliness, which she saw as more corrosive than leprosy. So one key component of psychological wealth would be a rich network of relationships. Another might be what psychologists call resilience. Yet another might be a sense of purpose and feeling like your life fits into the larger scheme of things. These are the sorts of issues being explored by the relatively new field of Positive Psychology.

Positive psychologists are interested in exploring the factors that lead to human flourishing, as well as practical applications for improving our psychological well-being. My guest today is one such positive psychologist who is working at the frontiers of our understanding of psychological wealth. Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener is widely known as the Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology because his research on happiness has taken him to such far flung places as Greenland, India and Kenya. He the co-author of Happiness: Unlocking The Mysteries of Psychological Wealth.

Shrink Rap Radio – The Secret Lives of The Brain

Most of what you do, think and believe is generated by parts of your brain to which you have no access. Sigmund Freud was the first to popularize this notion, asserting that only 5% or so of our thoughts and behavior is motivated by conscious intention. Now, 100 years later, the tools of brain science are able to document this in very specific detail. It turns out that we each have a multitude of inner selves, each responsible for different sorts of duties. Who is mad at who when you get angry at yourself? Who within you is determining what you find sexually attractive without your even knowing it? Where do your bright ideas and insights come from before you think of them? Why can your foot jump halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do strippers make more money at certain times of month, even while no one is consciously aware of their fertility level? Is there a true Mel Gibson? What do Odysseus and the subprime mortgage meltdown have in common? How is your brain like a conflicted democracy engaged in civil war? Why are people whose name begins with J more likely to marry other people whose name begins with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? Why did Supreme Court Justice William Douglas deny that he was paralyzed? These are the sorts of questions that have intrigued my guest, Dr. David Eagleman, a cutting-edge brain scientist at the Baylor College of Medicine. He was recently profiled in The New Yorker magazine and has a brilliant new book out titled, Incognito: The Secret Lives of The Brain.

Shrink Rap Radio – Stop Chasing Happiness! Embrace Acceptance!

Happiness. We all want it. Right? Our U.S. Bill of Rights even guarantees us the right to pursue it. At the same time, it can sometimes feel like you are on a hamster-wheel in desperate pursuit of that sometimes-elusive goal. According to my guest, the pursuit of happiness can turn into a nightmare. Russ Harris, M.D. is the author of The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living. Dr. Harris is an Australian physician, psychotherapist and executive coach. As a general practitioner he became increasingly interested in the psychological aspects of health and wellbeing (and increasingly disenchanted with writing prescriptions). Ultimately this interest led to a total career change, and he now works in two different, yet complementary roles: as a therapist and as a life coach. His work is very much guided by ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) developed over the past 30 years by University of Idaho professor Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D. The ACT approach is well-researched and has proven to be extremely effective, emphasizing mindfulness, acceptance, and a values-driven life. My guest, Dr. Russ Harris is one of the leading exponents of ACT and leads workshops on this approach around the world. In this interview, you will learn key principles of ACT that you can apply right away in your own life.

Shrink Rap Radio – What You Can Learn from Asperger’s Syndrome

We’re used to thinking of developmental disorders as “Dis-abilities.” A newer term is “the differently abled and, at first, you might think that’s just a euphemism. Research studies of savants, for example, reveal that some show incredible artistic, musical, or memory abilities. People along the autism scale experience the world differently than those of us who are “neurotypicals.” By studying these neuro-atypical outliers we are able to shine a light on the functioning of the brain, and perhaps discover our own untapped potentials. For example, what kind of thinker are you? Visual? Auditory? Kinesthetic? Verbal? I suspect most of us “neurotypicals” are verbal thinkers. I know I am. I’m very conscious of thinking in words, silently talking to myself, really. However, my guest today is very much a visual thinker. She’s also a widely-known ambassador from the world of autism, having far exceeded what most people would consider possible for someone with Asperger’s. In fact, I would not be surprised if she didn’t serve as part of the inspiration for the fictional Dr. Temperance Brennan on the popular TV series, Bones. Temple Grandin, Ph.D. is a Doctor of Animal Science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the hug machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons. She was the focus of the 2010 HBO film, Temple Grandin, which received five Emmy Awards. She is also the author of numerous books and is in wide demand as a public speaker.

Shrink Rap Radio – Understanding The Criminal Personality

The newspapers and TV are full of stories of bad actors all the way from petty criminals to serial killers to miscreants at the highest levels of business and government. I think, at some level, most of us are fascinated with criminality. Just look at all the TV crime shows out there, from Hawaii Five Oh to the long running Law and Order franchise, and so many others. And, of course, crime fiction books are a popular genre. In psychology, there has been the notion of the Psychopathic Personality as someone who is totally lacking in conscience. Is such a thing really possible? Join me as I discuss this issue with Dr. Stanton Samenow, one of the nations top forensic psychologists. Dr. Samenow regularly testifies as an expert witness in high-profile criminal cases. Dr. Samenow is the author of the books, Inside the Criminal Mind and Straight Talk About Criminals. He’s also appeared frequently on national radio and television broadcasts, including “60 Minutes,” “The Phil Donahue Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The CBS Morning News,” “The Today Show” and “The Larry King Show.” Not only will you have a better understanding of the criminal mind but you’ll also come way with some key insights on child rearing.