The Psychology of Greed

wolf of wall street scene best picture nomination

In The Wolf of Wall Street, stockbroker Jordan Belfort gains a massive fortune by committing crimes in the financial sector. Eventually his greed backs him into a corner. The F.B.I.’s pursuit leaves him with a choice: relinquish control of his company and give up his career in finance or risk losing everything. Despite words of caution from his father and the fact that he already has money and opportunities to last a lifetime, Belfort continues his pursuit of even more wealth. This mistake ultimately leads to his demise.

What exactly was running through Belfort’s mind when he made that decision? What about his innate characteristics and experiences made him so insatiably greedy, willing to put the desire for more income and assets over family and his own freedom?

There are millions of people like Belfort who have inspired researchers to explore the psychology of greed. Here is what psychologists have learned so far: Continue reading The Psychology of Greed

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

depressed woman working on laptop coffee mug

Imagine someone who seems to be living a perfect life. She has a great job, a loving and supportive partner, and plenty of fun outside of work. Getting to the office on time is no problem, and she is one of the most productive employees at her company.

There’s one problem, though: she is miserable, unable to derive happiness from much of anything. Because she lives with high-functioning depression, it is difficult for people to understand how anything could be wrong. Continue reading What Is High-Functioning Depression?

7 Self-Care Tips for When Stress Affects Your Body

stressed sore woman working on computer at cafe

Since I was a boy, my body has been extremely sensitive and reactive to both physical and emotional stress. When my parents announced we were moving away from my hometown, my muscles tensed up so much I could barely use the bathroom for many days. Eventually I learned these health issues were a combination of a rare muscle tension condition and psychosomatic symptoms from my depressive-anxiety disorder.

Because my body usually felt like a car that had driven hundreds of thousands of miles — parts constantly requiring maintenance, always creaking, sputtering, or breaking down — I became a master of self-care. I spent hours every week making a conscious effort to heal and recuperate. This lifestyle was the only way for me to survive and function well enough to graduate from college and find employment. Whenever I neglected proper rest or pushed myself too far, new symptoms arose. Continue reading 7 Self-Care Tips for When Stress Affects Your Body

What Is Crippling Depression?

depressed man in bed dark room

Sometimes popular phrases used to describe mental illness do not come from research, universities or mental health organizations. Instead people who live with certain disorders use unofficial terms to express levels of severity and describe how symptoms are affecting their functioning.

Because many sufferers are therapy clients and use this language during sessions, mental health professionals gradually adopt new labels into their clinical lexicon. This acceptance gives the language more weight and credibility. Various definitions spread via word of mouth and the internet until there is a collective sense of meaning.

“Crippling depression” is a perfect example of this phenomenon. People invented the phrase to stress the fact that depression can be more than a source of pain and discomfort. The illness can limit the will and capability to uphold a basic standard of living. Now that the term has become more popular, both the curious and afflicted are trying to understand it. Continue reading What Is Crippling Depression?

10 Songs About Addiction That Capture the Experience

addict siting with others drugs on table

Shame, guilt, desire, regret — these are only a few of the emotions people experience when they are dependent on a substance. This anguish has been fuel for thousands of beautiful, moving, raw and intense songs about addiction. For many decades artists have used their lyrics and melodies to tell stories of relationships with drugs and alcohol. Their songs have satisfied the curiosity of the sober and eased the loneliness of those who are struggling with the mental illness.

Rather than using subjective rankings to form our list, we thought about which songs most vividly describe the experience of addiction, how the illness can destroy lives and bonds. We looked for tracks that detail the mindset and behavior of someone who is falling into the void of substance abuse or realizing they have a problem (Keep in mind that recovery is the other side of the coin and deserves its own list).

Use our playlist to sympathize with those afflicted with addiction or remind yourself that millions of others carry the same burden. Here are our picks for songs about addiction (in no particular order): Continue reading 10 Songs About Addiction That Capture the Experience

Meet Our Therapists: Melissa Moreno

Melissa Moreno Talkspace therapist illustrated head shot quote

Name: Melissa Moreno, LCSW-R

Licensing Info: Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy “R” privilege [LCSW-R] in New York

Where You Live: Ellenville, NY

Amount of Time Working at Talkspace: 1 year

Time Working as a Therapist: 11 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I have always been drawn to helping people improve their quality of life. Having overcome many personal challenges, I know first hand how important it is to be able to help others and have someone available when support is needed. I knew as a child that I wanted to be a therapist and help people with their mental health. I am grateful for having the ability to touch the lives of so many people through the process of therapy. Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Melissa Moreno

How a Legendary Psychiatrist Became a Supporter of Text Therapy

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Even the most wise and open-minded professionals in the world sometimes have a skeptical or critical perception of new developments in their field. Several years ago Talkspace co-founders Oren and Roni Frank reached out to renowned psychiatrist Irvin Yalom to discuss their texting therapy platform and invite Yalom to become an official clinical advisor. His initial reaction to the new medium was not positive.

Yalom contributed to the approach of existential psychotherapy and was a pioneer in group therapy. As a therapist and professor, he spent decades working with clients in-person. He wrote “Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy,” a book that chronicled some of his traditional counseling sessions with patients who were grappling with issues of existence and death.

Far from a technology enthusiast or early adopter, Yalom had been resistant to forms of therapy that were not strictly in-person, including phone and video-based sessions. In his memoir, “Becoming Myself,” he admitted to being judgmental and priggish when one of his colleagues mentioned she had been practicing teletherapy. Continue reading How a Legendary Psychiatrist Became a Supporter of Text Therapy

Meet Our Therapists: Alyssa Lentz

Alyssa Lentz Talkspace therapist illustrated head shot quote

Therapists are as unique as the clients who seek their help. Talkspace’s “Meet Our Therapists” series offers intimate access to the mental health professionals who provide care. It’s a view of their passion for making therapy more accessible. Check out our latest interview below!

Name: Alyssa Lentz

Licensing Info: Licensed Professional Counselor [LPC] in Wisconsin (6329-125) and Texas (77669)

Time Working With Talkspace: 6 months

Time Working as a Therapist: 3 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I started working in the mental health field because, as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to help people. It’s not fun to battle mental health alone. I have struggled with anxiety and know how difficult it can be. I wanted to provide a nonjudgmental, safe place where people can open up and stop hiding. Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Alyssa Lentz

Meet Our Therapists: Matt Lawson

Matt Lawson Talkspace therapist head shot quote

Therapists are as unique as the clients who seek their help. Talkspace’s “Meet Our Therapists” series offers intimate access to the mental health professionals who provide care. It’s a view of their passion for making therapy more accessible. Check out our latest interview below!

Name: Matt Lawson

Licensing Info: Licensed Professional Counselor in Illinois

Where You Live: Chicago, Illinois

Time Working With Talkspace: 4 years

Time Working as a Therapist: 7 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I got into therapy as a second career and went back to school in my early 30s. I had my own personal training business at the time and was seeing more and more people with eating disorders, body image issues, and a lot of other problems they were using exercise to escape from. To provide a deeper level of service, I needed more education and insight. Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Matt Lawson

How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships

black and white masks on stairs

Ben learns he is not allowed to take personal calls during business hours at his new job at a strict government agency. His supervisor gives him an emergency number so family members can reach him when absolutely necessary.

The news immediately fills him with dread. Ben’s daughter, Lisa, has borderline personality disorder. She calls him a few times a week, often while he’s at work. A supportive and understanding father, Ben was happy to chat with her at his old office where there were no limitations on phone calls.

Now he has to inform his daughter that their mid-week check ins will need to be less frequent and occur only in the evening. With noticeable reluctance, he provides the emergency number to Lisa.

Continue reading How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships