Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I often wonder if we are exercising all of the choices we have available to us. Og Mandino in his book the “Choice” said, “Those who live in unhappy failure have never exercised their options for a better way of life because they have never been aware that they had any choices! So many of us fail to notice our entire life is about making choices. Everything is a choice.

People intimate they “have to” do certain things:

“I have to take care of my child.”
"I have to go to work.”
"I have to feed my family.”

All of these “have to's” are really a choice. We can choose not to go to work or not to feed our family, etc. but we choose to do so because the consequences of not doing so move us to make the choice to do it. Thus reframing the way we talk to ourselves often helps make life smoother. Rather than talking to yourself in terms of “I have to” start saying to yourself “I choose to go to work” or “I choose to feed my family”. By saying “I choose” you are recognizing your choices in life and putting yourself back in control of you.

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


A woman I was talking with the other day was berating herself on what a terrible parent she was because she couldn’t always control her children or the house wasn’t always clean, etc. When I investigated further about her children, I found they were straight "A" students in school, they seemed to have friends, were attending church and were basically really “good” children. She felt like every day was a struggle with her children. In her case, it was, since she has three children that have been diagnosed with Asperger and ADHD.

Her struggle was with her self-esteem and her decisions never seemed to be good enough. Every day each of us will struggle with the decisions of that day and make the best decisions we can, that day, based on what we know at that time. Tomorrow, next week or next year we may look back and say, “Wow, what was I thinking when I did that!” Tomorrow or next week you will have more information and more experience about the situation and therefore your decisions at that time will be different because of the additional information and experience. We need to learn to accept our decisions we make at any given time and move on knowing we did the best we could at that time.

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Friday, March 9, 2012


One of my colleagues made a statement about marriage therapy I believe is important to pass along. She said, “I think people need to work on themselves first and clear up their individual issues before the couple counseling can be effective.” As I thought about this, it is true in all relationships and not just in marriages. In a friendship or in a work relationship, if we have personal issues centered around poor self-esteem, controlling others, poor boundaries, etc. it effects the relationship.
Steven Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” outlines the 7 habits in working first on taking care of the inside of ourselves and then dealing with the outside or public. I would like to reference these habits for those who have not read the book, as a reminder of the importance of dealing with yourself first and the steps in doing so.
The first three habits:
(1) Be Proactive
(2) Begin with and End in Mind 
(3) Put First things First
All deal with our ability to govern our life. Being proactive means taking responsibility for your life and thinking before you act. Beginning with the end in mind means defining your goals and your mission in life so your direction in life is clear. Putting first things first means to prioritize and do the most important things first so that your life doesn’t become cluttered.
The next 4 habits are centered on being able to interact effectively with others. Habit (4) is about thinking or working for a win-win. It is an attitude of mutual respect for the opinion of others as well as your own. Habit (5) is seek first to understand and then to be understood. All have a unique insight and we need to listen with intent to understand rather than to reply.  Habit (6) is to synergize. When we work together with an attitude of success for all we will achieve more. Finally habit (7) is sharpening the saw. Sharpening the saw is about taking care of you and renewing yourself physically, socially/emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I would love to hear ways you take care of yourself first so you can in turn have healthy relationships with others.  Email me at with questions or comments.

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I am often amazed at how little people think of themselves. I recently had a woman who was injured several years ago by a fall and who relies on her family for care say, “I am such a burden and I have little to offer to anyone around me”. She and many others often believe they have little to offer to others and their opinion does not count.
Let me make it very clear, your opinion always counts! I say this because of the way each of us is put together. We all come from hundreds of millions of different gene combinations from our parents and grandparents and genetically none of us is alike. All of us are raised in a different environment even if you come from the same family as your siblings and are all raised in the same town and home. No one ever has the same experiences as their siblings or friends.  We may all go to the same place or be in the same accident or have the same physical experience but because of our genetics and experience to that point in our lives we see it in a different manner and it impacts us in a different way.  Thus our sense of the experience is different. Because of all of the factors affecting our lives on a daily basis we are all singularly different.
As a result I would be a fool not to listen to someone’s opinion no matter their age or situation because theirs is a unique perspective. 

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


In this day and age many people are frightened by our irresponsible government or debt or that the Chinese are taking over or a hundred other reasons why people live in fear.  There are two motivators in our lives; one is fear and the other is love. Fear is only a strong motivator as long as whatever we are afraid of is present.  It is like a parent who tries to motivate their children out of threats of spanking or taking things away. When mom or dad aren’t there to threaten or are out of sight the kids then do whatever they want to because the fear factor is gone.  Love on the other hand is the motivation that comes out of a conviction or a belief that something is the right thing to do. This is the primary reason why we at TurningLeaf work on instilling values as a part of the lives of the people we work with.  If you have values and they are intrinsic to your way of life then they are always motivating you to do the right things for the right reasons.  Back to the example of motivating children; each family needs to establish 10 core values for each member of the family (2 to 4 for younger children) and then taking all the core values establish by the family members and condense them into 10 core values as a family. This way all of the family knows and respects the family’s life direction and love becomes the key motivator.

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Depression - Getting Out and Staying Out

I’ve been slow to get back to the answer to the last blog. I guess I was depressed or at least putting it off. The topic was depression and how we get depressed. The topic now is about getting out of and staying out of depression. One of the real problems with depression is getting so far down  you can’t see any light to work toward for getting out of the depression. If this is the case and you have thought seriously of committing suicide you will probably need a little outside help in the form of therapy or anti-depressants.  In these cases I recommend anti-depressants for a short period until you can at least see daylight. At this point where you can work up enough energy to get out and start exercising this needs to be your mainstay. Exercise has been shown to be the single best method of reducing and staying out of depression found to date. When I talk of exercise it needs to be on a regular basis (3 to 4 times a week) and you need to get your heart rate up to at least 120 beats per minute and keep it there for 30 minutes. 2nd get out with people you love or at least care about and LAUGH! Do this frequently. And finally learn to respect and appreciate yourself. We are all special with a mired of gifts and talents that most of us overlook and especially when depressed we believe we’re not worth much. This is the lie depression tells us so don’t be fooled by it. You are great….      

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
TurningLeaf Wellness Center

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Depression - The Many Faces and Causes

This week’s blog is about depression and the many ways into a depressive state.  Depression has many faces and causes. There is a situational depression, i.e. “My girlfriend just left me for another guy”.  There is a long time, at least 2 years,  depressive state that is called a Dysthymic Disorder according to the DSM IV. This is a state of low energy, fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, poor appetite or over eating that continues to plague an individual for several years and has become more of a life style.  There is a  major depressive disorder where an individual will think seriously about dying, feels hopeless, helpless and has no energy for days on end. Every day is a burden and every night is a burden of sleeplessness or the need to sleep all of the time to avoid life. Weight loss or weight gain, diminished interest or feeling no pleasure in any or all activities all are signs of a major depressive disorder. This depression is brought on by being hit with multiple stressful events, i.e. “ my wife left me, my house is going into foreclosure, my child fell and hurt themself at school, etc.”.  Another form of depression is the kind brought on by a traumatic event often  having occurred earlier in our life and now resurfaces. These events are often serious in nature, i.e. a rape, seeing the ravages of war or as a participant in war or any serious abuse be it sexual, physical or emotional.  These are some of the ways depression sneaks up on us.  The blog next week will be about ways to fight depression and to keep ourselves depression free throughout our life.

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
TurningLeaf Wellness Center

Friday, June 3, 2011

Are you Existing or are you Living?

I will often ask the question of my patients  "are you existing or are you living your life?" By this is meant do you invest in your daily activities or do let events carry you along through life? Investing in your daily activities means you are proactively seeking out activities each day that enhance your life. Whether the activities are at work, with the family or with friends do you make the most of each of these  experiences each day or do you just "go with the flow".  Is work enjoyable and does it bring a smile to your face as you engage in your work or is it a daily grind? Do you really stop and think about how great it is to hug your child or your wife and to be with them or is it just routine? What about your friends do you enjoy being with them and know they love you for who you are or are they just a means to an end? If you can answer yes to these questions  it would seem you are on the right track.

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
TurningLeaf Wellness Center

Friday, May 27, 2011

Depression and Value Based Life Style

Depression is that state of mind when you feel helpless, hapless and hopeless. Most of depression results from being out of touch with your innerself in the sense of feeling dead  inside yet very much intouch with the innerself in constantly focusing on what is wrong or what I’m doing wrong. Often depression results from not having enough focus or direction in life. You feel adrift and you are at the whims of others, with little or no control over what will happen to you. (helpless) You make decisions based on what others tell you rather than listening to the directions of an inner compass. The inner compass is spinning and a direction doesn’t exist. (hapless) Your decisions lack conviction and you just want some release so you turn to alcohol or drugs, of any kind, for solace. (helpless)
Having values in your life essentially stops most of the depressive symptoms before they become a state of depression. Yes, you will have ups and downs of life, this is part of being human. But values give you a constant direction in your life, with boundaries, which are automatically tied into your values. When you have a constant direction and have established boundaries to protect you from the influences of others or your own desire for misdirection you remain on course, safe and secure you are progressing in a manner both healthy and functional. 

Values designed to keep you away from feelings of depression are:

1.      I will take care of my body. This means you literally will do whatever it takes to maintain a healthy body. This includes exercise, eating right, sleeping right and maintaining an appropriate body weight. It also means I don’t use drugs beyond that proscribed by my doctor, I don’t over indulge in alcohol and I take care of physical things necessary for my age, i.e. physical checkups, cancer checkups, etc. It also means I’m aware of the health problems indemic to my family (diabetes, specific types of cancer, etc.) and I take precautions to prevent these health problems.

2.      I will live an active life style. This means you will get off the couch and interact with others. It means you will get outside as often as possible and engage in some form of games, (social or formal) picnics, cookouts, reunions, etc. It means you limit the amount of time you spend playing computer games, watching TV, surfing the net, eating, etc. It means you will take an inventory of your life and look honestly at who your friends are and what you do together. You may find you don’t have many friends or have lost contact with the friends you once had. It means you will move “being active” way up on your priority list.

3.      I will exercise my belief in God. This means you will start to pray and exercise your belief in something greater than you. A belief in someone who has a greater understanding of the universe, your life, your purpose in life and your greater abilities helps to calm your soul. It means you know there is somewhere else you can look for help and He is always willing to help those who ask. But, you have got to ask. This is faith. Faith is essential to believing something will help. So have faith in and believe in you by applying the above values.


- Richard Moody, Ph.D.