Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Words of Wisdom


Steven J. Ceresnie, Ph.D.
MPA Newsletter, Spring 2017

The following are some observations, ideas, and concepts that have filled my tires with air over the road covered with the wonder, mystery, and humor of the human condition:


 When Anna Freud was eighty-five, a depressed young man sent her a lament about the chaotic state of the world, she sent him a succinct statement of her credo:

“I agree with you wholeheartedly that things are not as well as you would like them to be. However, my feeling is that there is only one way to deal with it, namely to try and be all right with oneself, and to create around one at least a small circle where matters are arranged as one wants them to be.”

 --- Anna Freud


Don’t be too sweet, lest you be eaten up; don’t be too bitter, lest you be spewed out.”

 --- Yiddish proverb


“You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

 --- Steven Wright

 “The only way one can allow oneself to be content is to remember the dead --- and the let them be in on one’s memory.”

 --- Elvin Semrad


 “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.”

 --- Richard Dawkins

 “I’m going to live forever. So far, so good.”

 --- Steven Wright


 “If you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep.”

 --- Yiddish proverb

“Enjoy yourself --- it’s later than you think.”

 --- Chinese proverb


 “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”

 --- Chinese proverb

"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a hell of heaven, a heaven of hell.”

 --- John Milton

 “Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers.”

 “We are all strong enough to bear the misfortunes of others.”

 ---Francois, Sixth Duc, de la Rochefoucauld


 “…the least common denominator of all therapies, and the one to which their claims to success must depend, is their ability to combat a destructive state of mind which characterizes persons who seek psychotherapy, whatever their specific symptoms. The state may be termed demoralization…feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, impotence, isolation…Since the meaning of life derives from the ties of individuals with persons whose values they share, alienation may contribute to a sense of meaninglessness."

 --- Jerome Frank

 Freud was once asked what he thought a normal person should be able to do well. The questioner probably expected a complicated answer. But Freud, in the curt way of his old days, is reported to have said, “Lieben und arbeiten” (to love and to work).

"A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get in accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.”

 --- Sigmund Freud

 “The most important task of a human being is to make up his mind --- what’s for him and what’s not for him.”

 --- Elvin Semrad

 “…I judge the success of psychotherapy in two ways. Does the patient’s appearance change? Does he get new friends?”

 --- Leston Havens


 “We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.”

 --- Will Rogers

 “A sense of humor is just common sense dancing."

--- William James

 “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

 --- Mel Brooks

"I don't use humor with people I don't like. It always comes out wrong."

--- Steven Ceresnie


“It’s a very short trip. While alive, live.”

 --- Malcolm Forbes

“Life can be altered by what a patient HAS – diseases.

Life can be altered by what a patient IS – personality and intelligence.

Life can be altered by what a patient DOES --- behaviors.

Life can be altered by what a patient ENCOUNTERS – life story.”

--- Paul McHugh and Philip Slavney


 “The ego’s relation to the id might be compared to that of a rider to his horse. The horse supplies the locomotive energy, while the rider has the privilege of deciding on the goals and of guiding the powerful animal’s movement. But only too often there arises between the ego and the id the not precisely ideal situation of the rider being obliged to guide the horse along the path by which itself wants to go.”

 --- Sigmund Freud


 “Let’s have a merry journey, and should about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves more. Now you is more important than Know thyself. Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It’s crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful”

 --- Mel Brooks


 “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

 --- Goethe


 “I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this:  the intensity of a conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not.”

 --- Sir Peter Medawar


 “You can have too much self-esteem but not too much self-respect.”

 --- Charles Murray

 “Your two-cents is as good as anybody else’s two-cents.”

 --- Anonymous


 “All therapies attract a loyal following, and I have yet to hear of a school that has disbanded because it became convinced of the superiority of its rivals.”

 --- Jerome Frank


 “Respect is conveyed by mean of all aspects of the therapist’s behavior and has its basis in the therapist’s self-respect.”

 “Do not engage in far-fetched constructions. Learn to feel comfortable in acknowledging that you are at a loss. It can be a powerful lesson in reality testing.”

 --- Hans Strupp and Jeffrey Binder

 "We must help the patient to acknowledge, bear, and put into perspective his feelings.”

 --- Elvin Semrad

 “The greatest power of psychotherapy may be precisely this power not to confirm the patients’ expectations, not to collude in the games they and their personal world have long played, but, slowly to turn them toward a more natural and happy course.”

--- Leston Havens


 “When in doubt, tell the truth.”

 --- Mark Twain

 “As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes.”

 --- Mel Brooks


 “The art of being wise is to know what to overlook."

 --- William James

 “You cannot exert influence if you are not susceptible to influence.”

 --- Carl Jung

 “You cannot control the length of your life but you can control the width.”

 --- Anonymous
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