An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates

Volume 9, Number 12
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a very Happy Holiday season and best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year. December gives us the opportunity to look back on the year, what we accomplished, what we didn’t yet get to do, who we met, and the experiences we had. We hope you take some time within the next few weeks and think about the New Year. What would you like to do in 2015? What old relationships you would like to rekindle? What self improvement (both physical and mental) programs would you like to start? In short, consider how you can make 2015 better than 2014.

This month’s E-letter focuses on Mindfulness. Our email of the month is about De-fun-itions or giving alternate meanings to words, and Our Ask the Doc question is about returning from rehab. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. We thank you for the many responses we have received through the years to our E-Letters.

Practice News

Dr. Terry Newell arrested.

Terry 1

Yes Dr. Terry Newell, one of our psychologists was arrested and placed in jail for an afternoon. No, she did not do anything wrong. This was part of a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Picked up by a limousine, she spent the afternoon in a local restaurant calling people to donate money to bail her out. Good job Terry.

Living with Fibromyalgia group. We have started a support group for people who have fibromyalgia, a debilitating disorder that causes physical problems including aching muscles, sleep disorders, and fatigue. The group meets once a week and is run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad. For more details, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Depression groups. An ongoing weekly depression therapy group meets regularly in our office. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. The group is educational, supportive, and confidential and is limited to 8 people. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Research Study. If you are overweight, you might consider participating in a research study. Our practice has been asked by Life Extension Institute to participate in conducting research assessing the effects of cognitive therapy, nutritional supplements, and medications on weight management in overweight individuals. Results show continued weight loss for those subjects who are in the study. For more information about the study, contact Jillian, at 954 755-2885.

Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Our practice is one of the few offices certified to provide the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Sometimes referred to as the Divorce Class, it is required by the State of Florida for all parents divorcing or separating even if not legally married. We have designed it as a 4-hour, one-session presentation that focuses on ensuring that parents protect their children from the effects of divorce or separation by setting aside their differences and focusing on the children’s need for both parents in their lives. The course also provides information about divorce as loss, gives an overview of the Florida laws and statutes related to divorce and parenting plans, and offers information on how children react to divorce based on their ages. The course is offered live on a flexible schedule, based on the availability of those attending the course. Please contact our Administrative Assistant, Jillian, at 954 755-2885 for additional information.

Handouts from previous E-Letters can be found on our website, www.KimmelPsychology.com. We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on what is becoming a very popular trend in psychology, Mindfulness. It is based on Buddhist practice and was developed by Jon Kabat-Zin at the University of Massachusetts to help patients alleviate chronic pain. Many research studies have documented the beneficial effects of mindfulness both for medical and mental health patients. It is now widely used with veterans and in schools, prisons, hospitals, and businesses to bring calm and inner peace. Mindfulness is being used to treat a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression and drug addiction. It has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method of handling one’s emotions

Mindfulness is basically experiencing the current moment with all your senses. It is the tuning out of mental distractions so that you can fully experience the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that occur in the present. Mindfulness is focusing intentionally on one’s experience and accepting it non-judgmentally. For example, when being mindful of your breathing, you would focus your attention on nothing but the inhaling and exhaling of your breath. You would push away distracting thoughts and experience the filling and emptying of your lungs with air. You might also notice smells, sounds, and possible tastes doing this. You would not be judgmental of how you are breathing but rather observant of how you are breathing. For a better description of the process, read any of Kabot-Zin’s writings.

Mindfulness has been shown to relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and reduce gastrointestinal difficulties. It is also effective in reducing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder. It can be quite effective in reducing relationship conflicts and generating a sense of well being.

While our everyday world consists of constant distractions and lists of things to do or regrets about things done, mindfulness allows one to escape, relax, and gain control over irrational and self defeating thoughts. One can learn to rest in stillness. Several mindfulness techniques include:

  • basic mindfulness meditation where one sits quietly and focuses on their breathing or on a mantra allowing their thoughts to come and go
  • body sensation where body feelings are noticed and allowed to pass without judgment
  • sensory where sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches are noticed without judgment
  • “go with the flow” where thoughts and feelings are noticed and accepted without judgment
  • “urge surfing” where cravings or urges are noticed, experienced, and allowed to pass
  • A person can become mindful at any moment by just paying attention to what they are experiencing. You can be mindful even now while reading this E-Letter. What is happening while you are reading it? Observe this moment and notice what you see, hear, feel and smell. Go with it and don’t judge it. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the current moment. In being mindful, know that you don’t know. Move toward what is bothering you and experience it rather than away from it. Improve your performance by not thinking about it. Avoid future worry by focusing on the present. Following these principles will help you be more relaxed and less worried.

    Mindlessness is the opposite of mindfulness and occurs when you are not aware of events around you. For example, you may have experienced driving to a place and getting there but not remembering the drive itself. Or you may be talking on a cell phone while driving and also not remembering the drive. You just zone out or go somewhere else mentally. You become so lost in your thoughts or in a problem, that you aren’t aware of your present. Life just moves on and we often question how time went by so quickly. Mindfulness allows us to engage in the here and now and to be aware of all that goes on in the moment.

    When you become mindful, you become an observer of your thoughts rather than evaluating or judging them. You accept your thoughts as they are and let them flow through you. People who are mindful tend to be happier, more lively, more empathetic, more understanding, and more self confident. They tend to have higher self esteem and are more self accepting. They feel less threatened and less defensive. They have less conflict and more satisfying relationships.

    We offer the following information on Mindfulness:

    With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment — Nhat Hanh


  • Mindfulness can be described as the intentional, non-judgmental and accepting focus on the sensations, thoughts, and feelings that occur in the present moment
  • Originating in Eastern mediation practices, mindfulness is the purposeful bringing of one’s attention to the experience of the present in the moment
  • Mindfulness requires training and practice to tune out distractions and mental wanderings in order to experience the moment in its entirety
  • While life happens in the present, often we are thinking about events from the past or what we need to do in the future; consequently our thoughts control us
  • Mindfulness teaches that in order to feel more in control of our minds and lives, we need to stop doing and focus on just being…”to rest in stillness”
  • Mindfulness focuses the brain on what is being sensed at each moment instead of thinking about the past or what might happen in the future
  • You can become mindful at any moment, even now reading this, by paying attention and observing your immediate experience
  • Mindfulness has become very popular in psychology and medicine to alleviate anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, drug addiction, and relationship conflict
  • In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zin founded a mindfulness program at UMass to treat the chronically ill and reduce pain
  • Mindfulness has been shown to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
  • To be mindful, you just be… you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them, you live in the moment, you experience
  • Mindful people tend to be happier, more empathetic, less anxious, more at peace, have higher self esteem, and are more self accepting; they argue less, are more accommodating, and are not as defensive
  • Mindfulness programs are widely used in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers , businesses, and substance abuse programs

  • Mindful meditation practice is simple:
  • Sit cross legged with eyes closed on a cushion or a chair with a straight back
  • Focus attention on the movement of your abdomen as you breathe in and out
  • Be aware of the breath as it goes in and out of the nostrils
  • Return to focusing on breathing as your mind wanders
  • Accept that one’s mind wanders in an accepting non-judgmental way
  • Awareness of one’s breathing can be extended to awareness of thoughts, feelings, and actions
  • Other techniques include noticing body sensations and letting them pass, noticing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches without judgment, and noticing emotions and accepting them without judgment
  • Seek professional help to learn to be mindful
  • We Can Help!

    Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at drkimmel@kimmelpsychology.com

    Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates 5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101 Coral Springs, Florida 33067

    Copyright © 2014; by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

    As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

    Ask the Doc

    BL writes: My adult son has been in a rehab for a pill dependency. It seems like any time he gets an opportunity to take any kind of medication, he does. He has stolen from our prescriptions, stolen from neighbors, and has bought pills on the street. He lies and I can just tell when he is not himself. We were able to get him into a rehab with sufficient coercion and he has been in the program for 28 days. He has been clean and we have our son back. However, I am very apprehensive about him coming home. How do I handle my worrying about him going back to his old ways?

      Dr. Joel Kimmel replies: BL, your situation unfortunately is very common. Prescription abuse is quite widespread in our society and can create significant psychological dependence in certain individuals. Hopefully, your son has learned from the program and has made the commitment to be sober. Most rehabs offer a family component in their treatment program to prepare for discharge. If you haven’t met with his counselors or been through this family component, ask to have a meeting before he is discharged so you know what to expect and how to deal with his return. It would also be of benefit for you to attend Alanon meetings. Your son will probably be asked to follow through with an intensive outpatient program, a halfway house, or to attend AA/NA meetings. If he doesn’t follow through especially with attending meetings, then his prognosis is not good.

      In my opinion, in order for him to be sober, he needs to be honest with himself and others, open minded, and willing to follow the recommendations of the rehab. You need to let him work his own recovery and not monitor and watch what he does. He is responsible for himself and needs to get sober for himself. If he returns to stealing, lying, and using pills, he needs to be readmitted to the program for more extensive treatment.

      Upon his return home, I think you should have certain rules in the home for him to follow to reinforce his sobriety. While this may sound childish, you and he need to clearly know what the expectations are. It is important for you not to be codependent, that is, not to let your emotions depend upon his. If he violates these rules and won’t go into treatment again, then it may be best for you to tell him that he needs to move out as you can’t condone his pill use. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated and do not minimize any drug use. Be careful not to fall into old patterns of ignoring or denying his behaviors, hoping he will stop on his own. Recovery is not an easy process and requires effort and work to stay sober.

    Email of the Month

    We would like to thank Robert D. for the following email:


    The Washington Post Mensa invitational has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

    And the winners are:

    1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.
    2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
    3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
    4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
    5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.
    6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
    7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.
    8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
    9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
    10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.
    11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.
    12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
    13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.
    14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
    15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
    16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

    Please continue to send us your comments, questions, and favorite emails for our e-Letter.

    Till January…

    The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

    If you no longer wish to receive future e-Letter reminders, please send an email to drkimmel@kimmelpsychology.com requesting to be removed from this list.

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    Copyright © 2014 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates.