Editor’s Note: We spoke with Dr. Lynn Bernstein to learn more about behavioral health. Her practice is at 1861 Placida Road, Suite 101. Please call 941-474-7170 to schedule an appointment.
Bernstein, what are some of the underlying assumptions of behavioral health?
We need behavioral health as much as physical health. It mirrors daily living and entails coping skills. We need to learn how to live within our genetic, cultural and geographic parameters. Each of us has particular needs, preferences and choices that influence and limit our experience of life and each other. The potential of conflict arises when there’s a difference between what we have, what we want and the factors outside of our control. This conflict may be in the form of illness, trauma or difficulty in various relationships. Behavioral health includes being self-aware of our emotions and thoughts and being realistic about our options. This involves a willingness to change so we can deal with what we have, rather than what we don’t have, or wish we had.
What are some of the lessons we can learn from behavioral health?
Many things including letting go of prior learned behaviors, learning to value our needs, overcoming trauma, learning to be realistic with our expectations, moving beyond black and white thinking, learning to not be dependent on the approval of others, drawing boundaries to protect ourselves from abuse, not needing to abuse drugs as a form of coping, and learning how to manage anxiety and anger.
Why are many people
Expectations of the behavior of other people can lead to many difficulties. We cannot change others, even in therapy. All behavior has meaning to the person, but over time and with practice, results will happen. Being motivated to grow and change is the key. One person changing often influences others.
What are some of your
thoughts regarding social media?
Our connection with each other is changing to fit technology. We still reach out for human connection, but it’s through devices and social media more than peer support and personal meetings. It will take time and research to digest the implications. On the positive side, it’s easier to connect with people that have common interests. On the flip side, some digital content is teaching violent behavior to impressionable children and adults. Curiosity overriding privacy seems to be a current norm. Its likely future generations will have different values and new ways to communicate.
What are some of your
interests away from work?
I enjoy quiet time in nature working and meditating; taking care of my garden, cutting palm fronds, repotting plants, and trimming bushes. I enjoy time with friends sharing ideas, dining out and laughing at funny stories.