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Self Help

March 14, 2010 | By Bill Persky and Bruce Kluger
After a year of contentious infighting, bitter feuds and stalled legislation, President Obama has taken a new tack in his attempt to achieve bipartisanship on Capitol Hill: forcing face-to-face negotiations with his staunchest critics. Since January, Obama has convened his political foes in a variety of settings, trying to persuade even one Republican to cross over, but to no avail. Still, if Washington is serious about healing its divisions, perhaps there's an easier solution.
September 20, 2013 | Sandy Banks
It's like AA without the rambling speeches, stale coffee or stink of cigarettes. You can show up in the middle of the night, without leaving your bed. It's no wonder self-help "communities" online are shoving conventional in-person support groups to the sidelines. They offer more than 24-seven advice; they can be an encouraging counterpoint to the prevailing narrative of Internet cruelty and faceless online bullies. I discovered that this summer, when my daughter downloaded an app that might, in the long run, save her life.
January 4, 2006
Re "Self-help's big lie," Current, Jan. 1 Steve Salerno ignores the fact that there are those of us in the real workaday psychology world looking to put professional tools in the hands of the lay public. Take Dr. Gerhard Andersson, who recently proved that a professionally devised, cognitive-behavioral self-help program helped people significantly reduce depression. Or me, for instance, who just published a professionally devised, psychoanalytic self-help manual. There are about 20 million clinically depressed people in this country.
August 9, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
The man who allegedly posted a photo of his dead wife on Facebook published "How I Saved Someone's Life and Marriage and Family Problems Thru Communication" in February. On Thursday, Derek Medina posted a bloody photo of his wife's twisted body on a linoleum floor on Facebook with the note, “I'm going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife. Love you guys. Miss you guys. Take care. Facebook people you'll see me in the news,” the Miami Herald reports. Medina, 31, turned himself in to police later that day; he has been charged with murder.
October 26, 2009
Re "Sweat lodge deaths a new test for self-help guru," Oct. 22 I prepaid $6,000 for two James Arthur Ray seminars. I left the first, "Creating Absolute Wealth," following one of the "warrior games" after realizing that what I'd purchased was not only a waste of time but a wealth-creation vehicle for only one person. Approximately 175 participants, outfitted as homeless people and instructed to leave money, ID, cellphones, etc., behind, were loaded on buses and dropped off in downtown San Diego without money, food or water, to "go beyond our comfort zones" for the next several hours, on our own. I spent months trying to get my money back for either seminar (including the one not taken)
January 7, 2010
Ah, the '80s. A high time for capitalism, sitcom TV and New Age ideals. The latter serves as inspiration for "You Can Heal Your Life!" opening at Circus Gallery. Named for the self-help book, the show explores religion, spirituality and self-help through performance, sculpture, painting and other media. Artists include Sister Corita, John Espinosa, Dawn Kasper, Jeni Spota. Circus Gallery, 7065 Lexington Ave., L.A. Opening reception: 7-9 p.m. today. Shows through Feb. 6. www.circus-gallery.
June 19, 2006
Re: "The 'It' Factor," May 29: It was Max Weber, father of modern sociology, who originally defined the It of the It factor. "Charisma" had formerly been a religious term indicating the showing of holy illumination. Weber recoined it to mean: that in a political leader which appeals to the irrational. I don't see today's spin doctors or self-help gurus adding much to that. ANDY FAHRENWALD Sutter Creek
February 2, 1986
In response to the "Baby Boomers" turning 40 (Letters, Jan. 26), it seems obvious that many of them are growing older, but they are neither growing up nor maturing. They have an invisible sense of history, as if the world did not exist before their arrival. Contrary to what Liz Feldberg wrote in her letter, they did not think of or invent anti-war protests, the women's movement or the sexual revolution. All those along with other social changes have been progressing or regressing for centuries.
November 15, 1992
I am involved with three self-help groups: AA, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Co-Dependents Anonymous. At no time has it ever been suggested that my parents were to blame. The message always comes across strong and clear, "They did the very best that they knew how to do." Recovery groups should be curative. If any of your readers belong to one that allows "whining" and/or self-deprecation based upon the past, get out of that one and find a new one. There are, sadly, people who get addicted to recovery programs as surely as they were hooked to a drug, relationships or any diagnosable pathology.
June 17, 1999
Re "Just 12 Steps Away," June 12: By sheer happenstance, I was lucky enough to get a copy of your paper (not available at my home) and read about myself--the incurable clutterer. It not only inspired me to clear off--well, sort of--my night stand, but also to clutter my files with your insight. Maybe my husband will understand me a little better and realize how well-off he is (no boxes of junk in the living room). However, I did realize that my grown children don't care about all those things I thought they might "be interested in," so I'm throwing/giving those things away.
February 28, 2013 | By F. Kathleen Foley, This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
Andrea Kuchlewska's “Complete,” now in its West Coast premiere at the Matrix, is a portmanteau parody that jointly sends up the self-help movement, as well as the study of linguistics. The excesses and pretensions of both subjects are potentially fascinating.  Unfortunately, Kuchlewska's play is so awash in jargon that meaning is often swamped. The dialogue varies from comical self-help banalities to arcane linguistic references that baffle anyone not conversant with the subject.
February 4, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
A good book is like good medicine. This is the message that comes to us from assorted British health professionals, and reiterated last week by the U.K.'s leading librarians. Why take a pill when you can pop open a metaphor? Why sit in line at your doctor's office when you can be soothed by an uplifting story instead? In the wake of a study showing that “self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions,” the Society of Chief Librarians and the nonprofit Reading Agency came up with a list of 27 books to make you feel better.
January 23, 2013 | By Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times
Hi, I'm J. and I'm neurotic. The barrel-chested man with jet black hair stops and sighs. Then, with quick cadence and a booming baritone, he shares his obsession: I sniff my girlfriend's clothes for the scent of another lover. Hi, I'm M. and I'm neurotic. The buxom Latina, who wears severe black eyeliner and habitually sniffs and sprays her hair with perfume at meetings, talks about her exercise addiction and how she can't stop sobbing. Hi, I'm A. and I'm still neurotic.
October 28, 2012 | By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times
Southern Californians can strike a blow against poverty in Africa and Asia by joining Sunday in the 18th annual Partnership Walk. The event, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Santa Monica Pier, is held in 10 major U.S. cities each year. Money raised goes to reduce global poverty and its close companions: hunger, illiteracy and poor health. Last year's Los Angeles area walk raised more than $400,000, according to Rafiq Ghaswala, a spokesman for the Aga Khan Foundation USA, which established the Partnership Walk.
October 4, 2012 | By Mark Olsen
Filmmaker Gotham Chopra is the thirtysomething son of Deepak Chopra, which gives him a unique perspective on the icon of pop spirituality and celeb-friendly self-help guru. Yet there is precious little table-turning or real insight in "Decoding Deepak" - unless uncovering a passion for Starbucks and a preference for upscale hotels counts as takedown material. The film follows Gotham and Deepak as they embark on a year-long trip around the world, with the son intending to make a truly revealing portrait of his father.
September 22, 2012 | By Weston Phippen, Los Angeles Times
Inside the white bungalow in Montebello, noise rules. The television blares; a robotic voice bellows from a red radio, updating National Weather Service information. A man with a Santa Claus beard - and the build to go with it - sits in a chair squeezing sallow lemons into a cup and talking about what he says are revelations from God. Two other men, self-proclaimed best friends, slouch on the sofa. Stephan Polfliet talks constantly and Mitchell Kautz stares off, presumably listening.
October 19, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
A third person who attended a Sedona-area retreat has died more than a week after being overcome in a sweat lodge ceremony. Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn., had multiple organ damage and was in a coma before she died Saturday at a Flagstaff hospital. Self-help expert and author James Arthur Ray had rented the Angel Valley Retreat Center for his five-day "Spiritual Warrior" event. Sheriff's investigators in Yavapai County are treating the three deaths as homicides. Ray wrote on his Facebook page that he was deeply saddened by the death of Neuman, whom he had known for more than seven years.
December 25, 1987
After centuries of abuse, physical and emotional, being denied equal education and opportunity, treated as chattel, (and still so, in some countries, with the condonement of the patriarchal rule), even here women still have to resort to the courts for equitable treatment, hesitate to walk down the streets in most communities due to fear of male assault or crime, and Farrell and others have the audacity to whine about some harmless ribbing? I am not saying that I condone reverse sexism; most women don't.
August 15, 2012 | By Julie Powell
I was elbow deep in poultry, sweating, anxious, peering at the dense page of instructions in the book laid out before me. It was the first duck I'd ever tried to bone, and I was stuck. I might have remained there indefinitely, fingers frozen and numb deep in the carcass, were it not for reading what came next: "By the time you have completed half of this, the carcass frame, dangling legs, wings, and skin will appear to be an unrecognizable mass of confusion and you will wonder how in the world any sense can be made of it all. But just continue cutting against the bone, and not slitting any skin, and all will come out as it should.
July 17, 2012 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Stephen R. Covey, a former Brigham Young University business professor who blended personal self-help and management theory in a massive bestseller, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died Monday at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was 79. The cause was complications from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, said Debra Lund, a spokeswoman for the Utah-based FranklinCovey leadership training and consulting company he co-founded. In April, Covey lost control of his bike while riding down a hill in Provo, Utah.
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