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When East Meets West
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When East Meets West

Author: Peter Economou, Ph.D. and Nikki Rubin, Psy.D.

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East coast psychologist Peter Economou, Ph.D. and West coast psychologist Nikki Rubin, Psy.D. discuss ancient Eastern spiritual practices and their integration with modern Western behavioral science with practical takeaways for everyone. Learn more at www.wheneastmeetswest.us
69 Episodes
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Why do we worry about the future and ruminate about the past? In this episode, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete discuss and distinguish between these two “covert” behaviors (behaviors happening inside you that are invisible to everyone else), their evolutionary purposes, and why the brain thinks these behaviors help solve problems (spoiler alert: they don’t!) Unsurprisingly, you’ll see once again how all roads lead to mindfulness and how mindful practices can help you let go of worry and rumination behaviors. 
You’ve heard koans mentioned on WEMW before, but what exactly are they? In this episode,  Dr. Pete explains what koans are and how they are used to try and untangle the mind through verbal paradoxes and riddles in the Buddhist tradition. Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin practice walking through one of the most well known koans together, and discuss how koans may help individuals connect with reality more effectively. This episode will help those wanting to learn more about the origin of mindfulness from Buddhism. Tune in!
S2E28_Multi-tasking

S2E28_Multi-tasking

2021-09-2920:03

We live in a busy go, go, go world, thus most of us like to believe that we are experts in multi-tasking. But believe it or not, the brain is actually incapable of focusing on more than one thing at a time! In this episode, Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin bust the multi-tasking myth by discussing the DBT skill of “one mindfully,” research on attention “switching,” and their own challenges with multi-tasking.  Living in this high paced world, you wont want to miss this episode on how to slow down and pay attention. 
S2E27_Sadness

S2E27_Sadness

2021-09-2020:26

As Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete return from a short summer hiatus, they open up the second half of Season 2 by discussing the importance of sadness, evolutionary perspectives, and differentiate sadness from depression. Dr. Rubin highlights the behavioral role of sadness in the western world while Dr. Pete reminds us that sadness can be a gift from an eastern perspective. All of us have felt it, so tune in to learn about sadness.
S2E26_Love

S2E26_Love

2021-07-2816:19

Love is a basic emotion, and one that most humans desire. There are many aspects of love and it shows up at different points in our lives. In this last episode before summer break, Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin share their thoughts on love and the role it plays in human behavior. 
On this bonus episode, special guest Jean Semelfort, Jr. joins Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin to discuss toxic masculinity. Jean is a licensed professional counselor and owner of the private practice CACTUS in Montclair, NJ. He is a consultant who has worked with many universities on healthy masculinity and sexual assault prevention, and he has shared his expertise in his excellent TED talk "Rolling with Rejection".The professionals break down the definition of masculinity, the social implications, and intersectionality. Tune in, you won't want to miss this episode.
Emotions evolved to give us information, but what happens when they become more intense than evolution intended them to be? In this episode, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete discuss emotion regulation, including reasons why emotions become dysregulated and ways to work on regulating or mitigating their intensity. And no surprise here—mindful practices are often the way to doing so. Tune in to learn more. 
S2E24_Video Games

S2E24_Video Games

2021-07-0715:55

There are many positives and negatives involving the use of video games, and experts have been debating this topic for years. Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin break down some of the most recent research around video games, the development of e-sports, and generational implications of the role of video games in society. 
Without further ado, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete bring you the first episode regarding the differences between behaviorism and traditional psychoanalysis as developed by Sigmund Freud. They highlight how the practices are similar and how behavioral health providers are often implementing more similar interventions than different, but how eastern traditions are nonjudgmental and likely more applicable across groups when compared to traditional Freudian theory. Tune in to learn more.
S2E22_Health Anxiety

S2E22_Health Anxiety

2021-06-2220:54

As the medical world advances, so too do the labels that help guide providers with treatment. In this episode, Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin chat about illness anxiety, OCD with a health focus, and other behavioral presentations related to health concerns. The east and west coast psychologists flush out the difference between the fear of having a disease versus contracting one, worry, obsessions, and much more that plays into how people respond to health anxiety. 
S2E21_Compromise

S2E21_Compromise

2021-06-1621:04

If given the choice, do you prefer to compromise or do it your way? In this episode, Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin discuss why compromise is so difficult for human beings (hint: we’ve got those rigid and judgmental brains!) and how a willingness to practice compromise creates opportunities for more workable solutions. Letting go of attachment to being right, mindfully accepting and experiencing discomfort, and returning back to the middle path are also discussed. Tune in to learn more.
S2E20_Guilt

S2E20_Guilt

2021-06-0921:03

No one likes feeling guilty, but have you ever considered that maybe your guilt is trying to tell you something? In this episode, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete dive into what guilt actually is (hint: it’s information!), including its evolutionary roots. They also distinguish between justified guilt and unjustified guilt, and effective ways to respond to each. And of course, the docs present how mindfulness practices and Zen wisdom can help us better understand and respond to this unpleasant emotion.
S2E19_East vs. West

S2E19_East vs. West

2021-06-0220:32

Today isn't about when East meets West, it's about East versus West! In this episode, Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin dive into an exploration (and friendly rivalry) of East coast versus West coast cultures. This discussion creates a space to identify rules, attitudes, and judgments that arise amidst their differences, while also serving as an example of how different experiences help us to grow and become more curious, flexible, and open. You might even learn a little bit about some of the docs' favorite East coast and West coast cuisines and music! Tune in to hear more.
S2E18_Curiosity

S2E18_Curiosity

2021-05-2619:53

Humans are a curious species, although at times curiosity can cause anxiety or pain (i.e., think about the saying "curiosity killed the cat." Sorry to you cat lovers out there). In this episode, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete define curiosity as both a feeling AND a behavior, as well as discuss its relationship to willingness, openness, and acceptance. Curiosity is also highlighted as integral part of mindfulness practices. Curious as you read this? Listen to this episode to learn how to build deeper connections through curiosity. 
S2E17_Enlightenment

S2E17_Enlightenment

2021-05-1920:09

Enlightenment is often misunderstood in western culture as something to achieve. In this episode, Dr. Pete clarifies that there actually is no arrival or achievement of enlightenment (what?!) and both docs discuss what this means from a Buddhist lens and how it may connect with spirituality. Dr. Rubin also identifies how our human brains will continue to interfere with this process because we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Tune in to begin to explore this complex concept.
S2E16_Intuition

S2E16_Intuition

2021-05-1220:42

What is a gut instinct? Can you tell the difference between your gut, your emotions, or a premonition? In this episode, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete discuss intuition, how to access it, and how its existence is explained from both eastern spiritual traditions and western science. Fun fact: neurons (the cells that are in your brain) are also found in the human GI tract, so our gut instinct really is telling us something...Tune in to learn more about how to connect to and act from your intuition and inner wisdom.
S2E15_Boundaries

S2E15_Boundaries

2021-05-0516:38

Do you know the difference between boundaries and walls? How about the relationship between boundaries and connection? In this episode, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete discuss what boundaries are, how they are an essential part of healthy relationships, and why setting  and maintaining them is often so hard to do. Tune in to learn more about importance of boundaries. 
S2E14_Values

S2E14_Values

2021-04-2818:52

Finally! In this episode, the docs talk through one of their favorite topics on WEMW: values. Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin define what values are and how they function like directions, discuss their relationship with flexibility, and identify how clarifying and acting in alignment with our values can bring us more meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in our lives. 
S2E13_Adjusting

S2E13_Adjusting

2021-04-2115:24

Whether to a global pandemic, marriage, the loss of a loved one, or a new job, humans are always adjusting. Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete highlight the behavioral aspects of adjustment, the diagnosis of adjustment disorder, and how the world is collectively going through an adjustment. Tune in to learn about how best to adjust to new situations. 
S2E12_Trigger Warnings

S2E12_Trigger Warnings

2021-04-1422:05

Have you been given a trigger warning before? In the service of increasing sensitivity and awareness to the struggles of others, trigger warnings have gained popularity by letting someone know that what’s about to be shared could be distressing. In this episode, Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin discuss how this well-intentioned approach actually runs counter to the behavioral science behind exposure therapy, and how it’s impossible to avoid all triggers and avoid all distress. The docs identify how practicing compassionate awareness of others’ distress while also facing triggers can exist dialectically, and how this results in increasing psychological resilience. Tune in to learn more.
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