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Hi, Nori, :)

I've been having a really shit time lately. My doctor said my medication is OK, just that I need a little therapy to fix my thought problems. I have my third session this Thursday. So far, I haven't seen any progress even after using the techniques she taught me.

I understand that you don't see progress over night, but I haven't seen any over a few weeks of trying! I'm very unhappy in life because I keep thinking negatively, my doctor said.

Anyway, Nori, when I get unhappy, I get really fucking stupid. As in, I can't think, concentrate, or understand even the simplest god damn concepts. I'm sorry, but today is one of those fucking days and I'm tired of feeling fucking retarded because I have a few days of unhappiness.

Please help me. Nobody online can help, my doctor suggested therapy, therapy isn't helping, my own personal efforts aren't helping, religious attempts aren't helping, my parents are too fucking retarded to help. NOTHING works. I keep a positive journal, imagine positive outcomes, think rationally, create positive self-talk, think of all the things I'm grateful for, etc. After a few weeks of fucking trying, nothing has happened. I'm just as unhappy as before and I don't know what to do.

Psych 101 is supposed to be an easy class, but I'm really struggling and it's only week three.

Please tell me IN EXACT DETAIL what to do. It's not enough to suggest changing my attitude. Please say how. Don't say be positive, or change your self-talk. That's inadequate. HOW DO I DO THOSE THINGS??

Frustrated and confused,

Dear Matt,
Thank you for your question. It sounds to me like your counselor wants you to be finished with counseling the day you walk in. The first step is to build trust with the client, and to help the client recognize the behaviors and thoughts that keep them held back. It may take months and years of therapy for you to change your moods and make yourself happy. But the feeling I get from your letter is that the counselor is disappointed in you for not being fixed on your third week.
Okay, and from the way you express yourself with all the cussing, my armchair diagnosis is that you are holding in anger for wrongs done to you. Is it possible that someone abused you? That is often a source of adult depression and anger. It could be any kind of abuse, and we all know what they are. Here's a page at my website regarding abuse:
I also have a book for abuse recovery. I wrote it for people leaving religious cults, but people who grow up in abusive families have many of the same symptoms as cult abuse survivors. Here's my book:
If you want to talk in more depth, please give me a couple of specific questions I can answer for you.
I look forward to hearing from you again.


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Nori Muster


Art therapy, positive thinking, and abuse recovery.


I have been an expert at since 2000. Before that, during college and graduate school, I put in approximately three hundred volunteer hours working at juvenile halls. I also worked in drug and alcohol counseling agencies. In addition, I have done art and writing therapy with young people who grew up in abusive religious groups.

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), helps families, people who grew up in cults, and people leaving cults.

Books by Nori:
Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World, a history of positive thinking and how to practice it in the post-9/11 world.
Child of the Cult, a collection of stories about children who grew up in restrictive religious groups.
Cult Survivor's Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life, a recovery handbook for people who had a bad experience in a group.

For a summary of all writing, see

Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (psychology, counseling, and criminal justice), Western Oregon University, 1991.

Awards and Honors
Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement won an award from for best selling book in its category.

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