The Benjamin Franklin Effect

Let’s Talk Mental Health

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery





“The best way to get rid of an adversary is to make him your friend”


A smart man indeed was Benjamin Franklin, his accomplishments are many. Of course he was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. And he was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. Just to name a few of them.

Now Ben was not the kind of guy to sit down and be quiet so that everyone would like him. No! He had opinions, ideas and he took actions that created many difficult relationships.  Being the bright man that he was he knew how to turn an enemy into a friend.

Have you ever heard of the Benjamin Franklin Effect?

Overcoming emotional distance in relationships and hurt when things fall out is very very difficult for most of us. It’s easier to avoid and withdraw from people we don’t like and who don’t like us. But that leads to emotional baggage for most of us. What if Benjamin Franklin could teach us how to heal a difficult relationship?

The method is a counterintuitive way to improve relationships with people in your life with whom you may not get along. Think about someone in your life who you don't get on with. A co-worker, a family member, a neighbor or an ex. Establish that you would like to heal the relationship and be cleared of past. Now work out a favor that you would like from this person that would cost them nothing. It could be advice, practical help, a bit of their time, whatever. Approach this person with your request in a positive and honest spirit with the sincere intent of healing the past. 

When we ask someone to do us a favor, we are signaling that we consider them to have something we don't, whether more intelligence, more knowledge, more skills, or whatever. This is another way of showing admiration and respect, something the other person may not have perceived from us before. The thought is this immediately raises their opinion of us and perhaps make them more willing to forgive the past, both because they enjoy the admiration and have genuinely started to perceive our sincere intent to make amends.

You could find the Benjamin Franklin Effect when done in the spirit of true and sincere admiration could open the door to improved and healthier relationships with others and clear up emotional junk you’ve been carrying around from the past. 

Are you willing to try it?  


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Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Your thoughts; are they a record of the past..

Let’s Talk Mental Health

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery





Your thoughts; are they a record of the past….

or a road map to the future?


What do you believe is possible? Can you trust your thoughts, beliefs and your actions are the things that make up your circumstances? As human beings we have the ability of insight to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re are headed. This sounds easy but it is a lot of work to observe ourselves in this way.

And yet we humans possess incredible power to change our futures. To do this we must first observe our thought patterns and understand our thoughts manifest in our lives.

For instance, let’s say you think you’re too out of shape to even begin to eat healthy and become more active. You will find plenty of evidence in your current thought patterns to support this “truth”. 

You have a choice in your thoughts and you can choose to think different way about yourself. In this example you could begin to think about your body moving and enjoying healthy food choices.

Starting right where you are at, you could begin to think about how you want to feel and who you want to be. And to be that person what qualities would need to possess?

  • Honesty

  • Determination

  • Commitment

  • Willingness

  • Discipline

Now look for evidence that supports that you already are those things.  You posses the attributes needed to become the person you want to be. The idea is to continue to collect evidence to support your vision of the future rather than evidence that keeps you stuck in the past.

I’m living proof of this universal truth. Our beliefs can change our health, our relationships and our lives!



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Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Perspective, You Are Everything


Perspective…You. Are. Everything!


    Our perception is our reality. Therefore, the differences in how each person may view something can be vastly different. This can be challenging and beneficial depending on how much we work with it. Our perspective individually can also be vastly different depending on the day and how we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. I find that taking a step back, taking a couple of deep breaths, and attempting to view from multiple perspectives can be not only helpful, but often a game changer!

    We have far more power than we often realize. Think about what you may do when a loved one is suffering in some way. We usually will immediately come to their aid, whether physically or in some other capacity. Then we will offer some sort of condolences: “Its going to be okay”, “This will pass”, “Everything happens for a reason”, “It will get better”.  The list can go on and on, really. The point being that we are so kind, helpful, and good at attempting to help that person change their perspective of the current hardship. A big question here is: why is it so hard to do this for ourselves?

    In my practice I ask this question a lot. I will often encourage my clients in hardship to ask themselves what they would tell a friend in the same situation. This is often a tool I encourage them to exercise regularly in their lives outside of our sessions. If the person genuinely tries it, most clients report that it helps a great deal! Changing our perspective can make something challenging not nearly as powerful as it could be.

    Let's sit with an example…Let's say you have been planning a big event that you are very excited about. You have put a lot of time and effort into this event and have been really looking forward to it. It's an outdoor event and everyone you love will be there to join in on the celebration. You want it to be amazing! On the day of the event a sudden, unforeseen storm rolls in creating a very wet, rainy day. In this moment you can easily lose yourself to this forecast and feel that your DAY IS RUINED!! Or, you can take a step back, take a couple of deep breaths [insert ask yourself what you would tell a friend here], and decide how you can continue. This celebration can be magical even with some rain. The hope is that you find that strength that's within you, harness that energy to come up with a plan B, and enjoy your event among the changes.

    Think about the confidence you may gain by shifting your perspective in that example. Coming up with that plan B and enjoying your magical event would provide a mound of confidence! Anyone that would provide any compliment would only add to the greatness you're feeling. Now, if you were able to follow a plan B, but still felt the day was ruined and could not get past it, the compliments wouldn’t matter and no matter how magical, the day would not be the same. YOUR perspective is everything. It feels lovely to have support and empathy from others, but if they do not subscribe to your perspective as their own in some capacity it doesn’t shift the experience nearly as much. The owning of our perspective or the shift in it is where the strength and power often lie.

    We all have this beautiful strength and capability within us. If we can do it for the ones we love and care about, why not apply some of that love, caring, and fresh perspective for ourselves? I encourage you to try this for yourself. Take a step back from the experience and take a couple of deep breaths and see what comes up. What can you do? What IS working? What growth do you still see in yourself even among the hardship? Take the strength that is already there to propel you forward!



Danielle Riele, MA

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist # 84600

Privacy in Health Care – Not Always Good for All

Privacy in Health Care – Not Always Good for All


While the support of friends and family is especially important, resources and explanations are pivotal in navigating through the mental health maze. I thought it best to share with you what I’ve learned along the way in hopes of easing your journey.

Let’s begin.

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and its function is to provide data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This is great, because we all want our medical information secure, right? Right!   

This Act was passed in 1996 and has served many of us well. However, there is a great need to have this Act revised to meet the needs of individuals with serious mentally illnesses. I believe that when my son is at his most vulnerable, when he is the most ill, the regulations have made it very difficult for me and my family to keep our son safe.

Tip one: Although medical professionals (psychiatrists, therapists, inpatient facilities…) can’t share information about my son’s illness, they have been known to welcome information I share with them by email, phone, or fax. Yes, it does seem as though I am sending this information into a black hole, but I have been told countless times that medical history and personal observations of behavior are helpful is assessing my son’s condition and determining his treatment.

Tip two: Do not expend energy being angry at medical professionals because they will not release information relating to your ill relative. They are bound by the regulations of HIPAA and they will not budge. My advice to family members is use their energy in self-care. The opportunity to be of help to your loved-one will manifest and you can be rested to meet the challenge.

Tip three: Become involved in your NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) public policy committee and identify legislation to change HIPAA regulations. If we don’t work for change, nothing changes.

From the desk of Ramona Winner, Family Advocate MWC