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Explore matters of the heart with trip through Oz
Assess your psyche with a trip through Oz

 The wishes of three characters in 'The Wizard of Oz' represent three important aspects of our mental health.
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
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Date published: 9/12/2010

GUESS WHAT is final- ly out in Blu-ray? "The Wizard of Oz"! OK, maybe you weren't exactly holding your breath, but I am not alone in my fascination with this delightful tale of personal integrity and power. Oprah once said "The Wizard of Oz" was, for her, among the great spiritual teachers.

Why? Well if you are willing to take a trip down the yellow brick road with me, we will look for "a place where there isn't any trouble," as Dorothy said.

You might remember the story in which Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are swept from their Kansas home by a tornado and end up in the Land of Oz. Dorothy embarks on a journey to the Wizard.

En route, she meets three companions: the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Lion. These characters fascinate me because, to me, they represent three dimensions of mental "un"wellness.

Dorothy says of her companions: "I feel as if I'd known you all the time, but I couldn't have, could I?"

Of course she could. They are aspects of her own psyche, and just as she learned about herself through them, so can we learn about ourselves down this road. Grab a pen and paper if you want to give yourself a psychological tune-up as we journey through Oz.

WHAT GOOD IS A BRAIN?

First we meet the Scarecrow, who longs for a brain. The wizard will tell him later "anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity." And, in fact, it is. It's what we do with our brain that counts--how we take care of it and how it takes care of us.

We can use our brains to work hard toward any skill or talent we choose. As you think of your personal intellectual goals or challenges, write them down. Are you working toward a degree, or do you have a new professional endeavor? Maybe you have a question about your next intellectual pursuit.

Next, consider problems of the brain. What mental issues do you struggle with? Are you a little obsessive, or do you have some attention problems? Do you struggle to stay focused? If so, are your struggles so intense that you need some professional assistance?


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Dr. Delise Dickard a licensed professional counselor, is the director of Riverside Counseling in Fredericksburg.