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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Christina Szarka, MSW MSTLBuilding Mental Toughness in our Young Athletes
By Christina Szarka, MSW MSTL

Does your young athlete’s self confidence rely on their coach’s feedback? It is often said an athlete’s performance is based largely on their mental state, in reality it may be as much as 90%. Competitive coaches often do not have the time to focus on each player’s individual success. Their role is to build a team that will win. This can be a problem if your child is involved in youth sports and their confidence in their abilities is formed from the beliefs of coaches, teammates or even parents. See full article


Christina Szarka, MSW, MSTLThe Long Term Impact of Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
By Christina Szarka, MSW, MSTL

Many factors contribute to healthy development in young people. However, children who have suffered through a divorce must try to maintain strong family relationships with both parents. A strong component to children thriving through a divorce is being shielded from parental conflicts. However, in many cases parents cannot separate their angry and negative feelings from their spouse and end up manipulating their children in an attempt to bolster their own importance and parental identity. This creates situations where children feel pressure to choose sides with one parent or the other. See full article


Julie A. Levin, MA, MFTLoving Yourself
By Julie A. Levin, MA, MFT

There is a lot of talk about self love. But if you don't feel it, the words have no meaning. And if you've been judging or blaming yourself for not being enough or being too much, then the idea of loving yourself might even seem wrong. Yet, self love is an essential part of having a good life. When you feel friendly, kind, appreciative and tender toward yourself, you have a buffer against depression, anxiety, trauma, rejection, loss, and bad relationships. I often tell clients, "You are the roommate who will never leave." Do you really want … See full article


Daniel A. Linder, MFTBreaking-Up
By Daniel A. Linder, MFT

Note: The following article, “Breaking-up,” is best suited for those in the throes of a ‘bad’ relationship, who know it’s ‘bad,’ may want to get out, but feel stuck and are looking for an exit strategy. Mindfulness is a running theme. “Breaking-up” is about understanding what you are trying to accomplish, what you need to and what it takes to get there. It’s intended as an instructional map that shows you the way out of unhealthy relationships and into healthy, emotionally nourishing ones. It’s empowerment through awareness, understanding and action. See full article


Dylan Mariah, RN, LMHC, MA, E-RYTSimple Strategies for Sailing Through the Holidays
By Dylan Mariah, RN, LMHC, MA, E-RYT

You have to wonder sometimes why the winter holidays can’t be spread out more evenly over the year. From the end of October through after the New Year, it seems that we barely recover from one holiday and the next one is upon us. It doesn’t help that we start receiving Christmas and Thanksgiving sales promotions in October or that stores put out the next holiday’s items so early. Even with that, there is a lot to celebrate from late October through January! We have less than a month between Halloween and Thanksgiving with Veteran’s Day in between them. We have a month between … See full article


Sophia Greenberg, LMFTThe Back to School Blues
By Sophia Greenberg, LMFT

So, you spent the last few weeks checking off items on the back to school shopping list, buying new backpacks and new school clothes- all the fun stuff. It has been a long, hot summer and you have been looking forward to sending your children back into the loving arms of their teachers, right? Maybe not. In theory, after a long summer of having young children run around at home with limited structure and routine, the thought of the routine of the school day sounds appealing. But who does it really appeal to, … See full article


Karen Kingsley, Ph.D.What Really Matters?
By Karen Kingsley, Ph.D.

What is truly important to you? If you give yourself a few moments to imagine looking back on your life from an advanced age, what do you want to see your life as having been about? The question can sometimes feel too big and broad to answer, yet investing the time and effort to clarify your values as an ongoing practice can not only protect you from being disappointed in your future answer to that ultimate question, but can also help you to maximize your experience of meaning and fulfillment here and now. See full article


Dylan Mariah, RN, LMHC, MAFrom Purging to Pausing
By Dylan Mariah, RN, LMHC, MA

If we have a home with a yard we may want to cut away the underbrush when bushes are overgrown and choking off new life. We cut back the trees at the end of the summer to allow a fuller expression of their beauty the next year. We do a clean sweep of the lawn before winter so that the leaves don’t prevent the grass from “breathing” and strengthening their root systems. We say “Just get rid of it!” when we are cleaning out our basements and see that we have been hanging on to things we should have thrown out long ago. See full article


Dylan Mariah, RN, LMHC, MAHow Long It Takes to Grieve
By Dylan Mariah, RN, LMHC, MA

I was talking to someone recently about grieving after the death of a loved one. I’ve had these discussions quite a few times. With people grieving the loss of a loved one years after they have died who worry that they “can’t get over it.” With people who are feeling impatient with someone else’s grieving process and wondering if they are “hanging on” to the sad feelings. See full article


Karen Kingsley, Ph.D."Accept my difficult emotions? What does that even mean?"
By Karen Kingsley, Ph.D.

In mindfulness-based approaches to therapy we often talk about "acceptance" of difficult or painful thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), one of the newer cognitive-behavioral therapies that incorporates mindfulness as well as values clarification, promotes acceptance as a vital part of developing psychological health and flexibility. Unfortunately, many people’s initial reaction when they hear that is: "That's not what I want; I want to get rid of those feelings!" and, … See full article


Dr. Amy Austin R.N., Psy.D., LMFTLetting Go of the Past
By Dr. Amy Austin R.N., Psy.D., LMFT

How many times do we catch ourselves thinking, ruminating, trying to change and wishing for a do over regarding our past histories? We are triggered by an old song, certain definable smell, movie, or anything that rouses our senses and takes us back to that suspended moment in time. Usually, the thought tends to lead to guilt and/or shame which our critical self hones in on like a bee to a flower. And, there we are. Not connected to the present moment, living life unconsciously, and unaware. See full article


Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFTFamilies With Abuse
By Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT

Abusive situations in families do not happen in isolation. It is neither bad luck, nor is it the fault of the victim of abuse. Abuse happens within a culture of abuse. That is, there is something that is handed down over the generations that encourages those who abuse and allow those around the abuser to ignore what is happening. While the abuser is certainly responsible for his/her actions, there are other family members who are complicit by their passivity or inability to recognize the signs. See full article


Dr. Eva WitkowskaStress Weakens the Immune System
By Dr. Eva Witkowska

Health research shows that prolonged stress has a detrimental effect on our health. Prolonged stress makes you more susceptible to illness, and once you are sick it will take longer to heal. Stress will make you age faster. Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, and Gregory Miller, PhD reported findings from 300 empirical studies describing the relationship between psychological stress and the immune system. They found that acute and prolonged stressors weaken the immune system on both the cellular and hormonal level. See full article


Diane Thorp, LCSWCouples: Getting Past the Hurt
By Diane Thorp, LCSW

Often Couples come to me asking for surefire ways to get beyond the initial intensity of their pain after a hurtful argument with their partner. Although no surefire "fix–it" answers exist, mainly because much depends on personal attributes each partner possesses, there are strategies that can make an impact towards healing after an explosive argument between a couple. See full article


Joseph R Scrivani, MA, LCSWTo Change or Not To Change
By Joseph R Scrivani, MA, LCSW

A wiser person than I once said that the only constant in life is change. Oh, the irony! The process of change is all around us – seasons change, fashions change, our bodies and our moods change. We’ve written books, songs and poems about it and even taken photographs and films to record the process. Yet, for a great many people, even the prospect of change is wrought with dread and anxiety. Feeling anxious and upset about change does not mean … See full article


Sharon Winkler, LICSW, MACStepfamilies: What Makes Them Unique?
By Sharon Winkler, LICSW, MAC

A quick look around our communities reveals that stepfamilies are commonplace in our society and becoming more so. Despite the fact that living in a stepfamily has become a common experience, there is surprisingly little information available to families to help them navigate this complex life transition. If one searches for guidance at the local bookstore or at the public library, one will find many books devoted to divorce yet very few devoted to remarriage. This is puzzling and unfortunate. See full article


Jan Nakao, LCSWDreams as a Portal to the Self
By Jan Nakao, LCSW

All of the early pioneers of depth psychology, Sigmund Freud, C.G. Jung and Alfred Adler were courageous men who explored the territory of the unconscious. In 1900, after graduating from medical school Jung discovered Freud’s book called The Interpretation of Dreams which stupefied him. After returning to the book 3 years later he said to Freud, “I discovered how it linked with my own ideas.” Jung’s growing appreciation of Freud lead to their 6 year collaboration during which time modern psychoanalysis was born. See full article


Jan Nakao, LCSWPlay into Therapy
By Jan Nakao, LCSW

Play has been recognized since the time of Plato who said "you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." If we go forward to the 1900’s in England, play therapy began to flourish beginning with the work of Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein and Margaret Lowenfeld. They posited the theoretical foundations for the therapeutic use of play. Each tradition is connected by the central proposition that play transmits and communicates the child’s unconscious experiences, desires, thoughts and emotions. See full article


Dr. Shannon BarnesBalancing Me Myself and I plus One
By Dr. Shannon Barnes

Research has shown that many factors including biological makeup and life experiences can influence a person’s mental health. Physical fitness, social relationships, family cohesion, cognitions, perceptions and spiritual beliefs have all been determined to be influential factors of the development or lack of development of mental health needs. However, this influence deserves to be explored from a new perspective. This article will provide some current research while exploring how the balance between these factors actually influence mental health symptoms. See full article


Kimberly Wulfert, PhDInsomnia; Causes and Solutions
By Kimberly Wulfert, PhD

Many people I help in therapy don’t get enough sleep. They present their sleep problems in different ways, and sleep problems stem from a variety of causes. It is estimated that 7-10% of adults who complain of insomnia in the U.S. are diagnosed with a circadian rhythm disorder. Women over age 40 are three times more likely to report it than men. Circadian rhythm cycles begin changing with puberty, a time of upheaval in hormones but no gender differences are apparent from youth to age 40. It comes as no surprise that the first signs of peri-menopause, indicating a shift in hormone production is underway, can begin around age 40. It’s well known that women in the peri-menopause phase of life have … See full article


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