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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Debbie Bauer, LMFTDiffusing the Tension with Tots & Teens
By Debbie Bauer, LMFT
There are several key survival tips that work well in raising both toddlers and teens. Developmentally, these stages can be quite similar in that both age groups are striving for independence yet wanting to hold on to the security currently in place. If parents do a good job through the toddler years – navigating the teen years may well result in a smoother than ordinarily expected transition. Having set the groundwork for a mutually respectful relationship significantly reduces the likelihood of oppositional power struggles in the future. Some suggestions follow... See full article

Garth Mintun, LCSWCouples, Relationships and "Fix"
By Garth Mintun, LCSW
Work solutions aren’t necessarily transferable to “fix” relationship problems. What you do on the job does not necessarily mean it will work at home. For example, if an engineer, attorney, clerk or technical person tries to fix the relationship with his/her intimate significant other, the results may not be what he/she wants. At our employment we are trained to fix problems and are paid to be “problem solvers.” The problem solving method usually works like this: Isolate the problem and find what is “not working”; Rationally figure out what the problem is and try to fix it; Minimize the bad effects of the problem; Plan a pro-active solution to the problem. See full article

Dr. Laurel A. Sills, Licensed PsychologistDivorcing: Battle of Roses or Gavels?
By Dr. Laurel A. Sills, Licensed Psychologist
Making the decision to leave a marital relationship is very difficult for most people. Aside from letting go of the promise to stay together “through better or worse, sickness and health,” one has to face losing the family unit as it has been, losing marital assets and learning to be alone. In the best of circumstances, the husband and wife both will override their emotional hurt with sound intellectual reasoning. Each partner recognizes that being with someone either whom does not love you as a spouse or whom you do not love fully is not healthy emotionally for either partner or for your children. No matter how much pain divorce causes, the truth is that if the marriage cannot be brought back to a respectful, loving, faithful commitment, it may be best to dissolve the marriage. See full article

Janice C. Feuerhelm, LPCLiving with Chronic Pain
By Janice C. Feuerhelm, LPC
Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide. Chronic pain is different than acute pain. Chronic pain is pain that continues long after the original cause. Chronic pain also has a psychological component that affects every area of one's life. The challenge of living with chronic pain can create depression, difficulty with family/friend relationships, loss of job, financial losses and a loss of self-worth. During my counseling experiences with individuals living with chronic pain, I have discovered that there are key healthy attitudes that help someone learn how to cope and live with chronic pain. I teach persons' with chronic pain how to adopt these attitudes and have had the pleasure of witnessing many reclaim their life again, in spite of chronic pain. See full article

Peter Suski, Ph.D., MAC, CASACReflections on Anger
By Peter Suski, Ph.D., MAC, CASAC
Any person at any moment on any given day can be found at different stages of their struggle with anger. More than any other emotion, anger is at the root of a person’s anxiety, stress, dysfunction, and general misery. Because of the invasive quality of this emotion and its impact on treatment issues, counselors must seek a clear understanding of the precipitating expectations that lead to anger, an expression of these feelings, and an acceptance that anger is a “normal” emotion. Anger is a basic human emotion. It is frequently first manifest at birth. From the safe, warm environment of mother’s womb to a brightly lit and chillier room, surrounded by strange faces wearing masks, the first response to breathing air is typically a loud wail. This display of emotion is traceable to the most immediate needs for survival being denied (Gelinas, 1988). See full article

Patty Muller, LPC"Shoulding" All Over Ourselves!
By Patty Muller, LPC
Whenever I’m working with someone on self-care, self-love and self-approval issues, a part of me is always waiting for the first "should" statement to come out–and I usually don’t have to wait very long. Most of us are riddled with "shoulds", "oughts" and a multitude of other ways to express to ourselves what actions we need to take in order for us to be good people, parents, spouses, employees, etc. And therein lies the unpleasant truth hiding in the heart of every "should" statement we make to ourselves: the unspoken beginning of every sentence that contains the word should within it is, "in order to be a GOOD person, I should...." just fill in the blank with the directive of the moment. Which means that every time we use a should on ourselves, we’re reinforcing the harmful idea that we are NOT good enough, just as we are. See full article

Cynthia Horacek, M.S., M.F.T.EMDR and the Brain: How We Think it Works
By Cynthia Horacek, M.S., M.F.T.
Although EMDR has been in use by therapists for treating trauma, phobias, anxiety and a variety of other "disorders" since 1989, the vast majority of people have no idea what it is, what it does or how it works. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. And even though the words "Eye Movement" are part of the name of this truly amazing technique, eye movements are not necessarily a part of its success. But allow me to explain… See full article

Sherry Katz, LCSWRelationships in the Alzheimer's Dimension
By Sherry Katz, LCSW
No disease brings much good news with it; the combination of medical management, life style changes, possible economic and daily functioning routines that are affected by prioritizing optimal health for as long as possible, are time consuming and life altering foci. Unique to Alzheimer’s disease is that in addition to the above description, it presents the challenge that basic communication, judgment, decision making, memory, planning and expressiveness each will gradually diminish. These losses very soon become problematic for anyone wanting a sensible conversation with the patient, and most especially so for those who have regular contact, emotional involvement, and responsibilities toward this patient. If the patient’s abilities to interact have changed, then it follows that those who elect to communicate or maintain their relationship with the patient, must also change their habits of relating to the person. See full article

Sue Waldman, MA, LPC, CECRemember, "Anything Is Possible!"
By Sue Waldman, MA, LPC, CEC
At some point in our lives, we all suffer loss; some more than others. Yet few of us are prepared for the anguish, sadness, aloneness, and overwhelming devastation that follows. Loss of any kind can be a life-transforming experience in every person’s life that changes us, reclaiming who and what we are. Loss can take place in many forms: death, divorce, loss of positive childhood experiences, an office or home, a career, a sense of safety, and loss of one’s experience of being happy. Any loss may awaken the divine self within. However difficult it seems, the journey through grief is neither endless nor impossible. It can be an opportunity for self-discovery. As the grief process unfolds, there lies a loving, unexpected peace. See full article

Michael E. Jones, LMFTLiving in Spite of OCD
By Michael E. Jones, LMFT
Perhaps you suspect you are one of the 3 million American adults affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Or maybe you or a loved one was just diagnosed with this condition. What next? As a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of OCD and related disorders, I have compiled the following suggestions to help you make wise treatment choices. (1) If you have not been formally diagnosed with OCD, do not assume you have it because your friends told you so, or because you double-check your door locks, or because you sometimes have “inappropriate” thoughts. The fact is that OCD causes significant distress for those afflicted by it. Some people double-check their door locks every time they leave the house; someone with OCD may have to check it forty times every morning. While almost every one of us have some strange thoughts cross our minds, an individual with OCD can cling to just one for days, worrying why they had the thought. See full article

Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.Summer Vacation - Time Off May Reveal Executive Exhaustion
By Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.
Beginning with Memorial Day weekend, The Fourth of July, until Labor Day, Summer will provide officially sanctioned “down time” for those who are secretly suffering from burnout. Subconsciously they may dread every day but their behavior continues to look as though they are performing as usual. Why are they putting on such a show? – Because they feel completely trapped and haven’t a clue as to how to get out of their slump. A common secret in many companies and firms is that a few executives and partners have worked themselves into exhaustion. They must continue to create new billing opportunities, expand the business, and manage aggressive clients. The results of this malady are not really well-hidden but covered up by staff and colleagues. No one questions their work. After all, these people are partners, presidents, and vice presidents; they comprise the core of the company. See full article

Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.Fatigue and Impending Client Crisis
By Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.
Fatigue and Impending Client Crisis – Some top performers never take a break they just fall apart. Theresa G. could get clients to agree to almost anything once she got to know their needs. Her tenacity, which was known throughout the industry, was behind each promotion throughout her career. On this particular Monday she was making her battery of calls and sending e-mails. Theresa had worked for six months to get every detail right. She had everything she needed. There was just one problem: she no longer cared. Over the past six months the joy of the pursuit had slowly but surely disappeared. Each night her head rang with incoherent dreams keeping her from getting the sleep she so desperately needed. Her meals were tasteless. The support staff in the office had teased her about weight loss until it was no longer a joke. Her secretary looked at her with concern each time she appeared. See full article

Sherry Katz, LCSWWhat is Family Systems Therapy?
By Sherry Katz, LCSW
Family Systems Therapy is talk therapy for individuals, couples and families that uses a theoretical model focused on the interactions of two or more people. The therapist listens to both behavioral and emotional habits and ways the patient typically relies on, yet feels frustrated or unhappy with the results. A therapist trained in the family systems model will often thoughtfully question the patient's relationship goals; this way the patient can more clearly start to see whether their actions are bringing them closer to the emotional satisfaction they want. See full article

Dan Bernard, M.A., L.P.C.Relationship as a Mirror
By Dan Bernard, M.A., L.P.C.
Interacting with our partner, we experience any number of feelings: joy, sadness, contentment, frustration, etc. These feelings say a lot about us, who we are and where we’ve “been” in life. They also say something about our prior relationships. It is in this way that our current relationship can be considered a mirror. Looking into it or not is up to us. Of course, it’s easier to see our partner as the source of our feelings. On this path, we’re likely to believe that they’ll have to change before we’ll feel the way we’d like to. We might even go so far as to consider changing partners as a means of changing or improving our feelings. (I acknowledge that, after ample personal and relational work, this sort of change may remain the only viable option.) See full article

Jeff Jones LPC, CACIII, DAACSWhy You Should Know These Warning Signs of Problem Drinking
Maybe you’re not sure if drinking is a problem in your family. Alcohol can be in our lives without it being a problem. But can you tell when it goes from “no problem” to “problem”? What’s the Cat in the Hat got to do with warning signs of problem drinking? I remember when the ‘Cat in the Hat’ was at home with the kids when the mom was out. He used the bathtub only to have an unimaginable bathtub ring appear. Do you remember the strategy he used to attempt to remove this bathtub ring? He’d have a “brilliant” idea to remove the bathtub ring, at first the kids were excited with the “brilliant” ideas, but then after each attempt left more of a bathtub ring, the kids got a little more suspicious, concerned, and nervous because their mom may come home and they’d get into trouble. But they went along with it, each time with a little more hesitation. See full article

Jeff Jones LPC, CACIII, DAACSDo You Know the Levels of Risk With Problem Drinking?
Is it hard for you to tell when risky behavior becomes a problem? They say that if you place a frog in a pot of water and begin to heat the pot, the frog will boil to death without even realizing it. Conversely, if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, the frog will make a quick exit. Now that I have sufficiently terrified my animal rights friends, let me place a much deeper context to the above metaphor. When does drinking become a problem? Messages of “enjoyable” drinking are all around us - the media: television, radio, and newspapers. It’s common for most social engagements to have alcohol available. It’s almost too common that many activities include alcohol. Too easily we become like the frog in the pot of water slowly coming to a boil. Before we know it, we’re at problem levels. How do we get a reality check on the water temperature before drinking is a problem? See full article

Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.Get Out of Your Own Way - Tips on Becoming a Success
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Ever wonder why the all pervasive hot tips on becoming rich, successful and desirable never work for you? It may be because you don’t have the relationship with yourself that sets the stage for success. The most valuable tool you possess is the connection you have with your rational adult self, and that with your wishful, magical child self. When they work together the sky is the limit. When they each pretend the other doesn’t exist, you end up stuck and marking time. The example of Tracy below indicates how poor communication between the two selves limits her path to achieving her dreams. See full article

Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.When Giving Feels Depleting and Receiving Feels Like Obligation
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Your boss tells you that you did a good job on a project, but it doesn’t please you. It makes you feel that he or she will expect more of you, and you will have to do even better to match those expectations. The praise and recognition was translated into more demands, extra effort and anxiety that you may fail to reach the new goals. Your partner offers to pay for a joint vacation. You feel irritated and react in a hostile manner. What you take in is that there are strings attached and hate being placed in a position of obligation. See full article

Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.How Many Heads Does Your Depression Have? Building Yourself to Your Personal Specifications
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
A few months ago Gillian felt lifeless, dead inside and uninterested in anything. Everything was an effort. She just wanted to sleep. She suffered bouts of constipation. She didn’t want to meet anyone, prepare food for herself or take care of her dog. She couldn‘t go to work. Her words came out slow and with long pauses in between. The words were flat, without expression -just like she felt. She couldn’t even cry. Nothing touched her and she moved like a robot from her bed to the shower to a chair and back to bed again. She didn’t care about anything or anyone. This was not the Gillian she knew or wanted to be. She had always been driven to work hard, please those around her and then earn her rest. She had been very sociable and knew how to have a good time. See full article

Barbara Monett, LCSWHelp! He Says What I Want To Hear, But I'm Not Buying It!
By Barbara Monett, LCSW
Help! He says what I want to hear but I'm not buying it! This is often the first words I hear when someone comes into my office. Let me tell you right off the bat – most likely, you are not as crazy as you feel! Many problems that people experience come in the form of an itch that can't be scratched. The situation isn't working, you're feeling disconnected, you aren't trusting yourself, you aren't getting any validation that really means anything to you. You're living in a world that doesn't seem real. These are all symptoms of the experience of a person who is often interacting with someone with narcissistic personality tendencies. See full article

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