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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Patricia M. Kelly, Ph.D.Consider a One Minute Vacation to Manage Stress
By Patricia M. Kelly, Ph.D.
Paula is a mother of three school aged children and a nurse in a busy practice of internal medicine. Her afternoons are filled with drop offs and pickups to after school activities, shopping and other errands; homework, dinner preparation and a host of other household chores leave little personal time. Stressful? Conrad listens attentively to news of Iraq where his oldest daughter is on a tour of duty. After work, he stops by to visit his widowed mother who is showing signs of early dementia; he shares a cup of tea and completes a few small chores. Stressful? See full article

Cynthia Peikoff, LCSWWhat Makes You Happy?
By Cynthia Peikoff, LCSW
Imagine if someone told you "if you make a conscious decision to be happy, you can be happy! "If you assume full personal responsibility for your actions, thoughts and feelings, and refuse to blame others for your own unhappiness, you can be happy." What Makes You Happy? First, you must identify for yourself what makes you happy. Happy people can tell you in an instant what makes them happy. According to Foster & Hicks, the authors of How We Choose To Be Happy*, "happy people live their passions and dive into those things that make them happiest, regardless of the complexities of their life circumstances. When happy people have been hurt they refuse to act like victims." See full article

Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.Being A Wise Ally for Your Kids
By Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.
The stress of raising kids, especially a teenager, is no news for any parent living with one. Knowing how to advise them and even approach them is complicated by the seemingly high stakes decisions they are confronted with and the relational tension between parents and teens. One example of when such difficulty comes into play is when high school seniors are faced with increasing internal strife and pressure over which school to choose, with a complex array of feelings informing their leanings towards one school over another. Parents have their own biases and may believe they are “right” in their assessment of what school may open more doors in the future. The conflict between parents and teens may take on exaggerated importance for both at this crossroads, but how this decision is made may be more important than just what school is chosen and who is right. See full article

Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.Women's Issues
By Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.
Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female. A psychologist informed about these issues is in a better position to understand women’s experiences and know how to help them. Psychotherapy can help women achieve their personal goals and improve themselves. A psychologist can teach assertiveness, decrease fears that may impede success and happiness, and work with women on developing better and more sustained self-esteem. See full article

Colette Dowling, LMSWPremenstrual Cravings Can Be Tamed!
By Colette Dowling, LMSW
Premenstrual cravings for carbohydrates have been known to women for years. While women with binge eating problems will really ratchet into high gear when they're premenstrual, even women whose eating patterns are usually normal will notice over the top cravings during the week or so before their periods. When my daughter and I were researching PMS for our book, "You Mean I don't Have to Feel This Way?", we wanted to know whether there were medical reasons for the pronounced cravings women experience premenstrually. To find out, we went to the scientists who were early researchers on the subject. See full article

Colette Dowling, LMSWDepression at Night: A Troubled Sleep
By Colette Dowling, LMSW
Four out of five people who become depressed approach bedtime with varying degrees of dread. They toss and turn, restlessly occupied with negative thoughts, obsessing over something dumb they did, or think they did, at the party that night. Money, taxes, their teeth falling out of their gums, you name it they have fantasies about it. When I became depressed after a long bout of anemia (many chronic illnesses produce depression), I found myself worrying about my studio tumbling into the stream that lay next to it. I knew it wasn’t rational but I felt helpless to control what my mind was doing. See full article

Colette Dowling, LMSWPostpartum Depression is Widesread--and Preventable!
By Colette Dowling, LMSW
Postpartum depression has gotten a lot of press recently, in part due to Brooke Shields's book and Tom Cruise's misinformed comments about it. A certain mystery seems to surround this illness. Women fear it, understandably. Just at the time when they most need their strength and sense of wellbeing a dark mood can move in and take over. Equally mysterious, because somehow they don't get adequately discussed, are methods of treatment--and even methods of prevention. I will talk about these, but first, here's what postpartum depression can look like. See full article

Colleen A. McCann, MSW, LGSWBuilding Emotional Resiliency In Children
By Colleen A. McCann, MSW, LGSW
Don't sit back and wait for your children to grow up because... It Doesn't Work That Way! Interaction with parents literally sculpts a child's developing brain. This process is called "interpersonal neurobiology" and has much to do with patterns of emotion and behavior that pass unconsciously between generations. EXPERIENCE IS BIOLOGY! Childhood experience activates genetic expression and influences the formation of neural networks in the brain. Lack of emotional connection in childhood negatively impacts brain flexibility and emotional regulation in adulthood. See full article

Colleen A. McCann, MSW, LGSWI'm Not Crazy, Weak, or Broken!
By Colleen A. McCann, MSW, LGSW
We give almost no conscious thought to complex tasks such as driving a car or even putting on a pair of pants. But for a novice driver or budding toddler the level of difficulty is very high and both struggle to master these tasks. With practice there is a shift from "manual" to "auto" that happens in the brain when neurons form a reliable firing pattern that automatically takes over. The rule is "neurons that fire together, wire together" creating efficiency in brain processing, allowing us the ability to multitask. See full article

Cynthia Shaw, M.A., LMHCMaintaining a Happy and Healthy Relationship After Parenthood
By Cynthia Shaw, M.A., LMHC
The challenges couples face after becoming parents are varied and complex. One of the primary challenges is adapting to the all-intensive care-giving role of being parents while preserving the relationship and also maintaining some semblance of self-identity. All couples deal with these challenges differently. For some new parents the impact is more negative and shakes up the relationship: the workload at home increases; the parent with more child-care duties may resent the new burdens; communication between partners can diminish; sex may all but disappear; new financial stressors can cause tension; and partners can become polarized as to their values of child-rearing and family. Yet for other couples the relationship survives these challenges and actually thrives. See full article

Cynthia Shaw, M.A., LMHCRiding the Emotional Waves of Motherhood: The Postpartum Experience
By Cynthia Shaw, M.A., LMHC
Having a baby -- often a long-desired wish but sometimes a startling surprise -- often brings a mix of contradictory feelings. Pregnancy and childbirth are a happy and joyous time for some women, but for others the experience can be one of anxiety, fear, and confusion. Because our society cherishes pregnancy and motherhood, many women suffer in silence when their experience is anything less than sublime. This life change, this transition to motherhood, is all encompassing yet many women are unprepared and in today’s society, find it difficult to explain their unhappiness and confusion to spouses, friends and family. It can also be difficult to know whether those anxieties are the normal mood fluctuations of pregnancy and the postpartum period, or symptoms of a more serious problem. See full article

Helen Boy, MSW, LICSW, LADCChildren and Grief
By Helen Boy, MSW, LICSW, LADC
Grief is a natural response to loss. Children, like adults, grieve when someone close to them dies or they experience other types of loss. Children also may grieve when they lose a friend or a pet, move to a new home or school, or experience sexual abuse. The duration and intensity of grief are unique for each child. With support, children usually have the capacity to integrate grief in their lives if the environment provides acceptance, compassion and safety. See full article

Julie A. Levin, MA, MFTNaming Your Anxiety
By Julie A. Levin, MA, MFT
When anxiety takes over, it can feel like you're possessed. You may become paralyzed and unable to make decisions. You may question your every move. You may find yourself playing that tired old song, "What-if…" over and over till you get a headache. If you suffer from anxiety, there are lots of tools you can use to feel better. Meditation, relaxation techniques and positive self-talk are some examples. But it can also be helpful to externalize your anxiety – to see it as something separate from your essential self. See full article

Carolyn C. Martin, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T.Should I Divorce?
By Carolyn C. Martin, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T.
Marriage is a lot of work sometimes. And, even though you may have worked hard to make things go well in your marriage, there sometimes comes a point in time when you have to make a decision — the decision between staying to fight for your marriage, or moving away from the marriage to find happiness and peace. In order to make the decision, you may need more information or someone to help you process what you're going through. Gathering information from books, magazines, the internet, etc. can help. Talking to a friend or relative may help. Or seeing a professional may be helpful. See full article

Carolyn C. Martin, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T.Bringing Baby Home
By Carolyn C. Martin, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T.
Ah! There's nothing like bringing a new baby home. You fall in love with that beautiful angelic face, and your heart just melts. What could be more delightful than holding that precious bundle you've been waiting on for nine months? You bring Little "Johnny" or "Suzy" home and start your new life as a family. But did you know, according to research done by John Gottman, Ph.D. at the Relationship Research Institute, ". . . within three years after the birth of a child, approximately two-thirds of couples will experience a significant drop in relationship quality and have a dramatic increase in conflict and hostility." See full article

Michelle Miller Bohls, MA, LMFTStill Stressed in January
By Michelle Miller Bohls, MA, LMFT
Twenty minutes earlier than Joan expected, the doorbell rang. As she took a brief survey of the situation her heart rate sped up. Her adrenals went to work shooting adrenaline into her blood stream while a checklist ran through her mind: dinner was almost ready, the wine is breathing, guestroom and bathrooms are clean…. The list suddenly stopped when she noticed the long, white dog hair on the dark couch. Moving quickly from a sense of accomplishment and pride to a self-abusive shame, Joan could feel the panic in her stomach spread quickly up to her flushed face. She may have noticed her muscles tense and her pupils dilate, but she was completely unaware of her adrenal glands exhaustive work to keep up with her demands for perfection. Would her guests judge the cleanliness of the house? Her cooking? Will they like the gifts she chose? See full article

Becki A Hein, MS, NCC, LPCHealthy Mind, Healthy Body: Mood, Food, and Attitude
By Becki A Hein, MS, NCC, LPC
When asked about the best way to stay healthy, you might say that diet and exercise are essential. You also might say that taking vitamins and certain herbs can enhance health and well being. You could even suggest activities such as meditation and yoga. However, another very important component to health that more and more people are learning about is the mind-body connection. Your thoughts and feelings influence your body through the nervous system and the circulatory system. Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. Scientists are discovering that every thought, emotion, and experience influences the immune system's ability to function. See full article

Dr. Margo Jacquot'Tis the Season for a Season
By Dr. Margo Jacquot
It's that time of year again. Fall is a lovely time of year, at least in the Midwest. The air is crisp and the leaves are spectacular. It is also getting colder and light is getting scarce. In addition, the holidays are nearly upon us. For some of us it's a time of joy and family celebration. For others it's a time of stress and disappointment. We may see the cracks in our relationships with people that we love. For still others it's a time where we find ourselves missing someone whom we have lost through a divorce, breakup, geographic distance or death. For some it's a bit of each. See full article

Martin W. Murphy, J.D., LMFTMediation for Families
By Martin W. Murphy, J.D., LMFT
Marital separation and divorce can be a confusing and troubling time in the life of marriages. Families, including children of all ages, can experience emotional anxiety and psychological stress at a time when major changes are happening in their lives. Although, about one-half of all marriages end in divorce this experience in an adult's or child's life does not have to be acrimonious or permanently damaging. A process and an approach called family mediation can substantially mitigate the anxiety and stress of marital divorce. This collaborative process, under the guidance of a professional mediator, can comprehensively address and resolve the issues that must be settled when a marriage ends. See full article

Martin W. Murphy, LMFTWhen the Honeymoon Ends
By Martin W. Murphy, LMFT
The honeymoon always ends. The romantic phase of an intimate relationship eventually wanes and dissipates. The joy and excitement of a new relationship with all its hopes and expectations eventually gives way to the routine of every day life. The euphoria of planning a life together for the newly engaged or married couple with all its dreams of everlasting excitement and love gives way to the reality of the difficulty of life and marriage. But, the ending of the honeymoon phase is actually a good and necessary phenomenon because it allows the real work of love to begin. See full article

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