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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.Connection: How to Keep the Romance Alive and Have Better Sex
By Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.
Great sex doesn’t begin when we take our clothes off. Here are some tips to connect with your partner to add joy to your relationship and enhance your sex life: Meaningful rituals: do special things on a routine basis…weekly romantic dinners, daily loving text messages and/or emails, reading the Sunday paper together. Be unpredictable: surprise your partner by doing things that are thoughtful and unexpected. A card, letter, small gift, or get away weekend creates loving feelings. Touch: sensual touch, long hugs, affectionate gestures and public hand holding release the hormone oxytocin, which gives us a feeling of emotional bonding and lowers cortisol. Time together: remember when you first met how all your thoughts and free time were devoted to your partner? When in a long-term relationship, alone time with your partner declines. Make time to be together and continue the courtship. See full article

Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.About Erections
By Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.
You don’t need a million dollar ad campaign to tell you what most of us already know. Men are concerned about their penis. Many men are insecure about the size of their penis, which is why your spam folder is filled with ubiquitous ads promoting products that will give you “a huge, gigantic penis.” However, most of the men I speak to in my clinical practice are much more concerned about the function of their penis and their ability to attain and sustain erections. Some men would like to get harder quicker, some want to stay harder longer, while others just wish they would get hard at all. The fact that erectile difficulties or dysfunction (also known as E.D.) affects men is obvious, but E.D. can also have a profound affect on wives and girlfriends, which often leads to increased anxiety and stress, exacerbating the problem. See full article

The Staff of Kelly Counseling & ConsultingPrevention and Health Maintenance: The Emotional Checkup
By The Staff of Kelly Counseling & Consulting
It's encouraging that in 2008 the words psychology and therapy more and more are becoming household words. Still, many people have lots of questions about what it means to meet with someone for psychotherapy and what actually goes on in a therapy session. We often hear from teenagers that they believe they are the only ones that are going to therapy, when in fact they might be surprised to learn how many people their age have already been to a therapist for a visit or for a safe place to check in with someone about the questions of adolescence. See full article

Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSWDying: A Family Rite of Passage
By Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSW
When my mother lost her father it was sad, but not unexpected. He was 80 years old, had had that lingering kind of cancer that old men often get, and there was plenty of time to prepare for his death. Not that any of us ever acknowledged his demise or named the dread disease he lived with for so long. Until the day he died he spoke of getting well, would not reveal his feelings or let us tell him ours, and we all aided and abetted his fantasy. He hid behind the wall of an impossible dream because he needed to, but that wall troubled my mother long after he was gone. It's not just that I miss him, she would say. It's not that I haven't accepted his death. But it feels like there was unfinished business. Something left undone. See full article

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

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

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

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

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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