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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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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

Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPCCAre You Addicted? Or Is There Another Problem...?
By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPCC
Do you worry that you have a problem with an addiction? Drink too much? Smoke pot every day? Unable to bypass the exit to the casino? Spend your whole vacation in the gift shop? Even if the answer is yes to any of these questions, does that mean you're addicted? Here's a test you can take to see whether you're addicted, or just overdoing it: Does the behavior improve your mood, make you feel better? Is your behavior out of your control? Have you tried to stop without success? Is your behavior causing harm to you or to anyone else? If you answered yes to these questions, you probably have an addiction to a substance or behavior and it's negatively impacting your life. So what does that mean? See full article

Grace Doctorow, LCSW, BCDWhat Can You Learn from Mad Men? Finding the 'Third Way'
By Grace Doctorow, LCSW, BCD
What can you learn from the hit TV series Mad Men you ask? Plenty. I just started watching the series Mad Men on Netflix. Yes, I know, I'm a little behind the times. It is in its seventh and final season this year and many of you undoubtedly know a good deal more about it than I do. Nevertheless, I am binge watching and am into the third season so I will catch up soon. It occurred to me that beyond its entertainment value, its presentation of cultural and generational images, its period view of men and women in an era before women's lib, sexual harassment, feminism, aids, civil rights, LGBT and modern technology, it offers a lot to think about regarding ourselves, our perceptions of male and female identity, our expectations in relationships that still apply today. See full article

Dr. Claire AreneHold It! Before You Say I Do
By Dr. Claire Arene
As a Psychotherapist who very regularly provides therapy to married couples I have always wondered at couples who tell me that they never attended premarital counseling sessions prior to getting hitched. By my estimation this applies to more than half of the couples I encounter in private practice. Often, when I explore with the couple to find out why, the reasons often fall into three main categories; not understanding the purpose of premarital counseling; a dislike or discomfort with engaging in counseling; and getting so caught up with planning the wedding. I must add that in recent times, I have also come to identify a fourth category, those whose reasons for not engaging in premarital counseling have to do with the fact that they feel that … See full article

Kim Winbery, MA, LPC, LCPC, NCCGrief and Loss: The Topic of Death is Too Often Ignored
By Kim Winbery, MA, LPC, LCPC, NCC
Losing someone is one of the most devastating experiences a person can go through. It does not typically get any easier after consecutive losses, and there is no way to be perfectly prepared for it even when notice is given prior to death. Just as each person leaves this world in a different way, each of you will experience each loss in your own unique way. Death is such an apparent and inevitable part of life. One way that I look at loss is by remembering that I only get to "borrow" everything and everyone. That includes my life and those around me. I try to spend each day appreciating the time I get to borrow. Giving back what we have borrowed, loved, and cherished to the unrelenting reality of death is one of the most challenging tasks in life. See full article

Kimberly Castelo, MS LMFTAResolving Conflict
By Kimberly Castelo, MS LMFTA
When some people hear the word "conflict” or "confrontation” it can immediately bring up negative feelings. Those words can make people run for the hills because it can mean that a situation can become difficult to handle. Dealing with conflict is not something people usually like to do. In fact, many people avoid conflict because it does not feel good. However, there are ways to handle conflict that can truly help make it not a bad word. Here are some techniques that can help and can be used in the workplace, with friends, and with family. See full article

Elissa Grunblatt, LCSWWhy Does My Therapist...?
By Elissa Grunblatt, LCSW
Therapy is a unique experience. Is there anywhere else you can go that offers you a stress free environment and allows you to do all the talking? Will anyone other than your therapist listen to your troubles for 45 minutes without interruption? Even your mother will change the subject after a while. Do your friends have enough patience to remain quiet and calm while you rage? Do they have enough consideration to not argue with your opinions, refrain from cutting you off or judge you? No matter how well they know you, do friends have the training to intuit what you mean, validate your feelings or say just the right thing? See full article

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