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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Stephen L Salter Psy. D.Being Understood in Therapy
By Stephen L Salter Psy. D.
There's no greater gift a therapist can give than to understand you as you understand yourself. We all have blind spots and therapists are in a position to notice things we may not notice about ourselves. But ultimately, I believe we know ourselves better than anyone else. Only we have access to the particular way we see the world--our emotional landscapes, our judgments, and our greatest concerns. Investigating the worlds outside our awareness--the unconscious, the unknown, is only one part of exploration and understanding ourselves. See full article

Dr. Lynn MargoliesIs There an ADD Epidemic?
By Dr. Lynn Margolies
Do you procrastinate? Do you have trouble with self-discipline, focus and motivation? Are you sometimes forgetful? If the answer is yes, then join the club! Most of us recognize these as some of the symptoms of ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. (OMG – maybe we all have ADD.) But these struggles are not the exclusive domain of ADD. Difficulty getting things done and falling prey to distraction, a wandering mind and temptation is a reality for most of us at times. And, of course, it’s all compounded by the constant lure of digital distractions. With ADD, however, overcoming these obstacles is not simply a matter of choice. Here, lack of capacity can trump the best intentions to use will-power and self-discipline to stay on track. See full article

Katerina Spei, PsyDReflections on Therapeutic Processes
By Katerina Spei, PsyD
We are a kaleidoscope of experiences. They are so diverse that they cannot fit easily into a single picture. Because we are pulled into so many directions, in order to maintain a sense of internal coherence, especially when intensity is significant, we tunnel our visual field. We focus on a segment of our internal world, sometimes on the dullest part and sometimes on the most exciting one. Its value, whether negative or positive, becomes absolute, while at the same time inhibits us from discerning anything else. In this process, we miss and disown important parts of ourselves that do not fit in, while other times we get haunted by one memory, one emotion, one thought, one behavior that represents the leftovers of ourselves. We find security in attaching to a familiar self image … See full article

Jill Rosen, MFTThe Rules of Engagement: How to Have Civil Disagreements and Fair Fights
By Jill Rosen, MFT
From congressional sessions to hockey matches, there are rules to protect adversaries from each other and ensure productive, civil outcomes. Imagine a tennis match or court proceeding without rules and you'll have a good idea of what a bad couple fight looks like - people talking over each other, name calling, threats, anger all around and no solution. Here are 8 rules that will help you disagree fairly … See full article

Elana Chasser, LCSWLife After Divorce
By Elana Chasser, LCSW
Divorce has turned your life upside down, and maybe you're wondering if and how the dust will ever settle. It will! And there is much you can do to help turn things right-side up. Although the hardest part of going through your actual divorce is—or will be—behind you, the future may seem overwhelming and starting anew may be daunting. Signing the divorce papers does not bring emotional closure or healing. Now is the time to mourn the loss of a life and marriage you had once dreamed of and hoped for. Although you may now be mourning the loss of the friendship you once had with your ex-partner, that friendship might have drifted long ago. You may find yourself in disbelief, wondering "How did we get here? When did it get so bad? How has it come to this?” See full article

Elana Chasser, LCSWHow to Discuss Divorce with Children
By Elana Chasser, LCSW
The conversation in which you tell your children that you are getting a divorce will be one they never forget. It is a moment that changes lives forever. That you and your spouse are breaking up is the new reality. How you speak to your children and address their emotional needs through all stages of your divorce gives you a lot of power to cushion the emotional impact that this stormy time has on them for the rest of their lives. Human beings need to feel a sense of safety, security and love. Children must believe they are important and belong in the world, and this belief is created at home with their parents. Divorce can undermine that. "Home” and "family” as they know it are changing. Rocking the safety boat can be emotionally devastating for them but doesn't have to be. See full article

Dr. Elizabeth MacGregorTop 5 Relationship Hazards
By Dr. Elizabeth MacGregor
It’s easy to get pulled in by the daily distractions of life. It’s hard enough to make time for ourselves, let alone our loved ones. Nurturing your relationship takes effort to keep it from going stale. While working together to cross chores off the to-do list brings a sense of partnership to the relationship, it does not do much in keeping romance alive. It’s important that each partner make a conscious decision to spend enough time together doing activities that are enjoyable. Making the commitment to keep your appointments with each other also builds trust. Regularly neglecting your partner for interests or preoccupations outside of the relationship is a sure-fire way to erode it. See full article

Jill Rosen, MA, MFTAn Abusive Family in the News: A Familiar Cast of Characters
By Jill Rosen, MA, MFT
A federal judge is secretly taped berating and savagely beating his 16-year-old daughter with a belt while his wife chimes in, aids and abets. The video was posted six years later by his daughter, capturing the attention of the nation. The cast of characters is familiar to most abusive families. The abuser, when confronted, says he "did nothing wrong," justifying his actions as "disciplining his child;" trivializing the beating as a "spanking" that "wasn't as bad as it looked." His wife blames her participation on "brain washing" rather than acknowledging that her wish to stay in her husband's good graces trumped motherly instincts to protect her child. See full article

Elke Zuercher-White, Ph.D., ABPPThe Joys and the Blues of the Holidays: 10 Tips
By Elke Zuercher-White, Ph.D., ABPP
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, this time of the year is heavily loaded with big holidays, one after the other. These are joyous times, holy, fun, a time for families, relatives, and friends to come together. Families are expected to bond again, one member to appreciate the other, to relax, to share these important days, to eat, and be merry. However, when the expectation of how "a family should be" takes precedence over how your family actually is, the more likely that it turns into a big disappointment, if not a fiasco. The image of how it "should" is thus not helpful. See full article

Carey Cloyd, MA, MFTHealthy Relationships: Understanding Negative Communication Patterns
By Carey Cloyd, MA, MFT
Are you interested in the common patterns you habitually fall into when in relationship? To what extent do you understand the positive and negative effects of these patterns? Some interaction styles can be quite helpful and supportive – conducive to good communication between you and your partner. Others can be hurtful and painful to both of you -- eroding feelings of goodwill that have developed. Relationship expert Dr. John Gottman has identified 4 specific, negative interaction styles that can eat away at an otherwise healthy relationship. He calls them the Four Horseman of The Apocalypse … See full article

Cheryl Deaner, MS, LMFTThree Suggestions About Starting Therapy
By Cheryl Deaner, MS, LMFT
Therapy can bring positive changes to a person's life that last a lifetime. However, having a certain mindset going into it can make it a richer experience. Here are three suggestions for you if you are thinking of starting therapy. First, you have to want to change what is causing you pain. You might think, "Well, of course I do!," but it is not that simple. By change I mean changing yourself, which is actually the only way you can get anyone else to change. Changing yourself can be challenging and can require persistence. However, there is nothing like the serenity and confidence that can be yours when you realize that your life has been made better purely through your own effort. See full article

Pamela Castelli, LCSWThe Importance of Letting Adolescents Own their Feelings
By Pamela Castelli, LCSW
One of the challenges many of us face is allowing other people to have their own experiences. When the people we care about are sad, angry, or anxious, we often try to get them to feel differently. We may try to make them laugh, tell them everything is going to be okay, or please them in some way. Ultimately, we are trying to stop other people from having their own experiences. Parents, in particular, struggle with this as their child enters adolescence and begins to develop his/her own sense of self. See full article

Florence Rosiello, PhDThe Origin of Eating Disorders: Out of the Mouths of Babes
By Florence Rosiello, PhD
Have you ever watched a video of the early relationship between mother and infant? In my profession, there is a lot of research on how mothers and their newborn infants begin what we call the 'first bond.' Some of the behaviors on video are quite beautiful to watch, in that you can see the emotional pairing between the mother and infant as they lock into each other's eyes and attune to each other's reactions. Often, the child smiles in response to the mother's adoration, or becomes agitated when the mother pulls away because of distractions. We study these interactions because it helps us better understand intimacy and emotional development of the child. See full article

Hunter Teets, MA, NCCLove and the Meaning of Life
By Hunter Teets, MA, NCC
Once psychology was averse to love as a field of study, but that began to change with the research on attachment done by John Bowlby. Continuing research shows over and over that people are social animals and that love is central to our healthy development and functioning. In the research there are three terms that operationally define love, which have put a difficult to define concept like love into language that is amenable to measurements. These terms are: attachment, unconditional positive regard and feeling felt. These concepts are interwoven, each supporting the other. Each of these terms help give a sense of what love is, a sort of passing glance at the reality of love which is too large a concept to explain, but can be understood through experience. See full article

Louise Fleischman, LCSW-CAdoption & Attachment: The Critical Intersection
By Louise Fleischman, LCSW-C
All parents desire that magical relationship with their children. However, since adoptive parents don't share the gene pool, ethnicity, nor were present during infancy, their relationship is based exclusively on psychological ties. For the most part, adopted children do form healthy attachments over time, and parents are relieved that they are not faced with the dreaded reactive attachment disorder (RAD). However, there may be some lingering behaviors, such as excessive "clingy-ness," mood changes, aggressive tendencies, and control issues, subtle signs that are not present in biological families. And parents ask themselves: Is my child normal? Just headstrong and feisty? Left-over fear of abandonment? Adoption-related concerns? See full article

Jim Weinstein, M.B.A., M.F.T.How to Handle Someone Who Pushes Your Buttons
By Jim Weinstein, M.B.A., M.F.T.
When we find ourselves getting disproportionately upset or overly sensitive about someone's quirks of behavior, it is safe to assume that one of our "buttons" is being pushed. A "button" is an emotionally volatile and reactive place within us, a place from which we almost always overreact. What most of us don't recognize is the growth that can be achieved by exploring what about people or events push our "buttons." There are five principal ways I deal with the negative feelings that come up when a "button" of mine is being pushed … See full article

Gwen Gruber, LCSWAn Integrative Approach to Couples Therapy
By Gwen Gruber, LCSW
Relationships are continual growing processes that need to be nurtured. A difficulty in relationships can be the result of not letting go of past issues. Many people tend to take things for granted; for instance, they believe that their marriage is invincible. We live in a society in which sustaining a long term marriage is becoming less and less common. In Arizona, the divorce rate is higher than the national average. One of the reasons, I believe, is that some people tend to move to Arizona as a last resort, assuming that the relocation itself will strengthen the marriage. However, this "geographical cure" rarely if ever works. If it does work, there is usually some therapeutic intervention, leading to an authentic willingness between both partners to work and move beyond where they are and to develop and utilize new communication skills. See full article

Christopher Michael, Ph.D.Psychological Testing: What it is, how it works
By Christopher Michael, Ph.D.
Psychological testing is used to describe or predict characteristics of the person taking the tests, or the person to which the tests refer (some tests are given to people who know the person of interest, but most are taken by the person of interest). To stay within the area of clinical psychology, there are several kinds of tests often used. According to my classification scheme developed for educating the public, there are personality, cognitive, behavioral, diagnostic, and achievement tests. Sub-specialty tests, like forensic psychology or neuropsychology tests would actually fall under one or more of these broad categories but with a more specialized focus. Also, some of these tests incorporate elements of more than one classification. See full article

Dakota Baker MA, LPCC, LADCWhat You Should Know About Addiction
By Dakota Baker MA, LPCC, LADC
In 2008, an estimated 20.1 million Americans aged 12 or older used illicit drugs within a month prior to a survey done by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA). This estimate represents 8.0 percent of the population aged 12 years old or older. During that same time an estimated 22.2 million persons (8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older) were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). Of these, 3.1 million were classified with dependence on or abuse of both alcohol and illicit drugs, 3.9 million were dependent on or abused illicit drugs but not alcohol, and 15.2 million were dependent on or abused alcohol but not illicit drugs. See full article

Murray S. Kaufman, MA, LMFT, NBCDCHSevere and Persistent Mental Illness
By Murray S. Kaufman, MA, LMFT, NBCDCH
When an individual within a family is diagnosed with a serious mental illness (e.g., Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder), the foundation within the family is often shaken to its core. The news is devastating, and the diagnosed family member, due to the illness, is not able to function in the same way as before. This individual will more than likely require daily medication, and a great deal of support. The illness usually strikes in the early to mid-twenties, at one's prime of life, which makes the situation that much more difficult. Children may also be diagnosed with these disorders as well, and their prognosis usually is not as good. Families are often at a loss regarding how to cope with the situation and what is best for the diagnosed individual. Many families bring their son or daughter back home to live. Many families end up having to keep their loved one at home in order to care for them. See full article

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