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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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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

Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFTCan Food Really Be About Pleasure? Try Something Different This Holiday: Mindful Eating
By Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFT
Mindful eating is about paying attention to what you eat. Actually focusing on the flavors, textures and subtleties of what you are putting in your body. It is not about eating while you are thinking of your bills, the kids, how many calories, watching TV etc. For most of us this is a tall order. There are so many distractions and people, places, things pulling on us, who has time to really pay attention to what they are eating? What is even the point? The point is pleasure. When we are really present with what we choose to put in our body we experience the subtleties of what we taste. We experience the food more intensely. We allow it to nurture us more deeply. See full article

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPCNurturing a Partnership
By Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC
Finding balance between maintaining one’s individuality and independence and yet fostering connected, loving relationships can be a difficult task for many of us. We are raised in a society that encourages independence, yet too much independence in a relationship can lead to trouble. In an age of internet access, corporate travel, and two career households, it is important for couples to take the time to put equal energy into nurturing their partnership. Taking the time to connect with each other and truly listen to what is going on in your partner’s life is vital to keeping the marriage alive and healthy. See full article

Elena Makarova, MA, MFTSeven Tips for Coping with Difficult Feelings
By Elena Makarova, MA, MFT
I have found that many of my patients benefit from using the following seven tips to cope with difficult emotions and situations. When you are feeling overwhelmed or just wish to keep at bay the accumulation of emotional stress, you too may find these tips helpful. However, many of these tips take time to learn to use effectively and their effectiveness will be somewhat dependent on the degree of your self-knowledge and psychological well-being. 1. PROCESS - Set up some time to reflect on what happened, process your situation, and determine how it is impacting you currently. With time, you will be able to step back and gain some perspective. You will also regain your composure and level-headedness that will allow you to focus on what can be learned from the situation so that the next time it occurs, you will be able to apply this knowledge and save yourself additional heartache. See full article

Dr. Jeanette RaymondSelf-blame and Self-silencing are Linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome
By Dr. Jeanette Raymond
Penny woke up often through the night with abdominal pain and cramping. During the day she often felt bloated and uncomfortable. It messed with her appetite and eating routines. The constant tenderness in her gut made her afraid of going outside her home and work place. She worried about being near rest rooms. She was embarrassed about leaving events frequently to visit the rest room with no apparent relief. She never told anyone and pretended all was well. See full article

Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.Is Anger Keeping Your Past on Life Support?
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
In a split second Max fell off a ladder, shattered a lumbar disc, ruined his prospects for marriage, and derailed his career. He was livid. His angry energy was absorbed by interminable doctor's visits, surgeries, and fights with his insurance company. A law suit conveyed his fury at the negligence of his employer in complying with workplace safety codes. Max was bathed in support and sympathy from his family, fiancée and friends. They rallied around and helped him get through the first year of struggle for recovery. Together with his pain medications and physical therapy, the network of people caring for him acted as buffers against his volcanic fury. Cocooned in this chrysalis his outrage and resentment swelled into a festering reservoir of hate, waiting to explode. See full article

Florence Rosiello, PhDSymptoms of Alcohol Dependence
By Florence Rosiello, PhD
There are people in our community who drive their car when they’re in an alcohol-induced black out. For those individuals who drink excessively and there are many, many people in Arizona who do drink to extreme, it’s not unusual to spend a few evenings a week, drinking for hours until the bar closes, and then drive home. There is a societal peer pressure in our area to get as drunk as you can; it’s almost a romantic quality to macho drinking in the old west where you can belly up to the bar and drink a series of shots. However, in the old west you just got on your horse and it drove you home, maybe you fell off the horse if you blacked out, but that is a lot less dangerous than being affected by and driving in an intoxicated state. There are different types of alcoholic symptoms, some that don’t look like symptoms but just look like being social. See full article

Michael E. Jones, LMFT, BCPCOCD: It's a Family Affair
By Michael E. Jones, LMFT, BCPC
Fifteen-year-old Jeremy sat across from me, postured rigidly upright in his chair as he attempted to discreetly pick at the scabs on his hands. The sores were the byproduct of over 30 daily hand washes. He watched me with a vacant gaze as his mother appealed to me for help, her voice faltering every few sentences. I had just finished reviewing the results of my initial assessment of Jeremy — including the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale—with mother and son. My conclusion: Jeremy had severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder requiring intensive outpatient therapy. A psychiatrist had reached a similar conclusion about this young man just a month prior, but his mother, fearful that "the doctor just wanted to make him a zombie with drugs," came to hear my opinion. Now that they heard it, his mother wanted to know only one thing … See full article

Cheryl Deaner, MS, LMFTCodependency "Who Am I Without Others?"
By Cheryl Deaner, MS, LMFT
When you find yourself obsessed with someone, walking on eggshells to keep someone you care about from leaving, or trying to figure out how to keep someone safe from themselves, you may be experiencing signs of codependency. Codependency is an uneasy kind of love where one's own true feelings and needs become secondary to someone else's. It often results in unhappiness, frustration and exhaustion instead of closeness and understanding. What is the difference between codependency and just caring a lot about someone? I define codependency as the habit of avoiding oneself by focusing on another person. When one is having a codependent relationship, healthy love, respect and trust are compromised. If a codependent pattern has gone too far, establishing an important relationship on better footing may seem almost impossible. See full article

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