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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Keith York, MFTThe Easy (And Cheap) Way To Save Your Marriage
By Keith York, MFT
One of the biggest killers of a great relationship is something called "Emotional Distance." I know, it sounds like a very pop psychology phrase, so let me break it down for you: You know those couples who seem to work so well together? Those couples who never fight? Maybe you're secretly jealous of them. Maybe their relationship is strong. But don't jump to the Jealousy Card too soon, because there's a chance they're suffering from Emotional Distance - no fighting, no loving, no happiness. No kidding. Emotional Distancing is the phenomenon when a couple is so quick to squelch an argument, bring up a touchy subject, or ask for something they want, they end up neglecting constructive communication entirely. The result is a truly unsatisfying relationship. See full article

Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFTAdult Depression and Childhood Abuse
By Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT
Over the years I've discovered that a significant proportion of adult clients who present with depression have a history of childhood abuse. The abuse may have been sexual, physical and/or emotional. At first I attributed this to the fact that I specialize in abuse and many clients who come to me saying they are depressed are using that as a presenting issue because they aren't ready to discuss the abuse. But what I now understand is that most adult survivors of childhood abuse do suffer from some form of depression. An article in Psychology Today published in 2003 stated that, "In almost every case of significant adult depression, some form of abuse was experienced in childhood, either physical, sexual, emotional or, often, a combination." See full article

Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFTPower and Sexual Arousal in the Abusive Relationship
By Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT
When we think of children who have been sexually abused, we think of fear, anger and violence. Most sexual abuse survivors talk of the terror and disassociation surrounding the abuse. Many still feel that way as adults and don't enjoy sex now, even in a loving relationship. But there are those who have a more complicated story to tell. These survivors may have hated their abusers but experience an unspeakable shame over the fact that their bodies responded sexually to the abuse. They cannot live with the knowledge that they were sexually stimulated even as they were being raped. Now they are not only healing from the abuse but from the additional belief that they were partially responsible for the abuse - and that they may even have deserved it. See full article

Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFTEmotional Abuse: What it is and why it is so important to recognize
By Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT
Sticks and stones may break my bones but … bullying and name-calling can emotionally scar me forever. Not the original ending to the classic verse, but probably the more accurate one. It seems that broken bones will heal far more quickly than a battered soul. Does this sound overly dramatic? Not according to a study conducted by Florida State University and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. It states that verbal abuse has been shown to produce 1.6 times as many symptoms of depression and anxiety among adults as those who have not been verbally abused. And those adults were twice as likely to have suffered a mood or anxiety disorder over their lifetime. See full article

Susan Wolfson, LCSWThe Anger Trap - Rapid Resolution Therapy to Break Free From Anger
By Susan Wolfson, LCSW
Getting angry may seem like a normal reaction to frustrations in life. When you get stuck at a red light, or when the credit card bill is higher than expected, of course you get angry. Doesn't that make sense? You may know that your angry reactions don't change the situation, but what choice do you have? It's not that you choose to get angry, it just happens. You often think that the events that go on around you cause the anger. But when you realize that two different people can have two completely different responses to the same situation (think of the guy who yells at the waiter for serving him cold soup, while the guy at the table next to him simply asks the waiter to heat it up), we can see that it's something much deeper than the situation which is causing the anger. See full article

Maxine Sushelsky, LMHCLawyers and Depression
By Maxine Sushelsky, LMHC
Do you neglect your own needs in the service of your work? Do your personal relationships take a backseat to obligations of the job? Do friends and family complain that conversations with you feel more like cross examination? Practicing law requires time, effort and dedication. It is easy to lose track of your self and your life. Lawyers, as a profession, are at a high risk for depression, suicide and substance abuse. The behaviors required for success in the law can be contrary to those that contribute to mental health, a sense of well-being, and satisfying interpersonal relationships. In broad terms, legal work often calls for suppressing one’s emotions, involvement in relationships imbued with conflict; pressure to perform coupled with unrealistic self-expectations; and repeated exposure to the crisis and tragedy of others, all behaviors that tend to contribute to depression, isolation, stress and anxiety. See full article

Terry Tempinski, PhDThe ABC's of Psychotherapy
By Terry Tempinski, PhD
Deciding to pursue therapy, finding a therapist, making that first call and keeping that appointment are, from my perspective, huge and courageous steps. Moreover, these initial steps are usually taken partially in the dark, so to speak. You do not know this person, you have no clue as to whether they can help you, and here you are deciding to lay out for them intimate details about your personal life and struggles! People typically have all sorts of questions and concerns in beginning psychotherapy. Here I will attempt to address some of these. See full article

Sandra W. Froese, Ed.D, LPC-SHelp! My Teenager Has Gone Wild!
By Sandra W. Froese, Ed.D, LPC-S
After listening to the litany of complaints by parents these days, one would think that our teenagers are never going to grow up and take responsibility by getting an education and a good job to provide for a future family. Our culture reinforces the ideals of freedom, but rarely do we talk about the need for "freedom with responsibility" or about consequences for our actions or lack of action. So how do we raise today’s youth in a culture that is bombarded with sex, violence, drugs, and financial irresponsibility? I am here to tell you, it isn’t easy! Here are some suggestions to help you get through the difficult times... See full article

Rachel Fleischman, MSW, LCSWSlow Down and Be Here Now
By Rachel Fleischman, MSW, LCSW
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today, today is a gift. That's why we call it the Present. ~Babatunde Olatunji. Studies have shown that Americans are more miserable now than ever. With the challenges that we face economically, it can feel as though we are just hanging on by a thread. This is not so. We all underestimate our need to slow down. If we are not careful, we live as if our schedules are our lives. At the end of the day, we haven’t necessarily been present to our own experience. Mary Pipher, psychologist says: "I have never seen people as rushed and distracted as we are now. We have become a nation of multitaskers." I am incredibly fortunate to work with my counseling clients. Seeing such a rich and intimate side of people has helped me identify what elements are essential to slowing down and being here now. See full article

Susanne M Dillmann, Psy.D.Common Reactions to Psychological Trauma: Understanding Avoidance and Other Reactions
By Susanne M Dillmann, Psy.D.
Reactions to trauma follow a cyclical and often perpetual pattern, flowing from intrusive and arousal to avoidance reactions. Intrusive and arousal reactions bring the traumatic experience into one’s awareness. But being exposed to elements of the trauma is frightening, overwhelming, terrifying and at times socially embarrassing. Therefore, one often tries to bury anything connected with the trauma. These attempts at erasing aspects of the trauma are called avoidance reactions. All avoidance reactions prevent an individual from integrating the traumatic event into her or his life and thereby impede healing. Avoidance reactions can take on many unique forms; however there are several common ways by which people attempt to avoid elements of their traumatic experiences. See full article

Katy Golbar, MFTDon't Panic... It's only Panic
By Katy Golbar, MFT
Have you ever felt as though you are suddenly losing control and the only way to escape this horrible feeling is to run away and get as far away as you possibly can? Your heart is racing, you can't catch your breath, you don't know what you're running from and you don't know where you're running to. It's a horrible feeling that everyone can relate to, and it's called a "panic attack" or "anxiety attack." What is a panic attack? In simple medical terms, it is a period of intense fear or discomfort, typically with an abrupt onset and usually lasting no more than 30 minutes. The classic symptoms of a panic attack include shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pains, chills, and an overwhelming fear that one's life is in dire jeopardy. Many people who suffer through panic attacks frequent the emergency room--only to learn that they are perfectly healthy and have just experienced a panic attack. See full article

Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFTTelling the Truth in Relationships
By Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFT
Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth because: We don't trust our perceptions; We are afraid of hurting the other person; We are afraid we will make them angry or they will reject us; We don't realize that relationships are about relating; We have been taught to take care of others by not being ourselves; We assume that we are 100% responsible for the relationship; We are afraid of being transparent, real and seen; We are afraid of our power. If we don't tell the truth, the other person has no way of knowing who we are, how they are impacting us or what we are thinking or feeling. We assume (perhaps unconsciously) that they do not have the ability to navigate through their own feelings in response to us. By not telling the truth, we rob them of the opportunity to rise to the challenge of relating to who we are, of having a truly authentic relationship with us. See full article

Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFTSafety and Reactivity in Relationships
By Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFT
How many times have we begun a relationship, full of hope, only to have it crash and burn, or one party flee? Many of us have relational injuries from the past. This often manifests as a "fear of intimacy." Beneath this phrase, lurks not feeling safe in relationships. Our fathers may have had tempers, or our mothers may have been intrusive. A past partner may have been abusive, or perhaps their neediness or jealousy was a burden. A multitude of possibilities exist. Whatever the case, we found that relating to another could be costly. We learned to defend ourselves, to shut down, cover up, disappear, attack, or protect ourselves in some other way. We learned to not be too vulnerable, to only let the other in so far, or to run if we got scared. We learned to make ourselves safe by controlling the depth of the relationship in a variety of ways. See full article

Gwen Gruber, LCSWAre Eating Disorders Really Increasing in Middle Age?
By Gwen Gruber, LCSW
We live in a time where there is a tremendous obsession among many people to be thin. The aim of this article is to elaborate upon various aspects of this obsession, especially relating to my experience as a therapist. Carolyn Costin, MFT who is a well known author and practitioner poignantly illustrates in her book The Eating Disorder Source Book (2007) that eating disorders can strike at almost any age. Costin talks about how mothers used to call for treatment for their daughters; now she gets calls from daughters seeking treatment for their mothers. She talks about how Eating Disorders in midlife are becoming a growing area of concern. According to Costin, in the last few years cases of woman over 30 seeking treatment for an eating disorder has increased "400 percent." In my opinion an increase of "400 percent" is remarkable. See full article

Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFTHelping Couples to Get Out of Negative Cycles
By Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFT
I am often asked how I work with couples. This is probably as varied as the couples that I see, who are queer, alternative and traditional. However, if I had to pick a common area of focus, I would say it is to help couples free themselves from the claws of the negative cycles that they get caught in. In the first session, I usually ask the couple how they have tried to solve their problems. A typical response at this point is for each person to give me a long laundry list of what they think is wrong with their partner and what the partner needs to change. I call this the "The Blame/Shame Game.” It's a BIG trap and it keeps things very stuck! The 3 Steps to Get Out of the Blame/Shame Game: Step 1: Identifying the negative cycle... See full article

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan, M.Ed., LPCHow to Untwist Your Thinking
By Jennifer Slingerland Ryan, M.Ed., LPC
As far as I'm concerned, cognitive therapy is the "shiznit" of all therapies. For the "therapist-seeking" individual, this may not mean much. But perhaps it should – and I don't use that term lightly (should). This is a term we in the Cognitive Therapy world term as "shoulding all over yourself." Cognitive therapy says this: What you feel and do is directly affected by what you think and believe. When you change what you think and believe, you ultimately change what you feel and do. And, isn't that the reason ALL people seek out therapy or life coaching of some sort? 100% of my clients seek outside assistance because they've grown incredibly tired of feeling something they don't want to feel (like anxious, fearful, angry, or depressed) and doing things they don't want to do (like drinking too much, yelling at their kids, or sleeping the day away). See full article

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan, M.Ed., LPC"It's Not My Fault!": Taking Personal Responsibility in Difficult Situations
By Jennifer Slingerland Ryan, M.Ed., LPC
Stop pointing fingers. In difficult situations, being able to examine ourselves in a full-length mirror is crucial. We want to be able to ask, "What part did I play in this situation? What were my errors? Where are my flaws?" Taking responsibility of our own thoughts, emotions and actions is empowering! It means we are able to step back from a situation and view it from a different perspective. We're able to look beyond ourselves and see an alternative way of thinking - an alternative belief. Personal responsibility is a choice. Blame is crippling. It creates anger, resentment, frustration, self-loathing, depression, and bitterness. Yet, we all have a tendency sometimes (or more than sometimes), to blame other people, ourselves or situations for how we feel, what we think, and what we do. See full article

Gerald M. Stein, Ph.D.What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session
By Gerald M. Stein, Ph.D.
Going to therapy for the first time takes some courage. You are about to talk about some very personal things to someone who is a complete stranger. What can you expect? 1. First of all, expect to be at least a little bit nervous at the beginning. But even before you get inside the therapist’s office, you will have to fill out some paper work. You will also receive a written description of the therapist’s practice, including such details as whether the therapist accepts your medical insurance and how he handles that. Additionally, he will give you information about how your medical records are safe guarded and the extent to which those records are confidential. 2. The therapist should greet you, bring you into his consulting room, and sit face to face with you. Therapists generally want to convey "openness.” It is therefore rare for a therapist to sit behind a desk, with you on the other side. See full article

Kelly Romirowsky, PsyDTalk Therapy for Happier People
By Kelly Romirowsky, PsyD
Psychologists have made great strides in the assessment and treatment of all types of psychological disorders that cause distress and impair normal functioning. But what about those of you who are still functioning – you're going to work, doing the laundry, taking the kids to soccer practice – but you're just not as happy as you would like to be, or you're not on top of your game at work. You might not qualify for a diagnosis of a psychological disorder and probably wouldn’t even think you should talk to a professional. After all, you're not in crisis – you’re dealing with LIFE. Although the field of psychology will always be researching and discovering ways to treat the usual distressing stuff that brings someone into a therapist’s office, some psychologists are really switching their focus. See full article

Kelly Romirowsky, PsyDThe Sunday Night Ritual: Paying Attention
By Kelly Romirowsky, PsyD
What is Sunday night like in your house? Do you spend it trying to pretend tomorrow isn’t Monday? Do you make an endless to do list for the coming week? Do you get a stomachache just thinking about tomorrow? Do you pace your house because you can’t fall asleep? Or do you stay up until you’re bleary-eyed watching TV or surfing the web to keep your mind occupied? How ever you spend your Sunday night, for many of us, our Sunday night ritual could use a little makeover. Many people are spending lots of time and energy worrying about the economy, their bank accounts and how they will pay their next bill. Some are even feeling helpless and depressed as they go to a job they hate but can’t leave. See full article

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