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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Dr. Dahlia MannStress No More: A Parent's Guide on How to Have Anxiety Free Children
By Dr. Dahlia Mann

When Max started kindergarten, he began to have trouble falling asleep at night. He often complained that his stomach hurt during the day. His parents attributed his behavior to irritability. But in fact, Max was showing the classic symptoms of stress. A five year old exhibiting stress? The idea runs counter to the popular conception of kindergarten as a time of fun and games. But in fact, children today do experience stress at a very early age. Why so much stress? Think about it from a child's perspective. Children today are carefully taught not to talk to strangers and about "good touching" and "bad touching." A child's activities are often organized on an hourly calendar because "it's not safe" to simply send children out to play. Parents are even uncomfortable letting children walk around the block unsupervised. See full article


Dawn Kravitz, L.M.F.T.Communication: The Root of Relationships
By Dawn Kravitz, L.M.F.T.

It is said that a relationship is the hardest job you will ever have. Predominantly, our “jobs” are pretty methodical and repetitious. Relationships are not. Rules are established in a relationship and come from our style of communicating with each other. “Communication” is the exchange of information or, in different terms, the articulation of sending a message. Today we have the ability to send the “message” in various ways: speech, texting on cell phones, and/or by email. How we send the message we are trying to convey will assist in how that conversation will end, whether with a reasonable solution or with anger or defensiveness. Behaviors that result in negative communication, often ending a conversation abruptly without a healthy solution, include: defensiveness, blaming; criticizing; personalizing issues; acting entitled; refusing to talk; being demanding. See full article


Vicki M. Leopold, LCSWIs My Child Okay? Understanding Teen Depression
By Vicki M. Leopold, LCSW

Adolescence is a time of great changes and living for the moment. Yesterday is history and tomorrow never comes. Dramatic physical, emotional, intellectual and social changes all occur within a short period of time. Change, even if expected, even if good, causes stress. Many teens cope with stress with little difficulty while others may develop depression. It can be difficult to discern normal teenage angst from a depressive disorder. It becomes even more difficult to identify child/teen depression because the symptoms such as sadness, lethargy and feelings of hopelessness communicated by adults may not dominate the mood or expression of children. See full article


Dr. Lynn MargoliesIn the Doghouse...again: Male and Misunderstood
By Dr. Lynn Margolies

Why do men so often find themselves in the doghouse with women? They try to please. They try to say the “right” thing. They do favors, buy gifts, work hard, and aim to live up to their responsibilities as a man. The story is familiar. Adam has been married for 10 years. He goes out of his way to be agreeable. So when his wife wants her family to visit the week before his bar exam, he tells her it is okay. He wants to make her happy and keep the peace. Though secretly hurt and irritated that she didn’t consider him, he can live with it. When his in-laws arrive, he is late coming home from work, cordial and dutiful, though aloof. He finds himself inexplicably getting into political debates with his in-laws. His wife gets angry at him, accusing him of being unfriendly, distant, and argumentative. See full article


Gwen Gruber, LCSWHarm Reduction Giving New Hope
By Gwen Gruber, LCSW

As a clinician, I have been tremendously inspired by Patt Denning, PhD, and her groundbreaking book: Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: An Alternative approach to Addictions, (2nd ed., 2004. Guilford Press). Prior to learning about “Harm Reduction Psychotherapy,” I felt frustrated with the rigid and “black and white” way that addiction has traditionally been viewed by our society. From my observations, there seemed to be something punitive in the manner that addictions were perceived and treated. Consequently, I saw a large number of people falling through the cracks of our mental health and substance abuse systems. This was especially true of people that were dual diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder as well as an alcohol or substance abuse problem. See full article


Sherry Gaba, LCSWMiddle Aged Baby Boomers and Addiction
By Sherry Gaba, LCSW

A woman enters my office disheveled, thin, mid forties, with hollow eyes. It is as if the sparkle in her eyes ceased to exist a very long time ago. She tells me she has been drinking and is using methamphetamines. I am not surprised to hear this because lately my practice has been filled with middle aged baby boomers seeking help for their serious addictions. Whether it is alcohol, cocaine, crack, methamphetamines, pain killers, heroine, or smoking marijuana, many have crossed the line into addiction. Their lives have become unmanageable and they have lost their ability to control their use. Some believe they can just cut down, but as addiction specialists, we know it is impossible once you have crossed that invisible line into dependency. One of their defense mechanisms is “denial” so they can still continue their love affair with drugs or alcohol. See full article


Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Psychotherapist and Life CoachCelebrity Worship: Adolescents New Addiction
By Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Psychotherapist and Life Coach

A frantic mother of a 15 year old daughter of a local suburban neighborhood tells her therapist that her daughter has quit the cheerleading squad, no longer dreams of college and becoming a lawyer, and her childhood friends have been replaced with friends she has never met. Her daughter has been isolating, reading all the latest celebrity gossip magazines, and becoming more rebellious at home. Clearly her daughter is pulling away which can be one of the hallmarks of addiction, depression, or an adolescent trying to form an identity. When you think of addiction, you think of drugs, alcohol, or even an eating disorder. What about the newest addiction teenagers are being struck with called “Celebrity Addiction.” One third of Americans are being struck with this phenomenon which is linked to depression, anxiety, body-image problems, and addiction. See full article


Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSWWomen and Self Esteem
By Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSW

What do you like about yourself? Are you proud of yourself? If these questions make you feel uncomfortable, or you cannot answer them, chances are that you have a problem with self esteem. Why is that? Why do so many of us basically dislike ourselves? Why are we embarrassed to "esteem" ourselves? Before answering this question, we must first define self-esteem. Self esteem comes from the inside out. It means that a woman is not dependent upon anyone else to make her feel good about herself, because she already knows she's fine just the way she is. She is confident and aware of her strengths and abilities. She wants to share them with others. See full article


Dr. Resa Fremed, LMFTIs Your Spouse Your Best Friend? How to Keep the Fun in Your Marriage
By Dr. Resa Fremed, LMFT

When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse? According to new research from the University of Denver the more couples invest in having fun, friendship, and being there for your partner, the happier and stronger the relationship will be over time. According to relationship expert Dr. Resa Fremed, couples that play together, stay together. "In the years that I've worked with couples, I see over and over how they neglect planning time together and sharing the activities they once enjoyed. It comes as no surprise that they become glum about the state of their marriage and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. But it’s vital for the marriage and the entire family that they set aside time during the week to enjoy each other by enjoying an activity together.” See full article


Amy Levine Clayton, PsyD, LCSWTaking Care of Mom: A Step Toward Warding Off Perinatal Mood Disorders
By Amy Levine Clayton, PsyD, LCSW

Can Going to the Hair Salon Help You Get Back to Your Roots? Why is it we seek out the experience of going to a hair salon? Is it the thrill of taking a moment in this fast paced world to pay attention to ourselves before we merge back onto the expressway of "need to's" and "should haves"? As soon as you step out of that nail salon, that beauty parlor, or day spa, you are slapped with that list of never-ending responsibilities, and if you are a new mother trying to cope with parenthood, that list can be your ticket to a host of perinatal mood disorders. See full article


Cheryl Deaner, Marriage and Family TherapistLiving Well While Being Single
By Cheryl Deaner, Marriage and Family Therapist

Becoming single, either by design or by circumstance, can be an extraordinary turning point in your life. Having the time and space for a more self-reflective relationship with yourself instead of having to be constantly mindful of a partner can make you a more independent, flexible and interesting person. Especially if it has been a long time since you have been single, your new state of being can truly be a gift. Being single changes the tenor of your relationships with others. It gives you the time to be more sensitive and aware of the impact of your interactions with others. It can positively affect the quality of both your work and your play. And if you decide to partner again, it can help you to do so with an enhanced self-knowledge of who you are and what works for you in a relationship – which is basic to being able to give and receive love and respect. However, becoming single can also be a bit of an adjustment. See full article


Keith Miller, LICSWTen Things You Can Do Now to Improve Your Relationship
By Keith Miller, LICSW

If you want to improve your relationship, you don't have to wait. Take a look at the following suggestions I have that can make major shifts in your relationship. Before you try to put these ideas to work, make sure to be patient with yourself in the process. Change is possible in any relationship, but it requires dedication and persistence. If you have trouble implementing these principles on your own, consider investing in marriage therapy. Marriage and relationship improvement isn't always linear or clearly observed. Since the unconscious agenda of committed relationships is to help us finish growing up, don't expect it all to happen overnight. It is a life-long journey. This being said, you can make a conscious choice to start on this path, and I hope some of these ideas may lead the way. See full article


Dr. Lynn MargoliesWho Said It’s Not Your Affair? - Part 1
By Dr. Lynn Margolies

Every time a politician makes headlines for having an affair, people take the moral high ground. Though affairs of ordinary people do not make front page news, the truth is that any marriage can be vulnerable to an affair, even in upstanding communities. In fact, infidelity happens in 30-45% of marriages. What does causes good people to stray? There are different types of affairs. They may be motivated by the need for: excitement, sex, escape, feeling desirable, emotional connection, or a vehicle to leave a legitimately flawed marriage. See full article


Dr. Lynn MargoliesHow Can You Mend a Broken Marriage? - Part 2
By Dr. Lynn Margolies

When you hear that another politician cheated on his wife, your first thought may be “It doesn’t surprise me.” Followed by, “How can she stay with him?” But no marriage (or gender) is immune, and up to 45% of marriages know this. In fact - most marriages not only survive, but even thrive beyond affairs. Crisis forces us to mobilize - or face even greater pain, and thereby offers newfound opportunity for growth. When marriages approach destruction, the painstaking work of self-evaluation and behavior change seems worth it. Nevertheless, even after wounds are healed, trust violations leave behind a crack in the foundation of the relationship with the potential to reopen. See full article


Debbie Bauer, LMFTDiffusing the Tension with Tots & Teens
By Debbie Bauer, LMFT

There are several key survival tips that work well in raising both toddlers and teens. Developmentally, these stages can be quite similar in that both age groups are striving for independence yet wanting to hold on to the security currently in place. If parents do a good job through the toddler years – navigating the teen years may well result in a smoother than ordinarily expected transition. Having set the groundwork for a mutually respectful relationship significantly reduces the likelihood of oppositional power struggles in the future. Some suggestions follow... See full article


Garth Mintun, LCSWCouples, Relationships and "Fix"
By Garth Mintun, LCSW

Work solutions aren’t necessarily transferable to “fix” relationship problems. What you do on the job does not necessarily mean it will work at home. For example, if an engineer, attorney, clerk or technical person tries to fix the relationship with his/her intimate significant other, the results may not be what he/she wants. At our employment we are trained to fix problems and are paid to be “problem solvers.” The problem solving method usually works like this: Isolate the problem and find what is “not working”; Rationally figure out what the problem is and try to fix it; Minimize the bad effects of the problem; Plan a pro-active solution to the problem. See full article


Dr. Laurel A. Sills, Licensed PsychologistDivorcing: Battle of Roses or Gavels?
By Dr. Laurel A. Sills, Licensed Psychologist

Making the decision to leave a marital relationship is very difficult for most people. Aside from letting go of the promise to stay together “through better or worse, sickness and health,” one has to face losing the family unit as it has been, losing marital assets and learning to be alone. In the best of circumstances, the husband and wife both will override their emotional hurt with sound intellectual reasoning. Each partner recognizes that being with someone either whom does not love you as a spouse or whom you do not love fully is not healthy emotionally for either partner or for your children. No matter how much pain divorce causes, the truth is that if the marriage cannot be brought back to a respectful, loving, faithful commitment, it may be best to dissolve the marriage. See full article


Janice C. Feuerhelm, LPCLiving with Chronic Pain
By Janice C. Feuerhelm, LPC

Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide. Chronic pain is different than acute pain. Chronic pain is pain that continues long after the original cause. Chronic pain also has a psychological component that affects every area of one's life. The challenge of living with chronic pain can create depression, difficulty with family/friend relationships, loss of job, financial losses and a loss of self-worth. During my counseling experiences with individuals living with chronic pain, I have discovered that there are key healthy attitudes that help someone learn how to cope and live with chronic pain. I teach persons' with chronic pain how to adopt these attitudes and have had the pleasure of witnessing many reclaim their life again, in spite of chronic pain. See full article


Peter Suski, Ph.D., MAC, CASACReflections on Anger
By Peter Suski, Ph.D., MAC, CASAC

Any person at any moment on any given day can be found at different stages of their struggle with anger. More than any other emotion, anger is at the root of a person’s anxiety, stress, dysfunction, and general misery. Because of the invasive quality of this emotion and its impact on treatment issues, counselors must seek a clear understanding of the precipitating expectations that lead to anger, an expression of these feelings, and an acceptance that anger is a “normal” emotion. Anger is a basic human emotion. It is frequently first manifest at birth. From the safe, warm environment of mother’s womb to a brightly lit and chillier room, surrounded by strange faces wearing masks, the first response to breathing air is typically a loud wail. This display of emotion is traceable to the most immediate needs for survival being denied (Gelinas, 1988). See full article


Patty Muller, LPC"Shoulding" All Over Ourselves!
By Patty Muller, LPC

Whenever I’m working with someone on self-care, self-love and self-approval issues, a part of me is always waiting for the first "should" statement to come out–and I usually don’t have to wait very long. Most of us are riddled with "shoulds", "oughts" and a multitude of other ways to express to ourselves what actions we need to take in order for us to be good people, parents, spouses, employees, etc. And therein lies the unpleasant truth hiding in the heart of every "should" statement we make to ourselves: the unspoken beginning of every sentence that contains the word should within it is, "in order to be a GOOD person, I should...." just fill in the blank with the directive of the moment. Which means that every time we use a should on ourselves, we’re reinforcing the harmful idea that we are NOT good enough, just as we are. See full article


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