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» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Sherry Katz, LCSWRelationships in the Alzheimer's Dimension
By Sherry Katz, LCSW

No disease brings much good news with it; the combination of medical management, life style changes, possible economic and daily functioning routines that are affected by prioritizing optimal health for as long as possible, are time consuming and life altering foci. Unique to Alzheimer’s disease is that in addition to the above description, it presents the challenge that basic communication, judgment, decision making, memory, planning and expressiveness each will gradually diminish. These losses very soon become problematic for anyone wanting a sensible conversation with the patient, and most especially so for those who have regular contact, emotional involvement, and responsibilities toward this patient. If the patient’s abilities to interact have changed, then it follows that those who elect to communicate or maintain their relationship with the patient, must also change their habits of relating to the person. See full article


Sue Waldman, MA, LPC, CECRemember, "Anything Is Possible!"
By Sue Waldman, MA, LPC, CEC

At some point in our lives, we all suffer loss; some more than others. Yet few of us are prepared for the anguish, sadness, aloneness, and overwhelming devastation that follows. Loss of any kind can be a life-transforming experience in every person’s life that changes us, reclaiming who and what we are. Loss can take place in many forms: death, divorce, loss of positive childhood experiences, an office or home, a career, a sense of safety, and loss of one’s experience of being happy. Any loss may awaken the divine self within. However difficult it seems, the journey through grief is neither endless nor impossible. It can be an opportunity for self-discovery. As the grief process unfolds, there lies a loving, unexpected peace. See full article


Michael E. Jones, LMFTLiving in Spite of OCD
By Michael E. Jones, LMFT

Perhaps you suspect you are one of the 3 million American adults affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Or maybe you or a loved one was just diagnosed with this condition. What next? As a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of OCD and related disorders, I have compiled the following suggestions to help you make wise treatment choices. (1) If you have not been formally diagnosed with OCD, do not assume you have it because your friends told you so, or because you double-check your door locks, or because you sometimes have “inappropriate” thoughts. The fact is that OCD causes significant distress for those afflicted by it. Some people double-check their door locks every time they leave the house; someone with OCD may have to check it forty times every morning. While almost every one of us have some strange thoughts cross our minds, an individual with OCD can cling to just one for days, worrying why they had the thought. See full article


Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.Summer Vacation - Time Off May Reveal Executive Exhaustion
By Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.

Beginning with Memorial Day weekend, The Fourth of July, until Labor Day, Summer will provide officially sanctioned “down time” for those who are secretly suffering from burnout. Subconsciously they may dread every day but their behavior continues to look as though they are performing as usual. Why are they putting on such a show? – Because they feel completely trapped and haven’t a clue as to how to get out of their slump. A common secret in many companies and firms is that a few executives and partners have worked themselves into exhaustion. They must continue to create new billing opportunities, expand the business, and manage aggressive clients. The results of this malady are not really well-hidden but covered up by staff and colleagues. No one questions their work. After all, these people are partners, presidents, and vice presidents; they comprise the core of the company. See full article


Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.Fatigue and Impending Client Crisis
By Dr. Sara Denning, Ph.D.

Fatigue and Impending Client Crisis – Some top performers never take a break they just fall apart. Theresa G. could get clients to agree to almost anything once she got to know their needs. Her tenacity, which was known throughout the industry, was behind each promotion throughout her career. On this particular Monday she was making her battery of calls and sending e-mails. Theresa had worked for six months to get every detail right. She had everything she needed. There was just one problem: she no longer cared. Over the past six months the joy of the pursuit had slowly but surely disappeared. Each night her head rang with incoherent dreams keeping her from getting the sleep she so desperately needed. Her meals were tasteless. The support staff in the office had teased her about weight loss until it was no longer a joke. Her secretary looked at her with concern each time she appeared. See full article


Sherry Katz, LCSWWhat is Family Systems Therapy?
By Sherry Katz, LCSW

Family Systems Therapy is talk therapy for individuals, couples and families that uses a theoretical model focused on the interactions of two or more people. The therapist listens to both behavioral and emotional habits and ways the patient typically relies on, yet feels frustrated or unhappy with the results. A therapist trained in the family systems model will often thoughtfully question the patient's relationship goals; this way the patient can more clearly start to see whether their actions are bringing them closer to the emotional satisfaction they want. See full article


Dan Bernard, M.A., L.P.C.Relationship as a Mirror
By Dan Bernard, M.A., L.P.C.

Interacting with our partner, we experience any number of feelings: joy, sadness, contentment, frustration, etc. These feelings say a lot about us, who we are and where we’ve “been” in life. They also say something about our prior relationships. It is in this way that our current relationship can be considered a mirror. Looking into it or not is up to us. Of course, it’s easier to see our partner as the source of our feelings. On this path, we’re likely to believe that they’ll have to change before we’ll feel the way we’d like to. We might even go so far as to consider changing partners as a means of changing or improving our feelings. (I acknowledge that, after ample personal and relational work, this sort of change may remain the only viable option.) See full article


Jeff Jones LPC, CACIII, DAACSWhy You Should Know These Warning Signs of Problem Drinking
By Jeff Jones LPC, CACIII, DAACS

Maybe you’re not sure if drinking is a problem in your family. Alcohol can be in our lives without it being a problem. But can you tell when it goes from “no problem” to “problem”? What’s the Cat in the Hat got to do with warning signs of problem drinking? I remember when the ‘Cat in the Hat’ was at home with the kids when the mom was out. He used the bathtub only to have an unimaginable bathtub ring appear. Do you remember the strategy he used to attempt to remove this bathtub ring? He’d have a “brilliant” idea to remove the bathtub ring, at first the kids were excited with the “brilliant” ideas, but then after each attempt left more of a bathtub ring, the kids got a little more suspicious, concerned, and nervous because their mom may come home and they’d get into trouble. But they went along with it, each time with a little more hesitation. See full article


Jeff Jones LPC, CACIII, DAACSDo You Know the Levels of Risk With Problem Drinking?
By Jeff Jones LPC, CACIII, DAACS

Is it hard for you to tell when risky behavior becomes a problem? They say that if you place a frog in a pot of water and begin to heat the pot, the frog will boil to death without even realizing it. Conversely, if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, the frog will make a quick exit. Now that I have sufficiently terrified my animal rights friends, let me place a much deeper context to the above metaphor. When does drinking become a problem? Messages of “enjoyable” drinking are all around us - the media: television, radio, and newspapers. It’s common for most social engagements to have alcohol available. It’s almost too common that many activities include alcohol. Too easily we become like the frog in the pot of water slowly coming to a boil. Before we know it, we’re at problem levels. How do we get a reality check on the water temperature before drinking is a problem? See full article


Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.Get Out of Your Own Way - Tips on Becoming a Success
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Ever wonder why the all pervasive hot tips on becoming rich, successful and desirable never work for you? It may be because you don’t have the relationship with yourself that sets the stage for success. The most valuable tool you possess is the connection you have with your rational adult self, and that with your wishful, magical child self. When they work together the sky is the limit. When they each pretend the other doesn’t exist, you end up stuck and marking time. The example of Tracy below indicates how poor communication between the two selves limits her path to achieving her dreams. See full article


Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.When Giving Feels Depleting and Receiving Feels Like Obligation
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Your boss tells you that you did a good job on a project, but it doesn’t please you. It makes you feel that he or she will expect more of you, and you will have to do even better to match those expectations. The praise and recognition was translated into more demands, extra effort and anxiety that you may fail to reach the new goals. Your partner offers to pay for a joint vacation. You feel irritated and react in a hostile manner. What you take in is that there are strings attached and hate being placed in a position of obligation. See full article


Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.How Many Heads Does Your Depression Have? Building Yourself to Your Personal Specifications
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

A few months ago Gillian felt lifeless, dead inside and uninterested in anything. Everything was an effort. She just wanted to sleep. She suffered bouts of constipation. She didn’t want to meet anyone, prepare food for herself or take care of her dog. She couldn‘t go to work. Her words came out slow and with long pauses in between. The words were flat, without expression -just like she felt. She couldn’t even cry. Nothing touched her and she moved like a robot from her bed to the shower to a chair and back to bed again. She didn’t care about anything or anyone. This was not the Gillian she knew or wanted to be. She had always been driven to work hard, please those around her and then earn her rest. She had been very sociable and knew how to have a good time. See full article


Barbara Monett, LCSWHelp! He Says What I Want To Hear, But I'm Not Buying It!
By Barbara Monett, LCSW

Help! He says what I want to hear but I'm not buying it! This is often the first words I hear when someone comes into my office. Let me tell you right off the bat – most likely, you are not as crazy as you feel! Many problems that people experience come in the form of an itch that can't be scratched. The situation isn't working, you're feeling disconnected, you aren't trusting yourself, you aren't getting any validation that really means anything to you. You're living in a world that doesn't seem real. These are all symptoms of the experience of a person who is often interacting with someone with narcissistic personality tendencies. See full article


Joan E. Shapiro, LCSW, BCDSchizophrenia / Bipolar Disorder / Personality Disorders - Your Options
By Joan E. Shapiro, LCSW, BCD

After receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or a personality disorder, one can become overwhelmed with the seemingly disastrous news. Fear and anxiety may creep in and take over, but it is important to gain knowledge and learn how best to cope with the news. By learning about these disorders, one can come to terms with the diagnosis and move toward seeking appropriate treatment. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (previously known as Manic-Depressive Illness), and the personality disorders are all treatable conditions. While they each have distinct characteristics, they can also have overlapping symptoms, making proper diagnosis challenging. See full article


Colette Dowling, LMSWWhat is Real Love?
By Colette Dowling, LMSW

Real love is not only hard to find, it’s hard to accept. This may seem counterintuitive, I know, but if you really ponder it long enough to get it, it could change the way you think about love. All of us have been wounded in some way, whether by early love relationships or later ones. Naturally, we create defenses to avoid getting hurt again, and unfortunately this includes defenses against love. Loving responses from others, when we've gone so long without, can cause anxiety and sadness. Love hurts, as the song goes. So unconsciously we are motivated to keep love at bay. See full article


Ronald G. Nathan, Ph.D.Time-Release Stress Relief: Relax FAST at the Speed of Life
By Ronald G. Nathan, Ph.D.

Can your stress wait for you to jog, meditate or talk with a friend? Over 60 percent of visits to doctors in this country are stress-related. It attacks not only our health, but our happiness as well. Stress is the body’s preparation to fight or flee danger. It was important for prehistoric survival, but today we have few physical fights and almost nowhere to flee. Instead we clamp a lid on the stress response, building up frustration, muscle tension and dangerous chemicals. Current remedies for stress are great if we take the time to use them. Exercise burns off the by-products of stress, yoga relaxes our bodies, and talking with a friend calms us down. See full article


Dr. Victor "Van" Wiesner IIIHow to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It [Book Review]
By Dr. Victor "Van" Wiesner III

Patricia Love, Ed.D. and Steven Stosny, Ph.D. are contrarians in the book How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It (2007). Instead of endorsing traditional talk therapy methods for improving relationships such as, well, “talking”, they offer a more behavioral approach based largely on psychological differences in the genders as gleaned from research and their vast clinical experience. Early on the authors assert that couples “are not disconnected because they have poor communication; they have poor communication because they are disconnected” (p. 5). I have reread that sentence dozens of times sensing the paradigm shift this statement represents. See full article


Dr. Victor "Van" Wiesner IIISchizophrenia Revealed: From Neurons to Social Interactions [Book Review]
By Dr. Victor "Van" Wiesner III

If you want to know more about the historical underpinnings of schizophrenia and update yourself with contemporary research, you could spend hundreds of hours reading professional journals. As an alternative, you could read an elegant mystery novel that explains these complex concepts in an efficient and understandable manner with intrigue on every page. Michael Foster Green continuously alternates from the “little picture” to the “big picture”. He makes wise use of repetition to drive home core messages. He emphasizes that while schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder, it is not primarily a disorder of psychotic symptoms. Schizophrenia is an illness of neural connections and neurocognitive deficits. The psychosis can be thought of as the ‘fever’ of this severe mental illness and while important it is not central to the disorder. See full article


Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.Anxiety 1: An Ally - The Glue That Connects You to Others
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Just the thought of being anxious is enough to make you anxious! Who wants the worry, the knots in the stomach, the obsessive thoughts of impending doom and the urgency that compels you to try and prevent it? Perhaps no one consciously chooses to be anxious, but it may be better than the alternatives that may come to take its place. When making and maintaining relationships is a strain, anxiety can be a way of allowing yourself to reach out and be connected to another person. It provides the impetus for you to ask for support, comfort, company and acceptance. So it gives you the opportunity to check if you are lovable, worth being with, and worthy of being taken care of. This may be a learned pattern of attachment from your early years. If you got attention from parents and caregivers when ever you became fretful, anxious and panicked, it is likely that you discovered anxiety to act as a powerful glue to get needed contact from significant others. See full article


Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.Anxiety 2: Your Ally The Protector
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Take deep breaths, visualize a serene sunset on a tropical beach, or get a good massage, are all remedies recommended for anxiety relief. For a few minutes you may breath less hurriedly, the tension headache may ease, and you can let go of the worries that invade your waking moments. But why does the anxiety sneak back so insidiously, swallowing you up before you have a chance to hold onto the few moments of peace you gave yourself? One function that anxiety serves is that of protection. By letting you sweat the small stuff, it safeguards you from your big, unmanageable fears. Since anxiety can be so all pervasive it leaves no space for you to contemplate and face larger terrors - like loss, death, failure, being alone, completely responsible, and empty. See full article


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