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» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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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


Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.Anxiety 3: Your Ally The Driver Motivator
By Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

“If my anxiety didn’t nag at me, I don’t think I would be bothered to make any improvements in my life,” said teacher Connie. She wasn’t friends with her anxiety, but she realized that without it pushing her, she would be stagnant and accept a life style that was far different to what she truly wanted. The motivation to get what she desired came from a place of fear. The fear was that she didn’t have what it takes to make the best of her life. She didn’t believe that she had the personal resources to get what she wanted, and she was skeptical as to whether she deserved it anyway. Her anxiety was the perfect antidote to her lack of self-esteem. See full article


Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.Connection: How to Keep the Romance Alive and Have Better Sex
By Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.

Great sex doesn’t begin when we take our clothes off. Here are some tips to connect with your partner to add joy to your relationship and enhance your sex life: Meaningful rituals: do special things on a routine basis…weekly romantic dinners, daily loving text messages and/or emails, reading the Sunday paper together. Be unpredictable: surprise your partner by doing things that are thoughtful and unexpected. A card, letter, small gift, or get away weekend creates loving feelings. Touch: sensual touch, long hugs, affectionate gestures and public hand holding release the hormone oxytocin, which gives us a feeling of emotional bonding and lowers cortisol. Time together: remember when you first met how all your thoughts and free time were devoted to your partner? When in a long-term relationship, alone time with your partner declines. Make time to be together and continue the courtship. See full article


Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.About Erections
By Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.

You don’t need a million dollar ad campaign to tell you what most of us already know. Men are concerned about their penis. Many men are insecure about the size of their penis, which is why your spam folder is filled with ubiquitous ads promoting products that will give you “a huge, gigantic penis.” However, most of the men I speak to in my clinical practice are much more concerned about the function of their penis and their ability to attain and sustain erections. Some men would like to get harder quicker, some want to stay harder longer, while others just wish they would get hard at all. The fact that erectile difficulties or dysfunction (also known as E.D.) affects men is obvious, but E.D. can also have a profound affect on wives and girlfriends, which often leads to increased anxiety and stress, exacerbating the problem. See full article


The Staff of Kelly Counseling & ConsultingPrevention and Health Maintenance: The Emotional Checkup
By The Staff of Kelly Counseling & Consulting

It's encouraging that in 2008 the words psychology and therapy more and more are becoming household words. Still, many people have lots of questions about what it means to meet with someone for psychotherapy and what actually goes on in a therapy session. We often hear from teenagers that they believe they are the only ones that are going to therapy, when in fact they might be surprised to learn how many people their age have already been to a therapist for a visit or for a safe place to check in with someone about the questions of adolescence. See full article


Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSWDying: A Family Rite of Passage
By Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSW

When my mother lost her father it was sad, but not unexpected. He was 80 years old, had had that lingering kind of cancer that old men often get, and there was plenty of time to prepare for his death. Not that any of us ever acknowledged his demise or named the dread disease he lived with for so long. Until the day he died he spoke of getting well, would not reveal his feelings or let us tell him ours, and we all aided and abetted his fantasy. He hid behind the wall of an impossible dream because he needed to, but that wall troubled my mother long after he was gone. It's not just that I miss him, she would say. It's not that I haven't accepted his death. But it feels like there was unfinished business. Something left undone. See full article


Patricia M. Kelly, Ph.D.Consider a One Minute Vacation to Manage Stress
By Patricia M. Kelly, Ph.D.

Paula is a mother of three school aged children and a nurse in a busy practice of internal medicine. Her afternoons are filled with drop offs and pickups to after school activities, shopping and other errands; homework, dinner preparation and a host of other household chores leave little personal time. Stressful? Conrad listens attentively to news of Iraq where his oldest daughter is on a tour of duty. After work, he stops by to visit his widowed mother who is showing signs of early dementia; he shares a cup of tea and completes a few small chores. Stressful? See full article


Cynthia Peikoff, LCSWWhat Makes You Happy?
By Cynthia Peikoff, LCSW

Imagine if someone told you "if you make a conscious decision to be happy, you can be happy! "If you assume full personal responsibility for your actions, thoughts and feelings, and refuse to blame others for your own unhappiness, you can be happy." What Makes You Happy? First, you must identify for yourself what makes you happy. Happy people can tell you in an instant what makes them happy. According to Foster & Hicks, the authors of How We Choose To Be Happy*, "happy people live their passions and dive into those things that make them happiest, regardless of the complexities of their life circumstances. When happy people have been hurt they refuse to act like victims." See full article


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