Anxiety disorders – whether its generalized, OCD, social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias or reaction to a stressful event, treatment works towards eradication of anxiety symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to identify and change anxiety-producing beliefs and thoughts. Stress management and assertiveness training are often utilized to reduce anxiety as well.

Depression – therapy focuses on changing the client’s experience of emotional exhaustion to emotional fulfillment. Thoughts and beliefs that generate depression are explored and appropriately challenged. Behavioral strategies are utilized to change the client’s frame of mind and his or her daily experience.

Bi-polar – working collaboratively with a client’s psychiatrist or other physician, therapy focuses on maintaining emotional stability. Stress management and self-awareness are often utilized.

Grief and loss – therapy provides affirmation and guidance through the experience of loss so that the loss becomes a significant, but not overwhelming, part of the person’s whole life experience.

Self-esteem, identity issues – therapy collaborates with the client in exploring his or her life experiences, identifying how and where messages about the Self were formed, and challenging the validity of certain problematic self-messages. The client’s spiritual as well as psychological experiences are explored.

Are You __________ Enough?

Are you _(fill in the blank)_ Enough? Good, safe, perfect, beautiful, smart, athletic, successful, funny, happy, wealthy… These are just a few of the words that we fill in the blank to the question “am I _______ enough?”  Where does this question come from?  Why do we ask this question of ourselves so much?   It comes from a mindset that there is a limited supply of what we ultimately need in order to feel happy and fulfilled in life.  This is what Brené Brown, author of “The Gifts of Imperfection” and speaker in one of the most viewed TED
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Categories: Faith issues, Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

Helping your Kids (and yourself) Cope with Rejection

There’s no question about it; successful people are those who have learned to cope with rejection.  Milton Hershey had three failed businesses before his milk chocolate candy took off.  KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders was rejected over a thousand times before he found financial support for his chicken recipe.  JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers!  Imagine a world in which these three successful people allowed a few rejections to stop them; no Hershey kisses, no KFC, no Harry Potter. We have all experienced rejection in many forms.  It’s a universal dynamic in a relational society.  Since
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Why did the Grinch Steal Christmas? A Psychological Analysis

This holiday season as I watched “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” I began to think about what made the Grinch so “grinchy”?  Several questions came to mind. Why was his heart two sizes too small?  Surely he wasn’t born that way, right? What’s his problem with the Whos down in Whoville?  What is it about the Christmas festivities and the “noise, noise, noise” that sets the Grinch’s teeth on edge?    Further, what allowed his heart to “grow three sizes that day”? Let’s start at the beginning. The basic psychological assumption that we are born “tabula rasa” says that we become
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Holidays, Mental Health, and Personal Growth.

Resolution #1: Dream Big and Courageously!

Abraham Lincoln is quoted to say “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”   Benjamin Franklin writes “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.”  If these great men of history believe in making resolutions, shouldn’t we consider doing so?  Some people believe that making New Year’s resolutions is an exercise in futility.  In fact, Mark Twain is quoted to say “New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week
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Categories: Holidays, Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Transitions / Change.

What is Self Esteem?

Self-esteem has gotten a bad rap lately. Some people wonder if kids can have too much self-esteem.  I think it depends on what people mean by “self-esteem.”  If people understand self-esteem to mean that we are all winners all the time and therefore are entitled to praise and adoration no matter what, then YES children can have too much self-esteem.  This kind of unrealistic message creates a sense of entitlement in children that they should be given privileges, praise, and awards for just existing.  The end result of this will be children who lack self-respect, self-discipline, and motivation. To me,
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Categories: Children, Mental Health, and Personal Growth.

Don’t Give Up!

When life has dealt you an unexpectedly bad hand, its natural to have the quitting impulse.  The quitting impulse, when followed through with, is too often a miscarriage of destiny and God’s plans for your life.  This can range from quitting a game before it ends, ending a marriage prematurely, to suicide.    Don’t give up and quit before expending every resource and every option to succeed, to finish well. The Quitter By: Robert Service When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child, And Death looks you bang in the eye, And you’re sore as a boil,
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, and Personal Growth.

Adults Need Recess Too!

Yesterday at the office the nurses decided they needed a break.  After they stepped outside for some fresh air, they observed the leaves falling steadily from a nearby tree.  On a whim, they decided to try and see how many leaves they could catch before they fell to the ground.  They were darting around and laughing for about 5 minutes.  Then, they came back inside and went straight to work.  I asked them about it later, and they both said that afterwards they felt mentally and physically refreshed. They were also a lot more cheerful! This break in the daily
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Categories: Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

Problem Behavior: Reaction to a Situation or a Disorder?

Imagine this scenario: A 9 year old boy we’ll call “David” is brought in for counseling.  His parents are concerned about his angry outbursts.  They describe him as usually a mild-mannered and well-behaved child until this last year.  The parents have been getting reports from his 3rd grade teacher that David often fidgets, blurts out answers impulsively, “seems to be in his own world” too much and such things.  They became alarmed when the teacher suggested they have David tested for ADHD. At home, the mother reports that David has been having trouble sleeping. Most nights David climbs into bed
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, Stress, and Transitions / Change.

Taming the “Me” Monster: Getting out of your Self.

A friend/colleague and I recently had a discussion about motivational speakers and televangelists who try to convince us that we deserve to be happy and are entitled to serenity.  While this is an attractive concept, it can actually rob us from living a full and whole life.  This sounds paradoxical, but really the more we focus on ourselves and our own happiness the more elusive it becomes.  Maybe people don’t know what they are looking for, in fact I’m sure this is often the case.  Henry David Thorough is quoted as follows about happiness: “Happiness is like a butterfly: the
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Categories: Faith issues, Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

Summer: Give Your Kids Some Free Time!

Summertime is upon us.  With summer comes a relaxing of the schedule – more time to lollygag and slow down the pace of life.  At least it used to be that way!  When I was a kid, I rode my bike all over town.  I spent days at the city pool.  Some days I was bored out of my mind, though.  Now that you’re a parent, do you see your kids lollygagging through summer the way you did as a kid?  Probably not. There is a growing trend in middle-class America towards structured activities and programs for children; from sports
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, and Parenting.