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.

How to Avoid a Nervous Breakdown

We live in a technologically advanced society full of time and labor-saving devices.  So why is it that we often wish for more time and go through our days feeling worn out?  Most of us don’t utilize the time wisely.  We have to-do lists as long as our arms, with limited time and money to accomplish the tasks in front of us. That is actually the definition for chronic stress – the perception that demands or requirements exceed our resources and abilities.  The key word there is “Perception.” When we perceive the demands of life are exceeding what we’ve got
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Categories: Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

What if we treated our family this way?

Last time we stayed at Fairfield Inn my wife remarked about the card on our pillow “wouldn’t this be great we treated each other like this?”  The card had a promise on it.  It read “We promise to always… make you feel welcome give you a room that’s clean, fresh, and reflects the highest quality standards respond promptly to any need you might have give you the service that will make you want to return” YES!  It would be great if we could do this for each other in our families.  In our neighborhoods.
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, Marriage, and Mental Health.

Life’s Little Interruptions

 We live lives mostly in a routine.  We get up relatively close to the same time every day, eat meals at the same time every day, follow our weekly schedules year after year.  There is comfort and security to be found in routine.  There is also a danger lurking there in our routine – the danger of going on autopilot.  Its the danger of becoming closed off from others, even from ourselves and ultimately from God.  Our routines are pathways externally as well as internally – pathways of thought and emotion as well as behavior.  The usual reaction when our
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Categories: Faith issues, Mental Health, Stress, and Transitions / Change.

Putting Some “Thanks” in Your Thanksgiving

There is a special field of research in psychology called “positive psychology” that studies the “science of gratitude.”   Positive psychology has been around for a while, but recently it has gained credibility under the scrutiny of science.  Scientists have made important discoveries about thankfulness.  Research has actually shown that practicing thankfulness decreases depression and anxiety!   Its all explained in a book by Robert Emmons called “Thanks!: How the new science of gratitude can make you happier.” The author defines gratitude as the recognition that one has received a gift or benefit of personal gain.  Gratitude really is an attitude, which
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Categories: Family, Holidays, Mental Health, Stress, and Transitions / Change.

Get Some Direction for Your Life!

Developing the Roadmap for Your Life The Roadmap Exercise is a writing activity to identify and clarify your values and goals.  These concepts are the desired destination for your life and how you want to live. Ultimately, it helps you answer the questions “What do I want to do with my life?”, “How am I going to be?”  It is very helpful to devote some thought to these questions because, in the words of Henry David Thoreau; “We only hit what we aim at.”  Identify three people that you admire and respect.  Write a few sentences about the traits admired
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Categories: Mental Health and Transitions / Change.

Personalities: Understanding yourself and your child

Your personality is your consistent pattern of behavior, thoughts, and emotions.  It’s the characteristic way in which you respond to the world around you.  About 50% of our personality is based on our genetics – the temperament we are born with.  Studies of identical twins separated at birth show surprising similarities in the twins even though they were raised in completely different environments.  Our environment, though, does shape us in powerful ways.  Our family of origin, events and experiences in early childhood, social groups, and our culture definitely shape our patterns of behavior and how we are.  There are so
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Categories: Children, Family, Mental Health, and Parenting.

Coping with Grief

The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 left a hole in Manhattan’s landscape that still remains there today.  It’s as if we, as a nation, cannot move on from this loss.  To most people, it seems wrong to rebuild on this site yet or to cover over this hole.  Maybe we are afraid that we would forget this loss, or it would seem that it’s not important to us. Currently, a memorial where these two towers fell is under construction – after a great deal of discussion and deliberation. I believe that symbolically, the pit that remains
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Categories: Mental Health.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Since the 1990’s “Asperger’s Syndrome” has gradually gained widespread attention.  People hear this label, but in the general public it remains an enigma.  The term “Asperger’s Syndrome” was first used in 1981, but refers to research by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger.  In 1944, Dr. Asperger conducted research on a small group of boys that he observed to have atypical social and thinking patterns.  As research and understanding of Asperger’s and autism in general expanded, Asperger’s Syndrome came to be understood as a form of high functioning autism.  Asperger’s Syndrome can be understood generally as a severe and chronic impairment in
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Mental Health, Parenting, and School.

Don’t Take Life for Granted

Taking something for granted means that you assume it will always be there.  On the whole it’s very easy to take several things for granted living in the United States; running water, telephone service, electricity, food on the store shelves and the like.  Even other “developed” countries can’t always keep these services going like we do in the U.S.   Because we consistently have so many amenities, there is an assumption they will always be there when we need them.  So then if the electric goes off for several hours, we can panic and think we can’t survive without it –
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Categories: Mental Health.

How to Make Yourself Miserable

Long ago, the founding fathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence established a government that gave us the right to “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”   This is great.  Most of us exercise our right to live life in freedom.  Some of us, however, seem to be in the pursuit of misery rather than happiness.  Have you ever noticed that being happy is easier for some people that it is for others?  The ease with which some find happiness has little to do with  privileges and income, and a lot to do with attitude and perspective. You may think
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Categories: Mental Health.