View original article published in Psych Central– Noah didn’t care for ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) therapy despite his struggles with harm OCD. Stories that he had heard from acquaintances and friends were not positive. In fact, one of his friends felt traumatized by ERP. He also indicated that he was asked by his previous mental health counselor to sit in front of a bunch of knives so he could habituate or get used to the feelings and sensations the knives created. He said he had already been around sharp knives for three weeks while working at a knife shop temporarily while he looked for another job. His excruciating anxiety was off the charts. “I basically white-knuckled each day until I found a better job. I was exposed to k
By Allyson Guilbert, LCSW View original article published in Psych Central– I’ve been a mental health therapist for over 10 years and in the social work profession for more than 20. I have been pregnant 8 times, with 4 living children. I consider myself to be pretty self-aware, intelligent, and inquisitive. And yet… I had some form of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) with each of my pregnancies. I just didn’t know it. Oh, sure, I got sad and I got angry and with my older son, I couldn’t let myself fully bond to him until he was 9 months old, but I was fine, right? I even took medication, but that’s normal, right? I was introduced to PMADs last year when a friend of a friend posted about it on social media. I was intrigued. This
When you struggle with OCD, it may feel like you are constantly fighting a monster that just won’t go away. Day in and day out you keep fighting it, and you feel exhausted. ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) researchers and clinicians use the Tug-of War with a Monster metaphor to help people realize that there are better options than fighting their thoughts and feelings each day of their lives. Let’s pretend that your fears and doubts are like a big, hideous, and strong monster. You hate it, and you want to destroy it. The monster is holding one end of the rope and you are at the other end. In between the two of you there is a huge cliff with hot lava. You don’t want to fall over it. You want to control the monster, and so you keep pu
Shayla Love did an amazing job writing this comprehensive article on OCD for VICE. Nancy Larsen, LCSW and Annabella Hagen, LCSW, RPT-S were interviewed as part of it. Read it here.
View original article published in Psych Central– Samantha felt overwhelmed by her school assignments, her relationships, and her job. She often felt like she was walking a tightrope while holding a pole that contained all of her “should” and “must” type of thoughts. “It’s not a matter of if, but when I’ll fall and crash!” she’d repeat. She would imagine placing her thoughts and feelings in a bottle and shutting the lid tightly. “I place them there so I can cope,” she would declare. She recognized her panic attack cycle: stress, anxiety, tension build up, and suppress until it shatters. Then starting all over again. She hated her panic attacks, but said she always felt better after experiencing one. Do Samantha’s struggles sound familiar?
It has been said that when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade. Others say that they are willing to make lemon meringue pie, lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, lemon cookies, and lemon chicken, besides lemonade. The list can go on and on when you are creative and optimistic about your difficult circumstances. Certainly, no human being is free from adversity. It comes in different forms and some of us are able to handle it better than others. There is no question that it is how we look at our trials that can make a difference in how we deal with them. After all, “It is the struggle that creates the strength.” No matter how tough life gets, some people are able to stay optimistic. For others it may be extra challenging when the lemons relat
View original article published in Psych Central– Many of us may have grown up with the idea that making mistakes is a bad thing. When we received a bad grade or things didn’t go as expected, we may have felt distressed as we told our parents about it. We worried about their negative reaction. The urge to avoid errors goes back to an earlier time when our ancestors could not afford to make a mistake when they hunted for food or came across danger. Miscalculations cost people their lives in the olden days. Their minds were adept at helping them ensure they didn’t make deadly blunders. In our modern world, we rarely need to be anxious about oversights that could cost us our lives, unless we have a high-risk job such as being a pilot or a
View original article published in Psych Central– Children sometimes have meltdowns when they don’t get what they want. Some adolescents can feel destitute when their wishes aren’t granted. When you feel confident about your plans and they don’t turn out the way you hoped, what is your response? As we run into bumps and storms in life, we may need to detour, delay, or completely cancel our plans. When we were young, we may have used words such as “It’s not fair,” and soon enough we found out this was true more often than not. Still, we protest, get mad, and blame others or ourselves for not obtaining our desires. When this happens, many of us get entangled with “should’ve,” “could’ve” “would’ve” type thoughts. Have you noticed the results
View original article published in Psych Central– When you have an assignment, presentation, or a job interview, you know it is essential that you prepare for it. Yet, getting started feels like a monumental task. You may check your email and feel like you need to respond right away, or your friend texts, and you feel the urge to reply. Maybe you go on social media for a few minutes before you embark on the task at hand. You fidget, get a drink and a snack. You get another text, and your assignment just keeps getting further and further postponed. Procrastination is king when individuals experience anxiety, maladaptive perfectionism, and other mental and emotional challenges. But we all procrastinate at one time or another. Why does our mi
If you think you may have a heart problem, you would start with a general practitioner to verify any condition. If your doctor detects an anomaly, you would likely be referred to a specialist. You and your family doctor would probably agree with the need for specialized treatment. Should it be any different when the struggle is an anxiety disorder? It can affect your quality of life just as much as a heart condition. When anxiety begins to get in the way of living a vital and meaningful life, you may consider seeing a mental health specialist that can provide you with the right tools for your particular situation. If you struggle with anxiety you may not be sure what to look for in treatment and what type of questions to ask when you schedu