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Mindset Family Therapy

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

1.16.17

Anxiety is an unavoidable part of life. We can’t help but be nervous for some big life events, like job interviews, public speaking, and asking someone out. However, for some people, they experience that kind of anxiety much more regularly, sometimes even daily. They may have panic attacks or freak themselves out with their depressive, uncontrollable thoughts. These people may have an anxiety disorder. What Is Anxiety Disorder? Anxiety disorder is a catch-all term that refers to a variety of disorders we’ll explain below. Generally, the symptoms include intrusive worrying about daily life events, exhaustion, inability to sleep, muscle tightness, moodiness, concentration problems, and a sense of restlessness. What Are the Types of Anxiety Di

3 Signs of Anxiety in Children

1.16.17

With child anxiety, it can be hard to differentiate between anxiety symptoms and learned behavior. If your child is consistently struggling with anxiety, it’s important to have your child meet with a professional therapist to address the issue. While you can try a number of anxiety management techniques on your own, a therapist will help identify your child’s anxiety triggers and help you develop a plan to help manage the symptoms more effectively. Your Child Is Struggling in School If your child is having trouble in school, this could be due to anxiety. When they are worried about getting homework done or having trouble making friends, this is often due to feeling anxious. When your child is waking up and doesn’t want to

4 Essentials To Help You Enjoy the Holidays

11.28.16

View original article published in Psych Central– The holidays give us great opportunities to continue existing traditions or establish new ones. We reconnect with friends and family. It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, for some it can become a stressful and overwhelming season, and for others, one of the loneliest times. Whether you have big plans or no plans, consider these four critical points to help you enjoy your holidays:   1. Make sure to take care of yourself first! That is selfish some may exclaim, but is it really? A great metaphor for self-care is the specific instructions we receive from flight attendants when we travel by plane. They inform us that if the airplane were to lose cabin pressure

OCD: “The Bow that You Have to Keep on Tying”

10.11.16

View original article published in Psych Central– “It just doesn’t feel right. I have to fix it until it is just so!” “I need to figure it out, and once I do, I’ll feel free to move on!” “I have to check all the windows, then I’ll be able to sleep peacefully.” “I have to repeat my prayers until I know God has really heard them.” “Not knowing whether I may hurt my child makes me anxious. I waste too many hours reviewing my behavior to ensure I haven’t harmed her.” What do those statements have in common? When individuals experience OCD, accepting uncertainty seems to be the greatest challenge. They have extreme difficulty moving on with their day unless they feel 100% sure the answers to their doubts have been resolved. Whether it is doing s

Two Ways to Put the Brakes on Your Anxiety

9.23.16

View original article published in Psych Central– Our human instinct is to react and push back when we feel pain and discomfort. When we struggle with anxiety, those feelings are magnified. Our inherent response is to try and get rid of unpleasant feelings and sensations immediately, but does it really work? This is an important question, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) teaches that fighting the discomfort can actually make the situation worse. Mental health providers practicing ACT often use the quicksand metaphor, and the reaction we naturally would have if we were ever caught in it. Even though we know it makes matters worse when we panic and try to get out quickly, our survival mechanisms tell us differently. Trying to

The Before and After… by Nancy Larsen, MSW, CSW

9.21.16

In therapy, I often use art as a tool to help clients externalize their experience with OCD. This technique assists the client in expressing how OCD affects their life by using color; giving their OCD a name, a shape and a face. When I first mention to clients that they will be finger painting in session, they often have a surprised look on their face. Most of their comments go something like this, “Finger painting. Seriously? I haven’t finger painted since I was in…kindergarten.”  Although some are hesitant when they first start their painting, I find it is not long before they begin to get into their work and create what I call a masterpiece. Below you will find artwork done by a few of my clients. Each client was

Mindfulness and OCD

5.22.16

View original article published in Psych Central here] Vincent was a young man experiencing intrusive thoughts. All he wanted in life was to get rid of those tormenting images and thoughts once and for all. One day, after coming back from a camping trip he told his therapist, “I was so busy and focused on what I was doing that I didn’t have time to analyze my thoughts and obsess. I was mainly focused in the present moment. If only I could go on camping adventures every day!” Vincent’s OCD symptoms had begun when he was 12 years old. He had created thinking patterns that weren’t helpful. In the past, he had tried different “distracting strategies” but their effectiveness was short-lived. He also had discovered that fighting his internal expe

6 Ways to Help Your Worried Child

4.11.16

View original article published in Psych Central here. When Emma was 7 years old, she seemed to be catching a bug every Monday morning. She’d complain of stomachaches and didn’t want to go to school. Initially, Mom kept her home from school, believing Emma was sick. Usually, about an hour later, Mom would find Emma giggling and happily playing with her 4-year-old sister. She appeared to have been healed miraculously. Mom often wondered if Emma had been truthful and threatened to take her to school. Emma’s stomachaches would immediately return. This situation happened often enough to lead Mom to consult a professional. Mom discovered that Emma’s challenge was not integrity or a stomach problem. Emma was experiencing too many worries. Emma’

Social Anxiety: The Pervasive Creature in your Mind

1.19.16

View original article published in Psych Central here. When Tina took her first job out of college, she thought she could circumvent most of the social events it required. They were not part of her main responsibilities. But three months into it, her company experienced major restructuring, and she was assigned new responsibilities that involved more interaction with people. Her worries increased. She knew that her social anxiety could get in the way of her career. Ever since she was a child, Tina had developed extreme fear that others would judge her words and actions whenever she was in social situations. She had two close childhood friends. One had gotten married, and the other had moved away. She felt lonely and had not been able to de

Every man dies. Not every man lives.

10.16.15

What are your values? What are your dreams? What is something you wish you could be doing instead of focusing on your OCD? OCD is still there, and you don’t have to put your life on hold until it’s “gone.” You can instead look at your values, what you stand for, and what your passions are or could be. You can start today. Make what matters the most the center of your life. We will all die at one point or another, but while we live, let’s make our lives more meaningful!

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