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Tug-of-War with the OCD Monster

5.1.19

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

A Panic Attack, the Wrestle Within

3.16.19

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?

When OCD is the Lemon Life Has Handed You

2.12.19

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

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

12.20.18

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

Procrastination: The Stalling Game Your Mind Loves to Play

11.30.18

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

What to Look For in Anxiety Treatment?

11.7.18

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

Pedophilia OCD: The Conundrum to Let Go of the Fight

10.13.18

View original article published in Psych Central– If you experience pedophilia OCD, you are someone who loves children. You may also struggle with unwanted sexual thoughts. Before OCD began to trigger you with this type of thoughts, you may have believed such thoughts would never cross your mind. And when they did, you felt ashamed, guilty, and confused. Trying to suppress and fight those thoughts appeared to be the most logical solution. The idea of not doing anything about intrusive thoughts seems despicable. Your mind may say, “If I let those thoughts happen without doing anything, it probably means I enjoy them!” You may respond, “Of course not! But what if I do? Oh no!” Then you begin the circular fighting tour in your mind again. Con

The Scrupulosity OCD Mind is The Human Part of You!

10.10.18

“I want to go the extra mile, and when I don’t, I feel like I’ve failed.” “I can’t ever be good enough.” Those who struggle with Scrupulosity OCD can continually feel guilty because they want to serve God perfectly. They constantly feel the burden of possibly having sinned and offended God. Many individuals with Scrupulosity OCD may not realize they have the illness and may suffer in silence. Their repeated confessions and repentance is a short-lived reprieve from perpetual feelings of guilt. Do you struggle with Scrupulosity OCD? Is OCD targeting one of the values you care about the most? Yet the constant nagging inside your head with thoughts such as, “I’m not pure and deserving of God’s blessings” probably lead you to feel miserable and

The Battle with OCD – Are You Winning?

10.8.18

Many individuals who suffer with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and those that support them often talk about the fight with OCD. “I won’t give up the fight with OCD.” It feels hopeful and encouraging when you say those words. Certainly, individuals experiencing OCD do not wish to let OCD get them down in life.   If individuals stay focused on what matters most despite their OCD, they can continue to pursue life with vitality. They would not let OCD get in the way of their relationships and their values. This is what they mean when they say, “I’m not going to let OCD beat me!”   Though people’s intention is not to let OCD ruin their lives, the mind grasps the word “fight” and it changes things around for them. Without realizing it,

Anxiety, Thoughts, Boats, and Automobiles

10.5.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Under Title: Thought Watching Exercises to Increase Awareness & Reduce Anxiety We often go about our lives without noticing what our mind is telling us because we are too busy attending to our hectic lives. Blithely unaware, we comply with the advice our mind dictates to us all day long. Some of you may say, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, there is nothing wrong if the advice is helpful, and it moves us closer to our values and goals by following it. But when we are unaware of what our mind is saying, we can end up making unwise choices. For example, if you experience social anxiety, your mind may provide advice that to stay home from a social event is the best option. You believe your

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