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ANXIETY

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding Perfectionist

3.28.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] I once met a young man who had had many successes in his youth. He was intelligent and outgoing. He had always been the star in high school and had enjoyed the praise he received from others, but something was amiss. As we talked, I discovered that his perfectionism was getting in the way. He was feeling depressed and exhausted. He couldn’t keep up with the demands he had set for himself. He said, “My teachers think I’m gifted. They have no idea how much time I spend on each of my assignments. Now, I have to keep up with those expectations. I don’t think I can do this anymore!” Sometimes parents are unable to recognize the signs and later lament themselves. They wish they had noticed t

OCD Metaphors to Reduce Reassurance Seeking

2.16.14

Rick was eighteen when he came in for his first session.  His main goal was to learn ways to get rid of his “bad” thoughts and the anxiety and guilt that accompanied those obsessions.  “They are torturing me,” he said.  We reviewed the OCD cycle and learned the necessary steps to start interrupting it. Rick knew the triggers that caused his obsessive thoughts and how they brought excruciating anxiety and guilt.  He was surprised to learn that his singing, praying, and reciting were compulsions that were reinforcing the OCD cycle.  He mistakenly believed that compulsions were supposed to be “weird” or silly behaviors.  He found out that anything he did to find relief was actually a compulsion. He said, “Sometimes I analyze my thoughts and t

Passionate parenting begins with a vision

1.16.14

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here.] Imagine for a moment that when you were recently taking down your Christmas tree, you found one last present. It was hidden behind the tree. Your children see their names on the present and are excited! The gift is from you to them. You have purposely saved it for last because it is the greatest gift they will ever receive from you. What is it? What could it possibly be? What would be the best present that you could ever give to your children? What gift could you give them that would have the longest-lasting impact on their lives? The answer: Being a good parent. My next few articles will address research-based “best practices” in parenting. Let’s begin by addressing

How to bring your children joy

12.14.13

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here] Giving — “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” -Mark Twain I have a friend whose parents took this advice to heart. When my friend was a child, his parents began a family tradition of dropping food, special treats, gifts and even money to families they believed needed it. They did it anonymously. Many families enjoy this activity around Christmas time. The peculiarity about his family was that they began this tradition when they were experiencing their own financial hardships. My friend remembers his father telling him: “Someone else will always have less than you; find that person and share.” He said that one year his fam

How to help your anxious child be more assertive

11.30.13

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here] The other day, I heard a grandfather talk about a phone call he received from his daughter. She told him how his elementary school grandson had been teased and bullied at his local church when he wore glasses for the first time. Frequently we hear nationwide news about bullying-related youth suicides. Quite often, many of my clients suffering from anxiety mention that at some time in their middle school or high school years they were bullied. Do kids who get bullied become anxious, or are anxious kids more likely to get bullied? The truth is, it can be both. Children who are bullied will experience trauma and thus will develop anxiety and may need professional help to overcome that neg

Mindset Family Therapy

Anxiety: Why Humans Experience Anxiety

11.15.13

Below is a funny little video I found about Mindfulness.  When I show it to my clients, they just smile because they know the “science guy” is talking about them.  Some of us think and worry too much about the future.  Some of us indeed can start a “fight-or-flight” response just sitting in our living room.  It is a good idea to plan and prepare for the future; however, it’s not a good idea to worry about things we cannot control. Check it out:

Mindset Family Therapy

CBT Trumps Antipsychotic for Augmentation, Amending Current Guidelines

10.31.13

An Update from the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health): Exposure / Ritual Prevention Therapy Boosts Antidepressant Treatment of OCD This is another study that confirms Exposure and Ritual Prevention (a specific form of cognitive behavior therapy) makes a significant difference in treating OCD. Read the article here.   

Mindset Family Therapy

If you have a mental illness, don’t be embarrassed!

10.11.13

October 10th was designated as Mental Health Day.  Every day is a mental health day for me when I see my clients try to make their life better despite their suffering. If you suffer with a mental health illness, don’t hesitate to share your struggles.  You may be surprised that your friend, boss, best friend’s daughter or spouse may also be experiencing emotional and mental pain.  Successful men and women with a mental illness can be an example to society and can contribute to the idea that a mental disorder does not define the person. Society needs to understand that a person can be “normal” and still have mental health challenges. I love Kevin Breel’s Ted talk.  He is right on with his message. Let’s stop intolerance and

How to Make Stress Your Friend

9.23.13

I recently discovered a talk given by Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist.  Her topic was stress.  I felt validated as I have been telling my clients who experience stress to make it their friend.  I usually teach them skills to change their attitude towards stress or anxiety.  It is their attitude that will make the difference. McGonigal reports that for the past 10 years she has been teaching that stress makes people sick.  However, she changed her approach towards stress after reading a study.  She discovered that indeed, stress is harmful, but only when people believe it’s harmful.  Below are the most relevant points in her talk. 1.  If we believe that the physiological sensations and feelings we experience when we are stressed are h

7 Ways to Help Your Anxious Child

8.27.13

When children are afraid about the unknown (new school, new grade, new house, etc), how do you handle it?  Do you reassure them and say, “it’ll be okay, don’t worry about it” or do you try to help them process their thoughts and feelings?  Our children need to know we understand how they feel.  Don’t try to fix the worry or dismiss it; instead, validate their feelings and empathize with them.  Here are additional ideas to help you with this process. 1.  Read: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to get your child thinking about caterpillars and butterflies. 2.   Invite your child to draw a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly. 3.  The other day I was helping one of my young clients with her fears.  I decided to use my caterpillar/butterfly puppe

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