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10 Things I’ve Learned as a Therapist and a Mom about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

6.11.19

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

Must-Read Article about Seven Lesser-Known Types of OCD published on VICE

3.16.19

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.

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?

Making Friends with Failure

1.24.19

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

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

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

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

Getting Stuck in the Emotional Funnel - Nancy Larsen, LCSW

8.26.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Have you ever found yourself caught in a downward spiral of negative thoughts? It’s as if your mind is like a funnel with thoughts racing towards the bottom only to get stuck in the neck. The more you try to think your way out of the funnel the more distressed you become because there appears to be no way out. Negative thoughts can be overwhelming, and if we are not careful, they create pathways in our mind from which we draw. Unfortunately, thoughts rarely occur without emotions. When we add emotions to our negative thoughts, we try to think our way towards a solution yet as we spiral downward, a solution seems out of reach. So much so, that we start to panic. It may look something like th

Feelings: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

7.16.18

View original article published in Psych Central– This was a title of a popular Western movie in the 60s, and indeed in life we will encounter situations we may consider good, bad, or ugly. It’s just the way our mind works. Our mind is an expert evaluator of feelings. When individuals are asked what feelings they would consider good, bad or ugly, they can readily create a list for each category. Feelings are neither good nor bad. They are simply emotions that arise depending on situations we encounter. They can run their course if we allow them to do so. Society and our upbringing influence the way we look at our feelings. As we get older our mind becomes our own judge and tells us whether a feeling is good, bad, or ugly. “You should not be

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