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Is it OCD, OCPD, or What?

3.10.15

View original article published in Psych Central here. Grace is obsessed about order and having things “just so.” She is constantly checking for symmetry in her surroundings. The time she spends ordering and organizing her things is disrupting her life. She spends excessive time on details and often gets stuck while doing or undoing things until she feels “right” about the situation. This causes her a great deal of distress. Her motivation in doing her rituals is to decrease anxiety and uncertainty about her feared consequence (having a panic attack). Does Grace have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? Patrick needs things to be perfect and orderly. He is a perfectionist and is preoccupied with details and making lists. His perfectionism

Scrupulosity: When OCD Targets Your Religious and Moral Values

1.14.15

View original article published in Psych Central here. Whenever Marian was exposed to religious issues, she felt overwhelmed by doubt, guilt and anxiety. She had been steadfast in her devotion since childhood. Lately, though, she’d try to avoid anything or anyone that triggered her spiritual obsessions. Her loved ones were puzzled because her commitment had been extraordinary. Conflicting worries consumed her mind and she was becoming depressed. Marian’s example of scrupulosity is one of many variations a sufferer may have with this type of OCD. Sometimes individuals with scrupulosity aren’t religious but feel hyper-responsible to their moral standards. The fact is that once in a while, religious individuals may experience doubts, guilt, re

What is the Prescription for Raising Entitled Kids?

12.22.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] A 10-year-old girl stomped out of the bathroom when her mom told her she would need to clean the mess she had made after her shower. She told her mom, ”You’re the mom. It’s your job!” A 6-year-old boy went to the grocery store with his mom. He noticed a treat he wanted. His mom explained that they had other treats at home and that she wasn’t going to buy it. He answered, “Well, if you don’t want to buy it, then just give me the money and I’ll buy it.” A 16-year-old girl was angry at her parents for not letting her take the family car with her friends to another state for the weekend. She told them, “If you really loved me, you would let me go!” Does this sound familiar? The pressure y

Being Grateful Despite Challenges

11.26.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] There are times when we may feel like we cannot be grateful about anything in our lives. Losing a job or feeling burned out can contribute to one’s negative attitude. Experiencing financial losses or not being able to make ends meet can hurt deeply. Enduring physical or mental health challenges can drive us to feel hopeless. Missing a loved one, seeing one’s child suffer, and relationship difficulties could be additional reasons to feel apathetic. The list can go on, but research shows that it’s possible to change our perspective despite life’s hardships. We can change our brain chemistry toward feeling more at peace with ourselves and become more grateful. Consider the following poin

Teaching Kids To Be Grateful Every Day

11.19.14

[View original article published in Parenting.answers.com  here] Why is it important that children learn to be grateful? How can you help them? Here are 3 ideas that will work. Children and Gratitude Research has shown that those who are grateful have better long-term health. They are happier and more pleasant to be around. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor and author of The How of Happiness says, “People who are consistently grateful are happier, more energetic, more hopeful, and experience more frequent positive emotions. They also tend to be more helpful and empathetic, more spiritual and religious, more forgiving, and less materialistic than others who are less grateful.” When children feel gratitude, they will be happy with

3 Steps To Take When Life Gets Foggy

10.20.14

 [View original article published in Answers.com here] What is your first thought when you wake up in the morning? “I’m ready to take on the day!” But maybe you had a restless night and couldn’t stop thinking about current problems. Perhaps you wish your day never began. All of us experience difficulties at one point or another, and it has been said that what really matters is how we react to adversity. The advice is that we need to confront our difficult experiences with a positive attitude. When we do, things go smoother. But it is easier said than done! Take Lori for example. She was the oldest child of four, and when she was twelve years old, her mom passed away. She missed her mother, and she and her siblin

Helping Kids Overcome Their OCD Fears – Some DOs and DON’Ts

10.13.14

Any parent who witnesses their children’s excruciating fear will instinctively react to protect, help, and comfort them.  That is the expected and the right thing to do.  However, when children experience fear due to OCD and anxiety, parents can learn the right skills. They can intervene in a positive way to help their children overcome their challenges and avoid overprotecting them. Grug Crood from the film The Croods comes to mind.  Grug was an overprotective father and his favorite words were: “Never not be afraid!”  His number one goal was to keep his family free from danger.  Of course that advice proved to be ineffective.  His belief was that other families had been destroyed because they had not been afraid enough!  It turned out tha

What’s the Best Treatment for Hair-Pulling Disorder?

9.14.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] After school, Henry would sit down and watch TV, but one hour later, his mom would discover he had been pulling his eyelashes and eyebrows. It wasn’t that he didn’t want them, he just couldn’t stop plucking them. When his friends called him to hang out, he found excuses not to be around them. He didn’t want to face unwanted questions or comments. The embarrassment and shame were causing isolation, and his confidence and self esteem were suffering. Henry is challenged by trichotillomania (TTM). Individuals who experience this disorder have difficulties resisting the urge to pull out their hair. It is estimated to affect between two to four percent of the American population. Many hair

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCD

8.21.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to be ready. Parents whose children struggle with OCD wish for them to succeed academically, but when OCD gets in the way, they feel lost and helpless. They may not be sure if the school needs to be aware of the issue. Parents may fear that telling the teacher will single their child out and exacerbate the situation. Deciding when to talk to school staff. There are various types of OCD and severity will

Parenting “Supplies” That Last Forever!

8.14.14

[View original article published in Parenting.answers.com  here] Whether excited or unsure as to how the year will turn out, parents also need back-to-school “supplies.” This list will help every parent stay on the right track. Every year as summer winds down, most parents and children are ready for the new school year to start. Some parents may also be apprehensive if there were struggles and challenges with their children the year before. Whether excited or unsure as to how the year will turn out, parents also need back-to-school “supplies.” This list will help every parent stay on the right track. 1. MIRROR – Reflective listening and Validation. When children are happy, parents acknowledge their childre

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