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You can Defy OCD!

8.11.14

The statement by Van Gogh can be true for anyone that learns how to defy OCD.  It can be done! It’s not easy but it’s possible! Anxiety, guilt, and doubt are the prevalent feelings experienced by OCD sufferers.  They have difficulty tolerating these emotions.  When individuals are triggered and begin to obsess, they become overwhelmed by their feelings and will do whatever it takes to avoid feeling that way. For instance, James had fears of emotional contamination.  He’d rather avoid certain friends than take the chance of experiencing a panic attack.  Linda had fears of losing her faith and would stay away from triggers that produced anxiety, guilt, and uncertainty.  Roy was worried about being near anyone that may carry an infectious dise

What Can Parents Do When OCD Sneaks In?

7.8.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Megan felt miserable. She and her family had relocated in the middle of the school year to another city. She was missing her friends and changes were difficult for her. It seemed the problems began one morning when she was getting ready for school. While washing her hair, she thought she had swallowed some of the shampoo. She wondered if it was toxic. She worried she’d get sick and die. She rinsed her mouth incessantly until she felt safe. “Is it poisonous?” she would ask her mom, every day before taking a shower. Her mom would reassure her that it was harmless. But Megan wasn’t satisfied with the answer. She couldn’t take a chance and took safety measures each time. Soon, her worries

Teaching Children to Do Hard Things

6.16.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] A child and his grandfather are at the playground. There is a high teepee set up with ropes and it looks challenging for the 3-year-old boy. His grandfather invites him to climb it. As he takes the first step toward the top, he hesitates and feels scared. His grandfather encourages him and tells him, “Sam, I know this is hard, but you can do hard things!” The young boy answers, “No! My daddy says I can only do easy things!” His grandfather smiles because he knows his son would never say that. He then encourages the young boy to climb the ropes one step at a time. When he gets to the top, his grandfather says to him, “See, Sam, you can do hard things!” Sam exclaims, “I can do hard thin

When OCD Targets Your Relationship

5.6.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Chuck said he wasn’t sure if he really loved his fiancée. Yes, there were times, when he was certain he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. But lately, the doubts were constant and he thought he should break the engagement. The wedding was two weeks away. He had experienced obsessive-compulsive disorder challenges since he was a teenager. He had mistakenly learned to deal with the symptoms by rationalizing and neutralizing his thoughts, thus he didn’t think his doubts about his fiancée had anything to do with OCD. Experiencing the jitters and cold feet can be a normal reaction to this significant milestone. So, was it a big deal? On the phone he informed me his family had in

Unlocking the castle doors: Raise happy teens through trusting guidance

4.11.14

[View original article published in the Daily Herald here] “There are two lasting bequests that we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.” Hodding Carter, Jr. All parents remember the emotions experienced when their first child was born. Besides boundless joy we also experienced an overwhelming sense of responsibility.  We realized we needed to make adjustments. For instance, when a young friend became a father for the first time, he and his wife were worried about leaving the hospital with their little girl. The hospital was about 15 minutes away from their house if they traveled on the highway. They chose to go the slower — but safer — route through the city streets out of concern for their little

Six Ways to Help Your Perfectionist Child Find Balance

4.1.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Four-year-old Max would crumple his paper when his drawing wasn’t perfect. He would start over, and often grow angry and eventually give up. His parents noticed his rigidity, but hoped he would grow out of it. When he was seven, the demands on himself and others were still troubling him and his family. His parents were frustrated. Are your children inflexible? Do they set high standards that overwhelm them? Do they complain of not having friends and feeling isolated? Do they procrastinate often? Do they go from one extreme to the other with certain behaviors, such as being studious and responsible academically to not caring at all? Do they beat themselves up and feel like a failure whe

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

A 3-piece puzzle to fostering life skills

3.6.14

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here] If you were to compile a list of life skills you believe your children need to succeed in their lives, what would they be? Vision, confidence and heart are three life skills that work together like pieces of a puzzle. You may want to add them to your list and make them part of your family culture. Vision “Dream it, believe it, achieve it.” We have all heard this quote. Here is a story of a young man who made this quote a reality:  Anthony Robles was born with one leg. None of the doctors could explain why. Growing up, his mother taught him that “God made you this way for a reason,” and she made him believe it. In junior high he joined the wrestling team at his sc

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

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