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MINDFULNESS

Are You Fueling Your OCD?

7.3.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Imagine that you and your friends go to a park to enjoy a summer evening with a campfire. As your group begins to enjoy the nice bonfire, a park ranger shows up and tells you that all fires need to be put out right away. How would you extinguish the fire? Of course, there are countless options. However, let’s pretend that the obvious resources that you want to use are not available for one reason or another. The only potential medium is a pile of wood logs nearby. Would you use lumber to put the fire out? Of course not, that would be silly since we all know wood is highly flammable. This would only grow the bonfire. What could you do instead? Maybe, the best solution would be to get back to

Mindset Family Therapy is Presenting at the 24th Annual International OCD Conference

6.22.17

The International OCD Foundation will hold their 24th  Annual Conference from July 7 – 9. This year it will be held in San Francisco, and has become a great gathering event for therapists, researchers, children, adolescents, adults and family members. Every attendee will obtain more skills and education. In addition, those who struggle with OCD and OC related disorders will also receive inspiration and support. The International OCD Foundation is the leading resource for the OCD community in the world. The organization expects more than 1,600 attendees to join others who share the struggles of OCD, yet hope for a more meaningful life. For the past few years, the Mindset Family Therapy staff has had the opportunity to teach workshops at the

Is Your Amazing Mind Limiting Your Hopes and Dreams?

5.22.17

“Limits, like fears are often just an illusion.” –Michael Jordan We have an amazing, active mind that helps us survive in our daily living. We could not do what we do if it weren’t for our wonderful and powerful mind. It is truly a marvelous gift! However, sometimes it gets carried away with producing thoughts that may limit us. The word illusion in the electronic Cambridge Dictionary is defined as “an idea or belief that is not true, or something that is not what it seems to be.” Sometimes we get caught up in our negative thoughts, memories, and judgments. We may become fearful, anxious or intimidated by our own thoughts. Even though we may have hopes and dreams, our mind can produce thoughts such as: “No, that’ll never happen. I’m not goo

Got Anxious Kids? Be Brave!

4.19.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Besides being loving and patient, parents need to be brave when their children are anxious. This may be one of the most difficult things you do when you see your kids struggle. In the long run, your courage will be one of the crucial elements in helping your children overcome their anxiety. Listed below are the When, Why, and How of becoming a valiant parent everyday. WHEN do you need to be brave?      WHEN: It seems that for the thousandth time you’ve asked your child to do a simple task and he refuses because he feels overwhelmed. A slight change in her routine sets her off, and you choose not to yell or punish her. He gets injured and his anxiety magnifies his aches and shouts. A meltdow

Mindfulness: The Anchor in the Storm

4.5.17

View original article published in Psych Central – Ships in the harbor need to be anchored as they are brought back from a day at sea. If ships and boats were not secured, they would drift away if a storm were to occur at night. This is an ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) metaphor to help explain Mindfulness. Quite often mindfulness is misunderstood. Let’s clarify some essential points: Definition of Mindfulness: Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as: “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” This means that we can learn to purposely notice what is happening in the here-and-now. As we do, we become observers without making evaluations or judgments about events, ourselves, and/or others. T

4 Essentials To Help You Enjoy the Holidays

11.28.16

View original article published in Psych Central– The holidays give us great opportunities to continue existing traditions or establish new ones. We reconnect with friends and family. It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, for some it can become a stressful and overwhelming season, and for others, one of the loneliest times. Whether you have big plans or no plans, consider these four critical points to help you enjoy your holidays:   1. Make sure to take care of yourself first! That is selfish some may exclaim, but is it really? A great metaphor for self-care is the specific instructions we receive from flight attendants when we travel by plane. They inform us that if the airplane were to lose cabin pressure

The Before and After… by Nancy Larsen, MSW, CSW

9.21.16

In therapy, I often use art as a tool to help clients externalize their experience with OCD. This technique assists the client in expressing how OCD affects their life by using color; giving their OCD a name, a shape and a face. When I first mention to clients that they will be finger painting in session, they often have a surprised look on their face. Most of their comments go something like this, “Finger painting. Seriously? I haven’t finger painted since I was in…kindergarten.”  Although some are hesitant when they first start their painting, I find it is not long before they begin to get into their work and create what I call a masterpiece. Below you will find artwork done by a few of my clients. Each client was

Mindfulness and OCD

5.22.16

View original article published in Psych Central here] Vincent was a young man experiencing intrusive thoughts. All he wanted in life was to get rid of those tormenting images and thoughts once and for all. One day, after coming back from a camping trip he told his therapist, “I was so busy and focused on what I was doing that I didn’t have time to analyze my thoughts and obsess. I was mainly focused in the present moment. If only I could go on camping adventures every day!” Vincent’s OCD symptoms had begun when he was 12 years old. He had created thinking patterns that weren’t helpful. In the past, he had tried different “distracting strategies” but their effectiveness was short-lived. He also had discovered that fighting his internal expe

Every man dies. Not every man lives.

10.16.15

What are your values? What are your dreams? What is something you wish you could be doing instead of focusing on your OCD? OCD is still there, and you don’t have to put your life on hold until it’s “gone.” You can instead look at your values, what you stand for, and what your passions are or could be. You can start today. Make what matters the most the center of your life. We will all die at one point or another, but while we live, let’s make our lives more meaningful!

Mindfulness and OCD

10.14.15

A while ago, I met a young man who experienced intrusive thoughts. All he wanted in life was to get rid of those tormenting thoughts once and for all. One day, after coming back from an adventure camping trip he said, “I was so busy the whole time. It was fun mainly because I didn’t have time to analyze my thoughts. I was able to be in the present moment. If I could only do that every day!” He had noticed the difference it made when he was focused on the present moment without constantly evaluating his thoughts. His thoughts had still been there, but he didn’t engage them that weekend. Before this experience, he had neglected practicing mindfulness. He realized that by practicing every day he could learn to be in the present moment without

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