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What To Do When You Feel Broken Inside?

10.17.17

In life, there are circumstances in which we simply have no control over; for example, our birthplace, genetic predispositions, cultural background, traumatic events, or illnesses. These among other situations influence the way we see ourselves as well as others. Our natural instinct is to survive and even when there is no physical danger, our mind still does a good job at helping us feel and stay safe. Our amazing problem-solving machine (the mind) gives us advice when it perceives something is not comfortable and pleasant. Though part of our mortal experience includes adversity and challenges, our mind does its best to keep us away from discomfort and pain. We are all broken. There is no single mortal being who does not have an external

Comparison: The Perfectionist’s Incessant Urge

9.26.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Alice had experienced many successes in her youth. She was gifted with athletic skills, intelligence, and an outgoing personality. She qualified for a scholarship in college and graduated with honors from a prestigious program. Alice enjoyed the praise of others, and felt she should be happy but was not. She had developed the habit of comparing herself with others. When she could not keep up with what she believed were others’ expectations, she felt anxious and depressed. She would say, “If I make a mistake, others will judge me, and I will be nothing!” Perfectionism is a topic of interest to many because of the impact it can have in individuals’ lives. There is nothing wrong with having a d

When Your Kid Is an Athlete and a Perfectionist

6.5.17

View original article published in Psych Central Joe loved playing soccer and if he had a choice, he would spend all his waking hours playing the sport. He was also a high achiever in other areas of his life. He was proud of the A’s he received in all his classes. He was multi-talented and his parents were pleased with his efforts. However, by the time he entered 10th grade, his parents noticed he had started to become highly critical of himself whenever his team lost. It was difficult for him to get over his own mistakes. He’d punish himself by increasing his practice time and avoid hanging out with his friends. One day, he told his dad that he would like to play soccer at a prestigious university in the future. His dad responded that that

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

Depression and Anxiety in Teens – Questions to Think About

3.31.17

The high numbers regarding anxiety and depression in teens are alarming. Experts keep trying to figure out why the numbers continue to rise. Research confirms what many mental health providers have known for years about this amazing, yet troubled population. When you think about your adolescent, consider the following questions: Are your teens learning healthy coping skills to deal with stressors, anxiety, and depression? Who are their role models and are they learning healthy coping skills from them? When they experience emotional pain, have your kids learned how to deal with it? Do they have the appropriate support from you and professionals if needed? Do you know if your adolescent is involved in self-harming behaviors? If so, is h

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

Two Ways to Put the Brakes on Your Anxiety

9.23.16

View original article published in Psych Central– Our human instinct is to react and push back when we feel pain and discomfort. When we struggle with anxiety, those feelings are magnified. Our inherent response is to try and get rid of unpleasant feelings and sensations immediately, but does it really work? This is an important question, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) teaches that fighting the discomfort can actually make the situation worse. Mental health providers practicing ACT often use the quicksand metaphor, and the reaction we naturally would have if we were ever caught in it. Even though we know it makes matters worse when we panic and try to get out quickly, our survival mechanisms tell us differently. Trying to

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

6 Ways to Help Your Worried Child

4.11.16

View original article published in Psych Central here. When Emma was 7 years old, she seemed to be catching a bug every Monday morning. She’d complain of stomachaches and didn’t want to go to school. Initially, Mom kept her home from school, believing Emma was sick. Usually, about an hour later, Mom would find Emma giggling and happily playing with her 4-year-old sister. She appeared to have been healed miraculously. Mom often wondered if Emma had been truthful and threatened to take her to school. Emma’s stomachaches would immediately return. This situation happened often enough to lead Mom to consult a professional. Mom discovered that Emma’s challenge was not integrity or a stomach problem. Emma was experiencing too many worries. Emma’

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