[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
Below is a funny little video I found about Mindfulness. When I show it to my clients, they just smile because they know the “science guy” is talking about them. Some of us think and worry too much about the future. Some of us indeed can start a “fight-or-flight” response just sitting in our living room. It is a good idea to plan and prepare for the future; however, it’s not a good idea to worry about things we cannot control. Check it out:
[View original article published in Psych Central here] Patty was feeling frustrated and depressed. No matter what she tried, she felt she was stuck. As a young child, she remembers she would come unglued if anyone walked in her room and messed up her belongings. She would arrange and rearrange things until they felt just right. When going to school, she remembered asking her mom if her hair looked perfect. Her mom would say, “You look beautiful!” Patty didn’t believe her. She would ask her mom to fix it better, or she would try to do it herself until it felt right. She wanted to be the best at everything she tried, but when things didn’t go as she expected, sadness and depression ensued. Her all-or-nothing thinking was getting in the way
I recently discovered a talk given by Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist. Her topic was stress. I felt validated as I have been telling my clients who experience stress to make it their friend. I usually teach them skills to change their attitude towards stress or anxiety. It is their attitude that will make the difference. McGonigal reports that for the past 10 years she has been teaching that stress makes people sick. However, she changed her approach towards stress after reading a study. She discovered that indeed, stress is harmful, but only when people believe it’s harmful. Below are the most relevant points in her talk. 1. If we believe that the physiological sensations and feelings we experience when we are stressed are h
When children are afraid about the unknown (new school, new grade, new house, etc), how do you handle it? Do you reassure them and say, “it’ll be okay, don’t worry about it” or do you try to help them process their thoughts and feelings? Our children need to know we understand how they feel. Don’t try to fix the worry or dismiss it; instead, validate their feelings and empathize with them. Here are additional ideas to help you with this process. 1. Read: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to get your child thinking about caterpillars and butterflies. 2. Invite your child to draw a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly. 3. The other day I was helping one of my young clients with her fears. I decided to use my caterpillar/butterfly puppe
Ron was on the verge of tears as he asked me, “Do other people with OCD have violent and aggressive thoughts? He refused to tell me what his thoughts were on the first session. I told him he didn’t have to talk about it yet if he didn’t want to. However, I reminded him that if he wanted the right kind of treatment, he would need to tell me about the thoughts that were distressing him. He said he had not been able to find much literature regarding OCD and violent thoughts. He said that what he had found was so minimal that he believed he was unique with his particular obsessions. He held a book in his hands and said, “I bought this book that talks about all types of OCD, and there are only two pages with the topic of violent thoughts.
This past Christmas I received a 27oz. bag of Ghirardelli chocolates. I don’t think I’m a chocoholic but I do enjoy chocolates. The night I received the bag, I ate and shared a few with my husband. They were delicious. I saved the rest for “rainy” days. And this winter, there have been just too many rainy, snowy, and foggy days! The craving and my hippocampus It happens late at night. The need for something sweet. Tangerines usually suffice. It may take as many as four, but my chocolate stash remains intact. But then there are those days — you know which ones — when you just need something stronger to get the job done. It’s then that the thought of my hidden stash pops up in my mind. I say to myself: “You had a great eatin