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THOUGHTS

Trichotillomania and Excoriation Disorder

7.13.14

A friend forwarded me the link to Rebecca  Brown’s videos and journal (Trich Journal).  She is a charming young woman who is very artistic and funny and also suffers from hair pulling and skin picking disorders.  I’ve watched some of her videos since I received her information.  Rebecca is doing an awesome job in helping others understand that they don’t have to feel ashamed of their disorders.  She is helping educate people, but most importantly, with her example, she is helping those that suffer. If you have questions about Trichotillomania and Skin Picking Disorders, please go to the Trichotillomania Learning Center website.  I attended their last conference in April and it was very informative.  Some of the material presented reg

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

Tim Howard, Soccer, and Tourette Syndrome

7.4.14

Tim Howard has been the talk of the town in the past few days.  His amazing talent defending the US goal against Belgium has earned him that honor.  Even though, the US lost, it was an exhilarating game and Howard showed his athletic abilities.  Even if you are not a soccer fan, you can be inspired by his story. He is a great goal keeper and also has not let Tourette Syndrome get in the way of his passion, goals, and vision in life. What is Tourette Syndrome? This is a neurobehavioral disorder that involves repetitive, stereotypical, and involuntary motor and vocal tics.  The tics may occur many times a day every day or intermittently throughout a period of more than a year.  The onset is before age 18.  It is a disorder with symptoms that

Mindset Family Therapy

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

4.23.14

 A TED talk about “Faking it until you become it!” Amy Cuddy talks about the research that has been done regarding non-verbal cues and interactions we have with others.  She also talks about how our nonverbal expressions, thoughts, feelings and physiology affect us. We know that our minds can change our bodies and she decided to find out if our bodies can change our minds.  Her research confirmed that indeed our bodies can change our minds and our lives in meaningful ways!  She tells about her own personal story when she was 19 years old after a car accident.  This TED talk is very powerful and I usually recommend clients to view it. If you experience social anxiety and doubts about yourself, this talk may greatly benefit you. E

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

Mindset Family Therapy

Anxiety: Why Humans Experience Anxiety

11.15.13

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:

OCD & Perfectionism

10.18.13

[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

How to Make Stress Your Friend

9.23.13

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

7 Ways to Help Your Anxious Child

8.27.13

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

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