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10 Things I’ve Learned as a Therapist and a Mom about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

6.11.19

By Allyson Guilbert, LCSW View original article published in Psych Central– I’ve been a mental health therapist for over 10 years and in the social work profession for more than 20. I have been pregnant 8 times, with 4 living children. I consider myself to be pretty self-aware, intelligent, and inquisitive. And yet… I had some form of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) with each of my pregnancies. I just didn’t know it. Oh, sure, I got sad and I got angry and with my older son, I couldn’t let myself fully bond to him until he was 9 months old, but I was fine, right? I even took medication, but that’s normal, right? I was introduced to PMADs last year when a friend of a friend posted about it on social media. I was intrigued. This

Tug-of-War with the OCD Monster

5.1.19

When you struggle with OCD, it may feel like you are constantly fighting a monster that just won’t go away. Day in and day out you keep fighting it, and you feel exhausted. ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) researchers and clinicians use the Tug-of War with a Monster metaphor to help people realize that there are better options than fighting their thoughts and feelings each day of their lives. Let’s pretend that your fears and doubts are like a big, hideous, and strong monster. You hate it, and you want to destroy it. The monster is holding one end of the rope and you are at the other end. In between the two of you there is a huge cliff with hot lava. You don’t want to fall over it. You want to control the monster, and so you keep pu

Must-Read Article about Seven Lesser-Known Types of OCD published on VICE

3.16.19

Shayla Love did an amazing job writing this comprehensive article on OCD for VICE. Nancy Larsen, LCSW and Annabella Hagen, LCSW, RPT-S were interviewed as part of it. Read it here.

A Panic Attack, the Wrestle Within

3.16.19

View original article published in Psych Central– Samantha felt overwhelmed by her school assignments, her relationships, and her job. She often felt like she was walking a tightrope while holding a pole that contained all of her “should” and “must” type of thoughts. “It’s not a matter of if, but when I’ll fall and crash!” she’d repeat. She would imagine placing her thoughts and feelings in a bottle and shutting the lid tightly. “I place them there so I can cope,” she would declare. She recognized her panic attack cycle: stress, anxiety, tension build up, and suppress until it shatters. Then starting all over again. She hated her panic attacks, but said she always felt better after experiencing one. Do Samantha’s struggles sound familiar?

When OCD is the Lemon Life Has Handed You

2.12.19

It has been said that when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade. Others say that they are willing to make lemon meringue pie, lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, lemon cookies, and lemon chicken, besides lemonade. The list can go on and on when you are creative and optimistic about your difficult circumstances. Certainly, no human being is free from adversity. It comes in different forms and some of us are able to handle it better than others. There is no question that it is how we look at our trials that can make a difference in how we deal with them. After all, “It is the struggle that creates the strength.” No matter how tough life gets, some people are able to stay optimistic. For others it may be extra challenging when the lemons relat

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

12.20.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Children sometimes have meltdowns when they don’t get what they want. Some adolescents can feel destitute when their wishes aren’t granted. When you feel confident about your plans and they don’t turn out the way you hoped, what is your response? As we run into bumps and storms in life, we may need to detour, delay, or completely cancel our plans. When we were young, we may have used words such as “It’s not fair,” and soon enough we found out this was true more often than not. Still, we protest, get mad, and blame others or ourselves for not obtaining our desires. When this happens, many of us get entangled with “should’ve,” “could’ve” “would’ve” type thoughts. Have you noticed the results

Pedophilia OCD: The Conundrum to Let Go of the Fight

10.13.18

View original article published in Psych Central– If you experience pedophilia OCD, you are someone who loves children. You may also struggle with unwanted sexual thoughts. Before OCD began to trigger you with this type of thoughts, you may have believed such thoughts would never cross your mind. And when they did, you felt ashamed, guilty, and confused. Trying to suppress and fight those thoughts appeared to be the most logical solution. The idea of not doing anything about intrusive thoughts seems despicable. Your mind may say, “If I let those thoughts happen without doing anything, it probably means I enjoy them!” You may respond, “Of course not! But what if I do? Oh no!” Then you begin the circular fighting tour in your mind again. Con

The Battle with OCD – Are You Winning?

10.8.18

Many individuals who suffer with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and those that support them often talk about the fight with OCD. “I won’t give up the fight with OCD.” It feels hopeful and encouraging when you say those words. Certainly, individuals experiencing OCD do not wish to let OCD get them down in life.   If individuals stay focused on what matters most despite their OCD, they can continue to pursue life with vitality. They would not let OCD get in the way of their relationships and their values. This is what they mean when they say, “I’m not going to let OCD beat me!”   Though people’s intention is not to let OCD ruin their lives, the mind grasps the word “fight” and it changes things around for them. Without realizing it,

When It Comes to Your Anxiety, Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

9.25.18

You probably haven’t thought much about the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer. Let’s review their differences. A thermometer measures your temperature. If you have a fever, it reacts to your temperature. A thermostat is something we place on the wall of our homes and purposely set the temperature where we want our environment to be. Let’s say, in wintertime we may want the temperature to be 72 degrees and the number doesn’t change at all. When the thermostat detects it’s getting colder than 72 degrees, the signal is sent to the heater and yes, the heater clicks on. However, the thermostat does not react and the temperature remains steady unless you change it. Thus, the thermostat responds to the temperature, where as the th

Is the Anxious Mind Spreading FUD in Your Life?

3.9.18

View original article published in Psych Central– In the cryptocurrency world, fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is something investors don’t want to experience. When FUD spreads, the value of the coin will drop, and those who invested will be unsure of what to do and wonder when the pain will stop. FUD is also something that people with anxiety don’t like to endure. They avoid and seek reassurance in order to be sure that FUD (fear, uncertainty, or doubt) is not part of their lives. Yet, they forget that FUD is part of the human condition. When we perceive danger, our survival built-in mechanism warns us, and fear sets in so we can escape or fight the danger. This is a good thing. Otherwise, our ancestors would not have made it, and we w

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