Caregivers Articles

Shopping for a Good Therapist? 4 Questions You Must Ask

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Shopping for a Good Therapist? 4 Questions You Must AskFinding the right therapist is right up there with finding the right spouse when it comes to securing happiness and serenity. And while friends and siblings can help you screen candidates for a permanent place at the Thanksgiving table, you’re left solo when recruiting a therapist.

Marriage and family therapist Ilyana Romanovsky offers four helpful questions to start with in her book, Choosing Therapy: A Guide to Getting What You Need. It may be helpful to keep these in mind when shopping for a therapist…

Giving Your Child Some Power

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Giving Your Child Some PowerI am reading The Three P’s of Parenting by Jennifer Jones, Ph.D. Are you thinking patience, potty training or poop?

Those elusive P’s are: power, protection and prediction. Jones explains that the P’s correspond with the chief insecurities that plague children.

She states that “when a child lacks power, he feels helpless, so he will assert himself or try to control others. [...] When a child cannot predict what will happen or what those around him will do, he will focus his energy on controlling the behavior and responses of others so that his world feels more certain.”

Sounds like common sense, right? How come, as parents, we don’t follow these models? Why do only formally trained mental health professionals and doctors look deep into our children’s behaviors when the reasons behind the behavior seem so simplistic?

Co-Parenting with a Partner on the Autism Spectrum

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Co-Parenting with a Partner on the Autism Spectrum

With as many as 1.5 million Americans having some form of autism, including milder variants such as what used to be called Asperger Syndrome, many of those on the autism spectrum are also parents. What are the challenges associated with co-parenting with an ‘Aspie’ partner?

When you have a family member on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can be the ordinary things that cause life to grind to a halt. Ordinary things, such as: getting enough sleep; asking your spouse to pick up a child from soccer practice; or having a little family chitchat at the dining table.

9 Habits of Highly Effective Psychiatrists

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

9 Habits of Highly Effective PsychiatristsHaving seen a half dozen psychiatrists in town, I can appreciate the differences in bedside manners, communication styles, and psychiatric strategies.

I also know what makes a person a good psychiatrist, a mediocre one, and one that should have been held back in medical school, without a license to dole out antipsychotics and other powerful drugs to vulnerable patients.

Here are a few things I look for in a doctor, qualities that set them apart from your average psychiatrist.

Talk the Talk: 10 Tips for Starting Therapy

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Talk the Talk: 10 Tips for Starting TherapyA friend of mine recently told me about her experience of starting psychotherapy. She said she would have liked a list of pointers to help her understand what she was getting into before she started. That sounded like a good idea to me.

It’s not uncommon to want a few signposts when we start a journey. Inspired by her, here are 10 things I think might be helpful to you if you’re new to, or thinking about, therapy.

Treating Teen Bipolar Disorder with Medication

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Treating Teen Bipolar Disorder with MedicationIf your child has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might have already had a discussion with his or her psychiatrist about medication. However, using psychotropic medication, although growing as a choice for treating psychological disorders, continues to carry a stigma. Often, those who take medication for their mental health are judged or looked down upon.

Despite this, research shows that the combination of medication and individual therapy are quite effective for treating most mood disorders. For bipolar disorder, specifically, medication can manage the wide swing of changing moods from depression to mania. This article will address the various forms of medication that might be used in teen bipolar disorder treatment.

An Open Letter to Those Defending Woody Allen

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

An Open Letter to Those Defending Woody AllenWhen I read the article by Dylan Farrow, I was shocked by her bravery, honesty and resiliency.

I was surprised by how she was willing to stand up against someone who is revered by our society as a talented artist.

However, I was more shocked by those who are willing to defend Woody Allen, a man who has been accused of child sexual abuse by one adopted daughter and married the other one [Ed. - Allen was never Soon-Yi Previn's father, adopted or otherwise, according to both Allen and Previn.]. The myriad reasons for this defense show a complete lack of understanding for the complex trauma of a child sex abuse victim.

Let’s discuss some of those reasons…

Fathers, Daughters & Learning Self-Esteem

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Fathers, Daughters & Learning Self-EsteemA healthy father-daughter relationship is key for developing a girl’s positive self-esteem. For all little girls, dad is the first male figure in her life. He and mom are everything; they become the child’s world. If that relationship between father and daughter is strained at an early age it can make for a lifetime of internal challenges and struggles with the opposite sex.

This powerful relationship between father and daughter begins around age 2 and lasts a lifetime, but the critical (formative) years are ages 2 through 4. The basic questions that go along with development at this age are: Is it OK to be me? Am I free to explore, to experiment with my new environment and enjoy the things I gravitate toward?

The 12 Steps & Partners of Sex Addicts in Recovery

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

The 12 Steps & Partners of Sex Addicts in RecoveryPartners of sex addicts often are devastated when they come in for therapy, and so usually have a lot of questions about how to proceed.

Many partners are so focused on the sex addict’s strides toward recovery that they often overlook themselves and their own care. I emphasize to partners of sex addicts that it is crucial to look at the ways that they have been affected by sex addiction and to actively engage in their own recovery process.

Partners of sex addicts are dealing with the trauma of discovery and, oftentimes, don’t know where to turn. Here’s a good place to start.

Depression in Doctors

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Depression in DoctorsIt’s official: In Australia, doctors are depressed.

The results of a survey published by Beyond Blue in October 2013 showed that the rates of depression in over 14,000 doctors and medical students are over four times higher than in that of the general population. One in ten had suicidal thoughts in the last 12 months.

Almost 6 percent of doctors under age 30 experienced very high psychological distress, which was twice the rate of the general population.

I Forgot What? Healing Through Memories

Friday, October 18th, 2013

I Forgot What? Healing Through MemoriesA couple of weeks ago, my external life took a back seat to my internal life. Although my external life is pretty good these days, my internal life is pretty ugly. It is a series of traumatic experiences with emotions to match.

When it is time to pay attention to the internal life, it means my childhood memories are coming back.

And I had better pay attention. I had better be ready for some depression, some sadness, some anger that rivals a toddler’s tantrums, some anxiety and some intense exhaustion. Needless to say, the external life starts to slow down a bit.

Therapists Have Therapy Too

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Therapists Have Therapy TooOne thing that often surprises me is when a therapy user comments on how they admire the therapist because they must never get overwhelmed by the common issues or problems the rest of humanity experiences.

The times I’ve heard people tell me, “I wish I was like you, you are so calm and together.” As much as I appreciate the compliment, that isn’t always true.

I’ve been through psychotherapy before. As a trainee years and years ago, I was required to do at least a year of therapy. And although when I went into therapy I thought I didn’t have any issues to talk about and thought myself self-aware, I soon learned how easy it is fooling oneself.

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