Bullying

I Won’t Make the Same Mistakes My Parents Made

“I will not make the same mistakes my parents made.” It may be one of the most common sentiments in the world of parenting. But when we express this desire, it is often met with rolled eyes or some other doubtful response. Why is that? Deep down inside, I think we all sense it is much more complicated than we are willing to acknowledge.

Changing our parenting approach from the way we were raised is extremely difficult. The only easy solution is to swing the parenting pendulum to the opposite extreme, which does very little to improve the situation.

It is as though we are hardwired to behave in the same manner. In reality, that may be the truth. Our brain has been wired to perceive reality in a certain way.

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Caregivers

Coming to Terms with a Chronic Illness

It can be difficult to deal with a diagnosis of a chronic illness. News of a long-term or lifelong condition can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. It can also affect your relationships, home, career and finances.

Each person diagnosed with a chronic illness likely will react differently. There will be challenging times ahead, but adopting certain strategies and knowing that you are not alone can help you cope in the best way possible.

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Addiction

Mental Health in America: A Shakespearean Tragedy

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 16 million adults in the United States experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2012. Major Depressive Disorder is defined as “Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks and symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day.”

Along with diagnostic criteria for depression, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V is also notorious for a whole doctrine of pathologies under which the field of psychiatry preaches its creed; a grim gospel for any ardent disciple to follow. Social factors, environmental triggers, and increased stress in modern life all influence mental health, including the onset of depression. With healthcare expenditures approaching $3 trillion, our disorders and diseases are helping to keep the U.S. economy rolling.

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Caregivers

How Babies Change Relationships

Sheryl and Larry tied the knot five years ago. As educated, career-oriented people, they entered into a modern marriage. “I wouldn’t dream of marrying a man who believed that I should be doing the housework and child care while he put his feet up in front of the TV after work. That kind of thinking repulses me. And Larry’s not that kind of guy; he’s always been supportive of me and my career. That’s why I’m so confused now,” said Sheryl as she tried hard to hold back the tears.

“Since Josh was born 14 months ago, everything’s changed. I still work full-time but somehow, I’ve become the one in charge of all the never-ending tasks. Yes, Larry offers to help, saying, ‘just tell me what you want me to do.’ I could choke him when he says that. He just doesn’t get it.”

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Caregivers

The Mindful Pause

I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now and the first one I want to share with you is this: the mindful pause.

It's particularly useful for mothers. As a mother, your daily experience is of the craziness of multiple simultaneous demands on your attention, frequent interruptions, on-the-spot decision making, settling squabbles, switching tasks frequently and knowing what you do shapes the lives of your children.

Taking regular “mini-breaks” or moments to pause is necessary to regroup, recharge and restore the relaxation response in your body. It’s like a system reboot.
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Caregivers

Mindful Parenting in a Cyclone

Birds that survive cyclones fly right into the heart of it. The energy of it lifts them above the turmoil.

My teacher at meditation class recently was talking about our human tendency to get caught up in a cyclone of thought, of suffering and of wanting things to be something other than the way they are. Our minds want something to chew on and it is so seductive, so culturally reinforced, that we get sucked into the cyclone and lose our peace and equanimity.

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Caregivers

Responding to Humanitarian Crises

According to World Vision, more than 12 million are affected by the crisis in Syria. That is far more than those affected by Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined.

Recent events remind us of a dark time in Europe when other refugees were denied haven and abandoned to fate. Once again, large numbers of people are targets of violence and trauma. After years of suffering, they have left their homes and everything they love and care for because life has become intolerable. They have endured a hellish journey to find safety. And then they have been greeted by faces and hearts of stone.

Thankfully, it seems that voices of compassion are prevailing and refugees are being allowed to proceed to refuge, as international law guarantees civilians fleeing war.

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Caregivers

Is Your Therapist Helping You Enough?

Is your weekly appointment just a time to vent? What do you do when your therapy seems to be going nowhere?

Chances are you came to therapy because you wanted something you felt you couldn’t achieve on your own. You were unhappy or discouraged; maybe you felt hopeless about your career or relationship. You sought change. So you searched for a therapist, paid your hard-earned money, and started examining your life.
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Brain and Behavior

Surviving Abuse: Rejecting the Scarcity Lie

Survivors of abuse often live a life plagued with scarcity. We were taught at a young age that we weren’t enough, there wasn’t enough and life would not provide enough for us in the future. When we suffer financial abuse or trafficking, things are often worse. We can believe we have a finite worth, we are a commodity, and we have already expended that worth. All these beliefs leave very little hope for an abundant future.

My relationship with money has been a struggle for my entire life. I always made enough to survive when I worked in the corporate world. As I have started working for myself, I have come face-to-face with my monetary dysfunction. The lack of stability, the self-doubt and the intense commitment required make it scary on the good days.

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Caregivers

10 Signs You Need a New Therapist

If you are in counseling now or consider seeking a therapist in the future, it is important to choose a counselor who is the right fit for you. I am always saddened to hear of an individual or couple giving up on counseling after one bad experience. Therapists are each unique in their specific approaches and you deserve one who is qualified to meet your needs.

Here are a few signs that you may need a new therapist.
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Bipolar

Destigmatizing Dependence in Therapy

When I wrote my first article years ago about the power of psychotherapy, I was stunned by the reaction. Seventy-five percent was positive, but a very vocal minority attacked me viciously for either not having cured the patient or promoting a pathological dependence. They reasoned that had the patient received proper therapy she would not have needed anyone to solve her problems.

I was treating a woman for bipolar disorder with mood-stabilizing medication and monthly to bi-monthly psychotherapy. Her cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist referred her because she couldn’t get out of bed. She didn’t want to need medication.
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Caregivers

Why You Should Always Get a Second Opinion

When you are diagnosed with an illness, especially when you have a mental health condition, you should always get a second opinion. Or a third. Or a fourth. Get as many as you can. The more you get, the more expert evidence you can collect as to what the real issue is.

As a patient, it's important to be as informed as possible about your own condition. It’s your body and you have to live with it. You decide how to react to your situation. Educating yourself about diseases and treatments and understanding your symptoms will help you to make decisions on what to do because, ultimately, it’s up to you.

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