Anxiety and Panic

‘Tis the Season

The joys of the holiday season: the picture-perfect weather, the dazzling holiday displays, and the ugly Christmas sweater parties. Even SantaCon is worth a couple chuckles.

But amidst the holiday cheer, there is a percolating stew of resentment and anger. Past slights, buried deep in our mental recesses, foment in our minds. Family volatility: the gift that keeps on giving.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

7 Practical Tips for Relieving Holiday Depression

For highly-sensitive folks and people predisposed to sadness, the holidays create a perfect storm for depression. There's the added stress of holiday shopping, decorating, and parties -- not to mention dealing with strained family relations; snowball and gingerbread cookies seem to stalk you; and a sense of forced merriment has a way of making you feel like a total loser if you change the radio station when "Jingle Bells" comes on.

According to research posted by the
Continue Reading


The Gift of Contentment During this Holiday Season

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
In a recent session, my client, Beth, explained, “The holidays are here again. I know I’m supposed to be excited, but it’s really just a reminder of how far away my family and friends are.” Beth had recently moved far away from her family for a job and really didn’t have anyone special to be with over the holidays. She was planning on spending them alone with a bottle of wine and a box of chocolate.
Continue Reading


The Holidays, Family, and Depression: A Survival Guide

There is no good time of the year to have mild to moderate depression. Once the end of the year holiday season rolls around, it isn’t a matter of dealing with the same routine day in and day out. Now there are holiday parties to attend, relatives to see, and other expectations that are either of your own making or imposed by others. While it may not seem possible, you can survive the holidays, including time that you feel must be spent with relatives you would rather avoid. Here are some tips that will help. 
Continue Reading

Children and Teens

When Yours Is the Home Adult Kids Come Home To

In a report of research about the holidays released by the American Psychological Association, 44% of Americans list family gatherings as one of the stressful aspects of the holidays. None the less, the same report states that people generally do love the holidays with 53% of those surveyed mentioning that getting together with family and friends as being their favorite part of this time of year; 36% specifically mentioning spending more time with family.
Continue Reading


7 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Difficult people are like the termites of the human spirit. They can be eating away at the tender parts of you for months on end before you notice, and then, suddenly, at a work meeting or a family dinner, you lose it. You might scream something unkind or have a temper tantrum much like the two-year-old on "Nanny 911", or even do something drastic like start binge drinking again after a few years of sobriety. Unfortunately, living on earth as a homo sapien requires dealing with other homo sapiens -- unless you want to isolate yourself and watch Dr. Phil all day long. So having some techniques in mind, especially during the holidays and other times of vulnerability, can help you arrest their damage before your structure crumbles.
Continue Reading


The Social Club: A Shelter in the Storm

“Hey, Matt, come with me. I am going to my satellite office. Bring your laptop; you can do some work,” Uncle John said.

As I hurriedly grabbed my belongings, I visualized Uncle John’s office. It was probably a nondescript building tucked in a tony Minneapolis suburb. I wondered if Uncle John had a corner office.

Within minutes, I was walking into an unassuming strip mall in an affluent Minneapolis suburb. But there were no humming laptops or frazzled secretaries greeting Uncle John.
Continue Reading


How to Distinguish Between Normal Marital Arguments and Abuse

Arguments are a normal part of marriage or any committed relationship. Abuse is not.

It is easy to tell the difference if you know the telltale signs of abuse.

The ideal relationship is one where peace and harmony always reign or almost always. That certainly should be the goal of every couple.

On the other hand, what cancer is to the body, emotional abuse is to marriages and committed relationships.
Continue Reading