Family Articles

Adult Children of Divorce: Getting Through the Holidays

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Food, Family and the Holidays

Something like 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, but there’s a special group of us whose parents didn’t call it quits until we were adults. And with the holidays approaching, it’s a little different in our homes.

When people like me were in school, everyone else’s parents were getting divorced. We couldn’t wrap our heads around what that was like for them. Blake said his parents are fighting over him. Julie says she doesn’t have a whole room to herself at her mom’s house so she argues not to stay over there. Some kids were even shuffled around between maternal and paternal grandparents on weekends. Sometimes there was fighting. Sometimes there was palpable grief.

But in the end everyone got through it.

6 Tips for Approaching the Holiday Season

Monday, December 1st, 2014

6 Tips for Approaching the Holiday SeasonFor many of us, the holidays are stressful. Our stress might stem from having a narrow, rigid view of how the holidays are supposed to be, said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco.

We might feel pressure, from ourselves and others, to have a joyful holiday. But we might not feel particularly joyful, or at least not all the time if our family isn’t close by or our relationship is complex, she said.

In fact, it’s not uncommon when you’re spending time with your family to “find yourself catapulted back in time, taking on roles and participating in dynamics that you may have believed you’d left behind,” Shinraku said.

7 Tips for a Saner Holiday

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

7 Tips for a Saner HolidayAs soon as autumn comes, people’s thoughts begin to shift to the holidays, and sometimes those thoughts are accompanied by difficult emotions such as depression, frustration, and anxiety.

For some, the holidays conjure up unpleasant associations, such as the first event without Grandma there, or prickly family get-togethers. Then there are financial worries, the pressure to come up with gift ideas, dealing with school kids on vacation, to-do lists, and much more.

How to Navigate Anger When You’re Used to Stuffing it Down

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

How to Navigate Anger When You’re Used to Stuffing it DownMany of us are afraid of our anger, so we shove it down. We may worry that if we express it, we’ll do damage to ourselves or others, said Selena C. Snow, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in anger management in Rockville, Md.

We may say or do things at home or at work that we regret or will trigger negative consequences, she said.

Society also plays a role in shaping our fear or mistrust of anger.

What it Means to be Vulnerable

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Flickr photo by gato-gato-gatoIt’s a fact of life that you can’t truly form a relationship with at least some degree of vulnerability. You have to open up at some point or another. This has been one of those particular problems for me and as I get older I’m slowly learning how to let people in.

The truth of it is that I tend to keep people at arm’s length. I tend to maintain a distance even between my closest friends and that may be to my detriment. Jumping in wholly and completely just isn’t something that’s easy for me to do. Whether it’s a result of being hurt in the past or a result of the paranoia I feel every day as someone living with schizophrenia I’m not sure.

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: Staying in Touch — And in the Loop

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Siblings by Travis Swan

It’s difficult to know where you stand when your sibling is diagnosed with a severe mental illness. Their treatment can take up so much time and their symptoms can be so encompassing that there may not be a lot of room for you, let alone your relationship.

The dynamics of the family change after a diagnosis and you may feel like more of a caregiver than a brother or a sister.

Navigating the Holidays When You Have Depression

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Navigating the Holidays When You Have Depression For people with depression, the holidays can be a challenging time. People with the illness “tend to have a negative view of themselves and their lives,” said Selena C. Snow, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating depression in Rockville, Md.

“If they have overly idealized beliefs about what the holidays should look like, the resulting discrepancy can be very difficult.”

How to Deal with Invasive Thoughts

Monday, November 24th, 2014

inside_mind_schizophreniaI’m no stranger to nasty thoughts. I recognize when they’re present so innately that it’s safe to say it almost hurts. In my almost nine years of living with schizophrenia I’ve had to battle my fair share of these thoughts and I’ve gotten so good at it that I can almost see them coming from a mile away.

If it wasn’t the notion that people were making fun of me it was the idea that I’m more important than anyone else, i.e. grandiosity.

I’ve been subject to many nights where I just stared at the ceiling in the dark letting these little monsters run and play their tricks through all corners of my mind.

What I Wish You Understood About My Depression

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

What I Wish You Understood About My DepressionThere are many persistent misconceptions about depression. For instance, people assume depression is synonymous with sadness. (It’s not.)

They also assume that individuals with depression can simply snap out of it. (They can’t. Mild depression may abate with exercise, meditation and other self-help strategies. But most people’s clinical depression usually requires treatment.)

Such misconceptions can lead us to misinterpret what people need. It can lead us to make insensitive comments — “are you sure you want to get better?” — and to be dismissive of a disease that is actually devastating and really hard.

We asked people who have or had depression to share what they wish others knew and understood about the illness.

Confessions of a Stage-Four People-Pleaser

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Confessions of a Stage-Four People-PleaserMy junior year of college, I bought a used computer for $100. It was cheap because the thing was as huge as it was heavy. The challenge was to walk with this cumbersome piece of technology across campus to my dorm. I was finally to the steps of Holy Cross Hall when I tripped and fell flat on my face.

Did I issue a four-letter word?

Of course not.

I apologized.

To the student who was on the stairs staring at me.

Til Death Do Us Part: Coping with Commitment after Death

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Marriage May Lower Risk of Heart Attack SS

Are we still married after the death of one partner? “Til death do us part” is a part of all traditional marriage ceremonies, but I can’t help but wonder if it is really true. Do our vows — and our relationships — really end at death? Do we really “part” from those we love the most?

I can understand that our faithful, monogamous obligation may come to a completion at death, but I am not so sure much else comes to a sudden halt.

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support Skills

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support SkillsIs there a military veteran in your life living with an untreated mental health condition? Are you uncertain whether your support is actually hurting more than helping? If so, you are not alone.

Most of us are not inherently equipped with the skills to understand what our loved ones experienced while serving their country through military service. Yet, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent (PDF) of veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 that have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During the month of November, Care for Your Mind (CFYM) is showcasing an innovative program that coaches loved ones in how to provide healthy support for the veteran in their life.

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