Befriending Anger

Tracy came to therapy to be treated for depression. When I first met her, I couldn't help notice how meek and small she seemed despite her tall stature. She claimed people walked all over her. And she was scared to say no for fear others would get angry.

As she shared her stories, she wilted like a flower in need of water. When I asked if she had feelings about what she was sharing, she said, "This is just the way it is" and then let out a big sigh.

I was struck by her passivity. As I listened to stories of friends and family who grossly took advantage of her kindness, I felt my blood boil. My anger got me curious about hers: where was it?

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Substance Abuse and the Holidays

Family celebrations tend to take center stage during the holidays. Unfortunately, many a holiday get-together is marred by disruptive, rude or antagonistic behavior on the part of one or more guests. Whether it’s a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker, when disturbing behavior takes place, it’s tough to know the reason. Here are 10 signs drugs or alcohol might be the culprit.

Nodding off at the table.
If you spot someone at the table who's struggling to stay awake, this is a telltale sign of alcohol or drug involvement. Alcohol is a known depressant, as are certain drugs. These cause a slowdown in the body’s central nervous system and can put you to sleep. Too much alcohol or drugs, however, can quickly escalate to a critical point, causing unconsciousness, a blackout, or worse.

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Surprising Differences between Lonely Women and Lonely Men

It’s certainly true that men and women handle negative emotional states differently. When things aren’t going well in a woman’s life, she tends to interpret it as depression. When a man doesn’t feel good about himself, he tends to express it as anger.

But men and women have loneliness in common. Do they handle it differently? Who's more prone to it? Who’s better at overcoming it? Let’s find out.

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5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude Throughout the Day

The benefits of practicing gratitude are innumerable. It helps release toxic emotions such as frustration, envy, regret and resentment while increasing sensitivity and empathy toward others. Being grateful also improves self-esteem and personal relationships by reducing social comparisons and supporting prosocial behavior.

While it’s common knowledge that cultivating gratitude is good for us, it’s not common practice for many of us. Here are five ways to change that.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Setting Healthy Boundaries

Leading a truly healthy and authentic lifestyle requires setting defined personal boundaries to create better relationships. Setting such boundaries helps improve communication skills, preserves self-respect and self-esteem, and decreases feelings of resentment and guilt. Knowing who we are as individuals and having a clear understanding of the space between where we end and another person begins is essential to living an emotionally healthy life.

For many people, setting these boundaries can be challenging and, in some cases, a completely new concept.
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What I Want You to Know about Mental Illness

Even on my worst days, I feel extremely lucky to have my job. It grants me the opportunity to hear stories and engage with people in the most raw, vulnerable way possible.

I have the privilege of studying, knowing, and working intimately with mental health issues; placing me on the front lines of this issue.

But it is easy to forget that an all-too-real stigma exists within the four walls of a therapy room.
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Storytelling Will Save the World

Captain’s log. Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m 26 years old and thinking about dying. Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop, and I don’t know how to do that. Both my father and grandfather didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop, and now both are dead.
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Borderline Personality

Borderline Personality Disorder: Facts vs. Myths

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious psychiatric condition marked by a pattern of unstable and stormy relationships, an unformed sense of identity, chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom, unstable moods, and poor impulsive control in areas such as spending, eating, sex, and substance use.

Fear surrounding real or imagined abandonment from loved ones is a profound concern for people with BPD and often is what underlies their destructive behaviors. Some people with BPD will go to dangerous lengths to avoid this fear, for example, by becoming suicidal or engaging in self-mutilation.
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How to Stop Pessimistic Self-Fulfilling Prophecies from Shaping Your Life

You believe that you’ll never have a healthy relationship, so you pick partners who are unavailable. You believe you’ll bomb the presentation, so you don’t practice. You believe you’re going to have a frustrating day, so you’re snippy with your spouse, which triggers a fight, which makes you miss your train, which makes you late for work. You believe you’ll have a bad time at a party, so you don’t talk to anyone. Others perceive you as cold and aloof, and don’t approach you either.

These are different examples of the same thing: self-fulfilling prophecies.
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