Disorders

Don’t Self-Diagnose, But Do Self-Refer

The internet has put entire libraries of information about mental health right at our fingertips. It's now possible to go online and learn about any mental health disorder you can name, take questionnaires looking at your symptoms, and even read the scientific literature if you feel like it.
In fact, with so much information a click away, it can be tempting to cut therapists and psychiatrists out of the process altogether. Why go to the trouble...
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 24, 2016


Well, it's finally fall, y'all!

Though my neck of the woods is still squeezing out every last drop of 90-degree weather it can.

If you're chilling at home like I am (and hey, even if you're not you can check them out later!), take a minute to catch up on the latest about a possible connection between internet addiction and mental health issues, how to cure your fear of flying, a new plan for schools to support students' mental health problems, and more.

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Eating Disorders

Fitness Trackers: Fun Gadget or Serious Weight Loss Aid?

While many media outlets are promoting the new Fitbit Charge 2, fitness trackers may turn out to be not as helpful as many of us believe when it comes to helping us lose weight. Although not marketed specifically as a weight loss tool, many people use fitness trackers to monitor their daily activity primarily in an effort to lose weight.

A new study should cause us to pause in our belief that technology always helps. Sometimes, the answer is simply not that clear.

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Anxiety and Panic

7 Ways to Cultivate Calm and Practice Self-Care

Some of us have a hard time relaxing. A very hard time. Maybe our minds race and rarely stop. I still need to finish those tasks on my list. What about that other thing? I can’t relax now, I need to wash the dishes, dust, fold the laundry, sweep, pay the bills, fix that problem and…Maybe our bodies are tense and tend to be on high alert. Often.

But we don’t have to resign ourselves to feeling on edge all the time or most of the time. We don’t have to resign ourselves to not being unable to unwind or breathe a sigh of relief. Regularly. We can cultivate calm by practicing a variety of healthy techniques.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

There’s a Best Time to Talk to Your Therapist — And That Time Is Specific to You

You’re likely aware that your energy and your mood shift throughout the day. Have you ever noticed you also have preferences for certain activities at certain times? You like to wake around the same time in the mornings. Exercise feels best at the same time, day after day. Your appetite follows a daily pattern, too, as do your desire for sex and physical intimacy.

The body’s bio rhythms regulate much of how we feel and what we do. The bio clock that keeps these rhythms in sync runs a little differently from one person to the next. These individual differences in bio time result in preferences for morning or evening activity, or something in between. (That’s why you like to rise with the sun and your partner hits the snooze button five times. Or vice-versa.)
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General

Why We Can’t Accept Ourselves — and Small Steps to Start

There are all sorts of obstacles that stop us from accepting ourselves. For starters, it might be a combination of scarce self-knowledge and wounds from our past, said Alexis Marson, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with individuals, couples, families and children.

We often lack knowledge and awareness about our emotions. And the most damaging past wounds tend to stem from our caregivers. Marson shared this example: You feel angry and interpret your parents as disconnecting from you. You do everything you can to dismiss or ignore your anger so you can maintain the connection. “If we've cut off our ability to feel anger, we aren't aware of that part of our self. You cannot accept something you don't even know is there.”
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General

Equine Assisted Therapy: An Interview with Anna Mott

Equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential treatment modality used to help a person's psychological health through directed interactions with a horse. While the idea may seem a little silly on first blush, it actually has a growing research base to suggest its potentially beneficial effects for those who engage in it. You can learn more about equine assisted psychotherapy here.

In this interview with Anna Mott -- owner of Alo Horses, an Equine Gestalt Coach, and a Karuna Reiki Master -- we learn more about a form of equine assisted therapy called the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.

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General

7 Ways to Honor Yourself Every Day

We can think of honoring ourselves in many different ways. Therapist Lisa Neuweg, LCPC, defines it as “accepting all parts of ourselves: “the good and bad, the perfect and imperfect, the disappointments and triumphs.” According to somatic psychotherapist Lisa McCrohan, MSW, given our current culture, it means living our lives around what’s most sacred or important to us -- instead of based on “the time on the clock.”

For self-acceptance and self-love coach Miri Klements it means being honest with herself and acknowledging what is true for her. It means treating herself with compassion, understanding, gentleness, acceptance and love.
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Mental Health and Wellness

When Everyday Is Game Day: How to Manage Distressing Thoughts

Thank you, Lee Corso.

Lee Corso, for the football uninformed, is the doddering analyst for ESPN’s College Gameday.

Specializing in well-worn cliches -- with the occasional insight, Corso raptures poetic about grit, tenacity, and toughness.

“Wow, they really wanted it,” Corso gushes about a ballyhooed team. As the ESPN highlights roll on, an ebullient player appears on your plasma screen. He barks into the camera, “We just wanted it more. We were flat-out tougher!”
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Family

When You Rely Too Much on What Others Think

Caring what others think is totally normal. It’s also adaptive. “[V]aluing other people’s thoughts and opinions is what helps us build relationships [and] integrate socially into society,” said Ashley Thorn, a LMFT, a psychotherapist who works with individuals, couples, and families on improving their relationships. “[It] keeps us respecting and following rules and pushes us to think and challenge ourselves.”

Caring what others think becomes a problem when we hyperfocus on their opinions -- and let them override our own. When we do this regularly, we send “a message to our brain that says we can’t ‘look out’ for ourselves or self-protect.” Which triggers self-doubt and insecurity.
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Children and Teens

Maintaining Your Sense of Self as a Stay-At-Home Mom

I don’t know who I am other than mom. Even when I have the time and can do whatever I want, I don’t know what I like to do anymore. I feel invisible. I only feel valued for the things I do for others. I have nothing to talk about aside from my kids. I wonder if they’ll think I’m boring.

Clinical psychologist Jessica Michaelson, PsyD, often hears these statements from her clients. It’s not that being a stay-at-home mom is inherently bad or damaging to our sense of self. In fact, if it aligns with your core values, it can absolutely strengthen it, said Michaelson, who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety, stress management and parent coaching.
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