General

Making History with The National Museum of Psychology & How You Can Help

The history of psychology is filled with famous and inventive figures, significant discoveries and fascinating research -- everything from Sigmund Freud and talk therapy to the birth (and demise) of dementia praecox to Phil Zimbardo’s prison experiment to Stanley Milgram and the shock heard around the world.

At first glance, these might seem like highly specific subjects only relevant to people in the psychology field. After all, who really needs to know about antiquated illnesses, decades-old experiments and psychology theories?

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Addiction

Treating Trichotillomania

As a hair stylist with over 15 years of experience, I recently had the opportunity to work with a client who suffered from trichotillomania. Also called "hair pulling disorder," trichotillomania is characterized by an obsessive pulling of one's own hair, leading to hair loss and baldness. It's often chronic, difficult to treat, and can lead to high stress and social impairment for the sufferer. The following is an account of our work with this client using my skills as a master stylist.

Our client had gone through years of hiding her pull spots and had become masterful at finding different up-styles to camouflage her problem areas. The idea was to add hair extensions, as the client and her behavioral therapist believed it would help her to stop her compulsive pulling.
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General

Rekindling the Spark in a Long-Term Marriage

People tend to work very hard to get into that “once-in-a-lifetime” relationship. The honeymoon phase of courting and dating requires great effort to let the other know that she is special, that he is “the one.”

Falling in love with your partner for the first time is all-consuming. Maintaining the love and affection once a relationship is well-established also requires effort. Often the responsibilities of life, work, and children may get in the way of focusing on the love and happiness that one feels toward his or her spouse. Your spouse may start to feel more like your roommate than your lover. It is possible, and actually enjoyable, to recapture the romance and fall back in love.

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Disorders

Why Men Stay Away from Therapy — and Why It’s Actually a Perfect Match

A man went to see psychologist Ryan Howes solely because his wife wanted him to. She wanted him to work on his communication and become more comfortable with intimacy. He wanted to be anywhere but there.

Many men feel this way about therapy.* And many men avoid it -- even when they’re struggling and need it most. They often see attending therapy as a “sign of weakness or inadequacy,” said Jean Fitzpatrick, LP, a psychotherapist who has extensive experience working with both men and women and whose practice focuses on relationship and career issues. In particular, men over 50 tend to have a harder time being vulnerable and putting their feelings into words, she said.

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General

5 Ways Group Therapy Strengthens Relationships

Everyone yearns for loving, positive relationships. Yet for many adults, stable companions continue to be out of reach. Friends come and go. Romances fall apart. Family members remain at odds with one another.

Why do some people have healthy, flourishing relationships while others do not? And why does individual therapy often fail to help people break their pattern of troubled relationships?

Unlike individual therapy, group therapy focuses exclusively on relationships. Group therapy begins with you taking 100 percent responsibility for your own behaviors and the outcomes of your relationships.
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Brain and Behavior

Hit By a Wave of Depression: It’s Sink or Swim

The blue tidal wave crests, pummeling you with dreaded hypotheticals and faulty, circuitous logic. It is unrelenting, plunging you into a numbing despair. The resolve to fight is shelved; you are searching for any elixir to latch onto.

Dramatic? Sure. Accurate? Yes. Besieged by depression, the numbing pain hollows you. Hours turn into days and days turn into months. Some grimly press on; for others, the blue wave is incapacitating.

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Disorders

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: How Action Conquers Emotion

“I don’t feel like it.”
When stress overwhelms me, I withdraw. Usually a talkative Ted, I glance at my phone and mumble, “Not today,” as the phone buzzes. Unhealthy? Sure. Ingrained? You betcha!

Insert DBT -- Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Or, as I call it, Don’t Be Timid. Stumbling across the emerging therapy, its simplicity registers. With DBT, opposite action is my guiding mantra.

Emotion fuels action, and when I am fearful or overwhelmed, I retreat into familiar creature comforts. Phone calls sit unreturned, dishes pile up, and bills mount. I stall, minimizing potential consequences.
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Depression

Is CBT a Scam & a Waste of Money?

Renowned UK psychologist Oliver James argues that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a "scam" and a "waste of money." His proof for the argument? Effects of CBT do not last.

It's true. The effects of virtually all treatments for mental illness do not seem to last forever. Whether you're taking a psychiatric medication or are involved in virtually any form of psychotherapy, the moment you stop the treatment, the effects of that treatment begin to fade.

But does that make treatment a "scam"?

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Anxiety and Panic

Living with an Anxious Spouse

All couples have their share of life challenges or issues throughout their relationship. However, when one spouse has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the couple faces a whole new set of challenges. Normal, everyday life issues seem to become exaggerated and can inevitably put a significant strain on the relationship.

Living with an anxiety disorder is typically associated with a great deal of personal distress, but it can be just as hard on the partners of those diagnosed with anxiety. Their significant others often take on more than the normal share of financial burden, household responsibilities, and emotional support.

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Antidepressant

Should Doctors Treat Depression Like Diabetes?

Depression is a mental disorder that impacts between 7 and 8 percent of Americans. But most people in the United States seek out treatment not from a specialist -- as they would readily do for cancer -- but from their primary care doctor.

Recently, a study in the journal Health Affairs complained that primary care physicians don't treat depression like they would other chronic diseases, like diabetes.

But is depression always a chronic condition? Should doctors treat it more like diabetes? Or should they instead treat it more like a serious condition in need of specialist care?

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General

7 More Bad, Annoying Habits of Therapists

Back in 2009, I wrote an article detailing some of the most annoying bad habits of therapists. It included things such as showing up late for a client's appointment, eating, sleeping or yawning in front of a client, or being distracted by a phone, text, email or pet.

Yes, these are all real things that happen every day in some therapists' offices. But generally, they are not signs of a good therapist, especially if they occur with regularity. (A once-in-a-while yawn is only human, after all.)

Here are seven more bad habits of therapists, habits that signal there may be a problem with your therapist's attention, focus -- or even career choice.

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Disorders

Being a Contender in Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is not for the faint-of-heart. Entering therapy is a substantial risk, especially when considering there is no blue print or written guarantee that you will get better. At the same time, it is just as thrilling as it is terrifying, like a sedentary extreme sport or emotional skydiving. Based in art, philosophy, and science, psychotherapy is fierce and a force to be reckoned with, so it still surprises me when patients worry about being judged as weak for stepping up to that level of commitment.

As a licensed social worker and post-graduate fellow, I was recently ask to speak to a group of interns about entering a program for psychoanalytically-informed psychotherapy after graduation.
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