Brain and Behavior

How to Use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Once we understood the brain as a fixed, static entity. Now we see it as a changeable, growing organ. This should give much encouragement to those who feel limited by their beliefs that they are somehow stuck in habitual patterns of thinking, since the brain itself can be rewired because of its neuroplasticity.

Before brain imaging was possible, many psychotherapists were already using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people reframe their experiences and learn to modulate emotions and thoughts to rewire their brain into healthier patterns. The idea behind the method is that “you become what you practice.”
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Addiction

6 Reasons Why I Hate My Therapist

Editor's Note: This is intended to be a humorous piece.
So just when you are getting sick and tired of all those people giving you heartache for no apparent reason at all, you decide to shoot yourself in the head and find yourself a therapist so that he can give you more heartache than all the people put together.

But there is one big difference between now and then: Earlier you were getting your heartache for free. This time you are paying for it.
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Addiction

A Higher Power for Those Who Don’t Believe in a Higher Power

This article is not directed toward individuals who do not find themselves struggling to embrace a Higher Power of their understanding while working toward recovery. It is directed at those who may want to embrace something, yet cannot identify with what they are comfortable.

Several of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (and Narcotics Anonymous) involve a Higher Power, so one could imagine this being offputting to someone who does not identify one. It can be challenging to wrap your head around the steps if God or a Higher Power is not in your life.

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Aging

How to Deal with Difficult Parents

As kids, we put our parents on a pedestal. When we were growing up, they could heal every wound, solve every problem and fix anything that was broken.

As adults, we realize they don’t actually know everything and also have shortcomings. Sometimes, the tables turn -- our parents begin to come to us for financial help, relationship advice, or career guidance. We may start to feel like we are their parents and have come into a role of supporting them much sooner than we expected.

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Disorders

OCD’s Little Secret

This is our little secret: I robbed a bank.

At least that’s what my mind spits out. And according to my mind, I am likely to rob again and again.

When I walk into a bank to deposit a check, my heartbeat skips. Sweat trickles down my forehead. A boulder forms in my throat.

Why? Not because of my dwindling bank account or the imperious teller. My sneering mind is ready to pounce. An obsessive-compulsive disorder advocate and consumer, our vivid imagination has a darker side. We have committed unspeakable atrocities according to our deceitful thoughts.
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Bipolar

Bipolar Lenses

Explaining utter darkness to someone who has only lived in the sunlight would be a difficult task. They would have to believe you and trust in something they have never experienced. If you haven't experienced the darkness, perhaps after reading this you can help someone out of it.

Mania


When my eyes open in the morning, my mind goes from slumber to 100 mph. "I don’t know why I haven’t thought that! I need a (brain singing the Three’s Company theme song) new car! If I sold my current car and (dang I need a burger) sold my Xbox and TV I could afford the down payment and if I sell those baseball cards in the attic I can still pay rent! Wow! I am so handsome today! I know that I flunked out of college, but I am smarted than 90 percent of people so does it really matter? I want donuts. What DVDs do I have that I can sell to afford them?"
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Brain and Behavior

Black and White Thinking: Finding the Space Between

You've heard it before: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!"

This is a frequently used saying, but what does it really mean? Picture it. Baby, covered in strained carrots, yogurt and dried cereal. I've been there. You put the little chubby giggle monster in the water, and it just gets gross. Things are floating around, and the water changes into this murky swamp of ick.

Does that water make the baby less precious and snugly? Not at all. They are separate things. Gross water. Baby. Gross water does not make gross baby. We can put that together so easily with the baby metaphor, but not so easily with other situations.

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Addiction

Understanding PTSD and its Effects on Marriage

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs following a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault. Approximately eight percent of all people will experience PTSD at some point in their life. That number rises to about 30 percent for combat veterans.

Those suffering with PTSD may experience several different types of symptoms:

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Disorders

Are You Seeing a Good Therapist? 5 More Tell-Tale Signs

If you aren’t in the psychology field, it’s hard to know what you should expect from a therapist. After all, choosing a therapist is different from looking for a surgeon or chiropractor or dermatologist. Therapy is a unique process; one that requires you to be vulnerable. In fact, you might share things with your therapist that you’ve never shared with anyone.

So how do you know if the therapist you have or one who you’re considering is actually a good clinician?
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Disorders

Are You Seeing a Good Therapist? 5 Tell-Tale Signs

You find a therapist online or through your insurance. Or maybe a friend recommends them. Either way, you call and make your first appointment. You start seeing this therapist for 50-minute sessions once a week.

But how do you know if your therapist is actually good? It can be tough to tell because therapy can seem like a mysterious, cloaked process. We generally know what makes a good primary care physician or a good dentist. But what do good therapists say and act like?
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