Depression

Suicide Prevention Awareness: How to Ask

This month is suicide prevention awareness month. Statistics show that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and for every suicide, there are 25 attempts. There are many myths about suicide, and I believe there is one myth in particular that must be discussed.

Myth:
If I ask someone directly if they are thinking about suicide, I might make them think about it or act on it.
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Brain and Behavior

The Brain Has a Mind of Its Own

It doesn’t take an encounter with a bear or a threatening gun to trigger symptoms of the fight or flight response. I experienced similar phenomena when undergoing a consultation with a surgeon for an elective, life-altering surgery.

Her bedside manner exuded a cold, indifferent and detached attitude. With barely a glance at me, she entered the consulting room and settled into her chair. A few perfunctory questions and she did her due diligence by rattling off the risks involved with a robotic monotone that had been programmed into her. A few hasty and superficial parting words and the meeting ended abruptly.

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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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Anxiety and Panic

Two Ways to Put the Brakes on Your Anxiety

Our human instinct is to react and push back when we feel pain and discomfort. When we struggle with anxiety, those feelings are magnified. Our inherent response is to try and get rid of unpleasant feelings and sensations immediately. But does it really work?

This is an important question, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) teaches that fighting the discomfort can actually make the situation worse. Mental health providers practicing ACT often use the quicksand metaphor, and the reaction we naturally would have if we were ever caught in it. Even though we know it makes matters worse when we panic and try to get out quickly, our survival mechanisms tell us differently.
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Anger

How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

“If I accept that I can never have a real relationship with my father, it feels like I don’t have a father. If I accept that, am I still a son?”

Jack’s Story:

Jack is a 45-year-old architect, recently married for the first time. He came to therapy to deal with long-standing feelings of depression. His wife, ten years younger than Jack, wanted to start a family. Jack had spent years keeping a cool and cordial distance from his critical father. Now, as his wife pressed him to become a father himself, he felt flooded by sadness and insecurity. Could he be a good father? What if he messed it up?
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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

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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Psychotherapy

Who Can Benefit From Individual Therapy?

If you're thinking of meeting with a psychotherapist, you might have a general feeling that you want to try therapy but not be sure exactly what a therapist is going to do for you. You might even wonder, "Can I really get that much out of talking to a therapist?"

The short answer is: yes. Everyone stands to gain from reflecting on their lives and improving their coping skills.

But there's one group of people who have a problem that is an especially good for therapy. I'm talking about people who feel they need another perspective.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

9 Steps to Treat Depression Naturally

Ever since I started an online community for treatment-resistant depression -- depression and anxiety that don't respond to psychotropic medications -- I’ve been inundated with mail from desperate people who have tried as many as 30 to 40 different kinds of antidepressants, and feel no relief.

I repeatedly hear from family members of folks who have tried everything, and are not getting better. I sense the utter frustration and despair in their words, and it pains...
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General

Hillary Clinton on Mental Health in America

In the run-up to the Presidential election in America, we're examining the candidates' views on mental health and mental illness. Last month, we examined what little Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, had to say on mental health. He has spoken using terms for mental illness that most people have long since abandoned in order to insult others -- that's been the gist of his policy statements about mental illness.

This month, we'll examine the proposed mental health policy agenda of the Democrat's nominee for President, Hillary Clinton.

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General

5 Hidden Benefits of a Good Massage

Aside from the fact that a good massage makes you feel better, what are some of the other benefits to this practice? As a longtime advocate for massage, I decided to delve into its not-as-well-known aspects to see what else it offers beside a well-spent hour on the table. What I discovered are the following five hidden benefits of a good massage.

Massage loosens muscles

Being in physical therapy for a recent low back pain episode means I’m working muscles that have not seen regular activity for some time. That results in soreness that proves I’m doing things right, but it’s also a little uncomfortable.
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Depression

Words of Hope for Anyone Struggling with Depression

One of the worst parts about depression -- and there are certainly many -- is that it robs you of hope. Hope that you’ll actually feel better. Hope that the darkness will lift. Hope that the emptiness will fill up and you’ll feel motivated and excited. Hope that it won’t be like this forever. Hope that you’ll get through it.

“I’ve been struggling with depression for almost 35 years,” said Douglas Cootey, who pens the award-winning blog
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