Can You Treat Depression with an App?

With the proliferation of health tracking apps, it's no surprise to see dozens being offered to help treat people with depressive symptoms. (No app has been FDA-approved or scientifically proven to actually treat depression.)

The New York Times asks four experts and researchers in this area whether you can treat depression with an app in their latest Room for Debate. It's an interesting discussion worth the read.

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6 Surprising Myths of Inpatient Residential Rehab

We've all seen the commercials: gentle, soothing music playing over a reassuring voice that tells you that this specific rehab center is going to change your life. Because, after all, it's changed his.

Inpatient rehab centers offer treatment for people with substance abuse or alcohol disorders. Most are intensive, requiring patients to live in their facility 24 hours a day for 30 days. And it is a gold mine for those who run such addiction recovery centers.

The Carlat Report: Addiction Treatment's July/August 2015 issue is devoted to the topic of understanding treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse. It also offers an eye-opening interview with the former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Here we run down some of the myths we gleaned from the issue about residential rehab.

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10 Signs You Need a New Therapist

If you are in counseling now or consider seeking a therapist in the future, it is important to choose a counselor who is the right fit for you. I am always saddened to hear of an individual or couple giving up on counseling after one bad experience. Therapists are each unique in their specific approaches and you deserve one who is qualified to meet your needs.

Here are a few signs that you may need a new therapist.
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Focusing: A Path Toward Befriending Feelings

During the 1960’s, the psychologist and philosopher Eugene Gendlin asked a simple question: why do some people make progress in psychotherapy, while others don't -- and what is happening within those individuals who are benefiting from therapy?

After analyzing hundreds of taped therapy sessions, Gendlin and his team discovered that they could accurately predict after one or two sessions whether or not therapy would be successful. Surprisingly, positive outcomes were not linked to the orientation of the therapist, but rather to what these clients were doing within themselves.

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Destigmatizing Dependence in Therapy

When I wrote my first article years ago about the power of psychotherapy, I was stunned by the reaction. Seventy-five percent was positive, but a very vocal minority attacked me viciously for either not having cured the patient or promoting a pathological dependence. They reasoned that had the patient received proper therapy she would not have needed anyone to solve her problems.

I was treating a woman for bipolar disorder with mood-stabilizing medication and monthly to bi-monthly psychotherapy. Her cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist referred her because she couldn’t get out of bed. She didn’t want to need medication.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Things to Consider When Your Depression Is Not Getting Better

I keep getting the same email over and over again, and my heart aches each time I read it: “I have tried everything to overcome my depression, but nothing has helped. Is there anything else I can do or will I have to live the rest of my life plagued with sadness?”

First, hear these three words: There is hope. If there wasn’t any, I would not be alive writing my blog. I am one of the worst cases out there like you are. I have spent more years of my life fantasizing about death than wanting to be alive. I get it. But now I do enjoy some really good days -- where I feel better than I ever have. And those good days keep me motivated to get through the harder ones.
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Why You Should Always Get a Second Opinion

When you are diagnosed with an illness, especially when you have a mental health condition, you should always get a second opinion. Or a third. Or a fourth. Get as many as you can. The more you get, the more expert evidence you can collect as to what the real issue is.

As a patient, it's important to be as informed as possible about your own condition. It’s your body and you have to live with it. You decide how to react to your situation. Educating yourself about diseases and treatments and understanding your symptoms will help you to make decisions on what to do because, ultimately, it’s up to you.

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5 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

The therapist-client relationship is unique. Therapists are prohibited from sharing their personal information with clients due to a strict code of ethics. But as a therapist, I can't help but share some secrets with you.

What is in our hearts is more important than what is in our brains.
The theories we specialize in are all wonderful, but research has proven time and time again that what influences how much you benefit from therapy is the quality of the relationship with your therapist. If you don’t feel understood and heard by your therapist, if you don’t think they are being honest enough with you and pushing you hard, if you don’t feel like you have an amazing connection with them, find a new therapist. The latest clinical techniques and tips that we have mastered are secondary to the bond and trust that we can help create with you in the therapy session.
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Creativity for Better Performance

A long term-patient told a fascinating story a couple of weeks ago which points to the power of creativity in strengthening critical thinking. The person’s identity is well-disguised so no confidentiality is breached.

For several years I have been treating a young man (we’ll refer to him as Collin) with psychostimulants for chronic ADD and psychotherapy to address his perfectionism. We’re also working on finding a work environment conducive to combining his entrepreneurial proclivities and his considerable technological savvy. (He taught himself to code a complicated computer program that would benefit his industry.)

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