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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General

The Boys in the Boat — a Metaphor for Marriage

When you dream of a great marriage, what do you see? Spouses enjoying being together, basically in harmony for a lifetime?

Or does “happily married” sound to you like an impossible dream?

Cynicism about marriage is common these days. Fairytales that finish with “and they lived happily ever after” don’t mention a key ingredient in marriage. Nor do novels and movies give credence to the importance of this element: Teamwork.
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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

Mental Health Courts: Does Coercion Add Anything of Value to Treatment?

Mental health courts are America's sad, broken way of dealing with people who have mental illness -- who also happen to have committed a crime. Even something as small as a misdemeanor. I mean, what better way to treat a person's mental illness than to send them to a court tailored for their mental health needs?

The truth is that if a person is receiving adequate care in the community through the public mental health system, there'd likely be far fewer people who get involved in criminal justice system to begin with. People with mental illness get involved in the court system for a wide variety of reasons (psychosis, drugs, mania, etc.). Such involvement is usually just a side effect of a person who isn't getting any kind of decent treatment.

So do mental health courts work? Or could you offer the same services to people without the coercion and get similar results? The long-term data is in.

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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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Anxiety and Panic

5 Ways to Lower Your Child’s Anxiety

As a child and family therapist, the concern I hear most often is, “I think my child may have anxiety, and I’m not sure how to help.” Quite honestly, I don’t need to travel as far as my office to see the various ways anxiety affects children in today’s world. As a mom of three, I see firsthand how the world we live in today incites excessive stress in our kids.

Our children are encompassed...
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 16, 2016


Good morning (or afternoon, evening, or night?) lovely readers!

If you checked in with me last week, you know I was dreading a weekend of snow; well, Mother Nature smiled on my little neck of the woods and gave us a few inches only on Sunday.

All in all, not a raw deal.

Anyway, I'm probably working this weekend (boo!), but I have some great tips, resources, and other updates from the mental health community to share with you first. Read on to get the latest on tips for anger management, find out which of your seemingly harmless common daily habits could actually hurt your health, why sarcasm could be good for creative thinking, and more!

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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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Anxiety and Panic

7 Ways to Keep Worry at Bay When You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy is both a beautiful and challenging time. It’s understandable that moms-to-be may have a long list of worries. For instance, maybe you’re worried about your baby’s health and well-being. Maybe you’re not sure if you’re doing enough -- eating enough, eating the right foods, exercising too much, exercising too little.

Maybe you’ve experienced miscarriages before, and you’re worried about losing this baby, too. Maybe you have a high-risk pregnancy, and you’re worried about your baby’s development and delivering early. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll miss something vital and be late in getting to your doctor or the hospital.

These are all common worries that pregnant women have, according to Parijat Deshpande, a perinatal wellness counselor who specializes in working with women during a high-risk pregnancy -- something she has personal experience with. Thankfully, there are many helpful things you can do to reduce worry and relax. Below, Deshpande shared seven suggestions. 
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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: April 15, 2016

There is a deficit in this country. People are starving for it. Countries are warring over it. The greatest need we have is compassion. It takes effort to put yourself in the shoes of your judgy mom or the aunt who thinks you’re making up your illness. But if you were to see things from their perspective, you might not take it so personally. Most times people are critical and harsh because they’re critical and harsh with themselves. The key to peace isn’t stretching outward to find it, its finding love, understanding and empathy in your self.

In Whatever Arises Love that, Matt Kahn says the following:

“When I’m sad, I deserve more love, not less. When I’m angry, I deserve more love, not less. When I’m frustrated, I deserve more love, not less. Whenever I’m hurt, heartbroken, ashamed, or feeling guilty, I deserve more love, not less…No matter the past that I’ve survived, I deserve more love, not less. No matter what remains up ahead, I deserve more love, not less. On my worst day, I deserve more love, not less.”

But isn’t it true that when we’re depressed or struggling with addiction, we’re the cruelest to ourselves? It’s at the moment when we decide to speak our mind, follow a dream, or express a hidden emotion that we deserve and need support most. We often look outside ourselves for it. But we won't buy into it unless we've given that to ourselves. Good or bad, we must as Kahn says, “love that.”

Our bloggers are talking about everything from being a step-parent to dealing with relationships and addiction. No matter what you're going through, respond with love.
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General

Accepting Ourselves Without Labels

It feels good to know that other people are just like me, especially when I have been going through tough times. When I discover a group of people going through the same thing as I am, I am reassured and comforted.

Often these groups will have a way of identifying themselves and their experiences. I can go online and discover a labeled group for practically every emotion that I feel.

Anxious and depressed? There are groups for that. Hypochondria kicking in? Plenty of blogs for that. Feeling extra sensitive and introverted? There are communities for those labels too. Yoga phase has you feeling spiritual? Hop on Twitter and follow the hashtags. Upset from chronic digestive issues? Just look on Facebook.

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Bipolar

Can You Wrap Your Head Around Delusional Thinking?

Delusion -- noun. an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
What makes delusional thinking so scary? Well, from the outside we can’t understand the logic of the delusion. The delusion itself causes the individual to feel distress and behave erratically. And their belief in something that is unreal distresses everyone around them.

Listening to a recent episode of “This American Life” I had an aha-moment. A 26-year-old student, Alan Pean, explains the delusions he was suffering when he entered a Texas hospital last August.
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