Introducing the Blog, Play Therapy

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Introducing the Blog, Play TherapyI’m very pleased to introduce Dr. Kristi Pikiewicz’s blog, Play Therapy. Here’s her wonderful and informative introduction to what she’ll be talking about on here:

Play therapy is more than babysitting amid colorful clutter. It is a rich therapy tradition with a long history of research and use, requiring a skilled dance between therapist and client. Play therapy lets young people speak through actions — it lets them communicate complex feelings, experiences and emotions through metaphor.

In addition to engaging children in communication, play therapy brings actions and emotions into the room. For example, instead of talking about a child’s difficulties to self-regulate, a skilled play therapist may allow his or her client to become slightly dysregulated during therapeutic play. This allows the therapist and client to work together in a situation that is much more “real” than talk alone to discover and practice skills for self-regulation. Play requires focus, resilience and social communication.

If managed well, it takes empathy and creativity and planning. As therapists, parents and teachers, these are the skills we want our kids to master. Intentional and educated play therapy is wonderful way to teach this mastery.

Please give her a warm Psych Central welcome over on her new blog, Play Therapy, today!

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Best of Our Blogs: August 19, 2014

by Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
Best of Our Blogs

For the past few years I’ve been battling an autoimmune disease. On bad days, it wreaks havoc on my physical and emotional health. The hardest part of dealing with the illness, however, is not fighting it, but myself.

When things are going well, it’s almost a non-issue. As a result, I might let things slide a bit forgetting the importance of self-care. I’ll start to eat foods that don’t serve me, sleep a little too late, or work a little too much. And then when I’m sick again, I feel defeated. The greatest challenge is to be kind to myself when I mess up. Because I will.

The same can be said whether you’re battling an illness, making life-enhancing decisions, coping with your inner critic or teaching your children how to have a healthy relationship with their emotions. We all have days when we make mistakes. The only way to have the stamina to persevere is to meet each disappointment with kindness, acceptance and the belief that while we screwed up today, we can always try again tomorrow.

{Photo from here.}

{Photo from here.}


Answering Children’s Questions about Foster Care

by Paul C. Milford, MSW, RCSWI

Answering Children's Questions about Foster CareRecently, a colleague came to me for advice on addressing a very tough question from a child: Why don’t I live with mommy anymore? With roughly 400,000 children in out-of-home placements in the United States, this is a question that gets asked by hundreds of thousands of children every year.

If you’re a foster parent, you’ve probably answered this question many times. However, if you’re a relative taking custody of a child, this question may not be one you’ve prepared for. Instead of anxiously awaiting the child’s question, I recommend being proactive and facilitating a meaningful discussion with the child about the move.


“Life Is What Our Character Makes It. We Fashion It, as a Snail Does Its Shell.”

by Gretchen Rubin

Jules-Renard-243x300“Life is what our character makes it. We fashion it, as a snail does its shell.”

–Jules Renard, Journal

Agree, disagree?

I’d never heard of French writer Jules Renard, but I love this journal.

Or perhaps it would be more accurate to add “Life is what our habits make it.” Do you agree with that? But of course, I see everything through the lens of habits these days, because of writing my book about habit-formation, Better Than Before.

To hear when Better Than Before goes on sale, sign up here.


Depression When You Have It All

by Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Depression When You Have It AllPeople think, if only I had success in life, I’d be the happiest person on earth. Yet, as Robin Williams’ suicide so clearly demonstrates, you can have fame, fortune, a loving family and still be depressed. Though I have no knowledge of Robin Williams’ inner psyche, I do know that those with wealth and status are not immune to depression. Indeed, they may even be more prone to it.

Why should this be so?

The old adage that money doesn’t buy you happiness is true — unless you are desperately poor. Then reaching a basic standard of living does lead to happiness, at least for awhile. However, having money does not protect you from becoming depressed.

But how can people who have “everything” be depressed? What is there to be depressed about?

Like many things in life, it’s complicated.

  • You can have a joyous spirit when you’re with others, yet be plagued with feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy when you’re alone.
  • You can be flexible with many notions, yet remain rigid about not accepting your deficiencies and defects.
  • You can be creative in finding solutions to other people’s problems, yet be blind to alternative ways of thinking about your own problems.
  • You can be amusing and entertaining at social gatherings, yet not be able to talk yourself out of your depressive feelings.
  • You can appreciate the adoration you receive, yet be fearful that you will let others down.
  • You can enjoy everything you have, yet demand more from yourself, because of all you have.

When …


Is Suicide a Free Choice or a False Choice?

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Is Suicide a Free Choice or a False Choice?

Is suicide a free choice, like choosing to do the laundry today, or to watch TV?

Or is the act of suicide more of a false choice — the illusion of choice, with none of the freedom we typically associate with the word?

Some people may feel this is semantics — not worth the time to discuss. But given some of the ridiculous things that have been written about suicide in the past week, I feel like it’s an important point to examine and understand.

Suicide is not a choice in any meaningful sense of the word. Here’s why.


Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?

by Tracy Wilson

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?Both counseling and self-help tools can be invaluable in living with mental illness. They can contribute to your recovery.

Over 15 years of illness, I have experienced both. Counseling has been demanding yet deeply rewarding. Self-help has taught me to be loving toward myself and my family.

But how do you know which will work best for you? Are years of trial and error inevitable?


5 Tips to Keep ‘Keeping Score’ from Ending Your Relationship

by Susie & Otto Collins

How to Start Separating Yourself in a Codependent Relationship

Why holding on to your partner’s mistakes will end up hurting you.

We’ve all been there. Your partner has put you off, let you down or totally messed up so many times, you have a running tally going, and it only fuels your irritation and anger.

One woman posted on Reddit a spreadsheet her husband actually created and sent to her that listed off every excuse she’d given him over the past month for not having sex. He included the date, whether or not they had sex and the excuse she gave. He even provided follow up. When she told him, “I need a shower,” he recorded that she didn’t actually shower until the next day.

Obviously, this couple’s relationship is in trouble. It’s clear that there’s something bugging both of them, and it’s probably not only the fact that they’re not having sex as often as the man would like.


Can a Sex Addict Also Be a Codependent?

by Ross Rosenberg, MEd, LCPC, CADC

Can a Sex Addict also be a Codependent?In my 27 years working with addicts and codependents, I rarely have come across a completely healthy partner of an addict. Although addicts’ partners are unequivocally not to blame for the addiction, and most certainly not the consequences of it, they certainly carry responsibility for the shared relationship problems.

The nature of shared relational responsibility is even more pronounced in the sex addict/co-addict (partner) relationship. Addiction psychotherapists all have experienced how both the addict and his or her partner participate, either actively or passively, in their dysfunctional relationship.


Awakening to Ourselves As We Are: The Essence of Mindfulness

by John Amodeo, PhD

by Hans-PeterThe renowned psychologist Carl Rogers famously said, “The curious paradox is that when I can accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

This statement is as simple as it is profound — and yet not easy to implement. Yet it embodies a principle that is a key to both psychological health and spiritual growth.


Overcoming Shame to Connect with Your True Self

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Overcoming Shame to Connect with Your True SelfEach of us experiences shame.

“[I]t is part of our human condition,” writes author and therapist Darlene Lancer, LMFT, in Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You.

Without good coping skills, we may feel like failures when we don’t meet our own or others’ expectations, she writes. In fact, shame can even prevent us from being our true selves. Shame often starts in childhood. It can even get passed down from generation to generation.


Ways to Combat Insomnia

by Emily Waters

Ways to Combat InsomniaIf you find yourself tossing and turning for hours, unable to go to sleep or stay asleep, you could be suffering from insomnia. Nearly 40 percent of Americans report some symptoms of insomnia in a given year. It can take a toll on one’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being.

Chronic lack of sleep not only causes stress and depression, but has been linked to a cluster of disorders such as diabetes, memory loss, obesity, elevated blood pressure, an increase in bad cholesterol, and accumulation of dangerous abdominal fat hugging one’s internal organs.


Recent Comments
  • Laurie: It seems that the world in general thought Robin was almost saintly, somehow above all the mundane challenges...
  • susan: I am profoundly overwhwelmed by reading the very truth of suicide. I could not have said it better.I am living...
  • Hopeful: I try my best to avoid telling people that I’m depressed because I end up feeling guilty or get the...
  • Dionne Mussetto, LCSW: I am so very saddened by the death of Robin Williams. I have suffered from depression and...
  • Anny: I could not agree more. I have severe depression from last 7 years and understand that “what do u...
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