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How to Stay Mentally Healthy During the Holidays

December 18th, 2014
Do the holidays stress you out? You’re not alone. It’s a hectic time of year for many people, maybe even most people. Nothing about our usual daily life goes away. The holidays add a layer of activities and responsibilities, both ...

5 Habits of Happy Families

5 Habits of Happy FamiliesWhen asked what they want most of their children, most parents reply that they just want them to be happy. It seems like a modest enough wish. But we all know that for some people, happiness is hard to find. One way to ...

Symptoms of OCD

Symptoms of OCDFor those who think they, or a loved one, might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is easy to do an online search and find a list of typical symptoms. In some cases, people’s obsessions and compulsions might be quite obvious and they will present ...

Teaching Children Gift Etiquette

christmas tree bigstJocey, one of the parents in my parent group, was mortified. Her mother-in-law had given her 8-year-old son a toy fire truck. Instead of saying “thank you,” the boy looked at it and said something like, “That’s for babies. I don’t like trucks” and ...

Are We Touching Each Other Enough?

Are We Touching Each Other Enough?Are you touching each other enough? No, not during sex. I'm talking about touching when we feel lonely, long to connect, and want to open. Yet, afraid of rejection, we hold back. Over 30 years, and hundreds of couples, I see that words ...

In Recovery and Surviving the Holidays

empty-chair-holiday-tableHere come the holidays. In American cultural myth, it’s a time for good food, good company, and good times. If you are struggling with recovery from alcoholism, it’s also a time of stress and challenges. Alcoholic beverages often make an occasion feel celebratory. How do you ...

The Season of the Have-To’s

bigstock Christmas sad womanSmall talk turned to intense talk when I spoke with the members of a local women’s group. When I asked about holiday planning, what came back was a flood of anxiety. “No sooner is Halloween over, and I have to start getting ready ...

5 New Mom Myths

secure_attachment_to_babyThe letters keep coming to our advice column on PsychCentral. New moms wonder if there is something wrong with them if they aren’t over the moon about their little one every minute of every day. Others worry that they aren’t doing it right or that the ...

You Are a Key Member of Your Treatment Team

You are a Key Member of Your Treatment TeamHowever much the pharmaceutical companies would have us believe it, taking a pill or even a cocktail of pills probably won’t make your diagnosis of mental illness go away completely. Recovering is a verb -- a series of ...

Children’s Dreams: Understanding the Most Memorable Dreams & Nightmares of Childhood

BOOK REVIEW.
My younger brother and I are in the back seat of our family’s van, parked on a steep hill. At the base of the hill is a lake or some other body of water. The ocean? My mother has stepped out of the car and she is at the top of the hill. She is ...

Rescuing Julia Twice: A Mother’s Tale of Russian Adoption & Overcoming Reactive Attachment Disorder

BOOK REVIEW.
We make a lot of fuss over book covers, don’t we. Whether they look cheesy or slick. Whether the publisher is trying to get us to purchase something old repackaged as something new. And, of course, whether we should judge by them or not. About titles, though, there’s less discussion. Which is why I was surprised that ...

Integrative Team Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children: Family Therapy & EMDR

BOOK REVIEW.
Meltdowns are common in young children of a certain age. But did you know that meltdowns and emotional outbursts are even more common among children who struggle with attachment issues and traumatic pasts? Many parents — and even some mental health professionals — are uninformed about the particular effects that traumatic experience can have on ...

Is it Possible to Teach Your Asperger’s Syndrome Child to Love?

Is it Possible to Teach Your Asperger’s Syndrome Child to Love?“Mommy, I don’t know what love is.” Many parents who have children with Asperger’s Syndrome experience devastating moments like this and are uncertain as to how to reply. Love seems such a natural part of our lives. ...

Put Your Phone Away and Pay Attention to Your Kids

Put Your Phone Away and Pay Attention to Your KidsThis psychologist is worried. It seems that everywhere I go a sizable number of the parents are ignoring their kids. At the grocery store: Mom is pushing one child in the cart. Two others are hanging onto the sides ...

Affair Recovery: Jealousy, Forgiveness and Building Trust

Affair Recovery: Jealousy, Forgiveness and Building TrustWhat warrants a permanent breakup? What set of rules has to be breached and how badly, for two people, formerly attached to each other, to decide to part for good? The answer is different for every couple, but the only other emotional ...

OCD and Values

OCD and ValuesWhen I talk or write about my son’s journey through severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, the topic of values often arises. Values are the things that are very important and meaningful to us. Examples include the people whom we love, our favorite activities, important experiences, and guiding ...

Acceptance and Rewriting Your Life Story

Acceptance and Rewriting Your Life StoryWe grow up with certain beliefs about ourselves and our lives and expectations that things should work out a certain way. Then, we change, our lives change, and we start to realize that things aren't going as we had expected. This ...

When You Don’t Like Your Teen’s Friends

When You Don't Like Your Teen's FriendsWhen I was in high school, I found a friend my parents couldn’t stand. Shy, introverted, studious, and fashion-impaired, I found someone as opposite to myself as my folks could imagine. My new best friend knew the fashion trends, wore her sweaters ...

Helping Women Cope with Infertility

Helping Women Cope with InfertilityI use various techniques when counseling women and couples during infertility. I begin by gathering information about the history and current status of infertility and treatment. I also gather personal and family history, and talk about the marriage and sex life of the ...

Can Babies Be Made into Bullies?

how-a-bully-is-made Molly Skyar, in open conversation with her mother, Dr. Susan Rutherford, a clinical psychologist and expert in human behavior, view parenting decisions through a psychologist's perspective. MOLLY: If your baby didn’t develop a secure attachment to a parent, how might you see that child acting in preschool and ...

5 Myths about Parenting

10 Fantasies to Examine before Deciding on ParenthoodParenting tips are aplenty. It can seem like there’s a new trend every week boasting about the best way to raise your kids or warning about the worst. With so many prescriptions for good parenting, naturally, it can quickly ...

The Stop-Drop-Roll Method of Managing Infidelity

bandaid-for-marriage-in-crisisOften, the most seemingly unrelated day-to-day events give us opportunities to learn from our mistakes and help keep us from repeating them. Our local fire station recently conducted their annual fire safety lesson for my son’s third-grade class, complete with the shiny red pumper truck and fun ...

OCD vs. Eating Disorders

OCD vs. Eating DisordersThere was a time when my son Dan would go days at a time without eating. When he did eat, it would have to be a specific food at a specific time in a specific place. There was no negotiating with him, and, ...