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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 ...

Stonewalling in Couples: When You or Your Partner Shuts Down

Stonewalling in Couples: When You or Your Partner Shuts DownRelationship researcher John Gottman, Ph.D, was the first to apply the term “stonewalling” to couples, said Kathy Nickerson, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in relationships in Orange County, Calif. Gottman defines stonewalling as "when a listener withdraws from ...

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 ...

Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

couple upset woman man 7Caring about someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) tosses you on a roller coaster ride from being loved and lauded to abandoned and bashed. Having BPD is no picnic, either. You live in unbearable psychic pain most of the time on the ...

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 ...

Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Therapist Claire Dorotik-Nana

Claire Nana LMFTEvery month we turn the tables, and ask clinicians to share a slew of tidbits about themselves and their work. They reveal everything from the trials and triumphs of conducting therapy to how they personally cope with stress. They also share their insights into ...

Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Leaning DownWhen it comes to dealing with seasonal affective disorder -- an extreme lethargy and sadness that accompanies the onset of winter -- most sufferers have already heard it all when it comes to solutions. Here’s the drill in a nutshell: spend a good chunk of ...

Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Living with Obsessive-Compulsive DisorderPeople with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience obsessions, compulsions or both. “Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses that an individual experiences over and over again,” said Andrea Umbach, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders at Southeast Psych in Charlotte, N.C. They’re ...

How to Be Alone

BOOK REVIEW.
I often spend at least twelve hours a day being very much in the presence of others. Caring for patients, discussing cases with attending doctors, interacting with nurses and social workers, and then going back to talk with patients again, my day is spent in a series of often intense human interactions. Add to the human ...

More Transforming Negative Self-Talk: Practical, Effective Exercises

BOOK REVIEW.
“I can’t believe you just did that. How could you have said something so stupid? I mean, seriously, how could you be such an idiot? Where did you graduate from again? Did you graduate? You shouldn’t be here. You’re dangerous.” It was my second shift as an intern in the ER and I was telling ...

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 ...

Therapists Spill: What I’m Grateful For

Therapists Spill: What I’m Grateful ForIn our regular monthly series therapists spill all sorts of secrets, including how they deal with difficult times, their biggest mistakes and key lessons they’ve learned from their clients. This month, in the spirit of the holiday season, we asked clinicians to share ...

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 ...

Self-Acceptance is the Key to a Healthier Self-Image

Stress Management Practices: Right and WrongPerhaps no issue is more important to emotional well-being than our sense of self. This is especially true in Western cultures that emphasize autonomy and independence. Much of the field of mental health seems intent on understanding self-image problems in terms of ...

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 ...

Being Grateful Despite Challenges

recognizing-dealing-with-stressThere are times when we may feel like we cannot be grateful about anything in our lives. Losing a job or feeling burned out can contribute to one’s negative attitude. Experiencing financial losses or not being able to make ends meet can hurt deeply. Enduring physical ...

Living with an Alcoholic

Living with an AlcoholicLiving with an addict can be a living hell: unpredictable and dangerous, yet sometimes exciting and romantic. We never know when we’ll be blamed or accused. We can't dependably plan social events. As the addict becomes more irresponsible, we pick up the slack and do ...

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 ...

Anger and Anorexia

Anger and AnorexiaIt took an eating disorder to finally teach me how to get angry. Many people with eating disorders are like me in that they feel reluctant -- even downright refuse -- to express anger. This is by and large a learned behavior. I grew up in a ...

Children, Rituals, and OCD

Children, Rituals, and OCDWhen my older daughter was about 2 or 3 years old, she had a bedtime ritual where she lined up 10 of her dolls and stuffed animals on the floor. They had to be in the right order, at the right angle, touching or ...

Living with Binge Eating Disorder

Living with Binge Eating DisorderIf you have binge eating disorder, please know that you’re not alone. Binge eating disorder (BED) is actually the most common eating disorder. It affects about 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men. You’re also not weak, wrong or crazy. BED “is ...

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 ...