Self-Help Library


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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 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 ...

The Compass of Now

BOOK REVIEW.
Many books on the healing power of meditation belabor the importance of breathing and focused practice. In her new book, DDnard — the popular name of a spiritual guru in Thailand — concentrates instead on Buddhist parables. As DDnard explains in The Compass of Now: How One Woman Became Financially Free, Healed Wounds, and Inspired Millions of ...

The Heat of the Moment in Treatment: Mindful Management of Difficult Clients

BOOK REVIEW.
"What about my pain?" Sandra asked, her brow furrowed. "It's my back. My primary care doctor says I need more meds." "You can ask the nurse for Tylenol or ibuprofen," I said, trying to maintain my composure seated across from Sandra on the inpatient psychiatric ward, "or I can add some naproxen, if you would like." "But ...

The Anger Management Workbook: Use the STOP Method to Replace Destructive Responses with Constructive Behavior

BOOK REVIEW.
The Anger Management Workbook is not for sissies. It is a complete manual to help you evaluate whether or not you have an anger problem — and then, to learn about different types of anger and how they surface, ways to analyze one’s own anger experiences, and methods to bring about change to stop them. ...

Cognitive Distortions: The Lies Depression Tells

Cognitive Distortions: The Lies Depression TellsDepression is a master manipulator. It spins negative stories and makes you think these tall tales are cold, hard facts. But they’re really cognitive distortions. “[N]ot only does the illness make our thoughts more negative, but it tends to make us see negative events ...

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 ...

What to Do When ‘I’m Sorry’ Doesn’t Work

What to Do When “I’m Sorry” Doesn’t WorkWe all mess up at times with our spouses, kids, and others important to us. Misunderstandings and empathic failures cannot be avoided in close relationships, but aren’t necessarily detrimental. In fact, the ongoing climate of relationships is typically affected ...

A Daily Plan for Overcoming Agoraphobia

A Daily Plan for Overcoming Agoraphobia Agoraphobia narrows your world, literally and figuratively. People with agoraphobia avoid certain situations or places that may cause them to panic or feel trapped. This may include standing in line, driving on a bridge, being in open or enclosed spaces ...

Therapists Spill: When Being a Therapist Was Especially Hard

Therapists Spill: When Being a Therapist Was Especially HardWhen we’re going through something difficult or stressful at home, it often spills into our workplace. This can get especially tricky when your work is being a therapist, an already-demanding job emotionally and mentally. In this month’s “Therapists Spill” ...

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 ...

Marital Rape

crying woman upset googleAs an advice columnist, I receive too many letters like these (names have been changed): Anna is a woman in her 40s. She has been in a conflicted marriage for years. Her husband insists on morning sex, even though he knows it will make ...

Change How You Feel: Change How You Breathe

MeditationEmotions add flavor to life. Joy, love and contentment make living a pleasure. Anger and fear act as warning signals telling us when to protect ourselves. Most of all, emotions are the glue that binds us to family and friends. But those same emotions can be so ...

How to Tell if Your Decisions are from Your Evolved or Primitive Brain

Diabetes Drug Makes Brain Cells Grow in MiceDecisions can be motivated by thoughtful consideration from our higher mind (frontal lobe/executive functions) or fear-based survival instincts (amygdala, impulses) from a more primitive mind. When decisions are informed by our higher mind, they are more likely to lead ...

Book Review: How to Be Alone

BOOK REVIEW.
I recently took a 10-day solitary road trip through Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas. A few stops to promote a new book required interacting with other people, but otherwise it was just me and my car and miles and miles of glorious prairie. I put about 2,000 miles on my car on that trip. I drove ...