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Diagnosis Made Easier: Principles & Techniques for Mental Health Clinicians (2nd Edition)

August 22nd, 2014
It was a few weeks into my psychiatry residency, the print barely dry on my medical school diploma, when I met a patient we’ll call Sarah. Up to that point, the majority of those I had cared for on the inpatient psychiatry ward had been in and out of mental health care for years. When ...

What to Do When You’re Mad at Your Therapist

What to Do When You’re Mad at Your TherapistWhy does psychotherapy work? There are many reasons, but today we are going to focus on one in particular -- the therapeutic relationship. One of the biggest predictors of success in therapy is a good relationship between the ...

Therapists Spill: When You Have a Bad Therapy Experience

Therapists Spill: When You Have a Bad Therapy Experience It takes courage to seek therapy. Therapy is a vulnerable act, as you entrust a stranger with your innermost thoughts and feelings. So it can be especially disappointing and distressing when you have a bad experience. It ...

Yoga Therapy For Children with Autism & Special Needs

BOOK REVIEW.
As a former yoga teacher, I used to consider Anatomy of Hatha Yoga my bedside manual. Years later, after my life priorities changed and the focus on physical stamina became less important than attaining a peaceful mind, I revisited the practice. It was a different yoga in my forties than in my twenties and thirties, despite that ...

Out of the Blue: Six Non-Medication Ways to Relieve Depression

BOOK REVIEW.
Despite the title, this is not an anti-medication book. In fact, Bill O'Hanlon, a much-published psychotherapist and author, writes in Out of the Blue: Six Non-Medication Ways to Relieve Depression that medication can help, and that he respects each individual’s choice. This respect, along with his creativity and understanding that we must seek out what works for ...

Anxiety + Depression: Effective Treatment of the Big Two Co-Occurring Disorders

BOOK REVIEW.
If you know anyone with anxiety or depression, you know that symptoms can be complicated. Even more complicated is that the two disorders have similar features. That makes diagnosis hard for many clinicians, no matter how seasoned they may be. And if that weren’t enough, the fact that the disorders can co-exist adds another layer ...

Therapists Spill: 10 Tips for Making the Most of Therapy

Therapists Spill: 10 Tips for Making the Most of TherapyTherapy can seem like a mystery. What do you talk about? Can you really be honest? How do you know if you're getting better? Before you even walk through the door, you also may have certain preconceived notions, ...

Therapists Spill: 9 Myths About Therapy that Sabotage the Process

Therapists Spill: 9 Myths About Therapy that Sabotage the ProcessWhat many of us know about therapy often comes from television and films, which typically provide an inaccurate picture -- or really a caricature of the process. So naturally many myths and misconceptions abound. The problem ...

Essential Psychopathology Casebook

BOOK REVIEW.
In medical school, we become adept at memorizing diagnostic criteria, able to spout off, at a moment’s notice, the definitions for everything from autism to schizophrenia. For some diagnoses, we are aided by mnemonics — SIG E CAPS for depression, DIG FAST for mania — while other disorders require simple brute-force memorization. All of this ...

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the Teen Brain

OCD and Teens' BrainsWhen my son Dan was at a residential treatment program to battle his severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, my husband and I were encouraged by the staff there to let him make his own major life decisions, without any input from us. This didn’t make sense ...

Long-Acting Treatments for Schizophrenia

Long-Acting Treatments for SchizophreniaSchizophrenia has long presented treatment challenges for both patients who have the mental illness and the treatment providers who want to help them. Many medications prescribed for schizophrenia have traditionally not always been well-tolerated in patients, with sometimes significant side effects in ...

OCD and Atypical Antipsychotics

OCD and Atypical AntipsychoticsWhile the frontline treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder continues to be Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, many who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder also appear to be helped by medication. Often the combination of ERP therapy and medication, typically high doses of selective serotonin ...

Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression & Finding the Light Within

BOOK REVIEW.
Every family has its secrets. They appear in those silent moments of conversation, the extended pause followed by the hasty explanation. History is written, then rewritten, and even the present revised, all to try to preserve a semblance of normalcy for the future. For years, Gayathri Ramprasad was her family’s secret, the symptoms of the undiagnosed ...

Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change

BOOK REVIEW.
When you can’t put a particularly unsettling feeling into words or have trouble getting to the meat of a problem, try feeling it in your body. That’s the advice of Ann Weiser Cornell, a Ph.D. in linguistics who works as a teacher of and author on the therapeutic technique known as Focusing. As Cornell writes, ...

Parenting the Whole Child

BOOK REVIEW.
The brain is a fascinating organ. It weighs about three pounds when fully grown and entails a plethora of complicated electrical and chemical processes that can stump the savviest of scientists. Encased in a jelly-like substance in the skull, it is thought to separate human beings from other animals, and allows for the sophisticated thought ...

Body-Focused Obsessions: Sensorimotor Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Sensorimotor Obsessive-Compulsive DisorderThere are so many different types of obsessions and compulsions when it comes to OCD. Perhaps among the less talked about are sensorimotor, or body-focused, obsessions which involve a heightened awareness and focus on involuntary bodily activities and processes. Common examples include hyperawareness of swallowing, breathing, or blinking. Additionally, overattention to bladder and digestive processes -- indeed, any unhealthy focus on a specific body part or organ -- might also fall into the category of sensorimotor obsessions. I think these types of obsessions seem particularly brutal because they involve necessary, ongoing bodily processes. There truly is no escape, and this fact often plays into the sufferer's obsessions.

Hypocritical Compulsions: Recognizing the Nonsense of OCD

The Nonsense of OCDThe need for certainty fuels the fires of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Compulsions are performed to reduce anxiety by making sure everything is okay. For OCD sufferers to recover, they must refrain from doing these compulsions and learn to live with doubt, the basis of ...

Mental Health for the Whole Child

BOOK REVIEW.
>Children make 3 billion new connections in their brain every second. That is 3 billion opportunities for growth, or 3 billion missed connections.  With rising rates of ADHD, autism, and other mental health disorders in American children, it seems like more and more of these connections are being missed. And medications that we give our kids ...

The Connection Between OCD & Psychosis

The Connection Between OCD and PsychosisWhen my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) became severe, he was in college, fifteen hundred miles away from home. My husband and I arranged for him to see a psychiatrist near his school, who telephoned us (with our son’s permission) after ...

Treating Schizophrenia Successfully

Treating Schizophrenia Successfully Schizophrenia is a complex and often chronic illness that requires long-term treatment. Medication is the bedrock of managing schizophrenia, said Peter Buckley, MD, a psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia, and dean of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. But a comprehensive ...

Mastering the Art of Solution-Focused Counseling

BOOK REVIEW.
There are exceptions to many rules in life. Whether it is a fashion decree about wearing black and brown or the parking law in various neighborhoods, there are many instances where the “rule” does not actually apply. These sorts of exceptions to behaviors, habits, and thoughts are a core part of the process in solution-focused therapy. ...

Who Needs Counseling? 10 Therapy Myths Dispelled

Who Needs Counseling? 10 Therapy Myths Dispelled  She was sitting in front of me, hollow-eyed and tired. For years she was resolute in her refusal to seek help, intent to prove to herself and the world that she could handle anything. She crashed on my ...

Putting the Fear of Sleeplessness to Rest

Putting the Fear of Sleeplessness to RestFear can be a powerful disincentive to change. It was one of several factors that kept me from undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) for over a decade. Not that I wasn’t eager to trade in my bad nights for ...
 
 
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