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When the Kardashians Go to Therapy: What Can We Learn?

This guest article from YourTango was written by Larissa Rzemienski.

On a recent episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the Kardashian clan decided to visit a family therapist. The family's innermost emotions and struggles came to light as they met with Dr. Nicki J. Monti.

Dr. Monti utilized the systems approach of family therapy to understand how each individual family member is impacted by the larger family system.

Rob, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and Kris participated in their first family therapy session. So what happened and what can we learn from it?

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How to Detect Deceit: A Model from Former CIA Officers

“There’s no such thing as a human lie detector,” according to Philip Houston, Michael Floyd and Susan Carnicero in their must-read book Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception. But there are still ways you can learn to spot lies.

In fact, even a polygraph can’t distinguish fiction from fact. What a polygraph can do is detect physiological changes that occur after a person is asked a question. Focusing on what a person does after they’re asked a particular question is essentially how Houston, Floyd and Carnicero suggest readers detect deceit.

According to the model which Houston developed, after you ask the person a specific question, pay attention to their behavior within the first five seconds. This involves both looking at their behavior and listening to what they say.

Why five seconds?

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Eating Disorders

Want Better Health? Your Eating Environment Matters

Last week, McDonald’s announcement that it will begin posting calorie counts on its menus caused an online buzz.  Reactions to the announcement ranged from support to dissent to the unconvinced.

Food choice, nutrition and diet have been growing topics hotly debated in the public arena.

But despite increased public awareness that food choice plays a vital role in health, most Americans continue to eat too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains (USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion).

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National Psychotherapy Day: Therapists Reveal What Therapy Can Do For You

This post is written in honor of National Psychotherapy Day, “a day when clinicians, clients, and therapy advocates will unite to promote the profession, fight stigma, educate the public, and draw attention to the needs of community mental health.” I hope you’ll join us!
Therapy isn’t only for people with a diagnosis -- or in crisis. Therapy is a great way to enhance your happiness (or what psychologists call "well-being").

As Alison Thayer, LCPC, CEAP, a psychotherapist at Urban Balance, said, “We focus on eating healthy and exercising to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but we often do not apply the same principles to our mind and mental health. Consider therapy sessions to be the equivalent of providing our bodies with a nutritious meal.”

In fact, therapy is nourishing in many different ways. Below, clinicians share some of the well-known, and not-so well-known, benefits of seeking professional help.

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Best of Our Blogs: September 25, 2012

As a teenager, I was vulnerable to the waves of hormonal changes most people face during adolescence. I felt helpless to the external events of my daily life. When things was good, I was glad to be alive. And when things were bad? I thought I'd never get through them. A heartbreak or a fight with a friend felt like the end of the world. A bad grade on a test, a disagreement with a teacher, or an argument with a parent felt like the worst thing that could happen to me. Thankfully, as I got older, my problems and my life expanded and the world got a lot more hopeful. With time comes insight - the more things we go through, the more resilient and courageous we become; life starts to get better.

However, those in the throes of depression think they'll never get out of it. They erroneously believe life won't get better. They get stuck in the devastation of the moment and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. They're swallowed in severe hopelessness and as a result, many choose to end their life.

Sadly, suicide is a reality for many Americans. Some do it to intentionally end their pain. Others do it as a cry for help. Suicide is a serious issue and a disturbingly prevalent one - but things don't have to end this way.

This week's top posts bring hope and help to those contemplating suicide, and address other issues that consume our thoughts and occupy our mind. Whether it's suicidal thoughts, depression, PTSD, the inner critic or food, they'll help you take control over the things that make you feel out of control in your own life.

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Don’t Train Yourself Like a Dog

These days, there’s quite an emphasis on appreciating the animal side of human nature; we’re cautioned to respect the power of our lizard brain, to consider how we respond to stimuli in an instinctual way, and to train ourselves like a dog to improve our habits.

I agree that the animal element of human nature is a factor in everything we do. But sometimes, I think we overlook the ways that people differ from animals.  People are powerfully moved by imagination, belief, and knowledge. They can consider the past and future. They can make changes in their behavior based on reason, in ways that animals can’t.

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How to Be More Productive When Tasks Pile Up

“Doing more isn’t always better,” according to Laura Stack, MBA, president of the consulting company The Productivity Pro® and author of What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do: Reduce Tasks, Increase Results and Save 90 Minutes a Day.

Working longer hours or sprinting through a series of tasks doesn’t mean you’ll be more productive or actually get stuff done. “No one really cares how many hours you were in the building or if you finished your to-do list. People only care about what you're able to produce and the value of those results,” she said.

Below, Stack shared her six secrets to greater productivity and value.

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Why is it So Hard to Curb Your Cravings?

What’s your weakness?

Is it cupcakes, potato chips, bread, a big bowl of pasta, cheese fondue, fried chicken, pizza, ice cream or something else?

Do you crave something creamy that melts in your mouth or a salty crunch that takes the edge off?

If you do, you’re similar to 100% of women and 75% of men who reported food cravings in the last year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Cravings, once considered the body’s way of signaling that we're missing important nutrients, are now understood to be something quite different.  If they were merely a signal that we were short on, say, magnesium (a nutrient found in chocolate), then why do we tend to crave salty and sweet snacks, rather than healthier options of nutrient rich foods?

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6 Steps to Help Heal Your Inner Child

According to John Bradshaw, author of Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, the process of healing your wounded inner child is one of grief, and it involves these six steps (paraphrased from Bradshaw):
1. Trust
For your wounded inner child to come out of hiding, he must be able to trust that you will be there for him. Your inner child also needs a supportive, non-shaming ally to validate his abandonment, neglect, abuse, and enmeshment. Those are the first essential elements in original pain work.

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5 Ways to Respond to a Complainer at Work

We've all encountered them at some point - and maybe, at times, we’ve even been one of them: that person at work who corners you in the hallway only to protest a new policy, wail about the inadequacies of a co-worker, grumble about pay or whine about the lack of lumbar support in their office chair.

Most of the time, the easiest way to deal with these encounters is to simply tolerate the grumbles and complaints. But at some point, the objections, peevishness and continual negativity become too much to handle; they begin to detract from your work day, impact your mood and leave you feeling drained at the end of the work day.

According Robert Sapolsky, an author and professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University, exposure to negativity can disrupt learning, memory, attention and judgment (The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2012).

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Children and Teens

Parental Alienation: Disorder or Not?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the yardstick that mental disorders are measured against. But every disorder in this reference guide is meant for individuals, because that's how doctors diagnose diseases and disorders.

So it would be ground-breaking if the working groups that are focused on revising the DSM suddenly decided that a disorder could be diagnosed not just in an individual, but in a set of people -- such as two people in a particularly unhealthy romantic relationship (Co-dependency Disorder?) or family (Scapegoating Disorder?).

This is exactly what some folks wanted to do to make their paydays easier in divorce court. The proposed disorder? Parental alienation disorder. Its "symptoms?" When a child's relationship with one parent is poisoned by the estranged parent.

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Why Do Women Get Depressed More Than Men?

I recently did research for a women's magazine about depression in young women (ages 18 to 30). The editors wanted to know why so many more women than men struggle with depression.

I got out my copy of "A Deeper Shade of Blue: A Woman's Guide to Recognizing and Treating Depression in Her Childbearing Years" by Ruta Nonacs, , , whose work fascinates me.

Below are some excerpts from...
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