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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Depression

In this age of advanced modern medicine, it is a depressing fact that not all people suffering with a depressive illness respond to antidepressants.

The mental health charity Mind UK recently highlighted their concern that there is a serious need for a range of therapies to be made available to depression sufferers.

According to the best psychological working practices, medication is now considered to be only one option for effectively treating the illness.

Talk therapies -- otherwise known as psychotherapy -- such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have proven effective at alleviating melancholic symptoms in hundreds of research studies conducted around the world. In Australia, the Australian Psychological Society has identified a serious need for psychotherapeutic interventions in the lives of people with depression.

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Anxiety and Panic

Rethinking the Diagnosis of Depression

Most people diagnosed with depression today aren’t depressed, according to Edward Shorter, a historian of psychiatry, in his latest book How Everyone Became Depressed: The Rise and Fall of the Nervous Breakdown. 

Specifically, about 1 in 5 Americans will receive a diagnosis of major depression in their lifetime. But Shorter believes that the term major depression doesn’t capture the symptoms most of these individuals have. “Nervous illness,” however, does.

“The nervous patients of yesteryear are the depressives of today,” he writes.

And these individuals aren’t particularly sad. Rather, their symptoms fall into these five domains, according to Shorter: nervous exhaustion; mild depression; mild anxiety; somatic symptoms, such as chronic pain or insomnia; and obsessive thinking.

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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: March 26, 2013

What does it mean to honor yourself? Does self-care and prioritizing your needs equate with being selfish?

In the heat of an argument, I've been called selfish. Instead of arguing the time I spend giving to others, the money I spend donating to nonprofit organizations, I simply said, "Yes. Yes I can be." I didn't mean it in a sarcastic way. Truthfully, there are moments when I am selfish, when my own needs are taken into consideration before I think of others. It happens when I pass down a party because I'm too tired or limit my time with a critical relative in order to be kind to myself. While I don't identify as being a selfish person, I understand the importance of self-preservation. When I am happy, I am kinder, more patient and generous to others. I have more to give when I am not depleted. And I am more apt to take part in acts of selflessness. Funny how that works isn't it?

That doesn't mean it's an easy thing to do. Along with prioritizing your own needs, you may feel episodes of overwhelming guilt. You may be sick and need to rest. Yet, a lifetime of being taught to put others needs above your own pushes you to take on more responsibilities than you can manage.

To live a happier and healthier life, you need to understand and accept who you are and then have the courage to do what's necessary to care for yourself. Whether you have ADHD, are depressed, stressed or highly sensitive, the following posts will give you new ways of taking care of and honoring your own needs so you can better help others too.
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72 Proverbs for Life… From Hell

I love paradoxes, koans, parables, proverbs, Secrets of Adulthood, and aphorisms.

So how have I never come across poet William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell before?

When I found it the other day, I couldn’t believe I’d never read it before. Several of the proverbs were familiar to me, from other reading, but I didn’t know their origin in his book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

Blake’s “Hell,” by the way, is not the traditional Hell. Instead, it's a place of “unrepressed, somewhat Dionysian [frenzied or undisciplined] energy” (at least that’s what Wikipedia says).

These proverbs are thought-provoking; I don’t agree with all of them, or understand all of them, but I love reading them. I’ve put some of my favorites in bold.

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How to Stop Feeling Guilty about Practicing Self-Care

One of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- barrier to practicing self-care is guilt. Women, in particular, feel incredibly guilty for tending to their needs.

And it’s not surprising. According to Ashley Eder, LPC, a psychotherapist in Boulder, Colo., “We are surrounded by overt and covert messages that encourage us to minimize our own needs and feel guilty when we engage in self-care.”

Food and relaxation are prime examples. “Think how many times a day you see some kind of reference to a woman ‘indulging,’ ‘splurging,’ or ‘sinning’ because she meets a basic need like eating food she enjoys or taking time to relax.”

There’s also the belief that taking care of yourself leaves less time and energy for others. But, as Rachel W. Cole, a life coach and retreat leader, said, “self-care is other care.” In other words, practicing self-care helps us help others more effectively. Below, Cole and Eder share other powerful ideas to consider if the palpable guilt appears.

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Video: On the Importance of Forgiveness

Relationships can be a lot of fun and full of good times and enjoyment. But all relationships also go through times when they are more challenging, especially when it comes to a disagreement or difference of opinion. In the heat of an argument, things are said that aren't really meant, and one (or both) of you gets hurt.

It's hard to go through life without relationships. And it's hard to be in a relationship or friendship without occasionally getting hurt.

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Kaiser Permanente’s Sad Mental Health Care in California

California has some patient-friendly regulations on its books, meant to help patients get the care they need in a reasonable amount of time. One of those regulations is that patients shouldn't have to wait more than 10 business days for a regular appointment with their health or mental health care provider.

Yet, Kaiser Permanente's health maintenance organization in the state -- rather than abide by the regulation -- regularly made patients wanting mental health care wait longer than the 10 business days. In fact, in one case from 2010, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) fined Kaiser $75,000 for unreasonably delaying a child’s autism diagnosis for almost 11 months! The new report found that anywhere from 17 to 40 percent of patients waited longer than 14 days for an appointment.

Last week, the DMHC was again at Kaiser's doorstep, finding that Kaiser kept two sets of appointment records to try and circumvent this regulation -- a paper appointment calendar and an electronic health record calendar. The DMHC cited Kaiser for "serious" deficiencies in how it manages and provides mental health care services to its patients.

Kaiser Permanente is one of those enormous health care providers that seems to have lost the plot -- providing reasonable and timely health care for its customers.

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Advice Even Freud Would Envy

Traditional psychoanalysis has the patient coming to treatment three to four times a week, lying on a couch and free-associating to whatever comes to mind.

The theory behind this treatment is that free-association increases awareness of what is in the unconscious mind. Once you make the unconscious conscious, patients should, theoretically, become less neurotic.

That type of treatment seemed to work well for the idle rich in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But does it work well in the digital era?

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7 Tips on How Not to Let Wedding Fever Ruin Your Relationship

This guest article from YourTango was written by Diane Spear, LCSW-R.

Melissa and Tom (whose names have been changed to protect their privacy) argued as they drove to meet their vocal coach.

"Why do you want to sing The Wind Beneath My Wings?" she asked. "It's such a cliché, and I'll never hear the end of it from my Dad."

"You're not doing much better with that Shania Twain song," Tom rebutted, "Everyone's going to hear it and remember that Shania Twain's husband left her for the assistant. Doesn't bode well, does it?"

Melissa and Tom were determined to make their June wedding an entertaining event, complete with readings by Melissa's sisters, both of whom are actresses, and additional music by Tom's brother, who is a singer/songwriter. Melissa wanted to wear a green dress to symbolize her commitment to environmental issues, but Tom worried that people would think it was strange.

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Brain and Behavior

The Relative Age Effect in Sports: It’s Complicated

Malcolm Gladwell capitalized on research conducted by Roger Barnsley (et al., 1985) by suggesting in his 2008 book, Outliers, that there is an "Iron Law of Canadian Hockey." This theory is also known as the relative age effect in psychological research and it suggests that the older a player is when they begin training for a sport, the more likely they are to achieve success in that sport.

In fact, in a talk posted on YouTube, Gladwell goes even further, saying, "In absolutely every system in which hockey is played, a hugely disproportionate number of hockey players are born in the first half of the year." He says this in the context of a talk about society not taking advantage of opportunities to improve human potential.

"Logic tells us there should be as many great hockey players born in the second half of the year," suggests Gladwell, "as born in the first half. But what we can see here, there's almost no one born it the end of the year, everyone's from the beginning."

But is this actually true -- are more elite hockey players born in the first half versus the second half of the year?

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5 Ways For Couples to Get Closer

For couples, getting closer can mean many things. It might mean learning more about each other, sharpening your communication skills, deepening your emotional bond, fighting fair and just having more fun.

According to relationship expert Mudita Rastogi, Ph.D, the best way to get closer and improve communication is to “come to therapy with your partner.”

But there are many ways you can build closeness outside the therapy couch, she said. Here are five strategies to try.

1. Check in with each other daily.

“Leading couples therapists recommend creating an established time each day for couples to touch base with each other,” said Rastogi, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arlington Heights, Ill. For instance, family therapist William Doherty and his wife carved out 15 minutes after dinner for checking in with each other, she said.

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