Aspergers

Seven Surprising Lessons a “Helicopter” Parent Learned from Her Asperger Child

I felt utterly helpless. There was something profoundly wrong with my daughter, but I couldn’t help her -- me the trained psychologist, the one with the master’s degree in social work and a doctoral degree in psychology. But this was long before the Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis became official in the United States. (Now it’s classified as a high functioning form Autism Spectrum Disorder.)
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Health-related

Putting the Health and Care in Healthcare

Red, white, and blue. The blue represents Americans’ collective mood.

Is it our work-centric culture? Our reticence to discuss mental health? Our collective independence?

Regardless the U.S. stands for Under Stress. But why are we so unhappy -- at least compared to our Scandinavian brethren? Denmark and Norway top Forbes’ list of the world’s 10 happiest countries. The two countries pace CNBC’s list as well. By comparison, the stars and stripes check in at #15, lagging behind, umm, Costa Rica.
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Caregivers

I Matter Too: Self-Compassion in Action

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” - Jack Kornfield
Raise your hand if you are a caregiver, either personally or professionally. Do you spend your days looking after the wellbeing of family, friends and/or clients? At the end of a long day or an even longer week, do you feel "all gived out"? As a therapist and consummate caregiver in most of my relationships, I would often admit that my compassion meter was running a quart low. I would find myself feeling impatient and annoyed with the drama that swirled around me. That’s when I knew I needed to examine the areas in my life in which I was neglecting that which I was showering on others.
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Inspiration & Hope

The Most Powerful Question You Will Ever Be Asked

I am a therapist. My job is to talk to people and help them to solve their problems. Throughout the course of therapy I ask clients many, many questions.

Questions are the heart of therapy, as they require an individual to think. That thinking process stimulates the brain and perhaps can provide a new way of seeing an old problem. Some questions are deep, such as “what do you believe is the meaning of life?” and some are not quite as profound, such as, “What is your favorite TV show?”

There is one question though, that I ask clients early and often. It’s a question that is pervasive in my sessions and becomes part of my regular conversations with my clients. I will ask a client within the first twenty minutes of the first session, “What do you want?”
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Bullying

13 Reasons Why Not

So to start, I must confess -- I have only watched the first episode of this popular and controversial Netflix series. I don’t know that I’ll make myself watch the rest. But, as a social worker and child therapist, I have been paying attention to the buzz generated by the show. I know so much has already been said, that everyone from
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Grief and Loss

A Practical Tip for Developing a Stress-Resilient Life

“Your dad’s had a heart attack.”  

My own heart shot into my throat, hearing my mother’s garbled words a thousand miles away.

“He’s going to be okay, but maybe you could fly out?”

It’s been almost two years since my father’s heart attack and he’s made important changes that have improved his life quality considerably. Both my grandfather and grandmother died of heart disease. They experienced immense socio-economic challenges and faced more stressful life situations than I could possibly imagine.

However, this part of my own family history has inspired me to explore ways to reduce stress in my own life and the lives of my clients. Today, I would like to share with you one idea I find incredibly useful in building a stress-resilient life.   
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Depression

What I Would Do Differently if I Were Diagnosed with Depression Today?

Someone in recovery circles once told me that if you have one foot in the past and another in the future, you are essentially peeing on the present. I try to remember that when I’m engulfed in regret -- obsessing about all the things I did wrong in the past and wishing to God I had made different decisions. However, writing about my mistakes has always been healing for me because I’d like to think this small action could possibly prevent someone else from making the same ones. If I can help a young person or anyone who has recently been diagnosed with depression take a more direct route to healing, it seems irresponsible on my part not to share my detours and missed cues, to keep to myself the information that I now have.
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Anxiety and Panic

Freedom from Fear: Freedom to Live the Life You Want

My last blog on The New ABC of Managing Difficult Emotions outlines a simple process that many of you have told me is really helpful.

Many of you emailed me asking for the downloadable graphic. Many of you shared how you were going to use this process: with your children, to manage your own emotions and to help your clients. I am so glad.

There is one story I want to share with you, because it is so clear and inspiring -- and so helpful for others to consider as well.
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Habits

The Remarkable Power of Momentum: Using It to Change Your Life One Small Step at a Time

I’ve always been thrilled by the feeling of a plane taking off. No matter how often I fly I am amazed by the experience of the plane barreling down the runway with increasing velocity until it reaches such speeds that it begins to lift into the sky.

That feeling of becoming airborne, of the momentum of takeoff, is nothing short of incredible. But I have to go no farther than the local soccer field or basketball court to witness the power of momentum. As a spectator of many high school sports over the years, I find it fascinating to witness how powerful momentum is on the field. Sometimes all it takes is one goal, or basket, or home run, to completely change the energy of the game and send a team that had been struggling to score, to ultimate victory.
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Anxiety and Panic

Perfectionist’s Prey

My late mother and I discussed how to deftly handle the vexing interview question, “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Instead of providing a sincere answer (stubbornness for $100, Alex), we collectively rehearsed the answer. And, yes, my over-practiced answer hinted at those dreaded -- and inescapable -- tendencies.

“Well, I am a perfectionist. I am not satisfied until the project is perfect. And I will strive -- relentlessly -- to meet the project’s objectives,” I dribbled out to the interviewer in chief.
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