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General

TAO Connect: What if a Computer Could Help You with Psychotherapy, Alter Your Habits?

Computer-mediated training and psychotherapy -- that is, a computer program (whether an app, a website, or a piece of software) helping you learn something new, especially with regards to your thoughts, behaviors, and habits -- has been with us a long time. One of the pioneers in this space has been Australia's MoodGYM, first launched in 2001. It now has over 1 million users around the world and has been the subject of more than two dozen randomized clinical research trials showing that this inexpensive (or free!) intervention can work wonders on depression, for those who can stick with it. And online therapy has been available since 1996.

I like technology backed by science, because scientific data should drive developing new tools to help us change our thoughts, behaviors, and habits. It shouldn't just come from some random developer's pop psychology understanding of human behavior. Research data demonstrating a new intervention's efficacy is the best answer to countering the placebo effect, which we know is very strong for novel techniques and treatments.

That's why I also like what TAO Connect is doing, because it's based upon research and work pioneered at the University of Florida.

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Anxiety and Panic

Surviving Mental Health Issues: Am I Unique or a Freak?

Years ago, when I experienced debilitating bouts of anxiety, I would easily lose my perspective and feel like an outcast -- a freak. I momentarily transformed into a negative abstract of myself that possessed undignified emotional and behavioral idiosyncrasies. But, over time when I regained perspective, I appreciated my odd peculiarities as not only “unique” but as vital assets that helped me achieve some success in my life.

Perspective: Use it or lose it.

Got it. Seems easy. Not.
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Anger

How to Have Difficult Conversations

Human beings are hardwired for communication. It is one way in which we connect with each other initially, bond with each other eventually and understand each other, ideally. There are times when what we think, feel and say don’t mesh and a rift occurs between people both personally and professionally. One factor that often plays into communication snafus relate to gender training; and what I think of as the "universal translator" (he says one thing and she hears something else, or vice versa).

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Anxiety and Panic

Is It Anxiety or OCD?

Anxiety can mean many different things to many different people. When handled in the correct way, a little bit of anxiety is usually helpful. It warns us to be careful if we sense danger. It can remind us of consequences we once had to live with. By maintaining some anxiety around these issues, we are able to avoid unwanted outcomes.


Obsessive compulsive disorder stems from a healthy type of anxiety and morphs into something all-consuming. OCD is a psychiatric disorder that involves repeated and unwanted intrusive thoughts, feelings, ideas, and behaviors that must be done over and over again. While checking to make sure the stove has been turned off is an important task for safety, repeatedly checking it several times before any other task can be accomplished, is not.
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Psychology

Can Computer-Based Intervention Benefit Our Stress Levels?

Too much stress is a problem we all face, however stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, feeling stressed can lead to more motivation and greater focus. If we overdo it, however, it can have a bad impact on our mental health. This can range from having a short temper, to headaches, to having trouble sleeping, to even becoming unwell.

According to the APA, 75 percent of adults will go through some stress on any given month. In spite of how many people is affected by stress only a few of them will get any help. This may be due to lack of time, worrying about what others may think, thinking we should be able to get over it on our own or simply not being able to afford help. A way to make accessing help more convenient, more private and cheaper is through digital technology, but can web-based treatments really help?
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Marriage and Divorce

Why Men Give Up Their Identity in a Relationship

Over the past 30 years of working as a psychologist with men doing individual and group therapy, I have often seen men struggling to maintain either the romance or friendship or both in their intimate relationships. It’s a subject I’ve been investigating and exploring for much of my professional and personal life. I’ve often noticed my men clients complaining about their relationships in a way that is troubling. Why is my wife so controlling? I feel like I never do things right by her, and she always finds something to criticize; is there such a thing as the-glass-is-always-half-empty syndrome?  It feels like she doesn’t appreciate me. She controls what restaurants we go to and where we go on vacation. Why doesn’t she value my input on how to raise our kids? I don’t know why I have to send the kids to private school; it puts so much pressure on us financially. I didn’t want to travel for one of my two-week’s vacation with my wife’s parents. I don’t know how to make her happy.  
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Family

Family-Based Treatment: 7 Common Surprises Parents Often Experience

For parents of an adolescent with an eating disorder, determining the best treatment approach to meet the needs of both your child and yourself can be extremely difficult. It has to be effective. It has to include the family. Simply, it has to work.

For a growing number of families, the approach that fits all the above criteria is Family-Based Treatment (FBT), a philosophy giving families an active, transparent and supporting role not only at home, but inside clinical settings. Most families I work with discover
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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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Addiction

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: For More Than Borderline Personality Disorder

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1980’s is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD).  It is now considered the treatment of choice for individuals with characteristics associated with symptoms of BPD such as impulsivity, interpersonal problems, emotion dysregulation, self-harm, and chronic suicidal behaviors.
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Anxiety and Panic

Living with “What If” — Addressing Anxiety

There are many people who don’t know that their hesitations, fears, and even compulsive “musts” throughout the day are actually stemmed in anxiety. Regardless if the anxiety is caused from stress or trauma, the longer anxiety is ignored -- the worse it usually gets.

If your life is plagued by “what if” moments, then it is time to address your quality of life from a mental health standpoint. It is important to know that not all anxiety disorders are the same, however all of them can cause such distress that it interferes with your ability to lead a normal life. The “what ifs” can become immobilizing and then the stress can lead to actual physical disability.
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Men

The Mystery of Men in Therapy Revealed

Why is it that so many men feel more comfortable opening up to a therapist -- essentially a stranger -- than they do their own spouse? Do they trust their therapists more than their wives? The short answer is, no, they don’t. The slightly more complicated answer is that they’re afraid to let the one woman who they’re closest with -- the one woman they've professed to love and protect -- know that they, too, are at times scared, confused and dare I say it…sensitive.
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