What Are People In Therapy Saying About Life Post-Trump Victory?

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As a therapist, I experienced a variety of client reactions following the election results on November 8. Some clients were happy with the results. Others were fraught with intense anxiety and fear over what the next four years would be like for the United States.

Some of the country experienced shock at the election results. A theme I keep hearing from clients is the realization of such stark differences in viewpoints across the country.

For many those viewpoints are different than those in their immediate surroundings. These viewpoints are different than those people have seen in their social media feeds.

Everyone is in shock. The impact, however, is revealing itself in different ways. Continue reading What Are People In Therapy Saying About Life Post-Trump Victory?

How Therapy Can Help People Cope With Terminal Illnesses

woman headscarf hospital bed

When people have a terminal illness and are journeying through their final days, they need lots of love and support from friends and family. Sometimes this isn’t enough, though.

Loved ones don’t necessarily have the skills or time to help someone come to terms with mortality. They might not know how to assist in making meaning of life as it is coming to an end.

This is when a psychotherapist or grief counselor can be invaluable. These mental health professionals have the skills to make patients and their loved ones as comfortable as possible during the end of a terminal illness. Continue reading How Therapy Can Help People Cope With Terminal Illnesses

In 2017 I Am Making My New Year’s Resolutions About Mental Health

woman hopping 2017 new year

2016 was not the best year for most people I know, myself included. One of the few good things that’s happened this year is that — after years of convincing myself not to — I finally made a commitment to see a therapist.

After some discussions with my therapist, I decided to avoid making concrete New Years resolutions I can’t keep. No, I’m not going to cut cheese from my diet. I’m most likely not going to make full use of that gym membership I’ve been eyeing.

And that’s OK. Struggling for perfection is stifling and utterly exhausting.

Instead I decided to focus on mental health resolutions I can actually keep. I’m hoping they will make 2017 a happier and less stressful year. Continue reading In 2017 I Am Making My New Year’s Resolutions About Mental Health

How Therapy Subtly Reveals Whether You Have an Eating Disorder

woman client on couch with therapist

As a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and body image issues, I have worked with clients who begin therapy and — as they make progress — show signs of having an eating disorder. This doesn’t happen in an obvious way, though. To make the diagnosis, I analyze what they’re saying and look for subtle signs.

To illustrate this point, I am going to share two different client scenarios below. Each of them may seem like a typical case of anxiety, mild depression and struggles with self-confidence and lack of happiness. With a closer look through the lens of an eating disorder therapist, these two stories take on different meanings. Continue reading How Therapy Subtly Reveals Whether You Have an Eating Disorder

4 Mental Health Resolutions: Try Something Different This New Year

woman hopping 2017 new year

Now that the new year has started, many of us are deciding on some of the classic New Year’s resolutions: weight loss, eating healthier, getting in shape, etc. These can be great goals.

They only focus on physical health, though. What about mental health? Continue reading 4 Mental Health Resolutions: Try Something Different This New Year

11 Lessons for Success in Addiction Recovery

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I have worked as a counselor for more than 25 years. For 11 of those years I have worked as an Addiction Therapist. I teach on the Psychology of Addiction, but my experience is not only from my day job or my academic role.

I have had bouts of addiction to food and I have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Growing up, my father was an alcoholic. The impact of a childhood lived with a parent who is addicted to a substance can have long lasting echoes.

Addiction is personal for me. I care a great deal about people who suffer from addiction and long for freedom. What I would like to share with you is some of the lessons I have learned as a therapist who specializes in addiction and recovery. Continue reading 11 Lessons for Success in Addiction Recovery

What I Learned When My Therapist Dumped Me

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“I think this should be our last session,” said my former therapist, Leslie.

“What? Why?” I asked.

My brows furrowed and my heart started pounding. In only a few seconds my mind rapidly conjured possibilities and anxiety-provoking questions.

Was she sick of me? Had I done something to offend her? Was there some problem with my insurance? Continue reading What I Learned When My Therapist Dumped Me

How Can Families Reunite After Trump’s Victory Split Them Apart?

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Before the 2016 election, writer Michael Noker was “incredibly close” with his mother. He saw her as a role model because of her strength, feminism and history of overcoming abuse. Before he came out as gay, his mother was already teaching him the importance of respecting members of the LGBT community.

Then he learned she was voting for Donald Trump. Because of Hillary Clinton’s persecution of her husband’s accusers during his sex scandal, his mother didn’t perceive Clinton as a more feminist choice than Trump. She was also disappointed with Obamacare and seemed to want a new leader who would change it.

When Noker told her about Trump’s comments on the infamous tape with Billy Bush, she dismissed them as “probably taken out of context.” He also informed her of the many sexual assault allegations Trump faced. She dismissed them as well, saying it was suspicious that women were coming forward so many years after the purported incidents. Continue reading How Can Families Reunite After Trump’s Victory Split Them Apart?

4 Issues That Come Up In Couples Counseling During The Holidays

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The holiday season can be a wonderful time of closeness with loved ones, but it also causes a lot of stress for many couples. Couples counseling can provide a safe space to work through many common issues that plague couples during the pressure-filled holiday season.

If you are in counseling, some of these issues might resonate with you. Maybe you can raise them in upcoming sessions. If you’re not seeing a therapist, and any of these issues have led to significant conflict in your relationship, it could be time to schedule an appointment with a counselor who can help you work through these concerns. Continue reading 4 Issues That Come Up In Couples Counseling During The Holidays

6 Ways to NOT Let Your Family Stress You Out Over the Holidays

Gilmore Girls family fighting

Are you dreading the holidays? Chances are it’s because every year your family stresses you out when all you’re trying to do is take a break from the stress of work. It’s especially bad if seeing your family evokes painful memories and dredges issues you would rather save for a therapist.

To help you manage this stress, here are six tips for staying calm and dealing with the most challenging members of your family. They might reduce that holiday dread.

1. Set Boundaries

Sometimes family members upset us frequently to the point where we have a rough idea of how long it takes for them to stress us out. Do you know what your limit us? If so, make sure you can say goodbye to your family before approaching that limit. Tell them your time frame ahead of the reunion so they can manage their expectations. This will also help you avoid hurting their feelings.
If you don’t know what your limit is, try to be careful and figure it out for next time. For now air on the conservative side.

You can also set limits on what you’re going to do when you’re with family. If they have a holiday habit of goading or guilting you into something you hate, tell them ahead of time that you’re not going to put up with that. Continue reading 6 Ways to NOT Let Your Family Stress You Out Over the Holidays