4 Effects Your Parents’ Relationship Has On You

children holding hands with their parents

Your parents are, more likely than not, the first people you ever interact with in your life. They set your standard for everything — ranging from what values you develop to what your interests are — especially, what your relationships with others look like (both romantically and platonically).

Before you start dating, begin to think about starting to date, or even see characters dating in your favorite TV shows and movies, the first relationship you probably see is the one between your parents. This tells you a lot about what you later deem “normal” or “not normal” between romantic partners. In friendships, you may find yourself drawn to people who remind you of your parents for various reasons. Continue reading 4 Effects Your Parents’ Relationship Has On You

How to Move Forward After Cheating, According to a Therapist

man and woman looking away

For as long as people have made promises to be faithful to their partners, people have been breaking those promises. Aside from the hurt that comes with infidelity, romantic partners — both the cheated and the cheated upon — may feel guilt, betrayal, anger, foolishness, and loss of trust.

And yet, people still do it. They do it even when they know it’s wrong, even when they said they won’t, and even though they might — or will — get caught. This begs two questions: The first is why, and the second is how do couples move forward if it happens? Continue reading How to Move Forward After Cheating, According to a Therapist

So, You’ve Hit a Plateau in Therapy — Now What?

people on a cliff

Whether you’ve been seeing your therapist for a few months or a few years, it’s very likely that at some point during the treatment you will feel like nothing is happening. “What am I really getting out of this?” you’ll wonder. “Is this still working for me?” This feeling of stuck-ness is common and it doesn’t mean you’re “failing” at therapy.

Plateaus happen in almost every therapeutic relationship eventually, and they can look different depending on why you’re in therapy. For some, it may look like obsessing about the same problem week after week without moving toward any kind of solution or resolution. For others, it may look like struggling to find something to talk about with the therapist. In either situation, the question becomes, at this point, what to do when it happens? Continue reading So, You’ve Hit a Plateau in Therapy — Now What?

5 Surprising Areas of Life Affected by Body Dysmorphia

woman staring into mirror

Though body positivity is getting a little bit more attention in the media, many people are still not 100% satisfied with the way that their bodies look. In general, that’s okay. We all fixate at one time or another on a stubborn zit, a bald spot, a roll of belly fat. However, this can become a problem when we start obsessing over whatever feature we dislike and making it a bigger issue than it might be in reality. Continue reading 5 Surprising Areas of Life Affected by Body Dysmorphia

The Psychology Behind “Trolling”

woman looking down at laptop

In her book Shrill, writer Lindy West describes a day in 2013 when she received a Twitter message from Paul West. Of course, this was impossible — Paul West was her father, and he had recently died of cancer. The impersonator’s message was cruel (the bio alone read “embarrassed father of an idiot”), and while West was no stranger to cruel comments from strangers on the internet, this, she said on an episode of NPR podcast This American Life, “was the meanest thing anyone’s ever done to me.”

The internet age has made everything more available, more accessible, more visible. For many reasons this is an incredibly positive thing — think of how much more information is at our fingertips! The ability to learn is now as fast as your WiFi speed. Not only that, but our personal and professional lives are exposed to many more people. These current strangers might be able to follow our lives, hire us for jobs, and keep up with our recent vacations. Continue reading The Psychology Behind “Trolling”

Rumination: How Obsessive Thinking Impacts Depression and Anxiety

Stressed woman in cafe

Some people know rumination — the repetition of the same thought in your head over and over — as obsessive thinking, and for those who experience it, ruminating can be a frustrating state.

Thinking over and over about a missed opportunity, an ex, or when you misspoke — it’s bad enough to live through a negative experience once without beating yourself up in an unvirtuous mental loop. While it can often be beneficial to allow yourself the time and space to think about things that are important, too much of a good thing might actually be a bad thing. And when it comes to dealing with issues like depression or anxiety, allowing too much time to ruminate could keep you stuck in a mental rut. Continue reading Rumination: How Obsessive Thinking Impacts Depression and Anxiety

Why Your Therapist Wants You to Get Angry with Them

Buffalos butting heads

One afternoon last August, I had just had the absolute worst day ever: I had come down with a painful summer cold, I was exhausted from working the last two weekends in a row, and my beloved bike had been stolen while I was at work. I arrived at my therapist’s office ready to vent when she greeted me in the waiting room and told me that she had forgotten that we had switched my appointment time, and so had double-booked herself. She could not, she apologized, see me that day.

“That’s okay,” I told her, “I’ll see you next week,” but I seethed on my way out of the building. How could she have forgotten about my session? Was it just a careless mistake, or did she really care so little about me?

In our next session she could tell that something was wrong just by my demeanor: I was more closed off, more distant, more confrontational, but I was afraid to tell her that I was upset with her. After all, I thought, she’s a person just like me, and all people forget things or make mistakes. My therapist confronted me about it, and I eventually told her what was bothering me. Continue reading Why Your Therapist Wants You to Get Angry with Them

7 Effective Thought-Stopping Techniques for Anxiety

Woman covering her right eye

Anxiety is one of the most common issues I hear about from my clients, one that many people have on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. Of course, anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, and it can be a healthy, biological reaction to environmental stressors.

The problem is when that reaction switches from one of manageable, temporary worry or stress to heightened, intolerable panic. The latter can interfere with work, social activities, and personal relationships. Sometimes anxiety can make it incredibly difficult to function as we normally do, and this is a very scary and uncomfortable feeling.

One of the most effective ways to curb anxiety in the moment is thought-stopping — a strategy that interrupts catastrophic thinking to allow our minds a few moments of clarity to think through the anxiety. Here are seven ways to do it: Continue reading 7 Effective Thought-Stopping Techniques for Anxiety

What Does it Mean to “Get Better?”

Smiling face painted onto tree

For six years I struggled with an eating disorder before making the decision to pursue treatment. After that it still took another year and a half before I considered myself to be in recovery. I didn’t wake up one day and realize that I no longer had an eating disorder anymore; it was a slow abatement of the features of the disorder, which plagued me for so many years, as a result of a combination of nutrition counseling, support groups, psychiatric medication, therapy, and resilience.

Because recovery in mental health is an ongoing process, it can be difficult to recognize what it actually looks like. Sometimes recovery happens so gradually that we’re not even aware that our minds and bodies — because our bodies can also suffer when we are struggling with a mental-health issue — are in the process of healing. That can make it difficult to be able to answer the question: “how will I know when I’m actually better?” Continue reading What Does it Mean to “Get Better?”