How to *Actually* Communicate

Orange telephone on a table

As much as we talk, sometimes we’re pretty bad at actually communicating. As social beings, though, our well-being depends upon effective communication. In fact, studies show good communication not only helps us meet our basic needs for food and shelter, but it’s key to establishing trusting relationships and achieving higher personal goals such as self-fulfillment.

Communication may be a vital part of our day-to-day interactions, but that doesn’t mean we automatically know how to do it effectively. In fact, in my practice, I find one of the biggest sources of relationship distress centers on communication. So how should you actually communicate? Continue reading How to *Actually* Communicate

Understanding Eating Disorders: From Control to Dysfunction

A woman with her head on her knees covered in a black sheet

February 25th starts National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million Americans suffer from issues with disordered eating (ED).

If you’re familiar with EDs, you know they can result in chaotic outcomes for the individual: drastic weight loss, binge eating, or obsessive exercising are just a few possibilities. What you might not know is this chaos often has a very different starting place — control. Continue reading Understanding Eating Disorders: From Control to Dysfunction

Is it Okay to Not Feel Okay?

Guy with ok hat

“Look on the bright side! Everything happens for a reason — you’ll see.”

When things go wrong in life, people love to throw clichés at the problem. Maybe it’s not even a big problem, maybe you’re just having an off day. But when people notice, they’re quick to try cheering you up.

Expressing unpleasant emotions makes people around you uncomfortable. Maybe they don’t want their own mood impacted by your negativity; perhaps don’t want to confront their own complicated feelings about negativity. But this discomfort might make you wonder — it’s ok for you to feel bad, right? Continue reading Is it Okay to Not Feel Okay?

What Is “Good” Mental Health?

Smiling egg

It’s typically easy to recognize “problematic” mental health — most of the time we know how to recognize anxiety, depression, stress, conflict…the list goes on. When we strive for good mental health, however, it’s a little harder to figure out exactly what that means.

What is good mental health, and how do we know when we’ve got it? Everything you need to know can be found below. Continue reading What Is “Good” Mental Health?

4 Vital Tips for Parenting With Depression

A mother holds her baby in a low lit room

If you have children, you know raising kids presents challenges on your best days. Parents with mental illness, however, have it even harder.

In particular, parental depression can wreak havoc on a child’s psyche. What’s worse, when children develop problems related to parental depression, the added stress can make that parent’s depression worse. Thus, parental depression can turn into a long-lasting cycle of negative outcomes for the entire family.

Continue reading 4 Vital Tips for Parenting With Depression

Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Gets Unhealthy

Plain bowl of lettuce

Often, it feels like every time we turn around, there’s a new diet fad, exercise craze, or best-selling book proclaiming itself to be the key to health.

Unfortunately, as Western society increasingly prioritizes clean eating, physical exercise, and other forms of “healthy living,” clinicians have seen another trend: orthorexia.

A relatively new term, orthorexia is still taking shape as a concept, and is not yet mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The original definition by doctor Steven Bratman and writer David Knight described orthorexia as an obsession with proper nutrition, dietary restrictions, and specific food preparation methods.

Continue reading Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Gets Unhealthy

Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Face Unique Challenges to Recovery

Athletic man resting after a run outside

According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in six U.S. men have experienced sexual violence, and 17% of those men develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In my years practicing therapy, I’ve found male survivors face unique challenges to recovery, yet hesitate to get the help they need.

The question is why.

For one, we don’t hear much about male sexual assault survivors, although one study found sexual assault history was common among both women and men, reported by 25% of women and 16% of men surveyed. The research participants also faced similar long-term problems, regardless of gender.

Continue reading Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Face Unique Challenges to Recovery