Essential Questions For Your Therapist That Go Unasked

man sitting with laptop and phone looking puzzled

Therapy creates funny feelings — you tell this person your most intimate thoughts and feelings, but when it comes to asking questions, you might feel nervous or intimidated. It can be tough not to put therapists on a pedestal or occasionally feel anxious with them.

However, therapy is a service you purchase; the therapeutic relationship is also a business relationship. As a customer, you have the right to ask questions about your service, just as you would if you were buying a car or hiring someone to fix your shower. Continue reading Essential Questions For Your Therapist That Go Unasked

When to Ditch a Toxic Friendship (According to a Therapist)

Two women in window

The notion of “toxic” people is popular these days, with most advice leaning toward cutting such people out of your life. In some situations, such as domestic violence, this should be the obvious choice. Friendships are a little different, however. It’s harder to know when you need to set limits.

Just like any other relationship, friendships require give and take. In addition, we have the idea that true friends stick together through thick and thin, so we you put up with foibles for the sake of the relationship. Sometimes, though, friendships are unhealthy. Continue reading When to Ditch a Toxic Friendship (According to a Therapist)

Is There a “Right Path” in Life?

Two paths diverging

It’s common to wonder about your life’s direction at certain ages, during adolescence or at mid-life, but honestly, these big questions are worth asking anytime.

We all want to find meaning and fulfillment, making the best use of our limited time on Earth. We often hear phrases such as “find your passion” or “do what you love,” which make it sound as if finding just the right thing to do in life will fix all of your other problems.

In addition, once we choose a path, we’re often afraid to break from that course, sticking with old routines and habits. We let our fear of the unknown keep us from new experiences. Consider, however, is it realistic to expect one interest or choice to sustain us for decades? Is there really only one path to take? Continue reading Is There a “Right Path” in Life?

How Teens Can Deal With the Pressure to Succeed

A teen stands by lockers at school

Life as a teen has never been easy, but today it’s a stressed out pressure cooker of grades, tests, and college admissions. According to a study from New York University in 2015, “youth experience high levels of chronic stress,” most of it related to the pressure to succeed. What’s worse, this stress and anxiety can actually lead to other mental health concerns. Continue reading How Teens Can Deal With the Pressure to Succeed

What Every Teen Should Know About Body Image and Eating Disorders

Friends jumping in the air

Few times in life feel more awkward in our own bodies than during our teen years. With all the changes your body goes through from middle school through college, it’s no surprise you might have doubts about your appearance or feel weird in your own skin.

Unfortunately, research suggests that feeling not so great about the way you look or a negative body image can have a big impact on our mental health — it can even lead to eating disorders. It’s hard for all of us to figure out what’s normal and what’s not, but especially during these years when we’re changing so rapidly. Maybe even more importantly, what can you do about poor body image? Continue reading What Every Teen Should Know About Body Image and Eating Disorders

How to Deal with School When You’re a Depressed or Anxious Teen?

Person standing in front of school bus

It’s a common trope that you’re supposed to be moody and stressed out as a teen, but for many of us, any “normal” angst turns into serious problems when combined with anxiety or depression. In fact, according to one study, up to 20 percent of teenagers experience depression, while other research found almost 32 percent of teens suffer anxiety.

Of course, school is a major stressor. It takes up your entire day, then requires long hours spent on homework or extracurricular activities. For most teens, school is a requirement — if not exactly required by law, then at least required by the parents or people you depend on. Anxiety or depression make school an even greater challenge. Continue reading How to Deal with School When You’re a Depressed or Anxious Teen?

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?