What is Group Therapy and How Can It Help You?

People speaking in a group

Hollywood loves to depict group therapy a certain way: always held in a large, sunny, open room, like a church or a community center, with a ring of folding chairs. There’s always coffee. Someone will come in late, and be warmly welcomed — and then immediately lay all of their worries bare.

If that’s what you expect going into your first group therapy session, you might be surprised.

Continue reading What is Group Therapy and How Can It Help You?

Why Some People Isolate and Some Reach Out

A wooden hand on a white background

When you’re feeling down in the doldrums, chances are good you’ll respond one of two ways. You might barricade yourself inside your home, not wanting to speak to anyone. Or you may reach out to friends, unloading your worries on their listening ears. Neither approach is wrong.

Whichever way you naturally gravitate, it may be difficult to understand those who act differently than you do when they’re feeling fragile. If you hunker down, you might be amazed by your boyfriend, who likes to jabber out his anxieties. And talkers might be confused by their best friend, who disappears for weeks when she’s feeling down.

Here’s why you might be inclined to reach out or retreat — and advice on helping others who do the opposite.

Continue reading Why Some People Isolate and Some Reach Out

What is Hypochondria and How to Get Help?

A doctor checks a patient's blood pressure, surrounded by medical implements

For most people, a sneeze is just a sneeze. But for hypochondriacs, a sneeze can have much bigger implications, making them fear it’s a sign they have a horrible disease.

Put simply, a hypochondriac is an individual who lives with the fear that they have a serious but undiagnosed medical condition — even when diagnostic tests from professionals show there is nothing wrong.

Continue reading What is Hypochondria and How to Get Help?

Passive Aggressiveness: Why We Do it and How to Stop

Flamingos fighting

You’re having a conversation at a party. It sounds normal enough, but something doesn’t feel right, although you can’t quite put your finger on what. You recognize that your friend is telling you something without telling you something — “I normally don’t like the way you dress, but that dress looks great on you!” she says.

Ouch. It hits you: She’s being passive aggressive.

Passive-aggressive behavior is a way of expressing anger in a seemingly non-hostile way — a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings. It’s a behavior that encompasses more than just eye rolls and faux compliments; it involves a range of actions designed to get back at another person without him or her recognizing the underlying anger.

Continue reading Passive Aggressiveness: Why We Do it and How to Stop

5 Psychological Secrets of Those Who Have Faced Death

A close-up of an eye

These days actor/comedian/speaker/life coach/talent manager Kate Romero has a full and happy life. It wasn’t always that way.

After a difficult childhood that included surviving many traumas, Romero found herself across the table from another deadbeat boyfriend. With several drinks under his belt, he and Romero headed out to their van and took off into the early morning. It was the beginning of a life-changing event for Romero.

Continue reading 5 Psychological Secrets of Those Who Have Faced Death

5 Ways Black and White Thinking Poisons Your Perspective

A man's silhouette behind a screen in black and white

I’m a terrible person.

My sister is so beautiful and I’m so ugly.

My boyfriend is the most attractive person I know and I’ll never be as into anyone else again.

We all think of the world in black and white terms at times. From refusing to see the flaws in our loved ones, to being overly hard on ourselves, the human brain’s tendency to understand the world in either/or terms has a profound effect on our relationships.

Continue reading 5 Ways Black and White Thinking Poisons Your Perspective

Why Don’t Men Ask for Mental Health Help?

man sitting starting out window over city

On January 17, 2010, Joshua R. Beharry stood on a British Columbia bridge, attempting to end his life.

Luckily, his attempt failed, and today Beharry is a mental health advocate and Project Coordinator of HeadsUpGuys, a British Columbia-based campaign to support men who have depression. He tells his story so that men, and all people with depression, can feel empowered to reach out.

“I didn’t really start out trying to reach men more specifically,” Beharry wrote to Talkspace in an email interview. “But through my work at HeadsUpGuys I’ve come to realize that a lot of guys go through similar issues and face similar barriers to reaching out as I did.”

Beharry is not alone. While more women than men attempt suicide, more men than women — 3.53 times more, in fact — complete it. This contradicts the widespread notion that depression, and other mental illnesses, are women’s diseases — and points to a serious gap in mental health resources for men. Researchers have found that while factors like racial discrimination and cost of mental health care prevent men from reaching out for mental health help, there’s another culprit: toxic masculinity, or harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man.

Continue reading Why Don’t Men Ask for Mental Health Help?

Struggle with Time Management? Here’s What It Says About Your Mental Health…

A person's arm with a watch

Keeping a laundry list of tasks and to-dos in order can be a headache for anyone, but for some people, the difficulty goes beyond mere annoyance. Starting work each morning can feel like wrangling a bear — and often, that bear is your mind. No, work won’t always be easy (it’s called work for a reason), but it doesn’t need to be the bane of your day-to-day existence.

It’s important to understand what about task management pains you. Is it stressful? Are you overwhelmed? Are you so nitpicky that you get stuck on tasks for days? When task management turns from an annoyance into a daily struggle, step back and examine your mental health. Understanding the blocks your brain puts up during working hours will help you — with the help of a therapist if you choose — create a plan of attack.

Continue reading Struggle with Time Management? Here’s What It Says About Your Mental Health…

Fear of Change: Why Life Adjustments are Difficult for You

Woman in subway watching fast train go by

The fear of change is one of the most common fears that people face. I see it frequently among my therapy clients, and just as frequently among friends.

Change is difficult for everyone; there are few people that don’t feel somewhat anxious at the prospect of a major upheaval in their lives. The problem comes when fear of change keeps people paralyzed in situations that are not healthy or fulfilling, or when their fear of change isn’t confined to significant changes, but encompasses relatively minor, daily changes in routine.

Continue reading Fear of Change: Why Life Adjustments are Difficult for You

What Does It Mean to Be a Sensation Seeker?

Man swinging from rope by waterfall

When spring arrives, many people can feel like they are glad to be alive, a feeling that can manifest in wanting to feel and do many new things. They chafe at the restrictions imposed by office jobs or any indoor activity, and want to get out in the world and feel the excitement of the season.

For some people, though, this feeling isn’t tied to the beginning of warm weather, or falling in love, or any discrete event. There are some people, called “sensation seekers,” that are always looking to increase their levels of stimulation, and feel bored and constricted on a regular basis.

Continue reading What Does It Mean to Be a Sensation Seeker?