Anxiety disorders – whether its generalized, OCD, social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias or reaction to a stressful event, treatment works towards eradication of anxiety symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to identify and change anxiety-producing beliefs and thoughts. Stress management and assertiveness training are often utilized to reduce anxiety as well.

Depression – therapy focuses on changing the client’s experience of emotional exhaustion to emotional fulfillment. Thoughts and beliefs that generate depression are explored and appropriately challenged. Behavioral strategies are utilized to change the client’s frame of mind and his or her daily experience.

Bi-polar – working collaboratively with a client’s psychiatrist or other physician, therapy focuses on maintaining emotional stability. Stress management and self-awareness are often utilized.

Grief and loss – therapy provides affirmation and guidance through the experience of loss so that the loss becomes a significant, but not overwhelming, part of the person’s whole life experience.

Self-esteem, identity issues – therapy collaborates with the client in exploring his or her life experiences, identifying how and where messages about the Self were formed, and challenging the validity of certain problematic self-messages. The client’s spiritual as well as psychological experiences are explored.

Help! My Child is Anxious (and So Am I)

Don’t worry, be happy In every life we have some trouble But when you worry, you make it double Don’t worry, be happy ~Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy” 1988 If you start singing this song to someone who is in the middle of a panic attack, be prepared to be punched in the face.  If we could stop worrying, and just be happy, wouldn’t that be awesome?  If we could just instantly change our emotional state, don’t you think we would have done it already? In the midst of a strong emotion, we often lose awareness of the tools
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, and Stress.

How to Have a Bad Day

Cheryl’s day was not beginning as planned.  She forgot to set her alarm, and so she and her husband who always relied on her to get up first were both late for work.  On top of that, their dog had diarrhea on their bedroom floor. She thought “Of course!  This always happens to me!”  She hurriedly got into her car and looked at the time; only five minutes behind.  At a stop light, she grabbed her coffee travel mug and as she took a drink, the lid she forgot to screw on fell off and coffee spilled all over her
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Categories: Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

The Amazing Rat and What it Can Teach Us

Recently at our office we listened to a talk given by a really smart guy with a PhD in psychopharmacology.  He described a study he conducted on rats (think “Rats of NIMH”).  Rats were put into four groups for this experiment.  In group one, the rats were kept alone in their own cages with nothing.  In group two, rats were alone in cages with “enrichment toys”.  I’m not sure what enrichment toys look like for rats, but I imagine a running wheel, things to climb or chew on, and maybe a coffee table book, “Cheeses of the World”.   In
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Categories: Addiction, Children, Family, Mental Health, and Relationships.

There’s More Than One Grinch Out There

The Big Grinch of 2020 brought with him several Little Grinches.  These other grinches have always been around, but the Big Grinch has really paved the way for them to infiltrate our homes, relationships, and personal lives in new and devious ways.  These Little Grinches are fear, addiction, loneliness, confusion, apathy and mistrust.   I’ve seen an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety in 2020.  Of course there are more issues that have been worrisome this year; the election, the spread of a serious virus, economic uncertainty and plenty of civil unrest.  Many people have dealt with the anxiety by
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Categories: COVID, Family, Holidays, Mental Health, and Parenting.

Should I Let My Child Have Social Media?

Here’s my answer. Growing up in the digital age is something most parents today know nothing about.  We have no direct experience of what going through middle school in the era of social media is really like.  We can, however, observe the impact of social media on our children.   I want to emphasize that we must not underestimate its impact on our children.  I believe that our middle schoolers are the most vulnerable to social media’s influence.   The reason I say this is based on child development theory.  Erik Erickson developed the “Psychosocial” stages of development.  He believed
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, School, and Transitions / Change.

Why is bullying such a problem these days?

Given the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the importance of addressing bullying is at its peak.  Bullying is an issue that is related to several problems in our schools, from mild anxiety problems to truancy to incidents of deadly violence.  Did you know that social rejection and bullying are common factors among students who become school shooters?  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics victims of bullying are twice as likely to bring weapons to school.  Statistics reported by ABC News state that nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids (nationwide)
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, Personal Growth, School, and Stress.

Traits of Healthy Families #6-9

Lately I’ve been expanding on Dolores Curran’s book “Traits of a Healthy Family” which identifies 15 traits that healthy families exhibit.  She is quick to point out that no family is perfect or lives out all of these 15 traits.   However, healthy families as a whole will show these qualities.  Last month’s column was guest-written by my daughter and covered the traits of “Valuing table time” and “strong sense of rituals and traditions.”  This edition will examine how and why playfulness, leisure time, balance, and shared responsibility are important in family life. We’ve all heard it said that “The
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, and Relationships.

Traits of a Healthy Family #3-5

Last month’s column introduced the traits of good communication and valuing family time and conversation.  In this issue, three more of the 15 traits from Dolores Curran’s book, “Traits of a Healthy Family” will be covered.  Traits 3 – 5 have to do with providing every family member with a sense of inclusion and acceptance. Trait three, “affirming and supporting one another”, really starts with the parents.   Happy parents make for happy kids.  Affirming parents have good self-esteem, and work to instill a positive mood in the home.  This positive tone in the home creates a general expectation that
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, and Relationships.