Diagnosis: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_149934155With a new diagnostic manual out (the DSM-5 replacing the DSM-4TR), I’ve been thinking more about the dangers of diagnosis.  It’s just human nature that if you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

So the way a therapist sees a client is shaped by the diagnostic criteria available, and that can influence how clients see themselves (“I’m a depressive borderline,” one new client informed me.)

Given this, therapists have to diagnose with care.  And clients have to take their diagnoses with a grain of salt: The diagnosis you’re given is not the sum total of who you are.

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You’re Only Hurting Yourself

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_188024033People do self-destructive acts all the time.  Sometimes it’s because they don’t realize they’re doing it (self-sabotage, where your unconscious is driving the car) or because they don’t see an alternative (cutting, for example, releases endorphins and offers immediate relief from pain.)  Here are some questions to ask yourself, in order to recognize your patterns and begin healing.

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How to Fight Fair

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_205440832In a healthy relationship, fights are going to happen.  (Often, a complete absence of fights is a sign partners have become irrevocably disconnected.)  So the goal isn’t to eradicate all fights; it’s to make sure you’re fighting well.

What I mean is, a good fight is one that’s productive: grievances are aired, resentments are released, both parties ultimately feel understood, and the least possible emotional damage was inflicted.  A bad fight is–well, the opposite of that.

If you’ve been having bad fights, this is a great post to read with your partner.  If you can agree to the ground rules in here (and maybe even put them on the fridge or somewhere you can reference them), that can start turn things around.  So here goes!

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The Unexpected Ways Social Media Can Harm Your Teen (And What You Can Do About It)

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_192673244Social media and the parent-child bond are among the themes in my novel, “Don’t Try to Find Me.”  They were also among the topics of a recent radio interview I gave (thanks to Answers for the Family for a great talk! you can listen to it here.)  While there are the obvious ways that social media can harm a teenager (for example, cyber bullying) there are some more insidious ones as well.

What are they, and what’s a parent to do?

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You’re Being Emotionally Abused–What Do You Do About it?

By Holly Brown, LMFT

My recent post Are You Being Emotionally Abused? seemed to strike a nerve with a lot of people.  That means that many of you are experiencing  emotional abuse in their relationships.  This is (sadly) not surprising to me, in my line of work.  But hopefully, it’s a comfort to realize that you’re not alone in this. It’s not your fault, and it’s not okay.

So now that you’ve acknowledged the abuse, what should you do?  Here are the first steps.

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Are You Being Emotionally Abused?

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_86748793With so much (rightful) attention being paid to physical abuse and domestic violence, I wanted to also shine some light on emotional abuse, which can be just as psychologically damaging.  But it is also, in some ways, easier to rationalize.  People who are being emotionally abused might downplay their own victimization by comparing themselves to people who are being physically abused: “Well, I’d never stand for that!”

But are you accepting treatment that you shouldn’t?  Are you being emotionally abused?  Here are some indicators.

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Fat Shaming, Slut Shaming: What All the Shaming Means for Your Daughters, and You

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_155135393There’s a fresh wave of stories about yet another young model told she’s “too fat for the runway.”  To the vast majority of us, that young woman doesn’t have a pound to spare.

And there’s always the latest story of another young woman driven to suicide after being raped, or being bullied for being too sexual or not sexual enough or too hot or not hot enough.  The online world is rife with opportunities to be told that something is wrong with you.

So what’s a parent to do?

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Getting Over a Breakup

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_189555827We’ve all been there: stuck on the one that got away.  If you’re having trouble moving on, this post’s for you.

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The Cost of Keeping Secrets

By Holly Brown, LMFT

You might think that a secret isn’t the same as a lie.  But it affects your mental health and relationships just the same.

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Worst. Parent. Ever.

By Holly Brown, LMFT

shutterstock_182868605Every parent has had that feeling at one point or another.  It could be an error in judgment, a moment of frustration, a public spectacle, a comparison to other people’s kids… Lucky us, there are a ton of scenarios that can evoke feelings of anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt, and self-laceration.

What if you’re having those feelings with some regularity?  Here are ideas of what to do.

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Recent Comments
  • Holly Brown, LMFT: The first question is “What’s my baseline mood state?” It’s in there.
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  • Holly Brown, LMFT: Hadn’t thought of the Mean Girl mentality of the stepmother (she’s the ringleader for...
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