At what age did you (or someone you know) have an imaginary friend as a child? Were you able to "see" this imaginary friend and hear his or her voice? At what age did this imaginary world begin and end? For many adults, a child's imaginary friends and world are the epitome of a great early childhood experience. It's a normalized part of childhood development. In fact, it's a normal part of development throughout the lifespan. Most parents become greatly concerned if their child doesn't have a fantasy world at some point during the early years. Even more, many of us adults enjoy the fantasy world of Walt Disney World and Disney Land fictional characters. Some of us would spend our entire paycheck just to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse! But we know that these fictional characters are just that, they're fictional. For children who are showing signs and symptoms of something more severe such as a psychotic disorder, the fantasy world is not a fantasy, but a very real part of their lives. This article will explore and discuss dissociative symptoms and psychotic symptoms that could eventually become "multiple personality disorder" (or as it is referred to today Dissociative Identity Disorder - DID). In the questions and answers section, I would love to hear your thoughts on whether or not you believe the disorder of multiple personality disorder or DID actually exists. It continues to be very controversial.
One of the most heart wrenching experiences that I have had over the years in the field of counseling and psychotherapy involves a parent or family member giving full control to a placement or residential treatment facility (RTF). The experience is difficult for everyone involved, but primarily the family who will lose a certain amount of control to absolute strangers. Many parents struggle with the idea of sending their child or adolescent away from familiar surroundings (school, home, community) and familiar people (family, friends, teachers, etc.). The individual often struggles with losing friends at home or school, parental figures, grandparents, and a certain amount of structure that is familiar. Going away to an RTF for 3 months to 12 months can feel like an eternity for families and can be very traumatic. This article will discuss what an RTF/group home/placement is, what questions to ask, and considerations. This article will also refer only to children and adolescents, but some of this information might apply to adults as well.
Do you know someone who tends to lie frequently about any and everything? Have you caught them in a lie and wondered why they continue to lie? If so, you are obviously dealing with a pathological liar. What most people fail to recognize about pathological liars is that they often lack the ability to empathize with others, feel guilt about their lies, and have trouble controlling their natural impulse to lie. For most of us, it is very difficult to lie with a straight face and quite easy to feel guilty about the lie. But for someone with "psychological deficits" or pathological behaviors, it is very easy for them to lie while keeping others in the dark. What's most interesting about pathological liars is that many of them know how to control their emotions in such a way that lying can look like the truth to us.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a very complex disorder for many families. The symptoms, the chaos, the abuse, the rage, the fear, the feelings of abandonment, and the self-harm or suicidal thoughts all take families by surprise. Sadly, many sufferers struggle to explain their symptoms to others who may believe they are being manipulative, oppositional, problematic, or difficult. While some of these things may be true for some people, there are others with BPD who lack the interpersonal and social skills needed to perform in these ways and who are so emotionally distraught that common sense goes out the window. Do you have a loved one suffering with BPD? How have you coped? Are you coping? This article will explore ways that families and friends can learn to cope with a loved one suffering from BPD.
If I were to give you a certain estimate of the number of kids and teens I currently see for trauma, I would say about 7 out of 10 cases every 30-90 days of the year. It's scary to look at the large numbers of people within our society who have struggled with (or are currently dealing with) some form of trauma. It's even more scary to observe the after-effects of trauma and the evil that triggers the symptoms that are expressed as complex, confusing, and even deceptive. I use the term deceptive to refer to trauma symptoms that are complicated and hard to treat with medication and even therapy. Some symptoms are so rooted in the trauma history that it takes months, if not years, to properly treat and understand. After 8-10 years of working with trauma cases, I found myself beginning to conceptualize the traumatic histories of all of my cases as having a "rooted evil." There is no other explanation for why an innocent child has to experience the turmoil often brought on by a traumatic past. This article will briefly explore the complexities of trauma (the "rooted evil") and describe the debilitating nature of re-enactments, triangulation, emotional dysregulation, and suicidal thoughts.
Family therapy can truly become either a saving grace or a boxing ring. For many of my clients, it's a boxing ring full of traps, snakes, confusion, and drama. No matter how much I attempt to encourage my young client's to give it a try and be courageous, the session drama becomes a living, breathing soap opera. Have you ever been in family therapy or wondered what it would be like to attend a family session? This article will address some questions about family therapy and explore some common myths.
What is trauma? If I were to quiz you on trauma would you know how to define it? You might say something like trauma is a negative experience that you cannot forget or move past. I would give you an A+ but also challenge you to consider different situations in which trauma occurs and the impact on the victim. For example, we all know that a child who has been abused and neglected or has seen something horrific would most likely be traumatized. But would you also consider a 3 month old baby who has been severely neglected to be traumatized? Why or why not? Would you consider an adult, who has a history of trauma, to still be suffering from the trauma? These questions will be answered in this article and I will provide an example case for your review.
How do you communicate with those you care about, your co-workers, and your friends? Do you show them different sides of yourself or are you always the same person? Do you believe that there are rules to communication? Many of my clients simply believe that communication does not entail a host of different skills but should only consist of talking. What many of them fail to realize is that communication is often influenced by internal thoughts as well as body language. Both of these things either contribute to or detract from the conversation. Even more, poor communication skills are to blame for miscommunication, arguments, and confusion.
When you think of therapy what comes to mind? A couch and a shrink? A stern psychiatrist who sits protected behind a desk while asking you or your loved one multiple questions? Do you think of a cold, dark office or an overly positive office with positive quotes all over the place? However you think of therapy, there has been something in your life or something said that has influenced the way you perceive therapy. All of your perceptions of therapists has a great deal to do with how you view therapy. It also could have something to do with your own experience or someone else's experience. Either way, I want to debunk what you think therapy is and help you develop a more realistic, healthy view.