Archives for General

Adult Mental Health

Identifying People In Need: Can You Spot Mental Distress?

I was having a conversation with a close friend the other day and she said something that really resonated with me. She said:
"some people just don't look like they need help. It's sad because many of these same people do."
She is right! Many things prevent society from recognizing emotional and mental health needs such as personality, tone of voice, career choice, prestige, income, lifestyle, culture, ethnicity, age, gender, etc. For example, would you think a businessman in a powerful corporation could be suffering from delusions? Would you think a beautiful teen girl is being sexually abused? Would you think the sweet elderly woman next door believes you can read her thoughts? For many people, accepting the reality that those who appear "together" may not be so together after all is difficult. It's almost as if thinking this way goes against the grains of our social rules and optimistic outlook on life. We approach the world with "tented glasses" and we design what we want the world to be. Unfortunately, we fail to make room for reality. As a result, we neglect to take time out of our busy lives to reach out to others in need (i.e., those who look needy and those who don't). It's essential that we become sensitive to the potential need(s) that require mental health intervention, support, and care.

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General

Does Dissociative Identity Disorder Truly Exist?

Last week we explored dissociative identity disorder - DID (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) and some of the challenges with studying it, teaching about it, diagnosing it, believing it exists, and even treating it. It's a complex phenomenon and many mental health professionals struggle with when to actually give this diagnosis to someone and how to treat it in therapy and with medication. Despite the fact that between
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General

Sending Your Child To An RTF Placement: 9 Questions to Ask


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.

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General

Engaging In Family Therapy: Myths and Challenges

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.
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General

Childhood Trauma: 8 Misconceptions About Traumatic Experience


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. 
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General

Frustration: 10 Worst Things To Say To Someone With Mental Illness

It's not easy living with a mental health condition or someone who is suffering from mental health challenges, especially when it is severe or chronic. It's even harder trying to get others to understand what it feels like to struggle or what it feels like to watch a loved one struggle. Until you experience mental illness (either yourself or through someone else), you have no idea how sensitive everyone is and how important it is to be careful with what you say.

Have you ever experienced depression or know someone who has? What has been your self-talk (things you say to yourself to help yourself overcome the depressed mood) or things that you have said to others who appear depressed? Perhaps you make statements such as "cheer up!" "It will get better" or "you won't be depressed forever." Do you think such statements are helpful? It wasn't until I became a therapist and started working with families and young children that I learned what should and should not be said to someone who is struggling with a mental health condition.
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Advocacy

What Dr. Martin Luther King Has Provided For Mental Health


 

As you read the headline I’m sure you questioned what relevance Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr serves to the discussion of severe or untreated mental health. Rarely do we ever hear people emphasize the importance of following the example of Dr. King in our “fight” against society’s lack of knowledge about severe and untreated mental illness. But Dr. King embodied so many sophisticated qualities that add such a rich tapestry of cultural legacy and inheritance to my own life and society in general.

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General

How To Spot A Bad Therapist: 10 Major Signs




Dr Viktor Frankl, Logotherapist and author of Man's Search For Meaning, coined the term "iatrogenic neurosis" to describe an illness "caused" by or made worse by a provider of healthcare. It's hard to imagine that a healthcare provider, specifically a mental health professional, can make an illness worse. How is it possible for a professional to create more problems for a client seeking help?
If I were to quiz you on the 10 worst signs of a bad therapist would you know what they are? What did you like about them or dislike? It's often difficult for people to decipher a good therapist from a bad therapist until something unethical happens. 
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General

Finding The True Holiday Spirit for Christmas

On this site we're often talking about many serious subjects such as severe mental illness, parenting a child (adult or minor) with severe mental illness, being a caregiver, seeking hospitalization for a loved one, understanding parents who harm their children due to an illness, abuse, neglect, pathological lying, avoidant personalities, borderline personalities, sociopaths, etc. We cover a multiplicity of subjects that often depress many of us. They are subjects we would rather never discuss or have to even face in our own personal lives. These are important topics. But I find that during this time of year many people psychologically and emotionally detach from reality and often enter into a "fantasy" of what this time of year should look like. These subjects mysteriously no longer exist, no longer matter. Many miss the essential components of this holiday by ignoring the great need among us in so many people around us. Being mindful of these people actually makes Christmas quite magical. 
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General

Understanding Movement Disorders: What Are Dystonias?

Severe mental illness can be one of the most difficult situations for both the victim and the family to cope with. There are a host of issues including problems with medication and side effects. Do you know someone suffering from schizophrenia or taking strong psychotropic medications? Most individuals with schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses must take anti-psychotic medications that can result in involuntary movements of the muscles, repetitive movements (such as
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