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General

7 Skills That Make Trauma Therapists Different

Have you (or someone you know) ever had a therapist who specialized in trauma therapy? Have you heard about trauma therapists or know someone who is knowledgeable about their background and professional qualifications? If not, don't feel bad. So many people struggle with the idea of a trauma therapist and do not know why trauma therapists are different from other therapists. In fact, it wasn't until I obtained my certifications in trauma therapy that I learned just how specialized a trauma therapist is. A trauma therapist is trained to handle certain situations, symptoms, and client behaviors in a certain way that sets them apart from other therapists. For example, a trauma therapist would know exactly how to help a family cope with their adopted daughter's internalized guilt for being removed from multiple foster care homes. This article will list examples of scenarios where trauma therapists may be helpful and discuss 7 things that make trauma therapists different from other therapists. If you or someone you know may be interested in trauma therapy, this article is for you.
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8 Ways To Overcome Post-Election Depression

How are you feeling 8 days following the shocking and emotionally draining election? Are you encouraged? Are you discouraged? Are you feeling like the future is uncertain? If so, you are not alone. Join the millions of protesters who feel their future, and the future of their children, are at stake. It's amazing just how emotionally draining this election has been. Every 4 years the nation goes through the process of deciding to keep the current president or decide on a new Commander and Chief. But for some reason, this recent election has brought so many emotions to the forefront. I have seen at least over 20 clients in my office who are struggling with depression and anxiety over how the election has gone. They are afraid, uncertain, discouraged, confused, ashamed, fatigued, angry, etc. The list of emotions go on and on and on. What about for you? This article will discuss 8 ways to overcome feelings of depression after the election. 
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10 Traumatizing Life Circumstances We Overlook

What do you know about trauma? Have you (or someone you know) experienced a traumatizing situation? If so, you are not alone. Trauma affects about 26% of the child US population. About 60% of adults report experiencing trauma in some form as a child. When speaking with families who have experienced trauma, I often explain trauma to be an event or circumstance that negatively affects an individual who does not have the appropriate coping skills/tools to overcome the trauma. Trauma is any circumstance that outweighs your ability to cope. Simply put, the event is terrifying, unnerving, and unexpected. For many of us, unexpected events can bring a host of anxious thoughts and feelings including depressed mood.
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Part 2: Getting Through to Delusional Beliefs

Last week I discussed ways to communicate with someone who displays delusional beliefs. This week I would like to discuss the types of delusions that can be experienced. It is important for me to mention that not all delusions will be bizarre and odd (i.e., out of the ordinary and obviously absurd). Some delusions (firmly held beliefs despite evidence to the contrary) are very realistic and can be possible in today's world. For example, a husband may believe that his wife is cheating on him (despite evidence to the contrary) and begin stalking her on a daily basis. A grandmother may believe her daughter is keeping the grandchildren away brainwashing them to dislike her, despite the fact that she sees her grandchildren every month. Delusions are complicated and that's why so many mental health professionals struggle to treat individuals with psychotic symptoms such as delusions. This article will focus on different types of delusions and how they erupt in the lives of typically developing individuals, relationships, and families who least except it.
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Part 1: Getting Through To Delusional Beliefs

Do you know someone who struggles with delusional beliefs? What about your own experiences? Do you find some of your thoughts and beliefs odd and potentially delusional? If so, you are not alone. Many people have delusional thoughts and beliefs. For example, there are multiple theories on how the World Trade Center fell on September 11th. Conspiracy theories are all around us. So you may be asking: "what makes delusional beliefs any different from conspiracy theories or firmly held beliefs that have no proof?" Severity and duration. If the delusional beliefs are so firmly held that it becomes difficult to tease apart reality from fiction, this is a problem. If the duration of the delusional beliefs are long-term or "chronic," this is a problem. This article will explore delusional beliefs. In next week's article I will provide tips on how to challenge inaccurate or delusional beliefs. I will also mention a few common delusions that some of my former clients, in hospital settings, experienced.
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Part 2: 7 Challenges of Borderline Personality Disorder

Last week I discussed 7 challenges of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) such as: dysphoria, attention-seeking, manipulating, controlling, emotional chaos and storms, internal emptiness and loneliness, relational chaos, denial, anger, rage, and progress in some ways and deterioration in other ways. BPD is a complex disorder that requires a supportive family, active treatment, and competent treatment providers. Without these things, recovering from BPD can seem almost impossible. This article will discuss 7 ways to cope with and deal with the above symptoms of BPD. It is important for me to note that not everyone with BPD exhibits the following behavioral, relational, or emotional characteristics.
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Part 1: 7 Challenges of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most complicating disorders for mental health professionals and researchers. Why? BPD is complicated based on many factors such as the environment (i.e, upbringing, influences, etc.), temperament, genetic predisposition, age at which BPD was identified and treated, treatment recommendations, etc. So much goes into identifying, understanding, and coping with BPD. What makes matters more complicated is the unraveling of convoluted symptoms by family, caregivers, friends, and mental health professionals. For example, some individuals with BPD struggle a great deal with being told about their diagnosis by a mental health professional. This may cause the individual, who once idealized their therapist, to devalue, dislike, and disregard them. Another example may include an adolescent with BPD traits expressing suicidal thoughts to his mother while simultaneously appearing to enjoy the attention of the "sick role." Treating and helping a loved one with BPD symptoms requires internal strength, patience, and knowledge. This article will highlight 7 challenging characteristics of individuals with BPD. Next week's article will focus on ways to cope with these 7 characteristics as a friend or family member.
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When To Say Enough! 10 Ways To Escape Toxic People

How would you know a person is "toxic?" What about them or their behaviors would signal to you that they are toxic? For me, a toxic person is someone who makes you feel a way that you are not, who undermines and mistreats you, and who may come across as kind to others and truly is very unkind to you. A toxic person is someone who "infects" (like a disease) your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviors in ways that are not good. They may be envious of you, they may try to limit or undermine you, or they may simply ignore any kind of progress you make. A toxic person can be anyone, even a person with a mental health challenge, a close friend, a confidant, and/or a family member. If you are like most people in society, you will find it almost impossible to spot and detach from a toxic person because they can come across as charming, kind, and trustworthy. It is necessary that I make it clear we are not talking about a narcissistic person per se, but rather a person (generally healthy), who cannot maintain a positive relationship with another person. This article will discuss characteristics of a toxic person and how to say goodbye.
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13 Things Never To Say To Trauma Survivors

Do you or someone you know struggle with memories, flashbacks, depressed mood, anxiousness, fear, regret, guilt, or other negative emotions stemming from a history of trauma? If so, this article is for you. As I have stated multiple times in previous articles on trauma, most people not only struggle with understanding what trauma is and how to treat it, but also how to relate to those struggling with a history of trauma (mild, moderate, or severe). Having worked in the field of behavioral health and healthcare as a trauma therapist for almost 10 years, I have come to realize that a lot of people struggle with being compassionate to those with trauma histories. Why? Perhaps because the human mind perceives a "historical experience" to be just that, history. If the person appears to be surviving now and coping well in society, then nothing else could possibly be wrong. Sadly, this is not true and those with a history of trauma are often disregarded, intentionally or unintentionally, by family, friends, co-workers, and sometimes even mental health professionals. This article will discuss 13 statements that should never be made to someone with a history of trauma. I will offer suggestions on better ways to get a point across.
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9 Reasons Trauma Is So Hard To Understand

What comes to your mind when you hear the term trauma? Do you think of physical or psychological trauma? Do you have preconceived notions about how trauma may affect human development? Sadly, many people struggle to understand the emotional, psychological, and/or physical toll trauma can have on overall health. Trauma is not well understood by society which leads to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and sometimes further trauma. My experience has been that many people struggle to identify what trauma actually is and how it affects the brain and overall development. Many of these same people believe that trauma does not have to define or continue to affect you. While this is a positive and sometimes balanced view, trauma is something that leaves many fingerprints that cannot be so easily erased. This article will highlight some of the things I have seen, in my profession and life, that is difficult for others to understand about trauma. I have narrowed these things down to 9 for the purpose of keeping things structured and succinct.
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