Archives for General

General

Acceptance: 5 Stages of Grief & Loss

Acceptance. What comes to mind when you hear that term? Does it seem like something you should do when you are ready? Does it seem like something you will never be able to do? Do you believe that acceptance means forgiveness, denial, or contentedness? If so, allow me to expand your view of acceptance through this article. For the past few years as a trauma therapist I have come to realize that almost every single family pursuing therapy has experienced some kind of loss and grief. That loss and grief does not only involve death but also divorce, estrangement, abandonment, strong denial, severe mental illness, and dissociation. You may be asking how the last three things could possibly be loss but it is important to understand that loss of a person you once knew, trusted, and/or understood can be just as terrorizing and even traumatizing as a divorce or death. This article will discuss the grief & loss process while also highlighting what acceptance means and offering ways to cope during each stage.
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General

Inter-Generational Trauma: 5 Ways It Impacts Families

Have you ever heard of the term inter-generational trauma? What about "generational curse?" Inter-generational trauma is a concept developed to help explain years of generational challenges within families. It is the transmission (or sending down to younger generations) of the oppressive or traumatic effects of a historical event. For example, a great grandmother who was placed in a concentration camp in Germany may have learned to cope by "cutting off" her emotions. Because of this, this grandmother may interact with her family in an emotionally distant fashion. That relationship may be tumultuous to say the least. The transmission of the historical trauma may begin to negatively affect her grandchildren and her grandchildren's children, etc., leading to generations of emotional distance, defensive behaviors around expression of emotions, and denial. Inter-generational problems including oppression can often be found in families that have been traumatized in severe forms (e.g., sexual abuse, rape, murder, etc). This article will highlight some of the ways inter-generational trauma can affect younger generations and families.
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General

6 Ways The Media Can Traumatize Us

What happens to you, emotionally and psychologically, when you watch the news? What happens when you hear of devastating news within your family, at your workplace, or in society at large? For many of us, the first response is often shock, then fear, and perhaps anger or resentment. For individuals who have a history of trauma, primarily severe trauma, repeatedly watching the news or hearing of traumatic news can cause the individual to regress into further trauma symptoms and sometimes a need for more intense therapy.  For individuals who do not have trauma histories, the news can still negatively them. This article will highlight and discuss the ways the media (including social media) can negatively affect us all including individuals with trauma histories. I will also offer tips on how to cope.
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General

Trauma Of Domestic Violence: 7 Ways It Alters Your Life

Do you know someone who is (or have you been) the victim of domestic violence in some form (i.e., as a child, a parent, a spouse, etc)? Do you remember what happened during the abuse? Domestic violence is more prevalent than most people believe. In fact, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that about 20 people, per minute,  are being physically abused in their home  by an intimate partner or spouse. Sadly, domestic violence is correlated with a higher prevalence of depression and suicidal ideations. As a therapist, my experience has been that domestic violence not only affects the adult in the home but also the child (or children) who witness the abuse in some way. A child who witnesses domestic violence is vicariously experiencing the abuse (i.e., experiencing the abuse without being directly influenced by it). Rarely does anyone walk away from domestic violence unscathed. This article will discuss trauma but focus specifically on domestic violence while highlighting the ways domestic violence alters ones life.
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General

10 Common Fears Of The Diagnosis Of BPD

Do you know someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? Are you diagnosed with it yourself? How did the person (or you) accept or deal with the diagnosis? As a therapist who has worked with both adults and adolescents with borderline traits, I have seen my fair share of denial, resentment, and even outright rage expressed in sessions when the word BPD comes up. I had a previous adolescent client ask me to stop using the term BPD while discussing her challenges because "I don't believe I have that. If I don't believe I have that, then neither should you." Stunned by this attempt at controlling a professional, I offered to emphasize only the symptoms and leave the label behind, at least during the hour of psychotherapy. This article will explore some of the fears that clients may have about being labeled with BPD. 
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General

Trauma and Mental Health: 7 Facts You Should Know

What do you know about trauma? How would you define it if you had to? The best way to describe trauma is not so much by discussing the actual event that created the trauma, but by explaining that trauma is anything that overwhelms your ability to cope. In other words, you do not have the skills or abilities (at the time) to cope appropriately with the aftereffects of the trauma. This is why it is extremely important that families (friends, coworkers, and caregivers) have a keen eye on victims of trauma who may not have the appropriate coping skills to cope. When coping skills are lacking, including a clear understanding of why the trauma occurred, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, self-injurious behaviors, depression, anxiety, and sometimes even psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized/confused thought patterns) occur. This article will discuss some of the facts we should all know and keep in mind about trauma.
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Adult Mental Health

9 Truths About Borderline Personality Disorder

Do you know someone who is struggling with intense emotions, rage or anger, emotional lability, interpersonal conflict, unstable social or family relationships, and poor self-image? If so, perhaps you are dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a mental health condition that affects all facets of a sufferer's life. Sadly, although BPD has become less stigmatized over time (especially with Dr. Marsha Linehan and many other experts educating society, families, caregivers, and sufferers to what BPD actually is), it is still hard for people to accept. But as a mental health therapist I have evaluated, talked to, and counseled adolescent girls who stayed in multiple abusive and emotionally unstable relationships for the simple fact that "I cannot live without him. I will die." These intense emotions led to a cascade of other behaviors that were disturbing such as stalking, obsession, begging, and even sexual immorality. The intensity of the emotions of someone suffering from BPD may be disproportionate to the actual situation. My experience with clients has been that a diagnosis of BPD is like a death sentence due to stigma. This article will explain what a diagnosis of BPD can lead to and how to view the diagnosis in a healthier way. 
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Communication

Male Borderline Personality Disorder: What You Should Know

Do you or someone you know exhibit the following characteristics: frequent self-injurious behaviors (SIB), suicidal ideations or suicide attempts, frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, unstable and intense interpersonal relationships that include alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation, identity disturbance, impulsivity (acting before thinking), chronic feelings of emptiness, and inappropriate and intense emotions that are sometimes disproportional to the trigger? Many of these characteristics make up the term Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD tends to be a frequent diagnosis for females, primarily those females who have many of the above symptoms including frequent SIB and suicidal thoughts. Sadly, many males (adolescents and adults) also exhibit symptoms of BPD but are often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. The key to identifying BPD in males is to look at the constellation of symptoms and the intensity of the emotions of the individual. This article will focus on highlighting male BPD symptoms and some of the red flags to look out for.
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General

5 Reasons Why Strong Emotions Can Heal

What has been your experience with suffering, pain, and sorrow? Did you sink under its pressure or become angry and fought back? Perhaps you did not come to the conclusion that you must fight back because the depression and the sorrow sucks every ounce of "fight back" you may have had. Believe it or not, if you feel this way that is because so many millions of other people feel the same. Sadly, we live in a society "controlled" by perceptions that are inaccurate. The perception that life is ALL about being happy and trying to achieve the "highest" level of happiness is one of the biggest and most negative misconceptions we have to deal with. This article will explore how negative emotions (i.e., pain, sorrow, rejection, resentment, depression, compassion fatigue,  etc.) can affect us and teach us a lot about ourselves and the life we live.
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General

6 Things Depression & Suicidal Thinking Can Make You Do

Do you have personal experience with depression? What about suicide? Do you (or someone you know) ever struggle with feeling overwhelmed by life's torrents and waves? Do you (or someone you know) struggle with feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, anhedonia (i.e., not enjoying things once enjoyed), insomnia, poor eating habits, and rumination (i.e., thinking of things repeatedly in a fashion that works against you and not for you)? If so, this article is for you. This article will discuss depression and suicidal thoughts and how these two things often occur simultaneously. This article will then explore 6 things, as a therapist and friend that I have come to recognize, that seems to occur in individuals who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. 
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