Archives for General

General

2 Frightening Hallucinations: When Waking Up Is A Nightmare


How do you sleep at night? Are you comfortable or do you experience the stress and anxiety of the day coming down upon you? Does your mind race or does it calm down to prepare for rest? Do you sleep in the dark or with a light? However you choose to sleep, sleep is supposed to be a peaceful "journey" for the heart, soul, and mind to de-stress from the daily activities and heal your mind for the next day's activities. Sleep is not supposed to disrupt your life but heal and mend the body for the future. But sadly, many people struggle with sleep - not just falling asleep and staying asleep, but experiencing the process of sleep without stress and anxiety. For example, sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or insomnia can create a great deal of stress for the sleeper. In many other cases, sleep disorders, also known as parasomnias, can create some of the most frightening symptoms ever experienced. This article will explore and discuss 2 hallucinations that often affect the individual before falling asleep and during the process of transitioning to a sleep state and a wakeful state. 
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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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General

7 Psychiatric Labels: How Do Labels Make You Feel?

Having worked with children and adolescents for over 6 years I find that each and every one of their family members either mention that they do not believe a diagnosis is correct or mention that they absolutely hate diagnostic labels. With high levels of stigma, social pressure, cliques in workplaces, school, and communities, and media portrayals can you blame them? If you are someone who has received a psychiatric label what were your thoughts at the time and how did you cope with it? Many of my clients often disregard the label and act as if it doesn't exist, defy treatment recommendations, or accept the diagnosis but become buried in deep depression. This article will discuss the labels that clients often have trouble with to emphasize their challenges and their emotions. 
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General

Christmas Time Stress: 5 Ways To Cope & Find Meaning

It's amazing that Christmas has always been described as one of the most beautiful, magical, and divine holidays of the year. This time of  the year often opens the heart of many strangers to the needs of others. Homelessness, world hunger, giving and sharing, love, and joy are just a few words that are frequently used during this time of the year. People are so much more conscious of the needs of others and are more willing to spread love and warmth. But sadly, Christmas time can also bring a great deal of stress, primarily for individuals who have struggled with income, family relationships, a marriage or parent-child relationship, hunger, homelessness, medical conditions, and mental illness among many other things. For the stressed and the oppressed, Christmas only reminds them of the daily pressures they have to cope with. This article will explore some of the common issues that occur around this time of year and offer ways to cope.
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Communication

5 Possible Reasons We Are Attracted To Narcissists

Do you personally know a narcissist who seems perfect in every way of the word perfect? Is it possible that this person is a great actor/actress with a thin layer of confidence hidden under the confident, self-assured surface? For many narcissists this calm demeanor is exactly what the problem is. For family and friends of my previous narcissistic clients, the narcissist is often "unphased and shows no guilt." For other narcissists, their ego is often stroked by how well they can manipulate others and any strike to their weak ego could send you crying for help. According to Susan Heitler, clinical psychologist and writer for Psychologytoday.com on narcissism, "
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Communication

6 Ways To Protect Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Life


Last week I discussed 10 signs of narcissistic behavior that can be very detrimental to others, primarily those who have grown to trust the narcissist. That article was written with the goal of stimulating discussion (and even disagreement) to help broaden our lens about the topic. As you know, narcissistic behaviors are often inflexible, self-centered, vain, and egotistical. No matter how nice or caring some narcissists may appear, it is important to understand that this facade is likely to fade if you challenge these narcissists, go contrary to them, or do not give them what they want when they want it. Relationships with such emotionally unstable individuals are often one-sided.  This week I will look at ways to protect yourself from the narcissistic behavior that we have all encountered at some point in our lives. 
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Communication

10 Signs You’re Dealing With An Emotionally Needy Narcissist

It is almost impossible to discuss the topic of narcissism without being compared to the 200,000 articles online that addresses this topic. The topic of sociopathy and narcissism are by far the most popular topics on the web to date. Why? Because so many of us live, work, or exist with a narcissist at one point in our lives. It's almost inevitable to meet up with a narcissist at work, in the grocery store, at the movies, or even at your doctor's office. Many of us tend to believe that narcissists are easy to spot in any setting because they are selfish, high-strung, shallow, vain, and hungry for prestige, financial gain, or attention. But there are other types of narcissists and they don't always have the "symptoms" or behaviors we all understand narcissists to have. In fact, there are some very emotionally needy and callous narcissists that present with very different "behaviors" or "symptoms." For me, these narcissists don't look narcissistic. In fact, they appear loving, compassionate, and even altruistic. This article will discuss the emotionally needy narcissist and 10 signs to look for.

Note: It is important to add that this article was not written to offend those who struggle with personality disorders, but to stimulate discussion about people who may fit some of these descriptions.
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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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