12 Ways To Help Your Child’s Back-To-School Jitters From A Pediatric OT

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

5istock_000010621773smallColleague and friend, Occupational therapist Miriam Manela of Otthrive.com, offers 12 helpful suggestions to help your child deal with back-to-school fears and anxiety. (Number 8 is my favorite).

Back-to-school fears and anxiety can occur at any age, especially when children are transitioning to a new school or new school building. Help your child cope with his or her fears with a variety of simple strategies.

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Letter To A Former Guru, Circa 1986

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter SunriseShared recently:

I’ve been reading a lot about depression and buddhism (especially zen) on Psychcentral and other places.

It prompted me to write a letter to my former buddhist meditation teacher (circa 1986).

Dear G,

I remember what you said:

That we must buckle down and accept that life has no intrinsic meaning.

That we should just experience and seek bliss because that’s the only valid experience of enlightenment.

That the body is an illusion.

That the soul is an illusion.

That money and ownership were illusions, too.

You said you were above greed, but you weren’t.

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Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

670217main_image_2314_800-600A God In Therapy conversation…

Is science catching up with Jewish mystical wisdom?

Quantum theory proves that consciousness moves to another “Universe” at death, say scientists.

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The Incredible Brain-Gut Link & Your Diet

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

570271_58049039By now, we all know that our digestive tracts are packed with beneficial and not-so-beneficial bacteria that form part of our inner habitat.

What you may not know is that these bacteria act on and influence a range of seemingly strictly-mental functions.

The latest: A new study, reported here on PsychCentral, shows that the bacteria in our guts actually influence which foods we choose to eat. These bacteria outnumber our own cells as much as 100 to one,  and scientists believe they send out signal molecules, telling our brains what they prefer to munch on.

“Bacteria within the gut are manipulative,” said Carlo Maley, Ph.D., director of the UCSF Center for Evolution and Cancer and corresponding author on the paper.

“There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome, some aligned with our own dietary goals, and others not.”

“The good news is that it goes both ways, and the bacteria is easily altered. We can influence the compatibility of these microbes by deliberating changing what we eat,” Maley said, “with notable changes within 24 hours.” (Source: Sciencedaily.com).

Is it possible that our guts influence our brains in unexpected ways? A while back we blogged about a possible link between diet and nosebleeds. And we have often blogged about diet and mental health, such as this post on diet and schizophrenia.

You can read about autism expert, Dr. Martha Herbert, who believes that the brain-gut is very involved in autism and that deciphering its messages are essential to finding a cure.

Your Diet

Mind, body and soul are important in the treatment of any health issue, whether it be mental or physical—staying aware of this can be a challenge. Doing your own, personalized test is one way to determine if what you eat is related to your symptoms.

Trudy Scott’s original gluten-free challenge helps you determine if gluten is causing symptoms such as anxiety, exhaustion, mental-fog or even depression. But, you can test for any other food or nutrient using the same method.

1. Get rid of one suspect food from your diet and avoid it in any form for a period of one to two weeks.

2. Add that food back in for two meals in a row. Chart reactions over the course of 48 hours.

3. If you have a reaction, go off the food again.

Sometimes, just staying off a symptom-increasing food for a month or so may prime your body to be able to accept it in small doses in the future.



Advice About Therapy, Religion, And You

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

961731_57760319“…higher levels of belief in God were associated with greater psychological well-being,” reports PsychCentral professional blog on a study about belief in God and treatment outcomes.

“Religious affiliation (eg, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish) had no impact on treatment response, and neither belief in God nor religious affiliation were correlated with the level of symptoms prior to treatment; in other words, belief in God did not “protect” against more severe psychiatric symptoms.”

It was belief in God in general that showed improved treatment outcomes.

I’m not surprised.

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Contrary Mary & Denial of Mental Illness

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

937739_78746384Mary D., an incredibly intelligent, former high-school teacher, is in her early 50s and has been variously diagnosed with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and anti-social personality disorder.

My evaluation showed that she indeed had a significant number of symptoms of schizophrenia, enough to warrant two previous diagnoses.

But Mary denies that she is mentally ill. And, she can, at times, convince others, even doctors, that she is fine, especially on what she will admit to are “good days.”

Several years ago Mary stopped seeing her therapist

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Cliff Hangers & Therapy Don’t Mix

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

732128_72168845*No matter what happens during a session, whether or not you resolve an issue, as the end of the session approaches, your therapist should “check in” with you and make sure you are feeling okay.

He may ask you to summarize your session by talking about your progress, discussing the accomplishments you made during the session, or exploring what you have achieved over the course of therapy so far. He may also summarize the session himself. He may also give you homework, highlighting some skills that you can work on before your next session.

I like to give my patients a lot of homework–I want them to have really solid techniques at their fingertips to help them deal with both internal and external problems.

It is important that each session end on a positive, hopeful note. Above all, your therapist shouldn’t allow the session to end if you are experiencing any extremely negative feelings or thoughts which might cause you to have a crisis. Cliff-hangers and therapy DO NOT MIX.

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Something’s Holding Me Back In Therapy…

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

725521_70463323*Sometimes, a patient will feel apathetic about therapy. Assuming the patient is working with a good therapist, and one who is right for him, the feelings of apathy could be a cover for feelings of anger and fear.

Sometimes uncovering your problems and seeing yourself more objectively can be scary. You might unconsciously quash these uncomfortable feelings by feeling, or convincing yourself that you feel, apathetic.
If you find yourself feeling

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What Is A Soul-Mate?

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

1414424_35810153The recent report from PsychCentral news that soul-mates may actually have lousy relationships, does nominally prove that believing soul-mates are perfect matches and will always live in harmony and unity is bunk.

This leads to the question: What is a soul-mate?

The Jewish sages teach that every person has a soul*, and that each soul is missing its other half, which was assigned to it before birth. In some cases, we might have more than one destined partner, but we still have only one other true soul-half. Part of our life may be spent seeking the other half. Sometimes the other half shows up without our prior realization that our soul has been longing for and seeking it.

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A Campaign Of Hatred Against Child & Parent

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

173717_9004C.R. writes: One of the reasons I find parental alienation so gut-wrenching, is because children are used as pawns, or weapons, in an attack on the spouse and this destroys the natural, loving parent-child relationship.

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