Anger

The Black Dog of Depression



The other night I was awakened by the sound of a furious barking dog outside my house.

After 30 minutes of constant barking, I stepped outside and saw the neighbor’s black dog running around as if in a panic, trying to get into his home. No one came to the door.

Eventually the police were called, and they tried in vain to catch the skittish dog. The dog would approach the officers, and then...
Continue Reading

anxiety

10 Steps to Overcoming Frustration

Frustration. It happens to everyone at one time or another. It can make you angry, feel anxious, and be very overwhelming.

When you're frustrated, it can feel like nothing is under your control and everything is chaos. It's hard to know where to begin. When you're flooded with emotion, it's difficult to think straight.

How do you calm down and begin to tame those feelings when they come up? Where do you begin?

Here are ten steps to help you...
Continue Reading

General

10 Ways Animals Improve Mental Health


More and more, animals are becoming a part of people's lives. According to a Harris Poll, more than 3 in 5 American households have pets. That's 62% of families have one or more dogs, cats, birds, or pets like snakes, turtles, lizards, tarantulas, or any of the multitude of other non-traditional animals.

So how long have animals been in relationship with humans?

Researchers estimate that dogs first became domesticated between 18,800...
Continue Reading

Depression

A Client’s Bill of Rights — Our Top 10

When people come in for therapy, they're not at their best. No one comes for counseling when everything is fine. People come because their lives have gotten out of control, when they're hurting, confused, anxious, depressed, or scared.

In the midst of finding a therapist, scheduling a first appointment, and meeting this person who you entrust with the deepest part of yourself, you may not think about your rights as a client or patient.

As a therapist,...
Continue Reading

Family

7 Tips to Make your Holidays (Mostly) Peaceful

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or other winter holiday, there's probably a thing or two that you're dreading. Despite all the songs about peace and harmony, love and joy, family and friends, holidays can be rough on relationships.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Be it your temperamental aunt on your father's side, your sister-in-law who always has a bit too much to drink, or even your children who have not yet learned to accept a present they...
Continue Reading

anxiety

Healing From Trauma and Mental Illness

In June of this year, I dislocated my pinky. It was x-rayed to make sure it wasn’t broken. Because it was "just" a dislocation, I thought that in a couple of weeks it would be healed and back to normal. I had no idea that healing could take much longer than that.
It’s been five months, and my finger is still crooked and swollen. It still has a limited range of motion....
Continue Reading

Family

10 Life Lessons to Teach Your Child

Recently, I had an interaction with a friend that showed me some areas where we parent quite differently.

The conversation brought to light the fact that, although we parent differently, we both want to raise our kids in the best way possible and we both want to teach our children valuable life lessons.

So here are ten life lessons that I believe our children should learn. Please add your own in the comments below!

Friendships take work. Friendship is...
Continue Reading

General

Understanding Defense Mechanisms


Growing up in the Northwest, I was an excellent tree climber.

I'd climb up trees to put on Christmas lights, I'd climb trees to get away from my three sisters, I'd climb trees to experience silence.

In my mind, trees have always been benevolent, safe  creatures that shelter birds, squirrels, and children. At least, that's how I saw it before I encountered a tree with...
Continue Reading

Family

10 Communication Skills You Can Use Right Now

When my daughter was 2 ½, she was a biter. And by biter I don’t mean that she bit into bagels or apples.

She bit kids. Small kids, bigger kids. I watched her like a hawk but she continued. I had no idea why until she started attending speech therapy when she was three. Almost immediately, she was able to ask for what she wanted, and found that people responded. The biting ended.

Because of speech therapy,...
Continue Reading

Depression

Feeling S.A.D? How to Battle Seasonal Affective Disorder.


Autumn and winter are beautiful seasons. The  leaves changing colors, the air grows sharp and crisp, snow and frost and ice appear. It sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Except, for some people, it's not great. The reduction in daylight hours can bring on seasonal depression. For people who struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), autumn and winter harken days of depressed moods, weight gain or loss, periods of withdrawing from the world, and increased sleep.

People who struggle...
Continue Reading