Archives for 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


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


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


Tracking Your Mood? There’s an App for That!

As a therapist, I know how important understanding your moods are is. I will often ask the people I work with how their mood has been.

Usually people will give a one or two word answer that mainly represents how they’re feeling now rather than thinking through their whole week. Sometimes someone will say that the beginning of the week was rough, but they feel better now. What I'm really curious to know is how their...
Continue Reading


6 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Bipolar Disorder

According to NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) more than 10 million people have bipolar disorder .

How much do you know about it?

If you’re like most people, you probably assume that you have a basic idea of what the disease is about. You've seen or read about celebrities who have acknowledged their illness.

Some of  you may know that Demi Lovato learned in 2010 that she is bipolar. Ms. Lovato also has struggled with an...
Continue Reading


5 Easy Ways to Improve Self-Esteem

Do you struggle with negative self-talk? Do you compare yourself to others and reprimand yourself for not measuring up to what you think you see? Do you believe that you are inherently worse than others? If so, you may struggle with poor self-esteem.

Self-esteem is defined as: a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities. I'm not talking about an inflated self-esteem, narcissism, or self-centeredness. Self-esteem is about knowing who and what you are,...
Continue Reading


10 Things to Say to a Loved One Who Struggles with Depression

If you’ve ever been depressed, you know that awful feeling when well meaning people give advice that simply makes things worse.

There are lots of blogs that talk about what not to say to someone who is depressed.

Here are 10 positive things to say to help.

I’m sorry you’re struggling, and wish I could make it better for you. This phrase doesn’t imply that you understand what they’re going through or that they need to do something. It...
Continue Reading


3 Steps to Battle Self-Hatred

Dear Reader,

If I were to sneak inside your head, just for a moment, what would I hear?

At your darkest moment, when you’re all alone with your thoughts and your thoughts are the things of chaos, when you can’t sleep, and you are at your lowest, what words would slip into being?

Is your head full of hate to yourself? Do you chastise and berate your actions of the day? Do you hear anger? Chastisement? Disgust?

If I could magically give...
Continue Reading


Mourning Robin Williams: The Tragedy of Suicide

I'm not one for celebrity gossip.

For the most part, I'm content to let the stars of Hollywood live out their drama in their own world of fame. There are very few actors whose lives I pay attention to, or whose deaths I truly mourn.

Robin Williams is one of the them.

And tonight I am saddened. I am grieved by the death of a man who made his living through his expression of joy and laughter, who...
Continue Reading


10 Simple Ways to Beat the Blues

There are some days you just feel down. Sometimes you know why: a fight with a friend or spouse, financial troubles, difficulty with your kids. Other times a low mood can come out of nowhere.

But however or whenever these blue days come, it can make the entire day seem like one big long struggle to get through.

You may find yourself watching the clock, just hoping to get done with work or school, or waiting for...
Continue Reading