The Importance of Family History on Mental Health

When I do an intake session with a new client, one thing we always cover is family history. Family history relates any relatives who have a mental illness, what a client's relationship with his or her mom, dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, the environment one grows up in, and much more. Family history is significant for many reasons.

Learned behaviors. As children, people are exposed to a variety of interactions between family members. For better...


8 Important Truths About Grief

My father died a month ago, after a short and painful descent into dementia.

While I expected his death, what surprised me was the path of grief that the loss of my father took me on. I found myself consulting colleagues, friends, and even Google in an attempt to identify if what I was experiencing was normal.

What I discovered is that there is no normal in grief. Each grieving person has his or her individual journey to take....


7 Unique Ways to Say “I Love You” This Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is widely acknowledged as a day to celebrate love, but actually has quite tragic and macabre origins regarding ritual sacrifice and more. It is far too complicated to go into here, but for a very interesting read, head over to NPR's article about it.

As it stands now,Valentine's Day is a time for people to show their love to each other. Many people have complained that it has become too commercial; with school children passing out...


Surviving the Narcissist at the Holiday Dinner Table

We all know a narcissist or two. You might even have one in your family. People with narcissistic tendencies can make the holidays difficult.

This guest blog post by psychotherapist Joely Tweel can help you understand ways to make these family gatherings easier with 6 techniques. And while they might not make your holiday experience perfect, they will definitely make it survivable. 

Joseph Campbell wrote, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Many...


10 Therapist Approved Apps for Mental Wellness

Over the past few years, smartphones have become ubiquitous in our society. As a therapist, one of the ways that I've seen and helped clients utilize their phones is to use the myriad of apps available. There are many mental health apps out there. I've sorted through them and come up with a list of my top 10, in no particular order.

Simply Being Meditation has been studied scientifically for years, and there...


Talking with Your Child About Violence, Terrorism, and Disasters

Recently, I've had to explain events to my 10-year-old daughter that I struggled to comprehend myself: terrifying violence, natural disasters, and terrorism.

Only a few days ago in Las Vegas, a man killed more than 50 people and wounded 500-plus more. It wasn't in a war or a natural disaster. This was a man who did something horrendous and terrifying, something we don't have many answers for.

In September, I had conversations with my daughter about the volunteer...


My Mom is an Addict: A Guest Post by Anonymous

My mom is an addict.

If you saw my mom standing in line at the pharmacy, you wouldn’t take a second look. She is a 70-year-old woman with a scar on the back of her neck from one of her surgeries. If you look closer, she also has a scar on her knee and a scar on her shoulder from other surgeries. Unless she’s wearing a bikini, you wouldn’t see the scars on her stomach from...


Top 5 Unhealthy Ways of Thinking (and What to Do Instead)

When people struggle with anxiety or a high state of emotion, there are common unhealthy patterns of thinking that are destructive.

Black-and-white thinking. This is also called all-or-nothing thinking. For example, Alex gets into a fight with his mother-in-law and fumes, "she never listens to a word I'm saying!" There have been plenty of times that his mother-in-law has listened to him but in the moment he is unable to see that. His emotions are flooding...


Managing Worry With Mindfulness

"Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight." - Benjamin Franklin

Today I am tired. I worry about the work that needs to get done, the food that needs to be cooked and the laundry that needs to be washed. There are letters to be written, animals that need to be cared for, errands to run.

My mind is full of chaos and worry. So I carefully...


Today, I am Good Enough

Today I am tired.

It's hot outside, I have things I know I need to do: laundry, yard work, housework, walking and bathing my dog Max, catching up on paperwork, working on continuing education and many other things.

All I want to do is sit on the couch in my air-conditioned house and binge on Netflix.

There's no real reason for me to feel this way. I'm caught up on sleep. I have a cold, but it's not...

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