How Does a Traumatic Experience Lead to PTSD?

The word is literally part of the disorder’s name—post-traumatic stress disorder—so obviously, undergoing a traumatic experience plays a major role in PTSD. Understanding that role is often not as simple as it sounds. Developing PTSD may occur when one goes through or witnesses or learns about a disturbing, stressful, or frightening event (typically more intense than, say, a divorce or job loss). Some of the many examples include violent criminal assault, natural disasters, life-threatening condition, extreme neglect, time spent in a combat zone, sexual assault/violence, and prolonged sexual abuse. […]

By | May 20th, 2016|Categories: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Neuroscience, Trauma|Comments Off on How Does a Traumatic Experience Lead to PTSD?

Pet-C: Fall in Love Using Your Heart, Stay Together Using Your Brain

In popular culture, we’re raised on romantic comedies, love ballads, and the perpetual search for a soulmate. With our hearts on our sleeves, we rush forward into the kind of love we’ve come to feel we deserve. Yet, while 90 percent of those living in Western countries will eventually get married, many of them will not stay together. For example, the divorce rate in the U.S. ranges from 40 to 50 percent and spikes much higher for subsequent marriages.These statistics are not indicative of a some kind of love shortage. Love is abundant and often enduring. Compatibility, on the other hand, is and remains fluid.Unfortunately, there aren’t many movies or songs that delve into this crucial reality. When John Lennon sang, “love is the answer,” it’s a shame he didn’t include footnotes! If he were around today, the “smart Beatle” just might be crooning about Pragmatic Experiential Therapy (Pet-C). […]

By | May 6th, 2016|Categories: Neuroscience, Relationships|Comments Off on Pet-C: Fall in Love Using Your Heart, Stay Together Using Your Brain

Understanding Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Understanding Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment This is a complex condition, so let’s open with some basics. The term bipolar disorderdoes not refer to the usual “ups and downs” most people experience throughout their lives. It is a brain disorder — formerly known as manic-depressive illness — that impacts nearly six million American adults. Its symptoms are challenging and ongoing, but most importantly, bipolar disorder can be effectively treated. Those living with this condition are enjoying productive, full lives thanks to a blend of medication and talk therapy. To begin understanding bipolar disorder, it helps to learn how to recognize its symptoms. […]

By | April 20th, 2016|Categories: Bipolar, Depression|Comments Off on Understanding Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Relaxation Exercises and Breathing Techniques to Help with Anxiety

Anxiety. The word itself can make one experience its symptoms. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Over 18 percent of U.S. adults report experiencing at least a 12-month prevalence of anxiety, and nearly 23 percent of these reported cases are categorized as “severe.” Perhaps the most disturbing trend of all is the average age of onset: 11. […]

By | April 5th, 2016|Categories: Anxiety|Comments Off on Relaxation Exercises and Breathing Techniques to Help with Anxiety

7 Common Symptoms of Clinical Depression

7 Common Symptoms of Clinical Depression Today, mental illnesses are at last beginning to be recognized for what they truly are: illnesses. Neither having nor seeking help for clinical depression should be thought of as a sign of personal weakness. It is not something people can just “get over” or shake off. […]

By | March 24th, 2016|Categories: Depression|Comments Off on 7 Common Symptoms of Clinical Depression

Boundary Basics

Most of us are familiar with the term “boundaries”. We may speak about people having “boundary issues” or “bad boundaries”, but what are they exactly? Boundaries refer to the degree of closeness and limits we have with other people, especially in families or intimate relationships. The term “boundary” is a metaphor to describe how and when we let people into our personal space, whether physically or psychologically. It refers to our ability to say “no” to unwanted requests, and to ask for the things we need or want. It also describes the quality of connection we have with others, and how intertwined our emotional and psychological well being is with theirs. We learn our boundary style from our family of origin and unconsciously continue the same pattern into our adult relationships, recreating the same amount of limits, connection, or distance with other people. Sometimes we overreact to our early boundary experiences and do the opposite of how we were raised! […]

By | January 28th, 2016|Categories: Relationships|Comments Off on Boundary Basics

Treat Depression with Nutritional Supplements

In what should come as a surprise to few, the modern industrial food production systems fails to provide adequate nutritional support for your brain’s basic functioning, including mood regulation. Fortunately, we can take supplements to make up for shortcomings in our diet for around $10 a month that can have huge impact on how we feel, particularly if we’re depressed or prone to depression. […]

By | October 27th, 2015|Categories: Depression, Neuroscience|Comments Off on Treat Depression with Nutritional Supplements

Love People, Not Pleasure

This NY times article articulates m [...]

By | February 25th, 2015|Categories: Relationships|Comments Off on Love People, Not Pleasure

Getting Grief Right

I loved reading this article from a very competent grief therapist in this ongoing New York Times series on therapy: “Getting Grief Right” Grief is not something that needs to unfold in a predictable way. In general, the field has moved away from a strict “stages of grief”  paradigm  popularized by the Kubler-Ross model (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) to a more fluid view. While some people will go through these stages, other will not experience every stage, and perhaps not in that order, with them overlapping in waves. One can be accepting of loss one moment and then swept away into other “earlier” stages again. The painful part is thinking we have done something wrong if this hasn’t happened, and even more so when we and/or the people around us don’t understand why we haven’t “gotten over it” in a socially acceptable time frame. This leads us to have to hide our grief, act like everything is OK, and stop seeking the support we need. What’s the right way to do grief? However it happens for you. Perhaps the most  important thing is to learn not to resist our grief, whatever it looks like, and allow others around us to do the same. […]

By | February 6th, 2015|Categories: Grief and Loss|Comments Off on Getting Grief Right

Understanding the Origins of Perfectionism

One of the more insidious effects of early childhood difficulty is perfectionism.  Perfectionism takes many forms, but hinges on unrealistic or unattainable ideals for ourselves, others, and the world. Constant striving for an illusory, perfect world can lead to relationship conflicts, burnout and fatigue in our pursuits, and a deep sense of anger and frustration about ourselves or others when reality fails to live up to our lofty vision. […]

By | January 7th, 2015|Categories: Anxiety, Trauma|2 Comments