Depression Decision Aid

Which Antidepressant Should I Use?

One of the most difficult issues in dealing with depression is the issue of medications and potential side effects.  Antidepressants can have different effects on sleep, changes in weight, sexual functioning, and in how they impact you when you stop taking them. Some prescriptions are more expensive than others, which can mean a higher insurance copay.  Some have fancy names with commercials that suggest they can cure you without any fuss.  Add to this the myriad of different choices, different mechanisms of action (SSRI, SNRI, Tricyclic, and so on) and multiple (brand vs. generic) names, and it's enough to tear...
Old Library Books

Important Books for Private Practice Therapists

Starting up a private practice can be overwhelming, intimidating, and often a huge financial risk. Taking steps to mitigate the dangers involved demands approaching things from a business perspective; the dilemma is that this is the anthesis of what we consider a genuine therapist should be. Finding a way to blend the two – business skills with the therapist mindset and ethics – is the key. One of the services I offer is being a business mentor for mental health therapists (psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, nurse practitioners, etc.) who are interested in starting, or refining, an independent private...
fight karate

Why Does it Hurt So Much When We Fight?

The process of "becoming a couple" is filled with many emotions, feelings, attitudes, risking and identification with another person. Relationship problems happen when these same emotions are injured in any way.  When one "sees and hears" much blaming and emotions between a couple, it is clear that there has been an "attachment bond injury" that has to be healed before the relationship can continue and be healed. Attachment-Bonding We know that an infant and parent need to develop a close bond of trust if the child is to grow. Without this bond, the child will experience a "failure to thrive" which may...
codependent

Am I Codependent?

Counselors, therapists and psychologists frequently talk about co-dependent relationships as something that is not healthy. Understanding dysfunctional relationships requires that we examine how we approach relating to other people who are important to us. Codpendencey Defined Codependency is best understood as a relationship where you do all the work, suffer all the consequences, the other person does not grow or change, others don’t even notice all you do, or appreciate it, and you end up WORN-OUT, EXHAUSTED, AND POOPED!! – Blamed! Co-dependent relating is one where there is TOO MUCH CARING AND HELPING. Helping others is fine. However, if we try to...
Trauma and Crisis in a Marriage

Is My Past Trauma Causing Issues in My Marriage?

We have a tendency to believe that our marriage will “always be there” and never be in crisis. We also realize that all relationships have their ups and downs, and this helps prepare us for difficulties down the road. However, when a significant crisis or traumatic event happens, the stability of any relationship can be put in jeopardy. Understanding a few key concepts can help us to “manage” these difficult times in healthier ways. Is it a Crisis? A crisis can happen when we experience a loss in our family, a loss of a job, the death of an important family...
clouds emotion dark

Growing Up with Emotional Abuse

When children's development of self-esteem, social skills or capacity for intimacy is jeopardized by their parents' behavior or neglect, they may be the victim of emotional abuse. Whether it is alcohol or other drugs, mental illness, compulsive behavior (eating, working, religion, etc.), or any one of a thousand other things that deplete a family's emotional life, the results are the same. Children are left to their own devices to make sense of the pain and loneliness in their life. In the end, they are the victims of emotional abuse: A pattern of rejecting, isolating, terrorizing, ignoring and corrupting behavior from...
girl walking on side of road

How Do I Change?

In order to change from old habits of codependent behavior, you will need to abide by the Three Meta-Rules of Change.  These rules are the "rules about rules" that should govern any approach towards dealing with codependency and maximizing your impact on self-change. These rules allow you to gain self-respect, which is a way of being true to yourself. It allows you to focus on where you want to be at, and what changes you want to make, in life. 1. Respect Others The ability to accept diversity of opinion and feelings. Understand how your behaviors affects others. Know that there is...
steps steep path

Crisis Points of Relationships and Marriage

Marriage is most open to crisis when it is rigid and inflexible. Whatever won't bend will break, or push others away. Rigid people, who expect specific roles in relationships only create more crises at different relationship developmental points. When the relationship demands that there be isolation from outside supports, such as family, the focus becomes one of control and fear. Problems can also develop when the relationship is seen as needing to be on the high of a romance. Romance seduces people into expecting too much. Romance after courtship can fade fast. Some people have never learned the difference between love, romance, sex, and growing...
Dogs learning to play

Dogs, Anxiety and Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness is the basis for understanding the root causes of depression and panic anxiety. Early researchers discovered that when dogs were given electrical shocks that they could not control, they later showed signs of anxiety and depression. If the experiment went on for too long, the dogs didn’t even try to escape the shocks and instead just collapsed in a corner of their cage. If a "safe area" was made in the cage where the dogs could go to in order to not receive any shocks, they would act helpless and not move. If they were picked up and forcibly...
panic attack blur

What’s Wrong With Me? The Logic of Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can be overwhelming and exhausting, leaving us feeling out of control. You can feel your own heart beating in your chest, you start feeling numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, and you suddenly find yourself afraid of going crazy, dying or possibly losing control.  This cycle can grow and become a vicious circle from which it seems as if there's no escape. Understanding what is happening and the fears behind panic can help us to better control ourselves. So, what causes panic attacks? As hard is it is to hear, you cause it! Nothing outside of you causes...