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Perfectionism: The Stress Personality

Stress, burn-out, and coping requires that we come to understand our own perfectionistic traits. Perfectionism forces us to take on too much, to be impatient, angry, hostile, and competitive. We feel that we must have things done a certain way. It drives us to work all the time, making it difficult to relax and have fun and relationships. A hard driving perfectionist demands more of others and of himself/herself. Perfectionism can be a deadly trait in the workplace, especially if the perfectionist is the boss. A ten year study of 9,000 managers found that perfectionism makes you sick. Perfectionism causes...
self sabotage therapy

The Rules of Self-Sabotage

We sometime wonder why we keep getting into the same troubles or have problems in changing our behaviors. This is a complex issue requiring that you take time to examine your behaviors in different settings. Self Sabotage happens when we try to come up with solutions using an "incomplete formula": Our frantic attempts to change our past, how we talk to ourselves, and the childhood roles we unconsciously live by. Freud and the Repetition Complex Sigmund Freud talked about how we make efforts...
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How Do I Deal with Painful Feelings?

In our efforts to escape pain, loss, and suffering, we often miss the very happiness that we are searching for in life. When painful feelings get pushed to the side, we find ourselves falling apart, our relationships suffer, and often we just simply "shut down" in an attempt to avoid feeling, experiencing, and changing. Paradoxically, our attempts to "not feel" robs us of our own growth, which requires us to be vulnerable in the present moment. Irritability, anger, tension, outbursts of temper are common during times of stress and problems. Sometimes...
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How Do I Fix or Get My Spouse to Change?

The other day, I had to fix a broken light switch. Yep, I didn't know those could stop working either. Fortunately, I remembered enough about electrical wiring that it was a simple task: Trip to the hardware store, turn off the electricity and swap out the faulty switch. Unfortunately, fixing our spouse or partner isn't as easy. Instead, they fight back. It's always easy to see what others are doing wrong and what they need to change. Yet, for some reason they resist our efforts to "help" them and instead complain...
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Managing Stress

It's not surprising that any type of stress can affect us. What we often overlook is that this tends to be a cumulative effect that can affect our tolerance for change, our likelihood of getting sick and even how much we might be able to adapt to new problems. This isn't limited to just unpleasant stress; even good stress can take a toll on our body. One of the common ways a therapist might help you determine how much stress you've actually faced is the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. The consequences of unanticipated stress can have a tremendous impact on...
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Dealing with Grief and Loss

Grief and loss happens over time and involves one going through a number of feelings from denial to overwhelming sadness. We may go through the various stages but they do not happen in order. This can leave us bewildered, confused, and feeling trapped. The process of grief over a loss is known to take much longer than was thought at one time. Some types of grief only last for brief periods of time when we are not strongly bonded to a particular person. When the loss is very personal to us it take a much longer time for it to resolve. Each of...
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Why is Life Not Fair?

There's an old story that goes like this:  A man visits his doctor, complaining of pain when he raises his right arm.  The doctor, looking inquisitive for a moment, responds with, "So don't do that." But is that fair? It's interesting to find that we actively resist what we consider isn't fair. In fact, it's something that plays out endless times every day across the globe: If we feel that someone has wronged us, it's not fair. If we can't do what other people take for granted, it's not fair. If we want something that we can't have but others have...
love boundaries

How to Say NO to an Amoeba: Realistic Boundaries for Modern Times

We all want to be fair, kind and loving to the people that we care about. Sometimes that means going out of our way for them. At other times, it means putting up with a certain amount of crap. In the long run, we hope and bet on the odds that it's worth it for our relationship to have a little give-and-take. However, giving out love without any boundaries can be extremely dangerous. Let's explore! Carl Sagan once wrote about how this all may have developed. Imagine ancient history: At some point...
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Should I Stay Married or Get Divorced?

All marriages have difficult times that at times can seem overwhelming and confusing.  We all ask the question about whether or not it is worth the efforts to stay married. The question of, "Should I stay or should I go" weighs heavily on us. Sometimes, we end up stuck with the conflicting thought that our partner is too good to leave, but too bad to stay. Frustrated When we go through rough times, everything about the other person bothers us. It almost does not matter what the other person does, we tend to find fault with it. In the past we...
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Do I Have to Take Medication?

One of the more common concerns expressed by patients is about taking medications for depression or anxiety. Many times, we want to be able to do things on our own without the need for something "artificial". Other times, we just have a gut reaction to the thought of having to take medications for something that's "all in our head". The most important part, regardless of whether you take medications or not, is to have a comprehensive evaluation by a counselor or mental health practitioner. This ensures that you will have all the information you need in order to make an...