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How Do I Improve the Odds that Therapy Will Work for Me?

These are some things that just simply prevent one's ability to navigate therapy smoothly. When present, they can multiply one's ability to grow and recover by a factor of five. The affect not only one's mental health; they can amplify the symptoms you are struggling with. Without addressing these issues in parallel with the individual issues you bring to therapy, progress can be left at a standstill. Drug & Alcohol Abuse Combining mental health issues with alcohol and drug use is like pouring gas on the fire. And then we struggle when things continue to fall apart. It's not uncommon to be...
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Warning Signs of Violent Acts

There are ways of evaluating the potential of future violent acts by those people we associate with in our daily lives. Part of the problem is that we “choose to ignore” the signs and symptoms that suggest future problems in our relationships out of our “hopes, needs and desires.”  The Nice Guy Syndrome We frequently hear others describe people who have been violent as “nice guys” who never showed any indications that they might “lose it.” Others may like them, but they are difficult to live with....
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I Can’t Sleep Because my (Stupid) Mind Keeps Racing

What do you do when you can't to shut off your mind at night? It's incredibly frustrating to be stuck like this with our anxious monkey-mind. Especially when we need to get some sleep because we've already wasted precious time sitting in bed thinking. Over and over. It's like that annoying late-night friend that lingers in your living room just a tad too long after everyone else has already left the party and gone home. They just won't take the hint to stop talking and go away. Our inability to sleep when our mind is racing is not that different....
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How Dysfunctional Families Cause “Thinking Errors”

Dysfunctional families promote very specific "thinking errors" that cause others difficulty in adapting to change and finding new ideas and directions. These errors in thinking cause a number of problems. Denial: Prevents us from dealing with what is going in any situation. "We just have a little problem; nothing major to worry about. It's not that bad!" This stops the discussion. Confusion: Prevents us from taking responsibility. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what is going on. Everyone thrives on crisis...
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The Flashlight, the Wiffle Bat and the Raccoon

A few months back, I had an unexpected late-night scare. It was about 3:18 AM, and I was fast asleep. My wife woke me abruptly, concern in her voice. She had done this to me about an hour earlier to ask if I’d given the dog her medicine, so I was already mildly disturbed. But I didn’t expect what she said next: “DAVID, THERE’S SOMEONE ON THE ROOF!” Now, I’m not one for idle speculation. Especially at three in the morning. But I know my role as...
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Why Do I Feel Like a Fraud?

Do you feel like a fraud who just "fakes it" and is in danger of being found out? Most adults have struggled through their lives to develop themselves in some way that allows them to function in the world as "normal human beings".  As a result, we have had to overcome our insecurities and "act as if everything is okay." This results in the "fake-it until you make it" way of approaching life, and we might occasionally feel like a phony or a  charlatan. However, there are some people who are constantly worried that others will...
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Losses and Their Meaning in our Lives

Understanding grief and loss in our lives can help us cope with the difficult times. We are people who attach ourselves to people, pets, and things and when they are gone we miss them. Types of Losses Loss of a Loved one through death, divorce, separation OR even the death/loss of a pet animal. Loss of long-held beliefs about our being invulnerable and immortal, because we have suffered a trauma, injury, illness. Loss of ideas or beliefs about one's world, self, or others. Loss of ability...
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The Variables of Optimism, Perception and Control

In 1965, Commander James Stockdale was flying over enemy territory when he was forced to eject from his plane. Stockdale was captured, tortured and held as a prisoner of war for seven years before his escape. How he dealt with his situation draws an inescapable conclusion regarding what it takes to survive in life when the odds are against us. After gaining his freedom, he was interviewed for a book in 2001. At some point during the discussion, his interviewer paused and changed the topic of conversation. “How,” he wanted to know, “did you survive all of those years of capture and...