Strengthening Resilience to Depression

Strengthening Resilience to Depression

Recently, a former client returned to counseling with me complaining of deep depression. I had worked with her five years earlier on low self-esteem, depression and anxiety stemming from childhood experiences. “I thought I had climbed out of the pit and built a fence around it so I’d not fall into it again.” she told me. I assured her that she had done well overcoming depression. Still I understood her sense of greater loss.

Read More

One in four older adults prescribed a benzodiazepine goes on to risky long-term use

One in four older adults prescribed a benzodiazepine goes on to risky long-term use

A lot of attention has been given in the media about our nation’s opioid epidemic and the dangers that come with long-term use. Another type of medication commonly prescribed for older adults (65+) is benzodiazepines. It may start as well-intentioned efforts to calm anxiety, improve sleep or ease depression. But prescriptions for sedatives known as benzodiazepines may lead to long-term use among one in four older adults who receive them.

Read More

Walking a Sacred Path: Coming along side of someone who is grieving

Walking a Sacred Path: Coming along side of someone who is grieving

Much of what we believe about grief comes from an assumption that it is an emotion revealing weakness, full of pain and suffering. We tend to see grieving that continues past an arbitrary date as abnormal and unhealthy. Beliefs about how grief should look—that we should all return to “normal” as quickly as possible, put away our dead one’s things and almost never speak of him/her again are prevalent in our culture. We relegate memories of the deceased to the upper shelf of a closet of the heart, boxed away like old photographs. The assumption is that the deceased no longer is relevant to the living. But loss, especially from death, is more like an amputation, than loss of a possession.

Read More

The Value of Mindfulness to DBT & Counseling Goals

The Value of Mindfulness to DBT & Counseling Goals

I utilize DBT skills in my private practice for many clients to help them reach their goals for counseling. Jon Kabat-Zinn defined MINDFULNESS as “paying attention, on purpose, without judgment to what is happening in the moment.” The mindfulness skills and meditations practiced in DBT underlie every other skill that is taught—managing difficult emotions, dealing with stressors and distress, and Interpersonal effectiveness.

Read More

10 Things to Remember about Recovery

10 Things to Remember about Recovery

Mental illness is one of those things where you cannot ‘unsee’ it, once you recognize it for what it is. Once you start to pick up on the tendencies you have that were always used as a form of protection, the coping mechanisms you developed however long ago to make life feel easier, and the way in which you have chosen to compartmentalize your world…you will be able to see that these have also become the ways you have been able to survive your mental illness; sometimes without even realizing that is what you were doing the whole time.

Read More

Older Americans Month 2018: Engage at Every Age

Older Americans Month 2018: Engage at Every Age

Across the country, older Americans – a rapidly growing population – are taking part in activities that promote wellness and social connection. They are sharing their wisdom and experience with future generations, and they are giving back to make enrich their communities. They’re working and volunteering, mentoring and learning, leading and engaging.

Read More

Hard to forgive yourself? Start with self-compassion.

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time; it’s a fact of life. We cannot avoid making mistakes no matter how hard we work at being perfect. I know because I’m a perfectionist myself. I’m also a psychotherapist who works with adults who bring into the counseling relationship feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt because they made past mistakes.

Read More

Grieving the Loss of Intimate Connection

Grieving the Loss of Intimate Connection

There are so many ways we ache inside from watching a loved one slowly “disappear” into Alzheimer’s Disease. They forget how to do things that they once did so easily; they get lost in their own home; they struggle with words. For many caregivers and family members, the greatest wound created by the disease is when the loved one cannot remember who they are.

Read More

Using Technology within Counseling

Using Technology within Counseling

More and more, we are using technology to communicate and connect with others. Even medicine is entering the domain of telecommunications to serve people who cannot come to the doctor’s office for consultation or treatment. Technology is breaking down the barriers to effective and efficient healthcare for those who are too remote from a clinic or counseling practice or due to 

Read More

Healing Words

Healing Words

Poetry, when written from a place of pain, is a natural medicine. I myself have healed from sitting in a sacred space and writing a poem. To say that I was healed is not to say my body was cured; rather, my spirit was healed of its brokenness. This is an exercise that I sometimes use with clients diagnosed with disease or loss.

Read More

Listening to the Real Story

Listening to the Real Story

Sometimes when I ask clients to tell me their stories, they tell me what others have done to them or what they have done to themselves. Occasionally they will tell me about their past achievements and more often, because they chose to enter therapy, they tell me stories about their failures. They do not tell me their real stories.

Read More

The Power of Community

The Power of Community

One of the most common things people with cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, and other devastating diseases tell me is that the experiences of hospitalization and treatment are profoundly isolating. This sense of feeling alone may even determine the will to live. When we feel the caring support of others, many of us can face the unknown with greater strength.

Read More

The Modern Family Caregiver

The Modern Family Caregiver

According to a recent study, 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. are caregivers to an aging or disabled relative—4 in 10. That number is expected to rise as Boomers age. For some families, the responsibilities for caregiving an individual loved one is distributed among several members. For most families, the day-to-day caregiving responsibilities are borne by a single individual, often a spouse or child. Whatever may be the cause and course of the care recipient’s frailty (age, disability or disease), one thing is constant, to become a caregiver changes every relationship of the caregiver and everything that comes after.

Read More

How Depression Can Affect Memory and Focus

How Depression Can Affect Memory and Focus

While most of us think of depression as affecting our emotions, it actually affects a person in three ways: mood, behavior, and cognition. Even the DSM-5 classifies Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as a “mood disorder.” Yet it includes criteria for all three areas of a person’s functioning: mood (feeling sad, empty, or hopeless), changes in behavior or physical abilities (fatigue, moving more slowly, changes in appetite, weight, and/or sleep), and cognition (ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions).

Read More