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Category: therapy

When Severe Mental Illness Strikes a Loved One

When Severe Mental Illness Strikes a Loved One

Book Review: “I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Xavier Amador, PhD.  (Vida Press, 2012) For the last 20 or so years, brain research has helped doctors and therapists understand that the serious mental illnesses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are diseases of brain function. During the century before the “Decade of the Brain (the 1990’s)”, these rare and frightening mental diseases were blamed on bad or inadequate mothering (the “schizophrenogenic mother”), thanks to the early theories of…

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Healing Traumatic Memory

Healing Traumatic Memory

If only life was one long, beautiful, inspirational journey. But it’s not. Some of us know that life can include experiences of such fear, helplessness and pain that we wonder how we survived. Over time, and with support, most of us get back to what we would call our normal. Yet others of us discover no matter what, we just can’t. We call these experiences psychological trauma, the kind of experiences that steal our mental equilibrium. Many traumas have their…

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On the brink of a PTSD breakthrough

On the brink of a PTSD breakthrough

Today I was talking with two different clients about the research done at the VA in Minneapolis in veterans experiencing PTSD – finding in brain scans that traumatic memory seems to “reside” in the right hemisphere of the brain, right above the ear. So happy to have located a story on this research, and want to pin it here 🙂  On the brink of a PTSD breakthrough Thanks to Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos for his continuing research!

When To Get Marriage Therapy

When To Get Marriage Therapy

Most couples come to therapy when they have completely run out of steam. While there is a great deal that MFTs can do to help, it’s not a time in the family when people feel resilient, optimistic or energized. In order to create permanent change, one needs a good deal of hope and energy. And so does one’s partner. I’ve observed that for many couples (especially those who have had a less-than smooth relationship history, full of stops and re-starts,…

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Help For Your Nerves: Review

Help For Your Nerves: Review

Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire WeekesMy rating: 4 of 5 stars I help people with their thinking, emotions, relationships and beliefs every day. This little gem, written back in 1969 by an Australian physician/psychiatrist should be in the hands of every person who has ever suffered with a full-on panic/anxiety disorder. We call that general diagnosis “GAD” or Generalized Anxiety Disorder today. There are a lot of great resources out there to help. This book is quite…

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What I’ve Been Talking About This Week

What I’ve Been Talking About This Week

I find it interesting to notice that sometimes my conversations in therapy, with vastly different people and circumstances, seem to circle around themes on occasion. This week, I’ve noticed two topics that I am repeatedly seeing in session: 1. Men who have become “awake” to their own conflicts, problem behaviors and thinking and have made radical steps to be fuller, more peaceful people. Some have partners that are whole enough people themselves who rejoice in the change, and despite years…

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We Can’t Choose our Parents

We Can’t Choose our Parents

It’s true; we can’t choose our parents. Whatever skills or deficits they possess as people: their readiness or disinterest at caring for us, their physical and mental health, and their ability to meet basic needs for food, shelter and safety have an immediate and lasting effect on our own development. The human brain is shaped every day by the way we are cared for by those closest to us, and grows fastest during the first two years of life. If…

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Willing to Risk Again

Willing to Risk Again

Several times this week I have found myself talking to new couple clients about their relationships, and how hurt has caused them to feel withdrawn from their partners. Sometimes this distance has lasted for years, the human need for support, connection and understanding no longer expected from their spouse.  One of the most important aspects of relationship repair is the willingness to risk being open to a partner who has been months or years at odds with our needs and…

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Pastors are a Bridge

Pastors are a Bridge

When I first began my private mental health practice, I knew one thing was certain: I needed to meet as many area clergy as I could. Today I had the pleasure of having coffee with an another local parish pastor. Thanks, C! So many people still experience embarrassment, resistance and fear when it comes to seeking therapy for relationships, emotions, or behaviors, they stall when it comes to getting help. They may talk to their friend or family member. They…

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The Recession and Mental Health Care

The Recession and Mental Health Care

The recession has kept people who need care out of therapy. That was the consensus of a small group of private practice therapists I met with Monday. We are a interesting and somewhat diverse group of folks: three licensed psychologists, three LMFTs and a social worker. Each of us has an individual private practice in the southwest Twin Cities, and we meet every month or so in each others’ offices for support, case consultation and resource sharing. As our meeting…

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