Category Archives: Therapist Articles

What is the Florida Baker Act

This is the first article that links to my educational series about the Florida Baker Act Educational Series. In the series, I will provide information for navigating a Baker Act and advocating for yourself and/or on behalf of a family member or friend. The Florida Mental Health Act is also known as the Florida Baker Act.

In these videos, I will discuss:
Who, What, and How the Baker Act can be initiated,
The Discharge Process,
Patient Rights (VERY important),
Insight regarding the legal process,
as well as reveal some “secrets” and things to watch out for as the Baker Act process is becoming an increasing problem, especially where children are concerned.
Knowledge is Power!
Having a better understanding of the whole process decreases the chance of people (and their insurance companies) of being exploited.
#btgcoach #mentalhealthawareness #BakerAct
www.btgcoaching.com

Why am I so stressed?

There has never been more help for people suffering from stress and anxiety. Today, we know how to help people with symptoms of stress and anxiety really effectively. Strangely enough, though, there has never been more stress about, and there have never been more stressed people!

For example, at any college counseling center (and among faculty, too) it is common place that anxiety and stress are soaring among students.U or RR -  Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

What about?!

Which seems strange to those of use born before 1990. This is the most prosperous society in the history of the world, and even in our lifetimes, we remember being much poorer as a society. My grandfather longed to go to college, and he had the brains to succeed, but there was no financial aid and he had to work for a living, so he didn’t go. Instead, he became an expert Continue reading

What is Christian Counseling?

There are as many theories of Christian Counseling as there are people who consider themselves to be Christian counselors, but here are some controversial points from one counselor’s point of view.Sri Lanka - Photo by Oliver Sjöström from Pexels

All counseling is spiritual, in a broad sense, because all human issues have meaning. And questions of meaning always lead to further questions of meaning. As humans, we cannot stop asking the questions until we get to one, final Answer To All the Questions (ATAQ!). Does ATAQ even exist? If it does, it must be God; and even if it doesn’t exist, you, as a human, cannot help wanting there to be ATAQ. Continue reading

When You’re No Longer Sexually Attracted to Your Partner or Spouse

Falling in love can be both exhilarating and intoxicating, it’s like free falling with no bottom in sight. New love, entering a committed relationship, or getting married to a person you perceive to be your perfect fit is one of the best feelings in the world. However, when intimacy diminishes, and we are no longer sexually attracted to our partner or spouse it can feel like a death.

Sex is essential for many reasons in any healthy, committed relationship. It is ultimately all about intimacy, the pleasure, and sexual expression. Understanding these benefits will help couples recognize that sex in their relationships will not only help themselves but help bond their relationship further and create a broader sense of intimacy in a loving relationship. Sex is important when it comes to any romantic relationship. Whether this is a long-term relationship or one that’s just starting, sex is an important thing to consider for your overall health.

Notably, there is much more to a healthy relationship than sex, developing and enhancing intimacy is a major factor in maintaining a healthy, long-term partnership, or marriage. Unfortunately, couples that have been in a relationship or married for a long period of time may experience challenges related to an inconsistent sex life, decreased/non-existent intimacy, or difficulty maintaining their couple bond. Although, changes in sexual frequency is a normal part of the evolution that occurs in a relationship, lack of sex and diminishing intimacy can lead to negative consequences for partners.

Partners that are sexually attracted to each other are more likely to have a regular and consistent sex life, are more committed to each other, have better communication, enhanced intimacy, and better relationship quality. However, when individuals are not sexually attracted to their partner or spouse intimacy is affected, communication diminishes, sex becomes a chore instead of bonding the couple, and frustration builds. Mounting frustration can interfere with a couples ability to stay connected, get to the root of their sexual issues, join to resolve their problems and  Partners that lack sexual connectedness and diminished intimacy are more likely to experience diminished relationship quality, have difficulty communicating with their partner, and are more likely to seek sexual connectedness outside of the relationship. Seeking sexual satisfaction and connectedness outside of one’s relationship often leads to additional relationship issues up to and including the end of a relationship or marriage. It is important that we understand why sex is important in a relationship, what sex brings to a relationship, how intimacy is strengthened by sexual connectedness, etc.  

Sex has several benefits in the context of a committed relationship or marriage, such as, it can improve the connection between you and your partner, decrease stress, and has been associated with a longer lifespan.

Benefits of a Healthy Sex life in the Context of a Committed Relationship or Marriage:

·       A healthy sexual enhances the bond between partners

·       Decreases stress and anxiety

·       Promotes better communication between partners

·       Partners with a healthier sex life have better outcomes for a longer life

·       When That Connection Builds Over Time, it Continually Strengthens the Relationship

·       Provides opportunities for better sleep

·       Improves overall happiness

·       Boosts self-esteem

Reasons Some People Are No Longer Sexually Attracted to Their Partner or Spouse Include:

·       Decrease in attention to hygiene or poor hygiene

·       Unrealistic expectations of what their sex life should include

·       Sex has become routine, it no longer contains excitement

·       Infidelity in the relationship

·       You are no longer “friends”

·       You have difficulty communicating

·       The trust is broken in the relationship

·       Significant changes in partner weight or other physical differences

If you find yourself no longer sexually attracted to your partner or spouse try reminding yourself why you fell in love with your partner or spouse, include more couple activities into your relationship (log walks together, snuggling up on the sofa, cooking a meal together, working out, communicating more, or sexual experimentation might help). Decreased or lack of sexual attractiveness does not have to be a deal breaker, you can fall in love again, enhance your relationship bond, and become sexually attracted to your partner again. However, you must be willing to commit both time and effort into strengthening your sexual relationship, rebuilding intimacy, and improving your communication.  

16 Signs You’re Married to a Narcissist

As a psychologist and marriage & family therapist, I have worked with many people diagnosed and undiagnosed that exhibited significant narcissistic characteristics. Narcissism falls under the category of personality disorder. The clinical name for those with pronounced symptoms of grandiosity is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life.

People with NPD can present as arrogant, conceited, self-entitled, grandiose, boastful, etc. Those with narcissistic characteristics enjoy and indulge in being the center of attention, often dominating conversations, or steering the conversations back onto the topics perceived to be “more important” to the narcissist. Narcissists thrive in environments and relationships that appear to focus predominantly on them, fulfilling only their needs and interests.

A Narcissist Believes He/She is Truly Extraordinary

Narcissistic people have an inflated view of self, often erroneously believing no one can do things as well as they do, are as smart and clever as they are, or as engaging, etc. As mentioned previously, chronic narcissism is a personality disorder. Up to 30% of people who require mental health services have at least one personality disorder (PD) – characterized by abnormal and maladaptive inner experience and behavior. Personality disorders, also known as Axis II disorders, include obsessive-compulsive PD, avoidant PD, paranoid PD, narcissistic PD, and borderline PD, which can be very difficult and complicated to both identify and treat because its symptoms often overlap with other disorders. Personality disorders represent some of the most challenging and mysterious problems in the field of mental health.

Marriages and relationships can be a delicate balancing act for many couples as they try to juggle relationships, careers, and families. However, when you add a personality disorder and other mental health issues, relationship and marital issues can become further exacerbated.

16 Key Signs You May Be Married to or in a Relationship with a Narcissist

  1. Maintains feelings of entitlement
  2. Violates the persona boundaries of others
  3. Inflated view of self
  4. Conversation hoarder
  5. Charming or otherwise engaging
  6. Uses manipulation to get what they want even at the expense of others
  7. Often makes promises they do not keep
  8. Lacks true empathy
  9. Feigns concern or affection
  10. Overly concerned with both personal appearance and impressing others
  11. Embellishes stories or achievements
  12. Always giving advice even when they are not thoroughly versed on the topic of discussion
  13. Impatient
  14. Holds grudges
  15. It is never their fault, it is always someone else’s fault
  16. Manipulative or self-serving behaviors

Hard to Feel Loved or Safe in a Relationship with a Narcissist

Being in a relationship with someone who does not acknowledge or validate your needs can be very confusing. Narcissistic people often consistently ignore, dismiss, and explain away your feelings, wants, and needs, while complaining that you never do what he or she wants. It can also be very hard to feel safe, cared for, or even heard and considered in such a relationship. For partners married to or involved in a relationship with a narcissistic person, the pressure to live up to his or her “standards” and demands can be intense. Partners may feel under constant pressure to say and do just the right thing in just the right way to please her or him or just to keep the peace.

The pressure for perfection or to do the “right” things in the eye of one’s narcissistic partner can lead to feelings of depression, confusion, low self-esteem, anxiety, fear of making a mistake, low energy, and/or frustration, etc. Partners who base their self-esteem on the opinions of someone else are placing themselves in a very vulnerable proposition, but when you are married to a narcissist, it is devastating. A narcissist feels most secure when his/her partner looks really good but feels really needy and dependent. The narcissistic partner strives to keep their partner under wraps via constant criticism, impossible demands, withholding affection and love, insults, etc.

*This article originally appeared on divorcemagazine.com  https://www.divorcemag.com/blog/signs-you-re-married-to-a-narcissist/

Parenting Tips: How to Handle Children with Anxiety

Parenting is tough enough without any additional stresses added to the mix. As a parent, you constantly worry about your child’s health and wellbeing. When you have a child that suffers from anxiety, it can add to your constant worry. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed when having to deal with your child’s anxiety attacks. Aside from seeking therapy for children with anxiety, there are various ways you can handle the situation to ease the stress for both you and your child.

Signs of Anxiety

Perhaps you are unsure if your child suffers from anxiety. Fortunately, there are ways you can identify certain factors and behaviors. A child with anxiety will often display the following:

  • Tantrums, crying, clinging when separated from you (sign of separation anxiety)
  • Frequent worrying
  • Frequent or sudden onset of panic attacks
  • Constant complaints of a headache or stomachache
  • Overly shy
  • Avoids social interaction

If you notice your child displaying any of the behaviors mentioned above, it might indicate that your child suffers from anxiety. Fortunately, a knowledgeable child therapist such as myself can assist you in handling children with anxiety.

Managing Anxiety

Knowing how to help your child manage anxiety can make all the difference in the world. Do not seek to eliminate anxiety or you will become far too stressed. There is no way to remove everything that triggers your child’s anxiety completely. Therefore, your goal should focus on assisting your child with managing anxiety.

First, do not go out of your way to avoid situations or events that trigger your child’s anxiety. Although you will provide your child with immediate relief, all you are doing is solidifying the fact that your child has a reason to feel anxious. By protecting your child from situations that could trigger feelings of anxiety, you are allowing the cycle to continue.

Encourage your child in a positive, but realistic way. For instance, maybe your child suffers from test anxiety. Perhaps your child feels anxious right before facing the pressure of a test. Rather than leaving your child home from school to avoid the test and the anxiety, offer encouragement. Make sure you remain realistic. Do not promise your child a passing grade just to ease anxiety. Instead, encourage them to give it their best and let them know that it is okay to fail so long as they try.

Another way to assist your child in managing anxiety is to seek the help of a therapist. As a therapist, I see a lot of parents dealing with children with anxiety and I understand it is often stressful and frustrating. I work closely with the parents to help them cope with their child’s anxiety. I also work with the child to find ways to overcome triggers or fears that can lead to anxiety. Therapy can often prove quite useful for both parents and children in situations like this one.

Therapy for Anxiety

Children with anxiety want to lead normal lives like any other child. For that reason, I encourage you to get in touch with me. My therapy services provide you and your child a way to communicate your feelings and frustrations effectively. My goal is to ensure you and your child gain the benefit of learning how to handle anxiety in a way that is both healthy and productive.

If you have any questions about my services or you would like to learn more about the ways therapy can help you manage your child with anxiety, feel free to contact me at your convenience.

Depression: How it Affects Relationships

Did you know that depression affects about 7% of the adult population in the United States?
One of the most common mental disorders in the world, depression is characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, appetite changes, sleep changes, pessimism, constant fatigue, and drainage of both physical and mental energy.
It is needless to say that depression can make everything look bleak – the sufferer not only loses interest in his daily activities and hobbies but also in people around him.
Although some people still do not consider depression as a ‘real’ illness, thankfully mental awareness is on the rise. Less understood, however, is its disastrous effect on human relationships.
When it comes to depression and relationships, it is a two-way street – while depression does surely affect relationships, the quality of relationships also impact the depressive state of a person.
First, let us discuss the several ways in which depression can negatively affect a relationship.
1. Makes it difficult to share emotions
It is crucial to understand that depression is not only about feeling sad and low. It is also about suppressing all emotions – imagine the suffering of a person who has every negative feeling buried in his heart.
While communication and open sharing of emotions are major aspects of a relationship, depression can rob you of them. Not being able to share true feelings and thoughts with anyone makes the sufferer feel hopeless and push the people around him away, even if it is his partner.
With an increase in the communication gap between the two, it is easy to see how their relationship will suffer.
2. Reduces intimacy
Depression also attacks another important facet of relationships, intimacy. Closeness and affection between two people is definitely a mainstay of a healthy, happy relationship.
Depression sucks out all positive emotions and makes it difficult to experience intimacy. Not only this, it also decreases the level of libido, making the sexual activities of the sufferer come to a halt. And a relationship without intimacy, love, and affection is
3. Triggers anxiety
As if the symptoms of depression were not a lot to handle on their own, it tends to trigger the symptoms of other mental issues, such as anxiety. And a combination of depression and anxiety is deadly – it can cause the sufferer to blame everything on his partner and lash out at him.
4. Gives way to behavioral issues
Depression can manifest itself both internally as well as externally. Internal manifestation refers to keeping all emotions to oneself while external manifestation is about expressing depression externally. The sufferer is likely to show an inappropriate behavior pattern that may prove harmful for himself or for others around him. Common behavioral issues include violence, self-harm, substance abuse, and infidelity. All these behaviors can give rise to several other serious relationship issues, thus making it fail.
Posing the risk of the aforementioned issues, depression makes it difficult to maintain healthy, fulfilling relationships. If your partner or anyone you know of is suffering from depression, be empathetic and make them feel that they matter and are not a burden. Be patient with them and support them in their struggles.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month

 

Should I shoot the baby too and take her with me, the distraught mother said to herself as she held the gun in her hand or should I leave the baby to be raised by relatives?  This young woman was in such heart-wrenching despair. Around two months prior to this moment, she found the body of her husband who completed suicide by means of a gun. She missed him so much, she saw this as a way to join him and be with him, by doing the same. So, she was contemplating should she take her 4-month-old baby too so they could all be together again or leave the baby to be raised by relatives?

I came across this post on a single/widowed parent’s message board back in the AOL message board days. I took a chance she may be online and sent her an instant message. She responded. And we began to message as she shared with me the anguish she was feeling. She felt hopeless, that her situation was hopeless. While chatting with her, I instant messaged a moderator who happened to be online and asked her to take a look at the message board, get this young mother’s contact information and call 911. In the meantime, I will try to keep her engaged and please let me know when they are on their way.

Each pause between her response seemed like an eternity as the thought ran through my mind, oh no, she did it, it’s too late….  The last message I received from her was first responders were at the door and she had to go.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I began to shake and cry.

Synchronicity? Perhaps, this was before smart phone days and all three of us, the distraught mother, the moderator and myself were online living in three different time zones. This young mother did not want her life to end or her baby’s life to end. She wanted the pain she was feeling to end.

 

 

When talking to a suicidal person:

Do:

Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.

Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, vent anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign.

Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.

Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.

Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.

But don’t:

Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Look on the bright side.”

Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.

Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word.

Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.

Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.

Source: Metanoia.org

Anxiety: The Difference between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders

Life, whether you are a working mother or a student in high school, has become extremely demanding and stressful. Intense global competition, managing expectations and general environment around us has increased the frequency of moments we feel anxious.

This is one reason why it can be hard to differentiate normal anxiety from clinical anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It is imperative that you know the difference between the two. This way if anxiety is affecting someone close to you, you can help them find a solution.

Anxiety VS Anxiety Disorders.

Generally, anxiety is your body’s reaction to stress resulting from difficult situations. This reaction is very normal and happens to many people. In fact, it can be a sign of a healthy mind as it gives your body the cue to work harder and act on a fight or flight reflex.

Anxiety disorders, however, take things to an extreme level and produce feelings of overwhelming and intense anxiousness. Not only that, but they also have other debilitating symptoms that can cause severe mental and physical ailments.

Following are some key differences between the two:
Triggers.

Any mental or physical illness is always triggered by some event or external cause. Usually, normal anxiety is a response to stressors like an upcoming exam, job interview, new work environment or misunderstanding with a partner. This anxiety is only temporary and goes away once the person gets through the event.

But when one is suffering from a disorder, they experience constant anxiousness for long stretches without even knowing what triggered it. It is an over-bearing feeling of impending doom making even menial tasks like getting out of bed or going to work difficult.

Intensity

As I mentioned above, anxiety disorders create incredibly intense and over-whelming emotional responses. Most of these responses are disproportionate to the trigger. For example, a person without an anxiety disorder will be slightly nervous before a date but relax after some time; while a person with a disorder will be anxious to the point where they might even cancel the date.

If they do make it to the date, they will remain anxious the entire time and even after. Their anxiety doesn’t hit them right before the date; it can begin right after they confirm it on the phone. Also, their anxiousness can last for days, weeks or even months, while normal anxiety is fleeting.

Impact

The symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and affect your entire life, causing you to avoid many normal activities. For example, it can stop you from going to concerts, hang-out with friends, amusement parks, work, school and more. It interferes with their daily life, making it hard to take care of simple responsibilities.

Physical Symptoms

Besides the feeling of doom looming over their heads, anxiety disorders can cause physical symptoms like dizziness, trembling, hypertension, breathlessness, excessive sweating, headaches and more.

While it is normal to feel anxious before important events, overwhelming anxiety doesn’t need to debilitate you. If you can relate to any of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Remember that you aren’t alone as 40 million American adults also suffer from at least one type of anxiety disorder. Most will improve as anxiety disorders are treatable. Getting help early and sticking with the treatment can help relieve some of the symptoms and change your life for the better.

Workplace Depression ? How to Help as a Manager

Workplace depression is one of the most common and overlooked mental health related problems that managers and employers try to avoid dealing with. According to several statistical reports, depression affects more than 8 percent of adults in the US and can cause a loss of billions of dollars. Besides work, this depression can damage their overall quality of life and cause several other mental and physical health issues if left unchecked.

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