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Why Choose Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Is Cognitive Therapy right for me?

There are many different kinds of “talk therapy”, and choosing the best one is sometimes trial and error. So it is good to do your research so that you know what questions to ask a potential therapist, and can better decide if he or she is right for you.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has many benefits, especially if you don’t want to spend years in therapy or counseling. It addresses behaviors and thought patterns and works in the present time rather than analyzing the past. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is not about diving into what you or your parents did when you were a child. Rather, it aims to focus on the present issues at hand.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches through self-awareness, moderating your thinking, and dealing rationally with behaviors and thought processes. The average length of a CBT relationship between client and therapist is 16 sessions. This cuts down on both time and money. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is all about giving you concrete tools to navigate your emotions, control your thinking, and thus eliminate unwanted behaviors.

 

CBT operates well for all cultures and ethnicities as it is about common, universal human behaviors and thought patterns. It is focused on the goals of the client.

 

CBT sessions are not just random chats. They are more structured for better therapeutic results.

 

The basic premise and principle of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that the way we think determines our behaviors, and changing our thinking changes how we live.

 

CBT is therapy for the modern working person, and also for people for whom protracted therapy techniques do not work. It helps you set goals and shows you how to create the steps to achieve those goals. It is pragmatic in its essence, and won’t allow you to dally around in your past.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often the only choice for those who have been stuck and going around in circles. It is concrete, quick, and very successful for many.

How to Deal with A Breakup and Become A Better Person

 

How to Overcome Breakups

No one likes to go through broken hearts. But it’s absolutely guaranteed that a broken heart is a part of everyone’s story. Whether it was the girl in third grade, or your first love, or even a divorce, break ups are never easy to cope with. According to social psychologists, there are five stages that everyone dealing with loss and grief goes through. Each step is a personal journey to a better life ahead of you, as you take advantage of new opportunities. The steps of grief are as follows:

Denial

When we first enter the realm of break ups or divorces, there is a part of us that refuses to believe it’s really happening. We think maybe our partner will change their mind. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will blow over. Maybe I’ll give them a week to calm down and then we’ll talk. Denial comes in many forms, and it’s easy to stay comfortably in denial. As reality begins to set in, we move onto step two.

Anger

Once our brain registers the severity of the situation, we get angry. Anger is a natural response to things that are beyond our own control. We’re angry because we our partner left. We’re angry because they aren’t doing everything in their control to make things better. It feels like a betrayal when we trusted them more than anyone else. Anger is normal, and healthy. It’s also common to be angry at ourselves for things that we should have done in the past. The trick to coping with this stage of loss is to turn the anger into something productive. Use it to get more done at work. Use it as motivation to work out. Set some new goals and channel that energy into making choices that will improve who you are a person.

Bargaining

Once the anger settles and things begin to calm down, the bargaining begins. Whether we are bargaining with ourselves: “What if I did this differently?”, or… we try to bargain with the ex-partner to get back together by saying “I can change”.

Depression

Although I might argue that depression can emerge at any point along the process, it’s predicted to come out after the bargaining stage. Depression is the times when our sadness takes over our whole feelings, and there is not anything you can do to emerge from it. During times of depression it’s important to lean on some good friends. Talk out your situation, and read inspirational things. Listen to upbeat music, and do your best to just keep chugging along. Depression will slowly fade into just a twinge of sadness, and then you’ll find yourself in the last step of grief.

Acceptance

Reaching acceptance isn’t always an easy process. Sometimes break ups are sudden or especially painful. It’s really hard to accept things that we don’t understand. I’ve found that doing your best to understand the situation is the best way to learn to accept it. Listen to the things your partner said during the break up. Think critically about the relationship, and don’t obsess over just the good things. Of course there were good times, but breakups don’t occur for no reason. Were you unhappy at the core? Was it bad timing? The important thing is to not resist acceptance. Refusing to accept a situation will keep you in a revolving door of the steps above. You’ll be stuck in anger and depression, even denial at some points.

Chances are there is always room for personal improvement after the end of a relationship. You just spent so much time focusing on a whole separate being. Imagine if you took that energy and poured it into your own wellbeing. Take this time to write down goals and achieve them. Use the extra energy as motivation to become a better version of you. A version of you that you will be proud to share with someone else in the future.

The Process of Loss

 

Loss is a part of life and we all will experience many losses as we navigate our journeys. Loss comes in many guises; it is not only the death of a loved one. Loss can be the dissolution of an important relationship, having to move from a beloved family home, losing a part of your life to illness; almost any life transition is accompanied by a sense of loss. Loss and the grieving process go hand in hand, and grief is something one should not try to side-step. It is an essential part of being able to move on from the loss, and if you don’t allow yourself to grieve, you could end up with psychological and physical health issues later on.

 

In her book On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross posited fives stages of normal grief. They need not occur in any particular order, and most often people in grief will move back and forth through the different stages. But all grief is a highly personal and individual process, and there is no timetable for it. Each person will grieve in his or her own time, and in his or her own way.

 

The five stages of grief are:

 

  • Denial and Isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

 

In denial and isolation one is not accepting the reality of the situation. Often this feeling makes the person feel isolated and alone, or causes him to isolate himself from others. It is important in this stage that you try as well as you can, to be with your support system – loved ones, friends and family – and that you talk about how you feel as openly as possible. If you need to seek professional help, do not wait. Get it.

 

With anger, your feelings are deflected because the pain of the situation is too much to bear, and anger is the result. People who aren’t in awareness of this stage, often take their anger out on loved ones or others, getting agitated and losing their tempers easily. But anger is a more active stage than denial, and puts you on your path towards acceptance.

 

In bargaining people go through the “if only’s”. If only I had gotten a second opinion, if only I had said “I love you”, if only I had gotten help earlier. The “if only’s” can drive you nuts if you aren’t careful, and is also another way to not have to feel the actual pain of the loss.

 

Depression is the beginning of dealing with the pain. You could be depressed over more practical matters, like costs and bills, and then you get depressed because you know you must say goodbye and let the situation or person go. This part of the depression stage is more individual and private, and comes along with deep reflection, memories, and deep sadness. It is normal to feel this for months, but if it goes on for too long, get professional help. Sorting through your feelings, which can be very complex, may need a fresh set of eyes.

 

Acceptance does not come to everyone. Some people are never able to move out of denial and anger. The ability to make peace with the situation is sometimes hard won, and not everyone gets there. Give yourself time and don’t be impatient with yourself. The grieving process can be quite protracted, and there are no time limits.

 

Loss and grief are necessary parts of living a full life, and knowing something about them, can help you to cope a little better. The process is personal, and will take longer for some than others. But there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and you may move back and forth through the different stages a few times before you come to some peace. Journal about your feelings, talk about them, even paint or draw them. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative in your expression of them. And in the end, getting your feelings out will ease the pain and speed up the process.

 

 

A Psychiatrist Against Psychiatry?

Psychiatry | Hope Counseling

Thomas Szaz’s book The Myth Of Mental Illness, published in 1961, was a spearhead for the “Antipsychiatry” movement and created a coalition whose voice is still loud today.

 

Essentially the antipsychiatry movement believed that psychiatry was being used to control, label and stigmatize people who exhibited what society might call “deviant” behavior, but were no threat to themselves or others. They thought that traditional psychiatrists were in league with the pharmaceutical companies, whose main goal was to over-medicate those who simply did not “fit in”, to make them manageable. They did not believe in the concept of “mental illness”, abhorred the term, and thought that psychiatry was not based on empirical evidence and fact and could not prove real “brain illness” in most people.

 

The “nature vs nurture” argument was not a quandary for those against psychiatry. Nurture and environment were responsible for unacceptable and self-destructive behaviors in their opinions, and they thought that counseling and education could eradicate the issue. “Problems in living” was the phrase Szaz used. They even believed that the use of psychiatric diagnoses in the legal system was unconstitutional. A lot of social activists jumped on the bandwagon.

 

At the time this movement was at its height, psychiatry was going through a major transition. Freud was being debunked, and the foundations of traditional psychiatry were cracked. According to Benedict Carey, writer for the New York Times, in his obituary of Thomas Szaz, “Dr. Szaz argues against the use of coercive treatments, like involuntary confinement, and the use of psychiatric diagnoses in the courts, calling both practices unscientific and unethical.”

 

Szaz was a professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and while there he wrote hundreds of articles, books and essays including Ideology and Insanity: Essays on the Psychiatric Dehumanization of Man.

 

Thomas Szaz allied himself with the Church of Scientology in 1969 to found the Citizens Commission on Human Rights which, Carey goes on to say, “portrays the field (of psychiatry) as abusive, and regularly pickets psychiatric meetings.” This move for Dr. Szaz damaged his credibility and he eventually put some distance between himself and Scientologists. But, as a result, he was denied a position in a teaching hospital which trained psychiatric residents.

 

Unfortunately for Dr. Szaz, his soapbox has been all but eclipsed by the practices of modern psychiatry, with advanced technologies providing the bases for diagnostics, and more effective medications with fewer side effects. While mental illness still carries a stigma with it, more and more sufferers are living full, happy, and healthy lives because of the advances in psychiatry. The vast majority of psychiatrists are caring and ethical professionals, who do not over-prescribe, and are interested in giving a mentally ill person more than just maintenance.

 

Mental Illness and Creativity: Is There a Connection?

artistic expressions

A great many creative people – artists, poets, musicians, even philosophers – have been thought to be mad since ancient times. Some cultures honored their eccentrics, the “different” ones, but others often had them put in asylums or even executed as witches. Obviously times have changed since then and society has become much more open minded about mental illnesses. Psychological studies have shown that there is, in fact, a connection between mental illness and creativity. While mental illness does not necessarily equal creativity, and vice versa, there have been found many cases of links between the two.

 

For many people who live with mental illnesses, it provides them with an opportunity for a unique perspective on life, coming at reality from an oblique angle. Couple that with creative talent and intelligence, and an artistic genius can be born. People with serious mental illnesses such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders exist with their sensory volume turned way up. It is harder for them to filter out information for the purposes of focus, and so they take in much more than most people do. While this may cause a lot of inner turmoil and suffering, it also gives them the ability to form connections out of seemingly disconnected things, feelings, and ideas.

 

William Lee Adams, who writes for CNN, said in his article The dark side of creativity: Depression + anxiety x madness =genius?, “Celebrated Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s life was fraught with anxiety and hallucinations” But, he goes on to write, “The painting (The Scream) is thought to represent the angst of modern man which Munch experienced deeply throughout his life, but saw as an indispensable driver of his art. He wrote in his diary, ‘My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art’.”

 

Psychologists, having been almost enraptured with this question, conducted early studies of well-known artists who worked in a variety of media, and the conclusion was that many highly creative people suffer from mood disorders. Clinical depression plagued people like Charles Dickens, Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Jackson Pollack, and Anne Sexton.

 

Many of these studies rely on anecdotal evidence and have been harshly criticized. But neuroscientist Andreas Fink of the University of Graz in Austria published a study in which he compared brains of creative people to those with schizotypy, which is a milder form of schizophrenia.

 

Adams writes that the psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, who also writes for Scientific American “has summed up the results (of this study) this way. ‘It seems that the key to creative cognition is opening up the floodgates, and letting in as much information as possible. Because you never know: sometimes the most bizarre associations can turn into the most productively creative ideas’.”

 

While creativity remains somewhat elusive, the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is “Yes”. There is a connection between mental suffering and creative expression. The depth required to probe the human condition through art of any kind, sometimes takes a special vision and sensitivity that the “normal” person often escapes. Is creativity a curse? Modern pharmacology has made it less so. But people need to want to be helped and many artists hold the sentiments of Edvard Munch – that without their illness, their art wouldn’t exist.

Scared to see a counselor?

 

Being scared to seek counseling is really common. After all, we’ve been taught that we should solve our own problems! Sometimes overcoming the realization that we need help isn’t an easy thing to do. Even if whatever your challenge is isn’t serious, admitting that we can’t fix the situation ourselves is difficult. Maybe you know what you should be doing, but you aren’t motivated to do it. Maybe you’ve just got a couple roadblocks to overcome. Whatever it is, you’re thinking that talking it over with a counselor might be helpful, but you’re a little scared to get started. Counseling can be the first step you take in making a difference in your life.

Here are some things to think about while considering seeking some guidance:

Hope Counseling | Session

 

It’s only a conversation

Sometimes all it takes is one meeting with a counselor to get the advice we’re looking for. Maybe it’ll take two. Maybe you’ll decide it’s really helpful and become a returning client. Either way, you’re not losing anything by just making one appointment.

You run things

If there’s a topic you don’t want to discuss, you don’t have to talk about it! Sometimes people are afraid that counselors will try to get inside your head and read your thoughts. Although this would be an amazing super power, I don’t know any counselors that can actually do that. If there is a topic you don’t want to talk about, just say so. If you feel like the conversation is going in a bad direction, say so. You have the stage to work on whatever problem you want to work on.

It’s Effective

You know how just venting to your friends is so cathartic? Imagine that your friend was actually educated in how to help you perfectly. That’s what counseling is. Many people have overcome depression, relationship issues, or self-esteem issues just by working through their problems with a therapist. They’ll help you look at your situation from a different angle.

Start with a phone call

Call the office and request to just talk to someone on the phone, to get a feeling if talking it out is something that can help you. You’ve got nothing invested, and you’re totally anonymous. If once you talk to the counselor for a bit, you’ve decided that it might be helpful to schedule a full session, go ahead! You’ve already made huge progress.

How to Cope with Being Alone

Hope CounselingHumans are inherently social creatures. We thrive from connections that we create with loved ones. And although there is a large spectrum of comfort with social contact, it is true that we all need to feel connected. When we are forced to be alone by whichever life matters have brought us there, coping with solo life can be difficult. Here are some things to consider trying during your streak of independence:

Have a happy mindset:

Most of our troubles are created by our frame of mind. Look at this as an opportunity to explore and learn more about yourself. You now have this time to devote to yourself! This really is true independence. Keep an open mind about meeting new people, and engaging in new activities. Happiness comes from within. Don’t make excuses!

Learn Something New:

What is something that you always wish you had learned? For me, I would love to learn how to play the guitar. During a time when I was alone previously, I learned how to knit. Take lessons or watch video tutorials online. Connect with others who have a passion for whatever it is you want to learn to do. They will love the opportunity to share their passion, and you will get to absorb their knowledge!

Adopt a Pet:

For longer periods of time alone, pets are great way to focus your need for connection. Dogs are great because they really love their humans. Their reliance upon you will help to give purpose to your day. If you can’t adopt a pet, volunteer at your local animal shelter. Walking the dogs is a great chance for you to get out, take walks, and connect with another being.  

Read:

This summer my goal is to read five new books. There is always something to be gained from reading. You’ll become more educated, pass time, and become a better-rounded person. Check out some classics like Huckleberry Finn, Wizard of Oz, The Catcher in the Rye, or The Great Gatsby. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau is about a spiritual quest to live independently in nature.

Exercise:

Imagine getting that body you’ve always wanted. Now you have no excuses. Wake up with the sun and just take a walk. Join a work out class. There is Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Spin, Zumba, Weight Lifting, and SO MANY MORE! Some big cities offer free exercise classes outside during the summer. You’ll look great, feel better, and you’ll seriously impress your loved ones next time you see them. See this story about a woman who took advantage of her time away from her husband to drop 100 pounds.

Pick up hours at work:

Focusing your extra hours into your work life will give you an extra cushion in your bank account. You will have more free money to pay off bills or save for your next goal. If putting in more hours at work sounds like the worst idea in the world, consider volunteering. It’ll still keep you busy, but you will have more control over your schedule and hours. You’ll be making a positive impact in the world as well!

Explore:

Go outside! It’s a big beautiful world out there! You won’t meet any interesting people by staying home. Get yourself a pair of hiking shoes and explore local state parks. Connect with nature by kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, or even just having lunch in the park.

 

 

 

3 Major Breakdowns on Grey’s Anatomy

mental breakdown

Television can teach us a lot about what happens to people in certain situations, particularly the traumatic and difficult ones. While Grey’s Anatomy might not always be medically accurate, it does get one thing right: the psychological breakdowns. We have seen this in 3 major events in the past decade of Grey’s Anatomy.

Meredith’s “Shoot Me Instead” Speech

We all know from her “pick me, choose me” speech that Meredith would take a bullet for Derek. She proved this in season 6. People had been speculating suicidal tendencies in Meredith Grey for years, and this was the final proof they needed. This isn’t her first experience at flirting with death either, hence her college nickname “death”. Meredith offers herself up to the gunman partly because of her love for Derek, but also partly because she’s okay with dying herself. It wasn’t until well after season 8 that we watched Meredith actually fight for her life.

Would she have consistently been chasing death if she had a better childhood? What if Ellis Grey were mother of the year? 

Christina’s Silent Treatment

After the plane crash at the end of season 8, Christina Yang was not herself. We see her being somber, passive, and silent. It was terrifying to see such a lively personality become so bland and empty. Eventually, when she did talk, a part of us wished she had stayed silent. She told Owen of the trauma she experience while staying awake for 4 days, something she might not have been able to do with anyone else. She found comfort in Owen, who worked through his PTSD issues with her in the past.

Would these two have been such a strong couple had they not bonded over traumatic experiences? It’s hard to say.

Arizona’s Cheating

Once “Calzona” said their I Do’s, time stood still for those short few minutes of the episode. We LOVE Calzona; everyone does. There is something magical when they are together, but when they fall apart, we (the viewers) fall apart with them.

Season 9 ended with the  episode “The Perfect Storm”. There could not be a more fitting title out there for this episode, you could describe a relationship that is being destroyed a storm. Callie finds out that Arizona cheated on her with Dr. Lauren Boswell when realizing that Arizona’s wedding ring is pinned inside Lauren’s scrubs. Remember now, this is not the first time that Callie has been cheated on (George, her 1st husband also cheated on her). Callie is the strong fighter that we all know and love, that has so much on her plate that she often pushes things to the side and never deals with the issues head on. 

Unfortunately, Arizona’s cheating did not end with Dr. Boswell. She then subsequently has an affair with Leah Murphy, a surgical resident, and tries to hide this affair from Callie as well. After this affair, Callie decides to face this affair head on, unlike in the past, she goes to her dad for advice and learns that he one put her mother in those same shoes that she is wearing and they turned out just fine. 

In the end Callie chooses to forgive and forget Arizona’s indiscretions and throw herself into the relationship to make sure that their relationship will work out in the end  They choose to move out of their current apartment, the one that has all the memories of Mark, Arizona lying in bed recovering from the loss of her leg and other bad parts of their life.  As we end season 10 Callie and Arizona are once again in a good place, and we can only hope that season 11 brings back the marital bliss that we all once enjoyed between this couple.  

Would Arizona have cheated on Callie had she kept both legs? We’ll never be sure, but it’s doubtful. When Arizona lost a part of her, it changed her. She felt broken, as if her wife is trying to fix her – and then someone else came along and felt attracted to her, as is.

 

 

 

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