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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 Ego: Can We Really Take It or Leave It?

What is the ego?

 

Dictionary.com defines “ego” as “the ‘I’ or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.”

It goes on to say that the definition in psychoanalysis is “the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environments.”

 

New Age gurus everywhere have said that the ego is that part of the human experience that makes us separate from others, the part that individualizes itself, the mind chatter that plagues us, the child part of ourselves that needs constant attention, and the part of the self that makes decisions based upon the past, and coming from a place of fear. They also tell us that the more evolved we are, the less interference the ego presents in our lives, and that letting go of the ego is the ultimate goal. This attitude makes a lot of people involved in the New Age movement feel “less than” because they can’t seem to quiet or eradicate the ego. It’s a very counter-intuitive thing to put on people.

 

Whether you are religious or on some spiritual path, or a total atheist, learning to live with the ego is part of accepting yourself totally and embracing the human experience. Stressing over the ego’s chatter, being in a constant battle with it, and beating yourself up for mistakes it has made, are all a waste of energy. As long as we are in bodies, having a human experience, we are going to have to deal with the ego. Learning how to quiet it in order to de-stress is a wonderful practice to get into. Meditation is a good way, so is listening to your favorite music, getting out in Nature. Getting into the habit of giving yourself time to make decisions so that you know that your decisions are not coming from a place of fear – which is the ego – is also a practice that it is good to take on.

 

Not accepting the ego as a part of who you are is essentially denying a part of who you are. But the ego doesn’t have to be in control. You love your child, but you wouldn’t allow her to drive the car, would you? Learning how to manage it takes practice and self-awareness is the key. You really can’t eradicate the ego, but you can befriend it, embrace it, and acknowledge the role it plays in making you who you are. Self-esteem requires that you accept the totality of yourself, and the ego is just one aspect of that.

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.

 

 

 

Does Diet Affect Your Mood? Five Tips for a “Happy” Diet

When you’re depressed, you  don’t stop to think about things, let alone the mundane everyday tasks you’ve always done, like eating. You might not realize that vitamins and hormones dictate our emotions, and serotonin plays a huge role in depression. Serotonin is a chemical that your brain produces when it’s feeling genuinely happy and content. Depression often comes from situational turmoil in one’s life, but it can also come from inadequate serotonin production, which means a person can feel depressed even if he or she has a great life. Other vitamins influence our moods as well, so it does make sense that the foods we eat play a role in how we feel.

Here are some foods you can eat to help improve your mood on the “bad days”.

  • Eggs, fish, lean beef and chicken are all rich in Vitamins B-6 and B-12. These vitamins help promote chipper and relaxed moods.
  • Nuts and seeds, like almonds, are magnesium rich. Magnesium is a big one if your depression is from a chemical imbalance because it promotes serotonin production and it increases natural energy levels. Opting for sugary or salty nuts won’t work as well as the unsalted or unsweetened brand.
  • Complex carbohydrates like strong grains take longer to digest, and that helps regulate blood sugars. When blood sugar isn’t spiking, irritability isn’t either.
  • Green tea contains an amino acid L-theanine that diminishes the appetite, which prevents overeating and the subsequent remorse, and it naturally increases happiness.
  • Opt for complex fruits, like pineapples and pomegranates. Foods that are rich in Vitamin A and C as well as copper and fiber all help you feel and look better. A good theory is that if it’s hard to eat, and if it takes effort to chew, it will probably take longer to digest, and it improves blood flow, serotonin production, and weight loss.

What to Do if You Have a “Problem Child”

A Problem Child will take his or her toll on family, teachers, and anyone who may have authority over the kid.  Mostly, kids in general have trouble expressing their emotions and in some cases, kids may feel like they can’t be honest about feelings or they might be in trouble. Now, add any other stress to a child, and they’ll probably lose it and act out. It’s hard to blame them; kids can’t handle pressure the way we can, it takes years of building emotional strength to handle life’s largest challenges. When you’re challenged as a child, with anything from a divorce to a death, it changes you.

Here’s what you can do if your child is acting out:

  • Identify if it’s medical, psychological or emotional issues causing your child anguish
  • Gather all of your information about what sets the behavior off
  • Consider that it may be a learning disability
  • Think about the home ife; has anything major happened?
  • If necessary, seek counseling; many behavioral problems are easier to treat when they’re not treated early enough. If you’re unsure, just contact us for advice.

How to Get through an Argument with Your Mate

Okay, so maybe that’s easier said than done. Each of us reacts to anger in our own, unique way. Some people can let the little things go, while others get lost in their emotions, seeing only red, and often acting unreasonable.

First, it’s hard, but try to understand what is making you unhappy, so that you can have a rational, adult discussion with your mate. Even simply reflecting before you respond shows a great deal of respect.

Then, ask yourself how severe your problem is. Was it unforgivable, or was it something minor than you can let go? If it’s the latter, try letting your guard down. In a battle, someone has to back down; it doesn’t work well if both parties are overly combative. If the issue isn’t that huge in the grand scheme of things, try hard to let it go.

It’s like the infamous professor story:

  • A professor picked up an empty mayonnaise jar and filled it with golf balls.
  • He asked the students if the jar was full. They said that it was…
  • The professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
  • The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
  • He asked the students again if the jar was full. They said that it was…
  • The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up everything else.
  • He asked once more if the jar was full. They said that it was…
  • The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else; the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

Set your priorities; the rest is just sand.

(Read the full version here- http://www.biz.colostate.edu/mti/tips/pages/MayonnaiseJarandTwo-Beers.aspx)

Relationship Advice: Men and Women Communicate Differently [INFOGRAPHIC]

Making a relationship work is all about communication, love, and respect. First, understand that men and women behave and converse differently, which means they sometimes interpret body language and actions contrary from the true message. Women handle their woes and emotions differently from men, and a lack of proper empathy is often the downfall to many couples.

Helpful tips for communicating with the ladies:

  • Sometimes, women have a hard time asking for help. She may be aware that you’re not a mind reader, but she still may feel too weak or proud to admit it. Sometimes, simply asking if there’s anything you can do to help is the best gesture.
  • Don’t size-up your finances unless she specifically mentions it, you may worry more about your income than she does.
  • Even if it’s a small lie, it will make everything so, so much worse when she finds out.
  • Women… just… cry. She may not know why or when, but it’s a natural thing and it happens to many women. Crying doesn’t mean she’s mad or sad, it simply means she’s feeling emotional, and it could be about anything.

Helpful tips for communicating with men:

  • Playing shy or unavailable is one thing, but when a girl plays excessively hard to get, it can cause him to lose interest, so be careful. Avoid serious head games at all costs.
  • He’s sensitive about his looks too; if you expect compliments from your guy, be ready to give some too.
  • If you don’t want him to judge your clothing size, don’t judge the size of his bank account.

 

Both genders should always avoid harsh words and name calling during arguments, as those wounds are sometimes the hardest to heal.

For an in-depth look at how different the two genders really are, browse over this intriguing infographic: 

Relationship facts revealed: Men vs. Women

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Internet, Social Media, and Texting Communication is Crucial for Today’s Couples

 

Your Relationship & Current Technology

 

The convenience of the internet has been around for a while, but it’s still relatively new; for the younger generations using it is second nature- texting is as easy as breathing or thinking. The thing many don’t realize is that technology has sort-of snuck up on us, and it’s affecting couples in both positive and negative ways. The impact technology has on your relationship depends on how often you use it, and how you use it. The secret to making it work is and has always been communication; it’s no different with social media or smart phones. You have to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it to avoid severe backlash or disappointment. For clear-cut answers with no margin for error, always have serious conversations in person.

Internet behavior and relationships boil down to two main sectors: communication and infidelity. Some couples have trouble communicating via media, and others use it as a means for meeting new people.

Many of today’s couples grew up with social media profiles, texting, and instant messaging. The brides and grooms of today were the pioneers of internet dating, which means there are still many kinks to work out. Older couples put less weight on this technology because chances are, they learned to communicate without these objects, so they put less focus on their messages and importance. If you find that you’re in an exhausting relationship with constant fighting, it’s likely one or both parties are unhappy- and clear communication is the only way to sort through it. When you speak clearly without fear of judgment, you’ll find that many problems are due to a simple miscommunication.

Other couples may have never discussed boundaries, which means one party could be misinformed about which behaviors are acceptable and which ones go too far. There have been many people who have caught their significant others sending inappropriate messages to other people. This might not seem like a big deal to one party, but it could destroy and hurt the other.

Take these five tips and hold them in a safe place, because one day, you may find yourself arguing about a text, a Facebook post, or even a television program. When that time comes, you’ll know the best way to handle the situation.

•    When you’re officially in a committed relationship, many people expect to list the status publicly on Facebook. It’s a new status of dating, honestly, people now ask “Did he add you as his girlfriend on Facebook” or “Did she make it Facebook official”. It’s one thing to wait a few weeks before updating, but if you’ve been dating a year and the other person refuses to add you as a significant other, it’s a red flag. Sure, it may be nothing, but it could also be something…. this is an area that requires proper communication. If you don’t ask, it will bother you until you bring it up at the wrong time.
    Trust your other partner the way you would if you didn’t have a window into his or her life. If you see a photo or a comment from someone that seems or feels fishy, ask about it before assuming the worst. The picture could be a sibling, cousin, or someone else that poses no threat to your relationship.
    Remember that your past is documented, so it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll never see photos of an old flame. While you don’t want to highlight the past, you can’t ask someone to delete photos or memories from their life- but you can ask them to clearly make the album private or named as “old”.
    Avoid conversations that warrant a long response, serious thought, or extreme emotion. This is especially true during an argument because you can text as fast as you think, with no filter, and that is dangerous. We all think things when we’re mad, but they’re not always things we mean or things we wish to say to the people we love.
    Never air your personal arguments or fights on a social media status. Venting feels good, but sharing too much information with all of your friends could make them think less of your significant other, which is not ideal if you have hopes of working things out with that person.