Self Development

Trauma-Informed Care: Recognizing & Treating Toxic Stress: Part 1

What is trauma, and why do we need trauma-informed care? When a person feels overwhelmed, threatened and endangered, the mind and body react for survival. If the person can’t find ways to feel safe again, the threat-response system tends to stay active, even though it’s not obvious. That person is likely to experience traumatic stress…. Read more »

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Death Anxiety

Although largely unconscious, the awareness of our finite existence, the fact that we all must die, has a profound impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The fear and emotional anguish associated with anticipating the end of life are so painful that we must protect ourselves. People find it difficult to tolerate facing their mortality… Read more »

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It’s Not Your Fault: Overcoming Trauma

There is a famous scene in the film Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams, playing a therapist, compassionately repeats the line “It’s not your fault” to Will, a troubled young man with self-destructive tendencies, who happens to be a genius. The line is a response to the revelation of abuse Will endured as a child…. Read more »

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Panic Attacks: What You Need to Know

In my work as a clinical psychologist, I love when I get contacted by someone who wants therapy for anxiety. From OCD to phobias, I know that there are things that I can tell them in our first meeting that will help them to start to overcome a condition that, for many people, is excruciating… Read more »

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5 Tried-and-True Ways to Increase Happiness in Daily Life

We all want to be happy, undeniably. For some people happiness comes easier than others, but what we’re starting to understand is that happiness, that sense of connection and ease of appreciating the good moments and being more graceful and resilient during the difficult ones, is a skill and strength that we can all build…. Read more »

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Who Do You Think You Are? And Why You May Be Wrong

When you get a wrong idea about who you are as a child, you can face a lifetime of trying to prove or disprove that identity. Neither extreme reflects who you really are.   “I was the outgoing one in my family, not the beautiful one, not the smart one, and definitely not the talented one.” This statement… Read more »

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The Voice (The Enemy Within)

Discover the negative thoughts and attitudes at the core of a person’s maladaptation. The voice consists of a series of negative thoughts and attitudes toward oneself and others that is at the core of a person’s maladaptation. It can be conceptualized as the language of the defense system. The voice is not restricted to thoughts,… Read more »

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Spring Cleaning for Your Social Network

It’s important to think about the people you surround yourself with, both in person and online. I don’t mean the number of Facebook friends you have, but the people you have the most interactions with in-person or virtually. You can have a big or a small circle of people in your life, but the key question is, who of these people are actually… Read more »

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The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Depression

In a recent article, journalist Johann Hari wrote about the doubt some scientists feel about depression being caused by a “chemically imbalanced” brain. For most of his adult life, Hari had believed that his depression was the result of a biological condition. However, after doing his own investigation into the subject, which led to his… Read more »

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The Paradox of Psychological Defenses

Should we contend with painful realities or avoid them? Although psychological defenses offer a degree of comfort and a form of security, they also predispose distortion and maladaptation in adult life. Yet varying degrees of defense formation are a virtual necessity for the developing child. All children experience a certain amount of emotional pain and… Read more »

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