Self Help Blog

My Barn Has Burned Down, Now I Can See the Moon

Recently, a client of mine who had previously found success in using the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy in her life asked me the question, “How can I reframe this?” Her life circumstance involved a very deep depression which came over her as a result of many significant changes in her life, converging all at the same time:  a recent move, the giving up of her teaching job, the youngest child leaving home, husband taking on a very consuming job. These circumstances left her nearly immobilized and unable to get out of bed.   I responded to her about how she might look at this period of life as being a  transition to a new phase of life, and gave her some tasks to begin looking at new pathways for her future.  And we will continue from there. Many times I find that a person who has had multiple losses or changes cannot conceive of what his or her life could look like if it were to be better.  In such cases, I try to help that person to imagine the possibilities of what a better life could be.  This might involve finding some new resources that could help them, or…

On Boundaries: Mending and Tending Fences

A kind of a buzzword in the field of addictions and mental health is a word called codependency.  This arose out of the effect that alcoholism was noted to have in the wife of the alcoholic;  she tended to cover up   and make excuses for her mate’s disease as it manifested in various habits where he tended to be less than functional.  For example, she would call his employer and say he was sick, when he had really been out the night before to tie one on.  Or, as the disease progressed and he became less functional in terms of  doing what he was supposed to do in his role as husband and father; she would overcompensate,  for example, by being the one to do all of the chauffeuring to soccer games, handling all the finances, keeping the household running, plus working a job and a half.   She became very tired and very resentful.  Melody Beattie wrote many books on this subject, such as Codependent No More.   Groups with the name of the acronym CODA, (Codependents Anonymous) have sprung up all over the country.  These are also twelve-step programs and they can be very helpful.  People who have grown up…

Energy Psychology – Something Old, Something New

Several years ago, after having worked with a client for whom hypnosis was not as effective as we both had hoped, a consulting colleague introduced me to EFT, also known as Emotional Freedom technique. This is becoming more widely known now, as “Tapping”, and has even been featured on popular shows like Dr. Oz or Oprah, and is even on YouTube. At that time, I actually combined knowledge I gained from instructional techniques demonstrated on a DVD series with my own clinical background, and I was intrigued by often rapid relief clients had from some challenging and longstanding issues. EFT seems to be helpful a good percentage of the time. I wanted to learn more ways to be more effective in cases where the relief did not occur, or did not hold to the next session. I affiliated with and have completed training with an organization known as Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, which is an organizational umbrella that fosters training, research, networking and humanitarian efforts for a number of techniques dealing with mind-body connections to healing. This venture has exploded my knowledge about ways to help people get past challenging roadblocks in life, from changing lifestyle habits to managing…

On Health, Never Say ‘Diet’

I have noticed that being overweight often correlates with depression.  So, a common strategy that many people choose is to  go to the family doctor, who uncovers a probable depressive disorder.  And the main  thing that a doctor is trained to do is to prescribe a medicine such as an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety agent.  Of course, people often request such a medication, because the 6 billion dollars spent each year to advertise prescription medication makes them a readily requestable solution.  What many do not know that many of these prescription medications addressing emotional issues cause a person to gain weight or to hold onto weight….so that becomes even more depressing in our health-conscious and image worshipping society. This  blog is not  intended to be a weight-loss manual.  As you might suspect, right-eating fosters improved mental health.  The main reason is that  the blood sugar levels, affected by the glycemic index of foods,  foster  peaks and valleys in performance and motivation. As you probably have read or heard elsewhere, yo-yo dieting is unhealthy. It never ceases to amaze me how many of my clients and their children consume carbohydrate-laden foods, mostly “bad carbs,” day in,  day out. This affects both…

Lo-Carb Breakfast Sweet Roll

I adapted this one from my mother in law’s version;  I use Julian Bread Company’s one carb bread.  You can find that company on the Internet. Also, Pepperidge Farm makes a five carb bread. Toast one slice of low carb bread lightly Spread on it about  2-3 T. Cottage Cheese Sprinkle it with 1 t. Splenda and cinnamon Put it under the broiler until it puffs slightly and is slightly brown Serve with your favorite coffee. (In phase 2 of the lower carb diets, this is a welcome switch from egg dishes!)