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Neuropsychology: Does Fixing My Brain Mean Fixing My Mind?

What if the way you behaved, your memory and your ability to learn new things could be enhanced by changing the way your brain works? The answer is not so simple.

Neuropsychology is a multidisciplinary and diverse field of science that explores new horizons in the diagnosis and treatment of certain problems concerning the mind-brain connection.

Clinical neuropsychology has influenced various other therapeutic traditions and it is hoped that advances in this field will provide even more solutions for the ever-present mind-brain riddle.

Neuropsychology: What is it?

As a specialty field in clinical psychology, neuropsychology is dedicated to the understanding of how the functioning of the brain is closely related to human behavior. This specialty mainly focuses on the diagnosis of brain disorders, the assessment of behavioral and cognitive functioning and the design of valuable treatment models.

The main challenge of neuropsychology is to understand the ways in which abnormal behavior is affected by the faulty processing of information in the central nervous system.

Neuropsychologists not only look at the effects of psychological conditions on the nervous system; but they also study the ways in which brain injury, hormonal imbalances, and environmental factors affect mental health.

Even though neuropsychology is a relatively young science, it has always been an interesting topic. Traditionally, the associations between psychological defects and focal brain lesions were the main focus; but modern neuropsychology uses refined methods and theories for understanding how the mind and the brain are interconnected.

Neuropsychology is a diverse science and it includes:

  • Experimental neuropsychology

The study of how the brain functions and behavior are connected in non-humans.

  • Cognitive neuropsychology

This is the study of cognitive behavior in humans.

  • Behavioral neuropsychology

This is a blend of behavioral theories and neuropsychological principles.

  • Clinical neuropsychology

Which is the study of the relationships between brain functioning and behavior in humans.

Neuropsychology Theory

For thousands of years, it has been known that our brains affect our psychological state. In early times (around 3500 B.C.E.); the Egyptians started studying the effects of the brain on people’s behavior. Even Hippocrates himself argued that our behavior was directly affected by our brains. Philosophers used to fascinate about the mind’s origin and they attempted to understand how the brain and the body worked.

Late during the 19th century, the science of neuropsychology started to emerge and it continued to advance in the years thereafter. Through extensive research, scientists began understanding how certain brain parts control certain functions of the body.

It was discovered that chemicals like neurotransmitters and certain hormones affect the way in which signal transduction takes place within the brain; and between the brain and other body parts.

Knowing all of this, neurologists have an arsenal of powerful knowledge to use in practice. It is also interesting to note that from the awareness of these connections came the birth of neuropsychology in the modern world.

How Does Neuropsychology Suggest the Mind Works?

Cognitive functioning includes intellectual activities like attention span, learning abilities, memory, the processing of information, executive functions, verbal fluency and working memory. In other words, your cognitive functioning is what gives you the capabilities of acknowledging things happening around you or with you, forming associations, remembering things that happen, using information to reach certain goals and expressing overt behavior.

In clinical neuropsychology, it is thought that your overt behaviors provide information that can be used to assess whether your central nervous system is functioning as it should.

It has been suggested that cognitive function can be influenced by either localized areas of the brain or connections between multiple areas of the brain or both.

Neuropsychology is a science that studies the effect that changing brain chemistry has on mental health. Moreover, it also considers the effects that certain psychological conditions and other non-neurologic conditions have on the central nervous system.

Due to scientific advances and the development of technology in recent years, a lot of new knowledge has come to light. Scientists now have a better understanding of the relationship between chronic diseases and cognitive abilities.

It is now thought that diseases like thyroid disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis may affect the way in which the central nervous system functions. To boot, some treatment methods for controlling these diseases may amplify neuropsychological symptoms or cause new symptoms.

How Do Neuropsychology Interventions Cause Change?

The field of Neuropsychology is quite the “game-changer” and it has influenced different therapeutic traditions. For instance, mindfulness-based psychological approaches to stress management are partially based on the idea that mindfulness can affect mental health by changing brain activity.

One pattern that has been observed through the ages is that our brains tend to fixate on negative feelings and negative events. It goes on to reveal that we focus on things that threaten our well-being instead of paying attention to positive experiences. These patterns may stem from genetics or evolution or they may be based on personal life experiences.

The theory of neuropsychology suggests that we may be able to change these patterns.

Our brains keep changing throughout our lives and this is known as “neuroplasticity”; a term that has gained a lot of attention recently in the mental health profession.

What Happens in a Neuropsychology Session?

Clinical neuropsychologists perform psychometric assessments that they use to measure neurological health.

During a neuropsychological evaluation, the practitioner needs to gather relevant information about the patient. This can be done by taking a detailed patient history and by performing a neuropsychological examination.

History can be obtained through medical records and interviewing. Family members may be asked to disclose more relevant information that may help the cause, with the permission of the patient.

Typically, the examination involves testing using:

  • Verbal questions
  • Paper and pencil questionnaires
  • Computer testing
  • The manipulation of puzzles or blocks or other materials

The practitioner may focus on evaluating cognitive functions like memory, attention, visuospatial functioning, language, reasoning, problem-solving, academic skills and sensory-motor skills.

Furthermore, the neuropsychologist will provide questionnaires and tests to evaluate the psychological aspects of personality, mood, behavior and emotional style.

A neuropsychology technician may administer parts of the testing under the direct supervision of a clinical neuropsychologist. Such an evaluation may be a brief screening or it may be an extended comprehensive screening that may take as long as several appointments.

Techniques Used in Neuropsychology

The techniques used in neuropsychology are used by skilled neuropsychologists to assess and treat brain disorders.

Some of the most important skills of a neuropsychologist include:

  • Neuropsychological assessment techniques
  • Intervention techniques
  • Research design and analysis
  • Being ethical and other professional issues
  • Understanding the implications of certain conditions

Brain Scans: MRI, EEG, and PET Scans

Test results are effective for helping your neuropsychologist to understand the causes of problems you may have with thinking and understanding.

Your neuropsychologist may want to use your neurological examination results along with other test results like those of brain scans, blood tests and EEG’s to reach a diagnosis from where treatment can commence.

Functional brain imaging techniques can also be used to pinpoint the areas of the brain from which certain functions originate when used along with neuropsychological findings.

Neuropsych Testing

Most of the tests that are used for assessment in neuropsychology are standardized. This means that everybody takes the same tests in the same way. The patient’s performance on the tests is compared to that of other people of the same age or educational background.

Test results may be used to clarify the causes of issues you may have with mental performance. The causes may range from normal aging to neurological illness to depression.

Neuropsychology

Do Neuropsychology Interventions Work?

Clinical neuropsychologists use their specialized knowledge to assess, diagnose and treat people who suffer from neurological, neurodevelopmental and other related medical disorders during their lives.

Many neuropsychologists make use of a trial-and-error approach by making relatively small changes to a treatment regimen over certain time periods to test their effectiveness. Sometimes, a therapist may recommend certain medications before considering any other changes. Moving forward, lifestyle changes may be added to enhance the results.

One treatment approach, known as “neurofeedback,” is used to observe brain activity as it happens. The therapist can then provide the patient with feedback on how they can change or even improve brain activity for improved mental health.

What Kinds of Concerns are Neuropsychology Interventions Best For?

Neuropsychological interventions may be helpful for conditions like:

  • Dementia
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Seizure disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Learning disabilities
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Infectious disease that affects the central nervous system
  • Metabolic disease affecting the central nervous system
  • The neurological effects caused by medical disorders

How Are Neuropsychologists Trained?

Different routes can be taken to become a neuropsychologist. These professionals usually have doctoral degrees in neurology or psychology.

Neuropsychologists also need to have completed specialized training in the field of neuropsychology.

Concerns/Limitations of Neuropsychology

For many years mental health experts had to work with an organ, the brain, which they could never see. Even though the brain still holds many mysteries today still, neuropsychology has provided therapists with a better understanding of how the brain works.

Some neuropsychological methods may be quite new and, in some cases, they have not been tested. It is, therefore, recommended that people should learn as much as possible about the specific type of treatment that is recommended by their therapist.

Important Practitioners in Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology truly began to emerge during the last years of the 19th century and it made great advances throughout the 20th century. Scientists came to learn how certain brain parts were responsible for controlling certain bodily functions. Some influential names in the field of neuropsychology include:

  • Franz Joseph Gall
  • Paul Broca
  • Karl Spencer Lashley
  • Ward Halstead
  • Alexander Luria

How to Find a Therapist

Neuropsychologists practice in various settings like hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers and governmental agencies. You may be referred by other physicians or health care providers to see a neuropsychologist. Alternatively, you can also discuss your options for referral with your doctor.

The AACN website has a member directory containing a list of certified Clinical Neuropsychologists.

What Should I be Looking for in an LMHP?

Clinical neuropsychologists are skilled professionals who assess and treat brain disorders. They may also be involved in research concerning the connections that exist between the brain and the psychological state of a person.

A neuropsychologist may be involved in the research conducted during the development of new medications. Furthermore, they may also work in clinical settings like psychiatric hospitals.

A competent practitioner will have proper interviewing and counseling skills, appreciate social as well as cultural practices and have the knowledge of a clinical psychologist. They should also have statistical knowledge and be familiar with neuropsychological testing.

Neuropsychologists generally meet all of these requirements on top of an all-encompassing understanding of the nervous system and the pathologies that affect it.

Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

If you are interested in knowing more about neuropsychology, speak to a professional in the field. They will be able to assist you in taking the steps needed to benefit from this type of approach to psychological well-being.

Contact a neuropsychology specialist to start following the steps to renewed psychological health!

Brain Health Equals Mind Health

The science of neuropsychology has enhanced our understanding of the brain‐mind relationship. This has provided us with novel ideas about the diagnosis and treatment of various disorders involving this connection.

Research has also opened our eyes to the ways in which changing brain chemistry can affect mental health.

It looks like it may be true, a healthy mind could house a healthy body and vice versa.

References

  1. http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/neuro.aspx
  2. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/neuropsychology
  3. https://theaacn.org/adult-neuropsychology/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/neuropsychology
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/cognitive-functions
  6. https://theaacn.org/
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Feeling Down Since Giving Birth? Take This Quiz

Take our helpful quiz to find out if you may have Postpartum Depression, and what you can do to start working your way through it now.

This quiz is based in part on the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Score (EPDS). This quiz evaluates your risk of having postpartum depression symptoms. 

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Adapted from Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M. and Sagovsky, R. (1987). “Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.” British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786.

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6 Signs You’re in a Loveless Marriage and 7 Things You Can Do About it Now

Surviving a loveless marriage is perhaps one of the toughest challenges some couples face. From cheating and lying to working sixteen hours a day and spending too little time doing the things that bring you closer, there are numerous reasons why the love that brought you together can run thin.

In fact, there are times when you can’t even put your finger on a specific reason why you no longer feel physically or emotionally attracted to your partner.

And the worst part is that many couples don’t even realize that the small day-to-day arguments and criticism are the tinder that will eventually cause their marriage to crash and burn.

Before you can bring your loveless marriage back to life, sit down with your significant other and have an honest conversation about how things have been between you lately.

Are You in a Loveless Marriage?

A marriage doesn’t turn sour overnight. When two people who love each other so much that they’ve decided to spend the rest of their life together begin to feel like strangers, there’s always a history of arguing, criticism, and other dysfunctional attitudes; kind of like a prologue to disaster.

If you learn to spot these signs, you can avoid reaching the point where your relationship is beyond repair. Let’s look at six telltale signs of a loveless marriage:

1. Criticism

At some point, we’ve all experienced the detestable sensation that occurs when someone criticizes us or makes an offensive remark.

Criticism is among the most common toxic behaviors that can ruin a healthy and fulfilling relationship. It’s hard to keep love alive when you and your partner are constantly pointing out each other’s flaws and mistakes.

In a way, criticism is like rust; it slowly erodes your marriage until the last shred of love turns to dust. And the worst part is that most of us tend to criticize the person, not the behavior or decision. For example, instead of saying “You should have paid the bills. Please be more careful next time” we make our significant other feel miserable by saying “Why didn’t you pay the bills!? You’re such an irresponsible person.

Challenge the behavior, not the person!

2. Contempt

In broad lines, contempt is a feeling of disregard for someone or something; a lack of consideration or respect for other people’s feelings, actions, opinions, preferences, and decisions. It’s the exact opposite of admiration, adoration, honor, esteem, and sympathy.

Constant criticism paves the way for contempt. When your partner disregards everything you say, and you criticize everything he or she does, you eventually end up hating each other.

Contempt can affect your relationship to the point where you avoid each other’s company because you know that everything you say or do can result in emotional pain or spark a heated argument.

3. Defensiveness

In theory, we can all agree that humans are flawed and imperfect. There are times when we make mistakes, hurt other people’s feelings, and show zero consideration for our partner’s needs and desires.

But the worst part is that when someone points out our flaws, we instinctively get defensive. We find excuses, blame others, and minimize the consequences of our actions. We do everything we can to avoid the unpleasant feeling associated with facing our shortcomings.

In a marriage, this attitude will block any attempt to fix the relationship and restore the love that brought you together.

4. Stonewalling

Along with criticism, contempt, and defensiveness, stonewalling is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse which symbolize the four negative behaviors that John Gottman believe can predict the end of a relationship or marriage.

Just like defensiveness, stonewalling kills any attempt to heal a broken marriage. It’s impossible to overcome relationship stumbles when one partner tries to open a conversation, and the other would do anything but reply.

In time, this attitude will generate a toxic relationship climate in which problems are swept under the rug, and silence replaces uncomfortable (but potentially healing) conversations.

5. Lack of Intimacy

A healthy relationship means more than just the absence of conflicts. Lasting marriages include both constructive disputes and frequent moments of intimacy that strengthen the bond between partners.

Intimacy is a critical aspect of every relationship. Couples need intimacy to share meaningful experiences and cultivate passion.

And it’s not just about sex. Intimacy creates a safe environment where the two of you can nurture positive emotions and discuss ideas freely.

The absence of intimacy will almost always lead to break up, divorce, or separation.

6. Time Spent Apart

When heated arguments are a constant part of a couple’s daily interactions, love and intimacy begin to fade. The two partners will avoid each other’s company and seek comfort in solitude.

I’m sure each of us has heard about couples who decide to take a break, hoping to sort things out. Sadly, this approach rarely leads to reconciliation. In fact, spending too much time apart will most likely result in divorce.

When struggling to survive a loveless marriage, the best thing you can do is have an honest conversation and try to fix the cracks in your marriage before it falls apart completely.

Loveless Marriage

How You Can Start Working on Your Unhappy Marriage

Fixing a loveless marriage is never easy. Both you and your significant other need to be 100% honest about your flaws and fully committed to making significant changes that will spark the passion and strengthen your union.

Here are a few steps that will help you turn an unhappy marriage into a strong and lasting relationship:

1. Evaluate Your Priorities

The first step in fixing a loveless marriage is setting your priorities straight. In other words, you need to sit down with your significant other and work on a clear action plan.

Since each of you probably has their priorities, putting them down on paper will help you understand each other’s needs and desires.

This is the step where you renegotiate the terms of your relationship and plan a better future for your marriage.

Put aside pride, selfishness, and criticism for a moment and focus on fixing your loveless marriage.

2. Get Specific on Your Needs and Desires

One of the reasons why good marriages go bad is because partners fail to resonate with each other’s needs and desires. In fact, there are times when we’re so self-centered that we don’t even know what our partner wants and needs.

If that’s the case, ask your partner to list his/her specific needs and desires.

Being mindful of your partner’s needs and desires is a sign of appreciation and respect. In other words, you show your significant other that you love and care about them enough to put yourself second.

Such gestures of altruism cultivate love and set the foundation for a lasting and fulfilling marriage. However, this strategy works only if your partner returns the gesture. Otherwise, the marriage becomes unbalanced.

3. Get Specific on How You May Be Contributing to the Problem

Aside from understanding and resonating with each other’s needs, another crucial step in healing your broken marriage is having an open conversation about how each of you is contributing to the problem.

This is the part where criticism and defensiveness might spark some heated arguments. In general, people are reluctant to admit their mistakes and change their dysfunctional attitudes.

But without honesty, mutual understanding, and personal growth the chances of fixing your loveless marriage are slim to none.

Look deep within yourself, shed light on how you may be contributing to the problems that affect your marriage, and take the necessary steps to overcome them.

4. Have a Blame-Free Conversation on Neutral Ground

When two life partners discuss the less pleasant aspects of their marriage, there’s always the chance that one might blame the other.

Unfortunately, the minute you start blaming each other for the poor condition of your marriage, any attempt to rekindle the love and passion in your relationship goes down the drain.

A counselor’s office might be the ideal place to have a blame-free conversation under the careful guidance of a licensed professional who can spot and eliminate any trace of blame and criticism from the conversation.

5. Start Small

When working on bringing back the love in your marriage, baby steps the way to go. Considering the vulnerable place you’re in, significant changes might be hard to achieve, and another failure is definitely something you want to avoid.

Start small and work together toward a lasting marriage. There will be times when progress is slow, times when you might fall back into your old habits. However, with enough patience, you will eventually rebuild your broken relationship.

Celebrate each victory your achieve and each milestone you overcome as it brings you closer to the fulfilling marriage you once enjoyed.

6. Give It Time

They say time heals all wounds, time and the active involvement of both partners.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. When working to heal your loveless marriage, patience is one of the critical elements.

If you pressure your life partner and make hasty decisions, chances are you might repeat the same mistakes that crippled your relationship in the first place.

Give it time, and you will be amazed at the positive changes that come with patience.

7. Seek Outside Help

No matter how determined you are to fix your broken marriage, motivation alone rarely leads to significant changes.

Most couples fail to bring passion back into their loveless marriage because they’re trapped in the same vicious circle of blame, criticism, and defensiveness.

The best way to approach this problem is by addressing a marriage counselor who can provide an unbiased opinion and help you design an intervention plan based on your needs, desired, and priorities.

According to a 2017 article, group counseling based on the Acceptance and Commitment approach could increase marital adjustment of couples.

Seeking outside help is not a sign of weakness, but an authentic attempt to pick up the broken pieces of your marriage and restore the love that brought you together.

Should You Stay or Leave?

No matter how hard we struggle to save a loveless marriage, there are times when divorce seems like the only option left.

When progress is slow, and motivation hangs by a thread, putting time and effort into healing the relationship might prove to be a bad investment.

Reasons People Stay

There are countless reasons why partners choose to stay in a loveless marriage. Maybe they do it for the sake of the children (parenting marriage), or perhaps they think it’s too late to start over.

If you choose to stay, dig deep within yourself and discover the exact reason why you want to continue a relationship that no longer fulfills your needs.

Is it because you still hope your partner will agree to work on fixing the cracks in your relationship? (good reason)

Is it because you think you won’t be able to survive on your own? (bad reason)

Is it because you believe a divorce will have a profound and irreparable impact on your children? (bad reason)

Is it because, despite constant conflicts, there’s still a shred of love keeping you together? (good reason)

If you choose to stay, make sure you stay for the right reasons.

Reasons People Split

According to an article written by Fredric Neuman M.D. for Psychology Today, there are countless reasons why couples choose to split. From infidelity, bad temper, or selfishness to violent behavior, alcoholism, or drug use, the list of reasons can go on for hours.

When a marriage is beyond repair, divorce – no matter how unpleasant, painful, or time-consuming might be – is a viable option.

But before you get to that point, make sure to sit down with your significant other and go through all other alternatives.

What to Decide

In the end, no one can decide for you.

Whether you choose to split and go on separate roads or stay and heal your loveless marriage, the only person who can make this decision is you.

A friend, family member, or marriage counselor can only lend an empathetic ear and provide an outside opinion – the rest is up to you.

Want To Talk to a Counselor Today? Click Here.

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What Happens During a Therapy Appointment?

For many, the process of therapy remains shrouded in mystery. We’ve all seen therapy appointments as portrayed in the movies, usually involving a detached and stern-faced therapist, hidden behind a beard and clipboard, asking questions about a patient’s dreams and childhood memories. However, therapy, as it’s practiced today, has come a long way since the days of Freud! Most modern therapists seek to provide a sense of comfort and safety, allowing you to heal and grow in the context of a confidential relationship. In this article, we provide an overview of what to expect from a therapy appointment.

What is Therapy?

Therapy can be broadly defined as the process of getting treatment for a health condition. Colloquially, when we speak about therapy this usually refers to a form of treatment for mental health issues; but in a medical context this might also mean taking a medication (pharmacotherapy), doing physical exercises (physiotherapy) or treating a stutter (speech therapy). There are also different forms of mental health therapy, such as couples therapy, marriage therapy, and group therapy.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on therapy of the psychological kind, also known as ‘psychotherapy’, ‘talk therapy’ or ‘counseling’. Therapy of this sort involves an individual speaking to a licensed professional in a confidential environment. The therapist and the client work together to realize the client’s goals, which are generally related to improving their self-awareness and emotional wellbeing.

Who Does Therapy?

Therapy is a complex skill that requires specialized knowledge and experience. For this reason, it needs to be performed by an appropriately licensed professional.

Psychologists

Therapy is typically provided by a psychologist who is licensed to practice under a governing health body. To qualify, a psychologist must undergo many years of education and training; and thousands of hours of supervised practice. Licensed therapists must also engage in ongoing skill development to ensure that they are up to date with the latest research and practice guidelines.

Having said that, not all psychologists work as therapists – some prefer to focus on research and psychological testing. Furthermore, because they are not qualified as MDs, psychologists are not able to prescribe medications, although they might refer clients to a doctor or psychiatrist if drugs are needed in conjunction with therapy.

Other Practitioners

While therapy is a psychological process at its core, people other than psychologists can also be therapists. A psychiatrist, for example, is a medical doctor that has specialized in the treatment of psychiatric issues and psychotherapy is one of the tools that they may use. Other professionals who may perform therapy include counselors, nurses, dieticians, social workers and life coaches.

The First Session

So, you’ve got your booking and you’re preparing for your first session. What can you expect and why is this appointment so important?

First Impressions

In therapy, your first session provides a chance for you and your therapist to get a feeling for one another. From the therapist’s perspective, this is important because it gives them a sense of who you are as a person and how best they can help you. For you, as a client, your first impression will help you decide whether this therapist is right for you. Clients are often nervous during their first therapy appointment, but if your therapist is able to make you feel welcome and at ease, this sets the tone for your future interactions.

Rapport

Rapport is an important part of any therapist’s toolkit. This is about establishing a bond or connection between the two of you and setting the emotional tone for a therapeutic relationship to come. Whether it’s through words, actions or a more general way of being, a therapist will work with you to create an atmosphere of confidentiality, trust, and mutual respect. It’s within this sort of relationship that you will start to feel safe enough to open up about your difficulties.

Presenting Problem

During the first therapy appointment, your therapist will want to get a sense of your ‘presenting problem’, which is the reason that has led you to seek treatment. A presenting problem can include specific psychiatric symptoms, such as hallucinations, sadness, anxiety or anger; but it might also include more general difficulties such as relationship problems, stress, trauma, poor self-esteem and adjustment issues.

Personal History

Early on in the process, your therapist will ask about your personal history. This involves asking you to tell your life’s story – what has happened in the past that has made you who you are. This might involve, for example, any medical conditions that you have had, what your family constellation looks like, how your life was as a child and your history of romantic relationships. In this regard, therapist tend to be very thorough, asking a long list of in-depth questions.

For some, it can be exciting to tell their life story to someone who’s truly listening. For others, history taking can feel a bit invasive and many wonder why they are being asked questions that seem irrelevant to their presenting problem. However, it’s important to remember that your therapist is trying to look beyond your symptoms and see you as a whole person. By fully understanding the events that have made you into the person that you are, your therapist will be in the best position to do their job effectively.

What Happens in Follow Up Sessions?

During the initial session, your therapist will aim to formulate how best to proceed with treatment. Sometimes, a therapist will choose to have one or more follow-up sessions to continue the process of taking your history. Following that, you and your therapist might decide to have a certain number of follow-up therapy appointments in order to address your presenting problem. Finally, once your therapy has concluded, you may be asked to return for subsequent follow-up sessions to track your progress and see whether further input is needed.

Why Do Therapists Assign “Homework”?

While not all therapists prescribe homework, many do; and it’s an integral part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a popular form of treatment amongst many health professionals. Homework is helpful because it gives you a chance to put into practice the skills and strategies that you have covered in sessions. This has been shown to enhance the therapeutic process: research suggests, for example, that clients who get homework tend to do better in therapy than those who don’t.

Am I Going to Get Diagnosed with a Mental Illness?

While therapists are trained to diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders, therapy has a lot more to offer than just that. For example, some people see a therapist to help them make important life decisions; some attend couples therapy to work through conflict, cope with divorce or to become better parents. You may consider attending therapy as a source of support through a difficult time, to come to terms with a new medical condition, or even simply to learn more about yourself and grow as a person.

Therapy Appointment

What Can I Do to Get the Most Out of Therapy?

Therapy is what you make of it. It’s also a two-way street: regardless of how skilled your therapist is, there are certain things that you can bring to the table in order to make the most of the process.

Be Honest

We all carry secrets and it can be tempting to keep these from your therapist as well. After all, sharing your deepest thoughts and memories with someone who you don’t know all that well can be an intimidating prospect! It’s important to remember, however, that therapy is a confidential space and your therapist is there to help, not judge. Being able to share your secret with a trusted person can make for a powerful experience of bonding and validation that will only serve to strengthen the therapeutic bond between you. Moreover, the more your therapist knows about you, the better equipped they are to help you.

Be Open Minded

Therapy is not an easy process. However, it’s because therapy challenges you that it’s effective. While your therapist is there to provide emotional support and encouragement, therapy is also difficult to the extent that exposes you to suggestions and realizations that may be new and uncomfortable. To make the most of this process, try to approach and embrace all of this with an open mind.

Ask Questions

Seeing a therapist is different from having a normal medical consultation because you, the client, needs to be actively engaged in the process for it to work. This means, therefore, that it’s important for you to ask any questions that might come up, so that you can be as fully involved as possible. Be sure to ask your therapist to rephrase or repeat anything you don’t understand and don’t hesitate to let them know if you’d like to learn more about the process of therapy and what you can expect from future sessions. Further below, we suggest some questions that you may want to ask when seeing a new therapist.

How to Find a Therapist

It’s possible to find a licensed professional through Psychology Today’s therapy directory.

Otherwise, you may wish to go by word of mouth: speak to your doctor, friends or family members to get a recommendation or referral. If you are covered by your health insurance for mental health benefits, you may want to ask them for a list of affiliated practitioners. Alternatively, people who are looking for a therapist specialized in a specific area may find it helpful to perform an online search.

What Should I be Looking for in an LMHP?

There are certain points that you should consider when choosing a therapist. For example, do you have any preference in terms of their gender? Do you prefer to see someone that’s older or younger? If you’re facing a specific difficulty, you may want to consider finding a therapist who has experience in that field. Most important, however, is that you find a therapist who you feel safe and comfortable speaking to, as a good rapport is essential for the therapy process.

Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

What do you have the most experience treating?

Will I have the same slot every week?

Which therapy modalities do you use?

How would you go about treating me?

Will I need to talk about my past?

What training do you have?

What is your cancellation policy?

How much are the sessions?

Does my insurance cover treatment?

What can I do to make the most of this process?

Find a Therapist Now

Increasing numbers of mental health professionals are now working online, which is making therapy more affordable and accessible. Online sessions mean that people can avoid being put on a waiting list and having to travel long distances to attend their therapy appointments. Thrive Talk is an established platform that provides online therapy to people who are struggling with anything from everyday stress to diagnosed conditions. The site is easy to use and once a person signs up, they will be able to choose from a wide range of therapists. With a broader pool of practitioners available online, people now have a better chance of finding a therapist that can accommodate their own needs, desires and schedules.

Therapy Means Investing in Your Self

It’s normal to be ambivalent about starting therapy. It can be daunting to share your fears and vulnerabilities with a stranger; and the expense and time commitments involved mean that many people spend a lot of time sitting on the fence before they finally choose to sit on the couch! However, the first therapy appointment that clients have can be an exciting and enlivening moment for people who might otherwise have not had many experiences of feeling truly heard and respected. While therapy can be challenging, this time and energy is being invested directly into yourself. Take steps to consult with a licensed professional today, if you want to address any concerns that you might have whilst also experiencing personal growth and self-awareness in the process.

References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-grown/201512/what-really-happens-in-therapy-session
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/22/first-time-at-therapy_n_4612858.html
  3. https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-to-expect-in-your-first-counseling-session/
  4. https://psychcentral.com/lib/your-first-psychotherapy-session/
  5. http://ro.uow.edu.au/hbspapers/2582/
  6. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1022678622119
  7. http://www.apa.org/about/policy/resolution-psychotherapy.aspx

 

 

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Gabapentin for Anxiety: Case Study You’ll Never Forget

Are you suffering from anxiety? Or a panic disorder? Well, interestingly enough, there’s an anti-seizure medication can help you out! Gabapentin for anxiety is a drug that’s been used to treat all sorts of nerve pain and seizures. But, recently, this drug has become more widely used for treating psychiatric disorders such as anxiety. Are you curious to learn more about how Gabapentin can help you? Read on to learn more about this amazing drug.

Here at ThriveTalk, we’re all about providing honest therapy for everybody. We understand therapy can feel like a big commitment and that it can feel scary or shameful. That’s why we’ve created this blog, to talk about tough subjects and demystify the world of mental health and therapy. And that’s also why we try to be straightforward and upfront in everything that we do. We have our pricing here, and you can meet some of our therapists here.

Through all of this, our job is to help you in whatever way we can, whether that’s answering your questions or helping walk you through the hard times in your life. So if you think therapy could be helpful, just have a few simple questions, or just plain don’t know what to do, get in touch with us here, and we’ll do everything we can to help you make the best choice for your life. We’re here to help you take care of you.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin for anxiety may more commonly be known as Neurontin. Gabapentin is a type of prescription drug that is mainly used to treat conditions involving seizures and nerve damage, so it is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. More recently, however, Neurontin has become increasingly popular when it comes to treating mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder

Gabapentin can come in the form of an oral medication, this may be more commonly sold under the name Gabapentin Enacarbil. The major difference between Gabapentin and Gabapentin Encarbil is that the Gabapentin Encarbil drug is a prodrug of Gabapentin. This means that the medication is broken down and converted to Gabapentin when ingested, making it a lot more bioavailable to the body.

Gabapentin: How Does It Work?

Gabapentin-Neurontin is a class of drug that has analgesic effects, this simply means that this drug reduces pain. The mechanism to how Gabapentin works and metabolizes in our body can be quite complicated. But, if you’re really interested in learning more about the pharmacology of this drug, we’ll keep things simple.

First, it’s important to know that Gabapentin is an analog of the neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid  (GABA). The term analog simply means that the Gabapentin molecules will structurally look very similar to the GABA neurotransmitter. Now, in order for our bodies to release a specific neurotransmitter, there has to be an influx of calcium through the cell membranes. The influx of calcium occurs as a result of channels called “voltage-gated calcium channels”.

Now, you might be wondering, why are these calcium channels important? what do they do? and how do they affect Gabapentin?

Voltage-gated calcium channels play an important role in maintaining intracellular function. Two of their major functions often involve the contraction of the muscles and normal brain functioning.  if we want to get more into the physiology, then another important point to consider is the fact that Gabapentin seems to have an effect on these channels, inhibiting the threshold for a sub-unit of voltage-gated calcium channels. This subunit is believed to play a role in the attenuation of pain and the neurons associated with it.

Gabapentin for Anxiety

Gabapentin Vs Pregabalin

Gabapentin and Pregabalin are drugs that are often mistaken as synonymous with each other. However, pregabalin is a lot different from Gabapentin. Here we have listed the common similarities between the two drugs:

  • They both are considered antiepileptic drugs
  • They both are used to treat nerve pain
  • Both Gabapentin and Pregabalin are used to treat nerve pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia
  • The major difference between both drugs is that Pregabalin is often given in lower doses, thus decreasing the risk of  adverse reactions
  • Pregabalin also seems to have a more potent effect when it comes to treating disorders such as post-herpetic neuralgia and other pain-related disorders

What is Gabapentin Used For?

Over the last 10 years, scientist and mental health practitioners have been using Neurontin to treat different forms of mental illness. These include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Preoperative anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Gabapentin for Anxiety

Whether or not Neurontin can be used to treat anxiety disorders, has become a subject of much debate. To date, numerous studies show that Neurotonin has the potential to treat anxiety disorders. For example, Neurotonin can be beneficial to women’s health such that it can be used to treat anxiety in breast cancer survivors.

More commonly, a double-blind placebo-controlled study, done in 1999 discovered that Neurotonin demonstrated that it had the potential to treat patients who had social phobia. Conversely, other similar placebo-based study discovered that Neurotonin was able to effectively treat anxiety disorders such as panic attacks,  agoraphobia, perisurgical anxiety, and decrease the risk of hot flashes.

Gabapentin Dosage

The dose of gabapentin for anxiety may be variable depending on a multitude of factors, such as patient’s mental health, medical history, and age. Thus, it is highly recommended that individuals seeking Gabapentin consult their mental health practitioner. Nevertheless, a 2017 case report concluded that the dosage for these anti-anxiety drugs can be estimated at:

  • <600 mg/day for severe anxiety
  • >≥ 900 mg/day for mild anxiety

Gabapentin Side Effects

According to the FDA one of the major side-effects of Neurotonin includes an increased risk in suicidal thoughts, This side effect is particularly important in patients who have been diagnosed with psychiatric dysfunctions such as generalized anxiety disorder. Studies demonstrated that a medication classed as an antiepileptic drug result in a risk of suicidal thoughts one week after the medication has been administered.

Other common side effects associated with Neurontin include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increased risk of viral infections
  • Double vision
  • Fever
  • Patients may have a hard time speaking
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Tremors
  • Changes in mood
  • Swelling of the feet, hands, or ankles
  • Depression

If you experience severe symptom,s such as an inability to swallow, shallow breathing, or if you notice symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, rashes, swelling around the tongue, face, and throat, then contact your physician or the emergency hospital as soon as possible, as these symptoms are indicative of a serious allergic reaction.

Gabapentin Withdrawal

Gabapentin is a type of anti-anxiety drug, and when used as a form of long-term treatment, can result in severe withdrawal symptoms. This medication is can often be abused by patients, and when taken away, the individual may experience physiological dependence.

Gabapentin for Anxiety

Physiological dependence simply means that the overuse of the medication results in the neurons adapting to the chemical. Therefore, the neuron now relies on the drug in order to maintain normal functioning. When the medication is taken away from the patient, then the neurons and chemicals of the brain become dysregulated—this is the primary cause of Neurontin or gabapentin withdrawal symptoms.

Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms

In general, people may experience the effects of gabapentin withdrawal symptoms 12 to 48 hours post medication withdrawal. During the first 24 hours, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • severe anxiety
  • headaches
  • perspiration
  • hand and body tremors

By the third day, a person experiencing gabapentin withdrawal will start to feel restless and disoriented. Hallucinations, confusion, increased heart rate, agitation, fever, and trembling are all symptoms associated with withdrawal. Unfortunately, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms for up to 10 or more days.

Should you continue to experience symptoms of withdrawals for more than 30 days, then it’s important to contact your psychiatrist and/or physician in order to discuss your condition.

5 Facts You Need To Know About Gabapentin for Anxiety!

  1. Gabapentin is the analog of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid GABA. The GABA neurotransmitter is actually unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, but the Gabapentin medication is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Scientists believe that this can be clinically beneficial to patients suffering from partial epilepsy.
  2. Some studies show that people who take Gabapentin may develop a fatal condition known as paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria, which is a disease that results in the destruction of the red blood cells.
  3. The drug known as benzodiazepines has been commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. Some studies suggest that Gabapentin can be used to treat patients who suffer from the withdrawal of the benzodiazepines drug.
  4. Gabapentin is also used to treat a condition called Restless Legs Syndrome.
  5. Gabapentin can also be used as an “off-label” prescription. This means that it can commonly be used to treat conditions like alcohol withdrawal, Neuropathic nerve pain, Fibromyalgia, and Trigeminal neuralgia

Gabapentin—Like Any Drug, You’ll Need To Be Careful

All medications have their pros and cons. Generally, they will effectively treat the ailments they are designed to heal. However, like any medication, drugs like Gabapentin do have the potential to cause mild to severe side-effects. If you’re interested in trying this medication out to treat your anxiety, then talk to a mental health professional.

References

 

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Forgive & Forget? How to Let Go of Your Past and Forgive Yourself

 

You keep reliving it even though it was years ago. You wake up from a dead sleep, play the whole thing in your head and cringe. Why did you say that? What were you thinking? You shouldn’t beat yourself up over the past, but if you do, you’re certainly not alone.

Four in five women suffer from low self-esteem, the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report found. Low self-confidence can spill over into other areas of your life, causing nine out of ten women who suffer from it to avoid important activities such as socializing with friends when they don’t feel like they look good. This can breed anxiety and anger, making it difficult to forgive those perceived as contributing to your emotional distress. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to break this cycle. Here are five ways to and let go of past baggage that’s holding you back.

How to Let Go of Your Past

Accept How Your Values Have Changed Since the Past

One of the hardest parts of learning to forgive can be forgiving yourself. Often, we blame ourselves for our past, making it hard to forgive ourselves, which affects our ability to forgive others. Americans generally find it easier to forgive others than themselves, with 53 percent willing to seek help forgiving others, while only 43 percent are willing to seek help forgiving themselves, according to Fetzer Institute research.

One thing that can make forgiving yourself easier is realizing that your values have changed since the incident that hurt you. You probably thought and behaved very differently at that time in your life than you do now. Say, for example, you did something dumb and regrettable after drinking too much at a college party. Rather than beating yourself up over the mistake that happened years ago, learn from it. Faced with the same choice now, you’d likely do things differently. Accept that you’re a different, more mature person now and you don’t need to continue feeling the same way you felt then. If you have trouble reaching this point on your own, consider talking to a therapist who can help you work through past issues and give you advice on how to let go of the past and be happy.

Realize You Did the Best You Could at the Time

Another reason you may be blaming yourself for the past is that you feel like it’s your fault you didn’t do things differently. This may be blaming yourself for things that were beyond your control. It’s easy to look back and say “I should have done this or I could have said that.” Realizing that the way you behaved in the past was shaped by your life experiences at that time can be helpful. Give yourself some credit, and some leeway to make mistakes and grow up. It’s not always a graceful process. You probably did the best you could with the experiences and resources you had available then, which may have been limited. You may be evaluating yourself based on what you know now, without taking into account that you didn’t know as much back then. Don’t beat yourself up over things you didn’t have the experience to handle.

Turn Your Biggest Regrets into a Positive To-Do List

Dwelling on regrets from your past — about things that were done to you or things that you did — can trap you in a cycle of anxiety and anger or other negative emotions. But you can transform these negatives into positive motivation by using your regrets as learning opportunities. Make a list of some things you wish would have turned out differently. Use this to generate a to-do list of goals you’d like to accomplish. For example:

  • If you wished you’d treated your past significant other better, make it a conscious priority with your next (or current) one.
  • If you lost your cool when your best friend told you about something you didn’t agree with, make a point of listening first, rather than talking, in all conversations.
  • If one bar tends to turn into four and a night of poor decisions, make a commitment to leave at a certain time. “One more drink” is almost always a bad idea.

Learn how to let go of the past and move forward. What a privilege to use your past experiences — good and bad — to make your future a more positive experience for you and those around you.

Accept That Your Life’s Experiences Have Made You Who You Are Today

To forgive past wrongs, it can help to accept that good or bad, your past experiences have made you who you are today. These experience have shaped both your positive and negative character traits. You can’t change the past, but you can move forward based on who you are now. By knowing how to let go of the past and live in the present,  you’ll learn to accept your present self and use your past learning experiences to continue improving yourself from this point on.

Cut Yourself Some Slack: Mistakes Happen

A perfectionist attitude can contribute to low self-confidence and anger toward ourselves and others. If we expect ourselves to be perfect, we can never live up to our own standards and will have a hard time forgiving ourselves. It will also make it hard for us to accept and forgive others. Reminding yourself occasionally that no one is perfect can help you cut yourself some slack and relieve some anxiety.

Forgiving yourself isn’t an easy feat. It requires acceptance you did your best with the information you had at the time. It involves breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and learn how to forgive and let go. It means you have to cut yourself some slack and let go of the pain you don’t need to carry around. It’s hard work but is what you must do to grow.

If you need additional help to work through these issues, consider scheduling an appointment with a licensed therapist. ThriveTalk is a teletherapy service that lets you schedule appointments from any location using your phone or a webcam. To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact us here.

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Find Your Inner Hero with a Mind, Body & Soul Connection

 

Navigating through life isn’t always a straight route of health and happiness. Life twists and turns… and veers off course more than you might like. Sometimes you may find yourself lost, stumbling onto a path of self-destruction or dysfunction. Or maybe you’re traversing through tough terrain with the wrong equipment. But every woman has a hero who can save her and get her back on track. It may just take a little work to discover that this hero is — herself.

You have the power and resilience to overcome any battle. You can heal your wounds. Shine and prosper. But it’s an interconnection of the mind, body and soul that creates this power. Positive intentions, treating the body well and being in tune with yourself all support your ability to stay strong and thrive among the chaos. The following provides insight on this trifecta of wellness, so you can uncover ways to grow your mind-body-soul connection, bring balance to your life, and unleash your inner hero.

The Mind, Body, and Soul Connection

Mind

“Our thoughts are just as powerful as our words,” says Lauren Unger, certified holistic health coach and Mind Body Green contributor. “What we think, we become.” If your thoughts and perceptions are negative and judgmental, then your world will suddenly seem against you. If you judge and think poorly of yourself, you have become your own worst enemy. Over time, this way of thinking becomes so habitual that it becomes your reality. As you start to regularly see the world through a negative lens, your mental health can start to break. Then stress, disorder or worries of daily life fill these cracks creating a harmful foundation. Once you invite emotional states like anxiety and depression into your life, your physical health becomes at risk, from toxic eating to loss of sleep. But you can cope with mental stressors like anxiety and depression by caring for your mind with gentleness. Meditate, go outdoors, cook a homemade meal or journal to soothe your head.

One way to take the wheel to drive your life toward good mental health (rather than idly watch life go by from the passenger’s seat) is to live with intention. First, let your mind wander. This place of aimlessness can actually provide direction, leading you to self-discovery. To live intentionally, ask:

  • Where do you choose to expend your energy?
  • What types of relationships do you want to grow?
  • Who do you want near your heart?
  • How will you respond to challenge, stress or anxiety?
  • What truly matters to you?

Answers to these questions can provide a blueprint for better mental wellness. The mind is powerful. It just takes practice and the will to eliminate threats and construct thoughts that help you live your best life.

Body

Just like we need to care for our mind, to care for our body, we need to do the reverse as well. Nurture your mind by nourishing your body. In cognitive terms, Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School puts it like this: What you put into your body affects your brain’s structure, function and mood. For example, refined sugars worsen symptoms of mood disorders and depression. Sinking your teeth into that cupcake will give you a high, but your mood will quickly plummet. Nutrient-filled fuel (like nuts, salmon, leafy greens and berries) will enhance your mental health more steadily.

It’s also important to nourish your body with endorphins. Get your heart rate up and exercise to fire off those feel-good hormones. The American Psychological Association refers to this as the “exercise effect:” moving the muscles benefits mental health, says Jennifer Carter, PhD. There’s an undeniable link between your mood and exercise. You feel good and energized after a workout, and more active people are less depressed in the long run. It also serves as a meaningful activity, providing a sense of accomplishment. Explore different ways to move that you enjoy. Find a challenge in training for a half marathon. Experience confidence or calmness through yoga. Build both mental and physical strength by weight training — or use hiking as an opportunity for social connection with others who love the outdoors. Fitness isn’t one size fits all.

Soul

Seeking vitality and wholeness completes the trio of wellness. It’s just as important to enliven your spirit with meaning and purpose as it is to care for your mind and honor your body. A thriving soul creates soundness and harmony. But it takes work to reach spiritual health, and it may be the most neglected area of self-care. Reflection, values and beliefs, compassion and empathy, acting for the welfare of others and living with grace among any adversity cultivate spiritual health. A fulfilled soul supports the ability to cope with mental distress, as well as shape our bodies into a strong, well-functioning structure.

Nourishing the soul can start by learning to let go. Free your mind of negative clutter to make room for peace, comfort and hope. Look deep within to discover purpose, which can relieve stress over the small things and foster self-worth. If you can see something great in yourself and greater than yourself, everyday problems and fears may pale in comparison to more meaningful aspects of life important to you. Seek supportive relationships that bring out your best self. Embrace gratitude and forgiveness. Chase change and opportunity. Be open to new people and experiences. Giving more attention to these emotional states will heal and grow your soul.

You Don’t Have to Journey Alone

Despite a diet overhaul or some soul searching, sometimes talking to a professional helps strengthen the mind-body-soul connection the most, which results in a healthy and better mind, body, and soul or spirit. A therapist can help you navigate your journey toward intention and mindfulness. Therapy serves as a tool for seeing food as nutrition, and not as a coping mechanism. Therapy can provide accountability for treating your body well with movement and activity. You can find a partner in exploring your spiritual core.

Take action on your health mentally, physically and spiritually! With professional support from ThriveTalk, you can find your inner superhero. Talk to a therapist today to help you on how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to balance your mind, body, and soul.

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As You Seek Grief Counseling, Recognize the 6 Needs of All Mourners

 

There’s no rule book for grieving. When someone you love passes, you may feel a wide range of emotions anger, sadness, shock, guilt even if the death was expected. Everybody mourns in their own way and go through the 7 stages of grief or the 5 stages of grief.

There are, however, certain things we all need to mourn in a healthy fashion. As you undergo grief counseling to cope with the loss of a loved one, keep in mind these six basic needs of all mourners, according to the Center for Loss & Life Transition:

Grief Counseling: Six Basic Needs of Mourners

1. Acknowledge the Reality of the Death

This means you understand that your loved one will never physically walk this earth again.

You don’t have to swallow this one whole, though. It’s OK to take it piecemeal; grieving is a process, not an event. The best way to meet this need is to talk about the pain of the death when it hits you, as often as you need to. This can be with a bereavement counselor or a friend, family member or partner. Journaling about your feelings also helps you acknowledge the reality of the death.

2. Embrace the Pain of Loss

Few people welcome pain and suffering with open arms, and you don’t have to. Simply open your head and your heart to the idea that grief is painful, and understand that it will hurt. Some days will be worse than others, but you embrace the idea that you must feel painful feelings as part of the process.

3. Remember the Person Who Died

Yes, you should tell stories about your loved one. Yes, you should keep pictures up. Death doesn’t wipe away your relationship with the person who passed, and these precious memories will be how you honor that relationship. Well-meaning people might tell you that you need to “move on” and not talk about your loss, but that’s not true. Keep their memory alive.

4. Develop a New Self-identity

People understand themselves in relation to the world around them — and the people who inhabit that world along with them. When a loved one passes, things (and roles) inside that world must be rearranged to account for the change that has taken place. Perhaps you were a wife, and now you are a widow, or maybe you were a daughter whose parent has now passed. Be patient with yourself as you reconstruct your self-identity. It will take time to get comfortable with your new role in life, but it will happen.

5. Search for Meaning and Purpose

Most people question the meaning and purpose of life after someone close to them dies. This is normal. You may find yourself asking any of the following questions:

  • How could a benevolent God let this happen?
  • Is there an afterlife? Is my loved one there?
  • What’s the point of going on?

Confronting your spirituality and doubting your belief system is a normal part of grief. As you go through this process, bring up these thoughts and feelings to your grief counselor, spiritual adviser or a trusted friend.

6. Receive Ongoing Support from Others

Not only is it OK to lean on others during this time, you should. Humans weren’t meant to live in a vacuum. We need the love and support of others to make it through trying times. Don’t be afraid to let others know what you need and how they can support you. People want to help. Recognize that this need for support will last longer than a couple weeks. You can start by searching for local grief support groups online.

Life is never the same after a loved one dies, and as sad as that fact is, that is how it should be. You will adjust to your new normal, but it will take time. Be patient and loving with yourself. As you navigate your grief, reach out to a certified grief counselor at Thrive Talk. Online therapy can help you in dealing with grief and loss.

If you feel that grief or depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

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Understanding Your Grief During the Healing Process

 

Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim. Vicki Harrison

Moving like the ocean is one way to describe grief, which is such a small word for such indescribable, overpowering emotions. Experiencing grief isn’t as simple as feeling sorrow or sadness. It’s a rollercoaster of a journey. Grief can be caused by a death or loss of something or someone. Recognizing the five stages of grief can help you navigate this journey, from shock and blame to despair and hopefulness.

Understanding Grief: 5 Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief (also known as the Kübler-Ross model) were developed by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and introduced in her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969. This model identifies grief as a series of emotions. This series, or the five stages below, serve as tools to help you comprehend your feelings, says David Kessler who co-authored two books with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, including “On Grief and Grieving.” Understanding yourself in these stages helps you gain knowledge about your grieving process and start to heal, learning how to cope with loss and death.

Denial

One way to respond to the initial shock of devastating news is to fall into denial. The numbness and disbelief become survival and defense mechanisms. This stage is protective, giving time for you to take in information at your pace while starting to make sense of it.

  • Internal dialogue: “This can’t be happening.” “He’s going to be fine.” “This isn’t real.”

Anger

Anger arises once the news sinks in; it’s a natural response in the grieving process and can be directed at a loved one, God, the world and yourself, says Dr. Christina Hibbert, a clinical psychologist and bestselling author. Beneath anger is pain, even guilt. But it’s an emotion that can provide strength, structure and can feel better than nothing at all.

  • Internal dialogue: “How could this happen to me?” “This isn’t fair!” “There is no God.”

Bargaining

You may move into thinking that you’ll do anything to change a death or the fate of the loved one. This stage is full of “If only…” “what if…” responses, shares Kessler. You may fantasize about going back in time to create a different outcome or wonder what you could have done differently. It’s a process of trying to negotiate the elimination of pain.

  • Internal dialogue: “I’ll do anything to make her better.” “I promise to be a better person to make her come back.”

Depression

Now intense sadness hits—or even an emptiness of feelings—as grief reaches a deeper level. Everything seems worthless and daily tasks can feel like huge burdens. Friends and family can’t help and life seems meaningless. You’re opening yourself up to mourning, a critical step in the healing process.

  • Internal dialogue: “What’s the point?” “Why should I bother with anything?” “Nothing matters.”

Acceptance

This stage is where you start to accept that the loss or forthcoming death is a reality. Here is a new norm that requires readjustment. It’s an evolution into a new life. You can see the light to move forward and embrace the forever change. William Worden’s “tasks of mourning” adds that overcoming or coping with grief follows an active decision to adapt to a new environment (not only accept).

  • Internal dialogue: “I’m ready to reconnect with friends and family and create new relationships.” “It’s time to move on.” “I’m going to be OK.”

Find the Support You Need

Although this model is widely accepted, grief symptoms aren’t linear or uniform. Health Guidance, wellness publication, explains that there is great variation with grief — individuals may experience stages repeatedly or skip ones. For some individuals may regress or even become lifelong grievers who can never come to terms with their loss. Our hope is that by sharing this model, you may engage in a process of introspection and eventually reach a hopeful place of moving on.

If you need help in your recovery or how to deal with grief, schedule a teletherapy appointment with ThriveTalk. Certified therapists will provide support and strategies to help you manage your grieving process. For more information call +1 (833) 348-6684. We’ll connect you with a counseling professional via video conferencing, so you can conveniently receive treatment in your own home, where you feel most comfortable or to fit within your busy schedule.

 

If you feel that the stages of grief are negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

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Keep Your Job When You’re Struggling with Severe Depression

 

If you suffer from clinical depression when you’re on the job, you know how tough it can be to keep things together on the outside when you feel like you’re falling apart on the inside.

Feeling depressed can also contribute to negative feelings about work, leading to excessive complaining, lack of cooperation, morale problems and absenteeism. Left unchecked, this can threaten your job and livelihood, making you more depressed and promoting a vicious downward spiral.

Fortunately, there are solutions or effective ways to deal with depression. Many people suffer from the same struggle you’re experiencing, with 1 in 20 workers experiencing depression, affecting at least 10 million people, often between the ages of 25 and 44, according to ValueOptions. The good news is that 80 percent of people struggling at work with depression can be treated quickly and effectively — but only if you recognize the problem and take appropriate steps. Here are a few strategies you can use to manage severe depression so that you stay productive and don’t lose your job.

Visit an EAP Counselor

Employers know that your mood can affect your productivity, so many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place where you can schedule a visit with an EAP counselor. You can proactively seek EAP counseling by consulting information from your employee handbook or talking to your supervisor or human resources department. Your supervisor may also reach out to you and suggest an EAP counseling appointment if they notice changes in your mood or behavior that make them concerned, although your supervisor can’t diagnose whether you’re clinically depressed.

Schedule a Meeting with a Teletherapist

What if you’re too busy to visit a counselor? One alternative is to schedule an online therapy session at a time that’s convenient for you. Teletherapy allows you to talk to a counselor from a location of your choosing at a time that fits your schedule, which is a viable option for those who simply do not have time or means to make it to a therapist’s physical office. ThriveTalk is a teletherapy service that connects busy people with competent, certified therapists who can provide online therapy via video conference.

Take Mental Health Breaks

Taking a break can be a way to help manage depression, says U.S. News & World Report patient advice reporter Lisa Esposito. Depending on your condition, simply getting up from your desk periodically to walk to the bathroom may be sufficient, or if you have a major depressive disorder, you may need to take some recuperative time off to avoid a breakdown, get your bearings back or pursue therapy.

Check your employer’s policy to see how much sick time you may be entitled to. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, certain workers are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, with a requirement that their group health benefits be maintained during their absence. See the Department of Labor’s website for more details.

Know Your Triggers

Knowing what triggers your depression can help you avoid and respond to situations that are likely to stress you out or that indicate you’re struggling with depression. For instance, you may find yourself engaging in negative self-talk when you’re in a depressed mood. Or you may find yourself spending time crying in the bathroom as a coping mechanism. Keeping track of your triggers can help you stay alert so you can avoid trigger situations or seek help when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Seek a professional to help you on how to deal with depression at work.

Get Appropriate Treatment

Sometimes you can’t deal with depression on your own, especially if you have a major depressive disorder. In some cases, therapy alone may be enough to help you. In other cases, you may need medication. Don’t be afraid of trying therapy or medication due to stigmas associated with it. If it helps you restore your peace of mind and keep your job, it’s worth it.

Use these proactive strategies to keep your mood manageable so that you can stay productive while battling depression. Visit ThriveTalk.com or call (619) 630 7045 to get the help you need today.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.