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Fall is a Time of Transition
Transitions can be difficult for many people with anxiety. Consistency and routine can help make us feel like we are more reg...
Spiritual Psychotherapy for Depression
Spiritual psychotherapy is an approach to psychotherapy that recognizes that we are more than meets the eye. A spiritual psyc...
Spirituality and The Inner Child
Core spiritual therapy entails learning to go within and communicate with the inner child. There are several parts to the inn...
Healing Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: Men and Women
Over the years I have had many patients who knowingly or unknowingly come to my office with the issue of child sexual abuse. ...
What to do when your spouse/partner won't come to counseling with you?
Are you someone who values your relationship and wants a loving and commited soul mate and partnership? You don't want to get...
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There is so much discussion in the news lately about legalization of cannabis/marijuana in various states across the United States, whether to legalize it in some states, whether the federal government should legalize it all together, etc. In addition, there has been an increase in reports of sexual abuse offenses, sex trafficking, etc. There has also been much discussion/debate on the high percentage of incarnated individuals who have a history of sexual abuse, are dependent on illegal substances (ex. cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, etc.), inebriated from too much consumption of alcohol, or are dependent upon alcohol which precipitates other nefarious activities. Although these are legitimate issues that have been raised, little discussion has been given to the impact substance abuse/dependence has on families, children, and adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) and the similarities between children who grow up in alcoholic families and children who were sexually abused in their families....
Self-esteem and resiliency
Recently, I was thinking about self-esteem and how it has been reviled and misused since its implementation in U.S. schools, beginning in the late 1980s until 2002. Well-intentioned lawmakers declared that people who had high self-esteem would be immune to drug addiction, crime and a plethora of social ills.
Naturally, there was a strong backlash against this self-esteem movement. As an example of its opposite, China is often cited as a nation of high-achieving children who were verbally abused by their parents to motivate them to succeed.
The truth of the matter is that true self-esteem comes from within and results from the recognition of our unique strengths and abilities, while also acknowledging our weaknesses. It is part of building a strong, healthy sense of self in the world. Real self-esteem and acceptance of ourselves cannot be shaken by life’s hardships and obstacles and may actually help foster resiliency. And with each obstacle we overco...
As a psychotherapist in San Jose, California, I have a lot of clients ask me what addiction does to the brain. Through all of the research done about drug addiction and its affects on the brain, one can see how drug addiction is considered a brain disease. Drug addiction is a disabling disease and can ruin a person's life. By taking drugs, a person's brain becomes rewired to tolerate high amounts of dopamine neurotransmitters, but once those high amounts of dopamine cease to exist, the person experiences withdrawal symptoms. However, there are ways drug addicts can control their drug intake by using classical conditioning techniques, which allows them to associate drugs with negative attributes.
For some time, researchers have suggested that addiction may be a brain disease. The latest research indicates that addiction disrupts brain circuitry. Studies at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National ...
I've finally reached a place where I'm either confident or arrogant enough to write this, depending on your point of view. I offer it in the hope that it will help relieve human suffering and bring more peace.
Nothing in what follows is really new or startling. I've merely refined and simplified and amalgamated existing truths and modalities. It is however eminently practical and can be used by anyone who wants to be genuinely free of suffering.
The only real criteria for success is wanting to be free more than you want your personal story of you to be real.
The speed with which the programs let go of you depends on whether your love of truth and freedom is greater than your attachment and identification with the energy of the program and the identity it seems to give you and the secret pleasure derived from the negativity of it.
To be free of suffering you basically have to tell the truth about what you really want.
The Buddha is reported to have said that desire is the root of a...
Is it fear or anxiety? Is there a difference? Yes, there is a big difference…
In people with anxiety disorders, the brain’s “hard drive” that controls the fear response goes awry. At the core of this part of the brain is the amygdala, a structure that flags incoming signals as dangerous or worrisome and communicates with other parts of the brain to put the body on alert.
Early life events, especially traumatic ones, can impact this circuitry so that it is oversensitive and sends out alarms too often. We have to perceive real threats in order to survive, but those with anxiety see threats where there aren't any, perhaps because emotional memories or defective genetics color their perceptions.
Typically, those who suffer from prolonged anxiety experience a range symptoms, including:
• excessive worry about health, money, family, work, or school—even when there are no signs of trouble
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You have finite energy to split across your life, and if you spend it planning meals, cooking, and eating (and perhaps recovering from episodes of over indulgence), you may have little left for other things like your emotional life. Over-dependence on nurturing from food can leave unsatisfied emotional hunger—this is the anatomy of disordered eating, in which the satisfactions of our emotional life that require patience, frustration, tolerance, self discipline, and anxiety management are forsaken for the easy fix of food. But by taking the easy way out, you train your mind to confuse emotional hunger for physical hunger, leading to the atrophy of our "emotional muscles." Too much easy way out can lead to the loss of willingness and ability to learn new and more adaptive behaviors. Of course, this taking the easy route of food can become a a negative spiral of emotional disregulation leading to chronic unhappiness, leading to more eating. Eating may become the equivalent of an alc...
Here you come with with a limp and a grimace into the doctor's office. Your haunted look says it all: ice, anti-inflammatory drugs and electro stimulation therapy have collectively done little to blunt the leg pain. Your doctor knows what’s coming next and how he would like to respond. However, fidelity to his Hippocratic Oath trumps the impulse to run and hide underneath his desk. The first imploring words out of your mouth are: “Doc, I’ve been training for six months to run/bike/swim/ a PR in this upcoming race. I’m soooooooo close to reaching my goal. I can’t stop training now. You’ve gotta help me!”
Meanwhile, you're walking on your injured leg as if it is a poorly fitted prosthesis. Common sense dictates that you wave the white flag of frustration and disappointment, ask for a hug and then, drown your sorrows in a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream until you can accept a few weeks of enforced idleness. Maybe then you will seize t...
Watch Jane or Bob max out on their credit cards. Is that their partner Jim or Mary registering a half hearted protest? Listen to Spot bark and scratch his neck in befuddlement when Jim or Mary pay off the abused credit cards and then, look stunned when the sun rises on another spending spree? Was Spot’s ears playing tricks on him when after one of Jane or Bob’s rants about their partners not contributing enough to their respective households, they agreed to take out loans to renovate their kitchens? Could it be that this actually came out of Jim and Mary’s mouths; the same Jim and Mary who are in charge of the finances and know full well they will once again have to rob Peter to pay Paul this month? Did Spot really hear Jim and Mary say to Jane and Bob after screaming at Jane and Bob about their impulsive and excessive spending: “Don’t worry about the finances I’ve got matters under control?”
There is something definitely wrong with these pict...
Cognitive behavior therapy. Not an old adage, not archaic, nor narrow. In
order to understand an individual and their choices and the behaviors that
follow, you must recognize their behaviors or choices involve all aspects
of the brain, the individual’s interaction with their environment, and
the various components of their life from birth to the current age of the
person. Specifically, drug and sex offenders, develop their behaviors based on numerous
factors. It all begins from their first experiences in life. As they grow
and interact with their environment (people, places, situations, parents,
schools, church etc) their behaviors or choices are made based upon how
they perceive their behaviors, other people’s behaviors and the results
of their choices. Many things interact during choices such as brain
chemistry, the pleasure, displeasure, and how each person perceives good or
bad feelings, choices, etc.
A therapeutic alliance is formed with the client first and foremost before
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