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Why do I have to go to counseling? Do I really need to go? These are the questions that teenagers ask their parents if they require or suggest to them that they need to go to counseling.
Am I Crazy?
First off, counseling is not for “crazy” and non-communicative people. Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC once said, “Just because I’m in therapy it doesn’t mean that I am crazy. No one is going to invalidate your problems.” Second, in our world today, at least one out of five teenagers have a mental health concern that needs to be addressed, and no, it doesn’t mean they’re crazy. They just need help to overcome that mental health issue. Third, it is prevalent to experience depression, anxiety, and extreme stress in school and with friends. These are just some of the many mental health issues. It is also the very reason why teenagers need counselors who can assist them in understanding themselves and learning how to cope with such conditions.
Why Do Teenagers Have Mental Health Issues?
It’s not just teenagers. At one point in the lives of every living soul on this planet, they will experience a mental health issue. It is very normal. What causes these problems?
- Medical conditions can affect the way a person acts, thinks, and feels strangely. The counselor or therapist will have to rule out medical reasons as the cause of the mental health issue before going in a treatment program.
- A violent experience may trigger mental health issues in a teenager.
- Severe stress is another factor. “Unhealthy stress is when you are facing negative circumstances (e.g., loss of a job, loved one, or relationship).” says Jessica Harris, LCPC, LPC
- Grief can be a mental health issue cause, as well. When a loved one dies, if you go through a break-up, or a special person moves away, you will feel overwhelmed and very lonely. Some can cope, but others cannot.
Types Of Teenage Counseling Programs
There are three counseling programs fit for a teen with mental health issues. These are the Individual Counseling, Group Counseling, and Family Counseling. A specific plan will be advised for a teenager that will suit his needs.
Individual Counseling involves a one-on-one session with a therapist or counselor. Each session may be around 50 minutes wherein the counselor will ask how you feel about your problems in life. You can talk to the counselor about your parents, family, school, friends and special someone.
Group Counseling involves a group of about five teenagers with one to two counselors facilitating them. The teen group therapy session can last up to 90 minutes wherein the counselors will ask questions, and the teenagers can speak up. They can also ask their queries and learn from one another.
Family Counseling involves the whole family – parents, and siblings – to go to therapy together. Everyone will be able to voice out their problems within the family, and the counselor will see to it that issues are resolved.
How Long Will Teenage Counseling Last?
It depends on the severity of the mental health issue on the teenager. Therapy happens at least once a week and can last for as short as three months; that means 12 to 15 sessions. For some who have extreme problems, the meetings can go for years.
If I Don’t Like My Counselor, What’s My Option?
You can only have progress if your relationship with the counselor or therapist is based on trust. If you don’t like your therapist, there will be no trust, and the sessions will be all a waste. And so, you can always change therapists or counselors if you don’t feel comfortable or if you don’t like the current one.
You Must Remember These Things
Your counselor will not solve your problems for you. He will provide suggestions on how to fix your issues or cope with your problems. But if you don’t act on it yourself, then, there will be no progress. “A good therapist should be open and willing to understand your concerns. If your counselor doesn’t take your concerns seriously or is unwilling to accept feedback, then it’s probably in your best interest to consult with another therapist about it.” That is according to Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC.
Never engage in a romantic relationship with your counselor. It is inappropriate. You are a teenager and a minor, and even if you are over 18, a therapist or a counselor must never engage in sexual innuendos with their clients. Inform your parents immediately should you feel that your counselor is maliciously touching you or more.
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Are you aware that the kinds of people you always surround yourself with can affect you in so many ways? Even if you have a strong personality, it is still possible that these individuals can influence you on the way you live your life. Because of this, you need to make an effort to connect with the right set of people at all times. Make sure that you continue to find those who can be a good influence in your life. According to a therapist, you must see to it that you are careful with the kinds of friends or groups that you connect yourself with. In so doing, it will be a lot easier on your part to maintain your sanity and be happy with everything in your life.
In this article, we are going to share to you a complete list of the kinds of great people that you must keep in your life no matter what happens. Before we go any further, it is imperative on your part to understand that you have the absolute choice as to whom you can attract to be part of your life. Stop making excuses that you cannot control what happens. The best thing to do is to become responsible enough to make better choices for your day-to-day life so that you can reap its benefits. Remember this list:
As much as possible, be with someone passionate about everything he does. You will be surprised at how life can be fun and enjoyable the moment you begin to share it with a person who enjoys what he is doing. Without you realizing it, that same individual can motivate you also to follow your dreams or go after what you want, regardless of how impossible it may seem. All the challenges that will come will not be a burden on your part because you will also become passionate, just like the other person. “If they push and don’t respect your boundary, then that’s a red flag. If they express disappointment, but understanding, then these are likely the people that like you for ‘you’ and not what you can do for them,” Erika Martinez, PsyD said.
You also need a person in your life who will tell you the truth even if it can hurt you a lot. There are days when you have to be honest to yourself about all the mistakes and failures that you made in the past. It is only then that you can approach your issues and become a better person.
On the other hand, if you are with someone afraid to tell you the truth about how shitty things may have become in your life, then there is a possibility that you will never improve. You will only get stuck to the point that you will lose interest in doing things that genuinely matter in your life. Find a friend who can be brutally honest because it shows he is the individual who will help you lead a good experience. Avoid those who will lie to your face to keep you around. “To “cut the fat,” is to speak up, and to appreciate and embrace the people who build you up and make you the best version of you.” Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. LCPC advises.
“When trying to keep a positive attitude, you must avoid people who thrive on negativity,” says Fran Walfish, PsyD. At the same time, you must also find a way to connect with a person who is known to be positive at all times. Let that person be your number one source for good vibes and positive energies. The more time you spend with him, the happier you will become. In times of troubles and sadness, he must be the first person that you must call upon. A simple conversation with him can already change your mood for the better. Aside from this, he can also inspire you to change your ways by having a bigger perspective on life. Take note that the way you handle your problems and issues in life can make a lot of difference.
Someone Who Knows How To Listen
There are also times in your life when you have to let all your feelings out. It can be the only way to save yourself from too much stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be a willing listener to all that you have to say. As such, it is best if you have a close friend who will be open to hearing everything that you are going to share. This person is the kind who will let you talk about your issues without butting in. He knows when is the right time to keep quiet and when to speak. Once you find this kind of friend, never let him go.
The best thing that you must do is to be careful to who you surround yourself with. Be smart enough to know who deserves to stay and those who don’t!
A lot of us know what mental disorders are and how it affects people along with others surrounding them. Some examples of these mental health conditions are obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, bipolar disorders, general depression, and so on. However, for every well-known diagnosis, there are a handful of other conditions that represent it individually. But psychology contains a lot of topics that even the field can’t seem to explain. Some of these mental conditions still haven’t achieved notoriety, although a doctor already makes a diagnosis.
Bizarre Psychological Conditions
Fregoli Delusion – The condition gets associated with schizophrenia due to its delusional qualities. However, for a specific description, it is where patients believe another individual who is in disguise as someone else is hunting them. They tend to withdraw themselves from people, friends, and family, due to the belief that these individuals only bring harm. In unfortunate instances, the condition leads to assaulting those misidentified familiar people too.
Split Brain – It is a mental condition where corpus callosum or the brain’s bundle of nerves connecting the left and right hemisphere of the brain gets cut. Though usually, the cutting appears required to prevent any epileptic seizures from occurring. However, if not properly administered, it can result in complications. These include problem in information processing, issues with physical function, and even obtaining a split personality.
Dissociative Identity Disorder – It is one of the most common mental disorders, and people know it as multiple personality disorder. It is a condition where patients cycle between different personalities which often enter a feud state. That is especially when they can’t remember anything that happened at a particular moment. Usually, individuals experiencing this type of disorder are capable of segregating each of their emotional and mental states from one character to the other.
Stendhal Syndrome – Stendhal syndrome is a psychosomatic illness where the mind influences the body to create or worsen the state of a condition. The symptoms of the disorder involve increased heartbeat, confusion, disorientation, fainting, dizziness, and hallucinations. That is every time patients get presented with artwork or objects of emotional significance and with great beauty.
Cotard’s Syndrome – The condition is most known as Cotard’s delusion. Patients with this type of disorder stick to the belief that they already died. In different cases, some people with this condition even request for their funeral. Usually, this condition works alongside other mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
Lima Syndrome – Lima syndrome is the better-known opposite of the Stockholm syndrome. It is where the abductors sympathize and identify with their hostage victim. Patients with this condition who take people forcibly are often just seeking for emotional and psychological advice. They usually do not harm their victims and often attempt to make friends with them. Lima syndrome creates an uncomfortable feeling where the engagement of abductors and hostage victims becomes tolerable.
Triskaidekaphobia – It is a mental condition associated with phobias, specifically related to the fear of the number 13. The mental illness can induce panic attacks and often supports a wide variety of disorders such as depression. There is a buildup of limits in both systematic and logical way of thinking for patients. Luckily, the anxiety only arises in certain circumstances and does not hugely affect people’s daily lives.
Alice In Wonderland Syndrome – It is a strangely named disorder that entails a significant set of condition where patients believe in the constant distortion of body and time, like in Alice in Wonderland. Patients with mental illness believe that their body is growing and shrinking frequently. In some events, it affects people’s sense of hearing, touch, as well as vision. The condition also associates nausea, migraine, dizziness, and agitation.
Reduplicative Paramnesia – The condition states a variety of delusion that is related to the brain damage of a stroke. It is where patients believe that a familiar place, such as their home, gets duplicated or relocated to a different site. People with this condition conclude that things can simultaneously exist in two or more places regardless of its impossibility. Though there are now cases of the disorder, people still refer to it as confusion where it is an organic state, rather than being considered as a psychiatric cause.
Jumping Frenchmen Of Maine – It is still one of the unclassified disorders diagnosed in French-Canadian lumberjacks who allocate unusually strong reactions to surprises. It means that anything sudden can make these people jump uncontrollably. Patients sometimes experience a random burst of mimic cry. In some cases, it makes people suddenly obey even the smallest commands.
Our brain is entirely one of the most amazingly complicated things that ever existed. With its vast amount of functions, we can expect more unidentified disorders that can affect it.
I have been struggling with my claustrophobia since I don’t know when and I’m sharing this blog to enlighten others who are suffering from phobia and anxiety themselves. I know you all heard about cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. You may have heard that it’s one of the most effective therapies to help cure depression, stress, panic, and other mental health conditions.
But here’s something new that I learned from my favorite therapist – CBT may not be all about changing thought patterns but changing the one’s feelings first. According to him, it is much easier, and it will have a more significant impact to change one’s feelings than to change his thoughts because strong emotions come before the thoughts. Here are three simple yet effective CBT strategies that are based on this principle, which have tremendously helped me manage my fear and anxiety.
Focus First On Changing The Feelings. My therapist often reminds me that emotions are versatile and that they change. This means that no matter how I try to learn how to relax and be calm and I would begin to feel anxious again, she wants me to think about my emotions once I start to feel okay again. It helped me when I wrote down my expected emotions. “Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns and changing thoughts and behaviors and feelings through concrete skills.” Hannah Goodman, LMHC said.
For instance, if you’re about to give a presentation, it would be useful to write down how you feel right then and there, and then how you think you would feel once you try to relax. Something like, “I feel anxious right now, but this is natural. Once I focus on changing how I feel, I’ll be relaxed, and I can think clearly.”
Sometimes in the middle of the presentation, you might notice that you’re talking faster than usual. Think about calming down and feeling confident about yourself. When you’re done with your presentation, you might as well write down how you felt so you’ll know what positive emotions you can replace the negative ones with.
Act As Normal As You Can. Fact is, anxiety is a survival strategy, not a condition officially. Melissa Berschauer LMFT elaborates that “Anxiety can be downright scary when the symptoms take on bodily sensations. Some people have many physical symptoms and do not realize that what they are experiencing is anxiety.” However, it is a strategy that can often go wrong if not used effectively, which is why it can become a negative symptom rather than something that can be helpful. But you can train yourself to use anxiety positively. For example, when it arises during an important interview or speaking engagement, you can talk to it and say, “Sorry, you can’t get to me right now. I don’t need you.”
We can think about how we behave when we’re NOT nervous or anxious. Under normal circumstances, we talk softly, smile to people, breathe slowly and deeply, and keep our head up high in confidence. If we think of doing one of these behaviors when we are anxious or stressed, the negative emotions may eventually disappear.
Additionally, one normal thing that happens when we are relaxed is we salivate. So what can we do so we salivate when we’re anxious? Chewing gum is a great solution. If you noticed when you’re chewing gum, you kind of feel laid back, if this works for you, then maybe you can do it once in a while.
Change The Negative Assumptions To Positive, Hopeful Ones. I used to get anxious when I go to any kind of party – small or big. It’s because I had so many bad assumptions about what was going to happen if I do attend parties. I have fears about having to meet new people. I fear that:
- People won’t like me
- I’ll feel bad about something they’ll say
- I’ll feel inadequate and be more insecure
- I might blame myself for going in the first place
I told my therapist about this, and she taught me this powerful strategy that tremendously reduced my anxieties. She instructed me to ask the question, “How do I deal with these fears” and find positive answers that were hopeful, including:
- I’ll enjoy the night instead of just eating or watching crap on television and feel so alone
- I might meet new friends
- Some people may not like me, but I’m sure some will
- I may meet someone more terrible than me in handing his fears, and I might be able to help him
Describing my fears and creating a breakdown of the positive things that might happen has effectively decreased my anxiety and stress levels. I guess listening to Jo Eckler, PsyD‘s advice when he said, “Look at negative thoughts like reruns of a TV show you’ve seen a million times. Let them play in the background while you shift your focus to something else.” is a great deal for me.
The takeaway here is that anxiety, fear, and the whole gamut of negative emotions are changeable, and you make that change by trying to do these simple strategies. You’ll realize that you can survive – and thrive – in any environment you are into.
ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition that is usually characterized by inattentive behavior and hyperactive-impulsive reaction and performance. ADHD does not only occur with children but also an adult since it is a condition that can target anyone in any age and at any time. Symptoms in children may be readily visible than in adults due to their lifestyle, or busy coping with expectations and achievements in life that they possibly neglected to evaluate their situation.
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT studies the relationships between an individual’s thought process, his behaviors, and his feelings. Though it seems simple, this type of therapy is a little more complicated than it sounds. First and foremost, it must take a competent therapist and a committed client for CBT to produce the best results in achieving mental wellness. CBT is a regulated and structured type of treatment that has been proven to be very effective in curing mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, personality and eating disorders, and schizophrenia among others.
“CBT is a relatively brief, skills-focused treatment that has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, anger, social skills deficits, and relational problems.” –Shelby Harris, PsyD, CBSM
The goal of CBT is for the patient to create an awareness about his unhealthy and negative thoughts, and for him to build realistic and more positive ways of thinking. Once this is achieved, the patient’s life will tremendously change for the better.
Making CBT Work For You
How can you get the most out of your cognitive therapy session? Here’s a list.
Choose Your Therapist Wisely
Before you decide to go into cognitive therapy, you need to choose a therapist that suits your needs. Check for qualifications, educational background, and license. It should be noted that not all therapists are a good fit for all clients. If you think you have chosen the wrong therapist on day 1, it is better to refuse to go into the second session and choose another therapist. But remember, “Experience and credentials are important, but it’s usually the personality of a therapist and the therapeutic rapport that develops between teen and therapist that is the most important factor of all.” Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW said.
Establish an open and honest working relationship
You are the best person who knows about your strengths and weaknesses. So if there are some techniques that you think are not helping you, then be honest with your therapist. Tell him what works and what doesn’t. If the therapist is committed to helping you, he will modify his techniques to your preference, or whichever will produce the best outcomes. You must also participate by following instructions and giving your effort and time to the therapy.
Once you’ve achieved these steps, then you will successfully see a few wins within one week, and then a few more in the next few weeks.
Let’s check out this example to get a clearer perspective of how CBT works.
Identifying A Goal
Patty (sample client), a 30-year-old female, is on her first day of therapy to alleviate depression and improve her well-being. She is also seeking professional help because she is often pessimistic and thinks that she is not worthy to live a good life.
Here, the therapist and client can set a specific goal, which could be that Patty hopes to become more positive about herself and her life.
Formulating Solutions Through Strategies
With this in mind, Patty’s therapist will find ways to explore behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that relate to this aspect.
Self-talk. The therapist can ask the client how she feels when she thinks about these negativities in her life, and what she wants to do about her self-esteem. She is also encouraged to speak what is in her mind at that moment. Some of the things she might say include: “I am so useless. I am unlovable.” Dr. Aaron Kaplan, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist often says, “Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. Practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power. Give yourself a positive pep-talk.”
Challenging negative thought patterns. Patty’s therapist urges her to challenge her thoughts and to ask herself, “Am I really unlovable? Am I useless? Don’t I have abilities?”
Forming new and positive thoughts. Through the process, the therapist guides Patty into exploring her thoughts, allowing her to realize that nobody is not worth anything. “I am lovable and worthy. In this difficult time, I will survive.”
This process continues for a few weeks, regularly, until Patty feels that she is improving and finally ready to face her problems with her new and stronger self.
Getting the most out of cognitive behavioral therapy entails a commitment from the therapist and the client to do what is needed to achieve the goal, to be honest, and to be positive that there is always a solution to life’s difficult circumstances.
It is incredible to know that there is a growing number of psychotherapy clinics in every state. That entails that more and more mental health professionals and volunteers want to be of service to people living with depression, stress, and other psychological issues. If you worry about any of them, you won’t have to drive for miles to reach the closest facility.
The thing is, it may be needless even to visit a psychotherapist when you can control a mental-related problem. Especially with stress, it is quite effortless to prevent it now from consuming you.
- Follow Your Schedule
“Self-care is what we do for ourselves in order to better manage our stress and maintain a sense of balance. It is an on-going process and something we should be implementing daily rather than waiting for stress to completely overwhelm or overtake us.” That is according to Melanie McNally, PsyD, LCPC. So when you have multiple tasks in a day, it pays off to create a timetable and following everything you wrote there. That will keep stress at bay because you still have full control over the happenings in your life. You won’t catch yourself staring at the wall at times or panicking in your room because you disremembered to go to an important assembly or complete a project.
- Be Physically Active
Stress tends to creep into your system whenever you stay in one place and do one thing for too long. It is common for folks who have been handling a desk job for decades or stay-at-home parents who mostly see the four walls of their house daily.
What may stop the flow of stressful ideas in your head is becoming active physically. Go to the gym before or after office hours, for instance, and sample every equipment there. Considering you are a parent, you may also run in the park with your kids. The more activities you try, the lower your stress level may be.
- Say ‘No’ When Necessary
It is not entirely wrong to want to give favors from time to time. Someone may have treated you well, and you wish to return the kindness you receive. Alternatively, you may be a helpful person in general.
Nevertheless, you should know when to say ‘no’ to others’ requests on occasion. We get that you are the epitome of a good Samaritan, but you cannot spoil people and allow yourself to be at their beck and call often. You have a life too, and you might fail to recall that when you always give in to other folks’ whims. As Melanie McNally, PsyD, LCPC used to say, “Set boundaries. Maybe stress is piling up because you keep taking on additional work or saying yes to others when you really should be saying no.”
- Solve Your Problems
Your personal and work issues affect your stress levels. When you have control over every single aspect of your life, you may be able to chill and live freely. In case your problems are piling up, though, that is when your fuse might short-circuit, thus enabling you to shout at anyone and care for no one.
The solution for the latter is to fix your issues immediately. Make amends with your enemies, finish your projects on time, et cetera. By doing so, you can prevent stress from being the death of you.
- Connect With People
Last but not the least, your issues won’t seem too taxing to deal with when you know that there are individuals around you to offer support and advice. Stressful thoughts can undoubtedly enter your system if you choose to keep problems to yourself. But remember, “Bring the right people into your life.” As advised by Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D
Remember the saying that ‘no man is an island.’ The creator of all things made more human beings to ensure that one will not run out of family members or friends to talk to in good and bad times. You should not forget it so that you won’t eat stress for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
As you can tell by now, there are ways to prevent social, physical, mental, and emotional pressure from consuming you. You no longer have to accept it without a fight. Try the tips mentioned above to live a stress-free life.
Group therapies can provide insights and realizations regarding your psychological condition that you might not have seen before; for this reason, medical professionals greatly advise group therapy sessions.