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Part 2: Why go to a Psychologist?

 

The psychologist offers objectivity:

 

When you talk to family and friends about your personal problems or have questions about things that you might prefer that they not be aware of, your fear is that they will not receive your comments and respond to them objectively. There are often things of a very personal nature which one does not want generally known among family and friends. The psychologist, on the other hand, provides a service of listening to your most personal concerns and interests for information from an objective point of view. The psychologist does not come to the conversation with you with any preconceptions about you or desire to pressure you into doing things that you might not want to do.

 

In listening to your questions, problems, and concerns, the psychologist takes an analytical viewpoint, which, in turn, is offered to you to help you to see and understand your problems with a greater perspective. The psychologist, also, listens to the ways that you express yourself, describe the concern and problem, and gains insight into your personality in order to assist you in positively dealing with circumstances confronting you. The psychologist, further, approaches the analyses of your problems and concerns from a distinctive, trained background which can be used to help you to gain insight and control of yourself and of elements of the situation or circumstances confronting you.

 

In describing your problems, you see them through your personal perspective, but the psychologist sees them through a professional perspective. Thus, your ways of identifying your problems and concerns may be skewed in such a way as to distort your thinking and, therefore, ultimately, your pursuit of their resolution. The input from the professional psychological point of view clarifies your thinking and pares it down to the essentials that you might not have even thought of before. Thus, in addition to objectivity, the psychologists offers a fresh way to see and approach the resolution of your problems and concerns.

 

Additionally, the professional psychologist can offer you a variety of ways to encounter and cope with your concern and problems which would never have occurred to you alone.

 

Further, the psychologist is not emotionally involved either with you or with the causes or circumstances of the problem. So the psychologist's recommendations are not intended to assert any personal perspective or point of view. Their purpose is only therapeutic, to help you to deal more effectively with your concerns and problems.

 

In approaching our problems, most often, you can apply only what you already know in seeking solutions or resolutions for them, but those approaches may be ineffective, and you may end up no closer to a solution or resolution than you were before. The professional psychologists can offer you new approaches to dealing with your “old” problems which are likely to be more successful than your tries in the past, so the visit to the psychologist opens up a new “road map” to help you to guide yourself through concerns and problems that have got you literally or figuratively “road blocked.” The “second opinion” creates new ways of thinking about concerns and problems which can lead to more positive results than have been the case in the past.

 

Thus, time spent in visiting a psychologist is an investment in your personal well-being because it will broaden your personal understanding of yourself and your problems and concerns and more positively assist you in the discovery of dealing with them.

 

NEXT: More indications of why to go to a psychologist.

 

 

Why go to a Psychologist?

 

When you are sick or you feel that something is not right with your body, most people have no problem in determining when they should go to the doctor . Physical symptoms and problems are good indicators that we need to see a doctor. In regard to seeing a psychologist, however, people are often not so clear. In the case of severe mental problems and symptoms, of course, it is not too difficult to discern that communication with a psychologist is necessary, but not all problems are in the extreme, so that may leave one uncertain of why the services of a psychologist is needed. Listed below are several reasons why one should see a psychologist with non-acute, non-extreme problems and circumstances:

 

To begin with, it is necessary to realize that you are not or need not be “crazy” or in some state of mental crisis before you can benefit from the services of a psychologist. Think of visiting a psychologist in less extreme circumstances as a way of maintaining your mental health, like a tune-up for your mind as you might tune-up your car's engine now and then.

 

Thus, here are some reasons to get your psychological “tune-up”:

 

1) A Safe place to be yourself: The psychologist is a safe place where you can freely and openly talk about yourself, your concerns, and your problems. Often, with family and friends, one does not feel open to talk about things that seem too personal, that you think they might not understand, or you think they may consider you abnormal or possibly “sick.” When you go a psychologist, you can “let your hair down” and feel free to talk about those things because the psychologist will not judge you, but will provide you with information to help you to gain insight to help you to better understand yourself and your circumstances. It is a safe place to be yourself, something we all need.

 

2) Insight and understanding: As mentioned above, in talking about your “minor” concerns and problems, the psychologist can help you to better understand yourself and your actions and reasons for the circumstances or problems you are encountering. Further, the psychologist can help you to gain control of your thinking and emotions to better cope with circumstances that are affecting you. To gain a better understanding and insight into yourself is a very positive reason for visiting a psychologist.

 

3) Non-judgmental: The psychologist is non-judgmental, but can help you to determine the exact character of your feelings so that you do not feel that it is necessary to be judged. Family and friends may advise you based on what is best for them and not what is best for you. Thus, their judgment imay be biased or skewed, which affects the quality of the insight and advice that they offer. For the psychologist, this is not the case. The psychologist has “no marbles in the game,” so the advice from the psychologist is focused on what is best for you and your mental health. Thus, the non-judgmental advice from a psychologist is of a high value in gaining an objective understanding of your problems and what should be done about them.

 

 

NEXT: More indications of why to go to a psychologist.

 

 

More About Stress

 

Long-Term Stress:

 

While short-term stress is of minimal health risk, the longer that the stress is experienced by an individual, the more likely it is that the stress may have adverse health effects. Long-term stress, also called chronic stress, is persistent stress that may be associated with digestive problems, sleep disturbances, problems in the immune system, sex and reproduction problems. The longer the stress is experienced, the more likely there is to be adverse results in the physical health of the person.

 

Different people experience chronic stress in different ways. For one person, it may result in digestive problems, while, for another person, it may result in impotence and sexual-related problems. Some people may experience sleeplessness, feelings of sadness, headaches, irritability and/or anger. With other people, the stress may result in persistent colds and even a viral infection like the flu.

 

Chronic stress may be experienced so commonly for particular people that it becomes a matter of routine in their daily life. As such, while acute stress is easily discerned by the individual, long-term stress is not accompanied by the rapid development of physical symptoms. Because of this, the person may not realize the fact that stress is operating in the background of his daily life. The presence of long-term stress may not be recognized by the individual, but it may take the form of seemingly not directly-related psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

 

Managing Stress:

 

1) The most important element in managing stress is to recognize that stress is present and having effects. Therefore, it is most important to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress in one's daily life (see previous postings in this blog). Depending on the individual, they might be: problems in going to sleep and staying asleep all night, an increase in alcohol use, the initiation or increase in drug use, depression, anger, and feelings of low energy.

 

2) Check with your doctor to be sure that the problems you are experiencing are not the result of some actual physical malady or illness.

 

3) Begin to become more aware of your own behavior, reactions, and health status to discover changes which could be associated with short-term or long-term stress.

 

4) If you are experiencing identifiable stress or the signs or symptoms that are associated with stress, connect with a psychologist to help you to investigate your personal situation to determine the relative role in your problems associated with stress.

 

5) However, in extreme situations, such as suicidal thoughts or ideation, incipient violence related to friends, family, or general or specific other people, extreme alcohol or drug abuse, or other alarming circumstances, immediately seek psychological intervention to avoid further harm to yourself or other people.

 

 

Parenting And Bipolar: How To Manage Being A Good Bipolar Parent

There are lots of studies showing that having a parent with mental illness or disorders can greatly increase your chances of developing your own. This can cause an added layer of anxiety to any parents who are living with and managing their own bipolar disorder. Having a bipolar parent doesn't have to mean that a child develops the same or a similar disorder.

Mental health care is finally able to come out of the shadows thanks to more public conversations and celebrities who are open about it. As mental health issues become destigmatized, we will benefit from having honest conversations about the role it plays in everyday life. Parenting is one place where there isn't enough honest conversation.

Whether or not you grew up with a bipolar parent, you can imagine the effect it can have on your child. Follow these 4 tips to continue being an amazing parent.

1. Remember Your Role

Your child can't take responsibility for your health and you shouldn't ask them to. You're the caretaker, even when you're in the middle of a crisis.

They can't control what is going on with you. Don't ask them to keep you in check or remind you to control yourself. You need your own system.

2. Talk Openly

Your kids need to know that you love them and to be able to understand the conditions of depression from your unconditional love. It's not their experience to carry your weight when they feel hurt or let down, but the more you telegraph your feelings, the better they'll be able to understand you.

You can build a strong and deep relationship with your children simply by being honest.

3. Balance Treatment and Childcare

Make sure your treatment plan doesn't get in the way of what your child needs and vice versa. If you schedule your child's activities in the way of your own mental health needs, you could find yourself blaming them for things out of their control.

Don't disrupt your child's routine just because you're having issues with your bipolar disorder. Find ways to make sure everyone stays on track. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

4. Your Child Has A Story

The way you interact with your child helps to inform their story. But they have their own experiences and you need to listen to that. If something is hurting them, understand how hard it is to articulate that as a child and listen carefully.

You Can Be A Great Bipolar Parent

Every family has challenges and things that make them unique. While your struggles might make parenting hard, seeing you deal with your disorder could inspire your children. You could teach them how important it is to communicate their feelings.

If you're looking for more tips on how to balance mental health issues with everyday life, contact us for information to keep on the right track.

Stress and Important Things to Know About It

 

According to Psychology Today, “Stress generally refers to two things: the psychological perception of pressure, on the one hand, and the body's response to it, on the other, which involves multiple systems, from metabolism to muscles to memory.” Stress is a psycho-physical response to stimuli relating to the primitive fight-or-flight responses to the environment. There is something in the individual's awareness which causes discomfort, worry, fear, or some form of threat (the stressor). The body's reactions to the stressor is to become more psychologically alert, nervous, impatient, and consciously or unconsciously anticipating the need for some response.

 

While this sounds unusual, in fact, it is very commonplace. People experience various kids of stress every day, such as bills that are due, social events, interpersonal relationships, and many other aspects of people's day-to-day lives. Stress is the body's reaction to some anticipated need for action of some kind (even though, often what exactly that action might be may be uncertain). Any demands for or needs for action, conscious or unconscious, can be the source of stress.

 

Becoming “stressed out” is a state of mind that is often expressed by people today as there are many elements of our daily lives that can be the source of stress, and when more than one affects us, we seem to feel overwhelmed by all of the stresses being felt--”stressed out.”

 

The more that you know and understand about stress, the more capable you will be in encountering and dealing with it.

 

Important things that you need to know about stress:

 

1) Everyone experiences stress: Although virtually everyone may feel stress as some time or another, the type of stress or the source of the stress may affect how one deals with it. Stress is not necessarily a consistent experience. Stress may come and go as different elements in your environment change. Further, stress often has different levels: The stress that one feels about a lost key is significantly different form the stress that one feels if a family member is terminally ill. Some stress is quickly alleviated, such as you find the key that you forgot you put in a drawer. Other forms of stress are more prolonged, such as that over a sick family member.

 

Stress does bring with it threats to both mental and physical health.

 

Examples of stress:

 

  • The pressure of school, work, family life, and certain daily activities

  • Sudden unexpected changes in circumstances in life, being fired, death in the family, divorce, the onset of illness. This is traumatic stress.

  • Larger-scale non-personal events, such as war and natural disasters. This is traumatic stress.

 

2. Stress is not necessarily negative:

 

Stage fright is a form of stress, and it makes one alert and conscious of the fear of failure, so it often improves an actor's performance. Studying for and taking a “big” test is stressful, but if one reacts positively to the stress and studies hard, the effect will most likely be positive. For people witnessing someone floundering in the water and needing help is stressful, but it can motivate positive action to go to the person's aid. Stress can often be beneficial.

 

If you are suffering from some form of stress, be aware that in a number of ways that psychological counseling can help you to cope with it or overcome it altogether.

 

More points about stress in the next installment.

 

5 Steps To Effectively Managing Anxiety In Your Daily Life

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting more than 40 million people. Either you or someone you know is struggling with managing anxiety.

In our modern day society, it's a normal part of life to deal with anxiety. However, when it becomes crippling and interferes with everyday activities, it may be an anxiety disorder.

It is characterized by extreme fear and worries, phobias, panic attacks, separation anxiety, and social anxiety just to name a few. It is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, and PTSD.

But how does someone deal with managing anxiety? When life becomes overwhelming, how do you cope and continue on living your life without relying on medications?

Check out our guide below for managing anxiety, it may just help you live your life better.

Avoid Synthetic Coping Tools

Many people have different coping mechanisms that they turn to when feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. Unfortunately, most of these mechanisms are very unhealthy practices and can lead to you feeling weaker, promoting more anxiety.

Stay away from practices such as:

  • Gambling
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Reckless behavior
  • Overuse of medications

These are more like "vices" that provide a temporary relief, but if they are also overused, can lead to more anxiety problems. They affect your body's natural ability to cope, leading to a dependency and eventually, addiction.

Get Moving

We all know that exercise is great for the body, but did you know about its plethora of benefits for the mind? Studies found that people who exercise were 25% less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder.

Exercising is a form of relief for mental stress. It basically converts that pent-up energy into a healthy movement, which in turn, has many more benefits such as more confidence and a boosted immune system.

Find forms of exercise that you enjoy and are comfortable doing. Exercising outdoors has incredible benefits on your well-being, as being in nature has its own remedies for coping with depression.

Meditation, Breathing, and Relaxation

The strongest coping tool you have is your mind, and just like any muscle, strengthening your mind is the best way to relieving yourself from an anxiety attack. Try listening to some guided meditations, they will help quiet the mind and help you feel calm, relaxed, and grounded.

Breathing is one of the most underrated, and productive ways of curing anxiety. It activates the body's natural relaxation response, which is a physical state in the body that changes emotional stress responses. When you feel overwhelmed, take deep breaths and count to 10, or even 20.

Learn More About Managing Anxiety

Want to learn more about coping skills for managing anxiety? You probably need to talk to a professional. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapies provide incredible results for relieving anxiety.

If you want to gain more control over your anxiety, please feel free to contact us at any time. We are here to help you gain control over your disorder and help you live your life!

Risk Factors For Depression

Depression is a very common mental disorder in the U.S. Research indicates that it is the result of a combination of factors, biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological.

 

The onset of depression may happen at any age, but most commonly in adulthood. Research has discovered, however, that it does occur in childhood and adolescence. In children and adolescents, irritability is a more common symptom than low mood or affect. Cases of high anxiety in children can mature into full scale depression in adulthood.

 

In mid-life or for older adults, depression may accompany such serious medical problems as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, and heart disease. Depression, further, is often a complicating issue, contributing adversely to the patient's condition. Some medications for medical problems may have depression as a side effect. Therefore, in seeking psychological help with problems of depression, it is necessary to inform the psychologists of the medications one is taking as that is important to the determination of treatment strategies.

 

There are generally three typical risk factors for depression:

 

1) Family history of depression

 

2) Circumstances of major life changes, such as stress or trauma

 

3) Physical illnesses and/or medications

 

Treatment and Therapies for Depression

 

Depression responds to treatment, even in severe cases. However, the earlier after the onset of signs and symptoms that treatment is initiated, the more effective the treatment is likely to be. Treatments focus on identifying the causes, ameliorating the effects of the causes, and the development of adaptive or coping strategies. However, since personalities and circumstances differ, there is no “standard” treatment, but treatment must be tailored to the specific patient and their situations and circumstances.

 

Treatment for major Depressive Disorder ranges from psychological counseling to a variety of more active psychological therapies. Individuals suffering from just a few of the symptoms, but the symptoms are particularly distressing, while not in full major Depressive Disorder, can also benefit from psychological counseling.

 

 

 

Depression

 

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

 

Demonstrating or suffering from one or more of the following symptoms, signs, or behaviors for a good part of the day, virtually every day, for a period of at least two weeks or more may be a sign of depression:

 

  • Feelings of being anxious without any particular reason

  • Feelings of being “empty”

  • Pessimistic feelings

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Being irritable

  • Persistent guilt feelings

  • Feelings of helplessness

  • Feelings of being worthlessness

  • Loss of energy

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Slow thought or speech patterns

  • Restlessness or problems in sitting still

  • Problems with concentration

  • Memory problems

  • Trouble in making decisions

  • Difficulty in going to sleep and/or staying asleep for an extended period of time

  • Oversleeping

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Changes in appetite, depressed appetite

  • Recurring thoughts about death or suicide

  • Actual suicide attempts.

  • Persistent pains, aches, cramps, headaches, and/or digestive problems that have no particular physical cause, and which are not alleviated by medical treatment.

 

 

People suffering from depression do not ordinarily demonstrate all of these symptoms. While some people may experience several of the signs and symptoms, other people will demonstrate only a few, or just one or two. Accompanying the signs and symptoms is usually a “low” mood, a negative change in the enthusiasm for life. This is also a requirement for the diagnosis of a major Depressive Disorder.

 

 

Treatment for major Depressive Disorder ranges from psychological counseling to a variety of more active psychological therapies. Individuals suffering from just a few of the symptoms, but the symptoms are particularly distressing, while not in full major Depressive Disorder, can also benefit from psychological counseling.

Next:  More on depression

 

 

 

DEPRESSION

 

Definition

 

Depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression, is a significant mood disorder that is, unfortunately, relatively common. The effects of depression are a variety of symptoms affecting how one thinks, personal emotions, and how one reacts to and performs activities, working, and even eating and sleeping. For the diagnosis of depression to be relevant, symptoms must have been demonstrated for at least two weeks.

 

There are several forms that the depressive disorder may take arising from particular circumstances:

 

  • The Persistent Depressive Disorder is also called “Dysthymia.” It is a state of depression that persists for at least two years. The person demonstrating this disorder can have intermittent periods of major depression along with times of symptoms that are less severe. But, the critical element is that this condition persists for at least two years.

  • The Perinatal Depression which typically follows childbirth. Thus, it is also called the “baby blues.” It is a generally mild depressive condition combined with anxiety that typically arises in women in about two weeks following childbirth. This is called Postpartum Depression. The symptoms of this form of depression may also be experienced before childbirth. The symptoms are anxiety, feelings of sadness and exhaustion. Often this depression adversely affects the ability of the new mother to carry out her child caring duties an also appropriately caring for herself.

  • The Psychotic Depression is a severe depression which is accompanied by forms of psychosis, such as delusions and/or hallucinations. These symptoms may also be accompanied by various forms of delusions relating to poverty, responsibility, or guilt.

  • The Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is a reaction to conditions, such as sunlight, cloudiness, or the length of daylight. Further, as the word “seasonal” suggests, this condition differs based on the season of the year. In the autumn and winter, it comes on and often worsens, but it is alleviated and even may vanish in the spring and summer. Known also as Winter Depression, SAD symptoms may be withdrawal from social activities, gains in weight, and a desire for sleeping more and longer. These symptoms recur each year with the coming of the winter

  • The Bipolar Disorder is a distinctive form of depression and a disorder of its own, but those suffering from the bipolar disorder experience moods which are the same as those of depressive disorder. The significant element of the bipolar disorder is the fact that they can also experience periods of mania, elation, and “highs” in which he or she may be manic, irritable, or euphoria.

 

 

There are also less common forms of depression, such as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which occurs in children and adolescents, and the premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

 

 

Next: Signs and Symptoms of Depressive Disorders.

 

 

 

Treatments and Therapies For PTSD

 

There are a number of possible treatments and therapies for people suffering from PTSD. While some medication may contribute therapeutic benefits, psychotherapy is focused on long-term relief or mitigation of the worst symptoms. Since each individual case is unique, a treatment that is effective for one patient may not be so effective for another. What is critical is that people suffering from PTSD receive treatment by a trained psychologist with knowledge and experience in treating PTSD. Work with a psychologist may entail efforts focused on several possible treatments to discover which is the most effective.

 

Additionally, beyond the treatment for PTSD itself, there may be family members or significant others who are regularly or occasionally affected also by the PTSD reactions of the patient, and so differing approaches to family or personal therapy may be required for them as well as the PTSD patient. Occasionally, there are abusive relationships situations involved which requires an expanded range of people receiving treatment.

 

In some cases, there may be other psychological problems not directly associated with the PTSD that require treatment, such as depression, suicidal impulses or behavior, and/or substance abuse.

 

Thus, it is important that a knowledgeable psychologist, like Dr. Blair, provide expert PTSD treatment.

 

 
  • Conditions & Disorders

    Dr. Blair has the training and experience to treat a wide variety of problems, conditions and disorders. She is a relationship expert and marriage family therapist who specializes in relationship counseling .

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