Grief and Grieving

When you have suffered a large loss, you will begin to undergo a process that can be described as a normal grief reaction. Grief is poorly understood in our society and is often not tolerated for long periods of time. The more you are able to allow yourself a normal grief reaction, the less likely you are to have prolonged or complicated grief reactions or sink into a depression. Many people confuse depression and grief because of the overlap of symptoms like fatigue or loss of pleasure in life. One way to distinguish the two is to notice that grief is “working” through and the feelings...

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Should I Use My Health Insurance for Therapy?

When you decide to see a licensed psychologist for therapy, you will have some choices to make about whether to use your health insurance if you have coverage. If your problem is serious and you cannot get treatment without the coverage, then the down side of using insurance is less important than the help you might get on a serious issue. In order to use insurance, it must be considered medically necessary and you will receive a diagnosis. Certain kinds of issues will not be covered with health insurance. For example, marriage counseling is rarely covered by insurance and many insurers will...

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Money and the Experience of Loss

The years since 2008 have been a strange and frightening time for so many of my patients, colleagues and friends. Those who were not hit by the downturn can still experience fear, waiting to see when if or when it will happen to them. Most of us have already experienced significant losses in our feelings of security, trust and well-being. The money losses we point to in the stock market, housing market and job market symbolize this for us, even if we have not yet sold anything at a loss; we are concerned about the futures we had planned.

Money losses are very painful. The money research...

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Creating Connection in Couples

The material on the history of marriage that has been written by Stephanie Coontz makes it clear that expecting emotional closeness and affection in a marriage is a relatively new phenomenon and is related to western economies having accrued enough resources so that marriage is about other variables than having enough to eat or having children to work the land. Tying marriage to love in the twentieth century increased the divorce rate and the lack of stability of marriage. We are now far enough in the process of studying this new kind of marriage to have some data on what makes marriages work...

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Therapy in your 20’s and 30’s

One of the most important times in your life to seek therapy is in your 20’s and 30’s.This is the time that you are making those life decisions that will impact the course of your future. Here are just some of the questions that you are busy answering:
Should I get married and to whom?
Do I want children?
What should I do for work and an income?
Where should I live?
Why is my marriage such hard work? Is this the way it is supposed to be?
How close do I want to be to my parents?How much should I stand up to them?

As you can see, these are...

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The double taboo: Money and death

It is hard to have an open, contained conversation about money that includes emotions and does not end up in a difficult interaction. This is a learned skill for most of us. It is even harder to have an open and contained discussion about money and death. Whether you want to know what is in your parents’ estates and how they plan to distribute or you want to deal with your own estate issues with your grown children, people in general are reluctant to address these topics.

The adults who are hesitant to ask information of their parents are afraid of being seen as greedy,...

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American Psych Association Mental Health Blog Day: To the Caregivers

Mental Health Blog Party Badge

Today is mental health blog day for the American Psych Association and I am here today to extend compassion and understanding to all who are loving and caring for someone who has mental illness. There is still stigma involved in acknowledging that someone you are related to has symptoms of mental illness. Many adults who have family with mental problems feel as if it brings shame onto...

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Mental Illness and Violence

Our country is the only developed country that has mass murders perpetrated by young adults, college students, high school students and even some elementary school students. After one of these incidents such as the one in Tucson, there comes an outcry about mental illness and how the mentally ill need to be noticed, contained and treated in order to prevent violence. I agree that the mentally ill need to be treated but also feel the need to point out that the rates of violence in mentally ill populations are no higher than the rates of violence in non-mentally ill populations and are sometimes...

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The Betrayal of Trust

One of the most painful experiences that we endure as humans is the experience of feeling as though our trust has been betrayed. The trust that is broken can be with another person, a relationship, a workplace or your an institution.
A break in trust first causes us to doubt our own abilities and perceptions. If we trusted and it did not work out, then what is wrong with our own ability to see reality and size up situations? How can we trust ourselves or another again? We go through a period of doubt and questioning that can be quite profound. Emotional responses can run the gamut of anger,...

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Difficult mothers

There is often denial in families about the emotional troubles of others in the family. This is particularly true when a mother is emotionally unstable and family members look the other way instead of stepping in and dealing with the issue. The problem with this kind of denial is that children are affected by a mother’s mood swings, alcohol use, rage, verbal put downs or neediness. The same woman that no one in the family can deal with is left in charge of the children.

Often fathers have no idea what to do and avoid the situation by withdrawing and resigning themselves...

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