Sara, a person who has consulted me frequently for help for many years, has been a harsh self-critic; essentially, picking up where both her parents left off. While therapy has helped her to become more accepting of her shortcomings and occasional failures, Sara still, at times, can berate or belittle herself for an occasional error in judgment, a social gaffe, or even a disappointing experience on a blind date.
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Secondhand smoke may place individuals at greater risk for mental health problems, new research asserts.
"Stop being so defensive!" is a phrase known to have begun or to have escalated many a battle between people in a relationship. The person told to stop being defensive usually responds by stating that he or she is not being defensive. The accuser then uses that response as evidence to prove his point and an argument ensues. The issue that was the subject of the exchange gets lost in the anger-storm and not reopened for some time, if ever.
I often hear clients expressing concern about an event or a situation of some kind for which they are experiencing something known as anticipatory anxiety. This is a heightened sense of worry and vigilance about some dreaded event or experience that the anxious individual fears might overwhelm him, sometimes known as the "what-will-happen-next" fear.
This intriguing question – in so many variations – has been asked by many people who are struggling with both the joys and the consequences of being involved in a serious romantic partnership. For some, being single is a most desirable state and valued for the many freedoms and opportunities it affords. There are many who choose to be single and resist serious romantic involvements because they do not wish to complicate their independent and autonomous lives. For others, being single is a time of waiting; waiting to be partnered so that they can, as one client remarked, "feel whole again." For them, being single is just unacceptable; or, worse, a possible indication that they are 'undesirable', as in "nobody wants me."
When most couples call me for a couples therapy consultation, they have reached a point where the severity of their ongoing conflict has reached the danger zone. Some couples seek help when the early signs of trouble begin to develop. Others wait…and wait, either hoping that their difficulties will resolve themselves or that they will find a way to address their problems independent of professional help. Some couples, it seems, have chosen to consult a therapist as the "option of last resort" prior to initiating divorce proceedings.
Many clients have spoken to me about their experiences with people in their lives wishing that they would – or, worse – telling them that they must "get over" some emotional condition or disorder from which they are suffering. This could be a state of depression, a grief reaction to the loss of a loved one, or something else that requires time – and maybe professional help – in order to overcome.
During the course of the country's economic crisis, countless numbers of people have lost their jobs. Many, fortunately, were able to become reemployed quickly and often in jobs comparable to their previous positions. There have been many, however, who have remained unemployed for months or even years. Some of them have expressed fears such as "I wonder if I am still employable," or "I'm afraid I may never work in my field again!" Sometimes continued unemployment leads to self-doubt – or worse, negative beliefs – that may have never been there before, e.g. "I wonder if I'm really not as good at my job as I thought," or "maybe I'm really lousy in interviews," or "perhaps I'm just not a desirable person."
We do not generally think of water consumption as necessarily having anything to do with mental well-being, however if we fully understand the active interplay between mind and body, our appreciation for the importance of maintaining good hydration as a health and mental health issue deepens.
Some people, it seems, need to be 'right' more than they need almost anything else. I am frequently struck by the verbal lengths a person will go when they are very sure of themselves and someone challenges their belief, their memory, or their knowledge about something. This need takes many forms and is an interpersonal transaction often observed in the context of my work with couples.