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You are Poised, Hard-working, and Ready to Help Others. But Could You Also Be Depressed?

There is a highly treatable, common illness that is too often ignored by the most capable among us. Symptoms may include sadness, numbness, irritability, fatigue, low energy, dis-interest or difficulty engaging in activities or with other people, feeling like a failure, lack of hope, skepticism, difficulty finding self-worth, trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much, no appetite, or eating too much, thoughts about death, dying, perhaps even about killing yourself. This illness is depression and it is no joke. Yes, it is a real thing. And it is NOT you. Depression can be sneaky. It creeps in slowly. The symptoms can start at low levels. It’s lurking just below the surface for awhile until it becomes your new norm. At first it seems relatively manageable. Depression may be related to difficult life events that would carry an expectable amount of distress     . . . read more

Emotional Health: Are You Proactive or Reactive?

We mostly accept that it’s good practice to go for a yearly physical. It’s helpful to talk with the doctor about what’s going well and where we may be off track. They take our blood pressure and run some basic blood tests so that we get a sense of how we are doing. We do this to stay well, not because we are already sick. We know that prevention is better than intervention. However, that logic is only extended to our physical health. When it comes to our emotional wellbeing, far too many people wait until they are in a serious downward spiral, and only then decide that therapy might be helpful. That’s not the best approach. It’s time to think of therapy as prevention as much as an intervention. When should you come to therapy? The moment when you notice you are negatively     . . . read more

Dominant Emotional States

A few weeks ago, I wrote to Rudy Skowronski, LCSW, who is a brilliant trauma therapist in practice in Saco, Maine (you can see his full bio at the end of this post). I asked Rudy to talk about his work with Dominant Emotional States as part of the the New Perspectives Series. Rudy’s letter back to us illustrates the deep and profound work that can be done when you worked with a highly skilled therapist. Making lasting emotional changes is possible with the proper understanding and guidance. Many thanks to Rudy for this contribution. Hi All, Here is the explanation that I use to convey  my ideas around Dominant Emotional States (DES).  After the description I will write briefly about the way I use my ideas around DES in therapy with individuals couples and families. Dominant Emotional States are     . . . read more

The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

The Senselessness of Stigma

Today I have the honor of having my guest post The Senselessness of Stigma featured on Growing Up Chaotic. Growing Up Chaotic is a blog dedicated to “Hope and guidance with a modern kick on how to survive growing up chaotic.” When creator, Dawn Clancy, told me that there has been a lot of talk about mental health stigma on her blog, I knew it was a topic I needed to write about. I’m very interested in adding to the conversation and showing how stigma is both problematic and, well, senseless. (click here to read the post). Dawn contributed a fabulous piece recently, Emotions and the Binge – How I Learned to Sit With Discomfort, for the New Perspectives Series on this blog. Dawn also has a radio program, Growing Up Chaotic Live, where I was a guest talking about EMDR a     . . . read more

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