Tips to Conquer the Need for Approval

There are many different techniques a therapist can employ in cognitive therapy to aid individuals that are looking to conquer their need for approval. The most common and often the most productive are listed below.
Discover the trigger:
The situation in which you find yourself may actually be the trigger as you may be worried about what others may think of you. Too many times, when you are ready to discuss a situation, you may be too worried about your own underlying feelings and thoughts which can bring about feelings of your own need for approval, so you say nothing.
Pros and Cons for seeking approval:
Too many times a person that always seeks approval will allow others to take advantage of them due to this need. Due to this, the person that needs approval may not be honest or let their true feelings show so others will still approve of them. On many occasions for those that seek approval, they want to be liked by all they come in contact with even if they do not agree with their point of view or their actions. Instead of saying something, the person just accepts the situation which can often put in harm’s way such as being in a group that uses drugs. If you are placing yourself in danger just to have the approval of your peer group then this is certainly a con of needing everyone’s approval.
Immediate negative thoughts:
When first meeting new individuals or even being in your own group of friends, you may have negative thoughts as soon as you see a person. These thoughts could be such as “This person believes I am mean”, “He will not like me.”, and “I hate to argue.”, among others. Once these thoughts hit home, you will need to figure out what they mean you to personally. If you think this person will not like you, do you think it is because you are a bad person or that you are wrong in some way? On the other hand, some individuals that seek approval, often believe that one person that does not like them will talk about them and make them lose all their friends. Due to these thoughts, too many times, the person seeking approval will go overboard to make this person like them even if it puts them in harm’s way.
Know the evidence and then consider the thoughts:
If someone in your group of friends disagrees with you, you must look at your thoughts. Could you be wrong? Do your ideas truly make you a bad person? The truth is that you may just have different ideas or opinions than another person and it does not mean they will no longer be your friend. You will need to think back and decide if you are still friends with another person after you did not see eye to eye. Just because one person is no longer your friend after disagreeing, does not mean that every person that does not agree will no longer be your friend.
Think of others:
There is more than likely sometime in your life that a friend has come to you because a friend of theirs disagrees with them. What advice would you give? Would you automatically believe your friend was bad or wrong or the other person or could you see both sides?
Does it change anything that this person does not like you?:
You must weigh what would change if this person does not like you. Could you still do all your normal activities, be with your family, and enjoy work and your home life? You may realize, that nothing will change at all except that you had a disagreement with this person. This person may even still be in your life but may respect your opinion as you stood up for your ideas, beliefs, and opinions.
Consider how you will feel when you remember the situation:
In the future when the situation comes to mind, how will you feel? You may realize that after a few months, the thoughts never come to mind. This means all the worry at the moment has no long term effects on your emotions or thoughts. You must learn to put these experiences in perspective and give them the right attention which is often much less than you realize.
Complete approval:
There is not one person in the entire world that everyone loves and accepts. Every person has more than one person in their life that does not like something they have said or done. However, these individuals still continue to make it through life very happily.
Fear and anxiety:
In order to overcome needing everyone’s approval, you must learn to stand up for yourself. If not, more and more people will actually use you often without your own knowledge as you live in fear wanting everyone to like you. You may soon learn that you are the one babysitting everyone’s kids at family events even though you do not have any kids, cleaning up the kitchen while the family is visiting, and so on and so forth. Seeking approval can often make you everyone’s puppet instead of being part of the family. Being assertive and standing up for yourself is not a bad thing and you may begin to enjoy family gatherings without the fear of losing their approval.
Conclusion:
You are always going to meet someone that disagrees with you on some point. This does not mean that you will lose your friends. You must learn how to be assertive in a way that others will respect your wishes and opinions, while still ensuring you are going to be stepped on.

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Co-Parenting with a Problem Ex

For those that have a problem ex often described as toxic, it can be difficult to co-parent, however, it is not impossible. Many individuals state that their ex is abusive, does not have good parenting skills, is angry about the divorce, is addicted to alcohol or drugs, and tries to alienate the children. Even if your ex is in this description, you can co-parent, however, if your ex is behaving in a manner that might cause danger to you or the children, then you will need to seek more resources especially if you are afraid of abuse.
An ex that just acts rude or behaves poorly, you can still co-parent by using a few tips that might help you and your children with the transition. Of course, it would be best if you could get your ex into co-parenting counseling even though they may not listen at first.
1. Put the Children First
When you are co-parenting, the most important thing to remember is that you must put your children first. The needs of the children are more important than the way your ex is behaving. Try to steer all conversations toward the sake and need of the children at all times.
2. Negative reactions due to triggers
More than likely you know what triggered your ex’s moods that may have been the last draw that sent you down the road to divorce. While co-parenting with your ex, be sure that you do not trigger those reactions. Even though in the past, you may have used these triggers during your marriage to make your point, now that the marriage is over, stop triggering the negative reaction. Remember the very first tip, children first. They do not need to see any more negative moods or arguing.
3. Only talk about raising the children
Once again, the only conversation you should have with your ex is about raising the children. There may be unresolved issues in your marriage, but with a toxic ex, these topics are not going to help you raise the children. As a matter of fact, hashing over the same old topics can actually make it harder to agree on any parenting issue.
3. Never say anything bad about your ex in front of the children
This may be hard at times as you are more than likely still angry and hurt over the end of your marriage, however, the children love both parents and need to be unbiased. When hearing a parent talk bad about the other parent it can cause the children to have issues with the parent and often harder for any parenting skills to work. Too many times, children will begin to feel like they cannot talk to you about the fun things they do with your ex which places them in a position to lie to you or to stay quiet. In order to keep a good relationship, you must put your own feelings behind you, at least in front of the children. It would be best to talk with a counselor about your emotions so you can get on with your life and enjoy time with your children.
4. Promote a good relationship for your children with the other parent
Remember, your children love you and your ex. As long as the other parent is not abusing the children or is an addict, they should enjoy spending time with their other parent.
5. When talking with your ex, make it all about the children
It is best if you keep your personal life to yourself when talking with a problem ex. The only thing that needs to be discussed is the children, period.
After trying these tips and nothing seems to be working without causing arguments, then it may be time to seek help from a professional therapist even if your problem ex will not attend counseling.

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New Research Shows Possible Help in Bipolar Disorder

A new study regarding females with rapid cycling bipolar disorder shows promise but not without controversy. The study performed at the University of Texas at Austin showed that by adding the supplement levothyroxine also known as T4 along with mood stabilizers showed promise for decreasing symptoms and mood episodes in some women that were suffering from rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
The study was very specific as to which females the supplement would actually help which were only those that tested positive for antithyroid antibodies and were diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
The Controversy
Dr. Jennifer Jacobson, the lead investigator of the study, stated that if a health care provider believed a female was suffering from rapid cycling that the antibody screen and thyroid function tests could easily be added to the baseline lab tests and if they show positive then the supplement should be given as the patient could benefit.
On the turn of the coin, John Mann, MD, a professor at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center stated that the research was based on a small ideographic report that will draw attention to using the supplement, however, did not answer questions that are very important. He went on to explain that other studies have shown that when there is a deficiency of transthyretin in patients suffering from depression and it might be beneficial to add the supplement. However, there is no way of measuring this hormone in the brain to learn if there is any efficacy to adding the supplement.
He added that adding this supplement does carry risk especially if the levels of the hormone are actually in the normal range. He suggested before adding the supplement, health care providers should weigh all risks involved when considering adding Transthyretin for a treatment resistant individual in order to gain an antidepressant response. He went on to say the same for T4 as a stabilizer for patients that are not responding well to standard mood stabilizers or adding triiodothyronine in order to speed up the antidepressant response.
He did agree that reviewing the function of the thyroid should be included in the first evaluation to determine the best treatment methods for each patient.
The Findings of the Study
At the 2017 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, the findings of the study were presented by Dr. Jacobson. For the report, 1000 females were examined, but only six met all the criteria for the study. The charts of the patients were examined six months prior to adding the T4 supplement and once again in six months after the supplement was introduced.
At this time, the mood episodes were carefully examined by the severity of the symptoms and the number of episodes which were then categorized as full remission, partial remission, mild, moderate, or severe using the DSM-5 criteria.
Mood episodes decreased to 0.33 from 2.17 at the six-month mark after introducing the supplement.
The severity of the symptoms decreased to 0.81 from 1.59.
The severity of manic episodes decreased to 0.38 from 0.54.
Scores for PHQ-9 decreased to 6.58 from 10.56.
No bad effects were reported in any patients.
Conclusion
More studies need to be conducted to learn the overall health benefit of adding hormone supplements for patients suffering from bipolar disorder. It would be in the best interest of the patient to perform all testing before making a decision to add supplements.

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Divorce Counseling Benefits

No matter the reason a couple is getting divorced, it can be very emotionally traumatic. Coping with not being a couple any longer can be demanding financially, physically, and mentally which may be the main reason a couple decides to receive divorce counseling.

In the majority of cases, individual counseling is often the chosen way as some people often feel grief, depression, anxiety, fear, or guilt due to the end of their marriage. Counseling can usually benefit both partners as they will learn more about who they are and can see that divorce is a transition in life and is also an opportunity for personal development.

Some cases have shown that divorce may be a contributing factor for certain mental health disorders to arise including depression and anxiety. Too many times, people look at the divorce as their own personal failure. Divorce counseling can provide those going through a divorce with the help they need to understand their feelings, the end of their marriage and even see it in a new light. Some may learn through counseling what they really expect and do not want in their relationship which can lead to a better understanding of oneself.

In some cases, couples will go to counseling together in order to have a mediator that will help them go through the divorce with fewer arguments and emotional damage. An experienced divorce therapist can help couples with issues that arise during their divorces such as responsibilities to the children, financial obligations, and living arrangements.

For those with children, many parents are so involved with their own issues during a divorce, they may not realize if their children are also having emotional issues. Children can often feel many of the same problems as their parents during this new phase in their lives. They may feel like the divorce is their fault, especially if they have overheard their parents talking about custody or visitation. Children can also feel abandonment, pain, guilt, and loss. They may feel as if they must choose one parent over the other and worry about all kinds of other things during this time. Children may also need to talk with a therapist to learn to cope with their new life and how to cope with the new environment or feelings of loss.

Every couple that goes through a divorce will have different feelings according to the reason for the breakup. Learning how to cope with these feelings and discovering who you are without your spouse, may be the best reasons to seek divorce counseling. Too many times, people think it is normal and everyone gets a divorce and they should just suck it up and go forward. However, this is not really the case for many couples. It can be very difficult to learn to live without the other person in your life or you may be wondering what you did wrong to cause the breakup. No matter the reason, talking with a professional divorce counselor will give you the confidence you need to begin again.

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What are Anxiety Disorders?

Every person can have a touch of anxiety when they are faced with making decisions, taking an exam, problems at home or at work. However, anxiety disorders are more than just an occasional worry or fear. Individuals that suffer from an anxiety disorder must deal with the fear, worry, and anxiety around the clock, so to speak, and the symptoms grow worse if the person does not seek help to learn how to cope with the disorder.

When it comes to anxiety disorders they are categorized into two groups which are short term and long term anxiety disorders.

Short Term Anxiety Disorders

These types of disorders are usually brought on from a stressor with the symptoms associated with anxiety going away once the stressor is gone from your life.

If a person has a traumatic event in their life, they can suffer from acute stress disorder which occurs in the moments after the event. This disorder is short lived and the person will lose their stress once the event can be handled accordingly.

During major life changing events, a person may experience an adjustment disorder that also includes anxiety. This type of anxiety is often seen when a person moves to another city or is getting married or other changes in your life. In the majority of cases, the symptoms begin about three months prior to the events and can last up to six months.

Those that use drugs or alcohol can develop a substance-induced anxiety disorder. The symptoms will leave once the person stops using the substance and the withdrawal symptoms have come to an end.

List of Long Term Anxiety Disorders

More serious types of anxiety disorders often start during childhood and if the person does not receive professional therapy can last many years into adulthood. Many individuals that do not receive help live with the symptoms for their entire lives and believe that it is just a part of their life.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a long-term disorder that can occur at any time in any situation, environment, or can even involve objects. The overwhelming fear or worry comes on without any known cause.

Panic disorder occurs when a person feels overcome with anxiety, fear, or worry. In many cases, the person does not know why they feel the fear but it can make them freeze and not be able to move or speak. Once a person begins having panic attacks, they can have a panic attack at any time as they begin to worry about having another panic attack.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic disorder that causes an individual to have obsessive or intrusive behavior or thoughts. These can be things such as repeatedly washing their hands, checking to make sure doors are locked, or even being obsessed with another individual.

Those suffering from agoraphobia may not want to leave home. The fear of being out in a situation they cannot control is so overwhelming, that they would rather stay at home instead of putting themselves in a situation where they may have a panic attack.

Social anxiety disorder is often described as the fear of being around strangers or performing in public. Many are afraid of being embarrassed, however, this can lead to agoraphobia without proper counseling.

Post traumatic stress disorder happens after a traumatic event such as fighting in a war, being abused as a child, or abused as an adult. In many cases, this disorder may not develop right after the event, but can kind of lay dormant until years later which can cause the person to have fear and worry about leaving the house.

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Startling Signs of Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are often characterized by the common person as someone that is either depressed or anxious which will usually show by such behaviors as not wanting to get up in the morning, crying for no reason, or biting their nails. However, there are small signs that most people do not realize and since most individuals that suffer from some type of mood disorder, have conditioned themselves to control the signs when possible so they seem like nothing is wrong, it can be even harder for family and friends to notice anything out of the ordinary.

There are more mood disorders besides anxiety and depression which include seasonal affective disorder, cyclothymic disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, among others and the way in which the disorder presents itself can be different from one person to another. Every person is unique; therefore, the signs of a mood disorder can be very different as well.

The startling signs that you may not realize are below. Even these can be signs that a friend or loved one may be suffering from a mood disorder.

Slow Movement

Physically a person with a mood disorder, such as depression, may actually walk at a slower pace, speak slower, and have decreased cognitive function. In the Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry journal, this is known as psychomotor retardation.

Abrupt Changes in Sleep Patterns

When an individual is suffering from a mood disorder, their hormones and neurotransmitters are also fluctuating, which can lead to abrupt changes in the amount of sleep the person gets every night. Some individuals will sleep more while others have a hard time going to sleep or may not be able to sleep all night long without interruptions.

Abrupt Changes in Eating Patterns

Those with a mood disorder may begin to eat less or even eat more. This behavior does not point to one disorder as some individuals may eat more when depressed while others may eat more. The same goes for those with anxiety. Every individual is different as explained above, so the symptoms can vary as well.

Migraines

Through research, a link has been found between bipolar disorder and depression and severe migraines. For a person that is experiencing more headaches as well as frequent ups and downs, then you may have a mood disorder.

Lack of Personal Hygiene

Some people change their personal hygiene habits according to the way they feel such as not taking showers or other changes that are noticeable. If a woman always wears makeup, but suddenly, stops or if a man never leaves the house unshaven, but just begins to not shave, these are warning signs.

Becomes Less Social

Some people with a mood disorder, begin to start staying at home or not attending social functions which can go as far as not answering their telephone. This is usually seen with depression as most individuals just feel like doing nothing and the desire to be alone is often strong.

Impulsive Shopping

Those suffering from bipolar disorder have lows and highs. During the highs known as manic, many turn to impulsive behavior such as spending more or not even thinking but buying things on a whim. During the lows, they often feel lonely and isolated.

Physical Pain

Depression and anxiety can bring on physical pain often in the way of back pain. The reason is that when tension is held inward, it often shows through the back where the person may feel stiff or have pains in the lower back, upper back or neck.

Reduced Concentration

You may look at a person and think they must have their minds on too many things at once as they seem like they are disorganized. This could be a sign of depression as they may have problems with concentration instead of disorganization.

Being Cranky

Teenagers often show signs of irritability. This can be from problems sleeping which will, of course, cause a person to not be able to hold their temper. If a person gets upset quickly over small things and begins to perform more physical activities, this can also be a sign of a mood disorder.

If you or a loved one, have any of the above signs, you may wish to talk with an experienced mood disorder counselor. The sooner, you seek help from a professional, the better the chances are for the person to begin living a normal life through counseling and in some cases, medications to help with the symptoms of the mood disorder.

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Teens Hiding Mental Illness

Across America in recent years, national tragedies have been occurring in our schools where one student will come to school with a gun and just start shooting their classmates. The signs of mental illness, especially among teens, are often hidden away due to the teen feeling different than his or her peers.

At this time, there are close to four million teens and even children that have a severe mental disorder in the United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, it is estimated that in any year, only 20% of the children and teens are discovered and receive counseling for mental disorders.

The major problem with having a mental condition is that stigmatism that society has placed on these problems. If a student was hospitalized for a serious disease such as cancer the outpouring of love and caring would be given to this teen; however, if a teen or child is getting help for a mental disorder they are often shunned, made fun of, or even bullied which brings on the reason to hide their problems from the world.

Children and teens suffer just like adults when it comes to mental disorders due to the social outlook which will lead to shame, social isolation, and secrecy. This is the main reason that many of the teens suffering from a mental disorder harm themselves or harm others, according to the disorder that they are suffering.

Teens just want to fit in with their peers according to Chicago-based Dr. Niranjan Karnik from the Rush University Medical Center. He went on to explain that many teens may not even know they are not feeling right due to fewer life experiences and fewer reference points to compare good and bad days. He expressed that he has talked with teens that had depression but thought it was normal as they have felt this way for several years.

Even teens that thought something was not right, were afraid to tell anyone and parents believed their kids were just going through a rough time due to turning into a teenager.

A recent study of teens between the ages of twelve and seventeen was conducted at the Case Western Reserve University Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences that had been diagnosed with a mental disorder and were taking prescription medicine. The study showed that 90% of the teens had feelings of shame, less social interaction, and keep secrets.

There have been changes in the last twenty years that are helping to change the social stigma of mental illness. However, more programs need to be available as well as teachers and other adults that deal with children and adults should be educated on the signs of mental disorders.

Changing the way society looks on mental illness is a huge challenge and until the social stigma changes even with insurance companies so children and teens can receive the counseling they need, teens are going to hide the symptoms which will only make the condition worse.

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