Self Care: An Important Part of Health

cbt and self care


When clients come to my office for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we work to solve their  problems using methods exactly as the name implies.

  • We use a Cognitive approach by recognizing, challenging, & changing irrational thoughts.
  • We use a Behavioral approach by assessing current behaviors and determining if changes could improve mental health.


On the Behavioral side, one of the powerful changes a person can make is to focus more on Self Care.  Some small changes in routines can have a significant positive impact on anxiety, depression, and anger management.

Self Care Suggestions


For some suggestions on adding more Self Care to your life, Annie Wright Psychotherapy via offers some ideas. 

101 ways to take care of yourself when the world feels overwhelming


If you suffer from sleep anxiety or depression, choosing to add few of these things to your to-do list could result in big changes.  Some of my favorites from this list are:

  • breaking up my day into small tasks
  • writing lists things I love
  • taking a break from all tech



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Introduction

The Cognitive Model (CBT): An introductory Explanation:

Two different people can react very differently to identical situations.  The basic premise of CBT is based on explaining WHY this happens, and HOW you can control your reactions.  Here is an example:

Situation #1:  Boss and new employee number 1 talking in a conference room.  Boss says to the employee, “You are a nice person.  I like you.” 

Automatic Thought of Employee #1:  “He likes me.  That is great, I must be making a positive cognitive behavioral therapy and confidenceimpression”

Emotion of Employee #1:  Happiness

Behavior of Employee #1:  Smiles and leans forward.

Physical Response of Employee #1:  Relaxation

Situation #2: Boss and new employee #2 are talking in a conference room.  Boss says to employee #2, “You are a nice person.  I like you.”

Automatic Thought of Employee #2: “No one ever likes me immediately.  My boss is lying to me.  I cannot trust him.”CBT anxiety

Emotion of Employee #2:  Anxiety

Behavior of Employee #2:  Frowns and looks down.

Physical Response of Employee #2:  Increased heart rate.

The Automatic Thought of each employee creates very different reactions to identical situations.  During Cognitive Therapy, clients learn to identify, challenge, and change these automatic thoughts.

For more information on CBT, contact


Bravo, Kate Middleton!

HRH Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton

In this video, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge pledges her support for children’s mental health by endorsing The Place to Be, a charitable organization for children in the UK.  The Pace to Be is “the leading UK provider of school-based mental health support, unlocking children’s potential in the classroom – and beyond.”

The Place to be has declared February 16-22 the first Children’s Mental Health Week in the UK.  Thanks to all who are bringing this important message to the public.


Uptown Dallas Counseling provides CBT: Aaron Beck’s Blueprint

CBT Uptown Dallas Counseling

Dr. Aaron Beck, founder of CBT

Uptown Dallas Counseling provides CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  The founder of CBT, Dr. Aaron Beck, explains his view of CBT in this 6-minute audio track.

Dr. Beck founded the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy in 1994.  From the Beck Institute website:

Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a leading international source for training, therapy, and resources in CBT. Our Center for Training delivers workshops to a worldwide audience of mental health professionals, researchers, and educators, and our Philadelphia-based Center for Psychotherapy provides state-of-the-art therapy and consultations.
Dr. Aaron T. Beck developed Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1960s. In 1994, Dr. Beck and his daughter, Dr. Judith Beck, established Beck Institute as a non-profit 501(c)(3). Their goal was to create a new clinical setting that would provide both state-of-the-art psychotherapy and comprehensive training opportunities for professionals worldwide.
Over the past 20 years, our organization has carried out Dr. Beck’s therapeutic model and guiding principles in training more than 3,500 professionals through our Center for Training, and providing clinical therapy services to over 2,000 individuals, couples, and families through our Center for Psychotherapy.
In addition to our professional workshops and on-site psychotherapy practice, Beck Institute remains an international authority on, and resource for, CBT information and research. Our organization continues to partner with universities, hospitals, community mental health centers, health systems, and other institutions to create and improve cognitive behavior therapy programs.

Uptown Dallas Counseling provides CBT for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health problems.

Uptown Dallas Counseling writes about Diet and Mental Health

mental health and diet

From the University of Melbourne via Uptown Dallas Counseling:

Evidence is rapidly growing showing vital relationships between both diet quality and potential nutritional deficiencies and mental health, a new international collaboration led by the University of Melbourne and Deakin University has revealed.

Published in The Lancet Psychiatry today, leading academics state that as with a range of medical conditions, psychiatry and public health should now recognize and embrace diet and nutrition as key determinants of mental health.

Lead author, Dr Jerome Sarris from the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), said psychiatry is at a critical stage, with the current medically-focused model having achieved only modest benefits in addressing the global burden of poor mental health.

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology,” Dr Sarris said.

“In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health,” he said.

Findings of the review revealed that in addition to dietary improvement, evidence now supports the contention that nutrient-based prescription has the potential to assist in the management of mental disorders at the individual and population level.

Studies show that many of these nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids.

“While we advocate for these to be consumed in the diet where possible, additional select prescription of these as nutraceuticals (nutrient supplements) may also be justified,” Dr Sarris said.

Associate Professor Felice Jacka, a Principal Research Fellow from Deakin University and president of the ISNPR noted that many studies have shown associations between healthy dietary patterns and a reduced prevalence of and risk for depression and suicide across cultures and age groups.

“Maternal and early-life nutrition is also emerging as a factor in mental health outcomes in children, while severe deficiencies in some essential nutrients during critical developmental periods have long been implicated in the development of both depressive and psychotic disorders,” she said.

A systematic review published in late 2014 has also confirmed a relationship between ‘unhealthy’ dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents. Given the early age of onset for depression and anxiety, these data point to dietary improvement as a way of preventing the initial incidence of common mental disorders.

Dr Sarris, an executive member of the ISNPR, believes that it is time to advocate for a more integrative approach to psychiatry, with diet and nutrition as key elements.

“It is time for clinicians to consider diet and additional nutrients as part of the treating package to manage the enormous burden of mental ill health,” he said.

From Uptown Dallas Counseling Study Tips.

Looking for a way to improve your studying skills?  Joseph Stromberg of writes about his interview with psychologists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel — who’ve spent a combined 80 years studying learning and memory, and recently distilled their findings with novelist Peter Brown in the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.  Here is a summary of their findings.


For more information on smart studying skills, contact Holly Scott at Uptown Dallas Counseling.


Lovely Mornings by Leo Babauta

no anxiety morning

Photo Credit: Simon Van Cleeff

Leo Babauta over at Fast Company describes how he changed his hectic, stressful mornings into Lovely Mornings.  To make this significant change, he challenged himself to reframe the way he thinks about morning tasks.  He then created a list of behavior changes that, when practiced on a consistent, regular basis, created his new Lovely Mornings.  Here is Babauta’s new morning routine and his reasons for the changes.

If your mornings are rushed, the simple solution is to get up a bit earlier. This means going to bed a bit earlier too. Do it gradually, just 10 minutes earlier a week, and you’ll barely notice the change.

One of my early mistakes was trying to fit too much into the mornings–I wanted to meditate and work out and read and write and journal, and it turns out I couldn’t do all those things. It felt too rigid, too packed. What’s helped me is having a couple things I do early on but not having a lot on my morning agenda, so that I can have space and flexibility. That makes the time much more peaceful and enjoyable. So the meditation and reading and writing are the only things that I do almost every morning, but I let myself be flexible with those too.

Don’t pack your mornings full of things you need to do … but do have something you can’t wait to get up and do. For me, that’s reading and writing. For others, morning yoga or painting or reading the paper with coffee might be better. Don’t just have things you think you should do but don’t really want to do.

I like to start with meditation (though I do miss some days), because it sets the tone for my morning–one of mindfulness. I then drink my coffee and write and do everything else with a more mindful attitude, noticing when I start to rush and feel stressed, noticing small things that I might miss if I were distracted.

Consider this early morning time your sacred space–don’t fill it with junk. Junk includes TV, news, email, social media, apps, etc. Instead, put meaningful things in this sacred space, things that you won’t have time for later. You can always dive into email after an hour (or more) of lovely morning peace.

This time isn’t just something you fill with things to do … it’s open space. That means the space itself is something to be treasured, not just what you put in it. For example, if you do yoga and read, the morning isn’t just valuable because of the yoga and reading … the space around those two things is also wonderful. The time you’re putting your yoga mat away, getting a cup of coffee, walking to where your book is, sitting and staring at the morning light … these little spaces are just as amazing as anything else. Pace yourself so that you’re not rushing from one thing to the next, but enjoying the spaces.

If you want to change your morning mood from angry and anxious, you may want to try some of his techniques.  The results will come gradually as you tailor these ideas to work best for you.

Emotional Support Dogs

emotional support dog

by Simon van Cleeff

Emotional Support dogs can change a person’s life.  According to the National Center for PTSD, an Emotional Support dog is defined as:

…a pet that helps an owner with a mental health condition. Emotional support dogs help owners feel better by giving friendship and companionship. These dogs are also called comfort dogs or support dogs.

An emotional support dog does not need special training. Generally, a regular pet can be an emotional support dog if a mental health provider writes a letter saying that the owner has a mental health condition or disability and needs the dog’s help for his or her health or treatment.

In most states, emotional support dogs do not have special permission to go to all public places like service dogs do. But, emotional support dogs are sometimes allowed special consideration. For example, the owner may be able to get permission to have an emotional support pet in a house or apartment that does not normally allow dogs. Or, the owner may be able to get permission to fly on a plane together with the dog.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder or any mental health challenge that lessens when in the company of your dog, consider asking your mental health provider for Emotional Support Dog Documentation.  You may be able to receive special permission when traveling, dining, staying in hotels, or renting apartments.  Find the state level regulations on Emotional Support Dogs, then follow up with your airline, hotel, restaurant or landlord.

This article provides more information on dogs and their affect on mental health.



Take a Meditation Break

meditationIf you are looking for a guided meditation application to help relieve stress during your busy work day, try

This site provides “Dozens of custom meditations for 14 different parts of your day including traveling, being online, taking a work break and going to sleep.”

The site developers say their application is “Lovingly designed, buddhify teaches you the techniques you need to bring more calm, awareness and compassion to our digital lives.”

Is a Lack of Sleep Causing Your Depression?

uptown dallas counseling and woman sleeping

When you are not getting adequate sleep, you suffer more than just the physical effects of being tired.  You can become irritable, impatient, anxious, and depressed.  Lack of sleep undermines creativity and efficiency. Fatigue can hinder your cognitive skills of memorization, concentration, and motivation. Getting an adequate level of sleep means you are not only sleeping the number of hours your body needs, but also your sleep is high quality sleep.

Negative Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

  1. Lower stress threshold. Normal, everyday tasks can feel overwhelming.
  2. Impaired memory. Your brain’s ability to form memories declines.
  3. Trouble concentrating. You lose your ability to focus on a task, but also often overestimate your performace.
  4. Decreased optimism and sociability. Sleep-deprived individuals consistently score higher on Hopelessness Scales and report the desire to isolate from others.
  5. Impaired creativity and innovation. New research suggests that sleep deprivation may have a particular effect on these two areas of cognition.
  6. Increased resting blood pressure. Even a half night of sleep loss can cause increases in blood pressure.
  7. Increased food consumption and appetite. Participants in scientific research showed an increase in their desire to consume food.
  8. Increased risk of heart attack. Sleep study participants had increased levels of inflammation associated with cardiac disease.
  9. Weakened immune system.  Sleep depravation causes white blood cell counts to rise.
  10. Decreased ability to metabolize sugar.

Ten Behaviors to help you get more, higher quality sleep:

  1. Establish a nightly sleep routine that includes a set bedtime.  One of the easiest behavior changes you can make to improve sleep is going to bed and waking up the same time every day.  (Including weekends.)
  2. Create a bedtime ritual that will send signals to your body and your brain that you are getting ready for sleep.  This ritual may include changing into pajamas, washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc.
  3. Do not take naps.  Even if you are tired from a previous night of little sleep, challenge yourself to stay awake until bedtime.
  4. Do not drink caffeine or alcohol, or smoke cigarettes close to bedtime.
  5. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon can help sleep patterns.  Vigorous exercise close to bedtime may delay your ability to fall asleep.
  6. Do not go to bed with a full stomach or an empty stomach.
  7. To associate your bed with sleep, do not engage in activities other than sex and sleep in your bed.
  8. Create a quiet, dark, and comfortable sleeping space.
  9. If you are unable to fall asleep for 30-45 minutes after going to bed, get up.  Do something relaxing like drinking herbal tea or reading something calming.  After 30 minutes, try to go to bed again.
  10. Reduce any stressful thoughts by making a TO DO list on paper.  Once you write these thoughts down, your level of stress will almost always decrease significantly.  Practice relaxation techniques before bed.  Deep breathing, meditation, and some forms of yoga can be helpful.

Once you commit to changing behaviors to improve your quantity and quality of sleep, keep track of your moods.  A simple piece of paper where you write your mood level (0 to 10, with 0 extreme sadness and 10 extreme happiness) can provide valuable information and motivation.  If you still need more motivation, keep a copy of the list of the negative effects of not sleeping well with you.

We all have different limitations on our time and resources that may prevent us from fully committing to getting more and better sleep.  If you can’t commit to making all the changes listed above, try a few.  Even small improvements in sleep can have a significant impact on our levels of mental and physical functioning.

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule.