HUGS are GOOD

Megan at TipsyWriter offers 4 Fun Facts on why hugs are so great.

HUGS ARE GOOD

Uptown Dallas Counseling provides therapy for depression and anxiety.  For appointments for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Contact Holly Scott at www.UptownDallasCounseling.com


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Depression & Humor: Can they go together?

 

mental illness

Ruby Wax

Comedian and actress Ruby Wax gave a TED talk where she spoke about her struggles with depression.  She used lots of comedy mixed with some serious science and statistics about depression.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives, but two-thirds will never seek help from a professional. Even when you isolate the U.S. population, the numbers are the same.

If you are suffering from depression or other type of mental illness, seek help from a professional.  You are not alone.  You do not have to go through this alone.

TED talk by Ruby Wax on Mental Illness

 

 

Take a Meditation Break

meditationIf you are looking for a guided meditation application to help relieve stress during your busy work day, try http://buddhify.com/

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.”

Smiling Depression: A New Phenomenon

Smile Cloud Uptown Dallas CounselingWhat happens if you force yourself to smile when you are feeling sad?  A relatively new mental health diagnosis is “Smiling Depression.”  The symptoms of Smiling Depression are the same as Major Depressive Disorder, with ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE.  People with this disorder APPEAR happy to others.  They often laugh, smile, have energy, and are socially engaged.

Smiling Depression is hard to diagnose because the person often only admits the symptoms to themselves.  They suffer in silence and only show symptoms when they are alone.  Symptoms of depression include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Smiling Depression often adds serious complications to the symptoms above, which may be:

  • thinking you are a loser.
  • Thinking you have no value
  • Feeling that your ability is inferior compared someone else.
  • You feel guilty for everything.
  • Always angry and not satisfied.

Typically, a person with smiling depression is afraid to admit to others they are suffering because they see depression as a weakness.  One of the most effective ways to help people with this type of depression is the destigmatization of mental illness.  As we work to make mental illness more public and take away the shame associated with the diagnosis, people with Smiling Depression will feel safer to seek help.

Chloe Lambert writes about the experiences of some people with smiling depression here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2044877/Could-YOU-victim-smiling-depression.html

 

 

 

Depression Therapy Treatment with Cognitive Therapy

Aaron Beck Cognitive Therapy

Dr. Judith Beck with her father, Dr. Aaron Beck

At a fundraiser on November 11, 2013, Aaron Beck talked with an audience about Depression Therapy.  While treating patients for depression in the 1960’s, he recognized a repeated pattern.  When he helped patients change their current thoughts about themselves, the patients’ moods would improve.  For example, a patient would stop thinking “I am useless” because he lost a job, to “I am talented, I will find a new job.”  Dr. Beck began to change his focus of therapy from analyzing childhood events, to challenging patients to change their negative thoughts.  Additionally, he began encouraging them to recognize and remember the many positive aspects of their lives.  He went into academia at the University of Pennsylvania where he expanded, researched, and taught his ideas to others in the field of psychology,

Dr. Beck, 92, is known as the father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and is internationally respected for his views on psychotherapy.  Dr. Beck has written dozens of books detailing effective ways to treat different disorders by using his “thought changing” techniques.  The November 11 event was a fundraiser for his Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy.  The money raised will be used to defray the costs of teaching CBT to practitioners and allow low-income clients to receive CBT treatment at the Institute.

Stacy Burling’s article published in the Inquirer on November 11, 2014 describes the details of the event:

Judith Beck, a formidable psychologist in her own right, describes her father, the psychiatrist Aaron Beck, with a mixture of amusement and veneration, as a “rock star.”

The Becks were the attractions at a fund-raising event last week for their Beck Institute in Bala Cynwyd. But it was clear that the elder Beck, known as the father of cognitive behavior therapy and one of the world’s most influential therapists, was the main draw.

Before they took the stage at WHYY in Center City to discuss their form of treatment – aimed at changing self-defeating thinking – they met with 70 “patrons” who had paid $250 a ticket for one-on-one access.

Aaron Beck, known as Tim to friends, is 92 and seriously stooped, but he was engaging and congenial as well-wishers waited in line for a chance to bend down to talk with him.

He seemed to relish the job of selling the institute, which he and Judith Beck founded 20 years ago. After the remaining 90 ticket-holders ($150 and $75) were within earshot, he joked that he and she had kept news of the center quiet until now.

“This is sort of a coming-out party for the Beck Institute,” he said.

The institute provides training in cognitive therapy as well as treatment. It recently expanded both and was raising money to help defray costs for students and patients who cannot afford the fees. This was its first fund-raiser.

“We decided the time was right to get the word out more about what we do,” Judith Beck said.

Many people think all psychotherapy is the same and equally effective, she said. “You need someone with a kind ear and the expertise to get you over what you’re suffering.”

Aaron Beck was an early advocate of measuring the effectiveness of his therapeutic approach and says cognitive therapy is now well-positioned because the Affordable Care Act encourages the use of “evidence-based” treatments.

Under the benevolent questioning of WHYY host Marty Moss-Coane, the Becks talked about their past and future with a very supportive audience.

Before Aaron Beck described how he happened on the new approach in the 1960s, he warned, “I’ve told this story before, so those who’ve heard it before can turn off their hearing aids.”

He was doing traditional psychotherapy when a patient revealed that she worried during their sessions that she was boring him. Her tales of her sexual escapades were not boring. Beck started asking other patients what they were thinking, and a theme emerged. As they went about their lives, they were telling themselves, “I am a loser.”

No wonder they were unhappy.

Beck thought it might be more fruitful to worry less about how patients felt about their mothers and work instead on changing their thinking. In each case, he’d ask them “What is the evidence?” for the negative thoughts, and challenge them to consider another explanation. He also urged them to focus more on positive things that happened, since his depressed patients seemed to selectively remember the bad.

Patients started feeling better, he said, and after 10 or 12 sessions, they told him they longer needed him.

“Until then, I was able to fill my schedule up,” Beck said drily.

This newfound efficiency, he said, led to his academic career at the University of Pennsylvania.

While new therapists get training in cognitive therapy, and many say they do it, Judith Beck said most are not doing what she recognizes as cognitive behavior therapy.

In a true CBT session, she said, the therapist assesses the patient’s mood, asks about changes since their last meeting, including positive events, and works with the patient to set an agenda for the hour. They talk about distorted automatic thoughts and how to change them.

At the end, the therapist asks the patient to summarize what happened and write down what was important. They talk about the patient’s homework for the next session, and the therapist asks for feedback and ideas on how to do better next time. That sets a “collaborative” tone.

As for the future, Aaron Beck said he thinks that evidence eventually will lead to a single approach. Cognitive therapy will be a big component of it, but it will be “fleshed out and modified in many ways.”

Aaron Beck, who uses an iPhone, iPad, and Skype, also thinks technology will bring better treatment to rural residents.

Judith Beck said her highly accomplished family – her mother is retired Superior Court Judge Phyllis Beck – gets along well.

“My father would say, ‘Problems are meant to be solved,’ ” she said.

“Have you thought about working with Congress?” Moss-Coane quipped at one point.

Aaron Beck said his publisher considered sending copies of his book, Prisoners of Hate, to lawmakers when it came out in 1999, but never did. 

http://articles.philly.com/2013-11-14/news/44033725_1_cognitive-therapy-beck-institute-aaron-beck

Depression Therapy: When is it time to see a Professional?

depression therapy Uptown Dallas Counseling
Depression or “being depressed” means something different to everyone.  The official “dictionary” of mental disorders used by psychiatric practitioners is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Revision 5 or DSM-V.  The DSM-V defines different levels and types of depression from mild to severe, depending on the specific symptoms present.  Most people do not have the 947-page DSM-V manual at home or on their kindles, so how do you know if you are depressed?  When should you seek professional help for depression therapy?
Most people who contact me for help with depression have symptoms that are affecting their ability to function on daily a daily basis.  These difficulties may include problems with home, work, or social life.  They may be personal feelings and emotions that include sadness, lack of motivation, low energy, or inability to concentrate.  Once symptoms of depression increase to the point where you can no longer complete normal daily activities, most people want to reach out for help.
What about other, more subtle signs of depression?  Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., an Associate Editor at Psych Central and author of Weightless, offers suggestions of when to seek help based on her interview with two experts in the field of mood disorders.  She interviewed Deborah Serani, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating mood disorders and Lee H. Coleman, Ph.D., ABPP, a clinical psychologist and assistant director and director of training at the California Institute of Technology’s student counseling center.
Here are some not-so-obvious reasons you may want to seek professional help for depression therapy.
  • You feel hopeless or helpless. According to Serani, your thoughts might sound something like this: “Why is everything so hard for me?  “Often, helplessness is a negative circle. If you feel helpless, you get more depressed. When you get more depressed, you feel helpless.”
  • You feel guilty, worthless or ashamed. Unfortunately, depression is sometimes misperceived as a character flaw (instead of a real, debilitating illness), said Serani, also author of the books Living with Depression and Depression and Your Child. “So many children and adults blame themselves for not being able to snap out of depressed episode.” They think: “I’m so stupid,” or “I can’t do anything right.”
  • You experience extreme irritability, anger or impatience, Serani said“These symptoms are often misunderstood and viewed as ‘burnout’ or ‘stress.’” However, when agitated individuals are further questioned, they “reveal more classical symptoms of depression like negative thinking, helplessness, sadness and hopelessness.”
  • You don’t want to be around others. You might start taking time off from work, Coleman said. “Coworkers might ask if you’re feeling OK, or comment to you that you don’t seem like yourself.” 
  • You have a harder time concentrating on tasks, even ones you enjoy, Coleman said. “It’s common for people with depression to read, write and even think more slowly.”
  • You’re tired, have less energy or don’t feel like getting out of bed, he said. “A lot of the time, the signs of depression show up in our bodies.”
  • You have headaches or body aches, Serani said.
  • Your sleeping patterns have changed. You might have trouble sleeping and wake up much earlier than you normally do, Coleman said. Or you start oversleeping. “The key is to look out for a major change in the way you sleep”
  • Your eating has changed. Some people with depression find food to be less appetizing and start to eat less, whereas others eat more than usual, Coleman said. Again, the factor to zero in on is change.

If you have any of the above symptoms, you may be clinically depressed.  Ask yourself if it is time to look for a professional to help alleviate these symptoms.

** If you’re having thoughts of suicide, please get help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.

 


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. 

Body Language and Confidence

body language and confidenceDr. Amy Cuddy talks about the relationship between body language and confidence.  She challenges her listeners to ask, “What happens if you fake it till you make it?” If you pretend to be powerful, are you more likely to feel powerful? She demonstrates how tiny, easy, 2-minute exercises on changing your body language can have a significant impact on your mind and your actual performance in stressful situations.

“Don’t fake it til you make it, Fake it until you become it.”

In this video she explains the connection between body language and confidence.

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. 

Who gets Depression? What does it look like? How will I know?

what is depression

What is depression?

I love this video created by the Canadian Family Law Firm of Neinstien & Associates.  They published this video to show their support for the annual Let’s Talk Day.  This event helps bring the topic of mental health and depression to the forefront in an attempt to break the stigma of suffering from a mental disorder.

Quotes from the participants in the video include:

I am a mother, a father, a student.  I am loving, smart, generous.  I am alone, in a room full of people.  I want to feel anything, I can’t stand to feel anything, I want the pain to go away.  Depression is not a mood, depression is not a bad day, depression is a disease.  It feels like I am underwater, I need help.  Please don’t judge me, don’t give up on me.

Take a few minutes to watch and see what you think.  Please spread the word.

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. 

FRIDAY FUN POST: Weekend Reading Plans

For this week’s Friday Fun Post, I hope to start (and complete!) this book over the weekend:
friday fun post Proof of Heaven
PROOF OF HEAVEN, by Eben Alexander. (Simon & Schuster.) A neurosurgeon recounts his near death experience during a coma from bacterial meningitis.
 
Curling up with a good book and cup to tea is one of my favorite ways to relax and recharge.
Do you read or listen?  Paperback or Ebook? Fiction or non-fiction?

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.