Therapy That Works...

Talking To Your Kids About The Orlando Mass Shooting - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how to talk to your children about the mass shooting in Orlando and other acts of violence - click here.

Facebook Fridays – Rizwan (08/01/14) - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 01, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia answer a question from Rizwan on Facebook about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and how it's different from clinical depression - click here.

Rizwan from Facebook wrote in:

“I know a lady in my circle. She is regularly very worried because of some family issues. She doesn’t sleep well and also feels low these days. Her appetite is less than normal now for her. Is she suffering from GAD?”

Thanks for your question on Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Rizwan. To better understand this disorder, here are some important facts to keep in mind:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD is known as the “worrier” diagnosis.

People with GAD tend to ruminate on anxious or negative thoughts, which propel them into a seemingly endless cycle of anxiety. The more they worry, the more the habit is reinforced.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from GAD. That’s 18% of the population! In fact according to many sources, anxiety is the number one diagnosis in the US. However, most sufferers don’t get help for it and continue to hurt when there are proven remedies for this condition.

Here are a few of the most common symptoms for GAD:

  • Excessive anxiety and worry
  • Difficulty controlling worried thoughts
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind goes blank regularly
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia or restless sleep

Clinical Depression commonly co-occurs with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and it is another one of the most common mental health diagnoses in America.

In fact, forty two percent of GAD patients also have clinical depression. The combination of the two conditions can propel us into an endless loop of catastrophic thinking that convinces us we are helpless and hopeless. The depressed and anxious brain tends to avoid objectively evaluating the evidence and instead jumps to catastrophic conclusions. Relapsing into depression is tragically common and is more likely when the previous episode was severe and incapacitating.

Common symptoms of Clinical Depression include:

  • Depressed thoughts and mood
  • Low energy, fatigue, and sudden loss of energy
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in the usual activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of overlap between the symptoms of anxiety and depression and it is often very difficult to differentiate between the two.

Most depressed people have anxiety and vice versa. For example, many people who are depressed tend to worry, sleep and eat erratically, and feel low and empty much of the time. Anxious people may also worry, sleep and eat erratically, and feel blue some of the time. It is my opinion that while anxiety and depression often co-occur, one of the conditions precedes the other and is usually more dominant.

However, it is extremely important to differentiate between the two diagnoses since therapy approaches and medication heavily rely on an accurate diagnosis. Different psychotherapies and medicines are used to specifically treat each condition.

If you are worried about your friend having one of these problems Rizwan, please seek the help of a clinical psychologist or mental health professional who can use a combination of interviews and psychological testing to provide the correct diagnosis for effective treatment.

Sources:

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - IV - RT

Men's Issues - Why Some Men Turn To Suicide - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 12, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss why some men turn to suicide - click here.

Men have a tough time in a world that expects so much of them. In fact, suicide rates for men are four times higher than women. In the last few years, the suicide rates for men in their fifties increased by nearly 50%. Here are a few reasons why men may turn to suicide:

Generational Perfect Storm

The economic struggles of the last decade have been especially hard for men who have the expectation of providing for their entire family, including older children and both sets of elderly parents. When the stress and expense of supporting two generations finally hits, the perfect storm of financial hardship can be devastating for a hard-working man.

Pressure Cooker

Many men were never taught the skills of emotional regulation and control. When they are up against complex problems in life, admitting and processing the emotional fallout from loss and setbacks is more difficult for a man who is supposed to be endlessly strong and stoic. Once the internal pressure becomes too great, they may hurt themselves or others.

Men's Issues - Why Do So Many Men Struggle With Depression? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss why many men struggle with depression - click here.

Men have a tough time in a world that expects so much of them. In fact, suicide rates for men are four times higher than women. In the last few years, the suicide rates for men in their fifties increased by nearly 50%. So why do so many men struggle with depression and anxiety?

Weight of the World

Many men feel as though they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and they are often reluctant to share their troubles with loved ones.

Lone Wolf

Many men tend to ruminate on what is worrying them, and they feel duty bound to work it out on their own. Depression grows in isolation since we tend to lose perspective and it reinforces our feeling of helplessness. They tend to conclude that nothing they do makes a difference and the worst outcome is inevitable.

Quiet and Strong

Unfortunately, boys and men are frequently told to not talk about what they are feeling. In fact, many boys are actively encouraged to suppress the concerns that haunt them. They don’t learn the language of emotional expression, and they often push their emotional surges down and cover them up. That internalization can lead to negative health effects like higher blood pressure and heart concerns. They don’t have an emotional outlet, and they often resort to vices or distractions to take their minds off their worries.

Men's Issues - Grumpy Husbands & Pessimistic Thinking - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 05, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how pessimistic thinking can lead to grumpy husbands - txt to link goes here.

Many wives are perplexed with husbands that are regularly grumpy. They often don’t know how to help their grumpy partners pull out of their negative thinking, and that feeling of helplessness often leads to grumpy wives. Here are some reasons why your man may be so negative:

From Childhood

Most grumpy people don’t intend to be negative. Pessimistic thinking often originates in the thinking habits that many of us develop in childhood. When we used them as children to explain events in our lives to ourselves, they made a lot of sense. As we have become adults, we are still using old explanations for new events. It’s kind of like if you wore the same pair of shoes from your childhood as an adult. The old pessimistic thinking continues to frame events in our lives in a negative, gloomy way.

Hopelessness Cycle

Unfortunately, pessimistic thinking is often reinforced with regularity. When you’re always expecting a bad outcome, you’re going to be right a lot of the time. We stop challenging our negative thoughts and begin to lose hope for our lives. The cycle takes hold and you’re pessimistic thinking begins to downsize your life.

Accepting The Worst

Negative minds tend to give up and just accept the inevitability of a lousy outcome. On a fundamental level, they are convinced that they are ineffective and are helpless to change their lives for the better. They stop trying and settle for what life gives them.

For more information on what you can do to help someone with pessimistic thinking or clinical depression, watch my series on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on my blog or on our Facebook page.

Psychological Resilience – The Steps of Self-Reflection - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the steps of self-reflection and how you can make sure you're on the right track - click here.

Self-reflection is one of the best strategies to overcome adversity.

Here are some self-reflection strategies that highly effective people utilize to make sure they are heading in the right direction.

Slow Down to Go Further

One of the best things you can do is quiet your mind long enough to focus on what is happening without interference from your emotions or distracting thoughts. When you are in the middle of a major life transition or tragic event, slow down and take stock of where you are. Anxiety makes your mind and body speed up, but it also makes you inefficient in dealing with problems. When adversity hits, take more time to remain quiet and calm. Sleep more, eat well, and exercise regularly. Even slow your speech down and measure your words carefully.

Avoid the Isolation Island

Avoid the tendency to isolate yourself and make a point to see your friends and family. A rough patch is only made worse when you go through it alone. Make sure that you only see the positive people in your life since other people’s negative words and moods are harder to shake especially when you are already going through a rough time.

Give Yourself A Break

Every day, set some time aside to devote a certain amount of time to being still—no screens, no texts, no talking. Breathe deeply and focus on your breath for at least ten minutes. Be quiet and let your mind rest so that you can anchor yourself and be effective for the next play. Even a short meditation session allows your mind to reboot and refresh.

Psychological Resilience – The Value of Self-Reflection - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe why self-reflection is important to your success - click here.

Many of us think that turning inward is something other people do when they have nothing better to do.

Some of us see it as self-indulgent, ineffective, or even a waste of time. However effective self-reflection can be an incredibly valuable first step if you are going through a rough patch. You can’t plan your next move if you don’t understand how you got to where you are today.

To strategically move forward, you must first catalogue the events that brought you to your current adversity, and the decisions you’ve made so far.

Once you have organized the events in your mind, you’ll find that there is less anxiety associated with the event. There is now a clear narrative where there was once disorganized pain. You’ll feel safer and calmer because you will have anchored yourself in the here and now, and you will fully understand that the traumatic events are in the past. You are safe.

Psychological Resilience - Moving Past Adversity Effectively - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how you can move past adversity effectively by using psychological resilience skills - click here.

Inevitably we all encounter disappointments, tragedies, and setbacks in our professional and personal lives. Jobs are lost, beloved parents die, we lose touch with close friends, and dreams for how we wanted out lives to turn out vanish.

However, research has shown that how you handle adversity in your life will actually determine where your life will go next.

Remember that it is not the adversity itself that determines what happens next. It is your reaction to the adversity and how you think about it that ultimately determines where you end up.

If you spiral into negativity, your bad mood will sabotage your ability to effectively solve the problem. You’ll become stuck in the “what if’s” and the agony of the situation. You’ll lose sight of how you can turn this adversity into something beneficial. The situation that seems so awful, so devastating right now can be the catalyst for making you stronger and more effective in the future.

True wisdom is usually hard won, and our challenges in life can be the very events that take us to the next level. Hopefully, after overcoming a setback you will truly value your resilience since you’ve learned that what is happening today is temporary and will not determine tomorrow unless you let it. The rest of your life can and will be determined by the resolve you demonstrate in the moment and your ability to triumph over setbacks.

Moving past adversity requires a particular set of thinking skills that, if used consistently, can take your life to the next level.

This series of presentations will give you some important tips and strategies for how to move past adversity effectively and overcome obstacles in your path.

Dealing With Anxiety During The Holidays - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 15, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on KTXD 47 discuss how to handle your stress during the holidays - click here.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Who Needs DBT Treatment? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe which types of clients benefit most from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (or DBT) and how it helps calm down intense emotions - click here.

For most of us, our emotions are manageable and easy to navigate. They express the highs and lows of life and color our everyday experiences. However, for many people, emotions surge and swell without notice. Happiness can burn into anger and hope can wither into depression in the blink of an eye.

The surges of negative feelings that become intense outbursts are deeply confusing, not only to the person experiencing them but to everyone around them. Their friends, family, and coworkers tell them to pull themselves together with phrases like “get a grip ,” “be less sensitive,” and “you are such a drama queen.” However, they cannot hope to stop what they cannot control. Other people often think they are undisciplined, immature, or deeply flawed in a fundamental way.

They often give up hope and believe that their lives will never improve.

As a psychologist, I have worked with many clients who have struggled everyday to control how they felt and reacted to situations. By the time they finally sought out treatment, they were often thoroughly frustrated, helpless, and hopeless. They felt like they would never learn how to control their emotions like everyone else. Many of them had developed self-destructive habits to soothe, mask, or escape their underlying emotional discomfort and pain. They would sometimes lash out at others, avoid proper nutrition, regularly self-mutilate, escape into alcoholism, or develop other addictions when their emotions became too difficult to handle.

They were desperate for any kind of escape, no matter the cost.

Many years ago, Dr. Marsha Linehan developed a type of therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, to help resolves intense emotions and regain control of life. Dr. Linehan was frustrated with therapies she thought fell short of helping her clients reign in emotional intensity in the moment. She wanted a therapy regimen that could teach clients coping skills so they could handle situations on their own in between sessions. She wanted her clients to be able to regain control of the car when they began to spin out of reality.

DBT is extremely effective with clients who are struggling with emotions that are too intense, too frequent, and too overwhelming.

If someone you know is experiencing extremely intense emotions or outbursts, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Source:

"Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide" by Kelly Koerner


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive