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Ask A Therapist: Why Is My Therapist Is Abandoning Me?

My therapist has told me in 4 sessions I will be passed to someone else. I trusted him and we are in the middle of EMDR. I feel so abandoned and let down. I feel stupid for trusting him. Since I got this information I have hit self-destruct. How can he do this? I don’t feel like I could even try to trust anyone again! I don’t know what to do. I can’t get any answers off anyone including him, I thought they were meant to help not do this? I just don’t know anymore. Any ideas?

A: Thank you for writing in. I can tell that this is a very painful situation for you to have to switch therapists after opening up and trusting your current therapist. It’s uncommon for a therapist not to give any explanation for transferring a client. Watch the rest of my answer in the video below…

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

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6 Ways to Grow A Teen’s Self-Esteem

Many people young and old, male and female, struggle with recognizing their self-worth and their true potential in life. Often we are our worst critics. Most of us would gasp in horror if we heard another person speak out loud the thoughts we tell ourselves because it would be considered abusive!

Recently, as I was speaking to a group of young people and their parents on the topic of self-esteem, we broke down the definition of what self-esteem truly means. This is an interesting concept and I think helpful to break down into segments.

 

 

  • To esteem something is to hold it in high regard, to treasure it, to value it.
  • The self is you, the individual

How amazing it would be to think of your self in this manner. Is it possible to hold yourself in high regard, to value yourself, and to treasure it – i.e. to treasure you, the real you?

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Ask A Therapist: Can Employers Find Out I’ve Been Hospitalized?

In 2011 I was sent to a Behavioral Center because I tried to kill myself and I was self-harming very badly. I was released after a week and everything was fine. But now I’m trying to get a job and I’ve applied to many, but every time they fill it with someone who applied after me. I know I’m qualified for the jobs, so I’ve been wondering if they could see that I had been sent to the health center if I hadn’t told them? Please and thank you for your time.

A: Thanks so much for writing in. Assuming you’re in the United States, I don’t believe that your employer would have any way of knowing you have been in a behavioral health center. Our privacy laws are very strict and you would have to give permission to the behavioral center to release those records to the employer. For additional thoughts watch my video response.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

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7 Ways To Beat Seasonal Depression

7 Ways To Beat Seasonal Depression

Does your mood take a nose dive during the winter months? In this new post for ShareCare I give a few ideas for beating seasonal depression. Here’s a preview…

“During the winter months, about 15% of Americans suffer from a mood disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD symptoms are similar to those of depression—feelings of sadness, low energy, sleep problems, irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, anxiety, social isolation and, in severe cases, suicidal thoughts. The difference between general depression and SAD is that sufferers generally gain weight and only experience depression symptoms during a specific and recurring time of the year.

Seasonal depression impacts significantly more women than men. Among people with SAD, 60 to 90% are women, and females between the ages of 15 and 55 are at highest risk.

In my clinical experience, most people with this problem wait too long before seeking help. If you have many of the symptoms above, or if you think you might have SAD, I encourage you to get a medical or mental health evaluation. If you are suffering from SAD there are treatments that can help you feel better.”

Read my 7 tips for tackling SAD on Sharecare

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Ask A Therapist: Could This Be OCD?

Q: OK, I been having a problem where if I see someone that’s uneven or something it will bother me greatly and my mind tells me that if I don’t fix it something bad will happen to my mom. It’s weird, but say I’m reading a book and I skip a word my kind tells me to go back and start over or something will happen to my mom. There’s many other things that I will “fix” but why would this happen towards my mom? And do I have OCD? Should I talk to my mom about it, do I have OCD? Thank you.

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Face Your Fear and Anxiety

Most people experience fear or worry to some degree at different times in their life.  Fear is a normal and necessary tool that our bodies create in response to dangerous or potentially dangerous situations.  It helps us identify threatening situations, and initiates the fight or flight response, causing us to react and protect ourselves.  Some of us even seek out this response for the “rush” by watching horror films, going to haunted houses, skydiving, riding roller coasters, or participating in high extreme sports.

We enjoy this, because not only is the fear present for a short amount of time, but the threat is fairly controlled and allows us to feel the pleasurable side of the fear response without being in any real danger.  However, what if you’re living in a constant state of worry, or always feeling uneasy about every possible threat that may or may not exist?  This is more about anxiety than general fear, and it can be very overwhelming and exhausting.  If you are someone that struggles with anxiety, here are some things you can do to begin managing it:

Spend at least 2-minutes, 5 times per day doing calming exercises. 

These may include deep breathing, visualization, listening to calming music, physical exercise, or anything else that relaxes you.  This will help prevent your anxiety from becoming too overwhelming or out of control.

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Ask A Therapist: How Do I Open up Emotionally to my Therapist?

How do I open up to my therapist? I am constantly worried that he might think I’m trying to get attention. I have an eating disorder and I’m slightly overweight according to my BMI. I’ve overexercised, took laxatives, and most recently diet pills. I ended up giving my therapist one session because I was taking so many that it made me fell terrible. I’m just not able to be truly open and honest. He really is a great therapist, and I have a deeper connection with him than most others in my life. I have these feelings outside of therapy, but when I go in, I put on a face that everything is ok. How do I work on this to communicate better?

A: Great question! The emotional pattern of guarding your feelings is likely part of the reason you’re in therapy in the first place. Watch the video below for complete answer.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: How Often Should I Meet With My Psychiatrist?

Q: I have been seeing my therapist for almost 2 years, and I just had my first psychiatrist appointment 2 weeks ago (per my therapist’s referral). The psychiatrist wants me to come back every month, but I would much rather see my therapist more often. I think some insurance companies count the number of overall mental health visits per year and I don’t want to “waste” them. I am “real” around my therapist and I know that it will take a long time for me to open up to my psychiatrist. Can I mention this to my therapist next week or is that a bad idea since they communicate with each other? I guess my thoughts are every 2-3 months would be sufficient and my therapist could certainly tell him if my status changes for me. I know I shouldn’t, but I do put up a fake “front” in front of the psychiatrist. Any suggestions on what to do? This is all new to me!!

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Ask A Therapist: Feelings Of Complete Emptiness

Q: I do not . . . feel anymore. My lack of empathy has reached its highest peak. I do not feel the need to socialize with anyone at all. As self – destructive as it may seem a complete and constant escape from reality doesn’t look so bad after all. I just can’t help it. My heart is full of nothing but emptiness. How do I get my emotions back ?

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Who’s Wearing The Pants Now? Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I spoke about how the male gender is struggling.  Men in the 21st century are expected to not only uphold the traditional masculine stereotypes of self-reliance, restricted emotionality, and toughness, but they are also being asked to “embrace there feminine side” and be sensitive and emotionally available.  In other words, guys today are not only expected to climb over the competition on their way up the corporate ladder, but they are also asked to enjoy taking the kids to play group and watching Pride and Prejudice for the tenth time with the wife.

To make matters worse, men are expected to keep these aspects of themselves separate, because if the guys find out that you enjoy Pride and Prejudice, you can expect to have your “maleness” seriously challenged.  As a result, I think men, though well intentioned, often feel frustrated and inadequate to meet the various, inherently conflicting demands placed upon them, which in turn can lead to disillusionment and disconnect.  What can we men do?   And, what can you do to help the men in your life?  Here are a few ideas.

1)  We need to redefine what it is to be man.

Back in 1963, it was said that “there is only one complete unblushing male in America: a young, married, white, urban, northern, heterosexual, Protestant father of college education, fully employed, of good complexion, weight, and height, and a recent record in sports.”[1]  I think the same could be said for today, some 50 years later.  And, that’s a problem.

We need a clear and achievable definition of masculinity that provides the necessary flexibility for men to meet the demands of the 21st century.  Sure it’s ok to have any or all of the attributes listed above, but is should also be ok for men to be different…to lack confidence from time to time, to feel sadness or shame, to experience unemployment or find out they are impotent.  A man should not blush if he is NOT white, heterosexual, married, young, athletic, well educated, etc.  There has to be a way to keep what is good about being a man and add the attributes we need to adapt and achieve success in our lives.  Speaking of this…

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