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Diabetes and mood swings: Effects on relationships

Diabetes and mood swings: Effects on relationships

Written by Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN

Diabetes is a condition that impacts the way a person’s body uses sugar for energy. However, diabetes affects much more than blood sugar. It can impact nearly every body system and have an effect on a person’s mood.

Stress associated with managing diabetes as well as concerns about potential side effects can all contribute to changes in mood. In addition, the actual highs and lows of blood sugar levels may also cause nervousness, anxiety, and confusion.

It is important for people to recognize their own individual symptoms of high or low blood sugar. They must also ensure they seek support for any concerning mental health symptoms they might experience.stress and mood swings

Watching these mood swings can often be difficult for friends and family to understand. However, learning why a person may experience mood changes related to diabetes and being supportive can help to promote a stronger, healthier relationship.

How do diabetes and mood swings go together?

Diabetes can have many effects on a person’s mood. For example, managing diabetes can be stressful. A person may be constantly worried about their blood sugar and whether it is too high or too low.

Adjustments to their diet and constantly checking their blood sugar can also add to a person’s stress and enjoyment of life. As a result, they are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression.

Blood sugar swings can cause rapid changes in a person’s mood, such as making them sad and irritable. This is especially true during hypoglycemic episodes, where blood sugar levels dip lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Hyperglycemic episodes where levels spike higher than 250 mg/dL may cause confusion in people with type 1 diabetes, but are much less likely to in those with type 2 diabetes.

When a person’s blood sugar returns to more normal ranges, these symptoms often go away. In fact, changes in mood and mental status can be one of the first signs that someone’s blood sugar levels are not where they should be.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the mental symptoms associated with low blood sugar levels may include:

  • feeling confused
  • feeling anxious
  • having difficulty making decisions

Symptoms that indicate a person may have high blood sugar levels include:

  • difficulty thinking clearly and quickly
  • feeling nervous
  • feeling tired or having low energy

Having diabetes can also cause a mental health condition called diabetes distress. This condition shares some elements of depression, anxiety, and stress.

While a person may not have symptoms severe enough for a doctor to diagnose them with a more severe mental illness, these symptoms can affect the quality of life for a person with diabetes.

An estimated 33 to 50 percent of people with diabetes experience diabetes distress at some point during the course of their disease. The sources of distress can include the responsibilities of managing the condition to worrying about potential complications.

Effect of diabetes on mental health

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for experiencing depression.

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can cause a person to feel hopeless about life, have low bouts of energy, and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. In very severe cases, depression can cause a person to feel as if life is not worth living and even contemplate suicide.

A diabetes diagnosis can also add to a person’s experience with depression. For example, a person who struggles with depression often lacks motivation and energy to engage in healthful behaviors. This could include healthful eating or exercising regularly.

Read full article here…

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Give a Boost to Your Relationship

Has your relationship lost its spark? Breathe new life into it to stop familiarity breeding contempt

The first in an occasional series on relationship issues by ProvenTherapy Director and Therapist, Matt Butler

Relationship feeling a little jaded? Lost the spark with your nearest and dearest? It’s unfortunately all too easy to take our partners for granted sometimes. The familiarity factor whereby we drift along in our most important relationships is common, though ultimately corrosive. We all need that extra spark in our relationships to keep them alive – the feeling that we are involved in something special; a frisson of excitement, a soupcon of … well … sauce. When in a committed relationship though we need to realise that we must act to make these things happen. This is vital in order to keep our relationships alive. It’s no accident that the word for keeping relationship alive is the same as that for keeping a fire going – relationships need kindling and re-kindling. The fire needs stoking. Ultimately such sparks of desire signify something we all yearn for but are sometimes phased by, maybe even a little scared of, intimacy and perhaps for some this is the root of the problem.

Relationship Counseling
“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all” – Psychologist and Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson

Relationship difficulties should remind us of the central importance of intimacy in our lives. Clearly a human desire, it is perhaps more than that, a human need.

Psychologist Robert Sternberg said, “Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still”. In an age of advanced communications it remains the case that people can still feel lonely amid apparent togetherness, even in outwardly committed relationships.

So, to keep your relationships kindled, re-kindled and positively fizzing here are ProvenTherapy’s tips for maintaining a great relationship.

6 tips to give your jaded relationship a boost

  1. Make a point of paying your loved one a compliment or two, pick out something you like about them and tell them you like it! Don’t lay it on too thick – just be honest about it
  2. Be physical but gentle. Take time for touch – a hug, a kiss .. and who knows, maybe something more ..
  3. Go on a date together. It’s so easy when in a long term relationship – especially if you have children – to get out of the habit of going out together so make a date and stick to it. Even if you can’t go out try taking time to dress up and have a candle lit dinner together indoors every once in a while
  4. Talk! Spend time each day talking to your significant other, find out what’s happening for them
  5. Listen! Take time to really listen to your partner. You might feel tempted to dive into communications with ‘answers’ or comments on your partner’s self-expression. Try not to act on these – really give them space to talk and freely express themselves. This will be time well spent
  6. Have some fun! Try not to take things so seriously. Even in the most difficult situations it is often possible to find some humour

In summary, if you find your relationship with your significant other is showing signs of strain then take some time out to re-connect – make time to rekindle those closest of relationships with tenderness, gentleness and understanding – before things have a chance to take a turn for the worse.

Meet Matt Butler here for further support

The Ventral Vagal

Janette Strokappe

 

The Ventral Vagal

Expert advice by veteran Family Therapist and Psychologist

Janette Strokappe – Online Counselor and Therapist

For many years, the autonomic nervous system was thought to be the sympathetic nervous system in balance with the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic revved the body up and the parasympathetic calmed it down.

Dr. Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory changed all that. As I am just summarizing the polyvagal theory, if you want more thorough information, just google Polyvagal theory.

Dr. Porges discovered that the parasympathetic system is composed of two branches of the vagus nerve which arise from different areas of the brain.

The unmyelinated branch is an ancient system found also in reptiles. Its action is below the diaphragm. Myelin is the outer coating of a nerve which allows it to transmit impulses more efficiently. This branch lacks myelin.

The ventral vagus which we are interested in is found only in mammals and it is myelinated. It arises from the brain very close to the area that stimulates the face muscles and voice box. Stimulation of the ventral vagal allows up to be more relational.

When we are threatened the responses come down the development chain starting with the most developed.

We try:

  1. Smile and try and act pleasant to defuse the situation.
  1. If that doesn’t work, we prepare for fight or flight.
  1. If that doesn’t work, the body may go into freeze mode. Freeze dulls pain if we are attacked and if the predator relaxes its grip it gives us a chance to escape.

This is all below the level of consciousness. We do not have voluntary control over these responses.

It is possible with chronic stress to get stuck in fight or flight or freeze. It is also possible to alternate between them.

The signs of hyper-arousal (fight or flight)

Exaggerated startle reaction Outbursts of anger
Extreme vigilance Irritability
Feelings of panic and anxiety Insomnia
Reduced tolerance for pain Fatigue
Difficulty concentrating Constantly being on guard.
Feelings of electricity going through your body especially the legs. (feelings of bugs under the skin Frequent urination
Headaches

The signs of hypo-arousal (freeze) are:

  •  Feelings of being hopeless and helpless
  • Dissociating into daydreaming, or into a book where you are startled if someone calls or touches you.
  • Just wanting to be in a dark room, lying in bed with the covers pulled over your head.
  • We can alternate between these two states.

Stimulating the Ventral Vagus.

The only way out of these states is to activate the ventral vagal (relational) nerve.

There is two-way traffic in this nerve. Many signals come from our internal organs and travel up the vagus to the brain. This is the “gut feelings” that we get.

Signals travel back down the ventral vagus to have a calming effect.

There are some experiments being done with electrical stimulation of the ventral vagus for depression and epilepsy.

While we can’t do that, there are things we can do for ourselves to stimulate the ventral vagus.

butterfly hug

What We Can do at Home to Stimulate the Ventral Vagus:

Remember, safety above all. If you do not feel safe, it is below the level of conscious response, and the ventral vagal will not activate.

  1. Values: Friends, family good health and generosity are essential.
  1. Being creative: Whether through writing, art, acting, singing or dancing.
  1. Prolonged exhale is the best way to stimulate the ventral vagus. If you haven’t seen the video I usually make available, then follow the instructions for conscious breathing which will follow.
  1. Conscious Breathing: The breath is one of the fastest ways to influence our nervous system. The vagus nerve is stimulated when the breath is slowed from our usual 10-14 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths per minute. Breathe in through your nose and give a very prolonged exhale through the mouth. Like you are saying AAH!
  1. Valsalva Maneuver: This involves attempting to exhale against a closed airway. You can do this by keeping your mouth closed and pinching your nose while trying to breathe out. This increases the pressure inside of your chest cavity increasing vagal tone.
  1. Diving Reflex: Considered a first rate vagus nerve stimulating technique, splashing cold water on your face from your lips to your scalp line stimulates the diving reflex. You can also achieve the nervous system cooling effects by placing ice cubes in a ziplock bag and holding the ice against your face and briefly hold your breath. The diving reflex slows your heart rate, increases blood flow to your brain, reduces anger and relaxes your body. An additional technique that stimulates the diving response is to submerge your tongue in liquid. Drink and hold lukewarm water in your mouth sensing the water with your tongue.
  1. The Butterfly Hug: The butterfly hug is a soothing gesture you can do anytime. Wrap your arms around your body at the level of the shoulders. Alternating pat one shoulder and then the other until you feel calm.
  1. Connection and Feeling Safe: Reach out for relationship. Healthy connection to others can initiate regulation of our body and mind. Relationships can evoke the spirit of playfulness and creativity or can relax us into a trusting bond with one another. While it is most effective in person, connection can be made through the phone or texts or social media. Texting only becomes a problem when it is used to avoid person to person contact.

This is a very simplified version of Dr. Porges polyvagal theory.

 Contact Janette Strokappe for online counseling support

Family Meetings

Janette Strokappe

 

Relevance of Family Meetings

Expert advice by veteran Family Therapist and Psychologist

Janette Strokappe – Online Counselor and Therapist

I work a lot with children and their families. The biggest complaint I get from parents is about the disrespect and arguing over doing chores. I strongly recommend no arguing with children, especially teenagers. That is a fool’s game. I would tell any child being disrespectful; you can talk to me when you are willing to talk to me respectfully. I would then disengage.

Instead I recommend monthly family meetings, more often if an emergency arises. These meetings are scheduled and everyone in the family attends, and there are no interruptions allowed. This is our time to talk about how the family is doing, and the children have a say.

We talk about who does what. Chores are assigned according to age. Even very little children can take their dirty dishes to the sink. Older children must realize that the little guys cannot do as much as they can, and that the day will come for the little guys as well.

I don’t recommend consequences for young children. I like behaviour charts where the children can mark down when they have completed a chore. This is done with a star or little sticker just to make it more fun. At the end of the week, if the chart is full, they get to pick the Saturday night video or what the family will be having for Saturday night supper. They do not get an expensive gift.

For children with ADHD, sometimes they need to see the reward before they will work for it. For these children I would make up a little treasure chest of things from the dollar store so the child can see the prize. If they complete chores as agreed upon, they get to pick one thing.

FamilyThere are three things to remember about chores. First, the parent should demonstrate what they are looking for in, for example, a clean bedroom. Too many times, I have had kids tell me that they will clean the bedroom and mum or dad will say, “That’s not good enough”, but never explain why. The parent has to demonstrate what a clean bedroom looks like. Also putting things away properly, and what do they have to do for the parent to decide the bedroom has been cleaned properly. Is a clean bedroom, all the clothes put away properly, and nothing shoved under the bed?

The second thing is how many days a chore has to be done to get the privilege at the end of the week. Is it 5 out of 7, 7 out of 7. This is decided at the family meeting.

Thirdly, a time limit has to be set on the chore. Does the garbage have to be emptied by 6 o’clock in the evening?

We do make exceptions for special occasions. With our own children, mum and dad covered the chores if the child had a party or a concert. However, if the child wants to take on a sport where they need to attend once or twice a week, this has to be decided at the family meeting, so chores can be discussed again.

With older children, we use consequences. By that I mean removed privileges. Consequences need to be immediate and appropriate. We do not tell children that they can’t watch next week’s game. Instead it must be immediate. The consequence has to happen tonight. We don’t take away the European trip they have been planning for two years with the school.

Children get to have a say in what the consequence will be. If it is losing the phone, then the decision is for how long. If it is not playing video games for a day, then the computer, laptops, tablets and phones have to be turned over.

If the parents set consequences, then they must follow through. Parents must never undermine one another. If a consequence has been agreed upon, then both parents must support one another to make sure it happens.

What are the exceptions? If the family has been away for the weekend, having fun at a sport or just doing things together, we do not tell children to do chores the minute they walk in the door. The same goes for a teenager that has just played at a music competition, participated in the science fair or played in a sports tournament; we do not tell them “you’ve had your fun, now do your chores”. We savor the good times with them. Chores can wait until tomorrow, unless the dog needs to go outside.

Meet Janette Strokappe here for further support

Biological and Neurological Causes of Addiction

Tracie Timme

 

Addiction – Biological and Neurological Causes

An academic paper by

Tracie L. Timme – Online Counselor and Therapist

This paper is about the biological and neurological causes of addiction, how it affects many people, and systems of the body that are affected.

The category that addiction best falls into is a behavioral syndrome, noted for compulsive drug use with relapse into more drug use.  Addiction can happen without being physically dependent, and physical dependency can happen without being addicted (Spanagel & Heilig, 2005).  For the past 20 years scientists have looked at positive drug reinforcement as what lies beneath addictions.  According to Spanagel & Heilig (2005), other neuronal systems must aid in addictive behavior, all systems work together.  This means that one system affects the other.  One of these systems, which detect influencing environmental stimuli, is the mesolimbic dopamine system, which affects the core brain reinforcement system.  The hypothesis for the neurobiology of addiction is that there are changes on the molecular and structural levels that are irreversible, caused by the dopaminergic reinforcement system having synaptic plasticity, due to constant drug use. (Spanagel & Heilig, 2005).  Scientists seem to think that there is some kind of modular switch that explains the irreversible transition from controlled drug use to compulsive drug use.  These scientists say “It has been claimed that transcription factors such as “AFosB” may constitute such a molecular switch” (Spanagel & Heilig, 2005, p. 2).  This transition factor builds up in the mesolimbic dopamine system with continuous drug use.  However a modulator of transcription factors is Per2 and that does remain in the brain for quite a few weeks after drug treatment.  Some change in the mesolimbic dopamine system that is irreversible that has been seen is the micro structural alterations on the dendrites of medium spiny neurons, which are the essential cell population inside the mesolimbic dopamine system.  However, that change is not seen past 3 months after drug treatment ends.  That contradicts the irreversible switch theory of moving from controlled drug use to compulsive drug use (Spanagel & Heilig, 2005).

Schepis, Adinoff, & Rao, state that adolescents are more persistently and acutely affected by addiction than are adults.  These differences possibly have to do with neuroplastic changes that aid entrenchment and accelerated use, which leads to more neurobiological liability and SUD (substance use disorder) being great factors as the outcome (Schepis et al., 2008).  This study also shows that adolescents with a family history of substance use are more likely to have neurobiological and neurobehavioral dysfunctions (Schepis et al., 2008).  Adolescence is the period when most neurons grow.  Neurocognitive functions such as decisions, monitoring oneself, controlling impulses, and gratification delay, are relative to the PFC (prefrontal cortex) and the anterior cingulate activity; these things seem to be affected by changes in pretty much all of the neurotransmitter systems.  The most important factors in becoming a SUD are alterations in the dopamine related systems.  Dopamine is a key factor in the mesolimbic neural pathways (Schepis et al., 2008).  According to Schepis et al., “This circuit originates in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and projects to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and various limbic structures” (p. 8).  A variety of environmental reinforcers trigger the mesostriatal to release dopamine (DA).  In order to assign value to these reinforcing stimuli, there needs to be an increase in striatal concentrations of DA (Schepis et al., 2008).

Big scary spiderIn an article about SUD by Taylor, he explains Gray’s behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and the behavioral activation system (BAS), which, may be seen in the physiological reactions and shown in the psychopathology.  Gray also says that the neural structure of the BIS incorporates information to the prefrontal cortex (PFC), and the neural structure of the BAS could be related to the dopaminergic reward circuit (Taylor, 2005).

Love passion, what some people consider an addiction, has neurobiological links with addiction.  In love passion, neurochemicals that play a part in wanting that feeling all the time are dopamine, ocytocin, and vasopressin.  Dopamine plays a major role in addictions.  Other neurotransmitter systems that are common between addiction and love passion are GABA and glutamate, noradrenaline and serotonin, opioid, and cannabinnoid.  These are implicated in the addiction process, as is the corticotrophin system that regulates the oxytocinergic and dopaminergic systems (Reynaud, Karila, Blecha, & Benyamina, 2010).  Even though love passion is not considered to have a recognized definition or diagnosis criteria, it is very similar to addiction.

Alcohol affects GABAA  receptors and a subtype of glutamate receptors called N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA).  These neurotransmitters control the excitatory tone and activity of the brain.  GABA is the inhibitory neurotransmitter and glutamate is the excitatory neurotransmitter (Devaud, Risinger, & Selvage, 2006).  Incoordination, reduced nervousness, anticonvulsant, and relaxation, the symptoms of intoxication, are partly controlled by coming across these neurotransmitter systems.  These actions show how the central nervous system (CNS) reacts to more GABAergic activity and less glutmatergic activity (Devaud, et al., 2006).  GABAA  and  NMDA receptors are part of a larger receptor family and each has their own protein make-up.  The different neurological responses are due to the combination of the different receptors.  Men and women have a different chemical make-up as far as systems go.  The difference between men and women when they drink is in the brain- and endocrine-mediated stress reactions.  Men take the flight or fight response, whereas women tend to try to nurture the other and avoid aggressiveness (Devaud et al., 2006).

Another test shows that substance use and most psychiatric disorders are common and complex and have multiple genes that play into the phenotype, which show no pattern of Mendelian transmissions.  There are two parallel mechanisms that influence this genetic complexity.  One is the explanation of polygenicity, which means many genes come together at the same time to ensure vulnerability.  In SUD, the genes that might be involved are genes related to drug-specific metabolism, neurobiological processes regulators similar to all abused drugs, and some that comorbidity-related that change environmental vulnerability.  The second parallel mechanism that influences genetic complexity is heterogeneity, which shows that it is only one genetic variation that could make up a single specific phenotype that could be needed for the initiation and possibly the upkeep of addictions (Schumann, 2007).

Different people have different chemical make-ups, so everyone, more than likely, will have different effects from addictions.  The many different receptors bind with different chemicals; if there is some disruption of that binding, many different affects could happen.  Some people simply do not to become addicted to things, where others become addicted very easily.  It is all in how chemicals bind together with the receptors, and apparently in the genetics.

Alcoholism is a terrible addiction that has been shown to be passed down from generation to generation.  People who have a history of alcohol abuse in their family, have a greater chance of using themselves.  According to previous studies Hanson, Medina, Nagel, Spadoni, Gorlick, and Tapert, (2010) hypothesis says that there is a difference in the size of the hippocampus of adolescents with a family history alcohol use problems and those adolescents who do not have a history of alcohol use issues.  When the hippocampi of non-drinking youth with a family history of alcohol use was compared with youth who did not have a history of alcohol use in the family, those who had the history had smaller hippocampi or asymmetry that was abnormal (Hanson et al., 2010).  The hippocampus is involved in making new memories.  There is ongoing myelination in teen years, so if there is a problem with family history of alcohol use, then there will no doubt be a neurodevelopmental lag that hinders the proper growth of the left and right hemispheres of the hippocampus (Hanson et al., 2010).  From their own preliminary findings, their hypothesis found not to be correct.  Hanson et al. (2010) found that the hippocampal asymmetry was the same for youth with and without a family history of alcohol use.

Slutske et al. (2002) looked at four different studies on alcohol expectancies.  Out of those four, three of them were done on twins.  All of the participants of these studies were experienced drinkers (Slutske et al., 2002).  What people expect of alcohol starts when they are young.  Children see adults drink all the time, whether it is on the television, the radio, in a restaurant, or, sadly enough, in their own homes.  From these experiences we can see how others are affected by alcohol.  They look like they are having a lot of fun. Whether they are laid back and relaxed, laughing hysterically, or not afraid of anything, almost superhero type, so we expect what we see to happen to us.  With that in mind we start to drink.  Those who have a family history may start sooner than others, because they were exposed to it much younger and on a regular basis.  In a recent study Slutske et al. (2002), examined how genetics, parents’ thoughts, and the same peer groups, affected thoughts of alcohol use, compared to thoughts of alcohol use with factors that are unrelated, peer groups that are not the same.  What they came up with from this study, was that genetics alone did not make a significant difference, but when added to the family environment, together they made a huge difference on how people thought of alcohol and its use (Slutske et al., 2002).  The thought here is that the social learning theory has more to do with alcohol use and dependence than does only genetics.

The ethanol in alcohol effects the predisposition of abuse and dependence.  The way neural pathways are activated or deactivated by alcohol.  With this in mind, research has turned to pharmacology, where medications affect cellular and physiological levels in the brain (Ray et al., 2010).  These endophenotypes affect the subjective responses of alcohol, therefore may work to help treat alcoholism.  The medication that is approved by the FDA has shown to lessen the good feelings of the alcohol, bring out more of the fatigue, stress, and confusion felt by alcohol use, therefore lowering the enjoyment (Ray et al., 2010).

Carlson (2010) explains that there are variations of genes that do play a big role in becoming addicted to substances.  Environment also has a lot to do with whether you become dependent or not.  He also goes on to explain that being prone to becoming an addict could be how your body metabolizes substances or by how the structures and biochemistries in your brain differ (Carlson, 2010).

A cause for alcoholism could be that the person is predisposed to the genetics of an alcoholic.  However, just because you may be predisposed to alcoholism does not mean you will automatically become an alcoholic yourself.  It may take outside factors to play a role in becoming an alcoholic.  Coming from a line of alcoholics and seeing it every day, may have great impact on how you see the disease.  Having friends that you spend most of your time with, could also have a great impact on whether or not you drink.  A trusted friend, colleague, boss, or family member may offer you a drink to calm down, and it works, you like it, therefore you use it to chase away the blues or your bad day.  You repeat these feelings of being alright enough that you now need it to get through your day.  You become addicted.

References

Carlson, N. R. (2010). Physiology of behavior (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Devaud, L. L., Risinger, F. O., & Selvage, D. (2006). Impact of the hormonal milieu on the neurobiology of alcohol dependence and withdrawal. Journal of General Psychology, 133(4), 337-356. doi:10.3200/GENP.133.4.337-356

Hanson, K. L., Medina, K., Nagel, B. J., Spadoni, A. D., Gorlick, A., & Tapert, S. F. (2010). Hippocampal volumes in adolescents with and without a family history of alcoholism. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 36(3), 161-167. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Ray, L. A., Mackillop, J., & Monti, P. M. (2010). Subjective responses to alcohol consumption as endophenotypes: Advancing behavioral genetics in etiological and treatment models of alcoholism. Substance Use & Misuse, 45(11), 1742-1765. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Reynaud, M., Karila, L., Blecha, L., & Benyamina, A. (2010). Is love passion an addictive disorder? The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 261-267. doi:10.3109/00952990.2010.495183

Schepis, T. S., Adinoff, B., & Rao, U. (2008). Neurobiological processes in adolescent addictive disorders. The American Journal on Addictions, 17(1), 6-23. doi:10.1080/10550490701756146

Schumann, G. (2007). Okey lecture 2006: Identifying the neurobiological mechanisms of addictive behaviour. Addiction, 102(11), 1689-1695. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01942.x

Slutske, W. S., Cronk, N. J., Sher, K. J., Madden, P. F., Bucholz, K. K., & Heath, A. C. (2002). Genes, environment and individual differences in alcohol expectancies among female adolescents and young adults. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16(4), 308-317. doi:10.1037/0893-164X.16.4.308

Spanagel, R., & Heilig, M. (2005). Addiction and its brain science. Addiction, 100(12), 1813-1822. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01260.x

Taylor, J. (2005). Substance use disorders and cluster B personality disorders: Physiological, cognitive, and environmental correlates in a college sample. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 31(3), 515-535.

Click here to contact Tracie Timme for your counseling needs.

Spirituality in Psychology

Tracie Timme

 

Spirituality in Psychology

An academic paper by

Tracie L. Timme – Online Counselor and Therapist

This paper is about exploring the use of spirituality in the practice of psychology and how it could potentially strengthen their bond with their patients.  There could be a better understanding of issues and treatment if spirituality were apart of therapeutic practices.

Psychology got its start in ancient times from philosophy.  Psychology remained part of philosophy until nineteenth century (Leahey, 2004).  Here we have the beginning of the mind-body problem.  To some the mind was our essence and the body a mere vessel.  When the physical body died, the soul moved on to an afterlife (Leahey, 2004).  The soul (mind) has the spiritual world knowledge, whereas the body has the physical world knowledge (Leahey, 2004).

spirituality-in-psychologyEverybody but atheists, have a faith that they follow.  It has been addressed that psychologist show gain education and knowledge as to the role that religion and spirituality plays on personal factors (Shafranske, 2010).  There was an introduction of value in different consciousness in therapeutic practices.  It is very important for the therapist to integrate the patients’ spirituality in the course of interventions (Shafranske, 2010).  It is also important to take into consideration the personal and professional influences of inspiration from the therapists’ point of view.  This can greatly impact how the therapist entices the patient to open up, and help the therapist to relate better to the patient (Shafranske, 2010).  “This leads to an associated point: Given the lack of attention given to the religious and spiritual dimension in most psychology training, how prepared are clinicians to be mindful of the potential impacts their religious and spiritual commitments have on their professional practice, to appropriately and ethically integrate spirituality in psychological treatment, or respond to emergent transcendent experiences” (Shafranske, 2010, pp. 125)?  This seems to mean that therapists should have the understanding to be able to mindfully talk about spirituality in their practice and treatment plans for their patients.

Spirituality is hard to define, but it has been explained a few ways.  One is that spirituality can be called one’s highest or ultimate values or reality, and the relationship one has with those realities or values (Braud, 2009).  A second way is the belonging or link to the transcendental ground of being.  Another is how people relate to God, other humans, or Earth.  Some refer to it as how committed one is to practicing a particular faith.  However, it is important to distinguish between healthy practices and beliefs and ones that are unhealthy to well-being (Braud, 2009).  Yet another general term by Lindholm and Astin is involving the process inside when you look for personal authenticity, wholeness, and genuineness; transcending one’s center, having a deeper sense of connecting to self and others from having relationships and community, having meaning, direction, and purpose in life, being open enough to the possibility of a relationship with a higher being that is above human existence and knowing, and having a value for the sacred (Braud, 2009).  There are other definitions of spirituality for femininity and other cultures.  But they were not included in the ones above.

There is a relatively new field of psychology called transpersonal psychology.  In addition to conventional ways, transpersonal psychologists use heuristic research, intuitive inquiry, organic inquiry, and integral inquiry.  These are depicted in these psychologists by a higher level of integration and inclusiveness in the whole person, more variety of benefits and functions in a session, sources of inspiration, more ways of knowing, topics and questions researched, different ways of gathering, using, and explaining information, including epistemology and ontology, and ethical thoughts and values that are relevant  (Braud, 2009).  This gives a broader perspective of all aspects of the issues at hand.

When we think in terms of helping people with their psychological issues, it just makes sense to include everything you possibly can to understand what the patient is going through and how they see thing possibly running their course.  Because a lot of people do follow some sort of faith, it is important for the therapist to know as much as possible about their patient’s spirituality, in order to help them the best way possible and include every aspect of that person as a whole.  Having this knowledge will provide the best treatment plan for that specific patient.

REFERENCES

Braud, W. (2009). Dragons, spheres, and flashlights: appropriate research approaches for studying workplace spirituality. Journal Of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 6(1), 59-75.

Leahey, T. H. (2004).  A history of psychology: Main currents in psychological thought (6th ed.).  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Shafranske, E. P. (2010). Advancing “the boldest model yet”: A commentary on psychology, religion, and spirituality. Psychology Of Religion And Spirituality, 2(2), 124-125.

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Tracie Timme is a Privileged ProvenTherapist. See her Profile for counseling support.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist from California Joins the ProvenTherapists Team

Janeen Wilson, a qualified and experienced Family Therapist and Counselor has started her online counseling clinic at ProvenTherapy.com. She is available to potential clients for individual and couples therapy through live chat or email service.

JaneenPress Release – 21 Nov. 2014: Janeen Wilson, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California (August 2006) has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Janeen began practicing therapy in 2000 working with a variety of different therapeutic issues and problems. Janeen initially began working with women in Domestic Violence and with adolescent boys struggling with psychiatric issues, bipolar issues and attachment disruption that were in a Residential Treatment setting. Janeen has worked with all ages of children in school based settings and their families addressing issues related to family dynamics, ADHD and emotional disruption. Janeen became very interested in an strength based evidence approach (Multi Dimensional Foster Care) and was formally trained as a Program Director and Family Therapist through this program (MTFC). With this training she focused on assisting families in reuniting youth from foster care back to their homes and strengthening their family systems. She has also worked with families as the Director of the Family Stabilization Team in Boston, MA to prevent youth from being removed from their home, as an Outpatient Therapist and with specialized populations such as the blind. Janeen has worked with a variety of different types of people in different areas, ranging from the tundra in Alaska to urban Boston, rural and urban Pennsylvania as well as in Southern California.

Issues Janeen has worked with ranges from working with the blind community, SED children and their families, Adoption, Foster Care, as well as Addiction and Trauma. Janeen has also been formally trained to work with firefighters to address their specific needs related to work and trauma.

For the last two years Janeen has been working as a Individual and Family therapist in an inpatient dual diagnosis residential setting for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health/trauma issues. Now she has opened her virtual clinic at https://www.proventherapy.com.

Read full press release here…

Love and Addictions!

Could a Person in Active Addiction Love His/Her Partner the Way They Expect and Deserved to Be Loved?

Rodica MihalisRodica Mihalis

Addictions!!! Addictions everywhere, to various drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, various harmful behaviors… just about anything that would product a quick HIGH to only leave the user wanting more, needing more and using/doing more! Addictions plague our lives, some in the open, some hidden under the mountains of lies and pretense.

Addictions run in my family and my husband’s, or to tell the truth, my ex-husband’s, who two years after our separation killed himself. Why? It is hard to tell, because suicide is a complex matter, and the ways depend on each person and not what those around do, or do not do.

When I first met my husband of almost 20 years, I knew he was smoking weed, I suspected he was using other, more potent drugs, but in my innocent mind, believed I was going to CHANGE HIM!!! Stop the addictions because they were bad for him and I was so skilled in showing him the “healthy” path, he would just turn away from addictions and follow my lead to a long, happy life. To put it plainly, I thought I could control the bad… I overestimated the evil…

At the beginning, it worked. One by one, he quit all the damaging substances. Later, I realized that perhaps, at the beginning, the needed “high” was coming from the novelty of the situation, from a new sexual  relationship and a new life that came with it: a home, children the admiration of those who thought he was “hopeless…”

Temporary!!! Yes, it was all temporary!

Unless an addicted person wants himself or herself to CHANGE!!! other people’s efforts are useless!

I don’t mean to “deflate” anyone, but YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE PERMANENTLY!!! A PERSON MUST WANT TO CHANGE HIMSELF OR HERSELF!!! Changing  others is not possible. We only have control over ourselves and our attitude and what we do with our lives.

So… could a person in active addiction or forced to quit LOVE YOU?

My experience? May be in the beginning, when you are the new high, the novelty. But is this love or lust? Is it deep and lasting? Is it trustworthy?

Big scary spiderIn a few years, if the person was forced to quit because of YOU, it may turn to resentment, fear and ultimately lies, when your addicted partner starts hiding from you the fact  that they went back to their first love: the bottle, weed, cocaine, gambling, sexual encounters with no strings attached…  you might not even know! I didn’t. For years I thought his sudden sweats where the result of a  mysterious health condition and our lack of money, the result of a bad economy!  Until one day, when I received a letter from the IRS and I looked through our finances to find tens of checks written to cash… $5,000 each. And that was the day when I was pushed from the top of the tower of blind trust into the dark waters of fear and mistrust! The addictions won over our lives, our children, my love and trust. I was powerless and humbled.

Do they love YOU, the children you conceived together? The answer, as I experienced it, is, may be, but are they able to EXPRESS their love for you, their children? The love for the “addiction” comes FIRST!!!  You and your family compete with the addictions! Everything is done to cover the truth: lies, financial deceit, promises, lies again…

The only path I know of, which leads to a good like, is the person’s own will and decision to change. God gave us FREE WILL and CHOICES and CONSEQUENCES. Each person is only responsible and may only make theirs.

I humbly must admit that no one could “save” or “change” anyone else, unless they want to. A partner may support, encourage and be with someone who, on his/her own wants a change.

Control over others is a myth! Control over our own attitudes, is the truth!

Rodica Mihalis is a Privileged ProvenTherapist, an author, and blogger. Contact her for a counseling appointment.

Tips for Troubled Relationships

Dr. Adam Pearson

Dr. Adam Pearson

Relationships are vital to the human experience. Relationships and the way a person perceives a relationship should be starting at the moment the person is born. The attachment of a child to his/her parent(s) will be a model for relationships with friends, intimate partners, roommates, bosses, etc. Romantic relationships and marriages seem to be the most prevalent among patients seen in online therapy. Communication is one of the most important aspects of a relationship including how we talk to each other, what we say, when we say it, and what we really are trying to say. It seems most people in a troubled relationship believe they know how the other person thinks and act upon these false perceptions. In marriage and family therapy arguing in a troubled relationship becomes a pathological pattern of coping with anger, resentment, hurt, jealousy, and is called the “dance”. Couples argue for the sake of arguing. They bring past mistakes the other person made and use them as a weapon to gain ground or power against their foe. If you do this you are hurting you, the other and the entire relationship.

men are from marsThe key to healthy communication is being humble and honest with one another, forgiving one another and not holding those mistakes against the other person. In an argument timeouts are a very easy and successful avenues of allowing each other to calm down and thinking with logical thought versus thinking with pure emotions. Decisions should NEVER be made when highly emotional, logical thought is minimized and instant gratification is sought when emotions are at their peek. The divorce rate in the United States is around 50% and divorce is proven over and over again to have ill effects on each partner and the children. Living together before marriage has been found to be the number one variable in predicting divorce. Commitment is diminished when a couple goes from living separate to living together and then getting married. The commitment and feeling of being married has been spoiled by living together and the sanctity and fortitude marriage is supposed to bring decreases and makes divorce an easy escape. People are disillusioned and somewhat delusional when they believe living together will help them make a more informed decision about getting married.

In any relationship there are bound to be times when the other person does certain behaviors which negatively have an impact on the relationship. It is not good to “suppress” negative feelings towards someone as they always come out in an uncontrolled and pathological way. There are also times when you will have to decide “Is this worth bringing up or is the problem actually me”. There is nothing wrong with doing a quick “check-in” with the person you are in a relationship with. While it might be uncomfortable to ask “Is there anything I am doing or saying that bothers you?” but for the health of you and your relationship this helps avoid blowups and arguments that severely damage the relationship. Yelling in an argument, name calling, talking down to someone, or demeaning someone all equal different ways of verbal and emotional abuse. Neglecting a partner and putting yourself first is a sure fire way to create problems in the relationship. Loving someone means serving each other and communicating with a balance of grace and justice. It is also important to work together as a team to develop boundaries in your relationship. This helps increase the quality and strength of the relationship when working together towards the same goal. This article is just a snippet to help aid people in their everyday relationships but simple, small things, the way we talk to each other, the validation of each other, a text message, doing something without being asked can make the difference between joy or pain.

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It is not too late to save your relationship or marriage… Talk to an online counselor now!

Normalized Immersion

The necessary change for eradicating fear based prejudice is normalized immersion.

Eric Holmes

Eric Holmes – Privileged ProvenTherapist

The more time we spend experiencing and being around things outside our common communities (people with disabilities, the elderly, minorities, homosexuals etc) the more normal and acceptable they become.

We must become an actual melting pot – break down nationalistic barriers, and fear based bubbles or communities of intolerance.  Our current such paradigms perpetuate our feelings of separation, heightening our anxiety and encouraging the ‘us and them’ mentalities that lead us to fear which moves us further away from connecting and progressively towards oppressive policies that harm ‘us’ by harming ‘them’.

We are all one – but we live in collectives like insulated church groups, like senior centers, disability homes, sports teams, tribes whereby the expression ‘we are all one’ comes to mean We (in this group) are all one… thus putting everyone else as other.

We must change the paradigm to a collective ‘us’. All of us, living breathing creatures, represented as citizens of Earth, working together for the collective benefit of us all.