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10 Tips to Build Your Resilience

rabbit_img1Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after a misfortune, blessed with such an outlook, resilient people are able to change course and soldier on (Psychology Today).

Here are the ten steps to build your resilience:

  1. Have the courage to be imperfect
  2. Take time for yourself
  3. Join a social club; do some course if you are not working.
  4. Be active in as many ways you can
  5. Have good company. Find time with your friends.
  6. Be aware that laughter is the best medicine! Find reasons to laugh out louder!
  7. Sleep at least 8 hours everyday (Read Sleep Hygiene Handout)
  8. Seek help when you need; asking help is a positive behavior!
  9. Remember, this too shall pass…
  10. Don’t bottle up. Talk to someone who you can trust. Remember, today’s friend could turn tomorrow’s enemy. So, think twice before sharing all your too personal and private things with a friend. This is where counseling with a trained professional is recommended.

Take Online Counseling or Psychotherapy for mental health problems now.

The trigger link between the synthetic Cannabis to “Spiceophrenia”

memory problems and PTSD

Jamal Hassan – Privileged ProvenTherapist

In the recently concluded 24th annual symposium of American Association of Addiction Psychiatry on 07 Dec 2013 the case presentation confirmed the close link between the eruption of symptoms similar to that of schizophrenia and the synthetic cannabis. In fact the synthetic cannabis has a variant chemical structure ten times severe in potency than the natural cannabis which has the chemical structure of  THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol: C21H30O2: MOLECULAR WEIGHT: 314.47: BOILING POINT: 200°C (392°F) LD50: ). Hence  the severity shall be assessed  how easy prey  our  youngsters who just experiment to smoke it as it is hyped as legal high and  nick named as  “ spice” and K2. But our therapeutic community recently reported that there is no link between cannabis use and schizophrenia. But in acutlity either natural or artificial cannabis they have their triggers hidden and open to the schizophrenic episodes such as delusion and illusion even for the first timer to develop such  symptoms associated with their first time exposure to the deadly drugs consumed in any form.

But the awareness of its deadliness and the severe and stringent law of the present times controlled the usage and reported cases are in less number in USA. My question now is what about countries like India, Thailand and other third world countries where the syndicates run this business as a big industry in manufacturing , filtering, purifying (as quality conscious to certify their produces and supplies!) and making it to lanes in the hands of peddlers?  Thanks to the apparatus which put this effect into reality in US. Together with the law and the awareness programme we shall also make a positive pro-social change in any challenges faced in the field of addiction. When our scientific community is mislead with the super titles appearing with a picture of a girl smoking the cannabis titled as “No link established between marijuana and schizophrenia” in leading and widely read magazines is definitely misleading one. What is our responsibility to educate the youth and the addticted victims already sucked in the whirlpool of addiction? This is a deep search for the truth after meeting the claims and counter claims related to the addiction issue. I submit my humble courtesy to the AAAP published paper on the case study and the team of researchers. In spite of WHO and other agencies sincere advertising campaigns the smokers strength is alarmingly increasing year by year. I wish draw the attention of that fact too here as simple smoking habit later take the shape of smoking the pot too.

I too wish to accept the new term “Spiceophrenia” like the original authors if fellow clinicians have aversion to use the disorder schizophrenia on the lighter side of this write up.  The spade shall be called with other names too still spade is a spade!

Is Your Relationship Ready for Online Counseling?

Gina Lorenzo

Gina Lorenzo

All couples experience some problems with communication, intimacy, beliefs, personality-conflicts, etc. at one time or another. Are the differences strong enough to create chaos or even the inability to co-exist? There are a few ways to assess whether your relationship needs and is ready for on-line counseling. The underlying initial question is Do I want to continue the relationship?

1. Do both partners agree that the relationship is worth saving?

If one partner has made up their mind to leave the relationship then long term therapy is not the answer although a session with a therapist to close the relationship is worth the investment. If each person wants to continue the relationship then therapy is for you.

2. If each person can admit that the issues in the relationship have not been solvable together, then a third party needs to help.

Arguing, tuning out or just existing in the same house are no way to live together. If the communication problems won’t go away or if the same argument repeats itself then a counselor will help to mend the issues.

3. Can you embrace the fact that accepting a therapist’s help isn’t a sign of weakness but a positive step forward?

Friends and family are a great resource- a good outlet if you need to share problems but they will always give subjective advice no matter what their intentions are. Often times they will be surprised and perhaps judge why you would seek a professional. Keep in mind that their judgments may have deep personal roots and that you are making a positive step. Your decision will only result in a happier partnership.

4. Do you each agree that you are responsible for the problems?

Relationships are a partnership. Placing all blame on the other is counterproductive. Even if a specific event or personality trait is what is leading you to therapy, both participants will need to explore their feelings, behavior, and reaction.

5. Are your expectations for the therapist positive and realistic?

While the therapist will help guide you, explore the origins of your behavior and feelings and give suggestions for better communication, child-rearing, intimacy, etc. it is you that needs to complete the ‘homework’ and take ownership. The therapist cannot ‘fix’ you or your relationship without your participation.

6. Are your expectations for change in the relationship realistic?

Are you ready to accept and adopt changes in behavior? Are you ready to change while (and not wait for) your partner also takes steps forward? Tell your partner that you are willing and hoping to do this for the relationship and agree that this will not be an overnight process.
The advantage to on-line counseling is that you can speak or email a counselor when the time is convenient and complete homework and experience change in a timely way.

Congratulations and enjoy the positive process.

Contact Gina

Take Online Family Therapy or Relationship Counseling for marriage and relationship problems now.

The Five Ingredients of an Effective Apology

The Five Ingredients of an Effective Apology

Why our apologies don’t work and how to fix them
Published on November 21, 2013 by Guy Winch, Ph.D. in The Squeaky Wheel

Apologies are important in any society and children are taught to say “I’m sorry” pretty much as soon as they are capable of constructing a full sentence. Unfortunately, our skill level does not improve very much from there. More often than not apologies made by adults are just as insincere and unconvincing as those made by children.

Why are we so bad at apologizing?

Effective Apologies as the Antidote to Guilt

Ask yourself (or someone else) why you (or they) are offering an apology in a given situation and the answer is likely to be, “I’m apologizing because I was wrong/mistaken/at fault,” or “One should/must/is expected to apologize in such situations,” or “It’s the right/mature/responsible thing to do.” And therein lays the problem. Because while such motivations are well and good, none of them reflect what the apology actually aims to achieve.

Consider that if you’re apologizing you must have done something to distress, hurt, offend, disappoint, frustrate, upset, anger, startle, or disrupt another person’s emotional equilibrium in some way. Therefore, the primary goal of your apology should be to ease that person’s emotional burden and garner their authentic forgiveness. As a bonus (and an important one), and only if your apology is effective, your own feelings of guilt or regret will ease.

However, for apologies to be effective, they have to be focused on the other person’s needs and feelings, not your own. This fundamental misunderstanding of who should be the focus of the apology is the reason so many politicians, athletes, and other celebrities sound blatantly insincere when offering them publically, and why so many of our own efforts are ineffective—because we’re not trying to make the other person feel better, we’re trying to make ourselves feel better.

The Keys to Constructing an Effective Apology

Apologies are tools with which we acknowledge violations of social expectations or norms, take responsibility for the impact of our actions on others, ask their forgiveness, and by doing so, repair ruptures in our relationships, restore our social standing, and ease feelings of guilt. This formulation implies that for an apology to be effective it must have the following key ingredients:

1. A clear ‘I’m sorry’ statement.

2. An expression of regret for what happened.

3. An acknowledgment that social norms or expectations were violated.

4. An empathy statement acknowledging the full impact of our actions on the other person.

5. A request for forgiveness.

The most important of these five ingredients and sadly, the one we tend to omit most often, is the empathy statement. In order for the other person to truly forgive us, they need to feel as though we ‘get’ the full implications of our actions on them (read How to Test Your Empathy here). Doing so convincingly is harder than it might seem. Let’s see how you do with the following example:

Setup: You had a horrible day at work, you’re in a terrible mood, you get home late and feel too wiped out and irritable to go to your very good friend’s birthday party. Besides, you figure your presence will only be a downer, so why ruin the event for everyone else? You wake up the next morning flooded with guilt and feel even worse when you realize you didn’t even let them know you weren’t coming.

Apology: What points do you need to cover in order to convey you ‘get’ the full impact of your actions on them?

Make a list of points you would mention before you continue reading. When you’re compiled your list, check key #4 to see how many of the necessary points you identified. Here are the five key ingredients an effective apology should have:

1. I am so incredibly sorry…

2. …I didn’t make it to your birthday party last night.

3. I had a terrible day and was in such a bad mood I just went to bed—but there’s no excuse for not showing up and for not even calling to tell you I wasn’t coming.

4. I can only imagine how (a) upset and (b) hurt, (c) disappointed, and (d) angry you must feel. (e) I know how much work you put into the party. (f) You must have been wondering when I would show up and (g) where I was. (h) I’m sure people asked you where I was and (i) I feel terrible for putting you in such an awkward and embarrassing position. I hope you weren’t worried (j) and that you were able to enjoy yourself but I feel awful that my (k) selfish behavior affected your (l) mood, (m) your night, or (n) the party in any way. I am so sorry I (o) wasn’t there for you as a friend should be and that I (p) wasn’t at your side to celebrate your birthday.

5. I know it might take you a while, but I just hope you’ll be able to forgive me.

Although it might seem intimidating to ‘own up’ to bad behavior so completely, doing so will not only help mend important relationships and ease feelings guilt, but taking responsibility and doing the right thing can feel extremely empowering. That said, be aware that effective apologies and especially empathy statements require practice, so plan for a learning curve.

And if you know any politicians, athletes, or celebrities who screw up or put their foot in their mouths—feel free to give them these five keys—they could probably use them….

For more about repairing relationships check out the chapters on Guilt and Loneliness in, Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries (Hudson Street Press, 2013).

Staying engaged

Ryan’s love [for his girlfriend] was audacious. It was whimsical. It was strategic. Most of all, it was contagious. Watching Ryan lose himself in love reminded me that being “engaged” isn’t just an event that happens when a guy gets on one knee and puts a ring on his true love’s finger. Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love. I want to be engaged to life and with life.

5 Ways to Stay Engaged Once You’re Married

Lack of sleep linked to higher risk of illness in teenagers

Newly released findings from Bradley Hospital published in the Journal of Sleep Research have found that acute illnesses, such as colds, flu, and gastroenteritis were more common among healthy adolescents who got less sleep at night. Additionally, the regularity of teens’ sleep schedules was found to impact their health. The study, titled “Sleep patterns are associated with common illness in adolescents,” was led by Kathryn Orzech, Ph.D. of the Bradley Hospital Sleep Research Laboratory.

Orzech and her team compared three outcomes bSleep disturbanceetween longer and shorter sleepers: number of illness bouts, illness duration, and school absences related to illness. The team found that bouts of illness declined with longer sleep for both male and female high school students. Longer sleep was also generally protective against school absences that students attributed to illness. There were gender differences as well, with males reporting fewer illness bouts than females, even with similar sleep durations.

Orzech’s team analyzed total sleep time in teens for six-day windows both before and after a reported illness and found a trend in the data toward shorter sleep before illness vs. wellness. Due to the difficulty of finding teens whose illnesses were spaced in such a way to be statistically analyzed, Orzech also conducted qualitative analysis, examining individual interview data for two short-sleeping males who reported very different illness profiles. This analysis suggested that more irregular sleep timing across weeknights and weekends (very little sleep during the week and “catching up” on sleep during the weekend), and a preference for scheduling work and social time later in the evening hours can both contribute to differences in illness outcomes, conclusions that are also supported in the broader adolescent sleep literature.

“Some news reaches the general public about the long-term consequences of sleep deprivation, such as the links between less sleep and weight gain,” said Orzech. “However, most of the studies of sleep and health have been done under laboratory conditions that cannot replicate the complexities of life in the real world. Our study looked at rigorously collected sleep and illness data among adolescents who were living their normal lives and going to school across a school term.”

Article continues here…

Mending ruptures in client-therapist relationship during PTSD treatment has positive benefits

Online Counseling ServicesIn order for prolonged exposure therapy, an evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD, to reach its full potential, any misperceptions or ruptures in trust and communication between therapist and client need fixing, according to a new Case Western Reserve University study.

The study, reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology online article, “Patterns of Therapeutic Alliance: Rupture-Repair Episodes in Prolonged Exposure for PTSD,” is among the first to examine how ruptures in the relationship between the therapist and client can damage a patient’s treatment outcome.

An alliance rupture may occur when there is a break in the therapist-client bond. For example, ruptures in the therapeutic relationship may occur when therapeutic progress stalls, negative feelings arise between the therapist and client, or when the work in therapy becomes challenging.

“We want therapists to know that a rupture in the therapeutic relationship isn’t a bad thing, as long as the therapist tends to it,” said Stephanie Keller, one of the study’s researchers and a Case Western Reserve doctoral student in clinical psychology. “However, if the rupture is not repaired, then your patient may not do as well in treatment.”

The research study included 116 people who experienced a traumatic event such as childhood sexual or physical abuse, physical assault, or combat exposure, and had a primary diagnosis of PTSD. Participants engaged in a 10-session treatment program called prolonged exposure (PE) therapy.

To help therapists chart progress and examine the therapeutic relationship, each client assessed his or her own PTSD symptoms and perception of their relationship with the therapist during treatment. This helped researchers to identify those clients who experience no ruptures in the therapeutic relationship (a stable relationship), clients who experienced a rupture that was subsequently repaired, and those with ruptures that went unrepaired.

Article continues here…

We are on the First Page!

first pageProvenTherapy.com is listed on the first page of Google for keyword ‘online counseling services’. The site was on the seventh page since the latest Panda update by Google in May/June 2013. Site traffic went down drastically since. However, with the support of some very active Therapists we could achieve this goal. At the moment the site is showing at position 10 on the first page of Google. We are trying to fine-tune our SEO at the moment in order to improve the site ranking further.

Divorce Elevates Risk for Depression

Divorce is associated with an increased risk of future depressive episodes but only for those who already have a history of depression, according to a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

marriage and relationship problems“Stressful life events like divorce are associated with significant risk for prolonged emotional distress, including clinically-significant depression,” notes psychological scientist and lead researcher David Sbarra of the University of Arizona. “At the same time, we know from considerable research that the experience of divorce is non-random. Some people are much greater risk for experiencing a divorce than other people.”

This led Sbarra and colleagues to wonder: Is it divorce, or the factors leading to divorce — such as marital discord, neuroticism, or hostility — that increase the risk for depression?

To investigate this question, the researchers took advantage of data from the longitudinal, nationally representative Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) study. The researchers matched each participant who had separated or divorced during the study to a continuously married person in the study who had the same propensity to divorce, based on a number of previously identified factors. By comparing participants to their match, the researchers were able to account for the fact that it’s impossible to randomly assign people to divorce or stay married.

In line with previous research, the results showed that divorce had a significant effect on subsequent depression.

But, as Sbarra and colleagues found, the full story was a bit more complex.

Specifically, divorce or separation only increased the likelihood of a later depressive episode for those participants who reported a history of depression. In fact, nearly 60% of adults with a history of depression who divorced during the study experienced a depressive episode at the follow-up assessment.

For all other participants — including those who had a history of depression but hadn’t divorced, and those who divorced but had no history of depression — there was no elevated risk for a future depressive episode. Only about 10% of these people experienced a depressive episode at follow-up.

The magnitude of the difference between the two groups — 60% versus 10% — surprised the researchers.

“These findings are very important because they affirm the basic notion that most people are resilient in the face of divorce and that we do not see severe disorder among people without a history of a past depressive illness,” says Sbarra. “If you’ve never experienced a significant depression in your life and you experience a separation or divorce, your odds for becoming depressed in the future are not that large at all.”

Article continues here…

Know More about Phobia

A phobia is an irrational fear, a kind of anxiety disorder in which the sufferer has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place or thing.

phobiasIndividuals with a phobia go to great lengths to avoid a perceived danger which is much greater in their minds than in real life. If confronted with the source of their phobia, the person will suffer enormous distress, which can interfere with their normal function; it can sometimes lead to total panic. For some people, even thinking about their phobia is immensely distressing.

A phobia starts when a person begins organizing their lives around avoiding the object of their fear. A phobia is much more serious than a simple fear. Sufferers have an overpowering need to steer clear of anything which triggers their anxiety.

If the phobia is of something the phobic person very rarely comes into contact with, such as snakes, their daily lives will not be affected. However, some complex phobias are impossible to avoid, such as agoraphobia (fear of leaving home or public places) or social phobia (fear of being among groups of people).

Non-psychological phobiasphotophobia means sensitivity to light. For example, if you have conjunctivitis or a migraine your eyes may be particularly sensitive to light. This does not mean the person is afraid of light. One of the symptoms of rabies is hydrophobia, which is the inability to drink water.

Discrimination or prejudice – some words which include the word “phobia” do not refer to fear, but rather to prejudice or discrimination. Homophobia is not an uncontrollable fear of homosexual people; it is a dislike, a discrimination against them. Some older people may dislike youths or teenagers (ephebiphobia). Xenophobia is a dislike of strangers, foreigners or the unknown.

There are three main categories of phobias:

    • Specific phobias (simple phobias) – involve a disproportionate fear about specific situations, living creatures, places, activities, or things. Examples include a fear of:

      – Dentists (dentophobia)
      – Bats (chiroptophobia)
      – Dogs (cynophobia)
      – Flying (aviophobia)
      – Snakes (opidiophobia)
      – Birds (ornithophobia)
      – Frogs (ranidaphobia)

The two cateogories below, social phobia and agoraphobia are known as complex phobias. They are linked to a deep-rooted fear or anxiety about certain situations, incidents or circumstances, which make them much more disabling than simple phobias.

    • Social phobia – now called social anxiety disorder. A person with social phobia finds being in social situations difficult and sometimes unbearable. Going to parties, weddings, functions, or exhibitions cause sufferers anxiety; there is fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in public. The ultimate nightmare for a person with social phobia is probably to have to talk in public or act on a stage of front of an audience.

      There is a fear of being judged by other people. People affected with social phobia feel that they will be scrutinized and singled out in the crowd, which would be an unbearably embarrassing ordeal. The dread of being laughed at because of their clothes, voice or some feature of their body is so intense that they prefer to avoid social gatherings altogether.

      Psychologists say that a high proportion of adults with social phobia started taking measures to avoid social situations during their teenage years. Studies have shown that their progressively isolated lifestyles make them more susceptible to developing depression. Experts emphasize that social phobia is not the same as shyness.

      Obese people may develop social anxiety disorder, simply because of their weight.

    • Agoraphobia – an individual with agoraphobia is frightened of finding himself/herself in situations where there is no escape; they fear being stuck in a desperate situation with no help. Agoraphobia may include a dread of traveling on buses or trains, going into large shops or shopping malls. When symptoms are severe, the patient may find it unbearable to even step out of their own home.

Sufferers have an 80% risk of also suffering from panic disorder. As with social phobia, crowded and public places are avoided.

Article continues here…

Counseling at ProvenTherapy.com should be an easy journey, provided you take the first step! The first step is to contact a Therapist... this could be the hardest part because you have to break your mental barrier... but, the journey is sure to be relaxing and comfortable for you! --- the ProvenTherapy Team