Tag Archives: Mental Health

People with Anxiety Perceive the World Differently

By Lindsay Holmes

anxiety-859370_640Sufferers of anxiety view the world in fundamentally different ways.

People who still believe the outdated notion that mental health conditions are “all in a person’s head” have yet another reason to stop believing the myth: According to a new study in the journal Current Biology, those with anxiety perceive the world differently — and it stems from a variance in their brains.

It all comes down to the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change and reorganize itself by forming new connections. These inherent changes in the brain dictate how a person responds to stimuli, and researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that people diagnosed with anxiety are less likely to be able to differentiate neutral or “safe” stimuli from threatening ones.

The scientists found that those with anxiety experienced lasting plasticity long after an emotional experience (aka a “stimulus”) ended. This means the brain was unable to distinguish new, irrelevant situations from something that’s familiar or non-threatening, resulting in anxiety. In other words, anxious individuals tend to overgeneralize emotional experiences, whether they are threatening or not.

Most importantly, researchers noted, this reaction is not something that an anxious individual can control, because it’s a fundamental brain difference.

For the study, researchers trained individuals to associate three specific sounds with one of three outcomes: money loss, money gain or no consequence. In the next phase of the study, participants listened to approximately 15 tones and were asked to identify whether or not they’d heard them before.

The best way to “win” the tone-identifying game was for participants to not confuse or overgeneralize the new sounds with the ones they heard in the first phase of the study. The study authors found that subjects with anxiety were more likely than non-anxious subjects to think a new sound was one that they heard earlier.

This occurrence wasn’t due to an impairment in learning or hearing. It happened because they perceived the earlier tones, which were linked to an emotional experience of money loss or gain, differently than the other participants.

Researchers also discovered that during the exercise, people with anxiety displayed differences in the amygdala, the region of the brain that’s associated with fear. The findings may explain why the disorder develops for some people and not others, according to the authors.

“Anxiety traits can be completely normal, and even beneficial evolutionarily. Yet an emotional event, even minor sometimes, can induce brain changes that might lead to full-blown anxiety,” lead researcher Rony Paz said in a statement.

The new research is a sound reminder that a person is hardly responsible for having a mental illness; surmounting evidence shows mental health conditions have genetic and physiological underpinnings. A 2015 study found that anxiety may be hereditary, while other research suggests depression may be an inflammatory disease.

However, despite this growing body of research, there’s still a sizable stigma surrounding mental illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 25 percent of people with a mental health disorder feel like others are understanding about their experience. Original Article

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Posted by on March 7, 2016 in Anxiety, General


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Psychedelics Creating A Mental Health Paradigm Shift

By Carolyn Gregoire

psychedelicsIs American medicine on the brink of a psychedelic revolution?

It’s seeming more and more likely. A scientific review of the existing research into the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, highlights the enormous potential of substances like LSD, psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms) and MDMA (the active ingredient in Ecstasy) for treating a host of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, anxiety associated with terminal illness and depression.

While the research is still young, the small, preliminary studies highlighted in the review have shown that positive results can come from short courses — or even single sessions — of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

“The studies are showing big effects,” Dr. Matthew Johnson, a behavioral pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post. “The exciting thing isn’t just that these drugs work for something that we already have treatment for. It’s that they’re getting big effects on disorders for which we have very poor treatment.”

HuffPost Science caught up with Johnson, who has conducted extensive research on the therapeutic applications of psilocybin and other hallucinogens, to learn more about how psychedelics could fundamentally change the way we treat mental illness.

Some people are calling psychedelics a “paradigm shift” in mental health care. Do you agree? 

“Paradigm shift” is an appropriate term. It’s often overused in science, but this really is the case. There are fundamental differences in the approach of existing medication and psychedelic treatments, so that’s why we call it a different paradigm.

This is truly medication-facilitated therapy. So much of the data suggests that it’s the nature of the subjective experience that one has while under the effects of the substances that determines the long-term benefits — it’s not just taking the substance. Psychedelics open a door to the mind, and then what’s behind that door is really all about the participants and the intention that they bring to the session.

The fact that the effects last beyond the time that you take the medication — that’s really a new paradigm in psychiatry.

Research has looked at psychedelic treatments for a range of mental health conditions. Are there any areas that you’re particularly excited about, or that look especially promising? 

I hate to say everything! [laughs] I’m really impressed by the research in the three big categories — psilocybin and LSD for cancer-related anxiety and depression, psilocybin for addiction and MDMA for PTSD. There’s even some preliminary, limited research on obsessive-compulsive disorder that looks promising.

The study we conducted on psilocybin for cigarette smoking at Johns Hopkins had a very high success rate — 80 percent of people were abstinent after six months, which is really off the charts compared to typical treatments. And with alcoholism, a pilot study found a strong effect as well.

It’s really the magnitude of the effects that’s exciting.

These studies have shown that patients often achieve lasting results after just a few sessions, and one study even found a single session of psilocybin to produce lasting personality changes. How is it that these substances can have such powerful effects? What’s going on in the brain?

We don’t know exactly how yet, but we suspect [there may be] some lasting changes in the way different areas and processes in the brain communicate or synchronize with each other. We suspect there is some level of fundamental reorganization.

What are some potential dangers of taking these drugs? Are “bad trips” a concern? 

There are risks to all medical interventions, so the relevant question is, “What’s the balance of potential benefit to risk?”

In terms of so-called bad trips, we really encourage the participants in our studies to consider these [as] challenging effects that they can learn from as they integrate these difficult psychological experiences.

Things do happen, but they’re relatively rare. We’re very mindful, and as a field, we’ve been very responsible with monitoring and safeguarding these sessions. About a third of participants taking a high dose of psilocybin will at some point in time during the session have what you might call a bad trip. It’s going to be aversive — the person may be very frightened — but in the context of this type of trial, when they’re on the couch and being monitored, the person can’t do something stupid. We don’t see any evidence of prolonged psychiatric reactions or harm, or of the person “not coming back.”

However, people with active psychotic disorders or a strong predisposition for such disorders should not receive these treatments. We can reliably select out these individuals through careful psychiatric screening.

These drugs were researched extensively in the 1950s and 1960s, but funding stalled when the substances were classified as dangerous and lacking in medical value. Are scientists still facing these challenges? 

This is really the biggest challenge, but I’m not concerned, because everything is on track right now. There’s been very little governmental funding for research on these types of therapeutic compounds, but we’re hopeful and we think it’s very likely that this is going to change.

This a very new area, so an initial reluctance is very understandable and we’re letting the data speak for itself. It takes time.

Besides Johns Hopkins, what other institutions are leading the way? If people are interested in participating in clinical trials, what can they do? 

Hopkins has by far conducted the most extensive psilocybin research in the U.S. UCLA published a study on 12 cancer patients, and NYU recently conducted a study of about 30 cancer patients. [The] University of Alabama at Birmingham has initiated a psilocybin trial for cocaine dependence with a couple of dozen folks. At Hopkins, we have administered over 500 doses of psilocybin over the last 15 years. For psilocybin outside of the the U.S., hundreds of volunteers have received psilocybin at the University of Zurich, and Imperial College in London has published a few small studies recently.

If you’re interested in taking part in clinical trials, look up psilocybin or MDMA on

We’re still at the early stages of this research. How far are we exactly from psychiatrists being able to use psychedelic-assisted therapy with their patients? 

In the context of tightly controlled therapeutic trials, the answer is “now.” In terms of standard clinical care, it depends on the context. We’re farthest along with research on psilocybin for cancer-related anxiety and depression. That’s the closest to a phase 3 study, which, if successful, could lead to approved subscription use under fairly narrow conditions. Other, further research would then explore the boundaries of that treatment.

[Editor’s note: Phase 2 trials are when the drug is given to a larger group of people than in the initial trial to monitor its effectiveness and safety. Phase 3 trials are used to confirm efficacy, further evaluate side effects and determine usage guidelines.]

Then there’s addiction. Early trials for cigarette smoking and alcohol have been conducted and look very promising, so the next steps are phase 2 trials, which are currently underway.

It’s not black and white, but I would expect that within the next 10 years there will be prescription use [for psilocybin and LSD], at least for cancer-related indications. Article Source

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in General, Mental Health


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Five Lies Ruining Your Mental Health

By Amy Morin

jin-li-683231_1920One in five Americans experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet many people suffer with their symptoms in silence.

The stigma that continues to surround mental health problems prevents individuals from getting the help they need.

It’s a common problem I’ve seen in my therapy office. People often waited years to seek help. Even though their symptoms were treatable, they were afraid to tell anyone about the symptoms they were experiencing.

Some of them feared a mental health diagnosis could affect their careers. Can I still teach if I have depression? If people know I have anxiety, will they assume my business is failing? Do I need to tell my boss I’m taking medication?

Others worried that they’d get labeled as crazy. Will other parents let their children come to my home if I go to counseling? If my neighbors see me in the waiting room, will they treat me different?

Many of them had legitimate concerns. Despite ongoing efforts to educate the public about mental health, many misconceptions remain. Before the stigma can be stopped, these five mental health myths need to be debunked:

1. You’re either mentally ill or mentally healthy.

Similar to the way a physically healthy person may still experience minor health issues-like bad knees or high cholesterol-a mentally healthy person may experience an emotional problem or two. Mental health is a continuum and people may fall anywhere on the spectrum.

Even if you are doing well, there’s a good chance you aren’t 100% mentally healthy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates only about 17% of adults are in a state of optimal mental health.

2. Mental illness is a sign of weakness.

As someone who trains people to build mental strength, I sometimes receive backlash from individuals who claim the phrase “mental strength” somehow stigmatizes mental illness. Those comments come from people who automatically assume people with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions are “mentally weak.”

Mental strength is not the same as mental health. Just like someone with diabetes could still be physically strong, someone with depression can still be mentally strong. Many people with mental health issues are incredibly mentally strong. Anyone can make choices to build mental strength, regardless of whether they have a mental health issue.

3. You can’t prevent mental health problems.

You certainly can’t prevent all mental health problems-factors like genetics and traumatic life events certainly play a role. But everyone can take steps to improve their mental health and prevent further mental illness.

Establishing healthy habits–like eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, and participating in regular exercise–can also go a long way to improving how you feel. Similarly, getting rid of destructive mental habits, like engaging in self-pity or ruminating on the past, can also do wonders for your emotional well-being.

4. People with mental illness are violent.

Unfortunately, when mental illness is mentioned in the media it’s often in regards to a headline about a mass shooting or domestic violence incident. Although many violent criminals are frequently portrayed as being mentally ill, most people with mental health problems aren’t actually violent.

The American Psychological Association reports that only 7.5% of crimes are directly related to symptoms of mental illness. Poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, and homelessness are among some of the other reasons why people commit violent acts.

5. Mental health problems are forever.

Not all mental health problems are curable. Schizophrenia, for example, doesn’t go away. But most mental health problems are treatable.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports between 70 and 90% of individuals experience symptom relief with a combination of therapy and medication. Complete recovery from a variety of mental health issues is often possible.

Getting Rid of the Mental Health Stigma

Even though suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America, most public service announcements and government education programs focus solely on physical health issues, like cancer and obesity. Raising awareness of mental health issues and debunking the common misconceptions could be instrumental in saving lives.

Amy Morin a psychotherapist, keynote speaker, and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.


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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in General, Mental Health



Mental Illness Stigma Can Often Be a Barrier to Treatment

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay Reporter

Mental Illness and StigmaThe stigma often associated with mental illness prevents many people from getting the care they need, new research shows.

Although one in four people has some form of mental health disorder, the study found that in Europe and the United States, up to 75 percent of those affected do not receive the treatment they need. If left untreated certain mental health problems — such as psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder — could get worse, researchers warned.

“We now have clear evidence that stigma has a toxic effect by preventing people seeking help for mental health problems,” Dr. Graham Thornicroft, senior study author at the Institute of Psychiatry of King’s College London, said in a college news release. “The profound reluctance to be ‘a mental health patient’ means people will put off seeing a doctor for months, years, or even at all, which in turn delays their recovery.”

For the study, published Feb. 25 in Psychological Medicine, the researchers collected information from 144 studies involving 90,000 people around the world.

Stigma ranked as the fourth highest of 10 barriers to care. Aside from the stigma of using mental health services or being treated for mental illness, the participants also reported feelings of shame and embarrassment as reasons for not seeking care. Others were afraid to let anyone know they have a mental health issue or were concerned about confidentiality.

Some people with mental illness either felt they could handle their problem on their own or believed they didn’t actually need help, the study also found.

Among those most affected by the stigma associated with mental illness were young people, those from minority ethnic groups, members of the military and health care professionals.

“Our study clearly demonstrates that mental health stigma plays an important role in preventing people from accessing treatment,” Dr. Sarah Clement, lead study author, also with the Institute of Psychiatry, said in the news release.

“We found that the fear of disclosing a mental health condition was a particularly common barrier,” Clement said. “Supporting people to talk about their mental health problems, for example through anti-stigma campaigns, may mean they are more likely to seek help.”

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health to find out about help for mental illnesses.

Original Article:

Related CE Courses for Mental Health Professionals

This CE test is based on the book “Treating Bipolar Disorder” (2005, 212 pages). This innovative manual presents a powerful approach for helping people manage bipolar illness and protect against the recurrence of manic or depressive episodes. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy focuses on stabilizing moods by improving medication adherence, building coping skills and relationship satisfaction, and shoring up the regularity of daily rhythms or routines. Each phase of this flexible, evidence-based treatment is vividly detailed, from screening, assessment, and case conceptualization through acute therapy, maintenance treatment, and periodic booster sessions. Among the special features are reproducible assessment tools and a chapter on how to overcome specific treatment challenges.
This CE test is based on the book “Anger Management: The Complete Treatment Guidebook for Practitioners” (2002, 320 pages). A comprehensive state-of-the-art anger management program and a must-have manual for the practitioner. The authors are distinguished researchers, teachers and practitioners in the field of anger management, and their book offers a detailed, research-based and empirically validated “anger episode model.” This indispensable resource for human service professionals emphasizes how to help clients understand, manage, and prevent unhealthy anger. The book is packed with detailed procedures, examples, exercises, and client handouts.
Self-defeating behaviors are negative on-going patterns of behaviors involving issues such as smoking, weight, inactive lifestyle, depression, anger, perfectionism, etc. This course is designed to teach concepts to eliminate these negative patterns. The course is educational: first you learn the model, then you apply it to a specific self-defeating behavior. A positive behavioral change is the outcome. Following the course, participants will be able to identify, analyze and replace their self-defeating behavior(s) with positive behavior(s). The course also provides an excellent psychological “tool” for clinicians to use with their clients. The author grants limited permission to photocopy forms and exercises included in this course for clinical use.
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness. Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.Some types of depression tend to run in families. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression too. Scientists are studying certain genes that may make some people more prone to depression. Some genetics research indicates that risk for depression results from the influence of several genes acting together with environmental or other factors. In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Other depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.This introductory course provides an overview to the various forms of depression, including signs and symptoms, co-existing conditions, causes, gender and age differences, and diagnosis and treatment options.
Nearly every client who walks through a health professional’s door is experiencing some form of anxiety. Even if they are not seeking treatment for a specific anxiety disorder, they are likely experiencing anxiety as a side effect of other clinical issues. For this reason, a solid knowledge of anxiety management skills should be a basic component of every therapist’s repertoire. Clinicians who can teach practical anxiety management techniques have tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses. Anxiety management benefits the clinician as well, helping to maintain energy, focus, and inner peace both during and between sessions. The purpose of this course is to offer a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Mental Health



Being Numb Means Never Growing or Changing

Staying Numb Means No Change

By Justin Lioi, LCSW, Relationships and Marriage

Some people drink a lot, smoke pot a lot, or work a hell of a lot.

While for many people, these activities might indicate a clinical addiction that needs to be directly addressed, for many others, these—and other activities—may be used to avoid discomfort.

A few of the most common issues people find themselves trying to avoid include:

  • Disappointment in relationships (or the lack of a relationship)
  • Feeling used at a job or unenthusiastic about work
  • Remembering something painful they would rather forget

Anyone who grew up with a pet hamster probably noticed how it would spend its day running in place on a wheel. Well, we can be like that, too. We can run and run as we try to hold off feelings of discomfort. The problem is, once we stop, we’re still on the wheel. We’re more exhausted, but we’re still in the same cage.

The Numbing Process

Some people I work with experience anger issues, but many others experience what appears to be the opposite: They go numb.

Through the anesthesia of their choice, they attempt to cordon themselves off from feelings. This can actually be effective for a certain amount of time. In fact, many people swear by this technique. Often, they’re proud of they way they “compartmentalize” so well!

Yet, feelings find a way to come out.

If you deal with discomfort by going numb, you’re hiding two things: You’re warding off the initial feeling, and you’re growing more worried of what will happen once that feeling emerges.

  • If you allow yourself to get angry, will you insult or hurt someone?
  • If you allow yourself to grieve, will you ever find your way out?
  • If you allow yourself to be scared, will you ever be strong again?
  • If you let others know you’re sad, will they say, “Get over it,” or tell you that you’re too needy?
  • If you let others know you’re angry at them, will they disappear?

Avoiding Feelings to Protect Our Relationships

Numbing is sometimes used to protect the status quo in our relationships with other people.

We are constantly changing and the world around us is constantly changing. Numbing, however, keeps things just as they are.This is often easier to see in others than ourselves. Can you think of a person who has a girlfriend, a parent, or a friend that they are always making excuses for? Maybe you question how and why they continue to keep this person in their life?

If they really considered the way that person treated them, they might need to say something or make some real changes in the relationship. Avoiding the negative feelings and continuing to run on the wheel means that someone doesn’t have to risk change. Change is scary, and it can sometimes be painful, so many people choose to avoid the risk.

Resistance to Change

We are constantly changing, and the world around us is constantly changing. Numbing, however, keeps things just as they are.

It’s hard to keep things the same when we live in a changing world. Both the people we love and the people we hate are changing. Maybe these changes aren’t big ones, and maybe people don’t change in the way we’d like them to change, but no one is static.

When we’re drunk, the world might seem OK. When we’re high, we can’t help laughing. When we’re at work six days a week, 10 hours a day, we are accomplishing something and stressing about something that has nothing to do with us. We’re running on a hamster wheel that we perceive is protecting us, but we’re not feeling what’s actually going on around us.

It’s not by accident that transitions—birthdays, breakups, funerals, graduations—are often surrounded with alcohol. We’re scared during these times, even if the transitions lead to something exciting. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this. Fear can be adaptive when we’re actively taking part in the transition to something new. It’s unhealthy, however, when we’re OK with being stuck on the hamster wheel.

© Copyright 2015 by Justin Lioi, LCSW, therapist in Brooklyn, NY. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in General, Mental Health


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The Action Plan for Happiness

Happiness - Take Action NowTake Action Now!

If it’s going to be, it’s up to me

Post published by Russell Grieger Ph.D. on Aug 02, 2015 in Happiness on Purpose

In my clinical practice, I treat people who suffer from just about every imaginable emotional malady – depression, anxiety, anger, addictions, eating disorders, sexual malfunctions, obsessions and compulsions, borderline personality disorders, impulsive acting out, relationship dysfunction, and on and on. To every single one of my patients, I emphasize how important it is for them to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their recovery.

How do I do this? I first help them understand the precise nature and cause of their problems. Then, in the spirit of what the psychologist Carl Rogers taught, “Insight is necessary but not sufficient,” I do my best to convince them that, to get better, they need to work hard, really hard, not only during our sessions, but also in the days between our sessions. I tell them: “The measly forty-five minutes you spend with me each week pales in comparison to the hours you spend with yourself, unwittingly rehearsing and practicing your irrational thinking and dysfunctional behavior. I’ll do everything in my power to teach you what to do, but, if you don’t work your therapy every day, you could very well come to our next appointment next week worse than better.”

In this vein, I make it a point to never let a patient leave my office without at least one between-session therapy assignment. It can be some therapeutic reading, a cognitive restructuring assignment, a behavioral task, or some combination of all three. It never fails that when patients works their therapy, every day, with vigor and focus, they get better.

The same dedication to work applies to creating happiness. All the wonderful happiness strategies in the world will be for naught unless you are willing to use them to bring happiness into your life. If you work them, life will get better. If you don’t, it won’t. It’s that simple.


So, dear reader, here’s your chance to get organized, get focused, and most important, get to work to increase your happiness quotient. I share below a three-step process I call ACT – A refers to creating your Action Plan for Happiness; C has to do with your massive Commitment to do what it takes to bring more pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness into your life; T means Turning On the Action. So, let’s swing into ACTion – now!

Action Plan For Happiness

Starting way back on February 19, 2013, and then each month thereafter, I have published a series of thirty blogs, each with a profound, powerful happiness action strategy. The first ten focused on ways to be happy with yourself (blogs 2/19/13 – 10/31/13), the next ten on how to create happiness with others (11/30/13 – 8/31/14), and the last ten on ways to be happy with life in general (9/30/14 – 6/30/15). In each package of ten, the first five strategies are cognitive or attitudinal, the second five behavioral things to do.

Whether you’ve followed my blogs month-by-month, logged in here and there, or are a first-timer, I suggest that you take the time to browse through these blogs. This may take some time and energy on your part. But, I think your happiness is worth it, don’t you? Once you’ve done this, you are to select one strategy you will begin to do to be happier with yourself, with others, and with life. Write them down below. For each, make notes about where, when, and with whom you’ll act out these strategies.

                                                       My Action Plan

Happiness With Self Strategy:

Happiness With Others Strategy:

Happiness With Life Strategy:


All right, great job! You’ve created a concrete happiness action plan that can add tons of pleasure and satisfaction to your life. But, all the plans in the world, without action, will be useless. You need to commit to follow through. Consider what the genius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.”  Here now are three ways for you to get and stay motivated to act out your Action Plan for Happiness each and every day.



Mental Health CE Courses of Interest


Should therapists and counselors use humor as a therapeutic technique? If so, should they be formally trained in those procedures before their implementation? This course will review the risks and benefits of using humor in therapy and the relevant historical controversies of this proposal. The paucity of rigorous empirical research on the effectiveness of this form of clinical intervention is exceeded only by the absence of any training for those practitioners interested in applying humor techniques. In this course a representative sample of its many advocates’ recommendations to incorporate humor in the practice of psychological therapies is reviewed. Therapeutic humor is defined, the role of therapists’ personal qualities is discussed, and possible reasons for the profession’s past resistance to promoting humor in therapy are described. Research perspectives for the evaluation of humor training are presented with illustrative examples of important empirical questions still needing to be answered.Course #21-02 | 2015 | 24 pages | 14 posttest questions


In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) the human-animal bond is utilized to help meet therapeutic goals and reach individuals who are otherwise difficult to engage in verbal therapies. AAT is considered an emerging therapy at this time, and more research is needed to determine the effects and confirm the benefits. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of research and case studies that illustrate the considerable therapeutic potential of using animals in therapy. AAT has been associated with improving outcomes in four areas: autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral challenges, and emotional well-being. This course is designed to provide therapists, educators, and caregivers with the information and techniques needed to begin using the human-animal bond successfully to meet individual therapeutic goals. This presentation will focus exclusively on Animal Assisted Therapy and will not include information on other similar or related therapy.Course #21-05 | 2015 | 36 pages | 16 posttest questions


It has long been observed that there are certain children who experience better outcomes than others who are subjected to similar adversities, and a significant amount of literature has been devoted to the question of why this disparity exists. Research has largely focused on what has been termed “resilience.” Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure to succeed in school, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home. This course provides a working definition of resilience and descriptions of the characteristics that may be associated with better outcomes for children who confront adversity in their lives. It also identifies particular groups of children – most notably those with developmental challenges and learning disabilities – who are most likely to benefit from resilience training. The bulk of the course – presented in two sections – offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.Course #30-72 | 2014 | 53 pages | 21 posttest questionsJuly Monthly Special Ends 7/31/2015


Self-defeating behaviors are negative on-going patterns of behaviors involving issues such as smoking, weight, inactive lifestyle, depression, anger, perfectionism, etc. This course is designed to teach concepts to eliminate these negative patterns. The course is educational: first you learn the model, then you apply it to a specific self-defeating behavior. A positive behavioral change is the outcome. Following the course, participants will be able to identify, analyze and replace their self-defeating behavior(s) with positive behavior(s). The course also provides an excellent psychological “tool” for clinicians to use with their clients. The author grants limited permission to photocopy forms and exercises included in this course for clinical use. Closeout Course #40-08 | 2007 | 44 pages | 35 posttest questions

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