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Daily Inspiration

11 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Therapist

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to go to therapy. It’s a big decision but now you have another equally important decision to make – what therapist are you going to choose? About two years ago, I made the decision to go to therapy. However, it took me some time, about a year and a half, to find a therapist that worked for me and helped me address my needs. In fact, it wasn’t until the third therapist that I spoke to that I found the right therapist for me. I tried out each therapist for at least 3 sessions before deciding to move onto another. Though it took me some time to find the right therapist, I learned that everyone can benefit from therapy. Once, I found the right therapist, I began to make significant progress with my mental health and gained some tools to help me address some issues. I encourage you to keep trying out different therapists if you know that you need that kind of help. 

Before you start your search you want to take some time to think about what issues you want to have addressed in therapy. What goals do you want to accomplish through therapy? This is important because you’ll want to know if your potential therapist can help you address your issue. Once you have a clear goal or set of goals, you’ll want to have a list of questions to ask as you interview potential therapists. You can use the search finder on psychology today to look for therapists in your area. Aside from the typical questions about health insurance and office hours, below are some other questions for you to consider asking during your search.

  1. What are your strengths and limitations as a counselor? 
  2. What is your general philosophy and approach to helping your clients?
  3. What are your religious beliefs? Do you use them in your approach to helping your clients?
  4. How often would you anticipate seeing me? For how long?
  5. How do you set up counseling goals? What are they like? What does success look like for you?
  6. What is a typical session like? 
  7. Do you give your clients homework assignments? What kind of homework/reading do you give patients? 
  8. How do I prepare for my first session?
  9. How will we assess my progress?
  10. My problem is _______. How would you go about treating that?
  11. How can you help me and have you helped others like me or with this difficulty?

We hope these questions will give you the information and the insight that you need to choose the best therapist for you. No matter how long it takes, stick it out, the right therapist is out there for you and you will find them.

What are some other questions that you are going to ask when looking for a therapist? How long did it take you to find the right therapist for you? Share your stories and let us know in the comments below!

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Women's Health & Wellness

Summer Walker Chooses Mental Health over Wealth

“ I truly appreciate all the support and love. As you know, I have been very open about my struggle with social anxiety. I want to continue to be healthy and to make music for y’all, so I have decided to cut down some of the dates on the tour.” Said the 23 year old “Girls Need Love” singer.

Summer goes on to say that the tour doesn’t coexist with her social anxiety and introverted personality. As an introvert myself, I totally understand where Summer is coming from. She also stated that she is a person with feelings, she get tired, sad, and it’s a lot.

“ I don’t want to lose myself for someone else. I want to give y’all what I can, so I’m going to keep making music and I’m going to do a few shows, but I can’t finish.”

More women should consider choosing their mental health over wealth. Now, I’m not saying stay in your bed for weeks and not make a single dollar, absolutely not. But know when enough is enough. Know when it’s time to rest, when it’s time to take a break, when it’s time to say no, when it’s time to put yourself first. You can not pour from an empty cup. So many of us are trying to show our talent to the world but forget what we need in order to show our talent. We need our mind, energy, and body. Rest up sis!

Money or Mind ? let us know your thoughts

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Women's Health & Wellness

Feeling lonely? Here’s Some Facts You Need To Know About Socially Isolating Yourself

Isolation is an experience that can be felt either emotionally or physically and self-imposed intentionally or unintentionally. For some people-especially those more introverted- it is almost a requirement to take some time away from others in order to recharge and breathe. Too much time in isolation, however, can wreak havoc on our mental stability. According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, social isolation is twice as harmful as obesity to our mental and physical health. To put that in perspective, obesity kills more people than smoking and car crashes combined.

Isolation may contribute to poor cognitive functioning and decline, negativity, depression, and physical health issues. It interferes with an individual’s ability to form stable and trusting relationships with others. When people feel socially isolated, however, they tend to try and fill the void in numerous ways. These include reminiscing about past relationships, connecting with fictional characters in television and books, or bonding with pets. 

Defining Social Isolation

    Isolation can manifest as the following:

  • Keeping important issues, feelings, and experiences to ourselves. Over the last two decades, the number of people saying they have no one to discuss important matters with has almost tripled. Researchers have found that this may stem from a loss in communal and neighborhood ties where connections are more superficial, geographically spread out, and one-dimensional.
  • Consistently retreating to the home and declining invitations to dinners, social events, hanging by family and friend’s homes, etc.
  • Physically avoiding visiting with family members
  • Assuming your personal struggles are a burden to others
  • Spending an exorbitant amount of time doing hobbies or work that excludes others
  • Having little idea of what’s going on with others

Why Are We So Isolated?

In 2019, everyone’s favorite culprit of social isolation is a smartphone and social media. Before that, it was thought to be television and video games. Not everyone spends hours a day in front of those things, however.

Busy Lives

What about mothers who spend a majority of their time watching their young children, cleaning, or running errands? What about the high school teacher who’s time is consumed interacting with teenagers and completing lesson plans? There is a range of different circumstances that contribute to people feeling lonely and isolated. In fact, we tend to feel our circumstances are so different, no one can relate. When these feelings creep up and threaten to make us uncomfortable, some people choose to bury themselves even further into isolated activities, thus creating a perpetual pattern difficult to recognize. 

Changes In Family Time

According to the American College of Pediatricians, family time eating dinner and engaging in distraction-free conversation has declined by about 30%. Family meals provide a structure for the day, giving meaning and context to family members-also allowing opportunity to feel seen and heard. Unfortunately, this sacred time is happening less and less.

Perceived Lack of Social Support

 Whether we feel unequipped to express ourselves, have a deep belief that others are untrustworthy, or the feeling of unloading on others brings great anxiety, it’s easy to assume there’s no one to turn to. It’s easy to assume we’re the only ones going through something-especially when everyone on Instagram looks like they’re winning. 

 What Can We Do?

 There are many reasons why people feel alone, but we have to remember that we cannot make it through life without others. It’s important to remember that there must be a healthy balance between alone time and isolated activities.

  • Stop being so critical of yourself. Don’t assume you’re broken, weak, or unworthy of telling others how you feel. While it takes a great deal of strength and courage to express emotions to others, it also takes strength to give yourself some compassion. Grace. Patience. Love. Kindness. All of these are words by which you need to live by.
  • Sleep and other self-care measures. Time and time again, sleep is encouraged by professionals to combat illness and as a preventative measure for many ailments. Although not always easy to come by-when opportunity arises to grab more zzz’s, it’s important to jump on it.
  • Therapy. Check out what kind of mental health care your insurance covers or research some free therapy services in your area. Perhaps depression and anxiety is the underlying cause of your isolation. Also, therapy isn’t a hit it-and-quit-it type of thing. Once you find a therapist you’re comfortable with, make it a point to go at least twice a month for several months.
  • Get uncomfortable and force yourself to reach out to family and friends-or strangers in an online support group. It’s amazing the amount of support that is out there. You just have to take the first step and seek it out.
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Women's Health & Wellness

Are You Depressed? Or Just Bored?

Boredom and depression often accompany each other and share several similarities. When boredom hits, people seek out activities and experiences that will relieve the discomfort felt when it seems there’s nothing to do. The definition of boredom is as follows:

Boredom: the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.

Similarly, weariness, restlessness, and general lack of interest are all feelings associated with being depressed. People who are depressed consistently feel as if they cannot easily entertain themselves, nor do they find joy in the things many people find pleasurable. The American Psychatric Association, (APA) however, holds that loss of energy, increased fatigue, feeling worthless, or little interest in activities once enjoyed are just some of the symptoms that must be present for a diagnosis of depression. Furthermore persistence of these feelings within a two week period is key. Boredom alone tends to be fleeting or sporadic.

According to the theory of rational-emotive therapy, people who are depressed and chronically bored cannot tolerate being frustrated in the slightest, cannot stand working for long-range gains, and need immediate gratification. Perhaps these people become depressed over time, when they can’t readily find outlets exciting enough to relieve their boredom. 

Clinical psychologist, Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps says, “People who feel bored feel restless to do something– but nothing feels compelling or motivating. They feel stuck. The first step in feeling motivated is to allow yourself to actually feel the boredom.” 

She goes on to say that boredom is felt when people disconnect from the world to avoid difficult situations and emotions. Take for instance the pathological gambler, studies show there are three types of gamblers: those that gamble out of boredom, those that gamble out of depression, and those that do so out of both boredom and depression. It is widely acceptable that people who are compulsive towards activities such as gambling, drinking or sex are doing so as a form of disconnection. Ironically, these people still tend to feel bored afterwards, motivated only to disconnect again to relieve the discomfort of never-ending boredom.

Becker-Phelps also says, “For some people, boredom is part of depression. They might be sad, but they also might just lack interests and have lost the capacity to enjoy anything. If you struggle with this, it can sometimes help to get yourself moving.” Douglas Cootey lives with both depression and ADHD. He admits in his efforts to avoid boredom, he ended up getting into trouble (i.e. not finishing things, and engaging in unnecessary drama.) Instead of these maladaptive coping behaviors, it’s important to change the way you look at boredom, especially when the boredom is unavoidable like in a class or sitting in traffic.

He says, “Choose three things to engage in when you are bored.” For many, these things come up naturally without even realizing. For instance, browsing social media to pass the time, or calling your mother to share how your day is going while you sit in traffic. If you can consistently find positive or neutral ways to pass the time without feeling an impending sense of dread at the end of the day- you are likely just bored. If you can still enjoy people and activities you’ve always enjoyed or find new things that interest you- you may just be bored. If you get lost in feelings of irritation or purposelessness when trying to engage in formerly enjoyable things- you’re probably dealing with some form of depression.  

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Women's Health & Wellness

5 Ways To Stop The Toxic Habit Of Overthinking

According to psychologist, Dr. Sarah Allen, a big sign you’re an overthinker is frequently being emotionally absent around others.

Simply put, overthinking is getting caught in a stream of thoughts that may or may not have anything to do with the event that triggered it. In fact, the popular therapy tactic, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT) aims to help you stop overthinking and focus solely on the thoughts you have evidence are true.

Overthinking can even put a strain on communication in relationships.

Where Do Our Minds Go?

Jessica’s spouse has been quiet for most of the evening. She starts to think he’s mad about something she said. Anger begins to boil because she knows whatever she said couldn’t have been that bad. Why is he being so dramatic and sensitive? She thought. He probably thought my chicken was too dry. I wish I was a better cook. I can’t do anything right.

All this mind activity was created in 30 seconds, mood going from anxious, to angry, to self-deprecating. In reality, her spouse may have simply been tired and was playing Candy Crush to stay awake a little bit longer.

It’s easy to see how overthinking could lead to an unnecessary argument or just an overall bad mood. Many people, especially woman tend to ruminate over minor events. One thing I’ve learned in Therapy is that when  overthinking, we tend to make assumptions. For instance, we assume how people will react, we assume there must be something wrong with us when things don’t go our way, we assume there must be a double meaning behind what people say.

Stopping The Toxic Habit Of Overthinking

1. STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS

Assumptions can lead to false conclusions, and anxiety over not having the answers to perplexing questions. Assumptions can be based on past experiences, our deepest fears, or our wildest imaginations.

Making assumptions is a another hindrance to effective communication in relationships. Without even realizing, these can become strong beliefs or accusations. A wife may make assumptions her husband is being unfaithful based on her deepest fears.

A big part of not making assumptions is being aware you’re doing it. It takes practice, but it can be done.

2. DISTRACTION

Wearing a rubber-band on your wrist is a common technique used to “snap out of” distracting thoughts for ADHD students. It can definitely be used to sting you back to reality when your mind starts going and going.

Leave the room or situation. Call a friend. Anything you can do to interrupt the flow of your fast moving thoughts.

3.    MINDFULNESS

Go somewhere quiet if possible for 5-10 minutes. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Breathe deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Feel the rise and fall of your chest. Let your hands fall limp at your side. Notice any smells… any faint sounds… your mood. Think of a peaceful place you may or may not have actually been. It could be from a painting or movie. Just envision yourself there and feel the calm that follows.

4.    WRITING IT DOWN

Translating jumbled thoughts into words on paper helps make better sense of them. Pen to paper is even better than typing in the Notes app on your phone. Looking at your own unique handwriting and the way you form your letters can be empowering.

  • Write down the initial moment/event that awakened your thoughts.
  • Make a list of the associated emotions you felt..(anger, guilt, sadness, loneliness)
  • Only write down the thoughts that are related to the initial event. Anything irrelevant that popped up in your head can stay there for the moment.
4.    TAKE ACTION

Are there any solutions that can solve or alleviate the problems that caused you to overthink? Is there anyone you can ask for advice? Maybe there is a solution that requires you to give more of yourself than you feel like giving. It’s up to you to decide if this is worth a battle with anxiety and overthinking.

5.    STAY EMOTIONALLY AWARE

Always be on top of whatever it is you need emotionally and make sure you can rely on yourself to get it. I’m not saying don’t go to others for ego-stroking, validation, connection, etc… but ALWAYS be available to provide yourself with the compassion, empathy, and support you need to function as a human being.

This means learning how to separate thoughts from emotions and being present to feel those emotions. This is done by accepting situations, along with how we feel.  Self-validation is important because without it, we will constantly question ourselves and look to others for approval.

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Women's Health & Wellness

Benefits Of CBD Oil On Mental And Physical Health

CBD has become a huge buzzword in the health and wellness industry. From gas station counters to drug store shelves, you’ve probably seen something infused with CBD. This compound derived from cannabis leaves is praised for its powerful healing properties. CBD is mostly known for its pain relieving benefits but some self-care junkies even claim that it cures anxiety and depression. Is CBD actually a cure-all natural medicine? Let’s delve into what it is and how it benefits your physical and mental health.

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the compounds found in marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the compound in marijuana that is responsible for the psychoactive effects or that familiar “stoned” feeling. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce these effects—sorry, stoners. Instead, it is responsible for reducing inflammation and providing pain relief.

Is CBD Legal?

Well, it’s complicated. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp and its extracts but the legalization of hemp-derived CBD is a little iffy in some cases. If a hemp plant contains more than 0.3 percent of THC, the intoxicating compound in marijuana, it is technically considered a “marijuana” plant, thus making it illegal in most states. Sound confusing? That’s because it is. Regulation of hemp and CBD will take years to sort out, but the only thing you need to know is that zero THC hemp-derived CBD is legal in all states. 

CBD for Physical Pain

As briefly mentioned, CBD has power anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, it helps alleviate pain by affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity and interacting with neurotransmitters. In other words, it creates a pain killing effect similar to over the counter or prescription drugs. 

A 2008 review assessed CBD studies published between the 1980s and 2007. Researchers concluded that CBD was effective for overall pain management along with insomnia associated with pain. 

Also, some have asserted that CBD is a healthy alternative for those who rely on habit-forming substances like opioids. However, more research is needed to medically verify the pain relieving benefits of CBD.

CBD for Mental Health

Anxiety sufferers rejoice because CBD may give you some relief. Studies done by the World Health Organization have shown that in humans and animals CBD could help calm the area of your brain important for emotion and memory. Also, a 2011 study claimed that it could even help with social anxiety. 

If that wasn’t convincing enough, wait until you hear this. One double-blind randomized clinical trial tested the effects of CBD on psychosis. One group was given an antipsychotic and the other CBD. Both groups experienced an improvement in symptoms but the CBD group enjoyed relief without the usual side effects of antipsychotics. Is it too early to call CBD a miracle oil?

While many studies have implied the many health benefits of CBD, more conclusive research needs to be done regarding its effectiveness. However, it’s worth giving it a try. If you plan on buying a CBD oil product, make sure you buy from a licensed company whose products are tested by an independent third party. Also, consult with your doctor or psychiatrist before taking a CBD supplement for it could interact with other medications you’re taking.