There is an increasingly popular belief in our society that our words must be perfectly precise in order to make others feel safe. Even as a psychologist specializing in suicidal ideation in teenagers and young adults, I am often informed, by well-meaning non-professionals, that it is better to say "she is suffering from a depressive episode" rather than "she is depressed ." It is better to say "he is a suicide survivor" rather than "he previously attempted suicide." I was raised by a parent who repeatedly attempted to take their own life, and by a second parent that continued to deny their spouse's intent. The idea that a change in verbiage will help someone who is struggling to stay alive feels insincere. It feels as if we need to minimize and deny, rather than to accept and address the suffering of our loved one. I did not become a psychologist with the intention to minimize the suffering of other people, but to address their pain head-on. And to provide a safe space … [Read more...] about At What Point Does Too Much Sensitivity Become Insensitive?
Source: Photo by Gage Walker on Unsplash Living with self- shame is like having a 24-hour critical inside your head, constantly judging, labeling, and humiliating you. That toxic self-shaming voice seeks to limit you, hold you back, and defer growth. Left unchecked, it eats away at your self-worth , undermines your confidence , and can morph into crippling anxiety that destroys any chance of lasting happiness . Where does self-shaming come from? How did it gain so much power over you? Derek’s Battle With Self-Shame Derek, a young man in one of my weekly therapy groups talked about his crippling social fears. Tears trickled down his cheeks as he admitted, “I feel so much shame all the time.” “About what?” a group member asked. “My weight, my voice, the way I walk, how people look at me.” He paused and wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt. “I guess I feel shame about being me.” Derek had been bullied at school, neglected by his family, and mocked … [Read more...] about The Destructive Voice of Self-Shame and How to Break Free
Source: zeljkodan/Shutterstock Why is sticking with an exercise routine so challenging for most people? According to a new study from Iowa State University (ISU), one reason exercise doesn’t become a habit for a lot of people is that “extrinsic motivators”—such as exercising to lose weight or look good—don’t have the psychological staying power to motivate people day in and day out over the long haul. Of course, exercising for external reasons, such as weight loss, are legitimate reasons to start and maintain an exercise regimen. But, according to lead author of this new study, Alison Phillips , even if you achieve that extrinsic reward, it's usually not enough to make exercise an automatic behavior. Plus, if you don't see the external results you want quickly enough, you're likely quit. This is why habit formation is essential to creating life-long behavioral changes . "If exercise is not habit, then it's effortful and takes resources from other things you might … [Read more...] about One-Two Punch of “Cue and Reward” Makes Exercise a Habit
Source: American Academy of PediatricsxSELF, used with permission Co-Authored by Drs. Rachel Zoffness PhD & Samina Ali MD* A New Era: Vaccines and Needles We have finally, thankfully entered a new era: the era of the COVID-19 vaccine. While research indicates that vaccines are both effective and critical for ending the pandemic (Thompson et al, 2021), vaccine-hesitancy and fear slow our progress (Rosenbaum, 2021). And the fear isn’t just of the vaccine: It’s of needle pain, too. In fact, over 60% of children (Taddio et al, 2012) and almost one-quarter of adults fear needles (McLenon & Rogers, 2019). These untreated fears can lead to a lifetime of needle phobias, anxiety , and avoidance of important medical procedures like vaccine injections (McMurtry et al, 2015). In the era of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, it’s never been more important to address needle phobia and fear of pain so that we — and our children — can be protected. But how? Research … [Read more...] about Preparing Kids (and Parents!) for COVID Vaccines
Guest post by Brian Scott Hamilton Emotions are complex. Even the most basic emotions can be difficult for adults to understand, let alone articulate. Now imagine that you’re four years old and trying to convey how you feel about someone taking your favorite toy. Are you angry or sad? Are you surprised or fearful? Maybe you’re appalled. Maybe you’re disappointed. Maybe you’re feeling all of these things, but you just don’t have the words to convey it. When we look at the brain, it’s easy to understand why these problems exist. The parts of the brain responsible for generating emotions are known collectively as the limbic system (Shelat, 2020). This system represents some of the oldest structures in the human brain (Bruce and Neary, 1995). By contrast, the frontal lobe, the part of the brain that generates speech and controls emotional expression (Healthline, 2020) is one of the latest structures of the brain (Robson, 2011). It doesn’t even fully develop in humans until we’re … [Read more...] about What Emotion Does That Pokémon Represent?