A car accident. A bullying episode in school. Sexual assault. Getting trapped in your bedroom while your house is burning down. Being caught in the crossfire of an actual shoot-out. Surviving a plane crash. Being a victim of physical abuse. A killing happening right before your very eyes. Fighting in a war. Getting divorced. The death of a loved one.
These are some very stressful experiences which can leave an indelible mark in your mind and emotions. Often, it can engulf you with fear and anxiety, so much so that you lose your ability to cope physically and emotionally. If these issues and anxieties are left unresolved, the emotional injuries may fester and lead to psychological problems.
Trauma and How It is Caused
Trauma, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “severe emotional shock and pain caused by an extremely upsetting experience”.
People cope with trauma differently. One can move on from a particularly traumatic experience while another will have recurring nightmares and other psychological effects. It actually depends on how a person reacts internally to a situation. This is because we all have different personalities, coping skills, experiences and emotional makeup and stability.
Psychological trauma happens when there is a stressful or painful event and the person’s internal coping mechanisms are too overwhelmed. The person who has difficulty coping with the traumatic event may need some help. A traumatic experience can be a single event or a repeated event happening over a long period of time. It can be caused by a natural disaster, was or by another person’s deliberate acts.
Trauma and Its Symptoms
Persons who suffer from severe emotional trauma can have physical, emotional and psychological symptoms. Depending on the severity of the trauma, they may be marked by:
– Recurring nightmares
– Extreme anxiety
– Social isolation
– Recurring anxiety attacks
– A hard time focusing and concentrating
– Absent mindedness and memory deficits
– Overwhelming feelings of shame or guilt
– Problems sleeping
– Eating disorders
– Chronic fatigue
– Short-temperedness and irritability
– Propensity to abuse alcohol or drugs
– Issues with sexuality and self-esteem
How counseling can help
Utah counseling for a victim of trauma is more than just “talking it out”. With the help of a Utah counselor, you can learn how to pinpoint the negative emotions and the steps towards coming to terms with these. Rather than attempting to suppress these negative emotions, counseling can help you channel these emotions.
When the trauma victim is more able to cope with the overwhelming feelings, this engenders feelings of personal control. An experienced Provo counselor can also direct the victim towards these positive coping actions. This can include:
– Providing a place of safety and structure. Provo counseling can provide a non-threatening and non-confrontational sanctuary in which one can process his experience. It is a place he can safely discuss, examine and explore his feelings and fears. Counseling also provides the structure and “balance” by making one face expectations and beliefs that may in fact be irrational and unrealistic.
– Education. Family counseling in Utah may help the victim become more aware of the situation, his behavior, as well as its impact on himself and others. Sometimes, the trauma victim cannot see the situation objectively. As the trauma victim becomes more aware of the presence of the problem and how one’s behavior contributes to it, one can then start planning the steps on how he can move on. Another area where the person can be more aware is how the crisis itself can be used for that person to grow and uncover his capabilities to resolve the crisis.
– Help towards breaking free from negative behavior. A traumatized person can develop addictive behavior and vicious cycles that may be harder to break free of as time goes by. Often, to find relief from the effects of a trauma, a person turns to drugs, alcohol, risky sexual behavior and so on. Counseling can help one face the need to change habits and negative behavior.
– Support for facing what the person fears. At one point or the other, the person will have to face what he fears in order for him to break free of it. It may be hard to face emotional pain but it is a response that can start the process of healing. An experienced counselor can help empower and support the trauma victim towards a healthier outlook and behavior.
The song by Average White Band says it all, “There’s no easy way to say goodbye”. And for the child, this may literally be true. Saying your bye-byes to a child who is hanging on to your leg is heart wrenching to a parent. You may also need to bear with temper tantrums, bouts of seemingly inconsolable crying and clinginess when it comes time for you to say, “Bye for now, love, mom and dad are off to work!”
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Being anxious about seeing mom or dad leave is actually normal for a young child. It is simply part of his development. As a baby slowly learns what “bye-bye” means, he will insist that mom or dad stay by his side. There is a strong sense of connection and attachment between the child and his caregivers – particularly his parents.
It is when the child starts to disproportionately worry about being separated from a loved one or caregiver that separation anxiety becomes a problem. When it turns into separation anxiety disorder, the child may start having trouble with normal activities such as going to school and gaining friends.
The onset of separation anxiety is usually at the baby’s seventh month and extends up to the time the child is in school age. However, if the anxiety persists even after the child is 6 years of age and the child manifests long-drawn-out fear of being abandoned, that can point to separation anxiety disorder. In this case, the mere thought of a parent or caregiver leaving or of being away from the home itself results in one being seriously agitated and emotional. There is the continual fear of a parent or caregiver becoming sick or dying.
For children and young people, this can manifest as an irrational fear of being separated from the people he feels comfortable to. Such is the level of anxiety that it hinders the child from going to school or even going to sleep. Rather than play with peers, the child would rather stay at his parents’ side.
The Roots of Separation Anxiety Disorder
Statistics indicate that there are around 2 to 5% of children that have separation anxiety disorder.
Mostly, separation anxiety disorder is to the presence of anxiety disorder in the family. It is said that the propensity to have separation anxiety disorder depends not just on environmental factors, but also on genetic factors.
What Family Can Do
Family members can work together to provide interventions to help the child. Some tips include:
– Educating family members. Understanding that the child is struggling with the disorder can lead to empathy rather than blame or feelings of guilt. It can also help each family member learn how to support the child so that the child does not feel depressed and isolated or develop a low sense of self. Provo therapists can help provide guidelines and tips on how each family member can act and react.
– Be patient. When the child is having bouts of separation anxiety, you can try to reassure him that he was able to weather the last separation he had. Avoid getting impatient or upset about the child’s fears and apprehensions.
– Make goodbyes easier. You can already identify the times of the day when the child needs to be separated from parents/giver. Often, a child finds it easier to separate from one parent than the other. This should be the parent that handles the transitions or goodbyes. Goodbyes can also be easier if the child is informed about how he can contact the parent or caregiver.
– Schedule fun activities for the child when he is separated. Keep the child occupied during the times of separation by setting up enjoyable activities.
Treating Separation Anxiety Disorder
Aside from seeking family counseling in Utah, concerned parents can seek the help and cooperation of other family members and school faculty. The objective is to provide the child with an environment that is less stressful for him. Getting family counseling in Provo will help each family member be aware of the situation and how they can deal with it. Parents will get helpful tools in getting the whole family together as they strive to help their child/sibling with separation anxiety disorder.
It is also recommended that the child get individual Utah counseling. Oftentimes, the child feels that the anxiety or the compulsion to worry about separation is somehow his fault and that something is wrong with them. With the guidance of an experienced Utah counselor, the child can learn to be aware of these feelings and how to negate them.
As the late and celebrated Whitney Houston sang, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” Out of one’s love and respect for himself arises other attitudes about love, life and friendship. If you love and like yourself, you expect others to treat you well. If you have a poor sense of self, you tend to treat yourself poorly and accept poor treatment as “something you deserve”.
Based on statistics from the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), 25% of psychological disorders are inevitably founded on low self-esteem. That means those who suffer from depression, those with suicidal tendencies, trauma victims (victims of bullying, sexual abuse, physical abuse and so on), teen pregnancy and eating disorders have unhealthy self-images. Possessing low self-esteem can start from childhood and continue well into adulthood.
Teens are especially vulnerable to developing low self-esteem, especially at a time when they feel the need to be accepted and to belong to a group of his peers.
Self-Esteem and its Development
Self-esteem deals with one’s view of himself, how he sees his personal value or worth, how he loves and respects himself. It is thinking, “I am who I am and I like it!” Having a healthy sense of self is an important foundation towards a strong adulthood.
A child or even an adult can develop an unhealthy sense of self as a result of:
– Being bullied
– Having overly critical, perfectionist, and harsh parents who fail to affirm him
– Being teased for one’s appearance, gender, race, behavior or social standing
– Having a disability (either mental or physical)
– Failure to receive praise and positive reinforcement for his achievements
– Being ignored as a child
Low Self-Esteem and How It Manifests
Low self-esteem is sometimes developed due to negative experiences that get in the way of the process of developing a healthy sense of self. As a result, one feels ashamed, lonely and even angry (with himself and others). One always feels doubtful and critical of his actions and there is a feeling of fear, disquiet and isolation.
Those with a low self-esteem:
– Have trouble accepting compliments
– Defensive, even with the slightest criticism
– Always second guessing one’s self
– Fear of taking on something new and challenging
– Tendency to abuse substances, food, alcohol and drugs
– Unhealthy concern about other’s opinions of him
– Being overly pessimistic and depressed
– Being clingy and needy
– Neglecting one’s health
– Being a perfectionist
– Has a constant need for praise and acceptance
– Tendency towards self-pity
– Compensating by being an overachiever and workaholic
Some disorders and negative behaviors linked to having a low self-esteem include:
– Having an eating disorder (including bulimia and anorexia)
– Major depression
– Being a victim of abuse
Low Self-Esteem and Other Issues
Seeing one’s self as inferior to others can mean a lot of things. When you don’t like yourself, you cannot and do not expect others to like you. When you view yourself as someone who is not worth being loved or liked, there is a tendency to make poor choices and to accept abuse as one’s lot in life. This can start a vicious cycle of abuse – from others, as well as from yourself.
Learning to love yourself
Stepping towards a healthy self-image will take patience, hard work and perhaps, some family counseling in Utah. This can be done by becoming aware of negative self-images and learning positive attributes about one’s self. By focusing rather on what is good and positive about you rather than on your weaknesses and failures, you can begin to love yourself the way you should.
The scars inflicted in childhood or by a particularly traumatic experience will take some doing to heal, but with the help of an experienced Utah counselor, one can emerge from the bonds of low self-esteem. Provo counseling can help an individual grow and learn to lead a happy, self-affirming life.
Awareness. Treatment for low self-esteem starts by having an awareness of one’s negative attitudes towards one’s self. Family counseling in Provo will start by challenging the negative assumptions underlying a poor self-esteem. It starts by disputing statements such as “I will never amount to anything.”, “I don’t have any abilities or qualities to be proud of.”, “I just don’t seem to have any direction for life.” By having an awareness that these are but assumptions, you can start resolving your problem with self-esteem.
Setting boundaries. Often, a person with low self-esteem is victimized by unhealthy relationships. An experienced Provo counselor can help a person identify hurtful relationships, relationships that knock down one’s self-esteem. Then, they will start discussing how one can learn to be more assertive and set boundaries to lessen the impact of these negative relationships.
Empowerment. With counseling and guidance, the counselor and counselee will start setting goals for growth and self-discovery. This may be personal or career-related goals. This may also be goals towards breaking free from vicious cycles and negative attitudes and behaviors.
Learning to love and like yourself may be a difficult journey, but with continued support, one can slowly gain confidence and assertiveness, enough for you to say, “I love me!”.
The right kind of praise can help build up a child’s sense of self and confidence. However, the wrong kind of praise will actually be detrimental to the development of a child. The words, “Good boy!” “Great job!” or “That was wonderful!” does not provide constructive praise. This kind of praise is “lazy praise” since it really does not give the child any value.
There is one school of thought that encourages the giving out of praise. There is also another that fears that too much praise can spoil a child. So, how much and what kind of praise can help build confident individuals without necessarily building kids that are spoiled with praise?
One important thing is that praise should not be manipulative – given only when a child makes us feel good of gives us what we want. Rather, praise should be given to highlight a child’s good behavior and to encourage that behavior.
Here are some ways to give “proper” praise:
Focus on the process and the effort, rather than the outcome. Instead of saying “Good job!’ (which highlights the results), say, “Thank you for your hard work and effort!” A child should be able to know why they did well in order for them to know how to do it the next time. Focusing on results will diminish the value of praise, especially if the next result is a failure. The child will tend to feel the pressure to produce the same results. Acknowledging effort will encourage the child to be ready to accept new and tougher challenges as well as encourage them to work harder.
Avoid giving too much praise. Lavishing praise can either turn children into praise junkies who crave for more praise or who no longer find the praise of any value. According to a research made by Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller of Columbia University, too much praise can result in a child who is less confident of their actions and responses, who is fearful about sharing ideas and who shun difficult assignments.
Don’t praise a child for areas which are not in their control. This includes talents and abilities that are innate in a child – intellect, artistic or musical talent or athletic ability. Praising a child for intelligence will teach the child that any failure is caused by a lack of intelligence (“I failed, therefore, I must be stupid.”). This kind of praise may be harmful to the child and may necessitate Provo counseling at a later age.
Praising kids for their natural ability and intelligence may result in children who are more wary of challenges and more fearful of failure. Also, praising someone for their natural ability gives the child a sense of helplessness. Praise the child for behavior they can control and can be responsible for. This includes being disciplined, showing focus, being generous, respectful or hardworking. That way, they know that they can step up on the level of their efforts and see improvements.
Let your child see the natural consequences and results of their performance. Especially with children at a young age, praise may not even be necessary at all. You just need to point out what they were able to accomplish and this accomplishment will provide the praise. For instance, if a young child was able to tie his shoelaces, you simply need to say, “Look, you did it all by yourself.”
Be specific. Saying “Good job.” does not really tell the child what he did well. Rather, use praise that describes the behavior you want the child to learn. Rather, say things like, “I like the way you worked hard at finishing that assignment.” Or, “I appreciate your being able to control your temper.”
Be sincere and truthful. Rather than being helpful, insincere praise can, in fact, be damaging to a child. A child knows whether he did or did not do well. If he notices you praising him because you feel sorry for him, your praise will have little effect on him.
Avoid giving praise for achievements that came with little or no effort. This can send out the message that you don’t really care or don’t have an understanding of what the child does.
Never compare the child to other kids. Instead, focus on how well the child behaved or worked towards mastering a skill. Comparing other children brings the focus towards competition between the children, rather than in mastering a skill. This kind of comparison breeds children who are devastated at losing and whose motivation is lost when they also lose their competitive edge.
Giving the right kind of praise is a communication skill and it is a skill that is not learned overnight. You may need to go for family counseling in Utah to become more adept in your communication with your child. Utah counseling can also help thresh out issues with communication between parents and children.
For some, food is a good source of comfort. We each have a go-to food for when we feel depressed or stressed out. We also have times when we help ourselves to more of our fair share of food – when we go out on a buffet, or during special occasions such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. However, for binge eaters, the compulsion to overeat is something that happens regularly.
What is Binge Eating?
Binge eating or compulsive overeating is when a person regularly gorges himself with food. Even as he does, he feels that he is powerless to resist the compulsion and cannot stop even when he is already full or already feels sick because of all the food ingested. There may be feelings of stress or disgust during the eating binge. By binge, it usually means eating rapidly without enjoying or tasting the food.
Binge eating is often a response to the pressure caused by going on a major diet. This disorder usually begins during one’s late teens or early adulthood. The binge episodes are characterized by feelings of distress (for not being able to control one’s urge to eat), disgust with one’s self, guilt and even depression.
Binge eating can be a vicious cycle – where a person is driven on an eating binge because of stress. As he binges, he gets some measure of comfort, but feels bad about it afterwards. These negative feelings (about his inability to stop himself from going on a binge coupled by low self-esteem and dissatisfaction about how one looks) can drive him into further bingeing episodes. It may also be rooted in the pressure from society to look a certain way (i.e. thin = sexy and attractive).
According to Utah counselors, there are indications that binge eating is rooted in physical abnormalities. The brain may not be able to release enough serotonin to deal with feelings of depression. Or, the brain does not send the necessary signal to tell the body that it is no longer hungry.
Those who suffer from binge eating disorder are obese, as there is usually no effort made towards ridding one’s self of the food ingested through vomiting or over-exercising (as the case is with bulimia). The symptoms may include:
– Feelings of being out of control. This includes self-disgust, guilt and embarrassment.
– Eating even when one is not hungry or when one is already full
– Eating normally in the presence of others but going on a binge when one is alone
– Having a secret food stash
– The binges are regular
– The binges may last for one or two hours or may go on sporadically throughout the day
Aside from obesity, there are a number of medical, social and emotional complications associated with binge eating. These include:
– A higher likelihood of suicide
– A higher likelihood to also abuse other substances such as prescription medicine, alcohol and drugs to cope with the depression and stress
– Physical problems such as diabetes, heart problems associated with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, gallbladder disease and sleep apnea.
Getting help for Binge Eating
Getting into a healthier relationship with food can be a struggle. If you or a loved one is suffering from binge eating, you may need to go for Utah counseling. If the binge eating disorder is also accompanied by substance abuse problems, you may also need to seek the services of a Utah substance abuse counselor.
Here are some things you can do to help you triumph over binge eating:
– Maintain a regular meal schedule. This should include 3 meals plus snacks, if necessary. Never skip meals, especially breakfast, since doing so will make you hungrier and have stronger food cravings. At this point, stop any diet you’re on. When you deprive yourself of food, you will actually crave for more.
– Don’t stock your cupboards with unhealthy food. Take away the temptation. If you don’t have ready access to food, it will be more difficult for you to yield to the temptation to go on an eating binge.
– Keep yourself busy. Sometimes, people eat not out of hunger but out of boredom. When all you do is watch TV or sit in front of the computer, it is easy to fall into binge eating. Keep yourself busy with activities such as planting a garden, learning a new craft, making a scrapbook or taking walks.
– Keep on moving! Get plenty of exercise. Exercise gives off feel-good substances that can help ward off any oncoming depression. As you feel good about yourself and your body, you are more able to resist eating on a binge.
– Keep a journal on your eating patterns. This will help you keep track of the amount and the kinds of food you eat. The journal will provide you with key information about how your eating is related with your mood.
– Get help. Getting into Provo counseling will help you get to the bottom of your binge eating (feelings of depression, fear and stress) and will keep you equipped with coping tools to manage your appetite. You should also get the support of friends and loved ones.
– Educate yourself. You should educate yourself about a well-balanced diet and losing weight the healthy way.
Utah therapists can do a lot towards fighting compulsions and getting equipped with healthy eating habits. Therapy can also help recognize the triggers for your binge eating and how to avoid them, as well as manage the stress that can contribute to binge eating.
The challenge of parenthood is not in seeing the pregnancy through and ensuring a safe delivery for the baby. It’s what will happen afterward – raising the child and seeing him grow into an emotionally healthy and responsible adult, one who is self-disciplined and considerate of other people’s feelings. It may involve a lot of struggles, challenges and some hair-pulling. At times, you may even need to seek family counseling in Utah to help you gain more techniques on how to discipline your child.
Establishing a System of Discipline
One important element you need to establish as a parent is a system of discipline that includes:
– Setting rules on behavior and responsibility
– Providing for rewards for positive acts
– Imposing consequences for negative behavior
Providing consequences for a child’s actions teaches the child to be responsible for his choices and behavior, to prepare them to face the world on their own, as adults. Consequences may involve logical consequences (the logical result of his actions) or loss of privileges.
Here are some things to remember when creating and enforcing an “action and consequence” system for your child:
– Provide structure. Write down the rules and corresponding consequences. This way, you don’t easily fall into the trap of providing consequences based on your emotions. Make a list of offenses and consequences so that the child knows what to expect.
– The consequences are best related to the actions. For instance, if the child gets a low grade due to failure to turn in assignments, it may work better to restrict TV or internet access, rather than ordering him to clean the garage. The first is related and is even a natural consequence of the offense. Or, if the child throws a tantrum and flings his toys about, the consequence is for him to be required to clean up the mess he made. Sending your child to his room may not be as effective when he can simply watch TV or play with video games there.
– Have a reasonable set of consequences. If it does not pose a risk to the child’s safety, allow him to experience the natural consequence of his actions. For instance, if he does not take care of his toy and it gets broken, it means that he can’t enjoy that toy anymore. According to Utah counselors, don’t set out consequences you know are impossible or unreasonable. “You are banned from the phone forever.” is not a reasonable consequence and does not give the child the motivation and opportunity to redeem himself and do better. It should be restricted to a certain period. Also, unreasonable consequences will only breed anger and resentment in your child.
– Consequences should still be respectful of the child. Arguments still abound with regards to a dad who used his child’s Facebook account to show a video of him decrying his child’s action and shooting his child’s laptop. Publicly humiliating your child is a no-win solution.
– The consequence should be given close after the offense. If your child misbehaves, the consequence should be right after the act. Giving a consequence 3 months after the fact is not effective.
– Give consequences for good behavior, not just for bad. This will show your child that you don’t only notice bad behavior; rather, good behavior is also rewarded. This will give him something to reach for.
– The consequence should be age appropriate. Expecting your teen to ponder and change bad behavior after you have made him “face the wall” is largely ineffective. However, a teen will especially “feel” the consequence if it means restricted access to the Internet or the loss of privilege to go out with friends.
– Show consistency.Don’t selectively impose the rules. Your child should be able to know what to expect. Usually, your child will show some resistance when you introduce a new set of rules. However, when you show that you will impose it every time, it will send a message that you mean business. If you have difficulty applying the rules consistently, get the help of the people around you – teachers, other family members or your Provo counselor.
– Seek help. If your child has problems following the rules and may exhibit behavior that is dangerous to himself and to others, it may be time to go for family counseling in Provo. This is particularly important when there are signs of alcohol or substance abuse. A Utah substance abuse counselor can provide the guidance to help your child recover from substance abuse issues.
A friend had to go through the painful experience of watching his mother suffer the effects of colon cancer. The mother had cavalierly treated her health, didn’t go to the doctor to have her condition checked and the colon cancer was shown to be asymptomatic, so no serious treatment was made until it was too late. My friend saw his mother suffer from the cancer and die. As a result, he went to the other extreme – being too preoccupied with his health and convinced that he, too, will contract the same disease. Small aches and pains will drive him to demand a room in the hospital, even though his doctor has reassured him that he’s okay.
What is hypochondria?
Hypochondria is marked by an extreme preoccupation with one’s health. Simply put, it is an exaggerated health anxiety, despite the fact that thorough medical evaluation has ruled out any serious disease. The number of people suffering from hypochondria is difficult to pin, since people with hypochondria tend to go to their doctors instead of therapists in Provo or a mental healthcare practitioner. Nevertheless, approximately 1% of the American adult population has hypochondria.
According to Utah therapists, the preoccupation can be unhealthy due to the fact that it has already interfered with the person’s ability to lead a normal life. He is unable to deal with the needs of his family, relationships and work because his schedule is peppered with visits to the doctor or hospital stays.
Please take note that it is normal to worry and be concerned about one’s health, to learn to listen to your body and determine whether there are symptoms of a disease. However, a hypochondriac has taken this normal concern to an extreme.
Hypochondria can be marked by:
– Physical “symptoms” include nausea, dizziness, numbness, fatigue, stomachaches, headaches, soreness of the body. Usually, the pains are subjective, something that cannot be absolutely quantified by lab tests, MRI and CAT scans.
– Simple aches and pains, a cut, a cough, a runny nose or minor physical aberrations are seen to be serious diseases. (i.e. a stomach ache can be considered stomach cancer.) In some cases, even normal body functions (sweating, falling hair, bowel movements) can be seen as warning signs of a serious health condition.
– The symptoms are sometimes vague (“My liver feels sore.” “My joints feel achy.”), sometimes specific.
– Indulging in exploratory surgery or complicated diagnostic exams such as CAT scans or MRIs
– The selected disease is usually something that is serious and life threatening.
– The tendency to self-diagnose. When the disease of choice is ruled out by his doctor, he immediately researches the possibility that the symptoms can match another serious disease.
– The tendency of research about perceived symptoms excessively.
– Obsessively watching out for changes in the body to see whether there are problems or the problem has “worsened”.
– Switching doctors frequently, especially if the previous doctors have already given him a clean bill of health and is not “listening to him”.
– Talking about his illness and its symptoms to anyone who will listen.
Hypochondria can be debilitating and harmful to one’s health. There is a propensity to take medications without the doctor’s prescription or to abuse substances and drugs in an effort to alleviate the “symptoms”. The anxiety over getting seriously ill can also result in depression or other anxiety disorders. The unnecessary medical examinations, exploratory surgeries and medical procedures can also pose a serious threat to one’s health.
Hypochondria and the Internet
The access to ready information about symptoms and matching diseases has fueled more anxiety. This isn’t helped by the fact that minor ailments and major diseases can often share similar symptoms. If one continues searching for an illness that matches one’s perceived symptoms, chances are, he will find a serious illness he can get anxious about.
Treatment for hypochondria
Therapists in Utah can help with alleviating the symptoms and problematic behavior caused by hypochondria. Regular Provo counseling can help the patient come to an understanding that his symptoms are not caused by a physical disease, rather, it is a health anxiety problem. This understanding can help lessen the anxiety.
Hypochondria can be treated by Utah counselors with the help of cognitive-behavioral treatment. Those suffering from hypochondria can deal with it and overcome the anxiety about their health with the help of medications, therapy or counseling.
Drama queen. Diva. Recluse. Fanatically paranoid. Do any of these words describe you or anyone you know? That may point towards what is called a personality disorder.
Understanding personality disorder
Our personality makes us who we are. It outlines a pattern of beliefs, behaviors, feelings and thoughts that showcase our individuality as persons. In normal situations, our personality changes as we grow and mature. We learn how to better relate with people, express our feelings and opinions so that we can more effectively connect with people around us – loved ones, friends and colleagues. Our growth and maturity help us adapt to our situation and cope with life in general.
However, those with personality disorder have a distinct difficulty being flexible and changing and learning. Instead, the thought patterns, belief patterns and behavioral patterns are inflexible and deeply ingrained. They tend to hold tightly onto their beliefs and behaviors, plus their narrow view of society and the world.
As a result, they are less able to relate with the people around them and they find it more difficult to cope with everyday life. Those with personality disorder have difficulty maintaining relationships and may need the help of Utah counseling to become more self-aware and to grow and mature.
Those with personality disorder can be characterized by the following:
– Impulsive outbursts of temper
– Repeated and frequent mood swings
– Difficulty controlling impulses, making him prone to substance or alcohol abuse
– Seclusion from others or withdrawal from social situations
– Difficulty bonding with others
– Excessive suspicion of situations and other people
Utah counselors can point out to a number of personality disorders, which can be grouped into three major categories (odd or eccentric, emotional and impulsive, and suspicious or anxious):
Odd or Eccentric Personality Disorders
– Paranoid Personality Disorder. Everything and everyone is treated with suspicion and mistrust. People close to them and around them are constantly seen as condescending, unfaithful, manipulative, threatening, deceitful or malicious. Because of their suspicion, they tend to be on their guard, hostile and emotionally withdrawn.
– Schizoid Personality Disorder. Those with this personality disorder have difficulty forging relationships with those around them. Social relationships (as well as intimacy) tend to be seen as annoyances and are avoided at all costs. According to Provo counselors, schizoid personalities can be characterized as being distant, emotionally cold and withdrawn. They can be considered socially inept and can’t understand or grasp normal social cues.
– Schizotypal Personality Disorder. These can be classified as “weird” or overly eccentric – in the way they dress, act or speak. They also miss normal social cues and don’t react as expected. Forging close relationships will be difficult as they have difficulty holding a conversation. They may also make use of “special powers” such as the ability to control other people’s actions, read their minds or see the future.
Emotional or Impulsive Personality Disorders
– Narcissistic Personality Disorder. With these, it’s all “me, myself and I”. Those with narcissistic personality disorder are overly self-absorbed, selfish and have entitlement issues. They may also oscillate between feelings of grandeur (exaggerating one’s ability and attractiveness) and insecurity (feeling that others are not “admiring” enough”). They tend to get resentful and angry when people don’t toe the line with them.
– Borderline Personality Disorder. They can be characterized by frequent mood swings, impulsive actions, behavioral instability and self-destructive behavior. Emotions can be intense and the world can be seen as “all bad” or “all good”. Persons with this personality disorder may be suicidal.
– Antisocial Personality Disorder. These can be called the “renegades” – those who flout rules and tend to disregard social expectations. They take on a rebellious, impulsive and aggressive attitude. As such, they are prone towards shoplifting, stealing and substance abuse. They may need the help of a Utah substance abuse counselor. They have difficulty feeling remorse and may be a hazard to others and to themselves.
– Histrionic Personality Disorder. There are the “Drama Queens”. They feel that all the attention should be directed to them or else they will get too emotional to get that attention. These are characterized by unstable moods, a deep dependence on the approval of others and the need to act or behave provocatively.
Suspicious or Anxious Personality Disorders
– Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. These are very methodical and organized to the point of being extremely inflexible. They have difficulty adapting to changes in their situation as they always expect and strive towards perfection.
– Avoidant Personality Disorder. Those with this personality disorder can be deemed social recluses – where they are so afraid of rejection that they try to withdraw from others at all costs. They have strong feelings of inferiority and shy away from social activities because they are worried that they will act in an embarrassing way in public. Even though they desire to forge relationships with others, they tend only to be close within circles they feel close to, particularly their family.
– Dependent Personality Disorder. Those with this personality disorder are afraid of taking responsibility for their decisions and actions. They allow others to make key decisions for them. They are afraid of being alone and the end of a close relationship can mean disaster and devastation. Similarly, they are unable to function properly without other people’s help.
Therapy for Personality Disorders
Treatment for personality disorders can be provided by therapists in Provo. The treatment can be long and challenging, as the therapy aims to change behavioral and thought patterns that may be deeply rooted in a person. The therapy will usually be aimed towards being more aware about one’s behavior and emotions, as well as finding ways of dealing with and controlling them. Cognitive behavior therapy will teach one to challenge ideas and beliefs that are the root of the personality behavior. With help from therapy and with constant support, a person with personality behavior can emerge and live a full and abundant life.
Do you have a child that has a problem with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness? Of course, these three attributes are natural in a child in “normal doses”. However, at the extreme and when the symptoms are seen for an extended period of time, this can point to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.
For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, he or she must show the symptoms in greater degree for an extended period of time (half a year or longer). Some of the symptoms include:
– Difficulty in focusing on a single task so that he is rarely able to finish the task without prodding or constant supervision
– Difficulty in sitting still
– Difficulty in obeying instructions
– Talks constantly or is in constant motion
– Easily forgetting things and quickly switching from one task or activity to another
– Easily bored
– Easily distracted
– Given to daydreaming
– Moves slowly
– Tendency to be very impetuous, impatient and impulsive
– Acts without thinking about consequences
– Tends to forget things, especially things needed to complete a certain task (homework, pencils, etc.)
A Parent’s Role
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, there is no need to fret. A child with ADHD can still reach his or her full potential with your loving support and guidance. It may be a challenge and will require some hard work, but with the help of family counseling in Utah, you can start making steps towards helping your child overcome the challenges posed before him or her.
Here are some ways that can help:
– Overcome negative feelings. You can consider going for Utah counseling to help deal with any frustration, guilt or anger that may exist, especially before the ADHD is diagnosed and parents and teachers are unsure about the reasons behind the child’s behavior. The whole family may have already been adversely affected so family counseling in Provo can help thresh out these negative feelings and help each family member come to terms with and positively handle the situation.
– Equip yourself with knowledge. Educate yourself about ADHD so that you can better know how to relate to your child. A Utah counselor can equip you with positive attitudes and skills to help you effectively connect with your child and provide him with the guidance he needs
– Develop rules and a rewards and punishment system. Establish simple and easy-to-follow rules, with consequences clearly spelled out. Be sure to consistently implement these rules. Remember to also use positive reinforcement such as privileges and activities. You can make use of charts to provide a reminder so your child can see how well he has been doing.
– Get organized. Minimize the distractions your child has to contend with.
o Keep everything in its place. Have containers for toys, school things and personal belongings. Keep his desk and work station clear.
o Develop a routine and stick to it. This means having a consistent schedule – from the time your child wakes up to the time it’s time for him to go to bed. If there are to be changes, these need to be noted on the schedule as far in advance as possible. Have consistent yet simple rituals for everyday activities such as eating, taking a bath and doing homework.
– Know your child. Discover what your child does best, what activities he enjoys. By finding out what your child’s interests and abilities, you can “catch” your child doing well so that you can have the opportunity to provide honest praise and positive feedback. It is also important to remember that a child with ADHD wants to accomplish tasks, wants to be able to listen and follow instructions, but he simply is unable to. He needs love and support, patience and compassion. Learn to recognize your child’s uniqueness and positive attributes. This will help you see your child’s potential and ability to grow, mature and succeed.
– Divide tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. If one task taxes your child’s attention, you can divide the tasks into smaller ones that your child can handle.
– Encourage movement, rather than restrict it. A child with ADHD needs to move! So provide him with an outlet for his energy, instead of forcing him to “sit still”. Indulge in a sport that he enjoys – this sport should be something that keeps him in motion. Avoid sports that have long lag times.
– Supervise your child’s diet. What your child eats can greatly affect his symptoms. Junk food and sweets can worsen the hyperactivity so be sure to stay away from these.
– Manage your own stress. Ask your Provo counselor for stress-management tips. The situation can be demanding and physically taxing. You may have feelings of frustration, anger and subsequent guilt. You may even need to come into terms with the fact that your child has ADHD. When you are able to deal with your own stress, you can avoid blow-ups and can calmly respond to your child.
Parenting a child with ADHD can be a challenge but it can actually be rewarding as you see your child develop and grow to his full potential.
A Whitney Houston song goes, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”
This is rooted in the belief that developing and growing as an individual is intrinsic in maintaining a healthy relationship with others, most especially your spouse. Couples counseling in Provo will tell you that you need to develop your individuality to become “the other half”. You need to take care of your needs to be able to have the strength to do the same for your spouse.
Indeed, there is the challenge to be able to nurture your individual self, as well as the relationship. Now, how do you achieve this delicate balancing act? Overdo the quest for independence and you may find that you have distanced yourself from your spouse. On the other hand, if you ignore your needs and direct your attention only on your relationship, you may find that you have grown too dependent on the relationship to the point that you are perceived to be clingy and needy. To further complicate matters, there are other things to also consider. You also have to see to the needs of the children, as well as in-laws, bosses and friends. When problems crop up as you try to maintain this delicate balance, it may be necessary to consider going for family counseling in Provo to help you get equipped with effective tools for the couple and for the family.
How can a marriage (and one’s individuality) remain healthy in the midst of all these challenges? Here are some simple tips:
– Find time both for yourself and your spouse. Schedule “me time” and “we time”. Give each other space to pursue personal interests that may not be shared by the spouse. This may be a night out with friends, indulging in a sport you enjoy or taking classes to learn something you enjoy doing. At the same time, you also need to pencil into your calendar, dates with your spouse where you can spend time nurturing your relationship and building your bond. According to Utah counselors, giving time for both individual pursuits and pursuits as a couple can help strengthen you and your relationship.
– Work out your own personal space. Get into an understanding that each one is free to pursue his or her passion and that this personal space will be respected by the other spouse. For instance, while one spouse is pursuing her interest in the opera (which the other spouse is absolutely allergic to), the other spouse can go fishing (an interest the other spouse does not share). This is also an understanding that each one is entitled to his privacy. That means that you should resist the urge to pry and rummage into his belongings without his permission or approval.
– Clarify your own needs and wants, as well as your spouse’s needs and wants. Then, you can both come up with a compromise that you can both accept. This can apply to financial decisions, and other aspects such as child rearing, home décor decisions and goals for the family.
– Learn to appreciate each other’s individuality. Doing so will prevent you from being at odds with each other because of your intrinsic differences. Instead, you will learn to be grateful for differences you each have. It will also teach you to nurture the healthy individuality of your spouse, as well as yourself.
– Support but “push” as well. Cheer your spouse on as he or she pursues his or her individual needs and desires. However, avoid the temptation to nag or do the work that he or she personally needs to do. You can help your spouse realize that you are there to support.
– Learn to compromise cheerfully. Learn to give and take without feeling resentful if you don’t get your way at times. You may sometimes have to give way to your spouse’s needs at times. But you also have to expect your spouse to also give in at times to your own needs. Your Utah counselor can teach you both how to effectively compromise.
Utah marriage counseling can help you be more self-aware and at the same time, be more aware of the aspects of your marriage. As a result, you are stronger and more independent and you are more able to take care of the needs of your marriage.