Various group therapies are being offered at IPH, starting late August (parenting, anger management, social anxiety and more). In case you have any questions, here is an article about group therapy from APA. The most basic tenet to remember is that whatever is said in group, stays in group. Also, it wouldn't be a group without people in it, so attendance is important! Here is a bit more about what to expect.
Father's Day is difficult for some. For those who lost their father, had an unhealthy relationship with their father, or never knew their father, this can be a particularly challenging day. May this day land gently for you. Here is a blog on how to survive father's day from Psychology Today.
Here is a good article from the APA on the changing role of fathers.
"10 ways you can tell good therapy from bad" from Psychology Today
Dr. Adriana Faur
Let’s face it, we all feel angry, sad, fearful, or other unpleasant emotions sometime. Our buttons get pushed--by the person who cuts us off on the road, the partner who doesn’t seem to hear us, or the screaming child who really wants us to buy a toy! Our friend doesn’t call us back, and we feel sad. We have to give an important speech in front of lots of people, and we feel terrified. What is clear from research is that chronic anger, sadness, fearfulness can have detrimental effects on our health, on our relationships with others, and our own sense of well-being. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure that our emotions are adaptive. Process experiential/emotion focused therapy (PE-EFT) is an empirically supported therapy approach developed by Dr. Leslie Greenberg and Dr. Robert Elliott, which focuses on deeply understanding our emotions. In individual therapy, the therapist works closely with the client through the use of empathy to help the client understand their own personal emotions. According to Elliott and Greenberg (2007): “In general, PE-EFT is an approach that seeks to help clients transform contradictions and impasses into wellsprings for growth.” In short, it can help us have more adaptive emotional experiences.
So what does adaptive mean for emotions?
You may have been taught that anger, sadness, fear, resentment, contempt, hatred, jealousy, pride….just to mention a few…are negative emotions!
The truth is that emotions are neither negative, nor positive. Emotions are neutral.
I know you must be thinking: ok, but who wants to feel sad, angry, hurt? Shouldn’t we just strive to be HAPPY all the time? Shouldn’t we just experience “positive” emotions?
Short answer: No. (And let me explain.)
Imagine if your child just died, and you are experiencing joy, or if a bear attacks you and you feel calm. Would these emotions be helpful or adaptive? Likely not. You would not be grieving your child’s death, which would cause lots of emotional problems later on, or you might well get eaten by a bear if you don’t get into fight or flight mode. Emotions are there for a reason. And without ALL emotions, we would be deprived of the necessary information needed to help guide us in our lives. Just as if we did not have any pain receptors in our body, we would not be getting the necessary information about our bodies’ health, and would probably endure more health problems as a result. If we break our foot, we need that message sent to our brain to tell us we are in pain, to get to the doctor, and get the necessary help. It is the same with emotions. They tell us what needs we have, and if we dig deeper, how to get those needs met.
Emotions are wise, and by understanding them, they can help guide our behavior, so we can become more proactive in caring for ourselves. So, next time you experience that pesky negative emotion, ask yourself: what is this emotion trying to tell me? What can I learn about what I need in order to feel less of this unpleasant emotion? And what does healing look like? This process is necessary, in order for healing to begin.
Elliott, R. and Greenberg, L. (2007) The essence of process-experiential: emotion-focused
therapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 61 (3). pp. 241-254. ISSN 0002-9564
Dr. Adriana Faur
As Memorial Day approaches, we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. As Americans, we owe a great debt to the brave men and women who selflessly protected our country. While we can never come close to their sacrifice, we can honor and celebrate their memory and courage!
Why is there stigma toward people with mental illness? And who are the "mentally ill"?
Dr. Adriana Faur
A century ago, people suffering from mental health conditions were thought to be witches, possessed by evil spirits, or just “crazy.” And they were treated by dangerous procedures, robbed of freedoms, and any sense of dignity. How have we changed? We have learned a great deal about mental illness, but the stigma remains.
We contribute to it every time we hear people use the word “crazy” to mean something bad, we see TV shows depicting people with mental illness in funny or embarrassing ways, and falsely believe that people with mental illness are violent/aggressive. In fact, people with mental illness are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crime. And they are no more likely to engage in violent behavior than people with no mental illness.
But still, the stigma remains, despite advances in scientific research which clearly show that people suffer from mental illnesses in similar ways as from physical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, or arthritis. Some people with mental illness may be experiencing a chemical imbalance, which in turn may cause depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other disorders. On the other hand, mental illnesses (i.e. depression, anxiety, personality disorders, PTSD) may be caused by environmental factors (i.e. trauma, learned patterns of thinking, and life stressors). For instance, we know that people can learn depressive and anxious ways of thinking and behaving. And for many, mental illness results from a combination of having a genetic predisposition toward mental illness coupled with environmental factors (i.e. divorce, trauma, etc).
Regardless of the unique reasons for each individual suffering from mental illness, this is never a choice. So why judge people experiencing these conditions? I have seen untreated mental illness in people I am closest to steal their sense of joy, meaning, and purpose. It’s what has inspired me to embark on this lifelong journey to understand and treat mental illness. If people did not get this message from society or themselves that mental illness is shameful, they would reach out for help. Perhaps they would lead happier, more productive, and more meaningful lives. What if having cancer or diabetes were equally stigmatizing and people did not reach out for help for these debilitating conditions? We can't even fathom that. In general we tend to greatly empathize with people who experience cancer or diabetes. There is an implicit belief that experiencing a physical condition is less of a choice than experiencing a psychological one. This belief is that people with mental illness can "snap out of it" or "just be happy" without any intervention. Or that if people had enough willpower, they could combat mental illness on their own. These beliefs are harmful and oppressive- and false. And keeping the stigma alive.
So who are the "mentally ill"? And even better stated, without the use of labels...who are the people who have mental illness? People who have mental illness truly are…us all. There is no us vs. them. Most of us will experience some type of mental illness in our lifetime. Depression and anxiety are known as the “common cold of mental illness” by mental health providers, because they are likely to affect most of us at some point in our lives. That’s the bad news. The good news? There are psychological treatments- time limited, research based techniques- that successfully treat mental illness. So although people can learn to become depressed or anxious, there are techniques to help people unlearn these states. Even when the depression/anxiety is biological in nature, these same techniques can reshape the way we think and behave, and ultimately, the way our brains function. Our sense of joy, meaning and purpose can be restored, no matter our life circumstances.
Unfortunately, people will never get the opportunity to ease their suffering as long as they believe this suffering is a reason to feel shame or is a sign of weakness. This is why awareness and de-stigmatization are so important. There is no shame in being ill. And seeking help is not a sign of weakness- but ultimately a sign of strength. Although making that first step is hard, we all must choose to break down the walls that are holding us captive. And by doing this, we are choosing hope!
Please be advised that the posts on this blog are for informational purposes only, are not a substitute for mental health treatment nor constitute medical/mental health advice.
Blog posts written by Dr Adriana Faur, PhD
Please be advised that the posts on this blog are for informational purposes only, are not a substitute for mental health treatment nor constitute medical or mental health advice.