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Self-Compassion, the New Self-Esteem

Self-Compassion, the New Self-Esteem

The research is in! Those who score higher in self-compassion have less anxiety and depression and bounce back easier from setbacks. The self-esteem movement of the 90's has shown some cracks. Namely, we have taught people that in order to feel good about themselves,...

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The Negativity Bias

The Negativity Bias

My day started off great! I woke up on time (without my alarm), my mood was light, I had my favorite espresso, kids were off to their respective places, the first few client sessions were meaningful, and then one negative hiccup..... Sure enough, before I knew it, my...

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Casualties of Perfectionism

Casualties of Perfectionism

The almost casualty of my perfectionism today was delighting in my 2-year olds newfound coloring skills and the fact that I had finally found a “play” activity that I enjoyed as much as my child.  The latter of which has been no small feat and believe me I have tried...

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The Myth of Multitasking

The Myth of Multitasking

Me singing: "Mary had a little lamb, little lamb..." Internal thought process: "Geez, how many verses does this song have?" "I'm supposed to be working right now! You're supposed to be sleeping!" I feel myself getting frustrated and irritable. I had big plans for nap...

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Emotions and Feelings

Emotions and Feelings

People often use the terms "emotions" and "feelings" interchangeably, but it can be helpful to understand the difference between them, as this aids in learning how to regulate ourselves when experiencing an emotional tsunami.  Antonio D’Amasio, a professor of...

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How you choose to focus your attention matters!

How you choose to focus your attention matters!

One of the most empowering messages to come out of neuroscience is that our very thoughts and and where we place attention changes the physical structure of the brain (Donald Altman, MA, LPC).  More importantly, the significance of self-directed neuroplasticity...

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Lifespan of an Emotion

Lifespan of an Emotion

"I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to...

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Alcoholism and Addiction

Alcoholism and Addiction

A significant percentage of my practice is comprised of individuals struggling with alcoholism and addiction.  For most of these individuals, shame and guilt are pervasive, chronic, and destructive.  Many individuals struggling with alcoholism and addiction are blamed...

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Why do we need fat in our diets?

Why do we need fat in our diets?

Fat, often erroneously, is mistaken as the “enemy” and many try to avoid eating it at all costs.  We all need fat in our diets, however, it should comprise no more than 25-30% of our daily caloric intake. FAT IS NECESSARY FOR: Normal growth and development Energy (fat...

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Don’t Eliminate Carbohydrates

Don’t Eliminate Carbohydrates

DON’T ELIMINATE CARBOHYDRATES! Carbohydrates have become almost as evil, in some people’s minds, as fat, making it “in vogue” to eliminate them from one’s diet.  This is unfortunate, as this  macronutrient should comprise approximately 45-65% of our daily caloric...

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Anxiety

Anxiety

You need to worry! While this may sound counterintuitive, we are actually hard wired to worry about anxiety provoking things as it ensures our survival. Although, as far too many people know (more people suffer from anxiety disorders than any other mental illness),...

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Metabolism and Your Eating Disorder

Metabolism and Your Eating Disorder

What is Metabolism and How Does it Affect My Eating Disorder? Metabolism, in its simplest sense, is the rate at which your body burns calories. In a broader sense it is complex network of hormones and enzymes responsible for converting food into fuel, while also...

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Freedom from Fear Based Beliefs (by Tara Brach)

Freedom from Fear Based Beliefs (by Tara Brach)

Latest talk: "Freedom from Fear-Based Beliefs" ~ www.tarabrach.com. "My prayer to god every day is ‘Remove the veils so I might see what is really happening here and not be intoxicated by my stories and my fears.’" - Elizabeth Lesser

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How to heal from pain?

How to heal from pain?

"The way to heal pain, the only way, is to feel and release it.  Your pain is your pain. Your fear, desperation, and resentments are yours, too.  All these emotions belong to you.  Feel them, learn from them, and let them go" (Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart,...

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Misguided Attempts at Problem Solving

Misguided Attempts at Problem Solving

Clinical experience has shown that, ironically, it is often the patient's very attempt to solve the problem that, in fact, maintains it.  The attempted solution becomes the true problem.  -Giorgio Nardone & Paul Watzlawick

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3 Things to Remember about Depression

3 Things to Remember about Depression

Depression is a pervasive mental illness that can occur for many reasons. The recent suicide of Robin Williams has catapulted discussions of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses back to the forefront of people’s minds. Of course, it is preferable that...

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Dealing With Social Stress at Halloween Events

Dealing With Social Stress at Halloween Events

Dear Friends, Happy Halloween from us to you! We are as excited as you are about the good times that the fall season brings with it. From scary ghost stories and frightening good times, to great memories made with friends, there is plenty to enjoy this time of year,...

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Insatiable Hunger and Binge Eating Disorder

Insatiable Hunger and Binge Eating Disorder

When Eating Becomes a Problem   An eating disorder might seem humorous. Have you ever joked that you could “eat everything on this table?” For some people, though, overeating is no laughing matter. Overeating and binge eating disorders are complex illnesses that...

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Sugar Addiction – A Deadly Habit

Sugar Addiction – A Deadly Habit

Why is Sugar so Addictive? It seems so simple and unthreatening, doesn’t it? A spoonful of sugar on your morning breakfast cereal, a candy bar for an afternoon pick-me-up, or a soda for a little extra energy…they all seem harmless enough. But, when looked at as part...

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Why Is Food So Addictive?

Why Is Food So Addictive?

  What you need to know about Food Addiction   I  provide therapy to patients who are dealing with eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder, as well as disordered eating styles that do not meet criteria for an eating disorder....

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Emotions

Emotions

Emotions drive thoughts far more than the other way around (this has to do with the greater number of connections from the limbic center to the pre-frontal cortex).

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Language and Suffering

Language and Suffering

How we think about our experiences is not necessarily a reality, yet our thoughts and the stories we construct from these thoughts can increase suffering.

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People Facts

People Facts

  People’s deepest and most irrational convictions about onesself and one's life are incredibly stubborn.  Once something is learned and then intermittently reinforced it is deeply resistant to extinction.  However, through repetition and new experiences new...

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Thoughts and Breathing Exercises

Thoughts and Breathing Exercises

Through consciously relaxing tense muscles and observing your breath moving in and out, incessant thoughts can be quickly reduced (Lind-Kyle, 2009) Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Food Addiction

Food Addiction

Research suggests that an alternating pattern of food restriction and bingeing contributes to reward dysfunction (changes in neural circuitry) and an addictive pattern of eating. Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Cravings

Research suggests that there may be a gene that makes certain individuals more sensitive to sugar and alcohol cravings. Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Addiction

Addiction

Is addiction a disease or a choice? While one may not be responsible for getting the illness, it doesn't abdicate one's responsibility for making different choices to manage or eradicate it. Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Resentment

Resentment

"Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies" (Author unknown) Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Social Interactions

Social Interactions

Like hunger or thirst, our need for acceptance is rooted in our mechanism for survival.      Positive social interactions release opioids for a natural mood boost (APA Monitor, April 2012). Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Depression

Depression

Research suggests that people who work too much (11 hours or more during the day) are twice as likely to become depressed. Posted via email from My Santa Barbara Therapy Updates

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Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive Overeating

“Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, and the cues that signal them, promote more of everything: more arousal…more thoughts of food…more urges to pursue food…more dopamine stimulated approach behavior…more consumption…more opioid-drive reward…more overeating to feel...

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Trauma

Trauma

Repeated trauma may cause neurophysiological changes in the brain, specifically the amygdala which helps to regulate and modulate fear responses. Chronic trauma is especially toxic in childhood, as it affects the developing brain and nervous system, lowering the HPA...

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Addiction

Addiction

“That addiction is tied to changes in brain structure and function is what makes it, fundamentally, a brain disease. A metaphorical switch in the brain seems to be thrown as a result of prolonged drug use. Initially, drug use is voluntary behavior, but when that...

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Trauma

Trauma

One of the effects of early trauma on the early developing nervous system are regulatory deficits like a lowered HPA axis threshold that leads to half-trigger release of stress hormones into our bodies.  Being bathed in stress hormones may be at the heart of...

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Why we worry so much?

Why we worry so much?

The function of rumination is survival based in humans. In other words, we are hard wired to worry about anxiety provoking things as it helps ensure survival.

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What happens when restricting/fasting?

What happens when restricting/fasting?

Ghrelin is an appetite stimulating, gut derived peptide that induces the drive/motivation to consume food. Levels of ghrelin rise upon fasting or severely restricting calories, which may, in turn, trigger a binge.  

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Anorexia

Anorexia

40-50% of the risk of developing Anorexia is genetic, it is as inheritable  as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, etc.

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Addiction

Addiction

One in four adults, at some stage in their lifetime, will suffer from drug or alcohol addiction (Harris, 2006)

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Human Suffering

Human Suffering

In any year, almost 30% of the adult population will suffer from a recognized psychiatric disorder (Kessler et al, 1994).

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Amino Acid Based Supplements vs. Psychotropic Medication

Amino Acid Based Supplements vs. Psychotropic Medication

While psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers, are a huge asset to many struggling with various mental disorders, some people do not experience symptom relief .  This could result from many different factors, but one possibility is that...

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Dopamine=Pleasure

Dopamine=Pleasure

Did you know that some dopamine releasing behaviors include not only food, sex, relationships, and quenching thirst, but also bingeing, purging, gambling, and self-injurious behaviors? Some dopamine releasing chemicals include alcohol, drugs, caffeine and nicotine.

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Our Brains

Our Brains

Did you know that our brains our hard wired to ensure that we will repeat life sustaining activities, such as eating, drinking, procreation, and forming relationships and attachments. What happens in our brains when engaged in any of the above, is that dopamine (among...

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Basal Metabolic Rate

Basal Metabolic Rate

One's basal metabolic rate accounts for 65-70% of calories burned per day.  Go to BMI Calculator to determine your BMR (# of calories burned at rest). From there, you can determine your daily caloric needs based on your activity level with the Harris Benedict...

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Reasons People Choose Psychotherapy

Reasons People Choose Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, which may cause uncomfortable feelings like sadness, anger, guilt, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. It is not unusual to experience a period of...

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Do Compulsive Overeaters Have A Food Addiction?

Do Compulsive Overeaters Have A Food Addiction?

People who are compulsive eaters show similar activity in the same brain regions as people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction to food is a biologically driven process linked with reward centres, and not just another behaviour problem. Forty eight healthy...

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Women Are Talking About Life Size Barbie

Women Are Talking About Life Size Barbie

By Lisa Marsh TODAY.com contributor TODAY.com contributor   In Galia Slayen’s hands, the iconic blond plaything has morphed into a life-size representation of what an eating disorder looks like. Four years ago, Slayen, then a student at Lincoln High School in...

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Feelings

Feelings

Avoiding pain keeps it around longer. The more we try to resist certain feelings the less likely we are to work through them.

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Anxiety

Anxiety

Anxiety is an all too common psychological disorder afflicting millions of people.  Often, one's anxiety arises from repetitive thoughts, which exacerbate anxiety, further plummeting one's mood. Through consciously relaxing tense muscles and observing your breath...

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Attachment & Connection

Attachment & Connection

The deep limbic system affects the bonding mechanism that enables you to connect socially with other people, your ability to do this successfully in turn influences your moods.  We are social animals.  When we are bonded to people in a positive way, we feel better...

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Therapy Efficacy

Therapy Efficacy

One of the many benefits of therapy includes the identification of self perpetuated, unconscious themes and/or patterns causing the individual pain. Making the unconscious, conscious is the first step toward resolution.

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