Announcement: Mental Health Blog

I have decided to skip the usual list of links to major mental health websites. If you are looking for those, I highly recommend you start from the site of Michigan Mental Health Network . This site encompasses everything you may want to know about mental health in Michigan and beyond. It contains a directory of therapists, clinics and support groups in Michigan; an excellent list of links to mental health websites; and interesting articles for professionals and lay persons alike.

Another excellent resource is the website The guide to self help books. It contain a directory of books, arranged by different topics in self help, personal growth and self improvement areas.

I will dedicate this space to less known resources, that touched me deeply and influenced my life and my professional work.

This blog is not a substitute for professional advice on diagnosis or treatment of a mental health condition. Please consult with a professional before trying any of the ideas presented here.

If you have more recommendations along those lines, email me at mchll.samuel@gmail.com I’ll be more than happy to add them.

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Social Anxiety (Social Phobia)


Managing Social Anxiety

Social anxiety can reduce you quality of life, not let you achieve your full potential, and ultimately lead to depression. What results is a vicious cycle – the more anxious you are, the more barriers you will encounter in your life, the more depressed you become, which ultimately contribute to your anxiety. I recommend this self-help book. It is part of a serie published by Oxford University Press. All the books adhere to cognitive-behavioral approach. They come in pairs – one for the client, one for the therapists. All those I have seen so far, were excellent.If you read this book, and work along its guideline, you may not even need to see me. And if you do, it will shorten the treatment and make my work easier.

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Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

sunrise simulator

There are two kinds of light therapy for depression: Light box, and Dawn simulator.
Most people know about the light box; those you can find anywhere on the web. I would like to recommend the less well known device, called Dawn Simulator (or sunrise simulator). Dawn simulator slowly lights a bedside lamp to simulate dawn. This simulates sunrise and tells your brain that it is time to get up and start the day. Absolutely no side effects, and it is amazingly effective. It has been shown  in studies to improve seasonal depression. It certainly can help you start your morning in a different tone. You can find very expensive ones on the internet, that contain also a lamp, a radio, and an alarm clock built in. Assuming you already have all of these, you may want to buy the most inexpensive on the internet. It is just as effective as any other.

Dawn simulator

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Four legged Friends – zootherapy

funny-cat3

© cheesburger

It has been shown that adopting and taking care of a furry friend can improve depression and anxiety, especially social phobia. You may want to look for them at the Humane Society Yes, I know. They kill those creatures that do not find a home. This is even a better reason to adopt from them. For cat lovers – humor can always lift the spirits and laughter has proven health benefits.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) was initially developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan for people who suffered from personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder.  DBT is not about insight, or delving into your past. It is a collection of very practical skills to help you better manage your emotions, your interpersonal relationships, and hence your life. The basis of all these skills is the practice of mindfulness, taken from Buddhism. Mindfulness means the state of mind that allow you to be completely immersed in the present situation, rather than in the past or in fantasy. None of these skills are innovative; but sometimes, while contending with life’s difficulties we need to be reminded of skills that may seem obvious or almost trivial.

Many types of therapy claim that our mental health is best served by getting in touch and experiencing our emotions to the fullest. While this approach is often effective and serves many people well, DBT takes an alternative approach. DBT tries to teach us to regulate our emotions in order to better cope with everyday life. I find this approach very helpful for people that struggle with clinical depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or even people who struggle with anger management issues,  and struggle to go through the day. Only after the depression and anxiety get somewhat under control, a person would have enough energy and inner resources to delve in  and benefit from insight oriented therapy.

In my opinion, these skills are useful for everyone of us. The following link will provide you with handouts. The best way to learn these skills would be in a therapeutic group or in individual therapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy .

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Sexual Education for Teenagers

 

Sex Education for Teenagers

While it would appear to many parents that today’s teenagers know too much about sex, the information that they are bombarded with is often flawed and confusing. If you need to educate your teenagers about sexuality, and feel embarrased (and who doesn’t?) you may want to use this site:

Midwest Teen Sex Show

Scarletten

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Positive Psychology


A different approach to mental health. Historically, psychology and psychiatry developed though trying to understand – and correct – pathology. Prof. Zeligman, one of the prominent psychologists today, recommends using our strengths. According to him our mental health consists not in overcoming our weaknesses but recognizing and using our strengths. It give a fresh look at the ancient saying “know thyself”. The site contains articles, videos, and self tests. The self tests are particularly helpful. We are so used to think in terms of our faults, that we forget to look at our strengths and use them more.

Positive Psychology Website

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