Therapy Archive

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  • Trauma is Trauma

    Trigger Warning: graphic description of psychotic episode, violence

    Does it change your view to know that I live with schizophrenia, and when the police came, there was no evidence anyone had broken in, no blood, no man? That’s where it gets tough. This experience, and other similarly intense experiences, are discounted because the general population doesn’t see them as ‘real’.

    My Experience with Medical Marijuana as a Psychiatric Medication and Harm Reduction Strategy

    Trigger Warnings: suicidal ideation, grief, alcoholism, drug use.

    When I first came to medical marijuana, I was desperate. Fighting Schizoaffective Disorder, alcoholism, PTSD, the recent death of my wife, chronic anxiety, and newly recovered childhood abuse memories, all I wanted was to be put out of my misery. I told my therapist, “When an animal is broken, you either shoot it or put it out to pasture comfortably, I’ll take either one.”

    Persistent Past in a Present Future

    My therapist has a thing for drawing me charts that she hopes I bring home and post on my wall (I do). It ends up straining both my eyes and my mind. We tend to get into complicated conversations that involve chaos theory and the nature of humans. My most recent chart (a flow chart of such) describes how the past connects us to depression, the future to anxiety, and the present to calm and balance. But I have questions. As I usually do.

    DBT Skills: Emotion Regulation

    This is the final installment of the DBT Skills series. I want to say a special thank you to Breyonne for her hard work in writing this series – I know it will be useful for so many of our readers!

    When I first heard the words ’emotion regulation’, the first thing I thought was, Oh great. Another therapist trying to tell me that feelings are just feelings, they can’t hurt me, they can’t kill me, blah blah yadda yadda. And I’ve been to enough therapy, enough counseling, enough self-help meetings to know this, even if only theoretically. So I wasn’t prepared to learn a whole lot from this module. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

    What Every Trans Person Should Ask Their Mental Health Provider

    For me, deciding to see a therapist about my gender dysphoria was a huge step. It was the first time I had told another human being face to face that I thought I was transgender. I was lucky; the psychologist in the area who is known for taking trans clients was full up and couldn’t take me. She recommended a colleague whom I had never heard of. I gave her a chance, and she turned out to be phenomenal. She was non-judgmental, listened well, asked insightful questions, and in the end became someone whose insights and ideas I trusted.

    Group Therapy – Panic and Anxiety, Session 2

    This is the second of an 8 week series reviewing panic and anxiety from a group therapy point of view. It is based on the group therapy services available through Langley Memorial Hospital. Feel free to follow along and answer the questions posted in each section.

    Session 2: Don’t Fight Panic

    Did You Know:

    • Resisting or fighting initial panic symptoms is likely to make them worse.

    DBT Skills: Interpersonal Effectiveness

    I have to admit that social interaction and communication are not my strongest points. This is a relatively new development for me, or so I thought. I used to think I was great at using my voice, at standing up for myself, at being in social situations. Today there are a number of barriers that prevent me from being effective in interpersonal communication. One of them is mental and emotional health issues. It’s really hard for me to connect with others when I don’t feel so great myself. Another is acute hearing loss, in both ears, coupled with tinnitus. And finally – and probably the most overwhelming for me, especially when it comes to asking for what I need and speaking up for myself, or saying no when being asked for something – I was raised in an environment that didn’t really encourage me to use my voice under any circumstances. In fact, it was preferred if I was invisible, or at least that’s how I translated it.

    How To Set Your Goals The SMART Way

    One issue I’ve always struggled with is goal setting. Never mind that when I’m manic, I tend to set really high goals that I’m super-confident that I’ll reach, but also, when I’m depressed, I make goals that I believe are achievable, and yet I still won’t achieve them. Why? Because even though the goals I set are attainable, they’re made in a way that they appear overwhelming, and inevitably, I’ll abandon the goal, and beat myself up over yet another “failure.” It’s hard to motivate yourself to achieve your goals when they are too vague to actually define what a “success” is.

    My Partner With Borderline Personality Disorder (Hanners)

    It is my pleasure to introduce the newest series, “My Partner With…” to QueerMentalHealth.org. Relationships can be a challenge for anyone, though they can be especially difficult when they are impacted by mental health issues. It is my hope that we can help others understand how to approach a partner’s mental health concerns. I’m starting this series off by talking about the issues that come up for myself and my partner, who has Borderline Personality Disorder.

    If you were to get all your information about Borderline Personality Disorder by going to online support groups for partners of people with this condition, you would learn the following:

    • Borderlines are always abusive
    • Borderlines are always in denial
    • Borderlines never take responsibility for their actions
    • Borderlines will love you one minute, and hate you the next
    • Relationships with borderlines are notoriously unstable

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A Primer

    Trigger Warning: Mention of self-harm and suicide

    Approaching therapy without really knowing where you’re going or why you’re doing what you’re doing can be scary, and at times, feel thoroughly futile. I know – I’ve been there, and I’ve done that. My feelings about my therapy ranged from a desperate need for it to work, to a feeling that my problems could never be resolved, to now, the light of day as I find myself from time to time using the techniques I’ve been taught and working to control my emotions.