How do you know when therapy is effective?

We know that talk therapy can be highly effective and life-changing for people grappling with mental health concerns. But for providers and clients alike, there remains a critical question that still sparks much debate: How do you know when therapy is effective? It turns out the answer isn’t always intuitive. We could all use some…

Getting Better Sleep

Your boss gives you a last-minute project, and you have to work into the evening to get it done. You get to bed later than usual but have difficulty falling asleep because your mind won’t let the project go. You toss and turn until you finally fall asleep. Then, because you’re extra tired the next…

Mindfulness: try less, experience more

I first learned about mindfulness in graduate school. One of my professors led a course, and as a stressed-out student it sounded like the perfect escape. I remember feeling excited to finally find a bit of mental bliss and quiet. Instead, I found myself impatiently waiting for everlasting peace, tranquility, and enlightenment. It almost never…

The connection between mental contamination, OCD, and trauma

“It’s as if this horrible dark feeling just comes over me and everything seems extremely gross and dirty. My whole life seems disgusting.” This is how my client Roselle described her internal experience when her OCD symptoms became triggered. To avoid this feeling or to “make it go away”, she would engage in a multitude…

Learning to fly: breaking free from avoidance with values-based exposure

Ten years ago I developed a fear of flying, and when I think back, it was like being in a sitcom. I’m walking down the jetway, feeling a little light-headed, my heart already racing. As I board, I notice that one of the plane doors looks a little rusty. I think, this must be an…

Finding and keeping the motivation to change

One of life’s greatest challenges is getting and staying motivated. Perhaps you want to exercise on a regular basis, eat healthier, make a doctor appointment you’ve been putting off, get to bed earlier, or spend more quality time with your family. Even when you know you want to make such a change, time can slip…

Sharing responsibilities: is there an equitable solution?

When we begin a new romantic relationship, the electricity, magic, and euphoria can lead us to make decisions quickly – meet the parents, move in together, get a pet, have children, buy a house, and so on. We rarely take an objective look at our partner’s personality patterns, how they manage stress, how they handle…