EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

By - blog,Psychotherapy


EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that helps people heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences and because of that, EMDR therapy has emerged as one of the most evidence-based treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) and other trauma-related symptoms. EMDR was developed in the 1990 by Francine Shapiro. Shapiro believes that most mental health disorders originate from unprocessed disturbing memories or events.

What is an Unprocessed Traumatic Memory?

An unprocessed traumatic memory occurs when an event in the past continues to impact us in the present and/or future, resulting in negative beliefs about ourselves because of the traumatic event.

During traumatic events, our body and mind attempts to protect us from the event by “compartmentalizing” the intense feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations in one side of the brain. While this self-protection function can be initially helpful, problems arise when we are triggered by events that are similar to the original event thus causing intense emotional distress. This emotional distress can present as “flashbacks”, nightmares, and physical manifestations, avoidance of people, places or events that remind the person of the traumatic event, hyperarousal, “startle responses” and hypervigilance, as well as intrusive thoughts or memories of the event, and irrational thoughts, feelings and behaviors that result in a high level of emotional disruption.

The Goal of EMDR:

The goal of EMDR is to decrease or eliminate the emotional charge or reaction to the trauma so that the patient’s disturbance is significantly reduced. The therapist will safely assist the patient reprocess the memory by revisiting the trauma in a specific way.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR attempts to free the patient from thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that are related to their traumatic event. In order to accomplish this, Dr. Shapiro has developed an eight-phase approach for EMDR therapy.

  • History taking and treatment planning.
  • Preparation
  • Assessment
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body scan
  • Closure
  • Reevaluation

Simply put, the EMDR trained therapy will learn about the patient by completing a bio- psychosocial assessment that includes but is not limited to risk factors, medical, social, developmental, and legal issues, past and current symptoms, and diagnoses. At the end of this phase, a treatment plan will be developed.

Once this has been completed, the therapist will explain the EMDR process. The therapist will then prepare the patient for reprocessing by ensuring that the patient has the mental stability and strategies to ensure their emotional regulation while revisiting the traumatic memory. The therapist and patient will then choose a memory to reprocess. During the assessment phase, the therapist assists the patient to find the earliest, most disturbing, or most recent memory that they are struggling with. Themes of the memory will be identified so that the “past, present, future connection” can be established and core negative beliefs about themselves can be identified. The chosen memory will be reprocessed with the goal being to desensitize the patient’s emotional connection to the memory. Once the memory has been desensitized, the therapist will help the patient to replace or “install” a positive belief about themselves, have the patient scan their body for any more physical sensations remaining from the trauma and prepare the patient for closure of the memory.

After successful treatment with EMDR therapy, emotional distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, positive alternative beliefs are installed, and physiological arousal is reduced.

Francine Shapiro, PhD https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951033/
Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer Perm J. 2014 Winter; 18(1): 71–77 doi: 10.7812/TPP/13-098 PMCID: PMC3951033 PMID: 24626074

Maxfield, L.; Journal of EMDR Practice and Research Vol.13, Issue 4, DOI: 10.1891/1933-3196.13.4.239

What’s the Difference Between ADHD and ASD?

By - blog,Counseling

difference between adhd and asd

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have several similarities and differences in their diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. It is not uncommon for a person to be diagnosed with both ADHD and ASD. However, until 2013, ADHD and ASD could not be diagnosed together. It is also possible for autism to be misdiagnosed as ADHD. Both ADHD and ASD are classified under neurodevelopmental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). They are often diagnosed in childhood but have also been diagnosed in adulthood. ADHD has three types: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combination type. For ASD, there are three levels of severity, where level three requires the most support. So what are the similarities and differences between ADHD and ASD?

Similarities between ADHD and ASD

Studies have indicated that 22 to 83% of children with autism also meet diagnosis criteria for ADHD. It has also been stated in research that about 30-65% of those with ADHD also show signs and symptoms of autism. Regarding symptoms of each, ADHD and ASD have multiple similarities and overlaps. These symptoms include difficulty with emotional maturity (such as management of distress, anger, and frustration), difficulties with sensory sensitivities, social challenges, and executive dysfunction (including challenges completing/organizing tasks and time management). Similarities also include difficulties with impulsivity, learning difficulties/disabilities, and problems with focusing.

Differences between ADHD and ASD

There are multiple differences between ADHD and ASD. Although both ADHD and ASD can cause difficulties socially, they can differ regarding the reason. Those with ADHD can have difficulty with socialization due to impulsivity, interrupting, and difficulty paying attention. For those with ASD, it can be due to difficulties understanding social cues, pretenses, and body language. Those with ASD can also experience social difficulties due to withdrawn behaviors and avoidance of eye contact. ASD symptoms can also include speech delays, lack of speaking, and difficulty with speech patterns. Those diagnosed with ADHD can experience symptoms including trouble sitting still, hyperactivity, frequent changing of tasks, and interrupting others due to blurting out things and excessive talking. While those with ADHD can have trouble with paying attention and staying on task, those with ASD can experience intense focus on an individual thing. People diagnosed with ASD can also experience repetitive movement, which can include rocking or other stimming behaviors. It has been studied that children with ADHD can have difficulty and dislike for repetition, routines, and order. However, those with ASD often like and search for repetition and familiarity.

Treatments for ADHD include psychiatric medications, counseling, skills training, and behavioral therapy. Treatment for Autism can also include behavioral therapy and psychiatric medication, as well as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social skills counseling. Diagnosis for both ADHD and ASD can start with a conversation with one’s doctor or mental health professional. From there, further assessment, potential diagnosis, and treatment can follow.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Arthur, S. (2023). Do I have ADHD, autism, or both?. Psych central. https://psychcentral.com/adhd/can-you-have-adhd-and-autism

Holland, K (2024). The relationship between ADHD and autism. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/autism-and-adhd

Rudy, L. (2023). Autism vs. ADHD: What are the differences?. Very well health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/autism-vs-adhd-5213000

Sokolova, E., et al(2017). A causal and mediation analysis of the comorbidity between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 47(6), 1595–1604. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3083-7

OCD Fact vs. Fiction: Common Misconceptions of OCD

By - blog,Mental Health,One on One Counseling

misconceptions of ocd

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) under the section of Obsessive-Compulsive Related Disorders. Those with OCD can experience lasting, uncontrolled, and reoccurring thoughts, known as obsessions. Those with OCD can also engage in repetitive behaviors, known as compulsions. Someone with OCD can experience obsessions, compulsions, or both. These can be incredibly distressing and have a strong negative impact on one’s daily functioning. Based on common stereotypes and media representation, OCD is commonly misunderstood in ways where some are surprised to learn what OCD really entails. Below we will be listing some common misconceptions of OCD and what it means to have the disorder.

Fiction: OCD is when someone needs to have everything neat and clean to an obsessive extent.

The first of several common misconceptions of OCD is when someone needs everything to be clean. Needing to have everything clean and organized does not necessarily mean someone has OCD. It seems common for people who have a strong need to have everything neat and organized to say things such as “I am so OCD”, “it is my OCD”, or “I am a little OCD”. Obsessive Compulsive disorder goes so much deeper than neatness and cleanliness. It involves intrusive and reoccurring thoughts that cause distress and leads to the urge of a repetitive behaviors, often in response to the obsessive thoughts and avoidance. These types of thoughts and behaviors span across a wide variety of themes.

Fact: There are multiple themes related to OCD and compulsions include far more than hand washing and cleanliness.

Although some with OCD experience the need for cleanliness, a fear of germs, and excessive hand washing, it is a piece of a much larger puzzle that can span multiple different themes and behaviors. Those with OCD can experience multiple themes and multiple different kinds of compulsions. Many of these thoughts and obsessions include “what if” thinking. Some of these themes include fear of harming oneself or others, losing control of oneself, contamination/germs, unwanted sexual related thoughts, needing things to feel just right, health anxiety, magical thinking, religion, moral scrupulosity, hyperawareness, and many more. These obsessions can cause severe distress and anxiety for those with OCD. They can experience compulsions that can include, seeking frequent reassurance from others, checking/rechecking things, mental checking, hoarding, repeating certain words/actions, ritualizing, counting, sanitizing/cleaning, hand washing, avoidance of triggering situations, and more. Although many with OCD recognize that their thoughts are not always rational and logical, they will often act on their obsessions through compulsive behaviors anyway, due to the uncertainty.

Fiction: We all have a little bit of OCD.

Often OCD is mistaken for quirkiness, type A personality, or needing things a certain way. OCD is not a quirk. It is not a personality trait. It is a mental health disorder that is seen in about 2% of the population. Often OCD is treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and psychiatric medication. OCD can cause distress and impairment in one’s life. For some experiencing severe OCD symptom, this can lead to the need for residential or inpatient treatment.

Fact: If you have OCD, you are not alone and there is hope.

There are multiple treatment options for OCD, including medication and therapy. There are multiple resources, books, conferences, and organizations dedicated to OCD and building a community around those who experience and treat it. There are also support groups for those struggling or who have a loved one with OCD/OCD related disorders. For more information on OCD and resources, visit the International OCD Foundation’s website (IOCDF.org).

Having an understanding of the common misconceptions of OCD is critical. If you believe you may have symptoms of OCD please talk to your general practitioner, a mental health therapist, or a psychiatric professional. Call Olney Counseling Center at 301-570-7500 for more information.


National Institute of Mental Health (n.d). Obsessive compulsive disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd

International OCD Foundation (n.d). https://iocdf.org

Ryback R (2016 May 9). 4 myths about OCD. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201605/4-myths-about-ocd


How to Deal with Panic Attacks

By - blog,Stress Management

how to deal with panic attacks

Panic attacks are overwhelming, sudden bouts of anxiety. Symptoms of a panic attack are both physical and emotional, often including sweating, palpitations/feeling like you’re having a heart attack, losing control, shortness of breath, nausea, trembling, hot flashes, lightheadedness, feelings of detachment, and feelings of impending doom. These episodes occur “out of the blue,” not in conjunction with a known fear or stressor.

In the past year, an estimated 2.7% of U.S. adults had panic disorder. Contributing factors usually include a family history of panic disorders and co-morbid mental health diagnoses. Panic attacks are frequently co-morbid with other disorders such as Anxiety disorders, Mood disorders, Phobias, Psychotic disorders, Trauma and stress-related disorders, and/or a high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score. Often there is no specific trigger for a panic attack. However, some people who experience a phobia-related trigger may experience a panic attack.

Panic attacks can be diagnosed by a mental health provider, primary care doctor, or psychiatrist based on criteria in the DSM-5. Your healthcare provider will take note of your medical history and current symptoms and may possibly run tests to rule out other potential conditions. A panic disorder diagnosis may be made after ruling out the effects of substances and other general medical conditions. One must experience unexpected, repeated panic attacks as well as one month or more of:

  • Persistently worrying about having panic attacks or their consequences
  • Changing your behaviors to avoid situations that you think may trigger an attack

Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both are very effective means of treating panic attacks and panic disorders. Here’s how you can deal with panic attacks:

  • Deep breathing- Slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth can help reduce symptoms while in the attack. Practicing guided meditation can help you learn deep breathing to use in a panic attack. 
  • Acknowledging the panic attack- Being aware that you are having a panic attack and not another serious health-related issue can help manage the fear and associated symptoms. Identifying your symptoms with your healthcare provider can help you feel more aware in the moment. 
  • Utilizing mindfulness- Mindfulness techniques can help ground and recenter you to the present. Grounding allows you to affirm what is known and constant about a situation. 
  • Relaxing your muscles- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a technique that involves tensing and releasing different muscle groups to ease stress and anxiety.

Panic attacks are often overwhelming and exhausting. You can reduce your risk of having a panic attack by decreasing caffeine and alcohol, avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in stress management. Call us today at 301-570-7500 to get help on how to deal with panic attacks.

Related Apps:

  • Meditation Apps: Headspace or Calm 
  • Mood tracker Apps: Daylio or Bearable
  • Self-care App: Finch or I Am- Daily Affirmations


Cleveland Clinic. (2003, February 12). Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4451-panic-attack-panic-disorder

Gotter, Ana. (2018, December 7). 13 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-a-panic-attack

National Institute of Mental Heal. (2023). Panic Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/panic-disorder#part_2655

Smith, William. (2021, April 20). How to Treat Panic Attacks: 6 Exercises and Techniques. https://positivepsychology.com/panic-attack-treatment/

What is Mania and Hypomania?

By - blog

What is mania and hypomania?

Mania and hypomania: although they sound similar, they differ in multiple ways. Although mania and hypomania have similar symptoms, hypomania is known to be a milder/less severe form of mania. Hypomania is seen in a diagnosis of bipolar II, while mania is seen in the diagnosis of bipolar I. Hypomania and mania differ in the length of episodes, severity, treatment, the possible need for hospitalization, and how significant it impairs function. Mania will last for a minimum of one week, where hypomania will last somewhere between a minimum of four to seven days. Mania is more severe in symptoms, severely impairing one’s functioning, and possibly leading to the need for hospitalization. Hypomania often does not greatly impact one’s daily functioning. Below are the symptoms of mania and hypomania, the key difference is hypomania’s version of the symptoms are less severe than mania.

Symptoms of Mania and Hypomania

  • Feeling of euphoria and feeling overly happy/silly. This can last for most if not the entire day for several days.
  • Higher levels of activity, excitement, and energy than usual.
  • Experiencing less sleep, not needing as much sleep, and still feeling rested on little to no sleep.
  • Not feeling hungry or the need to eat.
  • Reckless/risky decision making without considering the consequences of those decisions. These can include, but not limited to, purchasing large cost items, large amounts of reckless sexual activity, heavy gambling, and reckless driving.
  • Increased impulsivity and taking on many activities at one time.
  • Increased irritability and aggression.
  • High increase in optimism and over confidence, outside of one’s usual range.
  • Racing thoughts, racing speech/talking, and racing ideas. 
  • Easily distractible by unimportant stimuli.
  • Hyperfocus on an activity.

The way hypomania and mania are diagnosed is through a mental health professional or healthcare professional. A healthcare professional will often rule out medical related conditions that could be causing mania or hypomania symptoms. Once an underlying medical related condition is ruled out, a mental health professional can diagnose mania or hypomania using the criteria listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5). Both hypomania and mania can be treated with psychotherapy and psychiatric medication. One of the most common forms of psychotherapy used to treat hypomania is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Mania and hypomania can often be treated with medications such as antipsychotics, anti-seizure medications (mainly used to treat mania rather than hypomania), mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. It has been stated in multiple articles that hypomania can be treated without medication with a primary focus on psychotherapy, self-care, and healthy lifestyle choices.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of mania or hypomania, please contact your health or mental health care provider. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe symptoms of mania, and is a danger to themselves or others, please contact 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.


Cuncic, A. (Novemeber 30, 2021). Hypomania vs. mania: What’s the difference?. Very Well Mind. Retrieved October 15, 2023. https://www.verywellmind.com/hypomania-vs-mania-5208167

Cleveland Clinic (nd). Hypomania. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 15, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21774-hypomania

Pietrangelo, A. (September 29, 2022). What you should know about mania vs. hypomania. Healthline. Retrieved on October 15, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/mania-vs-hypomania


Toxic Relationships and How to Leave

By - Counseling,Mental Health

toxic relationships and how to leave

Toxic Relationships are defined as an unhealthy relationship between two people where disrespect, lack of appropriate communication, dishonesty, controlling behaviors, and possibly abusive behavior that result in continued unhappiness by one or both people.

Toxic Relationships typically do not start out as toxic. In fact, most relationships that end in toxicity begin with an intense spark and connection. Many people report when first meeting this person, that they felt seen and heard for the first time in their lives and feel that they have “known this person their entire lives.”
This sense of “knowing this person” comes from unconscious ideas and behaviors you may have experienced as a child and increases the intensity of the relationship. While most people do not display overly controlling and problematic behaviors initially, these behaviors will become apparent after the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship. Unfortunately, by this point in the relationship, the partners have an intense attachment to each other thus making it more difficult to leave the relationship. Some couples may experience a “trauma bond.” A “trauma bond” is an unhealthy attachment where cycles of abuse. These bonds and relationships typically follow a pattern of increased tension, followed by abuse of some kind, then followed by a “honeymoon” stage where the toxic and abusive partner tries to apologize and make amends for their actions. Trauma bonds are seen in most abusive relationships and in some toxic relationships.

So how do you get out of a toxic relationship? The first step is to identify that you are, in fact, in a toxic relationship by looking for red flags and characteristics of toxic relationships. Ask yourself the following:

  1. Your needs are not being met.
  2. You are scared to ask more from your partner.
  3. Your friends and family do not support your relationship.
  4. You feel obligated and/or are scared to leave your partner.
  5. You do not like your partner or how they make you feel.
  6. You do not like who you are when you are with your partner.
  7. Your partner is abusive.

Once you have determined that you are in a toxic relationship and depending on the severity of toxicity, seeking support can be one of the best options. Contact friends, family members, and other support systems to provide you with emotional and physical help while you evaluate your options. With your support in place, make the decision to leave and stick to it. Leaving a toxic relationship is hard. People typically feel sadness, anger, fear, insecurity, and ambivalence about their decision. However, if a person knows the relationship is toxic, remaining firm in your decision to end the relationship is helpful. Cut off all contact with your partner, unfollow them on all social media, and focus on your own needs rather than the needs of your toxic partner. Remembering that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, and respect. If you are fearful for your safety, you can call 911 or the non-emergency phone number, and they can direct you on how to obtain a protective order that states that your toxic partner may not come within a certain amount of feet of you. Also, seeking professional help can assist you in this transition. Seeing a therapist does not mean that something is wrong with you but rather means that you recognize that the relationship is unhealthy and you are taking action to ensure that you break any of your own patterns so you do not enter another toxic relationship or return to your past relationship.

Remember, you deserve to feel safe, secure and receive love that does not hurt.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 800-799-7233
House of Ruth Domestic Violence Shelter/Legal Advocate 410-889-7884

How to Overcome Social Anxiety

By - Counseling,One on One Counseling,Stress Management

how to overcome social anxiety

Social Anxiety affects approximately 12% of all adults sometime in their lives. This means that more than one in ten people will experience anxiety and specifically social anxiety. Will this be you?

What is anxiety, and why do we have anxiety? Anxiety is the brain and body’s way to sign that a threat is present. The primitive part of the brain goes into autopilot to assess the threat and decide whether you should FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE. A person typically experiences increased heart rate and rapid breathing. This reaction allows the body to send more oxygen to the muscles and brain in case the person needs to take action. They will also experience flushed pale skin as the body redirects the blood to major muscle groups in the event the person needs to fight or run away. Some people also experience dilated pupils that allow them to better see and observe their surroundings.

The problem with social anxiety is that the person’s body and brain react to the social situation as if there is a true threat, even when they are not in danger. The brain and body send these signals, and the person “overreacts” to the situation, thus increasing their anxiety. It is important to note that a certain amount of anxiety can be helpful, however, when a person’s level of anxiety is extreme, and the body goes into flight or fight mode, the person is less able to manage their anxiety in the social situation and may choose to leave or avoid situations that cause this physical reaction.

To overcome social anxiety, try the following:

  1. Assess the situation prior to attending the social event.
  2. Identify triggers that increase your anxiety and be proactive about how to address them.
  3. Challenge irrational thinking and reassure yourself that you are in fact SAFE.
  4. Focus on your breathing using mindful breathing exercises such as 5-7-8 breathing.
  5. Try to view your body’s flight, flight, or freeze reaction as helpful. For example, view your increased heart rate and rapid breathing to get more oxygen to your brain and body, and as a result, you will be able to think and act faster.
  6. Remember that your anxiety is time limited.
  7. Practice relaxation and mindfulness techniques.
  8. Have supportive people around you that can help you feel safer and more comfortable.
  9. Role playing problematic situations with friends so you feel more confident.
  10. Designate an allotted amount of time you will be at the social event. Make sure the time is short enough that you can successfully remain in the social setting before needing to leave.
  11. Remember that getting over anxiety takes time and that facing your fears about social activities will DECREASE your anxiety in the long run.

Remember, the goal of overcoming social anxiety is to ensure a person’s safety by assessing a threat. In social anxiety, the person’s “assessment meter” is going off when no threat exists. If you or your child continues to struggle with social anxiety after trying these suggestions, seeking help is a good option. Yale researcher, Eli Lebowitz, Ph.D., developed a special program called SPACE. SPACE stands for Supporting Parents of Anxious Childhood Emotions, where the parents learn how to decrease their role in their child’s anxiety by either inserting something or removing something from their child’s life to decrease their anxiety. If you think your family may benefit from the SPACE program, Kim Wells of Olney Counseling Center has been trained in this approach.

How to Find a Counselor for Your Teenager

By - Teen Therapy

how to find a counselor for your teenager

Making the decision to take your teen to therapy can be a stressful decision, especially if your teen is resistant to therapy. Here’s how to find a counselor for your teenager and what things to look for:

  1. Therapist makes you feel heard, understood, and connected. Rapport, the connection between the therapist and client, is essential in developing a strong therapeutic alliance.
  2. Therapist is a licensed professional that has specialized training and experience in the area that you are seeking assistance.
  3. Therapist works collaboratively with you, your teen and other providers.
  4. Ask friends and family for recommendations for therapists.
  5. Trust your gut as a parent. If you feel a connection with the therapist and you think your teen will likely connect with them this is a great sign. Remember, some teens may not want to be in therapy and may say they don’t feel a connection, so check in with the therapist about their perspective. A good therapist will be honest and tell you what they think.

How do you present the idea of therapy to your teen?

Now that you have decided on a therapist, how do you present the idea in a way that your teen will be more likely to participate? I am lucky that many clients I see want and/or request therapy; however, it is “normal” for anyone, including teens, to not want to participate in therapy. Even if your teen begins therapy not wanting to be there, they can still gain positive skills Try the following to help your teen accept therapy:

  1. Explain that therapy can be seen as a “fast track to mental health.” Get in, learn skills, and get out of therapy.
  2. Therapy is time limited and can be a place to learn skills and how to express your feelings.
  3. Therapy is a confidential space, even from your parents, except in the case of child abuse, harm to self or others.
  4. Explain that lots of people seek therapy to gain skills, even some people that you may already know. (Because of confidentiality, the therapist can’t confirm or deny the attendance of any client).
  5. Explain to your teen that you are requesting that they participate in 5 therapy sessions and after that, everyone will evaluate to see if therapy is still needed.
  6. Define therapy goals so they are easier and quicker to achieve.

Remember, therapy may be a new experience for you and your teen. Now you know how to find a counselor for your teenager. It is common for everyone involved to experience several feelings at the same time. So keep in mind that finding the best therapist for your teen, presenting the idea of therapy in a positive way, and having some patience, is likely the best plan for helping your teen get help and enjoy their time in therapy!

What are Personality Disorders?

By - Counseling

what are personality disorders

A personality disorder is a deeply ingrained, unhealthy pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Personality disorders usually begin to form in the teenage years when the person is experiencing significant problems maintaining or initiating relationships and social activities at work, school, or home. If these patterns persist, the person may struggle to function in society in a healthy way. Most people who have a diagnosed personality disorder are not even aware of the impact of their entrenched think and behavior. They view their struggle as the fault of others and are resistant to accepting responsibility for their actions. This thinking perpetuates the personality disorder, and the person typically continues to struggle.

The following is a list of the most common personality disorders, and it is important to note that approximately 10 percent of the population suffers from these disorders:

What causes personality disorders?

Researchers believe that personality disorders are influenced by genetics and the environment in which the child grew up. Other studies indicate a link between anxiety, fear, aggression, and some of the personality types.

Significant childhood trauma such as:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical Abuse-in extreme cases these traumas can lead to borderline personality disorders
  • Verbal abuse
  • High Reactivity Environment-more likely to develop an anxious personality disorder
  • Inconsistent Parenting-children are three times more likely to suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder
  • Intense bullying

What is the best way to treat personality disorders?

First it is important to find a mental health professional that has experience treating personality disorders. Evidence-based therapies such as Behavior Therapy/Behavior Modification, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT) as well as support groups and medication have been found to the most effective treatments for personality disorders. It is important to know that personality disorders are typically difficult to treat as the entrenched thinking, feeling, and acting have become a way of life for many people so be patient with yourself and family members.


What is the Difference between Psychotherapy and Counseling?

By - Counseling,Psychotherapy

difference between psychotherapy and counseling

Deciding between psychotherapy and counseling can be difficult, especially when you need help. Rest assured that both psychotherapists and counselors can be helpful in meeting your therapeutic goals but taking some time to understand the difference between the two disciplines may produce better outcomes. Psychotherapy and Counseling terms have been used interchangeably for some time but there are important differences between psychotherapy and counseling.

Long-term solutions for past or recurring problemsShort-term solutions for present problems
Treatment is typically longer in durationTreatment is typically shorter in duration
Feeling and experience focusedAction and behavior focused
Primary Process (addresses the event)Secondary Process-(meaning attached to event)
May include talk therapy & testing & other modalitiesTypically, is talk therapy

Most trained therapists use a combination of both psychotherapy and counseling techniques with the goal being to “start where the client is.” Based on the client’s goals and treatment needs, the therapist and the client will develop a treatment plan that will likely incorporate all the above techniques.

Means to “advise” and it generally involves the counselor and patients to use critical thinking to solve a problem. Counselors tend to provide advice, planning and guidance and are very active in the process. This process is typically short term and is present oriented with very specific goals.

Generally, focuses on increased insight into chronic physical or emotional pain, where thoughts and feelings from the past and present are analyzed and changed so the person feels emotional relief.

Both counseling and psychotherapy are built on trust. Trust is the building block for all therapeutic interactions and with trust, the person feels emotional, and physically safe to share their story.

If you are unsure about seeing a counselor or a psychotherapist, reach out to these professionals and ask questions. A qualified professional should be able to provide you with their own process, their credentials, how they work with clients, explain the difference between counseling and psychotherapy and most importantly provide you with a sense of connection.