Print your Own Psychology Valentines

You’ve seen my Halloween themed ghost attachment styles doodles, now here’s the valentine version! Purchase Digital PDF: Origins During my first year of graduate school, I managed to sneak into an elective intended for students later on in the 3-year program. The course was Interpersonal Neurobiology: the study of how brains change within the context…

Therapy Takes Time

  Culturally we are doing a really good job of normalizing the use of therapy and medication, but I wonder sometimes if we underemphasize that therapy takes time and effort to work. It’s not unusual for people entering therapy for the first time to expect rapid results or that they can use therapy to recover…

How to Journal Therapy Appointments – Journal Template

Writing long-hand about my own experience in therapy helps me continue to develop self-awareness and integrate my emotional/sensory experience with my thinking-brain. Recently I’ve been thinking about how I could help others access the benefits of journalling about therapy if they aren’t the sort of person who enjoys long-format journalling. This article features tips on…

Using a Countdown Timer as a Tool for Grounding

Often, it can feel like time has stopped when we are in a high anxiety or much-dreaded situation. Having a countdown on your watch or phone that shows that hours, minutes, and seconds really are ticking by can be a helpful tool to ground yourself and get through it. If appropriate to the context, music…

Demonstrating Trustworthiness Builds Bridges that Self-Advertisement Cannot.

Demonstrating our trustworthiness builds relational bridges that self-advertisement cannot. If you sense that your friend, partner, child, client, etc feels hesitant to trust you, let them hesitate. Stay present, validate the experiences that led them to be cautious about who they trust, take responsibility for any of those experiences that you played a role in,…

A Flowchart for Getting to Sleep – A Playful take on Sleep Hygiene

A flowchart for getting to sleep. We all know how elusive sleep can be, but quality sleep is essential for physical and mental health. When sleep feels hard to come by, “sleep hygiene” the go-to remedy. While some sleep and insomnia related issues need specific treatments including medication or longer-term psychotherapy, psychoeducation about sleep hygiene…

Worksheet for Cultivating Mindfulness Practices

Why Mindfulness? In a culture where life is often lived digitally, mindfulness matters. While our brains increasingly adept at sensing fake news deciphering complex texts based on emojis, but increasingly we struggle to orient ourselves to more physical, embodied, aspects of the world. Mindfulness is one way to train your brain to be present in…

Trigger-Tracker Worksheet for Mental Health Journaling and Self-Advocacy

Dismantling mental health triggers often involves a little detective work. Although awareness of “being triggered” can be very obvious, for many people, figuring out specific triggers can be a puzzle. Solving the puzzle requires developing a capacity to seek to know ourselves better, then noticing and tracking backward chronologically to begin to locate exact triggering…

Pyramid of Crisis Response & Planning – A Visual

  The nature of crisis is that it’s (1) overwhelming, and (2) inevitable. Whether you are a clinician in the helping professions or a person in relationship with other persons, crisis will show up eventually. When it does, we can all be a little more ready to handle potentially overwhelming experiences by planning how to…

All Social Media Has a Cost, Empowered Social Media use Sets a Budget

It’s not that social media is good or bad, the real question is: what we are willing to trade for likes, views, and follows? This is a great conversation to have with kids and teens over christmas break: What do they hope to get out of using social media? What will they have to give…

How We Tend to Cope with Anxiety Falls on a Spectrum

Everyone has a different “default” way of coping with anxiety- and many of us will experience a shift from one extreme to the other at least once during our lifetime. While our culture praises the “brave” approach and shames the avoidant, both approaches are equally harmful ways of avoiding the discomfort of being present to…

Routine Matters – Even for Adults, and Especially during the Holidays

  Routine matters – especially in emotionally loaded seasons like the holidays. It’s widely understood that routine is important for children- but its value is often understated for adults. In fact, routine- an internal sense of what to expect and when it expect it- helps humans of all ages get grounded, self-soothe, and reduce anxiety.…

Parenting Children with Anxiety

  When kids are anxious, it’s human nature to want to soothe them. For kids with significant anxiety, however, we may need to monitor ourselves for over-accommodating behaviors.   It’s natural that parents with anxious kids want to soothe them. Watching someone we love struggle can be overwhelming- especially when, at first, it seems so…

Questions Aren’t Connections: Cultivating Conversations beyond Q & A

It’s normal for parents to worry about kids, as they navigate shared spaces, learning, and the social aspects of growing up. Parents typically find that information can- temporarily, at least- soothe some of their worry. The temptation, then, is to have LOTS of questions for kids at the end of the day, but for kids,…

Urge Surfing, Alternatives, and Harm Reduction

To follow my post earlier this week on developing (new) coping skills rather than attempting to just desert our old ones, here are a few examples of ways to practice new skills (like asking for support, distraction, or alternative behaviors) when there is a desire for self-harm. Instagram recently removed a different version of this…

Therapy is Hard

Therapy is hard work. It’s ok if a therapy session leaves you sad, shaken up, or exhausted. If, however, you find therapy sessions pushing you into a dark place where you feel like you need to use harmful things to cope, it’s time to re-evaluate. Let your therapist know how your counseling sessions impact you.…