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4 Ways to Change Your Thoughts and Relieve Depression

Did you know that on most days, the average person has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts? That’s an impressive amount of thoughts.

But when happens when the majority of these thoughts are negative? Imagine the impact on your psyche and your life if you had thousands and thousands of negative thoughts each day?

This amount of negative thinking is a hallmark of depression. Negative or pessimistic thinking is depression speaking for you. It is the voice of depression. What many people don’t realize is that depression is manifested in negative thinking before it ever creates a negative thought itself.

This is why it is imperative for those suffering from depression to become acutely aware of their thought patterns. If not checked, negative thinking becomes a habit, one that has the potential to completely shape your life.

Change How You Think

One of the most powerful ways people can lift themselves out of the darkness of depression is to change their thinking patterns. This is why cognitive therapy is such a profound change agent. The approach is based on the fact that thought-processing errors contribute to a depressed mood.

By changing how you think, you automatically change how you feel. Once you become aware that changing your thinking is important, you are presented with an active choice you can take to benefit your mental health.

I know. This sounds about as easy as changing a tire in the rain with nothing more than a hardboiled egg and a paper clip. But it can be done.

Here are some tips on how you can begin to change your negative thoughts:

Keep Track of Your Thoughts

Many people are in denial about their thought patterns. They don’t want to believe they are overly negative or pessimistic. Catching yourself and recording as many negative thoughts as you can will help you to see your own mental patterns.

What will these thoughts look like? You could write things like, “I hate my feet.” “My boss is an idiot.” “I hate spring.” “I hate getting up this early.” “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Be particularly mindful of making sweeping generalizations from one specific event. It’s a type of black and white thinking that can be particularly harmful.

Identify Triggers

Once you get an idea for the frequency of your negative thoughts, try and pinpoint the triggers for them. Your journal will also come in handy here, because it will point out certain types of events that set off a chain of negative thoughts. Triggers can include being rejected or ignored, or having an unkind remark said about or to you.

Positive Conversion

You have so far learned that the human thinking process is habitual. But the good news is, you can create good thinking habits.

To do this you’ve got to start converting all of those negative thoughts into positive ones. It will be hard at first, and you will most likely feel as if you’re lying to yourself and pretending to be a glass-half-full Pollyanna.

But, as they say, “You’ve got to fake it until you make it.” Though thinking positively may feel foreign to you and like a waste of your time, you are re-training your brain to think (and feel) good.

Every time you have a negative thought, stop, recognize it as negative, and immediately flip the switch and create the positive opposite thought in its place. This could look like:

Negative thought: “I’ll never get this report done on time.”

Positive Switch: “I’m making great progress and being careful to always check my work.”

To get the hang of how to do this, go through your negativity journal and create a separate column in which you will write the positive opposites of your many negative thoughts.

If you feel too dark and down to complete these exercises, please consider reaching out to a trained therapist who can prescribe medication, should you require it, and help you work through these struggles.

If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and are interested in exploring treatment options, please contact me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

Does Your Partner Have Postpartum Depression? 5 Signs to Watch

The birth of a new baby brings joy and wonder into our lives. But for many women, the first days and weeks after delivery are mentally and emotionally challenging. This is a result of the massive hormonal changes her body is going through.

On top of these extreme hormonal shifts, there is the serious sleep deprivation and the cultural expectations new mothers feel to instantly bond with their babies and be “good enough.” All of this pressure can lead to some pretty difficult emotions.

While a majority of women experience a mild depression, called the “baby blues,” roughly 5% of women will suffer a major depressive episode that can be accompanied by severe anxiety and even panic attacks.

Are you wondering if your partner is suffering from postpartum depression? Here are 5 signs to watch for:

1. She’s Feeling Guilty

Does she often mention her feelings of guilt about not doing a better job? Is she putting too much pressure on herself to be perfect right out of the gate?

2. She Finds Little Comfort in Reassurance

It’s natural for a new mother to feel a bit anxious about the job she’s doing. But with post-partum depression, the anxiety can feel overwhelming, and even gentle reassurances from partners, parents and other loved ones bring little relief. In fact, some women even feel they are being lied to or patronized.

3. She’s Losing Interest in Certain Things

Post-partum depression is like other forms of depression in that the person will lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Your partner may no longer find the same things interesting or fun. She may also lose her appetite and interest in sex.

4. She Doesn’t Want to be Around the Baby

It’s normal for a new mother to want others to help her care for the baby in those first few weeks. But when a new mother shows no interest in her baby and refuses to spend time with them, that is a sign that something more serious is going on. While it is hard to imagine, post-partum depression can cause women to feel no affection, and at times, even disdain, for their own baby.

5. Thoughts of Harming Herself or the Baby

If your partner mentions that you and the baby would be better off without her, or that she feels there is something very wrong with the baby, these are signs that must be taken seriously and immediately acted upon. According to studies, suicide is the second leading cause of death in postpartum women.

If your partner is showing one or more of these signs, it’s important to get her help. A therapist may prescribe medication and offer tools and techniques that will help her manage her symptoms.

If you or someone you know would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

National Women’s Equality Day

August 26th is National Women’s Equality Day; a day to acknowledge how far women have come on their journey toward equality and how much more work is still to be done. While the greatest gender gaps are found primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, according to the World Economic Forum, there are still areas of inequality women in this country feel they face on a daily basis. One way women can spread awareness and get more involved in the fight is to take part in National Women’s Equality Day.

Here are some ideas on how you can participate and celebrate this meaningful day:


The National Women’s History Alliance offers resources that can be downloaded and shared with others. You may want to print and share brochures with your local library, schools, and places of worship. 

If you are a teacher or community leader, you may also want to consider making history come alive with a special presentation or performance


Consider joining the Women’s History Alliance so you can stay involved and participate in ways that bring meaning and change to everyone you interact with. 


Taking on such a big fight as women’s equality is a challenge and one that requires every woman to commit to self-care. Much like pre-flight, parents are instructed to put on their oxygen masks before attending to their children, women must ensure their own well-being so they have the strength to fight the good fight.

Sadly, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that women are more likely to experience mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. Luckily, women are also far more prone to ask for help in dealing with whatever is troubling them. And often what is troubling them is feeling they are living in an unfair world, where the genders are still not totally equal.

If you feel depression or anxiety in relation to gender discrepancies in your own life and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.


5 Awesome Health Benefits of Peaches

Your summer is about to start looking peachier because August is officially National Peach Month! One of my favorite summer memories as a kid was stopping by a fruit stand on the side of the road and getting a small brown paper bag full of juicy, ripe peaches. Back then I just knew peaches were incredibly delicious. Now, however, I know that these fuzzy stone fruits pack a LOT of health benefits!

1. Loaded with Antioxidants

Peaches are packed with a lot of beneficial vitamins and minerals. But perhaps more surprising is the amount of antioxidants they contain. Eating fruits and vegetables with antioxidants helps protect you against oxidative damage, which can lead to aging and disease.

2. Heart Health

Studies have shown that compounds in peaches may bind to your bile acids, which are compounds themselves produced by your liver from cholesterol. These acids, along with the cholesterol they contain, are then excreted through your feces. It is believed that this helps keep your blood serum cholesterol levels low, keeping your heart and vascular system healthy.

3. May Prevent Certain Types of Cancer

The fuzzy skin of the peach contains two specific antioxidants called carotenoids and caffeic acid. These two antioxidants have been shown to have anticancer properties. So be sure to give that peach a good wash and eat the whole thing, skin and all!

4. May Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Peaches contain compounds that help to suppress the release of histamines in the body. Histamines are released when an allergen triggers your senses and leads to sneezing, itching, and coughing.

5. May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

Animal studies have shown that compounds in peaches may actually help to prevent blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance. This may mean that while diabetics must be careful with the types of fruit they eat, they can enjoy a peach every once in a while!

These are just a handful of the amazing health benefits offered by the humble, fuzzy peach. So the next time you see a farm stand on the side of the road, go ahead and buy a bag full of peaches and enjoy!





International Overdose Awareness Day

August 1st is International Overdose Awareness Day; a day to raise awareness and commemorate loved ones who have died from a drug overdose. According to the CDC, over 70,000 Americans died from a drug-involved overdose in 2019 alone. That number reflects the fact our nation is currently suffering from a serious opioid epidemic.

Losing a loved one to a drug overdose is a terrible burden to carry. The loss changes you forever, and most people simply aren’t equipped to deal with the emotional turmoil that follows. 

After years of counseling people grieving the loss of a loved one due to a drug overdose, I have learned they carry a lot of guilt. Guilt because they feel they should have seen the signs; should have done something more; should have somehow known their loved one was in trouble.

My clients also deal with the stigma that surrounds death from an overdose. People often judge others harshly. For instance, people immediately think the parents must have done something wrong or there was something “not right” with the addict in the first place to abuse drugs.

And finally, there is a real sense of isolation that can follow the death of a loved one from a drug overdose. Oftentimes, people have no idea what to say to the grieving, and so they choose to remain silent and keep their distance. As one client told me, “No one brings cake or a casserole when your son dies from a heroin overdose.”

Processing Your Grief

When a loved one suddenly and tragically dies, part of us dies, too. We spend our days going through the motions of life, but we’re not really in the land of the living. A sudden death strips us of our sense of security, and we’re left trying to pick up the pieces while dealing with anxiety and depression.

Sometimes, when things are so dark, you need a guiding hand to show you the way back to the light. While your life will never be the same after such a tragic and sudden loss, but you can heal from what feels like insurmountable grief. Many of my clients found by working with me through their stages of grief, they were able to accept their new reality. Many have told me they believe creating a happy life is the best way to honor their loved ones.

If you are struggling after the loss of your loved one, please know you are not alone. I can help you process and, more importantly perhaps, honor your grief, so that you may find light on the other side of darkness.


Benefits of a Mental Health Day from Work or School

We’ve all had those days when the alarm goes off and we lie in bed, feeling depleted of our energy, and maybe even our good mood. We think to ourselves, “I’m not really sick, but I just need a break from real life today.” While taking a sick day is common when you are feeling physically unwell, what’s not as common – but perhaps should be – is taking a mental health day when you are feeling mentally and emotionally unwell.

Now many, if not most, companies do offer their employees personal days with no questions asked. But many people save these days for what seem like real life emergencies. They feel guilty if they use one of these days to simply rest and relax their mind.

The truth is, taking a mental health day from work or school can be extremely important for your overall well-being. It can help you avoid burnout, improve your mood, help you get some much-needed rest, and rejuvenate you so you can tackle “real life” once again.

Signs It’s Time for a Mental Health Day

So how do you know when you are really in need of a mental health day and when you’re just feeling a bit lazy and unmotivated?


You’ve been feeling overwhelmed and irritable.

You Just Feel… Off

Sometimes we don’t feel like ourselves, but we can’t quite put our finger on what’s wrong. We know we feel anxious and like the world is a bit too much. This is a sure sign you need a break.

Getting Sick More Often

Are you dealing with a cold that “just won’t go away?” When we are stressed, our immune systems become compromised, and it’s harder for us to fight off the common cold.

The bottom line is you should never feel guilty for taking some time for your mental health. I encourage you to take a mental health day every once in a while. Sometimes it’s the absolute best thing we can do for ourselves.

And if you find a mental health day didn’t quite do the trick, you may have more going on in your life that requires more hands-on treatment. If you like the idea of speaking with someone about whatever is bothering you, please get in touch with me so we can discuss treatment options.


Celebrating BIPOC Mental Health Month

July is BIPOC mental health month. The event was established in 2008 as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to create awareness of the unique struggles faced by underrepresented groups in the United States. Campbell was an author, teacher, and mental health advocate with a mission to shine a light on the mental health issues of minority communities.

BIPOC mental health month seeks to continue the visionary work of Campbell by developing public education campaigns that bring awareness to as many people as possible while also addressing the needs of BIPOC.

Traditional Roadblocks Keeping BIPOC from Receiving Treatment

According to the Mental Health America organization, over 15 million BIPOC have reported they struggle with mental health issues. Unfortunately, many of these people face roadblocks to seeking the treatment they so desperately need.

A Stigma

Far too often people in the BIPOC community refuse to seek help for their mental health issues because they belong to a culture that has a social stigma surrounding therapy. For instance, in some BIPOC communities, admitting you need help means you are “crazy” or “weak.”

Lack of Access

Often, people within the BIPOC community do not speak English. If these people live in smaller, rural communities in the United States, they may not have access to clinicians who speak a foreign language. In addition, according to the American Psychological Association, 86% of psychologists in the United States are White. With so few BIPOC people becoming therapists themselves, it can then be hard for others within their community to find a therapist who understands their culture and specific challenges.

Lack of Resources

Individuals within the BIPOC community often face a lack of resources to even begin learning about mental health and the specific issues they may be facing. One such resource is the National Alliance of Mental Illness. If you are a member of the BIPOC community, please share this resource with others.

If you or someone you know is a part of the BIPOC community and suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental health disorder and would like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me.


Creating a Parenting Plan

In a perfect world, marriages would never dissolve. But divorce is a reality and one that impacts everyone involved, including the children. To help children feel safe and secure during the weeks and months that follow a divorce, it is important that both parties work together to come up with a co-parenting plan.

Keeping Your Children’s Best Interests in Mind

Simply put, a co-parenting plan is a comprehensive document that outlines how parents will continue to raise their children after a separation or divorce. This document will lay out things like how much time children will spend with each parent, how decisions – both major and minor – will be made moving forward, how the information will be shared and exchanged, and more.

While there are no hard and fast rules as to how a co-parenting plan should be formatted or what information should be included, it is vitally important to approach the plan’s development with your children’s best interests in mind. To create a helpful document, all issues, emotions, and pettiness should be put aside, and the focus should remain on what is best for your children.

Things to be Included

It’s important to mention that co-parenting plans may differ from state to state. Having said that, most will include the following five clauses:

1. A Brief General Statement

The plan will typically open with a general statement that the parents will be sharing responsibilities of parenting the child or children. This includes shared decision-making and shared daily routines.

2. Outline Parental Responsibilities

In this section, parents agree to communicate on all important aspects of the children’s welfare. This can include making decisions regarding health, education, and religious upbringing.

3. Specifics

This section can cover how you will actually arrange to time-share. This includes routine time, activity time, overnight stays, etc.

4. Holidays

Outline how you and your ex will handle holidays and other special observances.

5. Time Period and Amendments

All co-parenting plans should mention the length of the agreement and that the plan will need to be re-examined and possibly adjusted from time to time moving forward.

Again, these are very general guidelines. Your plan can be more explicit and specific to your situation.

Getting Help with Your Co-Parenting Plan

To create the right plan for your family, it’s recommended that you get some guidance. While a lawyer can help you with specific legalities, a family counselor can help you with communication. After all, you will need to navigate your emotions and be able to hear and be heard for the best interests of your children. A therapist can facilitate healthy and clear communication.

If you’d like to work with a family counselor to create a co-parenting plan that will help you both raise happy and successful children, please reach out to me.


Treatment for Social Anxiety

For a year now, most of us have been unhappy with living a life in quarantine, wondering when the world would finally get back to normal. With vaccines rolling out and most towns and cities reaching herd immunity, society is beginning to open back up.

Now if you are like some Americans, part of you is happy for life to return to normal, and another part of you is experiencing what some psychologists call “re-entry anxiety.” According to a report from the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly 50% of Americans have expressed that they feel some anxiety regarding resuming in-person interactions post-pandemic.

This is a Normal Reaction to a Very Stressful Situation

Mental health experts have suggested there are two groups of people that will most likely experience re-entry anxiety. One of those groups is people who have a lingering fear that they will either catch or help to spread the disease or the new strains of COVID that seem to be cropping up.

The second group are people who feel their social skills have withered while quarantined and may find being around a lot of people and holding their end of the conversation to be very awkward, exhausting and challenging.

It’s important to mention that while you may be feeling anxious about re-entry into society, avoiding social situations will only make your anxiety worse. In fact, experts agree the longer you avoid the thing that makes you anxious, the harder it will be to face it.

What may help is to set small goals for yourself. For instance, you may want to set up small get-togethers with one or two others to start. Don’t feel the need to jump in the deep end right away, slowly acclimatize yourself to start.

Getting Help for Your Anxiety

We’ve all got to remember that we’ve faced a big trauma this past year and we must be gentle with ourselves. Life will feel normal once again. Until then, do the best you can do and ask for help when you need it.

Speaking with a trained therapist can be highly effective for people dealing with stress and anxiety. A therapist can help you navigate your emotions and offer tools to move through the anxiety.

If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.


The Power of Vulnerability

We live in a society that rewards those with courage and valor. We are taught from a young age that it’s good to face our fears, for doing so is often the catalyst for powerful and lasting change.

And yet, how many of us allow ourselves to be vulnerable?

Think of the amount of courage it takes to allow yourself to be in a position where your heart might get broken. To say “I love you” first. How much courage does it take to put yourself out there and make new friends? Go for that promotion? Rely on others instead of only ourselves?

The Benefits of Vulnerability

We know the obvious benefits of courage. Wars are won, bad guys are put in jail, people are saved from burning buildings. But how can we benefit from being vulnerable?

More Intimacy

Opening up to another human being and sharing your deepest emotions is what ultimately builds healthy and lasting relationships. When we expose our authentic selves, we set ourselves up for potential heartache, yes, but also for ultimate connection.

Better Self-Worth

Being vulnerable also allows us to accept ourselves as we are, flaws and all. This helps us to STOP comparing ourselves to others and experience a tremendous boost in our self-esteem and self-worth.

It Begets Compassion

Getting comfortable with our own vulnerability means we can also be comfortable with others’. And this means, in those times when the people in our lives show their vulnerability to us, we can respond with compassion.

Start the Journey

As they say, every journey starts with a single step. Your journey toward embracing your own vulnerabilities will also start with a single step. This may mean spending more quiet time alone. It may mean the next time a good friend asks, “How are you?” you tell them the truth.

It may also mean digging deep and uncovering some old wounds and darkness that you have been ignoring. And for this part of the journey, you may want to consider seeking guidance from a trained therapist who can offer tools and advice.

If you’d like some assistance on your journey, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.