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How To Find The Right Marriage Counselor

couple in marriage counseling

There are many different reasons why a couple may be seeking the guidance of a marriage counselor. Every individual is different, and each person contributes uniqueness to the relationship dynamics that make up a marriage. The habits, patterns, and roles in a marriage are often assumed by each party early in the relationship. Individuals are constantly evolving, and as the individuals in a marriage change and develop, so too must their relationship. As is true with maintaining any authentic relationship, marriage will require active work and dedication. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) reported the findings of a study that indicate, “of couples who try marriage counseling, 90% feel that their emotional health improves, and two-thirds report improvements in their physical health.” Marriage counseling provides a couple with an emotionally safe environment to delve into areas of the relationship that may need attention, make thoughtful decisions surrounding the status of a relationship, and help couples come to realize whether or not both parties authentically wish to work towards rebuilding and/ or strengthening the relationship or work towards separating amicably. In order for marriage counseling to be truly effective, both members of the relationship must be open and willing to participate in the therapeutic process. 

Getting Started

There are a multitude of marriage counselors available, each with differing foci and/ or specializing in different therapeutic modalities. Narrowing down the options can seem overwhelming. Below are several suggestions that can help you through the process and ensure you find a marriage counselor that is the best fit for accommodating all of your couple counseling needs. 

  • Get recommendations:
    • If you are comfortable delving into your network of trusted family and friends, ask for references.
    • Check out some online sources: many marriage counselors have websites available for potential clients to review and/ or are included in an online compilation of reputable mental health professionals:
  • Ask your primary care provider (PCP) to refer you to a marriage counselor that they recommend.
  • Understand costs: each marriage counselor will charge a fee for their services. The costs will vary, as different providers charge different rates. Some marriage counselors accept insurance as a form of payment, while others do not. It is important to understand your out-of-pocket financial responsibility prior to selecting a counselor, to ensure their services are not financially prohibitive. 
  • Interview: Call and interview potential marriage counselors: prior to scheduling an appointment make a phone call to ask a potential counselor questions, so as to ensure their practices align with your needs.
  • Give yourself options: Interview at least three marriage counselors before you make your selection.
  • Be Patient: Although you are likely eager to find a marriage counselor, take your time and be patient. Remember that this is a process, and trust that you will eventually find the right one. 

It is important to bear in mind that each marriage counselor is different, and not all marriage counselors will be a perfect match. If you and/ or your spouse finds he or she does not necessarily jive with the therapist selected, try a different one. In order for marriage counseling to work each party must feel comfortable with the professional selected.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

Therapy For LGBTQ In Los Angeles

LGBTQ pride flag

LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning. The acceptance of individuals that identify as LGBTQ has risen steadily around the world since 1980. The 2018 Survey of American Acceptance and Attitudes Toward LGBTQ Americans found that 79% of Americans support equal legal rights for LGBTQ people, which is approximately a 28% increase from the 51% findings reported in 2006. Nevertheless, members of the LGBTQ community continue to be stigmatized and remain at increased risk for a developing mental illness. Individuals that identify as LGBTQ may seek counseling for a variety of reasons akin to those that are not members of the LGBTQ community (e.g., anxiety, grief, depression, PTSD, etc.). Additionally, LGBTQ individuals often struggle with and seek professional support for gender dysphoria and/ or sexual identity issues. Learning additional coping mechanisms, conflict resolution tactics, and effective means for integrating experiences can behoove any person. Therapy and treatment approaches that are free of judgment and inclusive of all are fundamental in LGBTQ-oriented therapy practices.

Therapy

Every individual is different and not all types of therapy will resonate with each person. Working with mental health clinicians that have received training and are familiar with the needs of LGBTQ members are better equipped to provide ample, tailored support. There are a variety of options available to people that identify at part of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles, California. It is common practice for clinicians to integrate LGBT affirmative therapy into any treatment plan when working with an individual that identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. LGBT affirmative therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to “validate and advocate for the needs of sexual and gender minority clients.” It can help empower an individual learn to effectively navigate the unique challenges associated with being a member of the LGBTQ community.

Due to the vast number of clinical providers in Los Angeles, beginning the search for therapy can seem overwhelming. There are, however, a variety of online resources that can help you locate a mental health provider in California. For example, Psychology Today has compiled a list of qualified mental health professionals with experience in providing services to members of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. It is important to note that all mental health providers are different and will offer support from a somewhat unique therapeutic perspective. Not all therapists will resonate with every person. Simply because a therapist has extensive experience working with LGBTQ members does not mean that particular mental health provider will inevitably be a perfect match. They only way for therapy to yield successful results is for the individual to feel comfortable with the mental health professional selected. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

How To Treat Bulimia Through Therapy

woman with bulimia standing on a scale with tape around her ankles

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists bulimia nervosa under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders as a complex brain disorder. Bulimia nervosa, also referred to as bulimia, is one of the three most commonly diagnosed eating disorders in America. The Mayo Clinic defines bulimia as a “serious eating disorder marked by binging, followed by methods to avoid weight gain.” Hence, bulimia is essentially characterized by episodes of uncontrolled binging (extreme overeating), typically followed by purging (making oneself vomit). An individual struggling with bulimia may also purge via the misuse of various medications related to weight loss, such as laxatives, diuretics, enemas, and/ or excessive exercise. The episodes of binging and purging is often referred to as a binge-purge cycle. Depending on the individual, eating binges can range from occurring twice a week to several times a day. Bulimia is not solely about one’s weight, but also revolves around one’s self-image. The psychological nuances and physical consequences that can arise from bulimia are what makes it such a complex disorder. The damage that occurs from prolonged malnutrition and the unhealthy cycle of binging and purging can lead to significant short and long-term physiological complications. While bulimia is a chronic disorder, with proper treatment an individual can learn the tools and skills needed to develop a healthy and sustainable relationship with food.

Treatment

Every individual is different and will require some form of customized treatment when it comes to bulimia. There are many different mental health treatment options and distinct forms of therapies used to treat bulimia. The nuanced needs of a person diagnosed with bulimia will greatly inform which psychotherapeutic methods are included in one’s treatment plan. In order to treat bulimia through therapy, a person’s treatment plan could comprise of one or more of the following types of therapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is based off of the notion that one’s thoughts govern one’s feelings, which in turn affects one’s behaviors. According to the Society of Clinical Psychology, “In CBT, the therapist works collaboratively with the patient to disrupt the factors maintaining the binge-purge cycle with the goal to achieve abstinence from these behaviors.”
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a therapeutic modality that is most often used to treat individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, as well as other psychiatric disorders, including bulimia nervosa. Interpersonal therapy focuses on how a person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health. Through interpersonal therapy an individual will learn to resolve and adjust unhealthy interpersonal complications, resulting in a symptomatic recovery.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of therapy. DBT can benefit an individual diagnosed with bulimia by helping to foster self-management skills, lower stress, reduce anxiety, and learn to control destructive eating behaviors. The goals of DBT are to help an individual learn to establish healthy coping mechanisms that can be applied to environments that would have otherwise provoke destructive eating behaviors. It helps individuals learn how to reduce emotional reactivity and improve their interactions with others. DBT promotes acceptance and teaches skills to enable an individual to live in the moment and cope with emotional triggers that may otherwise perpetuate the binge-purge cycle and other unhealthy symptoms and behaviors associated with bulimia. 

A treatment plan for bulimia will be carefully tailored so as to effectively accommodate all of the individual’s mental health needs. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Type Of Therapy Is Best For Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder abbreviated

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, mental health disorder. As defined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), “borderline personality disorder is an illness characterized by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, behavior, and self-image.” It is highly common for individuals with BPD to lack the ability to foster and maintain meaningful, lasting relationships. The symptoms that are associated with borderline personality disorder make it difficult to diagnose. In order to secure the most effective treatment an individual must obtain an accurate diagnosis from a qualified mental healthcare provider. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve a medication explicitly designed to treat borderline personality disorder. While there are other types of therapeutic modalities that can be helpful in treating someone with BPD (e.g., schema-focused therapy, mentalization-based therapy, etc.), the most frequently relied upon type of psychotherapy used to treat BPD is called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Treatment for BPD will help an individual learn strategies, techniques, and tools to effectively manage the symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder, reducing the severity of symptoms experienced and increasing one’s quality of life. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of therapy. Marsha M. Linehan initially developed it in the 1980s, to help treat chronically suicidal people with borderline personality disorder. Since its inception, dialectical behavior therapy has been and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD and has also proven effective in treating individuals with other mental health conditions. DBT utilizes four main strategies for teaching individuals’ skills that help with effectively changing their behaviors. They include the following, as provided by Behavioral Tech

  1. Core mindfulness: the practice of being completely present and aware in the moment. 
  2. Distress tolerance: becoming tolerant of pain in difficult situations instead of attempting to change it.
  3. Emotion regulation: decreasing emotional impulsivity, learning to manage and shift intense, problematic emotions. 
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: authentically advocating for one’s own wants and needs in a relationship in a way that is both self-respecting and non-damaging.

DBT is comprised of three distinct settings: weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly DBT group skills training sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. The entire DBT program (provided skills modules are not repeated) usually lasts about six months long, as approximately six weeks are allocated to each of the four skills modules. DBT is based on the notion that change can be balanced with self-acceptance. It can help people learn how to regulate emotions and foster change. This gives individuals struggling with BPD the opportunity to build meaningful and stable lives. Although BPD is considered to be a chronic condition, there are a variety of treatment options available to a person diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

Diagnosing Social Anxiety Disorder

woman with social anxiety disorder

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) explains that, “anxiety refers to anticipation of a future concern and is more associated with muscle tension and avoidance behavior.” Anxiety disorders involve excessive feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, fear and anxiety. Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), social anxiety disorder “is characterized by persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.” An individual with SAD will avoid social situations due to a fear of being negatively evaluated (e.g., embarrassed or judged) by other people. Individuals with social anxiety disorder will experience a stronger and more intense sense of anxiety surrounding uncomfortable social situations than that of an individual without SAD.

Signs and Symptoms

Every individual is unique and will have his or her own set of challenges in regards to social anxiety. There are certain common signs and symptoms an individual struggling with SAD could exhibit. These include the following examples, provided by Healthline:

  • Muscle tension
  • Agitation 
  • Excessive worry and or fear
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Poor eye contact with others
  • Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
  • Sadness
  • Crying
  • Refusing to attend school and or social engagements
  • Anger

In addition to the above, an individual with social anxiety disorder may have frequent self-deprecating thoughts and thoughts of inadequacy. In order to secure the most effective treatment, it is essential to obtain a proper diagnosis from a qualified mental health professional.  

Clinical Diagnostic Process

According to the Mayo Clinic, a social anxiety disorder diagnosis will be determined after conducting a thorough physical exam, a psychiatric evaluation, and will be informed by the diagnostic criteria provided in the DSM-5. It is also common for an evaluating clinician to request an individual to complete self-report questionnaires regarding one’s symptoms of social anxiety, as well as review a list of situations to see if they elicit anxiety. The diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder, according to the DSM-5, provided by the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Persistent, intense fear or anxiety about specific social situations because you believe you may be judged, embarrassed or humiliated
  • Avoidance of anxiety-producing social situations or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety
  • Excessive anxiety that’s out of proportion to the situation
  • Anxiety or distress that interferes with your daily living
  • Fear or anxiety that is not better explained by a medical condition, medication or substance abuse

The exact scientific cause for developing social anxiety disorder remains unknown. Research has shown that it is likely due to a combination of contributing factors such as psychological, environmental, genetic, and developmental factors.  

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

EMDR Therapy In Los Angeles

EMDR written out

Psychologist Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in 1987. According to the EMDR Research Foundation, “EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches.” Though it was initially developed as a means to treat individuals suffering from anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic and/ or trauma, research has indicated that it has since become an effective means of treatment for individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder and other mental health ailments. EMDR incorporates a variety of principals from other therapeutic modalities, including behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

EMDR Basics

EMDR is based on the notion that physiological symptoms occur as a result of trauma or challenging experiences overwhelming the brain’s natural ability to heal. EMDR works to relieve one’s brain of certain coping mechanisms that have been developed to help an individual cope with a traumatic event or events. EMDR therapy facilitates the healing process through bilateral stimulation where an individual can revisit a previously experienced trauma and learn to re-process and reintegrate it in a way that is both healthy and disarming, alleviating physiological stress. EMDR is an eight-stage therapeutic process, which includes: 

  • Initial history discovery and treatment planning
  • Preparation
  • Assessment
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body scan
  • Closure
  • Reevaluation 

A typical EMDR session lasts between sixty to ninety minutes long. EMDR can be used on its own or used to supplement other types of therapy.

EMDR Therapy In LA

There are many highly trained EMDR practitioners in Los Angeles, California, which for some can make the search for locating a therapist, seem like an overwhelming feat. There are fantastic online resources that offer curated lists containing qualified EMDR providers, serving the Los Angeles area (e.g. Psychology Today). Often the best recommendations come by word of mouth. An excellent place to start your search is to consult your primary care physician as they should be able to point you in the right direction, and many may even offer recommendations from within their professional network. For some, openly discussing the need for a mental health professional with family and friends may not be comfortable, but for those that are open to broaching the topic with outsiders, asking family and friends for recommendations could be beneficial. It is advantageous to be mindful of the fact that even though EMDR practitioners follow a set of standardized EMDR protocols, each therapist practices with his or her own distinct style. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Is High Functioning Anxiety?

woman with high functioning anxiety

The term ‘high functioning anxiety’ is currently used as a broad, umbrella term that includes individuals who live with anxiety but are not debilitated by its symptoms in various aspects of one’s life. The medical definition of anxiety provided in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.” However, according to the Mayo Clinic, having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life. In relation to the adverse effects of high functioning anxiety, Health Magazine explains that even if one’s anxiety symptoms are not interfering with one’s productivity at work or in one’s relationship status, they can still be problematic if they take away from one’s overall quality of life. High functioning anxiety is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a mental health diagnosis. 

Signs and Symptoms

It is highly common for an individual with high functioning anxiety to exude unwavering confidence and appear to be leading an anxiety-free life. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates 40 million adults, approximately 18% of the population, deal with an anxiety disorder at any given time, including those that fall into the category of high functioning. An individual who is suffering from high functioning anxiety could exhibit any combination of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Stress-free
  • Insomnia
  • Productive
  • Outgoing 
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Appearance of being level-headed
  • Organized
  • Perfectionist
  • Successful relationships
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irregular body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Type-A personality
  • Detail-oriented
  • Social 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Gastrointestinal complications

While silently suffering, individuals with high functioning anxiety often hide behind a façade of effortless success and are typically viewed as overachievers. Psychology Today asserts “anxiety is built into our primate origins as a warning system,” and that there are several benefits to experiencing occasional anxiety. Anxiety can help an individual avoid danger as its presence elicits a heightened state of alertness which in turn can help to detect and attend to potential threats. Anxiety can help an individual further develop his or her empathy. Situational anxiety can contribute to enhancing one’s motivation and increasing performance levels. While there may be benefits to anxiety, experiencing persistent anxiety is not healthy. It is important to note that individuals with high functioning anxiety often appear perfectly healthy to others, but are likely internally suffering from many of the same symptoms that accompany a diagnosable anxiety disorder. Fortunately, there is professional help available for individuals who are dealing with any form of anxiety, including high functioning forms. 

 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

Social Anxiety Treatment Options In Los Angeles

girl with social anxiety disorder

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Anxiety disorders, however, involve excessive feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, fear and anxiety. Anxiety disorders are highly common. There are currently five different types of anxiety disorders. They include the following: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia). Social anxiety disorder (SAD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health condition. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) explains that social anxiety disorder is “characterized by persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.” An individual with social anxiety disorder will experience a stronger and more intense sense of anxiety surrounding uncomfortable social situations than someone without SAD. However, with proper treatment, an individual can learn to effectively manage the symptoms of his or her social anxiety disorder. 

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms that can manifest with social anxiety disorder can be debilitating and interfere with one’s ability to function optimally in his or her daily life. Every individual is unique and will have his or her own set of challenges with regards to social anxiety. Common examples of signs and symptoms that an individual with SAD may exhibit could include any combination of the following, provided by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Excessive worry and/ or fear
  • Muscle tension
  • Blushing 
  • Sadness
  • Crying
  • Nausea 
  • Agitation 
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Poor eye contact with others
  • Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

In addition to the above, people with social anxiety disorder may have frequent self-deprecating thoughts and/ or constant thoughts of inadequacy. It is important to note that social anxiety disorder symptoms can change over time. 

Treatment In LA

In order to obtain the most effective treatment, it is imperative for an individual to be thoroughly evaluated and obtain an accurate diagnosis from a qualified mental health professional. There are many treatment options available in Los Angeles, California for an individual diagnosed with SAD. Every person is different and will require a customized treatment plan, as each will respond distinctly to various treatment options.

There are a number of factors that go into creating a treatment plan for an individual with social anxiety disorder. It is not uncommon for medication to be incorporated into one’s treatment plan in conjunction with psychotherapy. There are several different types of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that are often prescribed for individuals with SAD. Some of the common SSRIs that are often prescribed for social anxiety disorder include Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate), Zoloft (sertraline), and Prozac (fluoxetine). Some the therapeutic modalities that are regularly utilized by mental health clinicians in Southern California, during treatment for social anxiety disorder, include talk therapy, expressive arts therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and/ or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). In most cases integrating a combination of both psychotherapy and medication into one’s treatment plan yields the most successful long-term results.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Are The Causes Of ADHD?

Child with ADHD with mom at treatment

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is characterized as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/ or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” The American Academy of Pediatrics further asserts, “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition whose symptoms are also dependent on the child’s environment.” Although ADHD is one of the most studied conditions in America, the precise cause for developing ADHD remains unknown. Research has, however indicated that genetic factors, environmental factors and developmental delays may all contribute to its potential development.

DSM-5 ADHD Diagnostic Criteria

The diagnosis process for ADHD is rather complicated, as there is no single test for diagnosis, and symptoms will vary from person to person. The CDC outlines the following diagnostic criteria:

  • Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
    • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
    • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
    • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
    • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
    • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
    • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
    • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
    • Is often easily distracted
    • Is often forgetful in daily activities.
  • Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
    • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
    • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
    • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
    • Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
    • Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
    • Often talks excessively.
    • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
    • Often has trouble waiting their turn.
    • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

In order to obtain the most effective treatment it is essential for an individual to be thoroughly evaluated by a qualified mental health professional and accurately diagnosed. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Is EMDR?

EMDR in writing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a type of therapy that was developed to help treat individuals who suffered from traumatic events. American psychologist, Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in 1987. According to the EMDR Research Foundation, “EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.” EMDR is an eight-stage therapeutic process that can be used independently, or as a means to supplement other psychotherapeutic treatment methods. EMDR incorporates a variety of principals from other therapeutic modalities, including behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). EMDR is based on the notion that physiological symptoms occur as a result of trauma or challenging experiences overwhelming the brain’s natural ability to heal. 

Who Can It Help?

Although EMDR was originally developed to treat people recover from isolated or repeated exposures to trauma, it has since proven an effective method of treatment for a variety other mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, substance use disorder, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Instead of spending time revisiting the memory of past trauma, a core component of other psychotherapeutic modalities, EMDR emphasizes shifting the emotions, behaviors, and/ or thoughts surrounding the trauma to enable the brain to heal itself. EMDR therapy often requires fewer sessions than other psychotherapies. 

How Does It Work?

EMDR works to relieve one’s brain of certain coping mechanisms that have been developed to help an individual cope with a traumatic event or events. When an individual experiences a traumatic event, it is not uncommon for the memory of this event to get stuck in the right hemisphere of one’s brain. The left side of one’s brain will then self soothe and implement other coping mechanisms to help deal with this memory. The simple explanation for how EMDR works is that it does not allow one’s brain to perseverate on the negative experience. Instead it enables one’s brain to process the negative experience (and implement a positive self-belief) through both hemispheres of one’s brain, by utilizing the bilateral eye movement method. EMDR is comprised of the following eight stages:

  • Initial history discovery and treatment planning
  • Preparation
  • Assessment
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body scan
  • Closure
  • Reevaluation 

While in the presence of a mental health professional and in a safe and controlled environment, EMDR therapy facilitates the healing process through bilateral stimulation where the individual can revisit the experienced trauma and learn to re-process and reintegrate it in a way that is both healthy and disarming, alleviating physiological stress. A typical EMDR session lasts between sixty to ninety minutes long.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.