a flower is like our peaceful inner state when free from depression and anxiety

Can Mindfulness Help with Anxiety and Depression?

Mindfulness has become a mainstream idea, practice and even prescription to deal with a number of modern day ailments -  states of feeling bad, uneasy, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, disconnected and joyless. But just what is mindfulness and how can it help you feel better, live a more fulfilling life and even escape from feeling anxious or depressed?

Mindfulness has been defined by many great teachers and scholars, and the way I distill it is this: it is being present to the moment as it unfolds with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance.

How to Select a Psychotherapist or Counselor

When you are feeling really bad, like you'd prefer to be hiding under a rock, it can feel like you don't have the energy or fortitude to get through the maze of finding and selecting the right helper.  Yet it is important and even vital to seek help when you need it. So today's post is meant to give you some guidance to help make your process as smooth and painless as possible. (This post addresses individual therapy. In a future post I will address specifics related to finding a couple or family therapist.)

married couple hands with wedding rings

What Makes a Relationship Succeed or Fail?

In my work with couples, I lean heavily on three well respected couples/relationship theorists: John & Julie Gottman (The Gottman Method), Daniel Wile (Collaborative Couples Therapy) and Sue Johnson (Emotion Focused Couples Therapy). In future posts I will talk about Dan Wile's approach as well as Sue Johnson's - both are excellent models for couple work and I love sharing them. Today I will start by laying out some of the basic work of the Gottmans. Their work is easy to grasp, powerful and backed by a mountain of research.

anxiety and depression symptoms can overlap

Anxiety or Depression? Symptoms can Overlap

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues in the US and affect 1 in 5 people according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC.) Most people at some time will experience symptoms of one or both. And half of those who deal with depression, experience  anxiety as well. You may wonder what is the difference between the two and when should you seek help? In this post I will lay out some basic information about depression and anxiety and some signs that you should seek professional guidance.

What's the difference: psychotherapist, psychiatrist, psychologist

What's The Difference? Marriage Family Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist...

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between professional titles for those who offer psychotherapy and counseling services? At times it can be downright confusing, and yet if you need a professional helper it is an important question: Who is qualified to help me with some of my most personal, private and pressing problems? In this post I will try to shed some light on the key differences between the professional titles you are likely to find here in California when seeking out counseling or therapy from a mental health practitioner.

Womans feet in sandles on the edge of a ferry boat with frothy foam traveling over the water

All Work and No Play? Ward off Stress, Depression and Burnout

As the weather turns warm and people turn to outdoor pursuits, I am reminded of the importance to the human spirit of spending time in recreation. Over fifteen years ago, I remember a business consultant advising the small business where I worked. We all worked a lot and he was talking with us about the importance of recharging and renewing - for the health of the business. He reminded us that the word recreation means to "create again" and said we would be more valuable as employees if we could commit ourselves to making time for recreation.

closeup of osteospermum and wild calendula spring flowers in the afternoon sunshine of sonoma county california

Boost your Mental Health - Declutter!

This past Friday, here in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun crossed the celestial equator making its way north along the ecliptic. This celestial event, otherwise known as the vernal or spring equinox, marks the beginning of Spring. I adore spring. It carries a hopeful promise of fresh and new, a delightful energy that we can join with as we go about our lives. For most of us there is something deeply satisfying and health promoting about moving in sync with the rhythm of the season. Maybe this is part of the reason "spring cleaning" is universal concept and ritual.

warning sign for curve in the road ahead taken in Camp Meeker near Occidental, CA

How to Stop an Argument

Many couples who first come into therapy are stuck in a cycle of conflict. They often feel disconnected with each other and in particular cannot seem to prevent or step out of the adversarial cycle that looms over them. Certain hot-button topics are in fact certain to invoke their negative cycle. So what is a couple to do when they find themselves stuck, spinning their wheels in the sand? The answer is get some traction.

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