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January 17, 2018

Problems with sleep is one of the number one symptoms and complaints we hear in therapy. Below are some tips to help you work into a good sleep routine.

  • Taking a hot bath or shower before bed will increase your body’s core temperature and help you relax.
  • Avoid caffeine after 10:00 am. If you need to have coffee or soda try to confine it to early morning giving time for the stimulating effects to wear off before bed. Try to avoid foods that have caffeine such as apples and chocolate.
  • Avoid naps during the day. Even though they feel good at the time, this will catch up with you when you crawl into bed and find yourself awake and refreshed from your nap earlier.
  • Use relaxation strategies. There are countless books and tapes that teach a variety of methods from breathing exercises, to metal exercises, to progressive relaxation. Find one that works for you and use it before and while getting into bed.
  • Carbohydrates can be helpful for sleep. Having some toast, cereal, or popcorn before bed can help promote sleep.
  • Avoid nicotine. If you smoke, try not to have any cigarettes 2-3 hours before bed. Nicotine feel psychologically relaxing to many people, but it is actually physically stimulating and causes veins and arteries to constrict, making your heart and body work even harder; i.e., arou

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January 2, 2018

We always hear about the importance of stress management and the countless ways to help ourselves decompress from the impact of the various stressors we all deal with. Hopefully, this will be your aerial view of stress management from five thousand feet. One way to conceptualize stress is to visualize the stressors in your life on one side of scale measuring from 0-100, and your coping skills on the other side of the scale also measuring from 0-100. For most people their coping skills remain static and unmoving. They have what they have in order to cope with life and its stressors. Perhaps it registers at 68 and the person can cope with most things life brings reasonably effectively. On the other side stressors are rarely static. In fact, they usually fluctuate up and down in a given day or week. Perhaps ranging from 40-80 at any given point, after all most of us feel like we are routinely trying to juggle several things at once. Most people will continue to do fine in life so long as their coping skills exceed their stress level. For instance, a stress level of 56 relative to the above noted 68 on the coping side.  In fact, most of will endure and get through even when stress goes above our coping level, so long as it comes back down reasonably quickly. It is vital that our stress level not exceed our coping abilities for extended periods of time or we fall prey to burn out a read more

December 19, 2017

Ensuring that you have a network of supportive people in your life is critically important. There are mountains of research confirming the value and benefits of having a strong support network. Many people utilize their support network as a way to manage stress, as a means of self-care, and a venue to process and regulate their emotions. A good support system can also be a sounding board to vent to, as well as check our thinking and conclusions.   Beyond simply having a network of people, it is also important to make sure you have carefully vetted them out over time to ensure that they are safe and trustworthy. High quality people in your support network are mentally and emotionally safe; meaning they are kind, caring, supportive, and non-judgmental. You can share things and be vulnerable knowing you will not be ridiculed, judged, or belittled by them. You also want to choose to surround yourself with trustworthy people who have proven to be honest, dependable, and reliable. You don’t have to be a social butterfly or an extravert to create a solid support system. Having 3-6 really close people is often adequate for most people.   Support networks also require on-going maintenance. Relationships that are not nurtured tend to fade and be less accessible when we need them. In today’s global economy it is more common that people will move away for work or travel seaso read more

December 6, 2017

Many children are misdiagnosed with ADHD and there is an increasing number of adults seeking ADHD medications to help with focus, energy, and concentration. But do they really have it? First let’s cover some facts. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a well-known childhood disorder that affects 5-7% of children and presents with problems with attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. What is less well known is that 30-70% of children with ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms into adulthood. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, there must be a childhood onset with persistent and continued symptoms. Symptoms do not come and go. ADHD is also not something acquired in middle age. If a person has it, they have always had it. Men are 4 times more likely to have this disorder.   There are three different types of ADHD: an inattentive type, hyperactive type, and combined type. In children the combined type is most common. As children age into young adulthood many notice their hyperactive symptoms improve, but tend to see the inattentive symptoms persist. Inattentive symptoms include: 1) fails to pay close attention to detail or makes careless mistakes, 2) has difficulty sustaining attention for long periods of time, 3) does not seem to listen when spoken to, 4) often fails to follow through with projects, 5) has trouble organizing activities or tasks, 6) read more

November 21, 2017

There are some people who look forward to the holidays all year and can’t wait for them to arrive. Other people enjoy the holiday, but find them to be a strain while trying to juggle all the responsibilities of their regular life, along with the additional shopping, cleaning, decorating, and cooking. Then there are some who find the holidays to be quite difficult. It may bring up feelings of grief and loss, they are simply too overwhelmed with the demands, or are set off by attempting to endure family members who trigger a lot of emotional turmoil and issues.  A survey from a few years ago reported that 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas. Another poll revealed that 50% of people are very financially stressed over the holidays and have a lot of anxiety over getting and giving gifts. Many begin to experience symptoms like disturbed sleep, low energy, impaired concentration, headaches, and much more.  Much of our stress can stem from expectations, especially those that might be unrealistic. Lots of people go into the holidays with the idea that everything needs to be perfect. They think they need to cook up the most fantastic meals, initiate the most interesting and thought provoking conversation, and somehow make sure everyone gets along well and is respectful toward each other. It soun read more

November 8, 2017

Description Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time of year annually. The most common is the winter depression that starts in the fall and goes through to early spring. SAD has only been recognized since 1985 and tends to occur more frequently the further away from the equator people live. People actually diagnosed with SAD is around 5%, but upwards of 20% of people can have some symptoms of SAD. It occurs four times more often in women than men and average age of onset seems be around 23 years old. Symptoms can start out mild at the beginning of the season and worsen as the season goes on.   Symptoms & Features A thorough mental health diagnostic evaluation should be sought if you notice the same symptoms come and go away each year in a cyclical pattern for the past two years. 1) depressed (sad or empty) mood most of the day, 2) hopelessness, 3) weight gain, 4) oversleeping, 5) lowered energy level/fatigued, 6) anxiety, 7) social isolation, 8) indecisiveness or lack of concentration, 9) loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, 10) increased appetite, especially for carbohydrates.   Causes of seasonal affective disorder remain unknown however some factors have been implicated. Serotonin levels are known to affect depression and it is believed that reduced s read more

October 25, 2017

When psychologist Rian McMullin was asked what he thought the most central problem to most people’s problems were, after some thought, he decided it was that they did not run toward the roar. He explains with a story he had read years ago.             The daughter of a missionary lived on the Serengeti Plains of Africa. She had grown up around lion prides and had noticed that, with regard to their older members, they acted differently from other species. While other animals left their elders to die when they could no longer catch their own game, the lion pride did not; they used them to assist in the hunt. The pride would trap antelope and other animals in a ravine, assembling young lions on one side and the old, clawless, toothless lions on the other. The old lions would then roar as loudly as they could. The animals in the ravine would hear the roar and run in the opposite direction, straight into the waiting group of young lions. The lesson for the antelope was clear, though few were left to benefit from it. Had they run to the roar, they would have been safe; but they were too afraid of the noise. By running away from the sound of danger, they ran into the danger itself. The story may or may not be true, but it is helpful nonetheless because it symbolizes a serious problem that most clients have. They turn away from whatever it is that they ha read more

October 12, 2017

There are a set of variables that often interact and come together that set the stage for developing problems with anxiety. They are listed below and we briefly touch on what can be done about them. Biology: Some people are genetically predisposed to developing anxiety problems, meaning it runs in their family and is passed on through genetics. Additionally, some people may have a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters that can fuel anxiety. Unfortunately, we cannot change the genetic we inherited, however we can manipulate our biochemistry. Physicians and psychiatrists attempt to do just that with psychotropic medications that are designed to manipulate neurotransmitters in an attempt to reduce anxiety. Personality: Many people with anxiety seem to possess a certain group of qualities, attributes, and characteristics that have the potential to create anxiety. Examples include: perfectionistic, high expectations, responsible, avoids conflict, desire to please, need for control, and negative outlook to name a few. Counseling and therapy and ideally suited to help identify these personality traits and teach specific tools designed to help people reduce or eliminate these traits. Stress: Although many people may have the biological and personality attributes that make them prime candidates f read more

Posted in General by IPC Staff | Tags: , ,
September 27, 2017
  1. Don’t let things build up: The emotional energy intensifies the longer we wait to bring up an issue. Your ability to address the issue calmly after days or weeks of dwelling on it is not likely to go well.
  2. Express appreciation: When people receive reinforcement for an action, they are likely to repeat it again in the future. Everyone likes to know their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
  3. Pick the right time to bring up an issue: Five minutes before you have to leave; when you’re tired and getting ready for bed; when you’re really hungry; these are not good times to bring up an issue. Make sure you will be free of distraction before asking to discuss things and find solutions.
  4. If you stick your foot in your mouth, admit it and start again: Emotions run high in conflicts and sometimes we say things wrong that can make things worse. If you catch yourself in this moment, just admit it and try to get back on track. “I really blew that one, let me try again.”
  5. Show you care: This is best accomplished without presents and gifts, but by showing interest. When your partner takes the time to tell you about something that affected them in their day, make sure they know you care and hear them. Turn the TV off, put the paper down, look them in the eye, listen to what they say, ask some questions, demonstrate that you understand.

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Posted in General, Relationships by IPC Staff | Tags: