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February 29, 2020

This is a handout used in therapy around acceptance and talks about why so many people have trouble with acceptance when it comes to upsetting events that occur in our interactions with others.

  • Upsetting Events: The first thing we need to examine in this model, is the validity of the upsetting event. Many events that are upsetting are a direct result of our perceptions and interpretations. Our thinking can often distort reality to fit our established beliefs and are accordingly upsetting. We may find that we can diffuse many upsetting events by examining our beliefs about the events or circumstances and no further action is needed beyond modifying our beliefs to be more rational and logical. If we conclude that the event is legitimately upsetting, then we can proceed through the model. For example, let’s say a friend stands you up for a lunch date because they didn’t feel like going. This is a situation that would be upsetting to most people, considering that a friend could have called and canceled.
  • Fairness is a Human Value: We find many people get hung up on the issue of fairness. This can be seen in children as early as two years old. We often hear them saying, “It’s not fair!” As humans, we seem to have this imbedded sense of what is just and fair. Many people dwell and ruminate on events

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February 22, 2020

Secondary Traumatic Stress

Most people are familiar with the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and they know it typically comes from directly experiencing traumatic and/or life threatening events such as abuse, combat, natural disasters, medical emergencies, accidents, or any number of events that fall outside the scope of our normal lives. Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS), also referred to as vicarious trauma, comes from indirect exposure to other people’s traumatic experiences. This is common to first responders who interact with the trauma as they try to help people, therapists who help people process through painful and upsetting experiences they have had, and even everyday people, supportive family members, or friends. One subtle venue that nearly everyone is exposed to is the media.

Can the Media Cause STS?

There is no shortage of graphic, gruesome, and difficult images and stories that we see and hear about in movies and through everyday news reports. Where secondary traumatic stress comes in is from the repeated and continuous exposure to these troubling images and stories over a period of time. In effect, there is a cumulative impact on people. This secondary traumatic stress can start to impair your functioning and affect your mental health and emotional well-being.

Symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress

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February 16, 2020

Many of you have heard the name Maslow and may have a vague recollection of his Hierarchy of Needs theory and model. It is a concept put forth by a psychologist named Abraham Maslow. He introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” and detailed his idea in his subsequent 1954 book Motivation and Personality. His theory states that we have a set of needs that drive our behavior as humans. As the needs at each level are met or achieved, we become driven by the next set of needs in the hierarchy. Those needs at the bottom of the hierarchy are fundamental to survival and then evolve to become more social and psychological in nature as they progress through the model (Maslow, 1943). Let’s go over the different needs in the hierarchy depicted below.

Figure 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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February 7, 2020

Can You Use Will Power to Get Rid of Depression or Addiction?

Will power, or what others would refer to as self-control, is the ability to control and subdue our impulses, emotions, and behaviors. It is one of the critical skills that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. When it comes to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, or behavioral compulsions like drinking and gambling, many people believed it was a character weakness of will power. Not even 10 years ago, we routinely heard many clients struggling with great amounts of guilt and shame for even showing up in our offices for help. They assumed they should be able to exert some power of will and simply stop being depressed or stop drinking compulsively. This notion has been rather old fashioned and outdated for some time, yet the number of people who still think this way is shocking. Baby boomers and the generation before them grew up in an era where you “pulled yourself up by your bootstraps” and “let things roll off your back”. Those generations propelled our society forward in many ways with the idea that dedication and hard work could accomplish anything.

Fortunately, research and education of the public at large has helped most people rea

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January 29, 2020

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental Alienation Syndrome is the process by which one parent uses a set of strategies intended to foster the child’s rejection of the other parent. In time the child comes to fear and hate the one parent and reject any contact with them. This most often occurs during a divorce situation but can happen with intact families too. The prototypical scenario is a bitter ex-wife who turns the children against the father, but the process is not exclusive to mothers. Often the alienating parent is less emotionally stable and is often motivated by anger and revenge.

There are several signs that a child may have been subjected to parental alienation syndrome. These children often deny any positive past experiences with the alienated parent and reject all contact and communication. These kids also have vague or unclear rationales for the intense dislike. Conversely, the other parent is idealized and perceived as perfect, and the child often insists that the rejection of the targeted parent was solely their own idea. When children do interact with the alienated parent, they are cold, rude, disrespectful and appear to have no guilt whatsoever for their harsh treatment toward the targeted parent. Sadly, the rejection often spreads to the alienated parent’s whole s

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January 26, 2020

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees alcohol and drug testing for employees that perform work under a few different groups. Probably the largest group is the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), which includes all bus and truck drivers across the entire country who are required to operate with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) covers all those people working and operating with the railroads. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) covers all airline pilots and air traffic control personnel. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) covers all people working on the gas pipelines or working with transportation of hazardous materials. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) covers all workers involved in mass transit. Finally, the US Coast Guard (USCG) also covers all coast guard members under their drug testing program.

The purpose of the DOT’s alcohol and drug testing program is to ensure the safety of the general public. Because all these federal departments are in charge of operations that could have significant impact of the public and in many cases large numbers of people at one time, the Department of Transportation hold rigorous standards for workers to ensure they are physically fit to

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December 16, 2019

The good news is that the rates of smoking are on the decline. In 2005, 21% of Americans were current smokers. In 2017, this has declined to 14%. This means that there are roughly 34 million Americans that still smoke and some 16 million Americans are dealing with a smoking related disease. There are still nearly 500,000 smoking related deaths each year from conditions such as various cancers, stroke, heart disease, asthma, gum disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Vaping came onto the scene around 2007 and has become a trendy alternative to cigarette smoking. For some it is an attempt to get off cigarettes, who end up transferring their nicotine addiction to a vape device. For new users, they misperceive it as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but often find themselves addicted to nicotine nonetheless. For those who don’t know, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol from an electronic cigarette (e-cig), vape pen, or other vape device such as the JUUL which looks similar to a USB flash drive. The JUUL product line now accounts for 70% of the vaping market and sells a variety of fruity flavors, coffee, or chocolate flavors some believe are targeted to youth. Most vape devices contain a mouthpiece, battery, a heating component, and a cartridge that hold the e-liquid or e-juice. The battery hea

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November 4, 2019

Impact of Caregivers Stress

It is estimated that 34 million Americans are providing unpaid care to an adult that is 50 or more years old. 66% of caregivers are women. Being a caregiver might include tasks such as shopping, providing transportation, or help with cleaning, or could be much more involved and include grooming, bathing, managing finances, feeding, or assistance with dressing and toileting. Although most people willingly become caregivers and find much reward in being able to help care for the ones they love, it does not come without a price. The toll is physical, mental, and emotional for most caregivers, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. They often feel like they are on call 24/7 and end up neglecting themselves in the process of being a caregiver. Compounding this stress for many is the sad reality of watching loved ones slowly deteriorate despite all your efforts.

It is vital to get the physical and emotional support you need as a caregiver, or you run the risk of becoming susceptible to any number of problems. Some of the common signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout include: feeling anxious, depressed, irritable, fatigued, troubled sleep, poor concentration, feelings of resentment, neglecting your own responsibilities, low energy, increased drinking or smoking, and less e

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October 22, 2019

Many people have endured difficult, painful, and traumatic events or experiences in their lives. For many the mental and emotional fallout is long lasting and dramatically interferes with normal functioning. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a specialized type of psychotherapy that helps people heal from these experiences in a fraction of the time of traditional therapy. Research studies find that 72% of combat vets and people with multiple or repeated trauma no longer met criteria for PTSD after just 6-12 sessions of EMDR. Over the past 25 years there are millions of people who have received successful treatment with EMDR.

EMDR is generally an eight-phase treatment process. During the intake, your clinician gets a thorough history and begins to identify traumatic memories to target. Prior to tackling any trauma, your therapist will help work on teaching new strategies and methods for coping with emotional and mental stress. When ready to tackle some of the traumatic memories, some parts of the session will include eye movements (or some bilateral stimulation). Experts believe this activity is connected to biological mechanisms in the REM sleep that facilitate the processing of disturbing memories and feelings. Many people feel EMDR helps them get “unstuck” so they can heal an

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October 8, 2019

I.P.C. comes directly to you. We are proud to offer tele-therapy services to clients seeking help who may not be able to make it to our clinic. You can access care from the comfort of your home, office, college dorm, or any secure location. I.P.C. is using the On-Call Health video platform which can be used from any device or mobile phone. On-Call Health uses an encrypted platform and meets all HIPAA standards for security and confidentiality.

Who is Tele-Therapy for?

  • Clients with schedules that are too busy to get away from the office
  • Clients with medical conditions preventing you from getting to our office
  • Couples or families who struggle to find times that work for everyone
  • Clients that simply prefer to do therapy from home
  • Clients who run into childcare, work conflicts, car problems, or weather concerns
  • Clients living in rural areas with limited services
  • Students going away to college somewhere in Minnesota
  • Clients with travel anxiety or agoraphobia

How Does it Work?

Simply contact our office to schedule your online tele-therapy ses

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