5 Reasons Why People Participate in Group Therapy

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November 22, 2017


Group therapy sessions are led by a mental health specialist such as a psychologist. They are different options to consider because they work to provide solutions for different mental health behaviors.  In some cases, people participating in group therapy experience better results than an individual session with a therapist.  People may experience better results because they do exercises together with others that can relate to their struggles.  It is a proactive way to cope with mental health concerns under the guidance of a professional.

There are many reasons why people choose to participate in group therapy; some even choose to do so using online therapy with a licensed therapist online. Some may experience feeling unappreciated, isolated, deep emotional pain, and other symptoms. With group therapy, there is less fear of isolation, of not being appreciated, or being judged. It is an option that gives insight into the lives of others in a safe, confidential setting. It is different from a support group setting because group therapy can focus on different behaviors and work to determine why such symptoms occur. Things such as anger management, interpersonal learning, and types of behavioral therapy are practiced in group therapy sessions. Here are five reasons why people participate in group therapies.

  1. Members gain a sense of togetherness.


People participating in group therapy often feel like they don’t belong, feel isolated, alienated, incompetent or inadequate. While many worry individually that others may look at them differently, in most cases, others can relate to what they are going through.  You learn you are not dealing with struggles alone. Each person’s situation may be different, but your feelings and symptoms may be the same. It makes suffering feel normal, and you can be yourself.

  1. Members support each other, not just themselves.

Many exercises in group therapy encourage members to give and receive support.  Each member doesn’t get personalized therapy one at a time.  Members work to connect, support, and give each other feedback to encourage an engaging environment. An example may include working on the element of isolation. One member may feel isolated if they don’t have friends or someone to reach out. Members of the group listen to their feelings and work to engage them in the group while others share their stories of overcoming or coping with the same thing.  It is an aspect that inspires hope for everyone involved.

  1. Members discover their voice through personal awareness.

People learn to be aware of their feelings, how they expressed and understood their personal needs.  The group facilitator encourages each member of the group to be aware of their current feelings as they participate in the session. Members are encouraged to share their feelings with the group.  Psychologists say this helps challenge members to self-connect while around others.

  1. Members learn in a healthy way how they relate to others.

People can get feedback from group members about their actions toward others. It is a significant aspect that helps you understand why relationships suffer due to symptoms of a mental health concern. Some may feel distant to their loved one, but they are not sure how to get closer to them. You discover why you feel a certain way during different situations when communicating with people in your life.  For example, if a conflict occurs between you and a loved one, how do you respond? Do you turn your back and run away or try to avoid the situation? Group therapy helps members assess their options and work toward taking positive action to improve relations with others. Members assess how they react and share other feelings as they learn how to respond to situations in a healthy manner.

  1. Members build confidence to help them in different areas of their lives.


Many say group therapies become a safety net. They help them grow as an individual while making it easier to open up with others. People start to feel empowered and willing to take risks that can help them grow in ways never imagined. People see improvement in their relationship skills, and they don’t feel as isolated or alienated as they did early in the process.  Members feel more comfortable about sharing their feelings with others, including people close to them outside of the group.  Anytime encouragement is needed, or you need someone to help you understand something, you have a net that is there to help you.

Group therapy can be a beneficial option for some, but it is not for everyone. Anyone dealing with a life transition, social anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns may benefit. It may take time and strength to get comfortable in such a setting.  You have to be able to recognize personal needs as well as those of others.  Some find it helpful to attend individual and group therapies for additional understanding and personal growth. You are free to share whatever comes to mind in your group.

What To Know When Selecting A Counselor Or Therapist

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November 5, 2017


Source: beachesrecovery.com

Have things been rough lately and you need to talk to someone about it? Finding the right counselor or therapist is important when engaging in the form of talk therapy.  The right professional can assess your situation and help you understand your options. They can provide a confidential listening ear when you need to vent.  You have been considering the idea of talking to someone, but you are confused about the different types of titles and professionals available.  How do you choose? Take the time to learn about the different opinions and methodologies of a therapist in your area; or take it to the next level and sign up to speak with one online.

It is commendable to take the first step in recognizing you need to talk things out. It takes strength and courage to get out there and handle issues alone.  Taking the leap can encourage you to sustain overall good mental health habits and help you stay in control when things get challenging.  Now that you are on the path to making healthy choices you need someone who is qualified to guide and advise you through your trials.  Here are a few basics to keep in mind as you determine the best professional to select.


Learn Professional Titles and Meanings

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There are different types of counselors and specialists, and they go by different titles such as social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, and so on. There are specialists and counselors with interchangeable titles such as mental health specialist or a licensed professional counselor. Each of these may have training and certifications that vary. Understanding appropriate titles can help you eliminate certain professionals based on their expertise.


What Type of Professional Is Best?

Choosing the right professional will depend on your situation. Why do you need to talk to a professional? If you want to deal with emotional issues or stress, a counselor may be a helpful option. If you have employee health care coverage, they may have a helpline or online directory to help you find a professional based on insurance. If you feel things are intense or complex and you want extensive treatment, consider a psychiatrist or psychologist. You will also want to learn how the professional provides therapy or counseling sessions. Learn about methods they encourage, and how you can benefit from them.


Selecting a Provider

There are a few ways you can choose a provider for your counseling or therapy. Get recommendations from people you know. You can learn about professionals available under your insurance plan or contact your insurance company for leads.  Community health centers offer free or low-cost counseling options if you don’t have health coverage.  As you learn about different options, make a list of potential providers. Check their history and background as a counselor or therapist. Sometimes you can contact them by phone and talk to them before meeting them in person. The idea is to narrow down your options to a few and learn more about their qualifications. Learn if they have helped people in similar situations as yourself. Have questions ready to ask to learn more about their experience and how they provide services.


Additional Tips on Making a Final Selection

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Once you have learned background information about potential professionals, make a decision. Based on qualifications and experience, who do you feel comfortable with scheduling an appointment? Take your time making a selection. You will spend valuable time with this person and have expectations that include improving your livelihood.  Learn what others have said about the professional if there are feedback and reviews available.

It may be a little confusing understanding your options but don’t let it be a barrier keeping you from getting the help you need.  Think about your needs and the qualifications of the specialist or counselor. Choose based on their ability to meet your needs. Once you settle on an option and have your first session, you can make a final call on whether the option is right for you.  If you are not comfortable with them, keep trying by moving on to another professional that peaked your interest during research.  Here is to wishing you the best!

Learn How Therapy Can Help You When Feeling Empty

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October 20, 2017


Source: endloneliness.net

When feeling empty, it could be a sign of depression or an underlying mental health concern. It is common for many people to experience feelings of emptiness sometimes, but when you feel this way most of the time, it may signal you should see your doctor or a mental health specialist. Sometimes when the feeling occurs, there are things you can do to help you feel better such as engaging in something new, getting together with family or friends, or writing in a journal. It may be suggested to do things that give your life meaning.  Talking about your feelings through therapy can be helpful as it may shed light on why you feel this way and what to do about it. Betterhelp discussed more about this in a recent article on their /advice section.

When Collecting Turns Out To Become A Mental Health Issue

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August 21, 2017

Source: abcnews.go.com

Are you a collector, or have you tried collecting things before? Coins, stamps, mugs, fridge magnets just to name a few. It’s actually a fun and exciting hobby once you have more and rare pieces of items included in your collection. It can also be a source of income as the collectible items have value in the market. The rarer and unique it is, the more expensive its price.

However, there are some people who go overboard in their collecting habits. The massive amount of things being collected and stored in their homes begin to affect their way of living, relationships, and outlook in life. It becomes a mental issue that needs professional intervention from mental health specialists.

Seeking Mental Health Help In Chat Rooms

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August 15, 2017

Source: depression-guide.com

The stigma of having a mental illness is always a barrier to obtaining needed help. Certain individuals continue to struggle facing people and discuss their problems face to face. It is a good thing that through internet connectivity, it is now possible to find it comforting to seek online services and talk to some persons afflicted with mental health issues. If you are having some difficulties in finding help and support groups, this article will introduce you to some of the mental health chat rooms that are available online.

Health Matters In A Hectic Schedule

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August 10, 2017

“I’m busy.”

That’s the number 1 excuse people have when it comes to focusing on their health and improving their lifestyle. Busy with school, with work, with family: put the word “busy” and it’s an instant acceptable excuse to skip leg days, or live vicariously through takeouts and pizza deliveries–NOT.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is Used to Help Treat Depression

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July 26, 2017

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to treat depression. It is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients understand personal beliefs about their life and how to take better steps to improve their outlook when dealing with personal feelings.  There are two aspects – cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy – that explore thought patterns and actions. Depending on your situation, the therapist will develop an approach to work for you. The patient works with the therapist to identify negative patterns and behaviors that make dealing with situations challenging.


CBT Overview and How It Works


The treatment process includes learning stressors and developing constructive, balanced ways to respond. The end goal is to make it easier to deal with such situations through reducing or eliminating troubling behavior related to depression. There is an online form of this therapy to help patients manage depression symptoms online. CBT can require 10 to 20 sessions as it is considered a short form of therapy compared to other options.

During the sessions, patients explore their current situations to understand possible depression causes. You explore thinking patterns and perceptions that influence depression symptoms. Learning about your depression, you work your way backward by looking into your past, seeking things that may have gone undetected but could be a depression trigger.


Journaling or writing about your thoughts may be required.  You write about events in your life and reactions to them. The events and actions related to them are examined by you and your therapist in detail.  What you learn from your past helps you place actions and thoughts into categories such as:

  • Personalization or taking things too personal, whether it’s thoughts or actions.
  • Filtering thoughts mentally or picking out certain details and dwelling on them.
  • Under or overestimating the significance of something or making too much of a big deal about something.
  • Overlooking or rejecting a positive experience as if it didn’t count for anything.
  • Habitual negative reactions and thoughts.

You work with your therapist to develop positive and healthy ways to respond to situations. Journaling may be required to keep a record of progress as you practice CBT techniques, including learning how to control your thoughts, assess emotional behavior, positive self-talk, and self-evaluation to name a few. Methods are practiced with your therapist and on your own.  You will also practice them in controlled environments.


CBT is Effective with Other Disorders

A variety of disorders is treated with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.  Studies have shown effectiveness in treating people with major depression when compared to medication options. Phobias, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), eating disorders, sleep disorders, schizophrenia, stress, and those coping with antisocial behaviors benefit from CBT. When used with depression, it can be combined with other forms of treatment. Adults, children, and adolescents benefit from this therapy.


While CBT is used to help treat different conditions and disorders, it can be a stressful option. Few find it painful to discuss their past, but it helps you gain courage because some exercises involve doing things you didn’t think was possible. It can help you get comfortable in social settings and confront feelings that have caused your depression. Over time, you will learn how to alter your response to situations and stress so you can deal with anxiety and adversity constructively.


Experts Support CBT with Ongoing Research


More evidence is surfacing to support cognitive behavioral therapy through effective results achieved by others being treated for different conditions.  A study looked at CBT as being a potential alternative treatment option to medication for mood disorders and depression.  It seems to have results that stand out more than other forms of psychotherapy (not to say other therapies are not as helpful), but more evidence is visible because results from this therapy have been further researched.

How Improving Your Physical Health Improves Your Mental and Emotional Health

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July 25, 2017

Exercise is an important part of maintaining good physical health, but it has also been shown to have positive effects on mental and emotional health. People coping with anxiety, depression, and ADHD experience promising results through regular exercise.  Benefits include better sleep, boosts mood, improved memory, and natural stress relief. People of all ages can benefit and even just moderate movement a few times a week can make a difference.


Exercise Benefits for Mental Health


Exercise is a significant factor in maintaining overall well-being. People may exercise to keep up or change their physical appearance, but few say they engage in it because it helps them feel good and boosts natural energy.  These elements have a lot to do with mental health and people dealing with mental health challenges may find exercise as a great form of natural medicine. Here are ways in which it helps with common mental health illnesses:


  • Depression: Many studies have shown that exercise can help people with depression.  Some say it is just as effective as using antidepressants. It helps calm depression symptoms, reduces inflammation, and with a routine it can reduce the risk of depression relapse. The brain benefits because more endorphin chemicals are produced, creating a feel good mood. Exercise also helps keep negative thoughts at bay because it is a positive distraction.
  • Anxiety: Stress and tension get naturally relieved or reduced through exercise. Mental and physical energy gets a natural boost. People using mindfulness strategies learn to focus on their body and how they feel during exercise. Doing so creates a useful distraction, interrupting the constant flow of worries and excessive thinking.
  • Stress: Do you notice that when you get stressed out, your body is full of tension and tight muscles? Exercise can naturally loosen muscle tightness.  Such relief can help reduce the risk of other problems too much stress can bring such as insomnia and stomachaches.  Between the mind and body, stress can make things difficult mentally and physically and this becomes a back and forth cycle. Break the cycle with exercise and when your body feels good, your mind will too.


Other conditions such as ADHD and PTSD also benefit from exercise. Elements such as memory, mood, motivation, and concentration can be improved.  The nervous system of people living with PTSD can benefit from exercise by helping relieve and improve joints, nerves, and overall, how the body responds to stress.  Activities such as swimming, running, walking on beach sand, dancing, and weight training have been helpful for PTSD patients.


Exercise Benefits for Emotional Health


Emotional health has a great connection to mental health. In some cases, such aspects are connected or interchangeable. When considering exercise, it improves areas that can help you feel good about yourself, particularly personal behavior. The following points provide other perspectives on how exercise improves emotional health:


  • Build resilience.  Mental and emotional challenges can drain natural energy, but exercise presents a healthy option for coping.  It helps reduce stress impact and your immune system gets a boost too.
  • Increase self-esteem. Your mind, body, and soul benefit from exercise and it is considered a great way to invest in each area that contributes to your self-esteem.  You gain mental and physical strength while feeling more powerful and comfortable with who you are and how you look. You gain a sense of achievement when you complete exercise goals.
  • Thinking and memory get sharper. Endorphins help the brain become sharper, allowing you to concentrate better when completing tasks.  Studies have shown that exercise may slow down the decline that comes with age.
  • Improved sleep and increased energy.  Sleep patterns become regulated and each time you exercise your heart rate increases. Exercises such as stretches, yoga, and light or short sessions are helpful.


Learning about the benefits of exercise can be motivating, but many admit that they lose motivation to exercise or they have a hard time warming up to the idea of doing it regularly.  It is easy to enjoy exercise benefits, and it’s not as difficult as you think to get started.


Exercise Obstacles and How to Overcome Them


Sometimes mental health issues get in the way of starting and maintaining a routine like exercising.  Getting in the habit of exercising doesn’t have to be difficult and in the beginning, it doesn’t require too much effort. If you are willing to make changes that will help your mental and emotional health, you will find easy ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. You can work to complete 15 to 30 minutes of exercise a few days a week.  Here are ways to get past common barriers when starting exercise:

  • Exercise on weekends if you don’t have time during the week.
  • When stressed or exhausted, try walking for 5 minutes.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or depressed, think about a physical activity you can do in a short period.
  • Do low-impact movements when you feel hopeless.  Such moves are good if you don’t have experience exercising.
  • Start small with simple exercises and take advantage of doing them during the time of day when you have the most energy.

Daily activities such as cleaning, gardening and playing with the kids are great ways to incorporate regular physical exercise. Such activities give you a starting point on how to maintain physical activity. Do activities you will be comfortable doing such as walking laps, bike riding or walking with a friend or pet.  Reward yourself when you complete a session and consider ways to include others to make it socially engaging.

5 Effective Ways to Get Help for Your Depression

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July 24, 2017



Do you know your options for getting help with depression? A recent study showed more than 16 million people experienced at least one depressive episode in the past year.  Children and teens also experience depression with an estimated 2 out of 100 and 8 out of 100 respectively.  Many people experience symptoms of depression but are not sure how to get help. There are effective options for treatment to help manage symptoms. The following five points will help learn options so you can get the treatment you need.

Personal Physician or Family Doctor

What can your doctor do for you? When you think you are depressed, talking to your doctor is a good idea.  They can ask questions about your lifestyle and potential triggers. Your doctor can pinpoint potential issues causing symptoms you’re unsure about.  Your doctor may choose to run simple tests including checking your thyroid and taking a blood sample to ensure something else isn’t going on.  In some cases, depression symptoms could be the result of an underlying medical condition that can be explored through further testing. Many patients feel comfortable expressing personal concerns with their doctor.  From here, you may get a referral to a mental health specialist or psychiatrist. You can learn about suitable treatment options if depression is diagnosed, including medication and therapy.

Mental Health Specialists


Talking with a counselor, psychologist, or social worker is a common option.  Sometimes a referral is needed from your personal doctor. Talking with a mental health specialist is usually the next step after ruling out physical causes for your sad mood.  Such professionals can give a diagnosis and help determine the best treatment for your depression.  While many admit that they are afraid or uncomfortable about the idea of talking about their sadness with a specialist, there is nothing wrong with getting the guidance and assistance you need. These specialists are medically trained to help people deal with their emotions through personal understanding and compassion.  It is not a sign of weakness to reach out to a mental health specialist. In fact, people are commended for making such an important decision that can bring necessary change while improving their mental health.

Licensed Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are specially trained to treat people with depression and other mental health illnesses.  They have regularly scheduled visits with patients while providing medication options to help patients regulate their moods.  Patients can see a psychiatrist for as long as they need to – from weeks to months to years. It depends on the level of depression or mental illness and what the specialist recommends when determining treatment and therapy sessions.  Patients are encouraged to discuss their emotions and be open about their feelings and things that are bothering them. Sometimes it is a matter of seeing things from another perspective. For others, a life changing event can be difficult to work through alone, and guidance from a psychiatrist makes going through change a little easier.

The Internet


Millions of people use the internet daily to get answers about what they are going through. You can learn about local places to get help from and other useful resources providing detailed knowledge to help you make informed decisions. Look for credible websites providing user-friendly, reliable, and current information about depression such as the following:

Use such sources to learn types of depression, how they affect daily activities, treatment options, and more.  Internet sources can help you plan questions to ask your doctor or mental health specialist about depression. Some use the internet to help them cope with depression. For example, they may start a depression blog, a depression support group, or learn about events they can attend to help them feel better. You can also connect with professional help sources providing chat, email, or instant messaging as a form of help.

Book & Print Publications about Depression

There are magazines, journals, and books about depression written from different perspectives. From memoirs to in-depth research studies, you can find a wide variety of reading material to satisfy your curiosity. Reading about depression is recommended to help you stay current with breakthroughs and treatment updates. While there are plenty of options online to check out, consider visiting your local bookstore or get recommendations from your doctor or mental health specialist. Find books on how to eat right, how to exercise, how to improve emotional well-being, and much more.

How you choose to get help for your depression is up to you.  There are plenty of options available to help improve your mental health. Compare your options and keep an open mind.  The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can feel better.

Are You Experiencing Anxiety? Review Your Symptoms With This Checklist

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July 21, 2017


source: youqueen.com

People experience anxiety sometimes that is considered normal. But when it is accompanied by excessive thoughts of worry throughout the day for no reason or when such feelings affect daily activities, it may be what is called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).  People may have problems remaining calm, sleeping at night, and maintaining energy during the day.