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Understanding Anxiety

Posted on: May 29, 2019

“The bow too tensely strung is easily broken.”
    – Publius Syrus(42 B.C.)

Anxiety is the body’s reaction to an event that is experienced as disturbing or threatening. Our primitive ancestors experienced stress when they had to fight off wild animals and other threats to their survival. Now, in the contemporary world, we are more likely to feel the anxiety that emerges from stress when we face overwhelming responsibilities at work or home, experience loneliness, rejection, or the fear of losing things that are important to us, such as our jobs or friends. When we are exposed to such events, we experience what has been called the fight or flight response. To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure. This sends more blood to our heart and muscles, and our respiration rate increases. We become vigilant and tense. Our bodies end up on full alert – and this allows us to take action. When these anxiety-inducing conditions continue over a long period of time, however, and have a significant impact on how we live, we may begin to suffer from one of the anxiety disorders.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Staying Healthy At Work

Posted on: February 26, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working? (Or Both?)

The atmosphere of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent times. Ever since the exploitative practices of the industrial revolution were removed through legislation, work has been defined as a place where a person could find fulfillment through a job which was rewarding and paid a fair wage. But this definition has reverted in recent years to one in which the needs of the employee have become less important. Finding personal fulfillment through our work has become more of a challenge. Progressive occupational stress leading to job burnout has become a painful reality for many people. This is especially true during times of high unemployment – when the workers who are still employed are expected to carry the load of those who are no longer with the company. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Loneliness

Posted on: February 12, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Only the lonely

Know the way I feel tonight

Only the lonely

Know this feeling ain’t right

  – Roy Orbison

If you feel lonely, you’re not alone.

Loneliness is a subjective sense of isolation – a feeling of not being able to connect with other people, a sense of being apart. As humans, we feel the need to be with other people. We need to relate to others, to get involved in their lives, to work with them, and to express our emotions around other people. Our social needs are nearly as powerful as our other basic needs, like our needs for food, water, and shelter. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Worry, Worry

Posted on: January 18, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

It’s a good thing that almost all of us worry. Think of worry as a built-in alarm device. When it is used wisely, it alerts us to danger and prompts us to navigate our way through a maze of solutions to life’s various problems. We need to think through our options when we are faced with problems, weighing the benefits and pitfalls of each alternative, and then come up with the best solution. From there we take action which, we hope, solves the problem. Worry is helpful when it is used at the right time and at the right level for resolving our difficulties. Like many things in life, however, too little worry, or too much of it, can be harmful. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Influence of Birth Order

Posted on: December 20, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Birth Order Affects Our Behavior and Relationships

If brothers and sisters are raised by the same parents, how do they end up so different? How is it that one sibling grows up to be successful academically and professionally but with few friends, while another becomes the athlete with loads of friends? To the degree that one of the siblings is a responsible person, another will be attention-seeking or rebellious. One follows the ways of the parents and another looks outside the family for support. The strategies we learn in childhood for dealing with our parents and siblings has a lasting influence on our behavior, often in ways we barely recognize. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Distortions in Your Body Image

Posted on: November 26, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“What disturbs people’s minds is not events, but their judgments on events.”

Epictetus

In China, parents once bound the feet of their daughters in pursuit of beauty. In parts of Africa, both men and women elongate their earlobes and decorate their skin with minerals to look attractive, and this trend may be found in the United States now. At one time in this society, we found plump, rotund people to be the epitome of beauty. Old movies show us that the Tarzans and Supermen of past decades would hardly pass muster in today’s gyms. Today we define beauty as a thin, youthful, and muscular look. Today we go under the knife and on extreme diets to achieve a socially acceptable appearance – not to mention tattoos and body piercing – all practices that are similar to the early Chinese custom of binding feet. Strong social standards dictate, especially through the media, how we should look – and if our own bodies deviate from these expectations, which is the case for almost all of us, we feel inferior and ashamed. We hide. We cover up. We don’t like an important part of our selves. We feel depressed. We feel anxious in front of other people. We feel powerless – and we are apologetic when we show the world who we are.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Men and Depression

Posted on: October 29, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

The incidence of depression in our society seems to be on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three of us will experience some form of depression within our lifetimes. Others claim that depression may even represent a symptom of our times which are characterized by alienation, lack of strong community bonds, and hopeless economic situations for many. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Social Support and Friendship

Posted on: May 15, 2018

Good Friendships Depend Less on Who They Are Than On How They Make Us Feel

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Since 1985 the number of people who say they have no one to talk to has doubled. The lack of social contacts and social support, despite our technological advances over the past decades, is one of the downsides to the huge transformations that have taken place in our society. Despite the advent of e-mail and mobile phones, people today have fewer meaningful social contacts than they had in the past. We have traded our face-to-face contacts for technological forms of communication. We tend to drive alone, work alone, eat alone, and live alone more than we did in past years. Our public presentation may reflect less about who we are on the inside than on our ability to conform to the latest look that we pick up from the all-pervasive media. We go to the gym and work out alone to the beats stored in our devices. We go for coffee and immerse ourselves in our laptops. And we don’t talk to strangers, who may, as many believe, pose a danger to us. Yes, we’ve changed. Friendships are harder to come by. It is more difficult these days to get to know who another person really is – or for them to get to know who we are. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Healthy Pursuit of Pleasure

Posted on: April 24, 2018

Engaging in Simple, Healthy Pleasures Can Restore Balance to Our Hectic Lives

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Pleasure guides us to better health. When experiences are enjoyable, we want more of them. Our bodies tell us that sleep, reproduction, eating, companionship, and exercise — to name just a few of our more common daily activities — are enjoyable. Our survival depends on engaging in these activities. The brain has several pleasure centers which are activated by chemicals which speed satisfying sensations from one nerve to the next. Children the world over, when they are left alone to do what they choose, engage in endless hours of play. They pursue fun. Childhood may be the time in life when our brains are trained to experience pleasure. If we accomplish this task well as children, we may have healthier lives as adults — as long as we don’t lose the ability to play that we acquired in childhood.   (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Weight Management

Posted on: April 17, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and most Westernized countries. If you are overweight, you are hardly alone, as you can see by looking around you. About two-thirds of Americans are overweight and the statistics climb by the year. Even children now are heavier than they have ever been – and this is happening during a time in our history when the thin look continues to be defined as the ideal (although this is gradually changing). Type II diabetes and hypertension (or high blood pressure) are two diseases associated with obesity, and the rates of these diseases have been increasing steadily over the years. Obesity is also linked to heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling