Of the ideas within psychology that are widely known, introversion/extroversion probably ranks near the top. Many people describe themselves and others as either an introvert or an extrovert. But despite growing awareness of introversion, there is still a lot of confusion about how it's different from other things. Many others have talked about how introversion is different from being shy, but what about how it's different from social anxiety? This distinction can be harder to make, but it can be important for deciding if your child is a good candidate for therapy. Here, I want to help explain the difference between the two.Read More
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Mindfulness has become a very popular topic over the past few years. It has some origin in meditation and alternative therapies, but many therapists are also starting to incorporate it into psychotherapy. There is some research to support mindfulness, especially when dealing with anxious thoughts. But many people have a wrong impression of mindfulness. This can lead to attempting meditation and other methods of mindfulness, not having success, and then giving up on the idea. So here, I want to discuss how you can think about mindfulness in a way that may make it seem more approachable and realistic.Read More
When many people think about "worst case scenario" when it comes to childhood illness, cancer tends to be at the front of their minds. Maybe it's because cancer gets so much attention in terms of fundraisers, races for the cure, and so on. But really, a diagnosis of cancer doesn't have to be the "worst case scenario." While it's certainly a major illness, and one that can be fatal, many kids are able to overcome cancer. What's important is to do your best to keep things in perspective so you can work through the diagnosis, the treatments, and so on in an effective way. If you can pull that off, the process goes much more smoothly and with much less stress. Thankfully, there is a lot of support out there for kids/families with cancer.Read More
In life, there are a lot of different sources of temptation that we encounter. Food is a common one, as are some more illicit and dangerous things. But there are other sources of temptation as well, including temptations to buy things. Whatever the temptation, there are three steps you can take to help prevent yourself from giving in to that temptation. They're straightforward, but do require some self-discipline to make sure you actually follow through with them.Read More
When talking about children with medical conditions, many of us specifically discuss children with "chronic" medical conditions. But what is chronic, versus what is acute, can be tricky to actually define. There have been a number of different suggestions in the past to help classify someone as having a chronic medical condition, but that may be missing the point. Instead, I suggest it's better to think about the symptoms a child has, rather than whether or not the condition is "chronic."Read More
When a child is diagnosed with a chronic medical condition, it can cause a lot of stress not only for the child but their family as well. Diabetes is an example of a condition that often involves all family members. As a result, it can be very easy for the family system to revolve around diabetes, when really it doesn't need to. If stress levels increase, family members may argue and there may be avoidance of diabetes care. To help ensure good diabetes management, there are some things that families can do.Read More
No matter how close we may or may not be to our family members, the fact remains that we are all part of a family or families. And families have a strong influence on us in many ways, including our understanding of relationships, our perceived roles, how we identify, and so on. But while many people are likely aware that families can be complicated, most do not realize some of the complexity behind how family members relate to one another. Families are more than just a collection of individuals; they're a system. But what exactly does that mean? Here, I'll describe what it means for a family to be a system, and what some implications are that come with that.Read More
When trying to help kids cope with difficult emotions (e.g., mad, sad, scared), it's good to have them practice using coping skills. But many kids either don't know any good coping skills, or only know a couple. Depending on the situation, some coping skills aren't an option, or they simply won't work. To help kids be best able to cope with difficult emotions, it's helpful for them to have a lot of coping skills they can choose from. Here, I go through 15 that are likely to be helpful.Read More
In a recent blog post, I talked about what you can expect if you start therapy. In that post I briefly talked about how to find a therapist, and when therapy is appropriate. Now, I want to go into more depth with that first point: how to find a therapist. It's something many people wonder, but there unfortunately isn't an easy/clear/obvious answer to that question. Finding a therapist should be easier than it currently is, but that will require changes to the broader mental health system. Until that happens, below are some tips for how you can find a therapist in the current system.Read More
Sleep is crucial for our day-to-day functioning. But this isn't only true for adults, it's true for children as well. If a child is sleep deprived, they can have difficulties in school and with managing their emotions, which can lead to social difficulties and other challenges. Unfortunately, getting your child to fall asleep (and stay asleep) can be hard. Some kids seem to have too much energy at bedtime, while others have fears that keep them awake. No matter what specific challenges you may face when trying to help your child fall asleep, these tips should help.Read More
A lot of people are curious about therapy, and they have at one time or another considered starting therapy. But most people do not know what to expect if they meet with a therapist. The uncertainty this causes can lead many to never even attempt therapy, and it may also lead to disappointment for some who do give it a try. Therapy really is nothing to be afraid of, but it does help to have accurate expectations when going into therapy. So here, I want to spend some time describing what you can expect if you decide to start seeing a therapist.Read More
As social beings, there is a skill that has been crucial throughout millennia. It's a skill that we easily develop on a small scale, but it's harder to develop more broadly. As our world has become more and more interconnected economically, politically, and socially, we need to take a step back and think about what that means. Many have given in to the temptation to resist this growing interconnectedness. But instead, we could be learning how to embrace it. Regardless of your views, I think we owe it to ourselves to attempt developing this crucial skill more fully.
That skill? Understanding others.Read More
After my initial release of the Emotion and Coping Game app, I began working hard to implement some more features that felt much-needed. Now, after a lot of hard work, those core features have been added to the game! While there are still some more planned features, this version of the game feels much more complete and like what I originally had in mind for the game. Here, I want to highlight some of the improvements that have been made and help to explain my decision making for the changes.Read More
As information has become more freely available online, there has been a trend towards making research findings available. This has been both for academics (through databases containing PDFs of peer-reviewed articles) and for non-academics (through online posts/stories, not unlike my own blog posts). The former has come with its own complications, but in this post I want to focus on the challenges of the latter. Specifically, I want to provide words of caution for anyone reading online posts based on research articles: the findings of any one study, even if legitimate, generally have very little relation to your own life.
In order to get a better sense of why this is the case, I want to highlight a few things related to the role these types of posts play online. And yes, I fully acknowledge this post is based on my own perceptions of the problem and not on research. But when all I'm advocating for is caution, I feel that's of little importance.
And to be clear, I'm not saying that the research isn't valid, or that it should be ignored. This post pertains specifically to online posts that suggest you make big life changes based on the findings of one single study.Read More
As I hinted in my recent recommended apps post, I decided to take part of the holiday break to work on an Android app as a fun project. After getting into a bit of a groove, I managed to get a fully functioning version of my Emotion and Coping Game ready for publishing. Just like like PDF version I've had for sale, the app does not have any form of board included; I think one of the best parts of the game is creating a board with the child. But the app does make playing the game really easy, as I'll discuss more below.Read More