mental health

Lessons from Eighth Grade

Pseudo-self is “pretend” self. People pretend to be more or less important than they really are, stronger or weaker than they really are, more or less attractive than they really are. A group can “pump up” an individual’s level of functioning to the point that he can do things he had been unable to do on his own. This higher level of functioning, however, is totally dependent on the group’s continuing support. – Family Evaluation, Dr. Murray Bowen and Dr. Michael Kerr

This week I went to see the movie Eighth Grade. The film follows Kayla, a modern 8th grader who publishes a series of positive, self-help videos on YouTube that display a pretend, opposite version of Kayla’s actual quiet, uncertain, and anxious self. Many reviewers have remarked that the film is an insightful commentary on how social media, the perfect selfie, and the lure of Internet fame have shaped today’s youth.

But as I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think the exact opposite. . .

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Surviving Your Family Reunion This Summer

people-mother-family-father-1280x429Does thinking about spending time with your family have you feeling stressed out and anxious? If you’re dreading your family reunion or annual family vacation, read my advice at psycom.net.

 

Essay in New York Magazine

19-therapy-culture-therapizing-friends.w710.h473Not long ago, a close friend of mine was struggling with a huge life decision: Should she marry her long-term partner, or was it time to part ways? “Be my therapist!” she begged me at one point, when the two of us were hanging out with a group of friends. I tried to deflect, but she kept requesting my advice, like it was a party trick. Over the course of the night, I watched as our other friends offered their own opinions on her partner, only sharing my thoughts when we finally got a moment alone.

Read the rest of my essay from New York magazine here.

 

 

Healthy Conversations to Have

Pills-624x416In the United States, 1 in 6 adults has a prescription for a psychiatric drug. That ratio only increases among individuals who walk into counselors’ offices, leaving many counselors feeling that they must perform a special type of tightrope act to talk about medications with their clients. Given that licensed professional counselors don’t possess prescription privileges, some counselors feel that they lack the training to carry on such discussions. Other counselors fear letting their own beliefs and biases show. Regardless of the reason, some counselors are quick to refer clients back to their doctors or psychiatrists rather than engaging clients in a thorough conversation about medication management themselves.

Read the rest at Counseling Today.

Grim Job Prospects for Mental Health Grads

For Psychotherapy Networker May/June 2014:

For graduate education in the field of mental health, 2013 was a booming year. Approximately 39,500 students were enrolled in the 639 accredited graduate programs in counseling, and doctoral programs in clinical psychology reviewed a staggering 44,753 applications from prospective students, which was a 24 percent increase from 2009. But where exactly did the 10,260 degree earners from mental health counseling programs in 2013 land after the pomp and circumstance of graduation? And why do students continue to pour into graduate programs when they often face grim employment prospects or incredibly low-paying work in the nonprofit sector upon graduation? Read more