Are you a Maximizer or a Satisficer?

There are all kinds of schools of thought, theories of psychology, and personality quizzes boasting to understand us. One you may not have heard of, however, is Herbert A. Simon’s position on decision-making. He received the Nobel Prize in 1978 and is best known for his work as an economist and cognitive psychologist. Earlier in [...]

Art-Making and Process

The process of art-making can be multilayered. I am an encaustic artist, which uses wax in the painting process. Painting with wax has allowed me to learn a lot about myself. Attending my first encaustic workshop was very stressful for me. There was a lot of self-doubt about my ability to learn this new painting [...]

Five Morning Routines to Start Your Day Off Right

This month for Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to share five morning routines that can help start your day off right. Taking time for self-care is so important - even the smallest change in routine devoted to self-care can make a big difference in your day. 1. Meditation: Meditation can be a great way [...]

The Difference Between an Anxiety Attack and a Panic Attack

Often used interchangeably, the terms Panic Attack and Anxiety Attack are used to describe intense emotional and physiological distress. Is there a difference? Yes, let’s learn! Differences between Emotional and Physiological Distress:  First, let’s discuss how they are similar. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks can result in some of the same symptoms. For example, many [...]

Thoughts on Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is something that many of us struggle with. We are sometimes hard on ourselves as we strive to do better or live up to expectations that we set for ourselves. It can be a heavyweight to carry. Many years ago, I attended a talk on the Dalai Lama’s book How to Be Compassionate.  I [...]

“Pretzel Breathing Technique” for Children

Sometimes we tend to tell our children to calm down without ever giving them explicit directions on how to deal with stress and anxiety. Today’s technique I want to share with you all is a good exercise for kids to experience calmness and reduce anxiety. This technique, called the “Pretzel Breathing Technique,” is a quick [...]

The 8 Phases of EMDR

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is an incredibly useful technique that was originally developed for the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Since its inception, research has been done that has shown EMDR to be an effective treatment option for multiple mental health issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and more! As EMDR [...]

How The Past Changes Present Perception and EMDR Therapy

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a therapeutic technique geared towards the treatment of trauma or disturbing events. The technique works to target specific events that are remembered as distressing and take the emotional response to these events out of the memory. Doing so can often help to stop triggering experiences, flashbacks, and [...]

Recovering Perfectionist? Me Too.

I am Type A. I’m an Enneagram 1. I love my planner, fresh sheets, organized spaces, and when I say I have a list for everything… I mean everything. Scheduling and de-cluttering brings me delight. I have been described as rigid, an overachiever, and some other not-so-kind things. And it has taken me a long time to [...]

Communication In The Moment

It is important to have communication in the moment or near the moment. Recently, I talked with a friend about an event that occurred many years ago. I didn’t bring it up at that particular moment, but I realized that I had been holding onto this for a very long time. I remember the event [...]

Managing the Post Holiday Blues

We’ve all been there…the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over and the post-holiday blues can tend to set in. All the gifts have been opened, friends and family have left town and we must settle back into our daily routines. The cold and dark months of January and February can cause us to [...]

General Observations on The Link Between Clients Managing Their Trauma Background and Navigating a COVID-19 World.

By Bradd Buckingham, Resident in Counseling Since the beginning of COVID-19, I have professionally observed as a counseling intern working in a community mental health clinic, currently as a resident in counseling as well as personally with friends and family, a shift or slide backward in the management of their trauma symptomology and the meaningful [...]

Efficient Problem Solving

By Shelton Piland, Supervisee in Clinical Social Work in Northern, VA Patients frequently come to me for advice when they encounter a problem and do not know what to do, where to go next or how to address the problem. We are usually able to work together to dissect the issue and make a plan [...]

You’ve Got This! Three Holistic Steps to Managing Anxiety

By Diane Bonilla, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor in Northern Virginia The two most important things to understand about anxiety are that it is universally  experienced and that it is holistically managed. You are absolutely not alone in  experiencing anxiety, though it can feel that way. Anxiety symptoms can impact our  emotional, physical and spiritual health. [...]

10 Ways To Elevate Mood During A Pandemic

By Grace Kim, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia We are well under eight months into the current COVID-19 pandemic that started back in early March. For some, the pandemic has been the perfect opportunity for rest, reconnecting with those we lost touch with and completing tasks we’ve been putting off for some time now. [...]

Couples, COVID, and Cabin Fever

By Jasmine Payne, Resident in Counseling Back at the beginning of 2020 weren’t we all wishing we could spend more quality time at home with our loved ones or our partners? When true quality time was only able to be squeezed into the weekends or maybe weeknights (if the dishes got put away and the [...]

Worry and Growth

By Jackie Carrera, MSEd, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia  I’ve been thinking about the struggles that we have been experiencing during this stay-at-home period. It has been a challenging time and many people are experiencing a lot of worry or fear. I have seen this in the art world, with friends, and hear it [...]

Art-Making and Mental Health

By Jackie Carrera, MSEd, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia Creativity and mental health go hand in hand. I am a visual artist who enjoys painting, working with pottery, and photography. I turned to art-making during a high stress time in my life and it helped me find balance. One of the texts that taught [...]

Self-care ideas!

By Kayla White, M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Resident in Counseling If you are anything like me, practicing self-care and self-love can often get placed on the back burner. Also, I am not a proclaimed morning person, so other than those things I NEED to do, I've learned they likely won't get done until I'm [...]

Working with Thoughts – Part 3

By Bruce Craig, MA, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia    In the first couple of articles in this series we focused on noticing our emotions objectively and learning how to not be reactive to them. This is a constant lifelong practice that we can get better at over time and we should also remember [...]

Challenging Your Negative Thoughts

By Shelton Piland, Supervisee in Clinical Social Work in Northern, VA During this uncertain time we all may be more prone to depression, anxiety and poor self-esteem. Irrational negative thoughts could be the culprit! Since many of us are stuck at home, social media use has been on the rise. We may accomplish one thing, feel good [...]

Positive Impacts of Journaling

By Kayla White, M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Northern Virginia  Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. It's also a good problem-solving tool; oftentimes, one can hash out a problem and come up with solutions more easily on paper. Here are some of the studied positive impacts of [...]

Taking Time to Pause

By Jackie Carrera, MSEd, Resident In Counseling in Northern Virginia  We are in a time of uncertainty where some relationships have been strained due to a variety of stressors. For some it has been a time of thriving in being close to another, while for others it is a challenging time. We are always relating [...]

The Power of Smell

By Jack Fox, M.A., Resident in Counseling Most of us have experienced a smell that reminds us of someone or some time in our lives. There is a scientific reason for this phenomenon! Centers for Emotion The places in your brain that are dedicated to working with smell are very closely wired with the centers [...]

Navigating Uncharted Waters: COVID-19

By Dr. Debra Rezendes, HMT Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy We are in uncharted territory together as our community braces to contain the impact of COVID-19. Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash As a parent, you have likely had to shape-shift into many forms this week—comforter, fear-slayer, information-gatherer, preparer, and more recently teacher. You have likely [...]

Sleep and Mental Health

By Jack Fox, M.A., Resident in Counseling Photo by Jonathan Fink on Unsplash In almost all the different mental health issues that people face, a common factor is troubles with sleep. While there are many factors that affect how a person is sleeping, there are a few easy ways to help improve the quality of the sleep we [...]

Change is hard. But worth it.

By Jack Fox, M.A., Resident in Counseling Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash Are you healthy and well, or just comfortable? Comfort can be a tricky subject when dealing with health and wellness. Often times, individuals find themselves in poor health, either mentally or physically, because they are comfortable and unwilling to change. Humans are conditioned to seek the [...]

Noticing the Mental Process

By Bruce Craig, Resident in Counseling Pixabay Image Practicing Mindfulness in your daily life as often as possible can give us the power to become less reactive to thoughts and feelings.  We can begin to intentionally notice what are mind is up to and begin to retrain it to operate in a more useful way. [...]

5 Ways For a Stress-Free Sleep

By Kayla White, M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Resident in Counseling Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash We’ve all been there. You turn to look at the clock and it’s 2:00 am, then 3:00am. You have to get up in a few hours but, you are still wide awake with what feels like a million thoughts running [...]

New Year, New You?

Photo by Danil Aksenov on Unsplash By Dr. Debra Rezendes, HMT Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy As one year closes and another begins, it is natural to think of what we hope the journey ahead entails. Certainly, New Year's resolutions can be guide posts to help us stay on track towards big goals. But often, we tend [...]

Gut Microbes and Mental Health!

By Kayla White, M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Resident in Counseling Photo by Brandless on Unsplash It's no secret that mental health and the gut-brain membrane is a new, flourishing research area! One study found that Coprococcus seems to have a pathway related to dopamine, a key brain signal involved in depression, although they have no evidence how this [...]

Nighty Night

By Dr. Debra Rezendes, HMT Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy For many of us parents, the blissful summer days of sleeping in have been replaced by the early morning routines of the school year. As we trade the slower paced days of summer for the beginning of the school year, the natural transition of [...]