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The Power of Being Selfish: Selfishness as a Key to Mental Health

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I’m about to tell you something that your mother might not approve of…so for those of you sensitive souls out there, you might want to click on something less controversial. Here it is: It’s okay (and sometimes even essential!) to be a little bit selfish. Conventional wisdom, and our parents, often tell us that it’s not okay to be selfish.  If you want to be an effective parent, you must learn to put your kids’ needs before your own.  Likewise, to be a good spouse, you must learn to  honor your partner’s needs.  These are truths, and if you aren’t living these truths in your daily life, it is likely that your relationships have suffered. However… As with anything, these truths must not be taken to extremes. I found myself thinking about this idea over the weekend as I...

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Symptoms of Depression / Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

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Signs of depression can be obvious or subtle, but regardless, they often severely impact your quality of life.  For help in addressing your symptoms of depression, seek the assistance of a therapist or psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is an evidence-based treatment for depression. This will help reduce your symptoms and make you less prone to future relapse. I am available for consultation and treatment in the Palm Beach (Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton), Fort Lauderdale, and Miami communities.  I also welcome you to read my previous post on how depression can be easily overlooked in yourself or others. Here is a list of common symptoms of depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD): Symptoms of Depression Emotional Symptoms Feelings of sadness, emptiness, loneliness, or pointlessness. Feelings of worthlessness,...

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Pure-O OCD (Pure Obsessional OCD): Hidden Rituals

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“Pure-O” OCD, or Pure Obsessional OCD, is a relatively less common form of OCD that seemingly differs from classic presentations of the illness.  What distinguishes Pure Obsessional OCD from classic OCD is that in Pure-O OCD, symptoms are predominantly obsessive (rather than compulsive) in nature.  Although individuals with Pure-O OCD frequently experience intense and distressing obsessions, they typically report few (if any) overt compulsive behaviors.  However, in almost all cases, pure obsessionals do engage in a variety of rituals.  These rituals  just manifest as mental compulsions rather than behavioral compulsions. Unfortunately, most psychologists haven’t been trained in how to ask the types of questions that are necessary to identify these “hidden rituals.”  As a consequence, these rituals often go undetected.  Because effective treatment requires consistent response prevention, a failure to recognize and resist mental compulsions makes true exposure and response prevention (ERP) impossible.  Treatment...

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OCD perfectionism & social anxiety treatment: Tweet your way to greater health

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Looking for ways to overcome social anxiety or OCD-related perfectionism?  At the end of this post, you’ll find some strategies I use to help individuals in South Florida (Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, & Miami) overcome their anxiety.  These exercises are examples of “Intentional Mistake Practice“, a CBT-based technique that can be used to challenge some of the problematic perfectionistic beliefs that are central to social anxiety and OCD. First, though, what do social anxiety and OCD-related perfectionism have in common?  Although on the surface, these anxiety disorders are quite different, individuals with social phobia and OCD often share many perfectionistic beliefs about the world.  Social anxiety (or “social phobia”) is characterized by excessive worry about being perceived negatively by others.  Individuals with social phobia often have perfectionistic expectations about their own behavior and question their social competence....

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Hoarding: Treatment, symptoms, and personal impact/costs

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The topic of hoarding is rarely met with disinterest.  Maybe that’s because nearly all of us can relate to hoarding on one level or another. Perhaps you yourself have been touched personally by hoarding.  You may have a strong emotional attachment to objects, or you may have a loved one who inexplicably continues to add to an already existing surplus of items.  This surplus may be small, or it  may be quickly exhausting all remaining living space. Perhaps you don’t have issues with surplus, but you consider yourself a “pack rat” or a “collector”.  Maybe you have a nice collection of art or knickknacks, and you can relate to the urge to over-acquire. Perhaps you are “organizationally challenged” and have struggled with how to best categorize and store your possessions.  Maybe you have difficulties with throwing out your newspapers before...

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