Overcoming Anxiety Showcased at Virtual Bookcase

With seven days to go until the official launch of Overcoming Anxiety, we begin the launch party with a showcase at the Virtual Book Case. Here is the link; Click here to visit the Virtual Bookcase.

The Virtual Bookcase showcases select books that the owner, Glynis Smye deems worthwhile. She is very personable and lives in the UK, at the seaside town of Dovercourt-Harwhich. She is author of the Ripper Romance Series and while she tends to favor historical fiction, especially from the Victorian era, she has some interests in Mind, Body and Sprit topics and was gracious to include a showcase for Overcoming Anxiety.

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Overcoming Anxiety Virtual Book Tour

As part of the eBook Launch Extravaganza for Overcoming Anxiety, there will be a huge discount on the book during the first 10 days after the release, and some extensive virtual touring. I will be doing the usual virtual touring activities  (guest posts, reviews, interviews, responding to comments) and look forward to interacting with many of my readers on these sites:

Here is the planned virtual blog tour so far for this nonfiction mental health book:

7/27         interview   Va Beach Publishing Examiner
7/28         excerpt      Book Reviews and Authors
7/28         spotlight      Fit4moms
7/28         review          My Bookish Life
7/28         guest post    Books Direct Online
7/29         review          The Dark Phantom
7/29         spotlight       KitnKaboodle
7/29         guest post     Literally Speaking
7/29         excerpt         Jamie Hope’s Journey
7/30         review           The Serious Reader
7/30         excerpt         Valley Girl Gone Country
7/30         review            Bound for Escape
7/30         interview         CA Milson’s Blog
7/31          interview        Julius Thom Novels
7/31          review            The Pink Lyme
8/1            review              Book Fidelity
8/2           interview         Book Adventures of Emily
8/3           interview       Virtual Book Club
8/4           review              Literary Meanderings
8/5           review               Crafty Mom Zen
8/5           guest post         What is That Book About?
8/6
8/7            review             Ogitchida Book Blog
8/8            interview          Literary Lunes
8/10          interview       The Writer’s Life
8/11           review             Curling Up By the Fire
8/12           review            My Life, Loves and Passion
8/13           guest blog      Mythical Books
8/17           review               Laura’s Interests
8/18           guest blog        Queen Of All She Reads
8/20          review             Our Family’s Adventure

PTSD Overdiagnosed in Soldiers?

No way.

An article in NY times tried to argue that PTSD in returning soldiers is really just lack of home support, because more are being diagnosed than actually saw enemy fire. Obviously misguided.

If you sit in a hostile foreign land where your companions are being killed, you do not have to be shot at to be traumatized. One client I had, for example, had PTSD from the Panama Canal zone even though he was never shot at. It was nevertheless disturbing on a daily basis, since his job was to go up and down the canal in the body barge collecting bodies. That picture in his head was still traumatic.

While it is true that in cultures where there is more affluence there is greater alienation and social supports are low for any problems one has, that does not account for these numbers. Some people get trauma from a car accident, or even seeing one. Should not up close and personal experience of war count as much as how many bullets one dodges? My definition of trauma is rather broad : any event(s) that exceed(s) your resources.

 

There are a few misdiagnoses, such as TBS being mistaken for PTSD. Not nearly so many as there were when the VA tried to mislabel for economic reasons..

Published in: on May 7, 2015 at 8:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Review: Snap Strategies for Couples, a Quick Read

As a psychologist I often read and sometimes review books about psychology and psychological interventions, so when I saw Snap Strategies For Couples by Lana Staheli and Pepper Schwartz, I was eager to get it. In part I was curious because there had not been any good book by a new author skilled in couples work in recent times. I was provided the Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of this book, which is currently in pre-release status, and will be available for sale to the public on April 21st, 2015.

The authors have both published before, and this is their first collaboration. Dr. Staheli is a coach, and Dr. Schwartz describes herself as a “relationship coach,”but she is best known as a sexologist and sociologist. Dr. Schwartz writes a column on sexuality for AARP, and a book she wrote earlier made the New York Times bestseller list. In Snap Strategies for Couples neither author give their specific credentials; however from the content of the book it is likely that they are both trained in the coaching area. As a consequence, some might find these ideas a little too simplistic. Yet the 40 brief interventions that the authors describe are consistent with the kinds of emphasis and scope that is often found in the coaching domain. As such, Snap Strategies is a useful and well written collection of simple straightforward things a couple can do to improve their relationship.

Each of the 40 topics is introduced and followed by two clinical anecdotes that illustrate the issue. Each of these brief 5-9 page chapters is then concluded by a prescribed solution offered by Drs. Staheli and Shwartz.  Many of these suggestions seem self-evident, as in the chapter on Snarky Comments. The authors point out that making snarky comments to your spouse can “poison the relationship,” and in the prescription, they say that recipient should first recognize that the snarky comments are hurtful, take them on, and then be specific in describing what is being said that is so hurtful. This is fairly typical of the level at which these discussions are presented. They are always straightforward and  simple, but nonetheless often useful. However, if you expect in depth or scholarly discussions of marital problems and their solutions, tied to research or to the known experts in the field, then the reader may be disappointed. The authors do have a chapter on the Languages of Love that credits and relies upon the 1995 book by Chapman.

I found some of these pithy interventions quite well crafted and helpful. For example, one solution to a tendency of one partner to be too critical is for the critic to focus instead on the good things that they would like to see increased, rather than on trying to  curb purportedly problematic areas.  Where this book is at it’s best, however, is in addressing sexual conflicts and problems. Dr. Schwartz has already made something of a name for herself in this arena, with writing as far back as 1970 in her topic area. Her expertise shines through in these chapters, mostly outlined towards the end of the book.

I give the book Snap Strategies for Couples 4 out if 5 stars, and this quick read, aimed at couples trying to breaks some bad habits and patterns, may help many couples navigate these conflicts and problems more smoothly.

Snap Strategies for Couples

40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Struggles

by  Lana Staheli and Pepper Schwartz

Seal Press

263 Pages

Release Date: April 21st, 2015

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review of Against Her Will by Peter Martin

Against Her Will is a debut novel by the author, and as such introduced me to an author of whom I will keep track. His book is a hybrid and includes a plot that at the beginning and end reads like a suspenseful thriller, with a breathtaking pace and twists, turns and a surprise ending. However the middle part Is not at all like this and focusses instead on a very adroit but much slower psychological profile of a woman dealing with the aftermath of rape.

The plot follows the protagonist Donna, from a rape she experiences on the way home from work, devolving further and further into a world of pain and isolation. Initially she attempts to stay with her boyfriend, but when that does not work, she moves in with her parents, and eventually to a care home, where recovery seems impossible. However she meets a male from the staff of the institution and moves in with his family. The ending of the film has a surprise twist, and this reviewer won’t give it away.

I am a clinical psychologist and have treated countless men and women who have dealt with the aftermath of trauma, and I can say that for a work of fiction this rings true enough, and the book seems to care deeply about the protagonist, and it gets the morass that Donna finds herself swimming through. While this section is well written, the suspenseful parts elsewhere in the book are better, and they show the promise of this new writer. Despite the problems with pacing, I highly recommend this book and will be eagerly to see what the author next has to offer.

Amazon Best Sellers

Published in: on December 28, 2014 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Aspergers Syndrome, Can we Save it?

Persons diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome learned recently that the psychiatric community in the USA has determined that this disorder is so much like Autism that it should be diagnosed instead as a mild form of Autism. While there has been some overlap and similarities in Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, I am one psychologist who would have prefered that the two be more clearly separated, an outcome almost diametrically opposite from the one chosen by American psychiatry in its DSM-5 version (due out later this year).

While there are some advantages for these children to be seen as Autistic (access to research funds, better access to society’s supportive programs), these are outweighed by the negatives. It is less likely that adult and adolescent children with Aspergers will want to be identified as autistic. More important than the greater likelihood of stigmatization, is the prospect that the etiology and treatment of Aspergers will become hopelessly muddled and confused. Understanding of the disorder will be set back decades as will treatment and diagnostic issues. So what can be done?

There is a realistic prospect that US Psychiatry will change this decision the next time around, if advocacy groups apply pressure, however that prospect would require a wait of several years. A better approach is for the various advocacy groups tied to the disorder to develop a new institutional groundwork- one in which the funding for research, education and all things nonmedical are addressed outside the purview of mental health, and away from the insurance industry. While therapy may still need to rely on the medical establishment, the ICD-10 still can be used, at least for the near future, to capture the correct diagnosis (F-84.5).

Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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New Mental Health Procedure Codes- Reimbursement Cuts

The mental health procedure codes used by insurance companies are being revised, and will be reimbursed at a different rate. While some codes stay the same, one of the changes that will lead to a cut in pay for most therapists, and a cut in service for most mental health patients, is the code for outpatient psychotherapy.

The old code of 90806 was used by most therapists and was reimbursed for the typical 50 or 55 minute therapy session. However the way the new codes are set up, if a 50 minute session is preauthorized (and that is the way blue cross and many other insurers do it), then you are expected to round down to 45 minutes, and that session is equivalent to the old 90804, paid at a much lower rate of reimbursement.

This is a hidden pay cut and service cut, for therapists and clients respectively. If therapist usually takes the whole hour (adding time at the end for record keeping), then the new rules will try to force them to do 45 minute session, (or donate the time) seeing three patients over a little over two hours, if they plan to make as much or more money as in the previous system, when they saw two patients in that time.

So far the actual reimbursement rates have yet to be published although they were due in November. Hopefully that will include an increase, but the projection is for a cut in reimbursement, when both are taken into account. I still make less from an insurance company now than I did in the 1980’s, and that is one reason many of my colleagues do not fool with insurance.

 

Published in: on November 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm  Comments (1)  
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Emily Dickenson

I think this quote can be helpful. It’s kind of the opposite of anxiety, don’t you think? Psychologists have long understood that we typically find what we look for.

Published in: on June 17, 2012 at 8:53 am  Comments (1)  
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More DSM-5 changes: Facebook or Droid Addiction?

The APA Diagnostic DSM-5  which is dues out next year, is likely going to result in a boom industry in addictions treatments.  It may even mean there will be a mental health diagnosis to accompany your Droid or Facebook  addiction.

The changes that are planned will generally relax the criteria to qualify for drug and alcohol  addiction while expanding the number of symptoms that will help qualify. 

In addition, gambling would be more easily diagnosed as an addiction. 

But the most interesting thing for all the Facebook, Twitter and Droid lovers is the new section on behavioral addictions.  What kind of behaviors are they meaning?  Can you think of any behaviors that more clearly seem to be addicted than online excesses?

Psychiatrists who are revising the manual have indicated that the broader language will be helpful in promoting accurate diagnoses,  and providing for earlier intervention and better outcomes.

They failed to add that it would likely pad their wallets, but I guess that goes without saying.

All that being said, I suspect that some people really could use some help with getting away from the their Droids especially. I wonder how bad the withdrawal symptoms would be? If everyone had a no cell phone day (or week?) organized online, would the homicide rates go up? Or the pregnancy rates? 

I wonder what the difference is between a workaholic and a geek?

April is Child Abuse Month

April is child abuse monthApril is child abuse month, so I wanted to give a shout out to all the children (often now grown) who have survived monstrously terrifying adult parental figures  and the families who failed to adequately protect them. If you made it this far, chances are you are a brave, creative and noble soul with a lot of personal resources going for you that helped you make it.

In case you don’t already know it, I want to be clear it was not your fault.

There are a lot of trained clinicians who know how to help you reclaim your life and piece together a solution that can transend the things that happened to you. If you can harness these experiences and build a better today the world will be a better place and you will be able to use your wisdom gained to help others find thier own best solutions.

David J Berndt

Phot credit: by Brean

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 8:54 am  Comments (1)