Nick Vetter 

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Counseling, Therapy, and Life Coaching

9659 Balboa Blvd, Northridge, CA 91325 - (818) 835-0779
$75 per 50 min session, accepted Ins : Blue Shield, Cigna, Optum
, Aetna

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Publications / Articles

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

What does it mean to have a healthy self-esteem?The reality is, having a healthy self-esteem means you like and appreciate yourself faults and all.

A good self-esteem can be the difference between being a happy, resilient individual, able to face life’s challenges head on, and someone who suffers from depression and anxiety and is often overwhelmed with life.

If you have struggled in the past with self-esteem issues, there are some things you can do to give it a much-needed boost:

FACE THE REAL
RealityMake a list of 10 of your strengths and 10 weaknesses. When you’re done making this list, you’ll see there are plenty of things you are really good at.

FORGET ABOUT PERFECTION
Perfection doesn’t exist. Focus your energy on achieving attainable goals like obtaining your degree and enjoying hobbies.If you would like to speak to someone about your self-esteem issues, I’d be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

Tips for Coping with Social Isolation
Humans are social creatures and we don’t do well in isolation. That’s exactly why state penitentiaries punish prisoners by putting them into solitary confinement. It causes them great mental anguish.

Many of us have felt like prisoners in solitary confinement over the last couple of months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. And many of us have been feeling our own mental anguish from this extended isolation.

Who knows how long this may go on? While none of us have control over what our governments do, we do have control over ourselves and our perceptions of the world. With this in mind, here are some tips for coping with social isolation, for however long it goes on.

Isolate Yourself from the Media
If you’re paying attention, it almost seems as if the media is trying to confuse us and cause panic more than report on actual news. Watching too much news doesn’t help anyone’s anxiety levels, so stay informed as best you can but don’t binge-watch.

Get Creative
Being isolated can get very boring very quickly so it’s important that you try and get creative with your time or getting your husband and kids to learn a new language with you. It could mean experimenting with an old recipe or making up a game with your kids. Just have fun and think outside the box!

Reconnect
Now is a great time to reconnect with friends and loved ones you haven’t spoken to in a while. And technology like Skype and Facetime makes it incredibly easy to chat with someone no matter where in the world they are.

Stay Active
A lot of the anxiety we may feel comes from the fact we aren’t moving our bodies as much as we usually do. It’s important to stay physically active during this time.

So get outside and get some sun. Go for a walk or ride your bike. Not only is exercise good for us physically, but physical activity releases endorphins that make us feel good mentally and emotionally as well.

Pray - Engage Spirituality
The world is a chaotic place right now and it seems we are being hit with noise and negativity from all sides. It’s important to make time each day for some quiet meditation in scripture reading and or prayer.

If you find that the social isolation is really beginning to trouble you and you’d like to speak with someone, please get in touch. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

SOURCES:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-and-recovery/202003/coping-isolation
https://psychcentral.com/blog/quarantine-quandaries-how-to-beat-the-hum-drum-of-isolation
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-ooze/201611/the-perils-social-isolation

4 Subtle Signs of Trauma: When You’re Dealing with More Than You Think
When you think about someone experiencing trauma, incidents such as a violent or sexual assault or a terrible car accident might come to mind. But there are other, subtler forms of trauma that can negatively affect our lives and hinder our relationships.

Emotional trauma is often overlooked and minimized, and we may think we’ve “gotten over” some emotional pain that we’ve simply buried, and not dealt with. A break up, being passed over for a promotion at work or even a simple but negative childhood experience can cause emotional trauma. Read on to see if you recognize any of these four subtle signs of trauma in yourself.

Overwhelmed
Anxiety and stress may develop in the aftermath of trauma, causing you to feel overwhelmed in numerous ways. You might feel out of control, like there is too much to do, or that people in your life are taking up too much of your time and attention. If you often feel as though your life has become unmanageable, this could be a sign that you have some unresolved emotional trauma.

Overreacting
Emotional overreactions are a common symptom of trauma. A victim of trauma might redirect their overwhelming emotions towards others, such as family and friends. Because these undealt with emotions are always bubbling under the surface, any incident that brings feelings forward can unleash these pent-up emotions.

If you can recall times when you’ve overreacted, and perhaps have even been surprised at your own reactions, this may be a sign of trauma.

Shame
It’s not uncommon for people suffering from emotional trauma to have feelings of shame and self-blame. If you have feelings of shame because of a traumatic event, you may devalue yourself or see yourself as weak. You might feel a stigma from what you endured, and this may prevent you from admitting that you may be traumatized, or prevent you from seeking help.

Daydreaming
Another subtle sign of trauma is “zoning” or “spacing out.” You might feel disconnected from others or have difficulty staying present in social situations. Emotional trauma can cause you to slow down internally, numbing your emotions or causing you to feel exhausted.

Because of the trauma you experienced, you may be averse to the expression of painful emotions, so you turn those emotions off. As you withdraw, your relationships with others suffer, causing you further psychological pain.

If these signs seem familiar and you believe you may be suffering from trauma, help is available. A caring, licensed professional trained in trauma treatment can help. Take the first step by giving me a call today, and let’s set up a time to talk.

How to Control Your Anger
Someone slides into the parking spot you had your eye on. A coworker takes credit for your work. Your spouse runs up $200 on the credit card without discussing it first. These are things that are apt to make you angry.
And that’s okay.

Anger is a natural response to many life events. Like other emotions, anger helps us understand our world and how we feel about it. When managed well, anger can provide a healthy release and be a motivator for transformation. But when we experience too much anger, to the point of becoming out of control, it can have lasting ramifications.

Our Brain on Anger
When anger reaches a very high level, our pre-frontal cortex, that is the part of the brain responsible for cognitive thought and reasoning, becomes hijacked. The amygdala, our primal emotional/instinctual part of the brain that induces the “fight or flight” response, takes over and we are no longer capable of rational thought.

When aroused to anger, our brains can no longer take in new information. This means if our partner or loved one is trying to talk sense into us and explain something, we CANNOT hear them.

All we are aware of is that we must defend ourselves as if our very life depends on it. We feel under extreme attack and are ready to fight back.

How to Control Your Anger
Now that you know how your brain responds, it’s time to learn some techniques to manage your extreme anger.

Take a Breather
You know that the hotter you get, the more your brain shuts down and becomes unable to process any information. There is no sense in you continuing to talk/argue with someone. Your best course of action is to put the fire out before it begins to rage by calling a time out and taking a breather.

Exercise
The body’s “fight or flight” response releases powerful hormones that are intended to help us fight or run. Without this physical release, they can linger in the body and cause health problems. Going for a walk, run or lifting weights can be a great way to burn through these hormones and release soothing endorphins.

Seek Out Counseling
Managing extreme anger can be very challenging, especially in the beginning. A mental health professional will be able to share coping strategies and techniques to control outbursts.

If you or someone you love has anger management issues and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

Do You Have PTSD?
PTSD is used to describe the anguish suffered by those who have experienced sudden trauma.Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) describes a condition that presents like PTSD, the difference being the sufferer experienced prolonged periods of abuse or neglect.

Symptoms of C-PTSD:
• The individual has experienced multiple traumas that have lasted for months (or even years) perhaps throughout one’s life.
• The individual had no control or power over the person or event traumatizing themSymptoms of C-PTSD
• Flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and nightmares• Avoiding people, places, and situations that remind them of the trauma.
• Dizziness or nausea when remembering the trauma.
• Hyperarousal and being startled by loud noises.
• Paranoia, mood swings, anger, acting out.
• A loss of trust in self or others.
• Difficulty sleeping and concentrating.

Treatment for C-PTSD
PsychotherapyTalk Therapy: debriefing, addressing feelings, and dealing with anxiety and flashbacks.MedicationIn severe cases, some individuals may need to be on medications for a while to reduce their anxiety.

How Infidelity Affects Mental Health
No one ever wants to be on the receiving end of romantic betrayal. The emotional pain of discovering that someone you love and trust has been cheating and lying to you can be overwhelming.

When you are the victim of massive deception and betrayal, it can leave you feeling sadness, confusion, resentment, and anger. Many victims also feel an increase in their anxiety and a decrease in their self-esteem. But infidelity doesn’t just affect our emotional health, it also affects our mental health.

In fact, many victims of infidelity experience the same symptoms that are linked to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), becoming totally disoriented and confused as to what has happened to them.

Some of the classic symptoms of PTSD often experienced by those whose partners have cheated on them are:

Looping intrusive thoughts

Inability to regulate emotions

Out of body experiences

Oscillating between feeling numb and rageful

Hyper alert (looking for new potential threats)

Feeling helpless and vulnerableConfusion and disorientation

Problems with memory and cognition

Lack of trust

If you have been the victim of infidelity, then know that you, like a soldier returning from war, have been psychologically injured and you require tender care to set you on the path back to you.

Healing from Infidelity

As devastating as it can be to learn that your significant other has betrayed you in such an intimate way, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can pick up the pieces of your life and find joy and comfort once again.

Here are some ways you can begin to heal after infidelity:

Be Gentle on Yourself

Don’t fall into the “I should have known…” trap. This is not your fault. Now is the time to be on your own side.

Breathe Deeply

Your emotions will be overwhelming for a little while. You will feel lost, anxious and panicky. When these feelings start to rise, STOP, take a slow deep breath and let it out. Take another one and another one. It is amazing how deep breathing can completely calm us almost instantly. Your breath will become your new best friend.

Seek Counseling

Remember, you’re not just healing from infidelity, you are healing from the PTSD that the infidelity caused. You will need some professional guidance to help you cope with the symptoms you are currently experiencing.

If you would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch with me. I would be happy to help you on your journey to becoming whole and happy once again.

3 Steps to Self-Compassion
“God, you can be so stupid sometimes.”
“Why would he be attracted to YOU?”
“You’re just going to screw this up.”

These are things you would probably never say to another human being unless you’re a real jerk. But how many of us have that inner critic that says these kinds of things all the time.

Most of us treat ourselves far more harshly than we would anyone else. And that’s a shame. In my experience, so much of the depression and anxiety my clients feel stems from a dysfunctional relationship they have with themselves.
But every day is a chance for you to develop a loving relationship with yourself. And the best way to do that is to practice self-compassion.

If that concept seems foreign to you or you are even uncomfortable with the idea of showing yourself compassion, then please keep reading to learn some simple but profound ways you can begin to practice self-compassion as a way to connect lovingly with yourself.

1. Become More Mindful of Your Feelings

Self-compassion is the pathway to emotional healing. But to begin, you must become more aware of your own emotions, especially as they relate to yourself.

Try to be more aware of when you are emotionally struggling with something. Perhaps you are feeling confused, desperate, or inadequate. Ordinarily, in these moments your inner critic may strike. But now, try and offer yourself kindness instead.

You may say something to yourself life, “I know you’re disappointed. And I also know you did your best. And I am so proud of you.”

If you are at a loss for the right words in these moments, simply talk to yourself as you would a friend, or better yet, a small child.

2. Monitor Yourself

Until you become used to being compassionate toward yourself, you’ll want to monitor the language you use. You are most likely so used to criticizing yourself that it will be far too easy for the wrong choice of words to come out. That’s okay. In these moments you certainly don’t want to scold yourself. Just be aware and make a compassionate correction.

3. Get Physical

There’s a phrase that says, “get out of your head and drop into your body.” This is a perfect way to begin the ritual of self-compassion.

Begin to use kind physical gestures with yourself. This could be gently stroking your cheeks and temples when you’re stressed, holding your hand over your heart when you’re sad, or holding your own hand when you feel lonely. Any physical gesture, so long as it’s loving, will help you show yourself true love and kindness in those moments.

For some people who have very low self-esteem, showing themselves compassion may prove to be incredibly difficult. In these cases, it’s a good idea to speak with a therapist who can help them uncover where the feelings stem from and how they can change their thoughts and behavior.

If you are interested in exploring treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to see how I may be able to help.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries
Relationships can only be healthy when both people have the space to be themselves and maintain their personal integrity. Sadly, many people find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people who do not respect boundaries and feel entitled to have their needs met regardless of the other person’s. These people most likely grew up in households that were unsafe and unstable, and where there was a constant invasion of personal boundaries.

If you can relate, chances are you have a hard time creating healthy boundaries to create the life experience you wish to have. Here are some ways you can begin to do so:

Identify Your Limits

You can’t set boundaries unless you discover where it is you personally stand. You’ll need to take a bit of time to recognize what you can and cannot tolerate. What makes you happy and what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Only until you have made these discoveries can you move on to the next steps.

Don’t Be Shy

People who have similar communication styles are easy to engage with. These people will quickly understand what your new barriers are. But people who have a different cultural background or personality may not easily understand your boundaries. With these people, it’s important to be very clear and direct.

Pay Attention to Your Feelings

People who have a hard time setting boundaries don’t often allow themselves to acknowledge their own feelings because they’re usually too busy worrying about everyone else’s.

You’ll need to start recognizing how people make you feel in order to know whether your new boundaries are being crossed or not. When you’re with someone, make mental notes, or even jot down in a journal how that interaction made you feel.

If, after spending time with someone, you feel anger or resentment, this is a sign that the person may be overstepping your boundaries. Reiterate to this person what your boundaries are. If they continue to disrespect you and them, you will want to cut yourself away from further interactions.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Put yourself and your needs first. This may feel strange and even somehow wrong if you’ve spent your entire life taking care of others. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and get what you need to feel happy and well.

Speak with Someone

If you’ve spent an entire life with a sense of low self-worth, you may find setting boundaries quite difficult. In this case, it’s important to speak with a therapist that can help you discover where these feelings are coming from and how to change your thought patterns and behavior.

If you’d like to explore therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to help you on your journey toward self-care.

The Best Medicine is a Treadmill: How Daily Exercise Can Treat Depression
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 9% of American adults live with depression. It’s also worth mentioning that a major depressive episode is the leading cause of disability for Americans between the ages of 15 and 44.

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat people with moderate or severe depression. And while these drugs do offer some relief, they often come with some pretty nasty side effects such as:

headaches

nausea

trouble sleeping

dizziness

diarrhea

weakness and fatigue

anxiety

stomach upset

dry mouth

sexual problems such as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or ejaculation problems

trouble urinating

fast heart rate

sweating

memory problems

fatigue

weight gain

That’s quite a list.

The obvious problem is these side effects can make someone who is depressed feel even worse. But there is some good news.

Exercise Helps Beat Depression NaturallyStudies on exercise and depression are conclusive: Not only does exercise treat depression, it can also prevent it. In fact, researchers from Duke University found exercise to be as effective as medicine.

Exercise not only increases blood flow to the brain, it also releases endorphins, which are the body’s own natural antidepressants. Exercise also releases other neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which lift mood.
The really good news is, it only takes moderate exercise three times a week to reap the antidepressant benefits. You don’t have to train for a marathon or a triathlon to feel better.

Here are a few exercise ideas to get you started:
Walk Your DogTake your dog(s) for a half hour walk around the neighborhood. Not only will your body release endorphins but your dog’s health will also benefit from routine exercise.

Go for a Bike RideFamily bike rides are a great way to bond and get a good workout at the same time. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor biking, a stationary bike is a good investment.

SwimSwimming is one of the absolute best total body exercises. As a bonus, the steady movements through water also has a naturally calming effect.

Walk at LunchGrab a few friends and/or colleagues on your lunch break and go for a half hour walk.

Exercise doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Whatever form you like, commit to doing that at least three times a week and see if you don’t start to feel better.
You may also want to speak with a therapist, who can help you navigate your emotions and offer tools for coping.

If you’d like to explore talk therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that results in repetitive behaviors, social interaction and communication challenges, as well as challenges with sensory processing. The word “spectrum” is aptly used to reflect that symptoms can vary greatly, from mild to severe, across different individuals.

In a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 59 U.S. children were identified as having ASD. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the sooner a child can be helped through treatment interventions.

ASD Symptoms

The symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder include:

  • Trouble with basic human communication. This can include a lack of responsiveness during social interactions, abnormal use of gestures, eye contact or facial expressions and a difficulty understanding relationships.
  • Repetitive behaviors and interests that can include specific movements or spoken phrases, a need for routine, intense interest in specific objects or topics, and either low or high levels of sensitivity to sensory environment (sights, sounds, smells).
  • Symptoms present early in childhood and cause “clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.”

Diagnosing ASD

As stated earlier, it’s important that ASD be diagnosed as early as possible to reduce the symptoms of autism and improve the child’s quality of life. There is no medical test for autism. Instead, diagnosis is based on observing the child. Trained professionals are usually able to diagnose autism by speaking with the child and asking questions of parents and other caregivers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for developmental disorders before the age of three. Under federal law, any child that is suspected of having a developmental disorder is able to get a free evaluation.

Here are some possible red flags for autism spectrum disorder that the Centers for Disease Control has identified:

  • Not reacting to his or her name by the age of 12 months.
  • Not acknowledging objects to show interest by 14 months.
  • Not playing “pretend” games by 18 months.
  • Isolating themselves and not making direct eye contact.
  • Getting upset by minor changes to routine.
  • Repetitive motions such as spinning in circles, rocking their body or flapping their hands.

If your infant or toddler has shown any of these symptoms and you have concerns about their development, it’s important that you bring them to your family physician for evaluation. If you are not satisfied with what the pediatrician is telling you in response to what you are observing in your child's behavior, you may want to get a 2nd opinion free of charge from the local Regional Center a state and federal agency that specializes in developmental disorders. They have a mandate to help your child with an army of specialists who are ready to work with your child. Their belief is that if they start working with your child while still an infant, then your child will have a better chance of being caught up in their cognitive and motor skills by the time they reach pre-school, kindergarten or elementary school. While there is no cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are different styles of behavioral therapy that can lesson symptoms and improve the child and their family’s quality of life.



SOURCES:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/autism/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder

https://psychcentral.com/autism/

4 Essential Relationship Elements of a Lasting Love

When we’re young, we’re taught how to share and play well with others. Somehow as adults, these early lessons don’t always translate into building and maintaining loving relationships.

But, it’s never too late to learn new life skills, and creating healthy relationships is one of the best skills you can have. The following are the essential relationship elements of a lasting love. If you can master these, you will set yourself up to experience a wonderful relationship for the rest of your life.

Create Trust and Mutual Respect

Even the most loving of relationships is going to be put to the test every once in a while. All couples experience ups and downs and the stress of every day life. The key is to not take that out on each other.

Create a safe environment in your relationship where each of you can speak honestly and freely. Never interrupt or yell or belittle the other person. Should things get too heated, step back, and wait until things cool off.

Don’t Judge

“For better or for worse.” If you’re married, those are the words you agreed to. If you’re not married, you still made a choice to partner with another human being who has flaws and quirks just like you.

It’s important to accept your partner and not judge them too harshly. This doesn’t mean you have to like everything they do, and it doesn’t mean you can’t remind them every once in awhile that they need to scoop the cat litter as well.

But it does mean that you should try and be as compassionate as possible. Compassion is the opposite of judgement and it allows you to be open and fully connect with the ones you love.

Make Time for Each Other

It’s far too easy to get busy and neglect the relationship. Many couples get to the point where they become more like roommates than a romantic couple. Don’t allow this to happen. Be sure to make time each week to check in with each other and reconnect.

Be Responsible for Your Feelings

No one can “fix us” or make us all better. We must heal ourselves from old wounds and scars (and we all have those!). Our partners should be there to support us in becoming whole, but ultimately it is our responsibility to heal, not theirs.

These guidelines can help you and your love stay a positive force in each other’s lives. But let’s face it, sometimes life can come at us and before we know it, the relationship is on the rocks. At times like these, it can be very helpful to speak with a couple’s therapist who can guide you through the rough patch and get you reconnected.

If you and your partner would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

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Stress Management

Everyone encounters stress during their lives at one point—never-ending bills, demanding schedules, work, and family responsibilities—and that can make stress seem inescapable and uncontrollable. Stress management skills are designed to help a person take control of their lifestyle, thoughts, and emotions and teach them healthy ways to cope with their problems.

Find the Cause

The first step in stress management is identifying your stressors. While this sounds fairly easy—it’s not hard to point to major changes or a lot of work piling up—chronic stress can be complicated, and most people don’t realize how their habits contribute to their stress. Maybe work piling up isn’t from the actual demands of your job, but more so from your procrastination. You have to claim responsibility for the role you play in creating your stress or you won’t be able to control it.

Strategies for Stress Management

Once you’ve found what causes your stress, focus on what you can control. Eliminate the realistic stressors and develop consistent de-stressing habits. Instead of watching TV or responding to texts in bed after work - take a walk, or read a book. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough quality sleep, will ease feelings of stress and help you relax.

Also, make a conscious effort to set aside time for yourself and for relaxation. Alone time can be whatever you need it to be. Some people like doing activities such as tai chi, yoga, or meditation, but you can also treat yourself to something simple, like taking a bubble bath, listening to music, or watching a funny movie. Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

Can Long-Term Isolation Lead to an Addiction?
We are living through some of the most stressful times in recent history. With the global pandemic raging on, many of us are still worried about our own health and the health of our loved ones, especially our older friends and family members.

Many of us have also been hit with financial burdens. Some have lost jobs and others have had to close their businesses. How will the mortgage and bills get paid?

To make an already bad situation worse, a lot of us are still experiencing lockdown and quarantine. Many are working from home for the first time and still, others are unable to travel and be with loved ones.

This has left a majority of people feeling alone and isolated when they are already feeling they are most vulnerable.

The Link between Isolation and Drug Use

During stressful circumstances, it is a natural tendency for people to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping. A study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology found there was a 25% increase in alcohol consumption in the weeks following 9/11.

The stress and isolation of the current pandemic are putting those people who are prone to addiction at great risk. Virtual cocktail hours are now officially a thing. But how many of those cocktail hours end when the computer is shut off?

Human beings are social creatures. When you take our ability to be social away, it can lead to depression and anxiety. Even people who have no history of addiction are at risk of developing a drinking or drug problem during the pandemic as a way of coping with social isolation.

When coping with stress, it can be hard to self-monitor our behaviors, but it is incredibly important for our overall health and well-being. If you suspect you have been drinking or using any drug more than you should at this time, it’s important to be honest about that.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Has cocktail hour started earlier or gone later than usual lately?
  • Does the bottle of wine that used to last 3 days barely last one night?
  • Do you ever feel like you SHOULD cut down on your drinking or other drug use?
  • Have you noticed you’re thinking about drinking or using drugs more and more?
  • Have loved ones commented on the amount you’ve been drinking?

It’s important that you are honest with yourself at this time. And if you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it’s important that you get some help.

Many treatment centers remain open during this time. You may also want to think about speaking with a mental health counselor. If in-person sessions are not available, find a provider who offers telehealth solutions. This means you can receive treatment online.

Times are tough for everyone right now. You are not alone. If you are turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress and isolation, please get the help you need.

SOURCES:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-recovery/202004/impacts-social-isolation-and-stress-problem-drinking
https://oceanbreezerecovery.org/treatment/loneliness-and-drugs/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuro-behavioral-betterment/202004/teletherapy-can-help-when-social-distancing-prevails

Anxiety and Depression?

When anxiety or depression interferes with daily activities it is termed a disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.

Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in and the feelings may interfere with daily activities. It is a treatable illness. 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depressive disorder.

It's a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety.

But when anxiety is persistent, and excessive, it can be disabling.

The term "anxiety disorder" refers psychiatric disorders that may include the following: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias that may include one or more of the following:.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time as depression.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also called IBS, is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

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Depression and Anxiety

Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women and tends to display differently in women than in men.

People tend to suffer higher rates of depression after giving birth and in late fall. Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.

Depression is a mental illness which is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:

● Apathy

● Sadness

● Guilt

● Exhaustion

● Irritability

Diagnosing depression involves a psychiatric evaluation and physical tests to determine whether a person’s symptoms are actually being caused by a different disorder. A person must have been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression. Every case is unique and requires individual attention, but there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression, including:

● Talk therapy

● Medication

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5 Tips for Safely Navigating the Non-Exclusive' Dating World

Being out in the dating world can be an exciting experience. There are moments of fun and laughter, as well as awkwardness and disappointment. All the while, you anticipate finding chemistry and a connection with someone. If you're dating and looking just for fun and friendships, you're going to be meeting lots of people. Keep your dating adventures as safe as they are varied by following these five tips for safely navigating the non-exclusive dating scene.

1. Separate Phone and EmailIt's not a good policy to give your cell phone number out right away. Get a Google voice number instead, so you don't have to share your real phone number. It also helps to have a separate email that's just for dating. When you create a new email address, make sure to keep your name out of it.

2. Safeguard Your Social MediaA quick search of your number, email and sometimes even just your name and general location can lead someone directly to your social media. Check your privacy settings and lock down all of your social media from prying eyes. If your casual relationship goes south, the last thing you want is someone you don't want to hear from having easy access to you.

3. Maintain Your PrivacyDon't share your last name with anyone until you've built trust. Even if your name is common, someone can search for you on the internet and find you simply by knowing a few details about you. You should also never let someone pick you up where you live.

4. Have A Friend Check InMake sure to tell someone whenyou're going out to meet someone new. Ask a friend to call or text to check up on you and make sure everything is okay. This can also be a great way to duck out if your date isn't going so well.

5. Go Somewhere DifferentWhen you're setting up your date, make sure you meet in a public place. Arrive separately so you don't have to rely on anyone for a ride. Not only is it more safe, but you can leave whenever you want. When you're choosing a locale for your date, don't take them to your favorite hangouts; instead, take them somewhere different. Not only will it be more fun to check out new spots, but you're less likely to run into them if you've broken things off.

Are you searching for a relationship and need help navigating the single life? A qualified mental health professional can help. Call me today and let's set up a time to talk.

Fighting Loneliness During Quarantine

Not many of us have ever experienced the kind of isolation that this COVID-19 pandemic has brought about. While quarantine for some has been a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of life and a chance to spend more quality time with the family, for others it has been an incredibly lonely experience away from coworkers, friends, and those they love and need most.

In addition, and to make matters worse, loneliness can make managing stress more difficult. And let’s be honest, we are all surrounded by stress these days from worrying about when the world will open up again, when we can start working and earning a living and when life will get back to normal.

Fighting Loneliness in Healthy Ways
Sadly, during times like these, many people turn to alcohol and other substances as a way to cope with stress and loneliness. But there are healthier ways you can fight it.

Plan to Stay Connected
During this time it’s important to create a plan to safely stay in regular contact with family and friends. If you are an older person, be sure to confirm who you can reach out to if you need help getting food, medications, and other supplies.

Leverage Technology
While many of us still cannot be in the same space as our loved ones, we are very lucky we live in a time when phones and digital technology can help us all stay connected. Be sure to schedule regular phone calls and online video chats using apps like Skype or FaceTime.

Get in Touch with Old Friends
Most of us, at some point in our life, lose touch with friends and acquaintances we once shared our lives with. Now is the perfect time to reconnect. And social media makes it very easy to find someone you may have lost contact with years ago.

Seek Help
During this pandemic, many counselors and therapists are helping clients via telehealth services. This means instead of going into a therapist’s office, you can speak to them on the phone or over a video conference. A therapist can help you navigate this forced isolation and offer coping strategies to get you through.

If you or someone you love is having a difficult time dealing with loneliness right now, please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

SOURCES:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/heres-what-loneliness-can-do-to-you-during-covid-19/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/empowered-relief/202003/the-covid-19-wellness-and-coping-toolkit
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-resilience/202004/how-help-older-adults-fight-loneliness-during-covid-19
https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/coronavirus-social-isolation-loneliness.html

How to Practice Self-Compassion

Most of us from a young age are taught how to be kind, considerate and compassionate toward others. But rarely are we told to show the same consideration to ourselves. This becomes even more true for individuals brought up in abusive or unloving homes.

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is taken from Buddhist psychology and refers to how we can relate to the self with kindness. Self-compassion or self-love is NOT to be confused with arrogance or selfishness. In actuality, arrogance and selfishness stem from the absence of self-love.

But what does it really mean to be kind with ourselves? It means that on a day-to-day basis we are mindful of being courteous, supportive and compassionate with ourselves. Too many individuals treat themselves with harsh judgement instead of compassion.

Why is this important? Because self-compassion helps us recognize our unconditional worth and value. It allows us to recognize though we my sometimes make bad decisions, we’re not bad people.

Research, over the past decade, has shown the parallel between self care and psychological wellbeing. Those who recognize self-compassion also tend to have better connections with others, are reportedly happier with their own lives, and have a higher satisfaction with life overall. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety and depression.

Now that you know the what and why of self-compassion, let’s look at the how.

How to Practice Self-Compassion
Treat Yourself as You Would a Small Child

You would never harshly judge or belittle a small child the way you do yourself. You would only want to help and love that child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a small child, you begin to show yourself the same love, gentleness and kindness.

Practice Mindfulness

Every minute your mind is handling millions of bits of information, though you consciously are only aware of a few of them. This is to say we all have scripts or programs running in our minds 24/7. These scripts and programs are running our lives, insisting we have certain behaviors and make certain decisions.

Some of these scripts are the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are. They’ve been running since we were kids. The way to quiet these scripts is to become more mindful of your own mind.

When you begin to have a feeling or reaction to something, stop and ask yourself WHO is feeling that? Is it the compassionate self or the program running? If it’s the program, thank the program for what it has done and release it.

Good Will vs Good Feelings

Self-compassion is a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves; it’s not a way to alleviate emotional pain. Life happens, and we can’t always avoid negative or sad feelings. Never mistake self-compassion as a tool to ignore your deep and rich emotional life.

These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you’d like to explore more options or talk to someone about your feelings of self-rejection and judgement, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to discuss how cognitive therapy may help.

Tips to Manage Anger Around Your Family During the Holidays

For many of us, spending time with family can be a grab bag of emotions. While you may feel love and familiarity, there’s also decades-long dynamics between you and your family members that may not be the most healthy. Your family might treat you like the teenager they remember, and you might revert to that role when you’re around your family without even realizing it.

There could be many things that make spending time with family a challenge. Old family conflicts, harbored resentments, and spoken or unspoken disagreements can make you dread seeing them again. If you have trouble managing your anger when you’re around your family, read on for some tips on how to keep your cool.
 
Define How You Experience Anger

People experience anger differently. Some might get more aggressive, some might withdraw, and some internalize the anger. By being aware of how you experience anger, you can better recognize when that emotion is starting to develop inside you so you can take control of how you respond.

Rehearse Responses
It’s very common for family to ask intrusive or inappropriate questions. You might have a busybody aunt who always asks about your relationships, or maybe your sister is constantly bugging you about starting a family. Come prepared with rehearsed responses so you won’t be caught off guard.

Set Boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries with family. If a family member is aggressive or rude to you, or is always making you the butt of their jokes, your silence acts as approval of their behavior. Because you don’t protest, they think what they’re saying or doing is fine with you. Furthermore, pretending their bad behavior is acceptable only gives them more room to continue the bad behavior, or to get worse. Set boundaries with family and let them know when things they’re saying or doing is not okay with you.

Cut the Visit Short
Sometimes the best option to keep the family peace (and your sanity) is to spend less time. If your family tends to have snacks or drinks before dinner, show up just in time to join the family for dinner at the table. You can also opt to skip dessert or coffee and leave a bit early.

Family relationships are complex and deep-rooted, and family are often the ones who know best how to push your buttons. While managing your anger can be challenging, learning to maintain control over your emotions is a healthy act of self-love. It will not only keep you sane, but it will keep your family relationships unharmed and intact.

If you’re having difficulty navigating complicated family relationships, a licensed therapist can help. Give my office a call today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

Anxiety and Depression?

When anxiety or depression interferes with daily activities it is termed a disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.

Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in and the feelings may interfere with daily activities. It is a treatable illness. 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depressive disorder.

It's a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety.

But when anxiety is persistent, and excessive, it can be disabling.

The term "anxiety disorder" refers psychiatric disorders that may include the following: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias that may include one or more of the following:.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time as depression.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also called IBS, is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

seasons

Serving Adult Individuals and Couples   

Providing support for relational and emotional wellness 

In the seasons of your life and the lives of those you love.

Nick Vetter Counseling, Therapy, and life Coaching
9659 Balboa Blvd.
Northridge, , CA 91324
United States
ph: 818-835-0779