Tag: mental health

3 Tips to Live a Balanced Life

Finding balance can often feel like an elusive goal. Juggling work, family, social commitments, and personal pursuits can leave us feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin. However, it is essential to prioritize our well-being and strive for a balanced life. Here are 3 tips to live a balanced life.

Set Priorities and Manage Your Time Wisely.

One of the key elements in achieving balance is setting clear priorities and managing your time effectively. Start by identifying the areas of your life that hold the most significance to you. Is it your career, relationships, health, or personal growth? Once you have determined your priorities, allocate your time accordingly.

Create a schedule or use a planner to organize your days, weeks, and months. Set aside dedicated time for your work, family, self-care, hobbies, and relaxation. Learn to say no to commitments that do not align with your priorities. Remember that balance is about making conscious choices and creating boundaries to ensure you have time and energy for the things that truly matter.

Nurture Your Mind, Body, and Soul.

Living a balanced life involves taking care of your overall well-being. Nurturing your mind, body, and soul is crucial for maintaining balance and harmony. Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine.

Take care of your physical health by engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. Prioritize activities that promote mental well-being, such as meditation, journaling, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. Set aside time for relaxation and rejuvenation, whether it’s through reading, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness.

Don’t forget to nourish your relationships and social connections. Carve out time to spend with loved ones, whether it’s having meaningful conversations, sharing meals, or engaging in activities together. Building and maintaining healthy relationships is an essential aspect of a balanced life.

Practice Mindfulness and Embrace the Present Moment.

Living in the present moment is a powerful tool for finding balance and contentment. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It helps us slow down, appreciate the little things, and find joy in everyday experiences.

Practice mindfulness by being fully present in whatever you are doing. Whether it’s having a conversation, eating a meal, or engaging in a task, give it your undivided attention. Slow down and savor the present moment. Take breaks throughout the day to pause, breathe, and check in with yourself.

Embrace gratitude as a daily practice. Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Cultivating gratitude shifts your focus to the positive aspects of your life and helps you appreciate the abundance around you.

3 Tips to Live a Balanced Life are simple and effective.

Living a balanced life is a continuous journey that requires conscious effort and commitment. By setting priorities, managing your time wisely, nurturing your mind, body, and soul, and practicing mindfulness, you can create a more harmonious and fulfilling life. Remember that balance looks different for everyone, so be kind to yourself and find what works best for you. Strive for progress, not perfection, and embrace the beauty of living a life in balance.

Mental Health IOP

Mental Health IOP treatment

Mental health is a topic of growing concern in today’s fast-paced and stressful world. For individuals facing mental health challenges, seeking professional help is crucial. One valuable treatment option that has gained recognition is the Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). 

Understanding IOP

The Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a structured and comprehensive treatment approach that provides a middle ground between inpatient care and traditional outpatient therapy. IOP offers individuals experiencing mental health issues a supportive and therapeutic environment without the need for a full-time hospital stay.

Program Components and Modalities

An IOP typically involves a combination of group therapy, individual counseling, and psychiatric evaluations. Through evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mindfulness practices, participants develop coping mechanisms, acquire life skills, and gain insights into their conditions. The IOP also emphasizes psychoeducation, offering information on mental health, self-care, and relapse prevention.

Benefits of IOP

  1. Flexibility: Unlike inpatient treatment, IOP allows individuals to maintain their daily routines, work, and family responsibilities while receiving treatment during scheduled sessions. This flexibility helps minimize disruptions and promotes a smoother transition back into daily life.
  2. Supportive Community: The group therapy aspect of IOP fosters a sense of belonging and support. Participants gain reassurance by connecting with others who share similar struggles, reducing feelings of isolation and stigma.
  3. Holistic Approach: IOP addresses mental health from various angles, considering not only the individual’s psychological well-being but also their physical, emotional, and social aspects. This comprehensive approach enhances the chances of long-term recovery.
  4. Transition Support: For individuals transitioning from inpatient care or those who need additional support after traditional outpatient therapy, IOP provides a bridge to ensure continuity of care. It serves as a stepping stone toward independent management of mental health.

The Importance of Mental Health IOP

Mental Health IOP plays a vital role in the overall treatment landscape, providing a robust option for those who require more intensive care than traditional outpatient therapy but do not need inpatient treatment. By filling this gap, IOP helps prevent relapses, reduce hospital readmissions, and empower individuals to take charge of their mental health journey.

Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) offer a lifeline to individuals navigating the complex terrain of mental health challenges. With their flexible nature, comprehensive approach, and emphasis on community support, IOPs contribute significantly to long-term recovery and healing. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns, consider exploring the potential benefits of an IOP as part of the treatment plan. Remember, seeking help is the first step towards reclaiming wellness and leading a fulfilling life.

Why Online Therapy May Not Be Enough

Why Online Therapy May Not Be Enough for Mental Health Care

In an increasingly digital world, online therapy has become a popular option for accessing mental health support. While it offers convenience and accessibility, it is important to recognize its limitations. This blog explores the reasons why online therapy may not always be sufficient for comprehensive mental health care, highlighting the importance of in-person interactions and alternative treatment modalities.

The Human Connection

One of the significant limitations of online therapy is the absence of in-person interactions. The therapeutic alliance, built on trust and rapport, can be more challenging to establish and maintain through a screen. Nonverbal cues and subtle nuances in communication may be missed, impacting the depth and quality of therapeutic interactions. The physical presence of a therapist can provide a sense of comfort, safety, and emotional support that may be difficult to replicate virtually.

Limited Scope of Online Platforms

Online therapy platforms often focus on providing short-term interventions and support for specific mental health concerns. However, mental health is a multifaceted aspect of overall well-being that may require more comprehensive and tailored treatment. In-person therapy allows for a deeper exploration of underlying issues, extended sessions, and a more flexible and personalized approach to therapy that may be challenging to achieve within the constraints of online platforms.

Lack of Accessibility and Technical Challenges

While online therapy improves accessibility for some individuals, it may not be equally accessible to all. Limited internet access, technical difficulties, and privacy concerns can pose barriers to effective engagement in online therapy. Moreover, individuals with severe mental health conditions or complex needs may require more intensive and specialized care that can be better provided in a face-to-face setting with additional support and resources.

The Importance of Alternative Treatment Modalities

Recognizing the limitations of online therapy, it is crucial to explore alternative treatment modalities. In-person therapy offers a therapeutic space that is immersive, confidential, and conducive to introspection and healing. Group therapy, support groups, experiential therapies, and community-based programs provide opportunities for social connection, shared experiences, and personal growth that may be difficult to replicate in an online setting.

Why Online Therapy May Not Be Enough for Mental Health Care

While online therapy offers convenience and accessibility, it cannot fully replace the benefits and nuances of in-person therapy. A blended approach that combines both online and in-person interactions, along with alternative treatment modalities, can provide a more comprehensive and holistic approach to mental health care, ensuring individuals receive the support they need for their well-being.

In-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me?

In-person versus online therapy 

Many people have wondered, what is the difference between in-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me? The popularity of online therapy has grown significantly as an increase in online therapy options have become more readily available. More and more people are seeking online help and utilizing virtual sessions for mental health. While there are a number of benefits to virtual care, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, many people benefit more from live, in-person treatment options. Part of the appeal of online therapy is that it offers convenience and accessibility. Convenience may not lead people to the outcomes they are looking to achieve and there are instances where in-person therapy may be a better option. Here are some considerations where in-person therapy may be a more appropriate option than online therapy.

Seeking help for a mental health condition

If you are seeking help for a mental health condition, such as addiction, bipolar disorder, anxiety or depression, in-person therapy is a better option. These conditions require structure, close monitoring, and face-to-face support. Learning to manage these issues in-person therapy helps to effectively detect any worsening symptoms during the course of treatment. Symptoms are often indicated by a person’s body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. This level of observation is difficult to achieve through online therapy. Additionally, for those who are struggling with certain issues, spending too much time at home or looking at screens may be tied to the problem faced.

Benefits of in-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me?

Asking yourself the question is in-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me can be overwhelming. An advantage of in-person therapy is there is a greater opportunity to develop a more meaningful and interactive therapeutic relationship with your therapist or clinician. The therapeutic relationship is essential to the healing process and allows for direct feedback and deeper exploration, which can be limited in some of the available online options. Additionally, technology can pose a number of issues, such as poor internet connection, lack of privacy and other technological challenges.

With online therapy on the rise, accessibility has increased for some and many individuals are seeking help for mental health issues virtually. However, it is important to consider the benefits and disadvantages of online therapy when compared to in-person therapy options based on your individual needs. As always, asking for help is the first step to improving your mental health. Consult with your provider to identify the option that works best for you.

What is CBT?

By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
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CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) was first put into practice by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960’s and has in the ensuing years become an industry standard for evidenced-based care in mental health and addiction treatment. It traces its philosophical roots to a marriage of Greek Stoicism and Eastern mindfulness practices. Stoicism teaches us to essentially challenge our negative, maladaptive or unrealistic thoughts and perceptions of the world around us as a way of living. It is about finding objective truths.  Mindfulness practices teach us to be able to examine our own thoughts and to take them with a grain of salt. The idea behind CBT is that when you are able to reframe these problematic thoughts, you can then move into changing behavior that is not serving you.

CAST Centers recently hosted an in-service for our staff with Dr. Joel Becker, Ph.D who studied with Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1970’s in Boston after completing his training at Harvard. He now heads the Cognitive Behavior Associates practice here in Beverly Hills. He has been a leader in CBT since just after its inception. He now spends time working with SGM (sexual and gender minority) clients, in addition to teaching at UCLA in the Department of Psychology and the Geffen School of Medicine, precepting and seeing clients at Cognitive Behavior Associates.

CBT was originally developed with the hope of treating major depression. Over the years it has evolved to include many variations that treat everything from substance use disorders to OCD and anxiety. Offshoots of CBT include the very popular DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) which is primarily used in the treatment of personality disorders like borderline personality disorder. There is also mindfulness CBT, compassion-based CBT among many others, all sharing the same goal but aim to achieve it with slightly different approaches.

Mindfulness is seen across the board in all of the various offshoots of CBT. Mindfulness training teaches us to sort of detach ourselves from our thoughts (or cognitions, hence the word cognitive in CBT) instead of immediately reacting to them or even accepting them as necessarily true. In the recovery world, this is called “the pause.” It is a practice that lessens our reactivity to our thoughts and beliefs. For example, just because I have a negative thought towards my partner does not mean that it is true, or that I am a jerk for thinking it. It is just a thought, and I do not need to act on it. I can pause and ask myself if this thought is true, helpful, or in alignment with how I truly feel when I am coming from a more authentic and relaxed place. Or just because I think of using drugs, or engaging in self-harm does not mean I have to do it.

At its core, CBT is about examining root causes of negative thoughts and then building up towards taking contrary actions and setting goals as a team with the therapist. Over time, and with enough practice, we literally rewire our brains to act more in alignment with what we really want, and to make it second nature to do so. CBT is not the traditional open-ended talk therapy model that most of us think of when we think of therapy. Sitting in a room rehashing our childhoods over and over again with vague insights. It is about action, and implementing new tools into our daily lives. One of the things that sets CAST apart from most treatment centers is that we are very action-oriented. While we believe it is important to address underlying issues, we encourage and support our clients as they decide what kind of life they want for themselves. That is what our programs are all about: helping our clients dig deep and figure out exactly what they want out of life at their core so that they can begin building a life that is theirs and worth fighting for.

CAST Centers recently hosted an in-service for our staff with CBT pioneer, Dr. Joel Becker, Ph.D.

Life as it is

by Camila B., CAST Centers Alumni

“Life as it is” — the celebrated phrase of Nelson Rodrigues leads us to a constant reflection of the world, of society and of ourselves. This constant search for self-knowledge and life purpose made me think about how we perceive the world and how we find ourselves in it.

We see life through lenses that, throughout our trajectory, have been shaped by our experiences. There are values, addictions, forces and points of development that form our perception. Through these lenses, I used to see a gray world. I’ve always had what I needed, both materially and emotionally. However, I lacked understanding in mental health and life has decided to teach me and wake me up in a brutal way to that matter.

During that process, I have learned that sharing experiences makes the journey smoother. In this way, I began to share through lectures with university and high school students about “Wellbeing and Mental Health“, my experience and knowledge that I had acquired from an experience with a disease as silent as depression.

I was invited to participate as a guest speaker to the “Valorização da vida” (Valuing Life) project here in Brazil, which seeks to open a dialogue with students about interpersonal relationships, values, bullying and mental health. Several role-playing activities and group discussions are proposed to the students, so as to develop in them a critical sense of humanistic education. The project has also been offered to elementary school students (final years) and has been a success. Our students have been empowered to help others and to understand that accepting help is fundamental to our evolution.

A Delicate Balance

Director of Admissions, Robert Lien, MHA was interviewed about his role in the client journey towards recovery. Read an short excerpt below:

“Healthcare administration, in my experience, has been a delicate balance of patient safety and staff safety. The screening process allows us to gather information regarding the patient’s current medical and mental health status. This helps us evaluate a level of care recommendation that will determine the cost for services.”

Read the entire article on the Rasmussen College blog.

Biggest Mainstream Mental Health Movement of 2018

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What is Deipnophobia?

Earlier this month, our very own Dr. Cecelia Mylett was quoted in Women’s Health Magazine on the topic of deipnophobia.  It is not a word or a phobia we hear too often, even in a professional clinical setting.  However, just because we do not hear about, does not mean the phenomena does not exist.  What is deipnophobia?  What is its association with other phobias?

Defining the Undefined

The DSM-5 provides clinicians the criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. Mental disorders have a range running from substance use disorder to depression, from anxiety to PTSD. However, the DSM-5 does not describe deipnophobia specifically.  

What people are describing in the term deipnophobia is the fear of dining or dinner conversations.  So, if it is not explicitly defined in the DSM-5, how does one diagnose or describe deipnophobia?  

Using the DSM-5, deipnophobia would be classified broadly under Anxiety Disorders.  More specifically, the differential diagnosis may either be Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) or Specific Phobia.  If the situation is feared because of negative evaluation by others, it would be considered a Social Anxiety Disorder.  Otherwise, deipnophobia would be a related to a Specific Phobia.

Symptoms and Manifestations

Symptoms appear consistent with anxiety symptoms, which include avoiding the situation, fearfulness of being criticized, embarrassment, racing heart, sweating, nausea, and feeling trapped, to name a few.

Although deipnophobia is associated with dinner, mealtime, or eating, it is not the actually eating that is the phobia.  Rather it is the fear associated with social interactions during mealtime.  Individuals experiencing this type of specific fear may intentionally avoid dinner or other mealtime social gathering altogether.  

Managing Deipnophobia

Embrace your deipnophobia, don’t ignore it.  It is your brain’s response to a perceived threat, which is the flight or fight response.  But when you embrace it, focus your thoughts to the “present”.  You can say to yourself, “I’m okay right now, in this moment, I am okay.”  Take a deep breathe, pause, and exhale.  

Shift your focus to the present moment.  Focus on what is going well, such as “the food great.” We all have anxious feelings.  Decide what is a real threat, or a perceived threat, and move forward.

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