Category Archives: therapy

Factors That Affect University Student Mental Health

Are You A Portland State University Student in Need of Counseling?

Mental health factors affecting Portland State University students.The study did not identify a specific causal link between certain graduate school experiences and mental health concerns. Yet it did identify some common challenges students face. Fifty-six percent of students with anxiety said they did not have a good work-life balance. Among students with depression, 55% said the same.

Half of students with anxiety or depression reported a lack of guidance. They said their advisor or principal investigator did not offer “real” mentorship. The study adds that many universities don’t offer career development programs.

The study’s authors caution that their research may overestimate the prevalence of mental health concerns among graduate students. People experiencing mental health concerns might have been more inclined to respond to the survey.

Even so, other research supports the notion that graduate and professional school students face high rates of mental health concerns. A 2016 study found high rates of depression among medical school students. In that survey, 27% of respondents reported clinically significant depression symptoms. Eleven percent reported suicidal thoughts. If you are a University student and are looking for counseling in the Portland area, contact me to make an appointment.

References:

Depression, anxiety high in graduate students, survey shows. (2018, March 6). UT Health Newsroom. Retrieved from https://news.uthscsa.edu/depression-anxiety-high-graduate-students-survey-shows

Graduate students need more mental health support, new study highlights. (2018, March 6). Science. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2018/03/graduate-students-need-more-mental-health-support-new-study-highlights

Courtesy of Good Therapy.

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University Graduate Students Counseling Help

Are You a Graduate Student? Feeling Stressed? Counseling Can Help!

With greater access to treatment, more people find they can take on the monumental venture of earning a degree. Yet once they are in school, their risk of mental health problems increases. Graduate students in particular may struggle to manage school, finances, and self-care. The combined stress can be devastating to mental well-being.

Counseling can help graduate Portland State University students.The American Psychological Association says the need for mental health care on campuses is increasing. A 2015-2016 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health surveyed college counseling centers across America. The report showed an increase in student hospitalization, medication use, and suicide. More than 55% of the centers saw increases in salary budgets to meet demands for care. But some clinics still face challenges in meeting students’ needs. They may have limited hours of service or high costs of care.

Meanwhile, almost a third of PhD candidates may be at risk for mental health concerns. Around 34% of graduate students may already experience moderate to severe depression.

Researchers continue to study the specific differences between undergraduate and graduate students’ health. Further surveys may determine how to improve psychological care for each population. The goal is to promote mental well-being in colleges and universities.

RISK FACTORS FOR MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS IN GRAD SCHOOL

Some populations are more at risk of developing mental health concerns. As the population of graduate students grows more diverse, so do mental health needs. Minority and international students may need help with multicultural issues. LGBTQ+ students can also face discrimination.

These populations can benefit from seeking mental health treatment on campus. Yet not all students may feel represented at their school’s counseling center. Around 71% of counseling center staff members are white. The number of openly LGBTQ+ counselors is limited. Counseling centers could better serve minority students by hiring more diverse staff.

Another risk factor is academic performance. Students who feel they are behind in their classes are more likely to report stress and anxiety. The Graduate Assembly of University of California, Berkeley rates academic performance as one of the top three predictors of depression in graduate students.

Yet catching up may be easier said than done. Many graduate students have responsibilities outside school such as childcare or employment. In a 2014 survey, graduate students cited job outlook, financial stress, loneliness, and alienation from mentors as contributing factors to depression and negative well-being.

Graduate students can help improve mental health outcomes by learning what signs to watch for. Any of the following symptoms may indicate a larger mental health concern:

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Panic attacks
  • A dependence on drugs or alcohol
  • Inability to complete daily tasks
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

HOW GRAD STUDENTS CAN USE COUNSELING CENTERS

Psychological care addresses diagnoses that affect students as well as the general population. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals cope with anger or anxiety. Acceptance and commitment therapy can help busy students focus on their priorities.

Counseling centers can also introduce students to alternative treatments to complement traditional therapies. Some therapists might assign internet-based worksheets to help reprogram harmful thoughts. Others may direct students to mindfulness practices like yoga.

Treatment can be especially helpful for students whose diagnoses impact learning. When a survey asked students if campus counseling services helped with their academic performance, over 70% answered positively. These results suggest counseling can help both mental health concerns and academic issues.

PREVENTING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DURING GRAD SCHOOL

Self-care practices like sleep and exercise can promote more positive mental health outcomes. Students who limit their schedules and have a social life have less risk for burnout. Experts encourage students to find a therapist before their symptoms become overwhelming.

There are several ways graduate schools can reduce students’ risks of mental health concerns. Schools can accommodate students’ schedules, aid their career preparations, and improve campus mental health care. Schools can also help by educating students about time management and self-care. Close mentorship is also linked to improved mental health and academic outcomes. Academic advisors are particularly helpful for international students.

Graduate students are a population with unique mental health needs. If schools improve their campus mental health care, they can not only lower the rate of mental health concerns, but also promote academic success. Mental health care on campus can improve all aspects of graduate student life.

LIFELINES AND FURTHER RESOURCES

Jed Foundation is an advocacy group for teen and young adult mental health. Students can find information about their legal rights related to mental health.

The National Grad Crisis Line provides suicide prevention services specifically for graduate students. Individuals can reach the hotline by calling 1-877-GRAD-HLP (1-877-472-3457). People studying abroad can access the hotline through a Skype number.

ULifeline.org is a service of the Jed Foundation. It offers self-assessment tools to evaluate mental wellness and suitability for counseling. There are also resources for those who need immediate help.

American Psychological Association has an online section of articles especially for graduate students. Helpful pages include self-care tips and advice for seeking mentorship.

If you’re a graduate student or student of Portland State University, I can help with local counseling. Make an appointment today for more information.

Courtesy of Good Therapy.

 

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Regret About One’s Ideal Self Often Hurts the Most

A Counselor Can Help One Cope With Regret

Regret of the ideal self study in counseling.

Regret can be painful, even debilitating. People plagued by regret may feel guilt or shame about what could have been. They can even develop symptoms of depression or anxiety. Yet regret in life is inevitable. No one is able to live up to every goal they set.

A new study published in the journal of Emotion explores the psychological underpinnings of regret. Researchers found regret stings the most when people fail to live up to their idealized selves. Regret about duties and obligations is less painful. Although regret about one’s idealized self is often more painful, participants were less likely to take proactive steps to live up to idealized versions of themselves.

Understanding Regret

The research used six studies to survey hundreds of participants about their feelings of regret. The study draws upon the notion that there are three components of a person’s self: the actual self, the ideal self, and the ought self.

The actual self is who a person believes they are.

The ideal self is who a person wishes they were. The ideal self includes dreams for the future and goals for living up to values. It also includes traits a person wishes they had.

The ought self is who a person thinks they should be. The ought self is more focused on obligations, such as holding down a job. Regrets involve failures to live up to these duties.

Researchers asked participants what kind of regrets they had most often. Most participants (72%) listed regrets about their ideal self. Only 28% of people listed regrets about their ought self. When people were asked to name their biggest regret in life, 76% mentioned a regret about their ideal selves.

This finding suggests regrets about the ideal self may be more painful. They may also be more likely to contribute to an overall feeling of regret.

Preventing Regret

The study also found people are more likely to take steps to correct regrets related to their ought self than to their ideal self. This trend may be because ought-self regrets often involve explicit criteria. Fixing duty-related regrets can often be corrected with specific steps.  For example, if a student regrets doing poorly in class, they can resolve to raise their grade through studying.

Meanwhile, regrets involving one’s ideal self tend to be vaguer. A person may have a dream to “be adventurous” or “be a great parent.” Yet such goals rarely have a concrete way to mark success. Without a clear destination, many people wait for inspiration to guide them toward these goals. If inspiration doesn’t come, a person may let opportunities pass them by.

Fear of how the pursuit of a good life might look to others may also hold people back. That’s doubly true when there’s a conflict between a person’s ideal self and ought self. For instance, a person may wish to go on a backpacking trip with their child. But they may turn down the trip so they do not miss any work and appear “unmotivated” to colleagues. In this scenario, the person prioritizes the work duties of their ought self above the parenting dreams of their ideal self.

A trained counselor can help people cope with regret. They might help a person explore ways to build self-compassion and self-esteem. In therapy, a person can also learn goal-setting skills to help them grow into their ideal selves. Make a counseling appointment at my Portland, Oregon office.

Courtesy of Good Therapy.

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Life Presence Coaching For Better Living

Stay Present in Life: How to Attract What You Want

Coaching life presence for better living. PortlandWho doesn’t want to live their dream? I don’t think many of us would say “no, thanks” if the opportunities and relationships we desired were offered to us on a silver platter. It can be encouraging to remember that ultimately, we are the creators of our own life.

In a literal sense, we can create or impact outcomes we desire if we keep our head in a good feeling space consistently.

We are all artists, creating our lives thought by thought, action by action.

The areas we focus on are a big deal. These are the difference between a life we feel aligned and satisfied with versus a life we are constantly questioning and trying to figure out.

To quickly gauge where your focus tends to fall, ask yourself this question:

“Do I tend to focus on the good things (what’s abundant) or what’s a problem (what’s lacking) in my life?”

Focusing on what’s wrong will often leave you in a state of anxiety and in a “fix it” mindset, while focusing on what’s going well can support more positive experiences coming your way. This is often the case because what we focus on dictates our feelings and thoughts. How we think and what we spend our time thinking about becomes a habit. For better or worse, our thought habits can affect how we perceive our life. This spider web effect is nothing new. We’ve all heard it, especially those of us familiar with the Universal Laws of Attraction.

Here are some tips on how to help attract good things in your life.

BELIEVE WHAT YOU WANT IS POSSIBLE

Life tends to mirror what we believe to be true. It’s common for our human minds to need to see and have proof of an outcome or reality before we believe it’s possible. Our need to see before we can believe is where we get stuck. The trick is to allow yourself to dream while pressing the pause button on your logical mind. Our logic is waiting for things to make sense. The reality is, sometimes how things come to be defies logic, and unexplainable things do happen. Start believing in them and how they can happen to and for you.

I understand why it’s hard for many adults to believe in what we can’t see. After all, we grew up and became “practical.” Responsibilities present themselves; all of this is valid. There’s no denying that. However, it’s to our benefit to tap into that childlike part of ourselves and remember how to imagine, dream, and believe.

FOCUS ON FEELING GOOD

What makes you feel good? Great, do more of that.

Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people, environments, and activities that align with who you are. I want to emphasize that life’s not about feeling good all the time. This belief can cause people to deny or not process uncomfortable emotions.

Life provides contrast, including both yin and yang, good and not so good feelings. When negative situations and emotions come up, do your best to acknowledge them. Allow them to be there while continuing to focus on the positive things that are also in your path. You will always have options in life; the key is to choose wisely. When possible, choose the things that bring you joy.

GET PRESENT

When your mind is stuck in fear, anxiety, worry, or depression, good things are often blocked from coming into your space. When your mind is chronically stuck in the past, a common symptom of that head-space is depression. When your mind is constantly stuck in the future, the common consequence of that mindset can be heightened anxiety. These conditions can be your body’s natural way of alerting you that alignment is off. Being in the present can help us feel centered and balanced.

Practicing staying in the moment can help you discover more presence in your life. Here are some quick ideas of how to practice being present in your life:

  • Be mindful of over-planning
  • Rid yourself of distractions that don’t serve you
  • Disconnect from relationships that are not supportive and feel draining
  • Be thoughtful of how you spend your time

Clearing out the activities and distractions that are not serving you while creating more space for good things to come in can allow you to spend more time on the things that matter most to you.

Believe that good things are possible and are, in fact, on their way to you. Expect good things to happen to and for you. This frame of mind may help you cultivate more overall goodness in your life.

If you’re having trouble reframing your mindset or focusing on what’s positive, coaching can help. Call to learn more about life coaching at our Portland office.

© Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org.

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Is Your Family Losing Sleep?

Sleep Deprivation Linked to Depression & Addiction in Teens

Sleep is an important part of general health, both teens and adults as seen below .

Depression can stem from lack of sleep in adolescents & family.Adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are more vulnerable to depression and addiction, according to research presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP).

Previous research supports this conclusion. Research published in 2010 found a link between adolescent depression and sleep deprivation. In that study of 262 high scholars, more than half experienced excessive sleepiness and fatigue. The sleepy students were three times more likely to show strong depression symptoms than their rested peers. Continue reading

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How I work with people: part 4

Things to Love About Coaching Homework

Another word on homework. I often have people come in having not done their homework. It is not my job to shame you, I find that people do that enough without adding any more. We can explore what occurred that you didn’t do it. Although, I often find that a couple of things can happen when people haven’t “done” their homework:

  1. they did and just didn’t realize it
  2. they explored something else that had meaning to them
  3. what was homework, didn’t show up for them so they didn’t have the opportunity to explore it
  4. there was hesitation to facing into the homework and then the work is to explore that.

LGTBQ-friendly coaching homework Portland.The thing I love about homework is that the therapy or coaching session is not just this isolated event, a bubble of time for you to focus on you. Granted it is time for you, sometimes the only place people have to be listened to, connect with another and heard fully. Homework is a thread that connects the sessions together. It is a time for you to continue your intention to work on your goals outside of the walls of my Portland office. It is practice in “real time” in your “real life.”

To get started with your homework contact me to start your Portland coaching sessions with an LGTBQ-friendly therapist.

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How I work with people part 3

What is Counseling Homework?

In counseling and coaching, people may come in wanting to be “fixed.” That is not my job. It is also not how I see people. I see people as whole, yes you are on a journey and there may be things that you want changed (that is why people come see me because they want something changed and don’t know how to go about making the changes). And you are not broken or messed up or completely shattered, you are whole just as you are in the midst of the challenges that you are facing.

Often times the steps may be small. People often don’t take a gigantic leap. More often than not, it is a baby step by baby step and sometimes  it may feel like you’re either going backwards Counseling homework for Portland, Oregon LGBT friendly therapist.or falling down. Sometimes the sessions are not a nicely wrapped present with a beautiful bow on top. Sometimes they end in a way that feels very undone. This can also be a time when a lot of change can happen, as you sit with what’s going on.

I do like to give homework, I have adolescents who call it something else since they have enough homework from school- growth opportunity, advancement protocol, something to think about. The homework, or whatever you choose to call it, is something that was explored in the session. Of course that is not always the case, sometimes people want to inquire into something completely different. Either way, I ask if you have ideas and I can toss out some ideas as well. You get to decide what you want to do. The concept of homework is to keep you thinking, exploring, delving into, to keep your intention and attention on movement, to be aware of how you are in the world so that what “just happens” will become conscious and therefore you have a choice in the matter.

Are you ready to work on your counseling? Contact me for area Portland, Oregon LGBT friendly counseling.

Photo compliments of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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How I work with people in coaching and therapy: part 2

Questions are Part of Relationship Coaching

This is part two in an attempt to describe how I work with people.

Once we’ve set up a full session, I will send you some paperwork. It may feel completely tedious. And it is quite a bit of paperwork. Some of it is history, some of it is gathering more details about what’s going on. A big part of it is also about your goals, and how you know when you will be done with either coaching or therapy. I see both relationship coaching and therapy as a way to learn skills,Questions are the next step in relationship coaching Portland! to make changes and shifts in your life so that you can go out and do these things on your own. Goals give us a guide. They give us something to work toward, so that we are not just floundering around meeting after meeting without making steps towards what you want.

The first session is often me asking you a lot of questions. I am gathering information about what is going on, what has been going on, and what you are wanting as you move forward. The first session is not typical of how I work with people. It is you talking more and me asking more questions.

In subsequent sessions, I am more active. I see us as collaborators. I am a professional. I have a license. I go to continuing education courses. You are the expert on you. This is an on going conversation, back and forth. I am not just going to sit and listen. I am an active participant in our sessions, asking questions, gently challenging, throwing out ideas that may or may not land with you. And I am open to feedback. That is also important for you to know. If you are not getting what you want, say something to me. It doesn’t help to vent to your friend or even just stop coming. Let’s have a conversation about it. I don’t want it to be a waste of your time or your money. If I am not able to provide the support you are looking for I can give you referrals.

If you have more questions about relationship coaching services I offer in Portland – call!

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How I work with people in coaching and therapy: part 1

Portland LGTBQ Coaching Consultation

Often times people will come and not know what to expect. I thought this might be a good platform to talk about that.

What to expect in a coaching consultation for Portland LGTBQ clients.I offer a free 20 minute coaching consultation. During this, I meet with people briefly. We don’t necessarily get into the nitty-gritty of what’s going on. I see it more as a meet and greet. It gives both of us an idea of the other person, to find out if we may be a good fit. This gives you a chance to share what you are looking for in a therapist and what issues you are working on to determine if I may able to work with you.

One of the main things to consider doing a consultation or a first meeting, is to ask yourself if you can see yourself trusting this person. A therapeutic or coaching relationship is like any other relationship, it takes time to build trust. You may end up talking about very intimate things. And trust is part of the foundation.  I certainly don’t expect you to trust me in the first 5 or even 20 minutes, or even the first several sessions. What I do ask is, do you see yourself being able to trust me with the intimate details of your life. Do you trust me to guide you on this journey towards your goals?

Make a consultation appointment today! I offer coaching for Portland area LGTBQ and ally clients.

Compliments of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Timeframe for Coaching and Therapy

When is it Time to Stop Your Cognitive Therapy?

How do you know when to stop therapy and coaching? Sometimes my clients will ask about The process of cognitive therapy & coaching - Portland Oregon.their graduation date. This is an interesting idea. Some people think of graduation as a destination. I have arrived. Now I have accomplished that. Done. Other people see graduation as a stepping stone. I have accomplished this and now I have a new goal. It is not like this kid who is showing you that it is time. Unfortunately there is not certain answer to this question.

I see life as a process. It is a continual growing place. I am not ever “at” a destination. The age old saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey not a destination,” says it perfectly. There is no set mark at which you finally arrive. I think of a tree- it is growing or it is withering. There is no stagnation, no in between.

People come in with goals. Sometimes these goals are met and they are complete. Sometimes the goals expand to something else or become more complex the deeper we explore. Sometimes people take time off to be able to practice their new skills they have learned and may or may not come back for a tune up. Sometimes it is an ongoing relationship where it is about the process and continual support as life is a journey.

I would encourage you to check in with yourself. It is actually a question I ask on my intake form- “How will you know when you are done?” If you are starting the process of cognitive therapy or coaching or currently seeing someone, ask yourself what your goals have been/are currently, ask yourself what you are wanting out of the process with your coach or therapist.

If you are looking to explore your goals in cognitive therapy in the Portland Oregon area, call for an appointment.

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