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From the Desk of Dr. Mills

Talking with Your Teens About Their Relationships

Recently, I shared information regarding the prevalence of sexual violence and the importance of talking with teenagers about healthy relationship behavior. About 1 in 10 teens have been physically or sexually abused on a date. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a plethora of information for talking with teens about healthy relationships...
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Why Is Sexual Violence So Prevalent in Our Society Today?

Tragically, sexual violence and abusive behavior have been prevalent throughout history. It has never been uncommon for the most vulnerable individuals, particularly women, children, and those who are handicapped to be preyed upon by perpetrators of violent and controlling behavior. And it has a long history of being ignored or dismissed. Sigmund Freud, for example,...
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Avoidant Disorders in Teenagers

Teenagers with avoidant disorders may struggle with a chronic state of heightened anxiety which can impede their ability to make friends and participate in social activities. They may lack confidence, struggle with feelings of low self-worth, have difficulty expressing themselves, and exhibit extreme sensitivity to criticism. Their fear of rejection can become so extreme that...
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Emotional Attacks

In an earlier post, I shared information regarding individuals with insecure attachment styles who may be anxious or avoidant in relating closely with others as adults. While growing up, one or both of their parents may not have been consistent in attending to them, nurturing them, guiding them, and encouraging them. Or they may have...
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Attachment Styles

John Bowlby, the father of attachment theory, described several characteristics of attachment including the desire to be near those we are attached to, the feeling of being securely attached while separated, and the comfort experienced in turning to those with whom we are attached in times of distress. Mary Ainsworth described three major styles of...
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New Year’s Resolutions

People have been known to make New Year’s resolutions for at least 4000 years. Throughout history, New Year’s has been a time for renewal. And it is a terrific and inspiring tradition. When we devote ourselves to embracing a new experience in our lives, dedicate ourselves to acting firmly on a course of action, and...
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Can Everyday Be As Special As Christmas?

Christmas, that special time of year. Such a wonderful experience! But what makes Christmas so special? Christmas morning, we wake up feeling excited. We’ve been making preparations, thinking of others, planning gifts, and arranging visits. Our purpose in preparing for Christmas has been about giving, about connecting with our family members and friends, and about...
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“Why Are You Being So Critical?”

Well, it’s that time of year! We’re looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the holidays ahead. It’s a time for families and friends to come together and enjoy feasts and festivities. Of course, it’s also a time for making decisions, working out plans, and collaborating with one another in order to agree on those decisions...
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Self-Esteem

Are you struggling with poor self-esteem? Do you think negatively, constantly compare yourself with others, overreact to what others think without regard for what you think, dwell over mistakes or failures, or set low expectations for yourself? Would you like to improve your self-esteem? Well first, it may be more helpful to consider whether our...
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Back to School!

After a summer of play, trips, and adventure, it’s time for the kids to go back to school! Of course, going back to school can be stressful – a new grade, a new teacher, a new class, maybe even a new school. Middle school students have new experiences with class schedules, combination locks, and after...
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Brain States 1-5: How Joyful (or Stressed Out) Are You?

In her book, Wired for Joy, Laurel Mellin describes the Emotional Brain Training program (EBT) for combating stress, a program that draws on neuroplasticity for rewiring the circuits in our brain that trigger stress. In EBT, we have a description of five brain states in relation to five areas of function. Over the course of...
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Don’t Be Victimized by a Victim Mentality!

Psychologists have identified five major personality traits (ocean). How would you describe your personality? Are you open to new ideas and activities or do you tend to avoid new experiences? Are you conscientious, self-disciplined, and achievement-oriented or are you rather spontaneous and freewheeling? Are you extraverted, assertive, and sociable or do you prefer individual or...
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Feeling Happy, Peaceful, Calm and Content: How to Help Avoid that Crummy Unwanted Mood

One of the things that affects our mood is how we think. There are some types of thinking that can contribute to feelings of depression and other types that are more helpful to us in feeling happy, peaceful, calm, and content. Cognitive-Behavioral psychologists have identified many cognitive distortions, that is, inaccurate ways of thinking that...
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Changing a Bad Habit

At one time or another, many of us have an undesired behavior we would like to change. It may be smoking, overeating, excessive drinking, drug use, video games, compulsive shopping, gambling, or some other behavior. Well, first, in deciding to change a behavior, it is helpful to consider clearly the negative consequences associated with the...
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Excessively Dependent, Overly Detached, or “Just Right?”

We all need to experience a sense of belonging, acceptance, and affiliation with others. We need to experience care and affection through words and touch. And we need to be considered, understood, and supported when we are struggling. But in our relations with one another, some people tend to doubt themselves and depend heavily on...
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Mindfulness

There is an increasing interest in mindfulness, a practice with origins in Buddhism which has been westernized and is being used to help reduce stress. In mindfulness, the focus is on increasing awareness.  It includes dedicated practice periods during which one sits still and pays attention only to their breathing. But it is also a...
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What Are They Thinking About Me?

Is that what you’re thinking when you walk into a room with a group of people? Well, that is the experience for many of us when we struggle with social anxiety. For some of us, the concern with approval from others has its roots in our childhood. Children who were able to internalize consistently delivered...
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Managing Work Stress

For many of us, our experience in the workplace can include much worry and stress. The stress we experience at work can lead to anxiety, problems sleeping, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, withdrawal, and even depression. There may be several reasons why we experience stress at work. Some individuals may feel overwhelmed: “I’ve been assigned too...
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Loneliness Over the Holidays

Sometimes people feel especially lonely over the holidays. Yes, sometimes people feel lonely because they are alone, but sometimes people feel lonely even when they are not alone. We associate the holidays with good cheer, fun, and camaraderie. But when our expectations are high and our emotions are heightened, we are also vulnerable for feeling...
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student struggles

Helping Your Student “Turn on the Light”

If you’re asking your child that question, then you already know that he’s not planning on doing whatever homework he may have without hassling over it with you first. So, why do some children resist doing their homework? Well, first, we may observe that resistance to doing homework can be associated with reduced school performance...
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