Avoidance: A trap that makes anxiety worse


Events such as a rude remark, speaking in public, joining a group for the first time, using a pubic toilet, or taking a math quiz aren’t dangerous or emergent. When we avoid or quickly leave those situations because we feel anxiety, we strengthen the avoidance response.   Years ago, I came upon a bear foraging…

Read More...

Doubts and Indecision


David Barnhart, EdD What evidence supports and refutes a position? This technique bears similarity to a pros and cons list, but is qualitatively different because it seeks evidence. Here is how it works. Start by writing out a claim such as: “I should marry John or Mary” “I should take the job offer from ABC Company”…

Read More...

UTILITY ANALYSIS OF THOUGHTS & BELIEFS* PLUS COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING = MORE RATIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL THINKING


David Barnhart, EdD Emotional and behavioral change begins with improving self-awareness. Self-awareness is a component of emotional intelligence that can be improved through a process of monitoring and analysis. What triggers stress? What are the emotions we feel? What thoughts or beliefs are associated with the trigger? Thoughts include what we remember, what we imagine,…

Read More...

References for Huntsville Hospital Psychiatric Presentation 9/25/2015


Boswell, J. F., Farchione, T. J., Sauer-Zavala, S., Murray, H. W., Fortune, M. R., & Barlow, D. H. (2013). Anxiety Sensitivity and Interoceptive Exposure: A Transdiagnostic Construct and Change Strategy. Behavior Therapy, 44(3), 417–431. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2013.03.006 Chu, B. C., Colognori, D. B., Yang, G., Xie, M., Lindsey Bergman, R., & Piacentini, J. (2015). Mediators of Exposure…

Read More...

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—The Basics


  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) is a type of therapy that helps teach people how to think rationally and appropriately about situations in order to help them improve their mood. The three basic components of CBT are thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Emotions are never right or wrong, and we often have very little control…

Read More...

Overcoming Anxiety is Like Learning to Ride a Bike


Bicycling magazine published a really helpful article on teaching children how to ride a bike many years ago. Forget the idea of running alongside your kid holding on to the seat while she freaks out yelling, “Don’t let go! Don’t let go!” Lying you say, “I’ve got you. I won’t let go.” At some point…

Read More...

Am I Ugly?


Am I ugly? Is a question most of us have asked ourselves at least once? A few years ago there was a YouTube explosion as teens around the world were filming themselves and asking the opinion of public viewers. Some say it was an attempt to get attention, others say it comes from low self-esteem,…

Read More...

Resetting Sleep


Sleep is fundamental to good mental and physical health. Sleep is the first item on our symptom checklist when you come to our office to complete paperwork. Sleep deprivation affects working memory and attention, and makes it difficult to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. I frequently hand this out to my clients and patients. When…

Read More...

Sports Parenting/Coaching Tip #2: Teaching trumps criticism


When your child has a bad game or makes a bad play, responding with encouragement and teaching trumps angry, critical remarks. In a previous article, I wrote about the danger of over-responding to our children in sports and making it about us rather than the kids. When our children have a bad game or make…

Read More...

Sports Parenting Tip: Know Yourself


How do your own experiences impact your thoughts and feelings related to sports? How are your expectations, attitudes, and responses communicated to your child? In a previous article, I wrote about the gains and losses inherent in the connection of parent-child relationships. Parents can’t be unemotional about their children. They are a part of us, there is…

Read More...