Can I get a hug?🤗🤗 We’ve all heard the phrase “hug it out”.  Well, turns out that hugging it out has multiple health benefits which are backed by scientific research.  Let’s start with why hugs feel so good to us.   Hugs are a form of touching during which we physically explore the world around us as well as connect emotionally and socially with another person.     “Touch is the first sense to start working in the womb (around 14 weeks). From the moment we’re born, the gentle caress of a mother has multiple health benefits, such as  lowering heart rate   💓and promoting the growth of  brain cell connections . ” 🧠 Babies who are cuddled with lots of touch grow into adults who have healthy attachments with other people.  Babies who are deprived of physical touch grow into adults who have unhealthy attachments or lack attachment altogether with other people.  “Nurturing touch, during early developmental periods, produces higher levels of oxytocin receptors and lower levels of cortiso
What's the difference between the difference is between a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a therapist/psychotherapist? As a psychotherapist, I get asked that question a lot!  Clients know what they want/need but often don't know where to get it? A psychiatrist is an MD who has completed medical school and has specialized in psychiatry.  A psychiatrist can prescribe medication and although is well versed in psychiatry is not trained as a therapist.  Psychiatrists are trained from the theoretical perspective of pathology – which says a patient is sick and this what I can give them to feel better.  (So if you need medication - start here.)   A psychologist has their PhD in clinical psychology or a related field, is called a doctor but is not a medical doctor.  A psychologist has been trained in research and testing as well as the therapist model..   A psychologist cannot prescribe medication but can do extensive psychological testing as well as psychotherapy.   (So, if you want p

Truths From The Couch

(A therapists journey of learning and understanding)   After being a psychotherapist for over 20 years, I’ve discovered a thing or two.  My clients have been my greatest teachers. One of the things I love the most about being a therapist is that I am not the expert on anyone else’s life.  I get to suggest options, insights and psycho-education but at the end of the day; the client is the expert on his or her own life.  That’s so very powerful!   People often tell me “I don’t know how you do what you do! I would be so depressed – listening to people’s problems all day.”  The truth of the matter is that I love what I do!   Being a therapist is so much more than listening to people’s problems; it’s being given the opportunity to listen/bear witness to another person’s story; it’s validating that person’s experience and perspective on the events recalled.  Being a therapist means I get to see people’s eyes soften as they feel heard; I get to see their whole body language change as they rea

The Day I Kicked Perfectionism to the Curb and Got Real

It was a day like any other day, the sun was shining on my perfectly manicured lawn and I was heading towards my recently detailed car with my to do list in hand.  I had decided the night before just how my day would go…I had lived this day a thousand times before; each time striving to get everything done and appear to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect employee and the perfect friend.  After all, as long as people believed I had it all together that’s all that mattered.  Of course, I knew the truth but I kept my flaws deeply hidden, I distracted myself and others by doing and going.  I was living the life, or so I thought.  I showed people only what I thought they wanted to see and on some level I began to believe my own façade.  I had carved out a niche for myself – I was the one who had it together. But somehow this day became like no other.   In the midst of my hustle and bustle, I paused long enough to notice a Wonder Woman figurine.    She was standing on th

Don't Be Fooled By Me

I wish I could take credit for this one.   It's been around for over 50 years and  it still holds true for so many of us.  Take your time as you read this  and  re-read it again and again.   Take Care, Norma  Don’t Be Fooled By Me by Charles C. Finn Please don't be fooled by me. Don't be fooled by the face I wear,  for I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks,  masks that I'm afraid  to take off and none of them are me. Pretending is an art that is  second nature to me, but don't be fooled, for God's sake  don't be fooled. I give you the impression I'm secure and that all is sunny  and unruffled with me, within as well as without, that confidence is my name, coolness my game, that water is calm and I'm in command  and that I need no one, but don't believe me, please don't believe me. My surface may be smooth, but my surface is a mask - my every  varying and ever concealing mask.  Beneath it dwells the real  confusion, fear and a

4 Ways Psychotherapy Differs from Talking-to Your BFF

    Everyone needs a BFF to help us out of tight jams; to laugh with us, cry with us and listen to us.  Although, there are similarities between your BFF and a psychotherapist there are also major differences. Objectivity  - A therapist will be unbiased free of a personal agenda because she does not have a personal relationship with you the way a friend does.  A therapist is focused on your emotional growth and therapeutic goals.   Education/Clinical experience -  A friend gives advice; a therapist gives options and insight.  A good therapist will not tell you what to do but is skilled is an asking the "right" questions to point you in the right direction.  A therapist knows how to guide you towards your therapeutic goal.  A good therapist will see your strengths long before you do and understands what you may see as your weaknesses are your “super powers” and she is skilled at helping you utilize your powers for good. Accountability -  A therapist, in part, in
Dear Normalpc, How do I find a good therapist?     I am new to this and don’t know where to  start or what I need?     Confused   Dear Confused, Thank you for asking what a lot of other people are wondering.  Let’s start with a few questions?  What are you looking for?  Are you looking for medication/are you currently on psychiatric medication?  Are you looking for therapy? Are you looking for psychological testing?  Under the umbrella of mental health there are 3 main categories:             Psychiatrist – medication only             Psychologist – psychological testing, psychotherapy              Psychotherapist – psychotherapy  In general, I recommend starting with a psychologist or a therapist.  It’s tempting to start with medication as many people believe medication to be a quick fix.  But they aren’t always needed and they can inhibit your ability to access your feelings and process trauma.  On the other hand, sometimes, medication stabilization is needed before a person can bene