ERP therapy (exposure and response prevention) and ExRP (exposure and ritual prevention) are psychotherapies used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP was pioneered in the 1960s by British psychologist Vic Meyer. Edna Foa and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania further developed it and gave ERP its name in the 1970s and 1980s.[Read more…]
Insomnia and alcohol
For those of us who have trouble falling asleep at night, one often enjoyable fix can be an alcoholic beverage. “A glass of wine puts me right to sleep,” say many insomnia sufferers glad to have found a seeming solution. This may be true, but it will typically not lead to sustained and undisturbed sleep though the night. (One obvious drawback to using alcohol to get to sleep is the likelihood of needing to get up during the night to use the bathroom. For some insomnia sufferers it can be difficult to get back to sleep afterwards.)
Even people who drink more than the recommended maximum of seven drinks per week for women — fourteen for men — need not let alcohol interfere with sleep. It’s drinking close to bedtime that is most problematic. If alcohol is consumed several hours earlier, it will have much less of an effect on nighttime sleep than if consumed just before going to bed.
More and more people are seeing benefits from learning and practicing mindfulness. It helps them decrease stress and stress-related illnesses, and to improve their mental health by learning how to let go of painful thoughts or feelings. In my work, patients often ask how to be mindful around their emotions. This question usually arises after realizing that one has great difficulty controlling intense emotions (i.e. going from “0 to 100”) that may be triggered in uncomfortable or distressing situations.[Read more…]
Depression makes everything harder, including the stuff we used to enjoy. This can lead us to avoid those things. Unfortunately, when depression and avoidance join forces, it can be really bad news.
Behavioral activation is a treatment for depression that helps people focus on re-engagement with their lives. Specifically, it gets people doing precisely the things that are likely to improve their mood (Jacobson, Martell, & Dimidjian, 2001). Generally, when a depressed person is in behavioral activation treatment, they change the activities in their life to lessen depression. The therapist helps them to structure their lives differently.
Rather than assuming that there is a deficiency in the depressed individual, behavioral activation takes a more practical approach. It examines what is occurring in the person’s life to worsen or maintain the depression. This often involves looking at the things they do, the situations they find themselves in, and the things they avoid.