Author:Noah Laracy

Straight Up Guide To The Holidays

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   Concerned about your sanity and well-being during the holidays? We get it. Here are five tips that can help you ride the wave of emotions that the holiday season can bring.   1) Realize the Holidays are overrated. Our culture puts way too much emphasis on the holidays and making them "special." Like many things in life, the anticipation of the holidays is usually better than the real thing. Remember that in the general scope of things, the holidays are only a few days out of the year. It is also ok to not like the holiday season or even to skip them all together.   2) Avoid comparing your holidays...

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The Gift of Fear

In 1849, the Russian government arrested the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky due to his involvement with a political group called the Speshnev society, and sentenced him to four years of hard labor in a Siberian prison camp. Before sending him on the long trip, the Czar ordered a "mock execution" be performed on Dostoevsky and the other members of the group. Prison officials lined him up in front of a firing squad, then raised their guns to fire at him. They played the drums to count down to the execution – death appeared certain. But at the last second, they told Dostoevsky and his group members that they were being spared. Several members of the group apparently went insane after this traumatic experience. For Dostoevsky however, this experience had the opposite effect. It affirmed his belief in life and his Christian values. Upon release from prison, he resumed his writing with...

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Bold Moves Not Baby Steps

There are two ways to enter a swimming pool. The first way is to dive right in, endure the sting of the cold water, then allow your nervous system to adjust accordingly. Let's call this way the "Bold Move" way. This way is uncomfortable in the short-term, but it doesn't last very long. The pain of associated with this "Bold Move" strategy might be described as intense but brief.   The second way is to slowly, gradually put your foot in, wait until the discomfort goes down, and then go in a little more, repeating the process until your entire body is in the pool. Let's call this mode "Baby Steps." This method reduces the intensity of discomfort that diving into the pool might cause, but it takes a lot longer. The pain associated with this "Baby Steps" mode might be described as moderate but extended.   Conventional wisdom says that either way works...

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Straight Up Guide To Worrying

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   Worrying is a compulsive, maladaptive, and exhausting mental activity that masquerades as productive planning and problem-solving. It can drain you of precious time and energy, and deplete your mood and spirit.   Simply put, worries are thoughts that suggest something bad about the future. They could be something such as "What if my child doesn't get into college?" or "What if there is a lot of traffic when we leave for our trip?" Worrying typically takes the form of "What if…?" followed by the mind's attempt to answer some question about the future. Worry seeks certainty in an uncertain world, which is why it never finds a satisfying answer.    People...

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Live Dangerously Brave

"Live dangerously"  – Friedrich Nietzsche   Stop what you are doing right now and imagine this scenario: you have been given a terminal diagnosis and have only a short time to live. Friends and family have gathered at your bedside to say goodbye. In these final moments, you reflect back on your life and what it meant to you. Was your life worth living? Do you have any regrets? What would you have done differently? Think for a moment and then read the following statements:   I should have spent more time on the internet   I should have played more video games   I should have watched more porn   I should have worried more   I never should have forgiven that person   I should have smoked more weed   I never should have quit that job I hated   I should have eaten more fast food and donuts   I should have been less honest   I never should have left lousy guy/girl   I should have spoken up less   I should...

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Straight Up Guide to Psychodynamic Therapy

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   Psychodynamic psychotherapy is the oldest and most traditional form of therapy, and it is what most people probably think of whey then think of therapy. While it may seem monolithic, there is actually great deal of variety within this type of therapy with number of different “schools” present such as Object Relations, Ego Psychology, or Self Psychology, but they come from the same lineage, namely that of Sigmund Freud.   Freud conceived the mind as a place of conflicting forces fighting for dominance over the individual. These forces, which he termed “drives," were similar to what we now think of as instincts – urges that move us toward a...

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Straight Up Guide To Managing Test Anxiety

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   Here are 5 Tips to More Effectively Manage Test-Taking Anxiety:     1. Use Your Breath: By controlling and slowing down your breath during high stress moments, you can activate the “rest and digest” calm response in the nervous system. The will help improve focus, memory retention, and decrease any symptoms of stress like tension, racing thoughts, and restlessness.   Try This… Inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 5. Repeat 5 times or until you feel the “calming response” kick in   2. Relax Your Muscles: If you are finding it hard to calm your mind (i.e., racing thoughts, worry), you might find it more effective to work...

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Straight Up Guide To Raising Resilient Children

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   1. Say "good effort" or "you worked hard" when your child has done something well, rather than generic phrases like "excellent" or "good job.”   2. Explain that in order for the brain to grow we have to make mistakes.   Failure = Learning.   3. During the car ride home from school or at the dinner table, encourage family members to engage in “failure talk” as a habit. Acknowledge and laugh at your own mistakes!   4.Normalize giving and receiving constructive criticism as a family in a caring and genuine way. For example, ask "Do you have any feedback for me?" or "Is there anything I can do differently next time?"   5. Respond to every...

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Straight Up Guide to Exposure Therapy

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.     Exposure and Response Prevention, or ERP, is a highly specialized form of behavioral therapy in the CBT school that was originally developed to treat phobias and OCD, but is now used across a variety of anxiety disorders. Exposure means gradually moving closer to what you fear or are avoiding – this could be dirt, germs, spiders or heights, but also more abstract things such as mistakes, unevenness, or even “bad” thoughts. Response Prevention means that you modify or “prevent” your usual response to these fears. The usual, maladaptive responses tend to be either compulsions such as hand-washing, rituals such as counting, mental compulsions such as thought-stopping, or by...

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Straight Up Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is a relatively new form of CBT that posits psychological flexibility as the key to mental health. ACT is part of what’s known as the “third wave” of CBT along with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and it incorporates a more Eastern/Buddhistic outlook on psychological pain and suffering. ACT views pain as an inescapable part of life, and believes that any attempts to control or avoid pain only make it worse. However, ACT believes that we can still lead meaningful lives in spite of pain and suffering. Acceptance means not trying to control events, people, or internal...

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Straight Up Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustrations with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)   Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a therapeutic approach that addresses distorted thinking, dysfunctional emotions, and maladaptive behaviors through goal-oriented interventions. The name refers to the integration of cognitive therapy and behavior therapy that CBT practitioners use with their patients. CBT is based on the cognitive model of psychopathology, which proposes that dysfunctional thinking, which influences the patient’s mood and behavior, is the source of psychological disturbances (Beck, 2011). However, CBT is almost always practiced with behavior therapy principles, and behaviorists would add the idea that maladaptive behavior reinforcement also produces psychological problems (Gehart, 2013).   As proposed by one of CBT’s leading theorists, Aaron Beck,...

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Straight Up Guide to Types of Therapy

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   If you go to a western medical doctor with the flu, chances are you will get antibiotics. However, in the world of psychotherapy, things are more complicated. There are a number of different “orientations,” or styles, that view human beings in different ways, and provide different models of how to treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. While there are apparently over 400 different orientations, this article will review a number of the most notable ones, and what their mechanism for change is.   Psychodynamic This is what therapy is traditionally thought of, deriving from Sigmund Freud, and focusing on the unconscious. The traditional form of this is called...

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Straight Up Guide to Mental Health Professionals

These guides were born out of Noah and Christine’s frustration with overly complicated and jargon-filled articles, newsletters, books, and therapy websites. Our mission is to create clear and practical guides in order to learn, grow from challenges, and lead more meaningful and impactful lives.   When we first began looking at graduate schools in psychology, we remember being confused as to what the various titles, degrees, and licenses all meant. This is the article we wish we could have read at that time. The mental health field and the various labels of mental health practitioners are organized around the amount of education and degree earned, as well as the license is given on a state level. Psychiatrist  This is someone who went to medical school and then specialized in mental health. They typically go to medical school for four years, and then attend residency for an additional four years. Psychiatrists primarily treat their patients...

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