October 2017

Three signs you are in the wrong relationship!

Can you spot a bad relationship – especially when you are in it? That is a difficult task, partly because relationships can blind us to our own reality. There are many reasons we don’t recognize when we are in a relationship that is wrong for us. There are also many reasons we choose to stay in these wrong relationships and justify the wrong characteristics as we carry on. No one wants to accept the fact that one’s partner, who they may or may not love, is bad for them; at least not at first.

Bad relationships wreak havoc on your emotional and mental well-being. They can make you question your self-worth, even destroy your self-esteem. Depression is not uncommon for those who chose to remain in unhealthy relationships, regardless of the rational.

Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at California State University, San Bernardin, and author of What Makes You Tick, identifies three warning signs that are solid evidence that you are in a bad relationship:

You do not have personal freedom. Relationships are not supposed to be controlling. A healthy relationship is a partnership, where both partners have the right to make their own decisions about how they dress, which friends they spend time with, how they occupy their free time, etc. Trust is a key component of any healthy relationship; without trust there cannot be freedom.

Your 80/20 ratio is off: Be careful to notice how your relationship feels overall. A healthy relationship is where you experience positivity about 80% of the time and experience negativity 20% of the time. If the positive and negative ratio in your relationship tips more toward the negative, it’s time to take a closer look at your relationship.

You wish you were home alone: It’s OK to want personal time away from your partner; however, when you consistently wish your partner wasn’t around, it is a definite red flag. If you cannot wait to finally be alone, your relationship may have become a bad one for you.

Do not be bamboozled by the vain hope that something will change; naivety can keep you in the wrong relationship. You deserve better; if you are not happy, nothing will change unless you change it. We all want to be loved, treated equally and given respect. No one should spend their time being miserable and trapped behind bars of a bad relationship.


For more information:



The Essentials of Psychotherapy

As most consumers of mental health services know, the number of schools of therapy constantly increase; today we have a dizzying number of unique schools of therapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (by far the most common)
  • Behavioral therapy (Part B of CBT)
  • Cognitive therapy (Part A of CBT)
  • Family or Family Systems therapy
  • Client-Centered (or Person-Centered) therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Narrative therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Rational-Emotive therapy (not very common these days)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Existential-Humanistic therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Eclectic therapy (an organized mish-mosh of all of the above)

This isn’t even an exhaustive list of reputable therapies, which must appear as something of an overwhelming buffet to the general public. There are also as many types or styles of psychotherapy as there are psychotherapists.

However, a case can be made for some unifying traits of the therapist. Certainly, not all schools of psychotherapy rely on the same personality traits. Some require more erudition than others. Most require some skill with listening, but some require very little transparency or even empathy.

What are the essential traits of helpful psychotherapy and of the helpful psychotherapist? Here is a list of potential traits. In the next blog, I will discuss what I believe are the top five traits that are necessary for successful therapy.

  • Love (compassion)
  • Empathy
  • Hope
  • Trust
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom
  • Confidence
  • Transparency
  • Intelligence
  • Intuition
  • Perceptiveness
  • Listening
  • Clarity



Modern Child Screen Time Horror!

Be honest, how much daily screen time does your child really get, including phones, tablets, and computers? How much per week? Now compare that to how much screen time you enjoyed as a child. Baffling, isn’t it? Now of course we live in different times – but you are still a parent and you have control over what your child is exposed to.

Many electronic devices are amazing. Tablets, if used as educational tools, are admittedly pretty neat; children can learn from them. It seems acceptable to reserve very limited time for technological use. However, focus on the word “limited”. The downfall of having your children spend too much time with technology will horrify you.

Rachael Bedford, Ph.D., a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London, found that passive viewing of television has been correlated to a decrease in language ability. Dr. Liraz Margalit, a customer experience Psychologist at ClickTale explains that “A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media.”

If all that doesn’t frighten you enough, a research team led by Dr. Narvaez in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame explains that excessive screen time takes away from physical activity, which has multiple consequences, none of them positive. Dr. Narvaez emphasizes that the lack of time designated to physical activity and play are evident in the increase of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems children experience in alarming numbers.

It is time you regain control of the situation. Get your children excited about going outside to play. You must initiate alternative play; they will respond to your enthusiasm and interest, especially if you do not rely on electronic devices during your free time. If you engage with your children through play, they will be better adjusted and healthier adults. Sitting your kids down in front of the T.V. or a tablet is easier, but it isn’t healthy for them at all.

Put the screens away!


For more information:




Why Is My Kid Super Sensitive to EVERYTHING?

Neurodiversity is a relatively new word in the mental health field. It crystallizes an awareness of diversity among the many spheres of perception and functioning that exist in the central nervous system. For example, everyone possesses unique strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their senses. Our senses exist to take in information from the world around us and make sense of it. Sensory integration and sensory processing are labels to describe how we receive and perceive sensory input through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, movement and balance, body position and muscle control.

Parents often notice subtle excesses or sensitivities in their child; while they are often difficult to describe and can fly under the radar, they often manifest in relation to peers. When there is a problem with developmental milestones, one should take notice. Early intervention is key. The sooner a child can begin to learn and solidify sensory skills, the better adjusted they will be in social and academic settings; this can persist through adulthood.

If ignored, the consequences can become problematic. Interactions with peers and family can devolve, daily functioning can become challenging if not overwhelming, behavioral challenges can become burdensome, and the child’s ability to perceive and regulating emotions can become puzzling and distressing. This can ultimately result in a poor sense of self and huge complications when it comes to learning, particularly in a classroom environment.

It is easy to forget what it was like when you were a kid. Kids can be very mean and can do a lot of damage if gone unnoticed for a long time. Because one’s peers can be a tough crowd, it is important to validate your child’s concerns and feelings. Encourage your child to disclose to you when they feel a concern – especially if the concern is with themselves.

Occupational Therapy is widely use to help assess and treat individuals suffering from Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorders. The main targets of therapy are helping a child regulate sensory input much more effectively, maintaining strong levels of functioning, and establishing any accommodations necessary for insufficiencies experienced.

Park Ridge Psychological Services welcomes Laura O’Brien as our new occupational therapist. She is certified in sensory integration and yoga for children with special needs. If you feel that your child may be struggling with a sensory processing disorder, feel free to contact her at lobrien@prpsych.com with any questions or to make an appointment for a consultation.

For more information:




Stay Committed to Your Commitments

We are all busy. There will always be things that need to be done. That does not mean you should neglect your commitments. Commitments are agreements to keep your word and to do what someone is counting on you for. By canceling or failing to go through a commitment, you are letting down—even hurting—the ones who rely on you.

Philippa Perry, psychotherapist and author of How to Stay Sane, states that commitment is at the core of sustaining a strong social network. Having a strong social network is critical because studies demonstrate that people with good social networks enjoy greater longevity.

Perry explains that commitment can be broken down into three areas: Relationships, Place, and Activity. In order to prevent failing on a commitment, you must identify where potential problems may lie for you. Really think about what feeds the urge to back out of your commitments: is it the person to whom you are committed? Is it where you spend your time during commitments? Or could it be the activities that seem to rob you of the motivation to meet your commitments?

Perry further explains that our main dilemma with being able to commit (on any of the three areas) is the notion that there may be better options available that have yet to expose themselves. Western society fosters individualism—sometimes this value becomes exaggerated, so much so that we sometimes forget to think about anyone but ourselves. Yes, sometimes it isn’t enjoyable to sit through a lengthy graduation or boring family event. However, don’t forget that it’s not always about you; you aren’t the only special one in your relationship.

Before you decide to cancel a commitment because it may be inconvenient for you, think about situations where a child spends their birthday alone because no one made it to their party. Is what you had to do instead of attending more important, an emergency, or that much of hassle for you? As human beings, we have a responsibility to each other. Everyone plays a vital role; commitments are bonds that should not be taken for granted.

We are social beings and need each other for support. Virtual support is not enough, even though your busy schedule might seem like a valid excuse. Most importantly, imagine what it would be like if you were all alone on a day that may be special to you.

For more information: