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Description of therapy

At Preferred Family Clinic, we subscribe to a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approach. Briefly, this suggests that changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will effect changes in other areas of our lives. Further, we recognize the importance of a strong relationship between therapist and patient; therefore, we work in collaboration with patients, their families and other professionals to provide the best outcomes for each individual.

For your first visit

The first appointment in psychotherapy often consists of a clinical interview. The therapist uses this format to gain information about the patient and to formulate the most effective treatment plan for them. If a child is the primary patient, most of the first visit is spent interviewing the child’s parent or guardian. The first visit is also a very good time for patients to ask their therapist any questions they may have at the outset of treatment.

Issues commonly addressed in therapy

Addiction is a condition in which the body must have a drug to avoid physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Addiction’s first stage is dependence, during which the search for a drug dominates an individual’s life. An addict eventually develops tolerance, which forces the person to consume larger and larger doses of the drug to get the same effect. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Addiction is not only limited to chemicals but can also be manifested with a pornography or sexual addiction, or even a food addiction. At Preferred Family Clinic (PFC) we are specialists in helping people overcome addiction.
ADHD, or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurobiological disorder that is inherited. Our bodies are not perfect, sometimes we need glasses, insulin or other things to compensate for a weakness that our bodies have. Fortunately, we live in an age where there are medications that can help us live longer, better lives and help us to achieve our potentials. So far the research shows that the best treatment for ADHD is medication. However, research also shows that having ADHD is difficult for a person to cope with. Research also shows that 80% of people with ADHD also have a comorbidity, or other problem along with ADHD such as depression, anxiety, oppositional or defiant behavior, learning disability, or substance abuse problem. School can be difficult for someone that is untreated. Many kids struggle academically when they have ADHD. ADHD usually affects a person in most areas of their lives: emotionally, mentally, psychologically, socially, self-esteem and behaviorally. ADHD is characterized by difficulty focusing, paying attention, concentrating and maintaining interest on everyday routines and tasks. People with ADHD often have difficulty being organized, thinking before acting, making realistic plans, achieving goals, making moral decisions and meeting their potential. Some with ADHD are hyperactive, while others simply struggle with lack of attention and focus. Boys and men have a tendency to be more hyperactive, while girls do not appear as hyperactive as boys. Because of this girls and women are often not diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD can often be mistaken as lazy, unintelligent and delinquent to name just a few. Children with ADHD can often be defiant, aggressive and struggle socially. Is having ADHD all bad? No it’s not. Many of our greatest individuals in history have had ADHD. One of the great advantages of having ADHD is a remarkable creativity, imagination and global thinking. Are people over-diagnosed and misdiagnosed with ADHD? Yes, but more are under-diagnosed and struggle through life with an unnecessary burden. At Preferred Family Clinic (PFC) we are trained and skilled at diagnosing ADHD and helping a person reach new levels of achievement, satisfaction, and happiness. We cannot prescribe medications, that is left to your medical doctor, but we do work hand-in-hand with your physician to help with the medication and get the dosage at the optimal level. With a few people there are side-effects such as decreased appetite and insomnia; which, when there are side effects seem to be the most prevalent. We help with those too. At PFC our goal is to help you achieve your greatest you. We are your own personalized coach. Stimulant medication, such as Ritalin, is the most common ADHD treatment. Although some worry that children are being overmedicated, research shows it’s effective, especially when combined with counseling.
Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Anger is a normal, usually healthy emotion we all experience. But when anger gets out of hand, it can cause problems at home and at work. There are ways you can get control of your anger, instead of letting it control you. If anger has become a problem, a psychologist can help. Learn more about the three basic strategies psychologists use to help patients bring anger under control. Therapy can help. Psychologists use three basic strategies to treat anger:
  1. Relaxation. Psychologists train patients in a technique called “progressive relaxation” until they’re able to relax simply by thinking of a particular word or image.Psychologists then ask patients to spend a minute or two thinking intensely about a situation that makes them excessively angry, such as other drivers going too slow. Psychologists then help patients relax.Psychologists and patients practice this sequence over and over again. After about eight sessions, patients are typically able to relax on their own.
  2. Cognitive therapy. Often the way people think when they’re angry makes situations worse. When another driver cuts you off, for instance, you might think, “You idiot! Everyone’s trying to make me late today!”In cognitive therapy, psychologists help patients find alternative ways of thinking about and reacting to anger. Instead of thinking bad thoughts about the other driver, for example, you could think instead, “Whoa! That was an accident waiting to happen.”
  3. Skill development. Learning new behaviors can also help. Parents might need to find better ways of communicating with their children, for instance. Angry drivers might benefit from learning safe driving skills.
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of fear and worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology (
Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as normal depression or an explosive disorder. Diagnosing Bipolar disorder can be a challenge unless one is specifically trained to know what to look for. In adults there needs to be swings between high energy and elation to depression. These depressive bouts usually “come and go”. In children these manic, or higher energy and moods, are often manifested as irritability, anger and explosiveness. Common emotions can become intensely and often unpredictably magnified. Individuals with bipolar disorder can quickly swing from extremes of happiness, energy and clarity to sadness, fatigue and confusion. Suicide is especially dangerous in Bipolar disorder.
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions. The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying. Adapted from the APA Public Interest Bullying Fact Sheet ( Learn what cyberbullying is, its impact and what you can do if the victim is you or your child. Kids aren't the only bullies. Bullying also occurs in the workplace. Learn more about the strategies employers are using to put a stop to this destructive practice. Systematic international research has shown school bullying to be a frequent and serious public health problem. But psychologists are using this research to develop bullying prevention programs that are being implemented in schools around the world. Dr. Hyde believes that one of the most serious abuses a child can sustain is repeated bullying at school. This type of abuse can scar a person for the rest of their lives in serious ways. If you suspect your child is being bullied, or has been bullied, come in for a consultation to help them recover and prevent a lifetime of low self-esteem, social difficulties and pain.
Children sometimes need psychological help, just like adults do. Treatment typically begins when parents, teachers or school counselors notice that children aren’t functioning as well as they could. Therapists can help children cope with such problems as anxiety and depression, hyperactivity, conflicts with parents and stressful events like divorce or a parent’s death. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( At Preferred Family Clinic (PFC) we specialize in treating children and families. Some of the things we help with are:
  • ADHD
  • Encopresis (Soiling)
  • Depression
  • Enuresis (Daytime & Nighttime Wetting)
  • Anxiety, Separation Anxiety & Fears
  • Oppositional & Defiant Behavior
  • Psychological Testing
  • Academic & School Problems
  • Behavior Difficulties
  • Social Difficulties
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Abuse
  • Pornography & Sexual Addictions
  • Tics
  • Self-Esteem & Confidence Issues
  • Divorce
  • Death of Family Member or Friend
  • Blended Families
  • Psychosis
  • Chronic Stomach Pain & Other Pain
  • Bullying
  • Autism & Asperger's Disorder
  • Social Skills
  • Insomnia
  • Explosiveness
  • Electronic Addiction
  • Delinquency
  • Substance Abuse & Dependency
  • Sibling Rivalry & Fighting
  • Resolving Acrimonious
  • Post-Divorce Conflict
  • Marriage Counseling
  • Social Confidence & Style
  • Anger Management
  • Adoption Issues
Death and dying can be stressful for dying people, their loved ones and care-givers. Psychologists can help. They can assess mood, mental functioning and pain; treat depression, anxiety and other mental health problems; provide end-of-life counseling to the dying and their families; and advocate for good medical care. Adapted from “End-of-life issues and care” ( Our co-workers are very much like extended family, so a co-worker's death can be particularly difficult to deal with. Know what to expect from the grieving process, what you can do to work through your feelings and how to get help. Psychologists can contribute to end-of-life care before illness strikes, after illness is diagnosed and treatments begin, during advanced illness and the dying process, and after the death of the patient, with bereaved survivors. Technological and cultural forces have made miscarriage more public--and may have inadvertently intensified related grief.
Depression can range from mild to very severe. People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. Depression is the most common mental disorder. Fortunately, depression is treatable. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Depression is a real illness and carries with it a high cost in terms of relationship problems, family suffering, and lost work productivity. Yet, depression is a highly treatable illness, with psychotherapy, coping and cognitive-behavioral techniques, and medication when needed.
Marriage and divorce are both common experiences. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50. Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology In the United States, couples marrying for the first time have approximately a fifty percent chance of divorcing. Psychologists are helping couples' "I do" last a lifetime through development and application of scientifically tested relationship education programs. Research on what makes a marriage work shows that people in a good marriage have completed these psychological "tasks":
  1. Separate emotionally from the family you grew up in; not to the point of estrangement, but enough so that your identity is separate from that of your parents and siblings.
  2. Build togetherness based on a shared intimacy and identity, while at the same time set boundaries to protect each partner's autonomy.
  3. Establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship and protect it from the intrusions of the workplace and family obligations.
  4. For couples with children, embrace the daunting roles of parenthood and absorb the impact of a baby's entrance into the marriage. Learn to continue the work of protecting the privacy of you and your spouse as a couple.
  5. Confront and master the inevitable crises of life.
  6. Maintain the strength of the marital bond in the face of adversity. The marriage should be a safe haven in which partners are able to express their differences, anger and conflict.
  7. Use humor and laughter to keep things in perspective and to avoid boredom and isolation.
  8. Nurture and comfort each other, satisfying each partner's needs for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support.
  9. Keep alive the early romantic, idealized images of falling in love, while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time.
Thanks to Judith S. Wallerstein, PhD, co-author of the book The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts. Check out our programs called Peaceful Dissolution, a mediation program for divorcing couples and For the Kids, a program that helps conflicted parents after the divorce.
Eating disorders are abnormal eating habits that can threaten your health or even your life. They include:
  1. Anorexia nervosa: Individuals believe they’re fat even when they’re dangerously thin and restrict their eating to the point of starvation.
  2. Bulimia nervosa: Individuals eat excessive amounts of food, then purge by making themselves vomit or using laxatives.
  3. Binge eating: Individuals have out-of-control eating patterns, but don’t purge.
Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology (
Emotional health can lead to success in work, relationships and health. In the past, researchers believed that success made people happy. Newer research reveals that it’s the other way around. Happy people are more likely to work toward goals, find the resources they need and attract others with their energy and optimism—key building blocks of success. Adapted from “Review of research challenges assumption that success makes people happy” ( At PFC we specialize in knowing the cause of happiness. There are five main categories in order to reach our greatest happiness. These are:
  1. Optimistic Attitude
  2. Loving Relationships
  3. Good Character
  4. Engagement & Striving
  5. Meaning & Purpose
Sleep is essential for health and well-being. But millions of people don’t get enough, resulting in such problems as daytime sleepiness, poor decision-making, interference with learning and accidents. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps people identify and change their thoughts and behaviors, can help. In fact, according to one study, cognitive-behavioral therapy does a better job of reducing insomnia than sleeping pills. Adapted from the “Why sleep is important and what happens when you don’t get enough” ( Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. We have a specialized treatment just for insomnia. Give us a call and then sleep on it ;) (801-221-0223)
Kids and the media is a growing concern. Even very young children in our society get a big daily dose of television, video games and music lyrics. While such media can provide education and entertainment, they can also damage children. Research shows that exposure to violent media can result in aggressive attitudes and violent behavior in some children and adolescents. Adapted from “Media violence and children” ACT Against Violence ( Research has found strong associations between increases in advertising for non-nutritious foods and rates of childhood obesity. Some of the most degrading and explicit sexual acts are only a mouse-click away for our children and can effect their relationship to the opposite sex and spouse for a lifetime. Pornography can be extremely addictive and dangerous. Some children are at increased risk for acting out sexually and sexual abuse. At PFC we specialize in pornography and sexual addiction. Think about it, why do kids go to school? Why do we teach them anything? To effect their behavior, attitudes and direction. We hope that school and our teaching will empower our kids and effect their behavior and judgement. Can we possibly think that other things that are put in their minds are innocuous? Every thought has an effect and consequence. When a thought is repeated it becomes a strong memory and habitual. We have to warn and guard our children from destructive influences, just as we introduce them to constructive influences.
Learning and memory are closely related concepts. Learning is the acquisition of skill or knowledge, while memory is the expression of what you’ve acquired. Another difference is the speed with which the two things happen. If you acquire the new skill or knowledge slowly and laboriously, that’s learning. If acquisition occurs instantly, that’s making a memory. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Use these strategies to compensate for mild memory loss. Psychologists are finding strategies to help people adapt to memory problems, including: 1. Take mental snapshots. Good memory is actually good learning, say rehabilitation experts. That means forming a strong association with new information as you learn it. Systematically take note of things. When you put down your keys, for instance, take a mental snapshot of them lying next to the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. 2. Train your brain to remember. People in the early stages of memory loss can benefit from simple memory training, research suggests. To learn a new name, for example, use "mnemonic devices" that link the new information with familiar information. If you meet someone named "Mr. Brown," picture him drenched in that color as you're introduced. Another training technique is one called "vanishing cues." If you can't remember a name, write down any letters of it that you can remember. Then fill in more and more until your recall kicks in. This training works by bypassing the faulty areas of the brain. Instead, you're training new areas of the brain to take over. Take advantage of technology. A paging system, for example, can help people remember appointments or other important dates. And a specially programmed personal digital assistant can help guide users through complex tasks. Technology does have its limits, of course. For one thing, you have to remember how to use it or even that it's there for you to use in the first place. 3. Keep your spirits up. Memory problems can affect mood. Exercise and mentally stimulating activities can help. Adapted from “Mending memory” APA Monitor on Psychology (
Obesity is a condition marked by excess accumulation of body fat. Genetic factors play a key role in obesity, but so do behavioral factors—especially eating too much and exercising too little. Obesity can lead to diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and other problems. In fact, some researchers believe that obesity is second only to smoking as a preventable cause of death. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Stress, sadness, anxiety and other emotions can lead people to eat too much. Learn how to address these psychological issues in a healthier way.
Parenting is often a challenging endeavor at best. At PFC we are specialists in assisting parents raise their children in the best possible way. Dr. Hyde, founder of PFC, states that parents have three major goals for their children:
  1. To be Safe.
  2. To be Happy.
  3. To be Successful.
We help parents and children achieve these three major goals. We do this through therapy and/or training. Preferred family clinic has effective and inexpensive online training for parents and families. Dr. Hyde states that with the right principles and skills parents are the most effective therapists; and, if parents are the most effective therapists, then the family is the best environment in order to learn, grow, and achieve one’s true potential. Check out our huge resources for parents and families. You may also want to check out our web-based training programs.
Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Research suggests that genetics, abuse and other factors contribute to the development of obsessive-compulsive, narcissistic or other personality disorders. People with personality disorders experience abnormal thoughts and behaviors that keep them from functioning as well as they should. The nature of those thoughts and behaviors depends on which personality disorder a person has, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoid personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. The disorders do have one thing in common: They usually don’t go away without treatment. Now psychologists are finding new approaches to treating these notoriously hard-to-treat disorders. Two interventions show promise for treating borderline personality disorder, the most-studied personality disorder:
  1. Dialectical behavior therapy. People with borderline personality disorder can be challenging to treat.
    1. While they often seek help, they also tend to drop out of therapy. While they’re quick to open up, they’re even quicker at shutting down. And while they crave approval, a small provocation can result in abusive or violent behavior toward those trying to help.
    2. Dialectical behavior therapy helps clients stop bouncing between these two extremes. The approach features weekly one-on-one sessions with a counselor, plus group skills training.
    3. Helping clients regulate emotion is key, especially since many harm themselves as a way of stabilizing their emotions. Dialectical behavior therapy teaches clients alternative ways to control overwhelming or confusing feelings.
    4. Therapists might share a technique called mindfulness, which allows clients to observe their emotions without reacting.
    5. At the same time, therapists acknowledge clients’ emotions. People with borderline personality disorder may crave emotional acceptance, for example, because their parents never provided it.
    6. Evidence suggests that dialectical behavior therapy works.
    7. In a study comparing dialectical behavior therapy and traditional psychotherapy, women who underwent dialectical behavior therapy were more successful at reducing suicide attempts, self-mutilating and such self-damaging behaviors as gambling and substance abuse.
    8. They were also almost twice as likely to stay in therapy.
  2. Cognitive therapy. This therapy focuses on thoughts rather than emotions. In weekly sessions, therapists help clients identify and change dysfunctional beliefs about themselves, others and the world.
    1. People with borderline personality disorder, for instance, often think they’re bad and then interpret everything that happens to them in a way that confirms that belief.
    2. Cognitive therapy helps clients eliminate such dysfunctional beliefs by revisiting and reinterpreting childhood experiences.
    3. A client who feels inadequate may come to understand that that belief comes from his parents giving him responsibilities he wasn’t ready for, for instance.
    4. Once clients understand the origins of dysfunctional beliefs, they can work on changing them. Preliminary research supports the technique’s effectiveness.
    5. In one study of cognitive therapy, borderline personality symptoms dropped significantly after a year. At follow-up, 55 percent of study participants no longer met the criteria for a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
Adapted from “Treatment for the ‘untreatable’” APA Monitor on Psychology ( In the past, some believed that people with personality disorders were just lazy or even evil. But new research has begun to explore such potential causes as genetics, parenting and peer influences:
  1. Genetics. Researchers are beginning to identify some possible genetic factors behind personality disorders.
    1. One team, for instance, has identified a malfunctioning gene that may be a factor in obsessive-compulsive disorder.
    2. Other researchers are exploring genetic links to aggression, anxiety and fear—traits that can play a role in personality disorders.
  2. Childhood trauma. Findings from one of the largest studies of personality disorders, the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study, offer clues about the role of childhood experiences.
    1. One study found a link between the number and type of childhood traumas and the development of personality disorders. People with borderline personality disorder, for example, had especially high rates of childhood sexual trauma.
  3. Verbal abuse. Even verbal abuse can have an impact. In a study of 793 mothers and children, researchers asked mothers if they had screamed at their children, told them they didn’t love them or threatened to send them away. Children who had experienced such verbal abuse were three times as likely as other children to have borderline, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive or paranoid personality disorders in adulthood.
  4. High reactivity. Sensitivity to light, noise, texture and other stimuli may also play a role.
    1. Overly sensitive children, who have what researchers call “high reactivity,” are more likely to develop shy, timid or anxious personalities.
    2. However, high reactivity’s role is still far from clear-cut. Twenty percent of infants are highly reactive, but less than 10 percent go on to develop social phobias.
  5. Peers. Certain factors can help prevent children from developing personality disorders.
    1. Even a single strong relationship with a relative, teacher or friend can offset negative influences, say psychologists.
Adapted from “Where personality goes awry” APA Monitor on Psychology (
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety problem that develops in some people after traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster. People with PTSD may re-live the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares; avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma; and have anxious feelings they didn’t have before that are so intense their lives are disrupted. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology (
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterized by incoherent or illogical thoughts, bizarre behavior and speech, and delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices. Schizophrenia typically begins in early adulthood. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Antipsychotic drugs aren’t the only treatment people with schizophrenia need. Along with medication, psychotherapy and support can help them regain their lives.
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats, seducing or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors—especially group therapy—appears effective. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences appears to be good for health on several levels - raising immunity and other health measures and improving life functioning. Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help you cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviors – and can help you on the path to recovery. Children and adolescents who have been sexually abused can suffer a range of psychological and behavioral problems, from mild to severe, in both the short and long term. Counseling and support services are important for both the children affected and the caregivers responsible for the abused children. Most people will experience a trauma at some point in their lives, and as a result, some will experience debilitating symptoms that interfere with daily life. The good news is that psychological interventions are effective in preventing many long-term effects.
Sexuality has three stages: Desire is an interest in being sexual. Excitement is the state of arousal that sexual stimulation causes. And orgasm is sexual pleasure's peaking. A sexual disorder occurs when there's a problem in at least one of these stages. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology (
Shyness is the tendency to feel awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people. Severely shy people may have physical symptoms like blushing, sweating, a pounding heart or upset stomach; negative feelings about themselves; worries about how others view them; and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions. Most people feel shy at least occasionally. Some people’s shyness is so intense, however, that it can keep them from interacting with others even when they want or need to—leading to problems in relationships and at work. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( At PFC we take shyness and social phobia seriously. We are specialists in helping people overcome these two difficulties. We have found through our experience that there are two things that help:
  1. Not caring so much about what others think of us,
  2. And facing our fears by gradually becoming more friendly.
Stress can be a reaction to a short-lived situation, such as being stuck in traffic. Or it can last a long time if you're dealing with relationship problems, a spouse's death or other serious situations. Stress becomes dangerous when it interferes with your ability to live a normal life over an extended period. You may feel tired, unable to concentrate or irritable. Stress can also damage your physical and mental health. Adapted from "Mind/Body: Stress" ( Read our Article entitled: 6 Myths About Stress APA offers the following tips on how to manage your stress: Understand how you stress. Everyone experiences stress differently. How do you know when you are stressed"How are your thoughts or behaviors different from times when you do not feel stressed" Identify your sources of stress. What events or situations trigger stressful feelings" Are they related to your children, family, health, financial decisions, work, relationships or something else" Learn your own stress signals. People experience stress in different ways. You may have a hard time concentrating or making decisions, feel angry, irritable or out of control, or experience headaches, muscle tension or a lack of energy. Gauge your stress signals. Recognize how you deal with stress. Determine if you are using unhealthy behaviors (such as smoking, drinking alcohol and over/under eating) to cope. Is this a routine behavior, or is it specific to certain events or situations" Do you make unhealthy choices as a result of feeling rushed and overwhelmed" Find healthy ways to manage stress. Consider healthy, stress-reducing activities such as meditation, exercising or talking things out with friends or family. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Don't take on too much at once. Focus on changing only one behavior at a time. Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity. Ensure you have a healthy mind and body through activities like yoga, taking a short walk, going to the gym or playing sports that will enhance both your physical and mental health. Take regular vacations or other breaks from work. No matter how hectic life gets, make time for yourself — even if it's just simple things like reading a good book or listening to your favorite music. Reach out for support. Accepting help from supportive friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviors. Information contained in this tip sheet should not be used as a substitute for professional health and mental health care or consultation. Individuals who believe they may need or benefit from care should consult a psychologist or other licensed health/mental health professional. For additional information on stress and mind/body health, visit the APA Help Center. In the workplace and at home, stress and other difficult situations are at an all-time high for many Americans. Being constantly worried about being laid off, or doing the job of two people, can cause serious problems for workers. On the home front, going through a divorce, caring for elderly parents, or dealing with a life-threatening illness are some of the difficult situations that can test a family's coping abilities.
Suicide is the act of killing yourself, most often as a result of depression or other mental illness. In the U.S., suicide accounts for about two percent of all deaths. Rates are highest for men over 69, but are increasing alarmingly in young people aged 15 to 24. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Be concerned when:
  1. Talks about committing suicide
  2. Has trouble eating or sleeping
  3. Experiences drastic changes in behavior
  4. Withdraws from friends and/or social activities
  5. Loses interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  6. Prepares for death by making out a will and final arrangements
  7. Gives away prized possessions
  8. Has attempted suicide before
  9. Takes unnecessary risks
  10. Has had recent severe losses
  11. Is preoccupied with death and dying
  12. Loses interest in his or her personal appearance
  13. Increases his or her use of alcohol or drugs
  14. Source: American Association of Suicidology.
If you're Feeling suicidal please give PFC a call and let us help you. This is not something to be taken lightly. Often suicide is no longer an option for a person once they “get over the hump”. Let us help make things much better. Warning signs of potential self-violence include:
  1. Previous suicide attempts
  2. Significant alcohol or drug use
  3. Threatening or communicating thoughts of suicide, death, dying or the afterlife
  4. Sudden increase in moodiness, withdrawal, or isolation
  5. Major change in eating or sleeping habits
  6. Feelings of hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness
  7. Poor control over behavior
  8. Impulsive, aggressive behavior
  9. Drop in quality of school performance or interest
  10. Lack of interest in usual activity
  11. Getting into trouble with authority figures
  12. Perfectionism
  13. Giving away important possessions
  14. Hinting at not being around in the future or saying good-bye
These warning signs are especially noteworthy in the context of:
  1. A recent death or suicide of a friend or family member
  2. A recent break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or conflict with parents
  3. News reports of other suicides by young people in the same school or community
Often, suicidal thinking comes from a wish to end deep psychological pain. Death seems like the only way out. But it isn't. If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. Listen carefully, then seek help immediately. Never keep their talk of suicide a secret, even if they ask you to. Remember, you risk losing that person. Forever. When you recognize the warning signs for suicidal behavior, do something about it. Tell a trusted adult what you have seen or heard. Get help from a licensed mental health professional as soon as possible. They can help work out the problems that seem so unsolvable but, in fact, are not.
Teens are undergoing dramatic changes. In addition to the biological changes of puberty, they experience cognitive changes that allow them to think more abstractly. They become increasingly focused on friends. And as they seek greater independence, they often come into conflict with parents. Most get through adolescence with few problems, establishing identities and preparing for adulthood. Some, however, experience problems that lead to dropping out of school, drug use or crime. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Our Teen Miracle, Family Miracle and Recovery Miracle Programs are excellent resources for parents and families who want the best tools possible in order to help their teens.
Testing issues include the development, creation, administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests. These tests can evaluate ability, such as intelligence, aptitudes, skills and achievement; personality characteristics, such as traits, attitudes, interests and values; and mental health, such as psychological functioning or signs of psychological or neurological disorders. When tests are standardized, psychologists can compare results from one individual with those of others. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology (
Therapy refers to treatment for psychological problems. Therapists and clients work together to understand problems and come up with plans for fixing them. The focus is generally on changing ineffective thoughts, emotions or behaviors. Most therapy focuses on individuals, although psychotherapists also work with couples, families and groups. The right match when choosing a therapist is important. Most therapist agree that an important factor in determining whether or not to work with a particular therapist, once that therapist’s credentials and competence are established, is your level of personal comfort with that therapist. A good rapport with your therapist is critical. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( When you reach a point in your life when you want professional help, you want to talk to someone you trust and feel comfortable with. A good friend can listen, but a therapist has the skills and professional training to help you learn to manage when you're overwhelmed.
Violence is an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder. Violence has many causes, including frustration, exposure to violent media, violence in the home or neighborhood and a tendency to see other people's actions as hostile even when they're not. Certain situations also increase the risk of aggression, such as drinking, insults and other provocations and environmental factors like heat and overcrowding. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ( Factors that contribute to violent behavior include:
  1. Peer pressure
  2. Need for attention or respect
  3. Feelings of low self-worth
  4. Early childhood abuse or neglect
  5. Witnessing violence at home, in the community or in the media
  6. Easy access to weapons
If you see these immediate warning signs, violence is a serious possibility:
  1. Loss of temper on a daily basis
  2. Frequent physical fighting
  3. Significant vandalism or property damage
  4. Increase in use of drugs or alcohol
  5. Increase in risk-taking behavior
  6. Detailed plans to commit acts of violence
  7. Announcing threats or plans for hurting others
  8. Enjoying hurting animals
  9. Carrying a weapon
If you notice the following signs over a period of time, the potential for violence exists:
  1. A history of violent or aggressive behavior
  2. Serious drug or alcohol use
  3. Gang membership or strong desire to be in a gang
  4. Access to or fascination with weapons, especially guns
  5. Threatening others regularly
  6. Trouble controlling feelings like anger
  7. Withdrawal from friends and usual activities
  8. Feeling rejected or alone
  9. Having been a victim of bullying
  10. Poor school performance
  11. History of discipline problems or frequent run-ins with authority
  12. Feeling constantly disrespected
  13. Failing to acknowledge the feelings or rights of others
Here are some ways to deal with anger without resorting to violence:
  1. Learn to talk about your feelings - if you're afraid to talk or if you can't find the right words to describe what you're going through, find a trusted friend or adult to help you one-on-one.
  2. Express yourself calmly - express criticism, disappointment, anger or displeasure without losing your temper or fighting. Ask yourself if your response is safe and reasonable.
  3. Listen to others - listen carefully and respond without getting upset when someone gives you negative feedback. Ask yourself if you can really see the other person's point of view.
  4. Negotiate - work out your problems with someone else by looking at alternative solutions and compromises.
Anger is part of life, but you can free yourself from the cycle of violence by learning to talk about your feelings. Be strong. Be safe. Be cool. You can reduce the rush of adrenaline that's responsible for your heart beating faster, your voice sounding louder, and your fists clenching if you:
  1. Take a few slow, deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing.
  2. Imagine yourself at the beach, by a lake, or anywhere that makes you feel calm and peaceful.
  3. Try other thoughts or actions that have helped you relax in the past.
Keep telling yourself:
  1. "Calm down."
  2. "I don't need to prove myself."
  3. "I'm not going to let him/her get to me."
Stop. Consider the consequences. Think before you act. Try to find positive or neutral explanations for what that person did that provoked you. Don't argue in front of other people. Make your goal to defeat the problem, not the other person. Learn to recognize what sets you off and how anger feels to you. Learn to think through the benefits of controlling your anger and the consequences of losing control. Most of all, stay cool and think. Only you have the power to control your own violent behavior, don't let anger control you.