Pets and Mental Health – Gina

As I write this article about pets and mental health, I sit next to my 4 year old dog, Rufus. I am regularly reminded in my daily life of the valuable role pets can play in our lives. Pets can play a huge role in providing support and have been shown to have both physical and psychological benefits in the …

Successful Job Hunting

A young man in the tech industry who worked with me for nearly a decade got me started thinking about the key to successful job hunting. The tech industry is notorious for its high turnover and this young man enjoyed working in startups, where the turnover is even greater. As a result, he found himself looking for work every year …

Fall 2017 UCSF Bipolar Psychoeducation Group

The UCSF bipolar psychoeducational group starts on August 7, 2017. It runs for 8 weekly sessions, Mondays 12pm to 130pm. Most commercial insurance accepted. I often describe this group as “an advanced class about bipolar disorder for people who have bipolar disorder.” I have attached a flyer and a draft schedule. Please feel free to give/show either to your patients. There is also …

Ride the Tiger

Ride the Tiger is a wonderful PBS documentary that covers a lot of important information about bipolar in an entertaining and informative one hour program. One of my patients strongly recommended it. Treatment Stories about treatment, the good, the bad and the ugly. Self Care The importance of self care. A brief introduction to some useful ideas. The Genetics of …

Ready for Change

Ready for Change?

Getting Ready for Change The process of getting ready for change has been the focus of the research of James Prochaska for the last 40 years. James O. Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente, developed the Transtheoretical Model for change (TTM), which is the most widely accepted framework for understanding change in the mental health and substance use treatment communities. They found …

Nature and Wellbeing – Gina

Nature and Wellbeing Many patients I work with speak of the value that nature plays in their lives and I can say that I also strongly relate to the value it plays in my own. Through personal experience and repeated accounts from others, I have seen how nature can improve moods, increase feelings of connectedness, and impact thought patterns. More …

Radical Acceptance and Coping with Bipolar Disorder – Gina

What is radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is an approach named by Marsha Linehan, PhD who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy that is about completely and totally accepting something, stopping the fight against reality, and ultimately, suffering less. Things will regularly happen in our lives that are outside of our control, such as having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or experiencing a …

12 Steps

There are a few people in my experience who are as impressive in maturity and integrity as those people we have worked with who have been the most involved in 12 Step Programs. I didn’t come to this observation from any pre-conceived bias in favor of 12 Step Program. If anything, my involvement with 12 Step early on was pretty negative. It …

Shame and Guilt After Mania – Gina

Addressing Shame and Guilt After a Manic Episode I have witnessed the immense pain caused by the shame and guilt experienced by people with bipolar disorder following a manic episode.After a manic episode, most have engaged in behaviors that they regret. The resulting shame and guilt can contribute greatly to symptoms of depression that follow an episode. Understanding techniques and …

Mood Trends

  Mood trends are useful to track in order to prevent a full blown episode of depression, hypomania or mania. I think of them as equivalent to the idea of a falling or rising barometer. Before satellites and modern weather forecasting, whether the barometer was rising or falling was the best predictor of the weather. If the barometer was rising …

Mania Warning Signs in the Eyes – Gina

Recognizing Mania Warning Signs, Even in the Eyes Knowing and understanding warning signs of depression, hypomania and mania can be crucial in accessing the resources and supports needed at different times in your life. Warning signs can vary across individuals but there are also many warning signs that are thought to be more universal such as changes in sleep. The …

Pace Yourself for More Manageable Moods

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to pace yourself so that you can capture some of the energy and creativity associated with being mildly energized while not getting so involved that you burn out or edge into full-fledged mania. There’s nothing quite so exciting as entering a time of increased energy and ideas after a long …

Hope and Self Efficacy – Gina

Believing you can create change in your life is the foundation for successfully making the change. Self efficacy is the sense that you can make change and thus hope and self-efficacy are intimately connected. Often people with bipolar or depression are overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness. They feel stuck and unable to manage their moods. And yet a great deal of research shows …

Support for Depression – How to Get More

Many of the people I see feel that it’s very hard to get support for their depression. They may find it hard to talk about the subject altogether or they may have had some experiences that suggests that “people just don’t want to know.” This morning I saw several people with depression and bipolar and what struck me was that …