Depression Is Often Untreated

Depression is often untreated, according to the results from the federal government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination study. The vast majority of Americans with depression didn’t seek help from a mental health professional Only 35% of people with severe depression and 20% of those with moderate depression said they had sought help from a mental health professional, according to the report …

Mindfulness for Depression -Research Update

Mindfulness has received a lot of attention recently as an approach to improving mental health in a number of conditions. But is it really effective as part of a strategy for treating serious depression? And, if so, how can we best incorporate it into treatment, given the great difficulty that many people with depression have doing even a small amount …

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 1: Acceptance and Willingness

I recently attended the Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference in Philadelphia, where I offered a two-hour workshop on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and deepening experiential practices in ACT sessions (largely based on the book The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy*). This post is Part …

Distress Tolerance

In A wonderful young woman we have been seeing for a few months asked for some recommendations for skills to help her deal with her experience of moments of overwhelming negative emotions that often seem to come out of nowhere. This post is a relatively quickly pulled together document derived from Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Think of it as a “draft” …

DBT for Bipolar Group

We are very happy to pass this information on about a great group for people with bipolar being offered in the bay area by an expert in the psychosocial treatments for bipolar: Dr. Jenifer Culver. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Group for Individuals with Bipolar Disorder in Los Altos, CA. The Next group begins September 2015. This group focuses on teaching …

UCSF Bipolar Group

The UCSF bipolar psychoeducational group starts on September 14, 2015. This group is lead by bay area bipolar expert Descartes Li, MD. It runs for 8 sessions, Mondays 12pm to 115pm. Most commercial insurance is accepted. Dr. Li describes this group as “an advanced class about bipolar disorder for people who have bipolar disorder.” For regular readers of this blog it …

Mentalize

Sometimes a word just seems to show up everywhere.  This past week the word “mentalize” has come up in conversation a number of times.   A colleague who is looking for a referral for therapy says that she needs someone who can “mentalize well.”  One of my patients who just completed a DBT-based treatment program says that she is doing better because …

Attentional Bias Modification Prevents Depression

A middle-aged nurse wrestling with depression said she want to do “everything” that she possibly could to improve her mood. She doesn’t have access to therapy through her insurance, and she’s already vigorously pursuing mindfulness practice, but her request reminded me of an article I recently read on Attentional Bias Modification as both a possible treatment of depression and as …

Through the looking glass 2 – Meeting the Therapist

The last blog posted some three hours ago jumped over this one, much as thoughts are given to do in my head. This, in fact is a description of me meeting the therapist for the first time. My earnest apologies. Maestro, the music if you please. …My wife, caught up in a Maelstrom of hypomania, seeks and finds a Therapist. I am …

Through the door 1 – Therapy needed

A few years back and I am living in Paris with my Irish wife who works for a large International think-tank based in the city. I work in London and return to Paris on weekends via Eurostar. I have had many ‘episodes’ in the past, but for a while now I’ve been free of them. But I am working hard redesigning a national …

Psychiatrists Don’t Care About “Why”

Psychiatrists tend to be surprisingly uninterested in discussions about why people are experiencing mood symptoms or anxiety symptoms or terrible stress. Let me try and explain this stance, which often seems bizarre to my patients. A young man who was recently married and had been living at home, and hadn’t been working for the last six months because of anxiety …

Art Therapy – Lyndsey

When I was in the hospital, one of the activities they provided for patients was art therapy.  I sat in a room, silent and bewildered as I was, and methodically glued tiny pieces of glass mosaic tiles on a black wrought iron trivet frame.  I called it my Crazy Trivet ever after, and it was remarkable only because it was …

I Can’t Stand It! (ACT)

This week began with me spending three or four hours writing up a summary of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for one of the people I saw two days ago.  For those of you who haven’t heard the term, ACT is the “hot” new approach to therapy (although much of it dates back thousands of years to Buddhist practice). I enjoyed the …

Through the door: initial therapy consultation

By Dr Suzanne A Black and Stuart Jessiman Having passed through the door of the therapist’s lair there I am now seated facing the psychologist. She smiles. I smile.  A simple success I suppose. She sat there dressed in a black dress and pearls, amid an array of beautiful old furniture with one bookshelf towering towards the tall ceiling, and an …

Life Lived as a Bipolar – Stuart Jessiman

Introducing myself, my name is Stuart Jessiman. I’m British, I come from London and I am Bipolar. I was diagnosed in Paris five years ago after seeing a Psychologist following a particularly hypo-manic period that nearly saw the collapse of my marriage and work. People react differently when diagnosed with bipolar. Strangely, this diagnosis far from shocking me gave me a quite profound sense …

Mood Charting Part 1

“My medications work for a while and then they just stop working…” “I have tried everything and nothing works…” “I have been in treatment forever but I just never seem to get better…” In our experience these very common concerns are often symptoms of an everyday problem in psychiatric treatment of mood disorders: it is very hard in a traditional …

Starting Bipolar Treatment – Dr Suzanne A . Black and Mr. Stuart Jessiman

Through the Door : The Initial Consultation – Part I I arrive at the door of an address of an English speaking psychologist in Paris given to me by my wife – This is someone I don t want to see.; but, my increasingly erratic, increasingly violent behavior is threatening my marriage , job and basic sense of well-being . …