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Alexandria Counseling Center
A Place For Growth

Articles and Commentary from our Alexandria, VA Professionals

"What? Me, Meditate?" Jane Carey, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

For most, the thought of meditating is met with..."Not for me!" Even long term meditators have that response on any given day. It is hard...make no mistake...but far from impossible. The multiple benefits are deep, long lasting and well worth the inevitable struggle. Some of the well researched benefits include lowered anxiety and blood pressure, improved levels of attention and concentration, and overall increased resilience to stress.

To simply sit, breathe and observe your thoughts can be challenging. It can also be very relaxing. Try breathing in through the nose followed by long slow exhalations out the mouth or nose...allowing yourself time to simply BE and not do. Not holding a breath, not holding a thought. Allowing the constant mind chatter to pass by. As the mind wanders, bring it in back to the breath. Let those thoughts pass you by one more time...and again and again.
Continue to come back to the peaceful sound of the breath. Your breath that is always there, ever present. And now, you too...present and in the moment. No place to go, nothing to do but BE. Take a few minutes and give it a try. Why not consider meditating just before you check your phone. See how it might alter your stimulus/response reaction. Then smile and appreciate the gift you gave yourself.

Studies on Happiness - Carol Frick, LCSW

Have you ever wondered what makes a good life? Robert Waldinger, the fourth director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a 75-year study on happiness, talks about the results of that study in a Ted Talk entitled "What Makes A Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness." The answer is not wealth, nor is it fame. To find the answer, google Ted Talks and find Robert Waldinger's entry. The results are enlightening.

Ketamine - a New Treatment for Depression? - Carol Frick, LCSW

The current wisdom is that severe depression is treated most effectively by a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressent medication. This treatment works for most people, especially since there are many drugs to choose from, and most people can find one that works for them (with the help of a psychiatrist). However, there is a small percentage of the depressed population that is "resistant" to the standard treatment. According to an article in the Health and Science section of the ... Read more

The Best Book about Marriage or What to Do Before Your First Appointment, Rebecca Hecht-Lewis, PhD Clinical Psychologist

When couples call to set up a marital counseling appointment things likely have been getting tough at home. Waiting for the first session can seem difficult because couples run out of emotional energy. They are worn out from trying to interact with one and other in repetitively negative ways. A frequent question after the appointment date has been set is, “What can we do between now and then?” The answer, read John Gottman’s The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work. After years of research ... Read more

Exercise and Your Mental Health, Rebecca Hecht-Lewis, PhD

Talk therapy is not magic. Since your mental health is impacted by your physical health, it is likely that, along with your MD, your therapist will nag about exercise. Aerobic exercise has proved to be an effective anti-depressant. It can reduce anger, confusion, fatigue and tension. Walking has been shown to have statistically significant effects on lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels and body mass, and reducing depression while improving overall physical functioning. ... Read more

Is yoga for me?

Is yoga for me? A frequently asked and reasonable question. As a long time practitioner and teacher I always answer with a resounding yes. What matters most is the type of yoga you choose as well as the ability of the instructor to modify. Once you overcome your reluctance and fear...mostly rooted ... Read more

Online dating, should you or shouldn’t you?

Online dating, should you or shouldn’t you? If you’re unmarried and looking for a relationship you might be reassured to know that 38% of singles looking for partners are using online or mobile app dating sites. Attitudes toward using online tools to seek romance are becoming more positive. About a ... Read more

Are you treating yourself as well as you would your pet?

One of the most frequent questions I ask clients in therapy is, “Are you treating yourself as well as you would your pet? “ The American Animal Hospital Association reminds us, in their publication Canine Life Stages Guidelines, that caring for a healthy dog requires a number of things. These ... Read more