In people who develop obsessive-compulsive disorder, there are often signs in childhood. However, OCD in children can be hard to distinguish from childhood fears and age-appropriate magical thinking. For OCD Awareness Week, The Washington Post published an article by Sarah Maraniss-Vander Schaaf about the experiences of Ethan, a young man who developed OCD in childhood. It’s an effort to help people look past the stereotypes of people with OCD as being excessively clean and organized or washing their hands excessively. As the writer notes: “…true OCD is often unspoken. It’s hard to recognize, as well, when growing up in a family where anxiety is normal, or in a school where behavior might be labeled school avoidance, or when no one Read more

Resources for self- and other-care in difficult times

November 24, 2016

Portland Psychotherapy Team

Many of us have been impacted by the election results.  Whether you are feeling shock, fear, anger, sadness, confusion, disbelief, or excitement, joy, satisfaction or hope, you are likely not alone. If you have been struggling, some of these resources might be helpful (thanks to Jennifer Villatte for sharing this list).  I prefaced each with a quote that spoke to me.  I also noticed the urge to provide a more in depth review of each, but eventually decided to practice self-care by calling it good :).  I hope you find something you might be seeking. Resources for Self-Care in the Face of Social Injustice and Marginalization “When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, Read more

To those who feel afraid or hurt after the election

November 15, 2016

Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

For many of us, these are frightening and uncertain times. We at Portland Psychotherapy want to make a declaration of support to the millions of people around the nation and here in Portland that have been targeted, oppressed, attacked, or silenced and to those who feel fearful of what may come.  Portland Psychotherapy does not endorse discrimination in any form and is invested in ensuring the safety of all members of our community. If you feel marginalized, oppressed, angered, hurt, afraid, ashamed, or stigmatized, we want you to know you are welcome here.  You are all part of the community we love and serve. This is a safe place for you to speak and to be heard. We value you. The Staff of Portland Psychotherapy

Blue light at night is bad

November 14, 2016

Portland Psychotherapy Team

We have known or suspected for quite some time that there are significant harmful health and environmental consequences associated with excessive light use at night, especially blue-rich light. Advances in technology and the widespread transition to light emitting diodes (LEDs), which emit substantial amounts of blue light, have made this especially important to understand and address. The American Medical Association (AMA) recently released an important and timely report, providing scientific evidence in support of these concerns. They affirm the potential health hazards of blue-rich light, including its links to increased risks for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and circadian rhythm disruption. They also find that blue-rich LED street lighting is five times more disruptive to our sleep than conventional street lighting Read more

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction are two very different challenges that are sometimes experienced at the same time. People are often curious about the ways that these two struggles overlap.  There are actually several ways that PTSD and substance use go together. Substances as a solution People who have PTSD struggle with anxiety and fear, isolation, and sleep difficulties.  Substance use can, understandably, seem like a solution. Using alcohol might help someone who feels on guard all the time to be able to relax.  Benzodiazepines or marijuana might be used to help individuals who suffer from trauma to fall asleep.  People with PTSD may use substances to avoid thoughts, feelings, or memories associated with the traumatic event. Research suggests Read more