Why Counseling Is Good For Your Mental Health After An Emotional Abuse

Aside from reading books as a form of therapy, most people tend to look at counseling as something necessary to people diagnosed with disorders such as depression and anxiety or when dealing with emotional abuse. Either that or it is a luxury only celebrities, and other elite can enjoy.

 

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3 Book Characters That Will Encourage You To Seek Online Therapy

 

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From television shows to novels, mental health has become a favorite topic for discussion and debate. Following the recent controversy with Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, based on the novel of the same name, people have risen to criticize its portrayal of mental illness. While it is now more openly talked about, many representations seem to miss the mark when it comes to being realistic, and the measures taken to address these issues.

Continue reading 3 Book Characters That Will Encourage You To Seek Online Therapy

Interesting Facts About Bibliotherapy

 

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When confronted with conditions like depression and anxiety or dealing with loss, often it can be hard to think sensibly about what’s happening to your body and mind, particularly if you do not have enough experience to relate it to. Bibliotherapy strives to connect this breach by utilizing literature to help you move forward positively by giving information, guidance, and support through reading stories and books.

Bibliotherapy is frequently used to back up other types of therapy, so it is also suitable for both group and individual settings for individuals of all ages. It is not uncommon to see a therapist utilize stories and narrations while working with younger patients like a child or teenagers.

When utilized in group therapy, bibliotherapy permits participants to share and then get feedback regarding their translations of the literature and how it is associated with their concerns. It also helps enhance communication and enables more profound conversations and interactions for the participants.

What It Helps People With

Reading is generally useful to just about anybody, but focused or directed bibliotherapy can be especially beneficial for the following problems:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship concerns
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse

Benefits

When a therapist uses bibliotherapy, he might for a self-help source like a worksheet of relaxation exercises for an individual with panic attacks, or he could choose a story with imaginary characters that are going through trauma and grief from the death of a loved one for a patient who has just gone through a death of a loved one.

Through these fiction and non-fiction books, short stories, self-help resources, plays, and poetry, therapists can assist a person get a more profound understanding of the issues that have led him to consult a therapist in the first place.

Get A Better Perspective

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Among the more convincing reasons for utilizing bibliotherapy is that it helps an individual see how others, like the characters of the book he is reading, tackle and cope with the same concerns. When you determine and relate to a character, particularly on a sentimental level, you can see that other people are also going through and dealing with personal challenges.

To strengthen this connection and help improve the treatment process, the therapist can select a book with a character seeking assistance for the intra or interpersonal trials that the patient is confronted with.

Effectiveness

Recent research found that bibliotherapy could be beneficial in treating eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and more.

  • Online surveys revealed that self-help bibliotherapy was more effective compared to fiction when it comes to eating disorders, which participants by participants viewed as damaging to their self-confidence, eating and exercise routines, mood, and body image.
  • Creative bibliotherapy has shown to be powerful in assisting kids between 5 and 16 with suppressing behaviors like depression and anxiety, pro-social behavior like attitudes to others, and externalizing behaviors like aggression.
  • A study composed of students revealed that reading mindfulness-directed stress reduction bibliotherapy for ten weeks led to a remarkable reduction in stress, anxiety sensitivity, and anxiety and a rise in the general quality of life.

Acquire Personal Awareness

Bibliotherapy assists an individual in gaining awareness into the personal trials that he is going through and learn techniques to tackle the most problematic issues. It also helps improve understanding and problem-solving.

Get Benefits External To Treatment

Deciding on what book to read between sessions provides the therapist with a layout for designating homework external to your treatment. This method can definitely help intensify the definition of a therapy session and expedite better learning. Another method that a therapist can utilize bibliotherapy is by way of a prevention model. This can help individuals learn strategies for dealing with life’s difficulties.

Considerations

Bibliotherapy benefits individuals of all ages with a wide variety of needs, but it is only effective if you are committed to reading and sharing. Generally, bibliotherapy is not prescribed if you or your loved one does not like reading very much, is incapable of differentiating fantasy from reality, and has an inadequate capacity or attention span.

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Getting Started

The best place to seek is online when looking for a therapist who integrates bibliotherapy into their therapy sessions. Search this specialty by typing ‘bibliotherapy’ then your specific city. For instance, ‘bibliotherapy + Chicago.’

Aside from bibliotherapy training, do not forget to check for other qualifications and titles like PsyD, Ph.D., LCSW, LPC, LMFT, and psychotherapist when doing your search. These, together with several others, signify that the individual has comprehensive education and appropriate certifications to practice in his state.

There are numerous professionals from various disciplines that are members of the National Association for Poetry Therapy. This organization utilizes the word ‘poetry’ widely to imply any created word. A great place to begin is by scanning their website and journals. In addition, trying Google Scholar and other sources may generate scholars who are also therapists and might help directly or suggest others capable of helping.

 

 

Books to Read If You Want To Become A Good Therapist

 

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Substantial knowledge regarding human conditions and a comprehensive view of the strategies that can reduce anguish go together. This means that books for competent therapists in training are frequently great reads, even for people outside the mental health field. Here, we will be reviewing some of the best therapy books specifically for therapists who are currently training – and even those who are not.

Man’s Search For Meaning

Truthfully, this book is not the type for therapists seeking techniques to try in their future therapy sessions. Man’s Search probes into various human conditions study the significance of existential morals, and discuss how one individual, Frankl, lived while many didn’t. In a nutshell, novice therapists will discover that this book captures their most profound expressive skills working efficiently, trying to acknowledge what values would help them overcome their toughest times.

Specifically, Frankl’s account of what he went through to move forward in life after his family all died from the Holocaust is intensely touching, and this helps new therapists to feel hopeful for their clients in times where there is very little hope left. Instead of merely coping with the loss, the author educates the new practitioner on how to desire to live instead of trying to elude death.

Beginning Mindfulness: Learning The Way Of Awareness

An excerpt from the book:

Meditation is not only something that you do on a chair or cushion…. When you do mindfulness meditation in the current moment, it makes the things you do in your everyday life holy and filled with meaning, even washing the dishes or turning on the electric lights.”

Because many people today are so into mindfulness, perhaps due to its popularity, new therapists are better equipped to comprehend what their clients want after they have finished this book. More importantly, Beginning Mindfulness will also open up about what mindfulness cannot do, which will be beneficial in dismissing any delusions that patients or new therapists might have.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

This 1997 overview of emotional intelligence has endured the tests concerning the significance of emotional proficiency. All therapists must find time to cultivate emotional intelligence in a way that the author describes, although novices therapists most probably require understanding the aspects to work on initially.

Source: abebooks.com

This Goleman book stands out because it gives a convenient to understand account of the idea of emotional intelligence that new therapists can utilize to enhance their relationship with their clients and themselves.

Notably, this book discusses some techniques that therapists can utilize with their patients to develop better emotional intelligence. These techniques are not suitable for everybody, but most patients can benefit from fine-tuning their emotional intelligence to enhance their connections with other individuals.

Love’s Executioner And Other Tales Of Psychotherapy

Irvin Yalom shares his wisdom from the years of experience he has had as a practicing psychotherapist. He describes four basic causes of existential pain and provides readers with methods of soothing this type of pain – important teachings for novice therapists.

The primary message that budding therapists have to hear says Yalom in his book, is that the pain that causes psychopathology is essentially not capable of resolution. Educating clients to manage efficiently is the only path forward. This message is specifically relevant for patients who are suffering from grief.

Frequently, losses are irremediable, but the therapist’s task is to assist patients in working around the emptiness instead of helping them seek ways of filling it. The author’s teachings are great for budding therapists than for seasoned ones because they offer a structure that can help shape novice therapists’ whole practice.

Reason And Emotion In Psychotherapy

In the 1950s, two basic types of psychotherapy conquered the field: Carl Rogers’ patient-focused therapy, which prohibited therapists from utilizing any active-directive methods to show patients what actually worried or what they should do about it; and Freudian psychoanalysis, with the concept of listening to patient’s problems and apparently exploring their unconscious selves, and then healing them of their troubled childhood.

As discussed in this book, the author’s revolutionary scrutiny into rational-sensitive behavioral therapy would ultimately be used as the foundation for presently leading therapy forms like cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Albert Ellis strived to destroy the walls between emotionality, cognitive restraint, and instinct, which kept people from unseeingly applying both. Therapist trainees will realize that this book will have changed their outlook on the intention of rationality on the therapist’s side. He supports deliberately shifting between unrestrained sentiments while interacting with patients and isolated cognition, two skills that each therapist must learn and master.

Conclusion

Acquiring a basic knowledge base when initiating your profession as a therapist is vital. If you are prepared to begin your first practice, review this article and heed the tips and strategies mentioned above.

 

 

Help For Counseling Students: Reading Can Improve Mental Health

 

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Many seasoned counselors are worried that the pervasive use of social media is resulting in a decrease in people, particularly counseling students and upcoming counselors to be less interested in gathering more knowledge that is required to become the best at what they do. Additionally, the habit of reading a book has way more benefits mentally and emotionally compared to just relying on the web and having fun navigating through the lives of others through social media.

Counseling students – and all students for that matter – could find it difficult to meet the demands of their education and may only read as a responsibility. However, reading books as a form of leisure can be quite rewarding and beneficial. For upcoming counselors, reading books required of them and the genres of fiction, bibliography, narratives, and even romance has been shown to help improve their mental health. But how can they get motivated to grab a book instead of their phones?

Here are some reasons that would surely encourage you to do just that.

Reading Brings New Perspective

Books can take you to a whole new world and present you to various people and the challenges that they’re confronted with every day. You’ll learn about various situations and outcomes, how people tackle them, and the different consequences for their actions. In our daily lives, we are incapable of getting into the mind of another individual and know their intentions and struggles. But books allow us to read people’s minds, know where they’re coming from, and how their past and current experiences influence their choices.

Through all this, we can discover that many areas in people’s lives are hidden, and because of this, we may not completely understand their objectives and behaviors. Additionally, we can improve our capacity to show empathy towards others when we have had the opportunity to comprehend the story from their perspective.

Reading Enhances One’s Communication Skills

Reading books of various niches widens not just our vocabularies but also the ways by which you use words to express a message. By dissecting the myriad ways that people express things and methods that communication is successfully conveyed or not may lead you to think about how to communicate efficiently. Not everyone is blessed to be a wordsmith and can precisely convey how others feel and think. However, all of us can learn from prolific writers and the vocabulary that they use to describe various states of mind.

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Reading Offers A Healthy Getaway

Each one of us has been confronted by times in life when we try so hard to find some distraction to forget our present difficulties, even just for a while. This desire to disturb our messy lives with something more enjoyable is not uncommon. But then we face the problem of what the distraction could be. Some people decide to get away from misery by eating too much, drinking alcohol, or using drugs. Still, others prefer the healthy escape of reading a wonderful find from their local library. With a range of books that we can easily access, you could set aside your mental and emotional burdens and get away to a different period, a different place, and even a different planet! Taking yourself to somewhere new and surrounded by your favorite people – characters from the books – could certainly be just what you have to do. It’s very cheap, safe, and healthy. It’s the kind of temporary escape that sets you up for healing and reenergizing.

Reading Is Great For Me Time

Spending time for yourself has positive benefits and is quite necessary for all of us. How to utilize that alone time is a usual question, particularly when there are many things that we want to do with others. A perfect choice for spending ‘me time,’ despite how many people you live in your home, is reading. You can stay in bed or your favorite couch and scan the pages of the book that you’ve always wanted to read but can’t find the time to. Me time allows you to be with your own thoughts, and it’s actually good for your heart and soul. You can think and feel whatever you want without anybody arguing or refuting you.

Reading Promotes Sleep And Relaxation

Sitting silently and permitting your body to relax while reading is not bad at all. When your thoughts are focused on that book you’re holding, your body is free from tension, and your heart rate decreases. Additionally, if you don’t usually get sufficient sleep, try grabbing a book, a romantic or a self-help book, something that doesn’t thrill or excite you too much.

Reading can also be a good transition practice from everyday toxic activities to that profound sleep you never got for some time. It helps you gradually wind down and get rid of the contemplation or anxieties that often precedes sleep.

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Takeaway

In summary, books are a precious yet underestimated resource that can instill compassion, improve healing, and inspire those who are going through suffering or mental health disorders. Reading must be encouraged for everybody, particularly for aspiring counselors.

To end, here’s a quote from world-renowned author Lord Thomas Macaulay:

“…That I have not utterly sunk under this blow, I owe chiefly to literature. Literature has saved my life and my reason.”

 

 

Recommended Books For Counselors

 

 

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If you’re still in your first years of counseling, you can read these are among the most popular books. Seasoned counselors, world-renowned writers, mental health experts perk our interest as they write books with an appealing approach regarding the human mind. Truly, a successful therapist or counselor is just as great as the experiences, books, and other resources that he gets his hands on to learn more about his profession. Whether you desire to help the couple in need of advice for a relationship or a middle-aged adult undergoing depression, there is just a wide library of counseling books to guide and motivate you to become the best counselor there is.

 

Below is a list of recommended books that startup and seasoned counselors will find interesting and beneficial.

On Becoming A Person: A Therapist’s View Of Psychotherapy

In this book, psychologist Carl Rogers changed the world of psychotherapy through his client-focused approach. He collected essays that he had written over ten years and more, unraveling the idea that a positive and trusting relationship between counselors and patients is helpful and actually more workable compared to present drug=based substances or the customary hierarchy or power.

The Resilient Practitioner: Burnout Prevention And Self-Care Strategies For Counselors, Therapists, Teachers, And Health Professionals

For Thomas Skovholt, a counselor’s optimal performance is tremendously affected by his lack of personal care. In an area where the value of communication between the client and counselor is essential, counselors must always be healthy. The Resilient Practitioner recognizes the significance of burnout and scientifically-based techniques for keeping yourself sane despite the challenges of the counseling profession.

Man’s Search For Meaning. In the 1940s, Viktor E. Frankl, the author of this inspiring book, was among those who worked in the Nazi death camps while his own family suffered. He used what he went through to express his past miseries and finally finding purpose in life. Logotherapy, a technique that he created, states that an individual’s primary motivation is not to seek pleasures in life but rather to explore and seize the things he finds important constantly. The book became very popular, selling about 10 million copies up until he died in 1997.

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The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Writer Oliver Sacks continues to be among the most brilliant minds of the past decades. Here, Sacks focuses on the more extraordinary cases of mental health disorders. He explains situations where people’s memories have vanished and real-life stories of patients that were unable to remember the faces of their loved ones. Described as ‘bizarre yet appealing,’ this find by Dr. Sacks shows his storytelling skills at its best. You won’t want to put the book down until you’ve reached the last page.

The Power Of Habit

Most patients who visit a counselor’s clinic go there because it has become a habit. It’s something that they want to do regularly. The Power Of Habit offers the basics of incorporating habits in daily life. Moreover, it unravels the many ways that a person’s ability to form habits and how elements of society affect them.

Becoming Attached: First Relationships And How They Shape Our Capacity To Love

The study of childhood attachment is fundamentally important in childhood emotional development and how it impacts parenting approaches. It prepares the stage for intuitive learning of adult social, behavioral patterns.

The Bell Jar

This book by Sylvia Plath is one of the most preferred reads by counselors and other mental health professionals, perhaps because of its remarkably true-to-life portrayal of insanity. Esther Greenwood, who plays the main character, is a beautiful and brilliant lady. She is the epitome of success, but eventually, she breaks down and becomes insane, and her insanity runs every part of her daily life. The Bell will walk you through the bleakest corners of the human mind, and all these will linger in your own mind even after you finish reading it.

Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud: Relapse And The Symptoms

Scott Stevens offers this wonderful find especially to addiction counselors and recommends this to recovered addicts as well. Approximately nine in ten individuals relapse after staying sober, and the story centers on why and how this happens. The journalist’s journey with sobriety and the difficulties of staying sober will capture your heart and mind. Stevens also understands why sobriety is merely an initial step on the path to recovery and healing.

Source: nytimes.com

Love’s Executioner And Other tales Of Psychotherapy

Irvin D. Yalom incorporates ten short stories of ten patients who are empathetic and humorous. Yalom unravels the intentions behind people’s desires and objectives as he attempts to connect his function as a doctor with his own humanity.

 

Takeaway

Throughout your journey in the counseling field, you will get to know more about the areas that you are more passionate about and the skills that you can effectively utilize. Eventually, you will be more driven to delve into the more profound areas of psychology. However, if you pursue your counseling degree, these books will definitely set a robust foundation and become worthy partners that you can read and reread as your practice progresses.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About DSM

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My mental health journey started at the tender age of five. I had no recollection of it, but that was the first time I met a child psychologist because my parents were worried about my behavior. They kept getting called by the preschool teacher due to my hyperactivity and inattentiveness in the classroom, which was not normal even for kids my age.

Although Mom and Dad were reluctant to take me to a psychologist initially, it turned out to be the best thing they could do at the time. The psychologist diagnosed me with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that practically made it almost impossible for me to stay still unless I was asleep. It took me a couple of years in therapy to tone down my hyperactivity and inability to focus, but it worked.

Life After Diagnosis

Not many people knew about my ADHD except for my teachers and some close friends. I did not want to hide it, but it’s undoubtedly something that I did not need to divulge whenever I talked to new acquaintances. When I tried that when I was younger, I realized that other people could be very judgmental, and some parents of my classmates did not want me around their kids, afraid that I would run amok anytime.

Despite those minor hiccups, my childhood was pretty average. I did not have to get special education, so I worked hard like everybody at school. Often, though, I had to work harder, given that I could not always concentrate on my lessons and assignments. My parents also encouraged me to try different sports to have an outlet for my seemingly never-ending energy. That helped the school football team win a few championships, of course. I genuinely felt like I got everything in the bag, and my ADHD would never hinder me from finding success in life.

Then, Another Diagnosis Came 

I slipped in the bathroom a few weeks before my senior year started and almost broke my back. I was so upset because of two things: 1) I was looking forward to ending my high school football career on a high note, and 2) I probably had the lamest accident in history. That was the first time I did not feel energetic to do anything – not even eat and sleep, which I used to be a champion at. On occasions, though, I would feel like the king of the world and strut around the school, pulling stunts that I was not supposed to do.

My parents got worried about me again, so they brought me to my long-time psychologist. They dragged me to the first consultation, considering I did not want to do that at all. Several consultations later, though, I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

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My initial reaction was, “No way!” I mean, an ADHD and a bipolar disorder? It sounded impossible for me for one person to get two mental illnesses in a lifetime.

The psychologist noticed my disbelief, so she asked me, “What do you like to do other than playing football?”

“I love reading,” I replied, though I had no idea where this conversation was leading.

Before the session ended, she handed a heavy book to me.

“This is the DSM. Mental health professionals use it to diagnose people better, but you can read it until our next consultation. You may find something enlightening there,” the psychologist said.

What does DSM mean?

 DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It comes in the form of a handbook for mental health professionals that the American Psychiatric Association writes and updates every few years. The first edition was published in 1952.

What is the DSM 5 definition of mental disorder?

 According to DSM-5, a mental disorder is a condition that has been proven to affect a person’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral abilities. It serves as a reflection of psychological, developmental, or biological issues that are perhaps unknown even to the individual.

What is the difference between DSM 4 and DSM 5?

 The primary difference between the fourth and fifth editions of DSM is the number of symptoms that individuals must show before psychologists and psychiatrists can say that they have a specific mental disorder. APA has also changed the chronological order of the categories and removed the multiaxial system and global assessment of functioning (GAF) that professionals have been using for years. They replaced GAF with WHO Diagnostic Assessment Scale (WHODAS), which analyzes the patient’s diagnostic profile besides the other factors.

What are the 5 DSM categories?

 DSM used to have five categories, divided into axes: clinical disorders, personality disorders, medical/physical conditions, environmental factors, and functioning assessment. This is supposed to make it easy for mental health professionals to come up with a diagnosis.

However, the DSM-5 categories are seen in the second section of the handbook. They present various mental disorders that go under neurodevelopmental, psychotic, bipolar, depressive, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, trauma, dissociative, somatic, eating, sleep-wake, sexual, gender, and addictive disorders. These categories seem less detailed compared to how the mental illnesses have been laid out in DSM-4.

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What does the DSM 5 stand for?

 DSM-5 Stands for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that the American Psychiatric Association created in ten years.

Is the DSM IV still used?

 Since the DSM-5 showcases a significant change in how the disorders have been categorized and how the psychiatric disorders should be diagnosed, the DSM-4 may be rendered useless at present. You may still read the latter, for sure, but if you are a new mental health professional who’s about to make a diagnosis, you should follow what’s written in the DSM-5 since it’s the current version.

What is a DSM category?

 A DSM category is practically a general criterion of mental disorder that various conditions fall under. For instance, it’s easy to deduce that anxiety is a sub-category of the same illness. When you have a panic attack, phobia, or selective mutism, it all goes under anxiety too.

What disorders are in the DSM 5?

 There is a wide range of disorders – 157, to be exact – found in the DSM-5. It entails that more than 100 illnesses have been culled from the DSM-4. The new conditions they have added, though, are disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and social communication disorder.

Is the DSM reliable?

 The DSM has been deemed a reliable source of psychiatric information for decades. Most – if not all – mental health professionals can access it and study it front and back before diagnosing patients. However, its reliability had waned since 2013 when the APA released DSM-5, which featured massive changes in the handbook’s overall structure. More importantly, they reduced the number of mental disorders detailed in the manual, removed the multiaxial system, and practically “medicalized” the conditions. The fact that pharmaceutical data have influenced the DSM revision does not help to increase its value.

What are the 5 axes in psychology?

 DSM has taught mental health professionals that there are five axes for every diagnosis. 

Let’s say a person potentially has depression.

  • Clinical Disorders – From the get-go, does the patient show various syndromes? 
  • Personality/Developmental Disorders – Is the person behaving in a non-conventional way? Do they have characteristics that have been present since infancy or childhood?
  • Physical Conditions – Has a doctor diagnosed the individual with a medical condition? If not, are they dealing with physical ailments like a headache, muscle pain, etc.?
  • Environmental/Psychosocial Factors – How is the patient’s life at home, school, or work? Are they always surrounded by bullies or generally negative folks? Do they have money or relationship issues?
  • Global Assessment of Functioning – A scale going from 0 to 100 that mental health professionals give to the patient after assessing the first four factors above. The higher your rating is, the healthier you are. If you get any number from 1 to 10, it entails that you are possibly suicidal or violent.

How many disorders are in DSM IV?

 There are 297 disorders in DSM-4.

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What does multiaxial mean?

 Multiaxial practically means that a mental health professional needs to assess various areas before providing a patient diagnosis. According to DSM-4, the symptoms are visible not only through the individual’s personality but also through physical health. After all, if you talk to a depressed person, they may complain about sleep deprivation, fatigue, and bodily aches, aside from suicidal thoughts. As for the trigger factors, it can be bullying, loss of a loved one, etc.

What is the difference between Axis I and Axis II disorders?

 When you talk about Axis II disorders, you focus on personality disorders, such as narcissism, sociopathy, borderline personality disorder, split personality disorder, and many more. Mental retardation is also a part of it, and its symptoms include:

  • Speech and cognition delays
  • Lack of practical skills
  • Overall slowness
  • Inability to communicate as well as their peers

When it comes to AXIS I disorders, think of every mental illness that is not considered mental retardation or personality disorder. That includes (but is not limited to) depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, addiction, psychotic disorders, gender issues, sexual dysfunctions, etc. 

What does the DSM 5 say about ADHD?

 ADHD refers to a disorder that is characterized by excessive inattentiveness and hyperactivity. This definition is the same for the fourth and fifth editions of DSM. However, what’s changed is that mental health professionals merely need to identify how early and how often the patient has experienced the symptoms over the years. This allows individuals to receive diagnosis faster than usual.

Final Thoughts

The DSM taught me that there were approximately 200 mental disorders on the planet, and I got pretty lucky for not getting more severe conditions. I gave the book back to the psychologist and became more cooperative than ever in dealing with the comorbidity.

 

Is Reading Steampunk Novels Good For My Mental Health?

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One might say that I was a fussy editor. Meaning, I only chose to edit books or articles that I found interesting. The publishing company that I worked for was cool with it since they could always rely on me to give my 120% in every book I edited. Hence, I paid attention to romance novels, business guides, and mental health ebooks for many years.

Why did I like those three topics, you might ask? Well, for one, I got a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology a decade ago (aside from a Communications degree); that’s why I understood mental health a little more than others. I was also deeply fascinated with businesses and even got an MBA so that I could fact-check the guides well. As for romance novels, I chose it because we all needed to believe that love existed every once in a while.

I could continue being picky with the books that I edited forever, but I was wrong. One morning, I received an email that the publishing company I worked for was in the process of filing for bankruptcy. They offered to write recommendations for us and provide our separation pay at once, and I figured that was considerate of them. However, it did not erase the fact that I was already jobless because of that.

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Finding Steampunk 

I became slightly depressed for a little while since reading that email. I tried to live off of my separation pay and did not try to look for another job. Unfortunately, it merely lasted for two months since I had house bills to pay. Thus, I started searching for publishing companies that would hire me again.

After three weeks of hanging out at virtual job sites, I got an invitation from a company focused on steampunk novels. I honestly hesitated to accept it and send my application because: a) I was not interested in the steampunk subgenre at the time, and b) it was much different from the usual books that I edited in the past. Out of desperation, though, I clicked the Accept button and tried to make my application stand out from the others.

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The next day, I found out that I was shortlisted for the editing job. I sent some samples of my previous projects, but I had no choice but to let the HR manager know that I never edited a steampunk novel before. Instead of kicking me out of the shortlist, though, they gave me a chance to edit a 2,000-word excerpt from an existing book.

Before I opened the document that the manager sent to me, I did a quick research about steampunk. I realized that it was still under science fiction, though its two governing subjects were Victorian style and steam technology. When I got the gist, I read a steampunk excerpt for the first time.

Reading Steampunk For The First Time

I must admit that I was blown away by the vast imagination of steampunk writers. It was a fantasy novel, all right, but it went beyond the magical powers and paranormal creatures commonly found in most books. Steampunk was filled with exciting characters who wore out-of-this-world costumes and lived in an extraordinary city, albeit make-believe.

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I realized that reading steampunk novels would be suitable for anyone’s mental health because:

It Could Pull You Into Another Realm

Getting sucked into another dimension would be effortless once you got a steampunk novel on hand. From the first page of the book, you would notice how the setting was different from others, even though they technically occurred in familiar cities like London or Paris. The writers could describe the places in a way that you would recall it, but then they tend to add small details that would fit the subgenre.

It Would Push You To Use Your Imagination

Since you could hardly see people living in a steampunk city (unless you go to their convention), reading the novels would naturally push you to use your imagination. This would be ideal for people who complain about having a mental block because you need to imagine the scenes to understand the flow of the story.  

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It Won’t Bore You To Death

Steampunk novels were far from boring – that’s another thing that I understood after reading the excerpt. I managed to prove that my observation was correct after editing three stand-alone books and seeing that each one was interesting on its own. If I’m honest, I would say that this subgenre is more interesting than romance because you wouldn’t know if the characters could get a happy ending (because they sometimes could not).

Final Thoughts

I never envisioned myself becoming a full-time fiction editor – a steampunk editor, no less. It was way out of my wheelhouse; the scenes could not be explained by logic most of the time. But I loved every second that I got to read such novels. It did incredible things to my mental health, so I would not be surprised if it could do the same to yours.

Cheers!

Must-Read Books That Celebrate Family

 

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Among my favorite family hobbies are reading a book together with my children and my spouse (most of the time). They’re now old enough to read by themselves so what I do is let them be the reader twice a week. That way, they get to improve their reading and storytelling skills. Plus, it’s a chance for us to cuddle up in their small bed, bond, and read as a family.

If you’re a parent who wants to start a reading journey as a family, here are some of the must-read books that I would recommend. These are beautiful stories that celebrate family, togetherness, and keeping the love for each other.

Ivy And Bean: One Big Happy Family

This duo is on its comeback for its eleventh book. Ivy is the only child in the family and thinks that she’s pretty spoiled, but really there’s nothing she can do about it. Bean, her best friend for years – and for life – is Ivy’s sounding board and adviser. She suggests that Ivy needs a brother or a sister. Or a twin perhaps.

The story revolves around the challenges that these two friends are confronted with and their adventure in finding relevance to having a sibling and a family.

Mary Poppins

The heart of the Mary Poppins story is truly about the family. Because although Mary possesses magic, the triumphant ending of the story occurs when the family Banks bonded together and learning to acknowledge the importance of spending quality time together.

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This book is designed beautifully, with illustrations and lovely colors, including a catching front cover. You can read this with your toddler on your lap while you enjoy this classic yourself.

Up The Mountain Path

Mrs. Badger, one of the main characters, walks through her lovely garden to the Sugarloaf Peak every Sunday. There she talks to her friends and tries to help them with what they need. On one particular Sunday, she gets to know Lulu, a little cat that has always been curious about what the top of a mountain looks like. Mrs. Badger, the helpful and cheerful character that she is, teaches her the way to the mountain path and introduces her to some new furry friends while they are traveling.

In the end, Mrs. Badger got so weary that she decided to leave Lulu to finish the travel on her own. This book is filled with lessons of generosity, love, and a reminder to always choose your family over anyone or anything else.

The Family Book

The book talks about the love we have for our families amidst the various kinds that they may present. We can have two dads or two moms, a family with one parent, a chaotic family, or an organized one. The author wishes us to realize that our families are special in every way, no matter what type of family we have.

Now That I’m Here

Life truly is an adventure, especially when a new baby joins the fold. Previously, dad and mom only dreamed of how beautiful it would be to have a little fellow in the house. It was quite boring for them sometimes. They used to have quiet meals and serious television shows to watch. Now, the home is filled with varying tones of the baby’s cries. The dining table is now decorated with colors of baby food, and the living room delights with sounds of children’s songs and movies. Finally, mom and dad have someone to read a book before bedtime. The family is complete and happy.

Families, Families, Families

This book describes the family as someone who shows love, respect, support, and affection. It doesn’t matter if you’re not related by blood. As long as you have a love for each other, you are family! Your mom can be your aunt, who has raised you since you were little. Your brother or sister can be your best friend who has known you for ages. Here, different kinds of animals portray friendship and family and how they are connected no matter how different they are.

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Stella Brings The Family

Stella, being part of a non-conventional family, is worried about their school’s Mother’s Day Celebration. She actually has two dads that love her dearly, along with other members of the family – except for a mom. She doesn’t have one in the family. The story of how she finds a wonderful solution to her problem revolves around the true definition of family – acceptance, respect, and a whole lot of love.

Life With My Family

The character is a young girl who is rather frustrated about the messy life that she has with her family. She imagined herself being with animals as her family, thinking that she would be happier with her lion, pelican, and buffalo friends. In between paragraphs, the reader learns various names of animals written in a creative and very interesting way, and of how special and important it is to be with family.

 

 

Internalizing “Desiderata” During The COVID-19 Lockdown

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I am not keen on reading thick books and novels. It bores me, and I find it a waste of my time. I do, however, love to read and re-read self-help and self-development books and poems. One prose that got me through this pandemic lockdown was Max Ehrmann’s DESIDERATA. This poem was about living life with high ideals while practicing ethical values along the way. It was said that the poem was a lesson for her daughter back then, which became a timeless piece of written art that has a very powerful meaning that will never go out of date.

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