Overcoming Anxiety: The Story of “Alan”

Many clients work with me to overcome anxiety. My strategy for helping clients is quite simple. When clients contact me for their first appointment, anxiety has completely taken them over. There is no longer a separation between them and the “anxiety.” Basically they have become their anxiety. You Are NOT Your Emotions: In the first…

Improve Anxiety & Depression with Cold Showers

In 2017, when I first learned that cold showers could significantly improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, I immediately began suggesting it to all of my clients. Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which can…

What is Mindfulness?

Sometimes we get stuck thinking about a particular thought and it feels like we have no control over our mind. All of this brain chatter can be overwhelming and affect how we feel each day.¬† But if we really tune into our thoughts, we’ll notice how much they wander. We might be: Thinking about plans…

How to Overcome Nightmares

Nightmares can be overwhelming and distressing. They can ruin your day and leave you feeling anxious, depressed, and out of control. I never experienced debilitating nightmares until I worked as a psychologist in prison. I was absolutely stunned by how severe and disruptive dreams could be. I worked in the prison system for over 3…

9 Cognitive Distortions and How to Challenge Them

Distorted thinking can create a great deal of stress and anxiety. Most of us do not know when we’ve distorted reality with our thoughts. Everyone distorts reality from time to time because many cognitive distortions are socially acceptable forms of thinking. For example, when emotions are high it is common to “blame others” “overgeneralize,” and…

Practicing the Power of Now

If you are passionate about putting the principles from Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now” into practice, this 8-week virtual workshop is perfect for you. Each week Pleasanton clinical psychologist, Dr. Christine Dickson will discuss a section of Eckhart’s book as well as strategies on how to put his teachings into practice. This down…

7 Strategies for Effective Parenting

Being an effective parent with children who’ve had their lives turned upside down due to the COVID-19 crisis can be difficult. Emotions are heightened, no childcare is available, and parents are still expected to perform at high levels in full-time jobs. I cannot think of a more challenging situation for parents and children. Worst of…

Stopping Obsessive Shaming Thoughts

The emotion of shame can be overwhelming to say the least. Shame-inducing thoughts tend to fall into three categories: Self put downs such as “I’m stupid,” “I’m fat,” “I can’t do anything right.” Catastrophic thoughts about one’s ability to handle the future. Critical or shaming thoughts of remorse and regret¬†such as obsessions about past or…

People Aren’t Perfect

When we have unrealistic expectations for the people in our lives, it sets us up for disappointment. Am I saying that we should not have expectations at all? Of course not! We should expect the best of our loved ones, friends, and family, but at the same time we must remember they are human beings…

3 Ways to Tolerate Stress and Anxiety

At times, stress and anxiety can be very difficult to tolerate. Sometimes we find ourselves in uncertain situations with no end in sight. These situations create a great deal of stress, anxiety, irritation, frustration, and worry. Over time we might develop low energy and feelings of exhaustion. Many people turn to alcohol and marijuana, overeating,…