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The SelfWork Podcast

I'm Dr. Margaret, a psychologist for over 25 years and the author of Perfectly Hidden Depression. I created The SelfWork Podcast in 2016 to explain mental health treatment, and to give you the chance to consider therapy without thinking it's weird or somehow suggests you can't "fix" your own problems. My team is so honored that five years later, SelfWork has earned nearly 3.5 million downloads! Each episode features the popular listener question. And, once a month, you’ll hear a “You Get the Gist” segment - a five minute run-down of a current topic - as well as an interview with an outstanding guest author or expert, adding to the wide diversity of topics listeners so appreciate. Regularly rated as one of the top mental health/depression podcasts out there, I keep it short and casual - and I'd love to hear from you. Please join me.
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Now displaying: 2020
May 15, 2020

I’ve watched hundreds of people cry over the years. Some will do everything in their power to stop it while some allow them to come easily. But it’s a very moving moment when you see and feel someone break through some emotional wall or barrier they had built – and allow themselves to connect with sadness or pain that’s been silently carried for far too long. In fact, it’s quite an honor to be allowed into that emotional space.

In this episode. sponsored by BetterHelp, we’re going to talk first about crying  But then we’ll define emotional intelligence (EI) and identify what positive psychologists believe its importance to be. And the good news? You can build EI. We'll discuss the four pillars of emotional intelligence, basically what it's based on, and as always, what you can do about it.

The listener email for today is all about trying to help a parent (or it could be a friend or loved one) fight against loneliness and depression.

Important Links:

BetterHelp, the #1 online therapy provider, has a special offer for you now!.

A well-written article on crying by Dr. Nick Knight.

An article by Nicole Fisher in Forbes Magazine about how the brain processes physical and emotional pain

An  article in The Atlantic. on the darker side of emotional intelligence.

Maria Conceição Serraon on the four pillars of emotional intelligence.

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You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

May 8, 2020

There’s a worldwide recognition that we can never be grateful enough for the things we so often take for granted. And there are many who are facing this current “unprecedented” stress with that kind of gratitude. Others are struggling more. So how is it that some seem more resilient than others?

We'll break down this episode talking about the definition of trauma, the major things that put resilience to the test, and the four most common responses to stress. Then, we'll move quickly on to ten tangible things you can do to build your own resilience - as always, "what you can do about it."

The listener email today is from someone who was offering much-appreciated support for my work here at SelfWork - and include an important message for all my listeners.

Important links and quotes for today:

Psychology Today article quoted frequently in this episode.

African Proverb: "The wind does not break a tree that bends." 

Maya Angelou: “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

E. L. Doctorow: "It's like driving a car at night. You may never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

BetterHelp, the #1 online therapy provider, has a special offer for you now!.

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2020

How do you set up a situation where you can safely talk about something painful from your past? Today’s episode was sparked by a listener telling me that she’d been sexually abused, and is now dissociating during sex with her very loving husband. He's aware of her history, but hasn’t a clue about what she’s truly experiencing. How could she open up to him? I'll be going over seven steps to that will help to create as much safety as possible for that emotional conversation.

I want to welcome BetterHelp as a new sponsor to SelfWork. I'm excited about the possibility of my audience benefitting from their service and they have a special offer coming your way!

The listener email is from a woman who's identified with perfectly hidden depression, but is quite concerned about finding a therapist that will maintain her confidentiality.

Important Links mentioned in the episode:

RAINN's sexual abuse crisis line

Episode 007 on the pros and cons of telling about sexual abuse

The Body Keeps the Score: Bessel Van Der Kolk

Courage to Heal Workbook by Laura Davis

Courage to Heal Workbook for Partners called Allies for Healing

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 24, 2020

Sleep and sex – how does a couple balance out these two needs and desires?  How many times have I heard a couple argue about whether or not they’re having enough sex. One will usually say I’m too exhausted. The other feels rejected. Both feel unappreciated and hurt.  I'll offer a couple of tips from experts and couples themselves about how they balance two different libidos and two different sleep styles while managing to reach a compromise. And by the way, there was a study done several years ago that tested different factors (including level of salary)  to see which ones might lead to greater life satisfaction and sense of happiness. The two that were most powerful? Sexual satisfaction (being content in your sex life) and sleep – getting enough of it. That’s an eye opener for sure.

The listener email today is from someone who wants to know how to talk with her spouse about abuse she suffered as a child. I’ll give her my answer!

Important Links:

Dr. Pat Love's Hot Monogamy

One of Dr. David Schnarch's first books on sexual intimacy and couples.

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 17, 2020

We’re going to talk about disappointment today. Mainly, how can you keep it from leading to actual depression? We'll go through what the role of expectations play and their connection with irrational beliefs, using the model of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). We'll also discuss five important steps that can help you work through disappointment and discover the meaningful gifts it can bring.

The listener email for today is from a mom who was very angry with me – and who started to cuss me out for writing a post that her daughter had sent to her. But she managed to corral her defensiveness and let the words sit with her – as she began to be more objective and acknowledge what had occurred between them. I was impressed with her turnaround and wanted to share her story with you.

Important Links:

The article in the Harvard Business review and Winston Churchill's story

The 11 irrational beliefs as touted by REBT and its founder Albert Ellis

Dr. Sophie Henshaw's  article in Psych Central that offered the structure for my own discussion of working through disappointment, a great read in and of itself. And a slightly different view than my own.

A website page that was full of quotes about disappointment.

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Apr 10, 2020

Do you sabotage relationships that have potential? Are you risk averse? Do you commit too quickly or are you passively going along with the relationship continuing? Today we're talking about several ways you can sabotage a relationship's potential or you can end in a relationship that's simply not healthy. As this podcast is being recorded when so many of us are staying home with family, we’re enjoying the strengths of the relationships we’ve built – but also perhaps bearing up under the brunt of ones that aren’t what we’d hoped they would be. Or you're home alone, wondering why certain relationships "never worked."

The listener email today is one that is very timely – and we’re going to spend a good bit of time on it -- what you’re seeing in your relationships on lockdown. It's from one woman who isn’t able to escape how there’s no sense of partnership or even enjoyment of being together.. and she's therefore lonelier than ever. She wrote me back after this episode was recorded and told me that the podcast on apathy was actually very helpful to her.

Important Links:

Episode 069 on the victim/savior relationship.

Raquel Peel's TED Talk on anticipating failure in relationships

My own podcast on combatting apathy in relationships

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 3, 2020

I’ve never experienced what I did this past week but it's normal considering the current pandemic. The podcast topic was completely elusive to me. There was too much else on my mind. After really struggling to know what to talk about, I wondered if many of you were having a similar struggle. How exactly are we all supposed to focus on the tasks or experiences of the day – and not allow the anxiety from the novel coronavirus to overwhelm us?.So that became the topic - coping with anxiety.

One answer is through beginning to meditate. It doesn't take long and even though you may feel as if you're failing, the practice itself gently begins to help you focus and find more calm. Included below is are links to the best meditation apps of 2020, a graph about the benefits of meditation, and Deepak Chopra's offering of a free mediation workshop.

The listener email was a tough one for me. But I wanted to share it with you. I’d never want anyone to feel the way this listener did – of course I can’t control that, but her response was genuine.

Important Graphic and Links: Huff Post Article on Meditation and site of below graphic

Best Meditation Apps of 2020

Link to Deepak Chopra's free meditation course

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 27, 2020

Just because I’ve written a book about perfectly hidden depression (PHD)  doesn’t mean that I’m through with learning about it. With each person that I’ve heard from, or has joined my practice because of my writing about PHD, or from the podcast hosts that have been generous enough to have me on, I keep learning. My first podcast (Episode 003) on it was so long ago -- I hadn't even started the book but only had a book proposal done. So we’ll take each of the ten traits of PHD and I’ll let you in on some understanding I've gleaned since writing the book --  kind of “what’s new in perfectly hidden depression."

I'll use several different emails I've received from you from people who've identified with PHD - and try to answer their questions as well.

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 24, 2020

This is a special episode of SelfWork to try and help you handle the anxiety that you may be feeling with the emergence of the Corona-19 virus worldwide. Especially if you're already managing anxiety or depression, or are someone who struggles not to be governed by your emotions, then the fear and grief that this pandemic brings can be very hard to handle. We're all dealing with fear and grief simultaneously, and that's very difficult. We'll talk about three different aspects of anxiety: Handling being at home (whether you're alone or with eight others), managing the fear itself; and managing relationships with others who may not be realizing the impact of their actions on you and/or your children.

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

Mar 20, 2020

Today we’re going to cover how to begin to stop beating yourself up in a way that may surprise you a little. Because the behavior can seem as if you’re being extra careful or caring. But the habits of beating yourself up – the ways you maintain or fuel that self-doubt – can lead you further down the rabbit hole of shame and emotional paralysis. So let’s get started on “What can you do about it.’

And the listener email is from someone who was asking if I had time to talk with her individually – I wish I had time to do that! But we’ll talk about options for how to make the most out of at least what I have to offer… and some changes I’ve had to make due to the success (which I owe to you!) of SelfWork

Important Links:

Episode 113 on imposter syndrome

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

Mar 13, 2020

Today we’re talking about the relationship between resilience and vulnerability and how those two things are an integral part of living a purposeful life. I’ll use some quotes from one of my favorite books – one of those books you read that makes an indelible impression on you. And we’ll touch on what actually creates resilience, which is the ability to bounce back, to remain purposeful even if you get disappointed or you fail at something.

And I ask these questions: Does being resilient mean you can't allow vulnerability? Or if you reveal vulnerability, does that reflect a lack of resilience? Here's my best answer.

Our listener email is from someone who has fallen in love with a man whose son died within the last year. She wants some advice on how to be supportive in this very new but already special relationship.

Important Links:

Article on Dr. Victor Frankl and “logotherapy.”

Psychology Today article by Maureen Healy on developing resilience

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 6, 2020

Today we’re going to cover two of the most frequent questions I hear -- how to find a therapist and how you know a therapist is right for you. The title of the episode has “new” in quotes because often what's old is new again, and that's certainly the case here!  We'll go over the seven factors that are found to make therapy the most effective it can be. What are those? Let's start out with the alliance between the therapist and the client. That's #1.

The listener email today is from a young woman who’s in a relationship with someone who seems very depressed – who has had a difficult childhood, is a child of divorce and has been very influenced by a mother who has always seen the world very negatively. Her question is about her actions are seen as intentionally malicious. The listener doesn’t know what to do and is asking for advice, as currently she feels blamed irrationally and viewed through overly distrustful eyes.

Important Links:

Episode 001 SelfWork: What Is Good Therapy

Ratings of the top ten online counseling services.

Recent APA Meta-analysis of Therapeutic Effectiveness:

Seven Demonstrably Effective Factors and Report by Tora DeAngelos

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 28, 2020

My dad used to say to us as kids, “Your rights end where someone else’s nose begins.” And that’s where I began learning about boundaries. Psychological boundaries are those that define where your own personal limits are as to what is emotionally harmful, and what is not. And that is unique to every individual. We'll ask these questions: What makes a boundary necessary to voice? Or there “understood” boundaries? When does a boundary have a positive effect and when is it not? How is a boundary different from an demand? Or is it? What is your recourse if a boundary you’ve set and explained is continuously ignored or blatantly defied

The listener email offers has a great question about how a history of an ex with a pornography problem and the underlying deceit can have an effect on future trust and self-confidence. She’s asking for help – what can she do?

You can hear more about boundaries and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

Feb 21, 2020

There are certain diagnoses that may be co-occurring with perfectly hidden depression (PHD) or could be confused with PHD. And the last thing I want is for anyone to label themselves PHD or identify with PHD and stop there – when instead, you may need to recognize that you're experiencing another type of psychological issue that warrants understanding and even treatment. Those diagnoses are Bipolar II disorder, Obsessive Compulsive disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. We'll talk today about what traits PHD and these other disorders have in common and what makes them distinct from one another.

The listener email for the week comments on my habit of including research and ideas from other people on SelfWork -- and I respond about the "why" of that choice on my part.

Important Links:

The INFJ personality category or the Myers-Briggs

Don't Panic by Reid Wilson

Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Lawson

Bipolar II Disorder
Meets criteria for a current or past hypomanic episode And meets criteria for a current or past depressive episode:

A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least four consecutive days and present most of the day, nearly every day, and including at least three of the following symptoms:

  1. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  2. Decreased need for sleep
  3. More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  4. Flight of ideas or subjective experience of racing thoughts
  5. Distractibility
  6. Increase in goal-directed activity (socially, at work or school, or sexually) or physical agitation. Excessive involvement in activities with high potential for painful consequences (e.g., buying sprees, foolish investments, sexual indiscretions)

Five or more of the following symptoms present during the same two-week period:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities
  3. Significant unintended weight loss or change in appetite
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia
  5. Being physically agitated or listless
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation, a suicide attempt, or a plan for suicide

 

At least one of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  1. Excessive anxiety or worry, occurring more days than not for at least six months, about a number of events or activities
  2. Difficulty controlling the worry
  3. The anxiety or worry is associated with at least three of the following symptoms:
    1. Restlessness or feeling on edge
    2. Being easily fatigued
    3. Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
    4. Irritability
    5. Muscle tension
    6. Sleep disturbance

 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
This disorder is characterized by the presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both. The obsessions or compulsions are time consuming (i.e., take more than one hour per day) or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Obsessions:

  1. Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced  as intrusive and unwanted and, in most individuals, cause marked anxiety or distress
  2. The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion)

Compulsions:

  1. Repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, silently repeating words) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly
  2. The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, they are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive

 

Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

 

You can hear more about PHD and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Feb 14, 2020

Valentines can hold as much angst for people as the holiday season. And if you have conflict or estrangement or alienation within your relationship, then that pain can become more distinct. Today we’re going to focus on what can cause these kinds of problems. But as usual, we’re also focusing on “what you can do about it.” I’ll use a couples therapy case from my own practice that shows that even though a problem may seem insurmountable, and like the relationship is over, there are four attitudes and actions that can help you find your way back to each other – and even to love.

Our listener email today is a very poignant one from a young man whose relationship with his mom was rocky due to her being abusive. But now she’s died of a second bout with cancer. And he finds himself pushing away others who love him, except for his two year-old child. He wants to understand his actions, and I’ll do my best to answer his question.

Important Links:

Podcast on handling narcissism in relationships

Podcast on loving someone with borderline personality disorder

You can hear more relationship advice and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 7, 2020

Kobe Bryant's family is only one of the many families who have to face an extremely harsh tragedy - the traumatic death of someone they love. There is a difference in this kind of grief because it's traumatic in the most pure sense. One second your world was safe, known and secure. And the next, it was not -- due to an extremely dramatic and out-of-the-ordinary experience that induces grief, disbelief, shock, fear, panic, or terror. There's not anything you can do about the loss. But there is something you can do, as well as things that are definitely not helpful. So we'll talk about it today on SelfWork.

The listener email is from someone who asked how she could ever rid herself of a shame she has carried “from birth.” I didn’t understand so reached out to her for more explanation. Her answer as fascinating to me because after her explanation, it was clear to see that the shame didn’t belong to her at all.

Important Links:

A very moving article on the "seven others on board" as people began writing about their lives, as well as their loved ones whose lives have been shattered.

CNN writer Pat Etheridge's article on how sudden death involves trauma

Definition of trauma by the APA

A wonderful book: “The Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner

Another helpful read:  Toxic Parents

You can hear more about trauma and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Jan 31, 2020

I’ve had several people write to me lately and explain that they are just pulling out of a slump or even worse, clinical depression. And they’re scared. Is there a time frame for what’s supposed to happen after a major depression has struck? How do you deal with some of the destructive choices you may have made when you were depressed? We’ll talk today about the factors that are important … and how to work with and manage your insecurity and fear of your depression returning.

There's a lot of hope in new treatments that psychiatrists are prescribing for treatment resistant depression. We’ll touch on two of them --  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and ketamine infusions -- both now being used to treat recurrent depression, cyclic disorders and recurrent suicidal ideation, and often meeting with good success.

The listener email is from someone who calls herself a “social chameleon," which is the tendency to mimic the behaviors and actions of others while in their presence. Its traditional definition states that this tendency is intentional, but in her case, it seems quite unintentional or even unconscious. It's a fascinating topic and one that I was eager to explore, and it led to a discussion on boundaries.

Important Links:

Symptoms of Major Depression given by The Mayo Clinic.

Quote from The Noonday Demon: At Atlas of Depression. by Andrew Solomon

Johns Hopkins’ website describes the TMS procedure

Harvard article on ketamine infusions

Psychology Today by Dr. Ronald Riggio in which he describes being a social chameleon or being a  “high self-monitor”.

Recent article on the “best” books on boundary setting.

You can hear more about depression and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Jan 24, 2020

In today’s SelfWork, we’re going to be talking about how to enrich your emotional life through self-compassion. So many people tell me that they don’t know how to begin to risk feelings that have been suppressed for years.But when you do, you expand the emotions available to you, and enrich your own emotional life. I gave some basics in Episode 102 – so there are other ideas there as well. Today, i offer one simple exercise or visualization for you to try that might open an emotional door for you.

There’s always the caveat when I’m talking about reaching out to deeper feelings.That caveat is that trauma work – risking feeling emotions that are a result of trauma or abuse – often needs to be done with a trauma expert. You can get overwhelmed or even dissociate if by yourself. So please assess the risk carefully.

The listener email is from someone who’s angry that a loved one attempted suicide, although there is also great compassion. She’s confused and afraid she doesn’t have the right to be angry.

Important Links:

Dr. Foojan Zeine (Link to see our interview on YouTube),

Dr. Kristin Neff's book Self-Compassion

 

You can hear more about emotional growth and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 24, 2020

In today’s SelfWork, we’re going to be talking about how to enrich your emotional life through self-compassion. So many people tell me that they don’t know how to begin to risk feelings that have been suppressed for years.But when you do, you expand the emotions available to you, and enrich your own emotional life. I gave some basics in Episode 102 – so there are other ideas there as well. Today, i offer one simple exercise or visualization for you to try that might open an emotional door for you.

There’s always the caveat when I’m talking about reaching out to deeper feelings.That caveat is that trauma work – risking feeling emotions that are a result of trauma or abuse – often needs to be done with a trauma expert. You can get overwhelmed or even dissociate if by yourself. So please assess the risk carefully.

The listener email is from someone who’s angry that a loved one attempted suicide, although there is also great compassion. She’s confused and afraid she doesn’t have the right to be angry.

Important Links:

Dr. Foojan Zeine (Link to see our interview on YouTube),

Dr. Kristin Neff's book Self-Compassion

 

You can hear more about emotional growth and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 24, 2020

In today’s SelfWork, we’re going to be talking about how to enrich your emotional life through self-compassion. So many people tell me that they don’t know how to begin to risk feelings that have been suppressed for years.But when you do, you expand the emotions available to you, and enrich your own emotional life. I gave some basics in Episode 102 – so there are other ideas there as well. Today, i offer one simple exercise or visualization for you to try that might open an emotional door for you.

There’s always the caveat when I’m talking about reaching out to deeper feelings.That caveat is that trauma work – risking feeling emotions that are a result of trauma or abuse – often needs to be done with a trauma expert. You can get overwhelmed or even dissociate if by yourself. So please assess the risk carefully.

The listener email is from someone who’s angry that a loved one attempted suicide, although there is also great compassion. She’s confused and afraid she doesn’t have the right to be angry.

Important Links:

Dr. Foojan Zeine (Link to see our interview on YouTube),

Dr. Kristin Neff's book Self-Compassion

 

You can hear more about emotional growth and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 24, 2020

In today’s SelfWork, we’re going to be talking about how to enrich your emotional life through self-compassion. So many people tell me that they don’t know how to begin to risk feelings that have been suppressed for years.But when you do, you expand the emotions available to you, and enrich your own emotional life. I gave some basics in Episode 102 – so there are other ideas there as well. Today, i offer one simple exercise or visualization for you to try that might open an emotional door for you.

There’s always the caveat when I’m talking about reaching out to deeper feelings.That caveat is that trauma work – risking feeling emotions that are a result of trauma or abuse – often needs to be done with a trauma expert. You can get overwhelmed or even dissociate if by yourself. So please assess the risk carefully.

The listener email is from someone who’s angry that a loved one attempted suicide, although there is also great compassion. She’s confused and afraid she doesn’t have the right to be angry.

Important Links:

Dr. Foojan Zeine (Link to see our interview on YouTube),

Dr. Kristin Neff's book Self-Compassion

 

You can hear more about emotional growth and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 24, 2020

In today’s SelfWork, we’re going to be talking about how to enrich your emotional life through self-compassion. So many people tell me that they don’t know how to begin to risk feelings that have been suppressed for years.But when you do, you expand the emotions available to you, and enrich your own emotional life. I gave some basics in Episode 102 – so there are other ideas there as well. Today, i offer one simple exercise or visualization for you to try that might open an emotional door for you.

There’s always the caveat when I’m talking about reaching out to deeper feelings.That caveat is that trauma work – risking feeling emotions that are a result of trauma or abuse – often needs to be done with a trauma expert. You can get overwhelmed or even dissociate if by yourself. So please assess the risk carefully.

The listener email is from someone who’s angry that a loved one attempted suicide, although there is also great compassion. She’s confused and afraid she doesn’t have the right to be angry.

Important Links:

Dr. Foojan Zeine (Link to see our interview on YouTube),

Dr. Kristin Neff's book Self-Compassion

 

You can hear more about emotional growth and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 17, 2020

Today we’re talking about the difference between narcissism and healthy narcissism. There are big differences and since the word "narcissistic" is being thrown around so much these days, I thought I’d do my part to keep things clear. I’m quoting three experts -- Dr. Dale Archer, Bob Taibbi, and Dr. Craig Malkin – all who have fascinating takes on the subject. I'd definitely recommend giving the links below a click to read more. You can also listen to three SelfWork episodes on narcissism and how I see it played out:  Episode 019 on how to cope with it in a relationship, Episode 122 on its relationship with love addiction, and Episode 127, dealing with two of the main manipulative techniques used -- gaslighting and stonewalling.

The listener email is from a mom who’s overshared with her oldest daughter about her father’s financial issues and now regrets her actions. This kind of what's termed "enmeshment" in families happens often, when one parent or even both pull a child into a pseudo-adult role in relationship with them, without realizing the damage.

Important Links:

Diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Dr. Dale Archer's full article on Jody Arias and his book Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional

Bob Taibbi's article on healthy narcissism in  Psychology Today and his book– Brief Therapy with Couples in Crisis

Dr. Craig Malkin's article  in Psychology Today on the more subtle signs of narcissism and his book Rethinking Narcissism

A helpful link on asexuality: 

You can hear more about narcissism and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Jan 10, 2020

What happens in therapy that can be helpful? How does it work? These are basic questions that were brought to my attention during my recent interview with Lewis Howes on his podcast The School of Greatness. He and his team bring what they consider “great” ideas and ways of being to his listeners. And I was honored to be there.

If you're interested in listening to his podcast, here it is! You can click here:  LewisHowes.com. Upgrade Your Mental Health with Dr. Margaret Rutherford Ep 895.

I was intrigued with some of his questions. I sometimes forget that there are many people who don’t have a concept of what therapy is even like or what it’s purpose is. His questions grounded me in the reality most people have – that they’ve never tried therapy and don’t quite understand it. His questions dealt with shame, common reasons for seeking therapy, how I might define mental illness and are we all mentally ill, and how to recognize depression, especially if you’re a perfectionist or have trouble with denial. I figured if he wanted my answers to these questions, so might you.

Our listener email today is a from therapist who listened to that very interview and had a question about my mention of pseudoseizures – a disorder I did my dissertation on years ago -- as well as any thoughts I had on a case she was presenting.

You can hear more about therapy and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Jan 3, 2020

Welcome to 2020 and more SelfWork!

First, thank you to everyone who’s purchased Perfectly Hidden Depression and left reviews. Those show up on Amazon as a verified purchase and are extremely important offering even more validity. So if you’ve been reading PHD, and when you’re done, two sentences on what you experienced would be extremely gratifying.

Today we’re talking about the lack of sexual intimacy that so many couples are experiencing; in fact, research shows that  15 to 20% of committed relationships or marriages had become rarely if ever sexual. We’ll touch on ten of the most common reasons I've seen; some are probably familiar, some may be painful to hear, but some may surprise you.

The listener email today is from a man who’s befriended someone with chronic abuse in her past (with a diagnosis of C-PTSD) and asked me for advice on how he can help.

Important links:

In the US, the sexual abuse hotline number for the US

Dr. Pat Love's Hot Monogamy

Research study on pornography addiction

HuffPost article on the sexless marriage

You can hear more about relationships and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

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