Sometimes, all you need is a little direction or advice to help you solve problems. This part of my site is devoted to finding free resources that you can use in your daily life to help you manage stress levels, mood issues, and relationships. This page will be updated regularly with free resources. Underneath, you will find various books, websites and articles that can be of help in different areas of mental health. If there is a particular topic that you think would be relevant, please e-mail Dr. McConnell and he will add your area of interest in his bi-monthly blog.
Dr. David D. Burns is a psychiatrist who has published numerous articles and has authored books on depression and anxiety. The Feeling Good Handbook is one of the most widely used books for those who suffer from depression. There are techniques Dr. Burns offers that are written in an easy-to-understand format. These skills can be incorporated into your day-to-day to help you make positive changes in your life.
Cognitive Distortions are maladaptive thinking patterns that people use in their lives. Every single individual uses cognitive distortions. John Gohol, PsyD and David D. Burns, MD help you become aware of the impact your thoughts have in your life and they tell you strategies on how to begin to positively change these patterns.
Mood Logs (credit to David Burns, MD) help you track your emotions and allow you to visually see your mood in a given time period of one month. This gives you control and helps you to become aware of specific settings or times of the year that your mood fluctuates.
Psych Education is a website created by James Phelps, MD from Corvallis, Oregon. This is a great resource for understanding the biology of bipolar disorder, new research in the area of brain imaging for individuals with bipolar disorder, and different strategies for coping. He also includes advice about the impact of minerals and vitamins (like Omega 3) that can help in managing bipolar disorder.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) provides great resources on handling the difficulties associated with depression and bipolar disorder. They have a list of locations of local support groups that may be in your area, as well as online support groups that meet each week if you are unable to find a local group.
This link is helpful in describing medications that are usually prescribed to treat bipolar disorder. This list comes from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy is another evidenced-based treatment with years of research behind it that has been shown to be effective in treating bipolar disorder. It focuses on an individual's biological and social rhythms and how these influence mood swings.
Break the Bipolar Cycle is a popular-press workbook that raises awareness of bipolar symptoms. This text offers easy-to-use exercises that break down the thoughts and behaviors bipolar disorder causes and will help you find strategies to make you feel better.
Technology is a great way to help you keep yourself mentally healthy. iPad, iPod, and iPhone users owners have a free application available to them called Optimism. It is a wonderful way to track your moods and manage your emotions. Your moods are recorded in a chart and they can then be e-mailed to your therapist or printed out for you to take to your appointment. It also allows you to track medication, exercise and sleep.
When Panic Attacks is a book written by David Burns, an adjunct professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. He offers a straightforward approach to easing anxiety symptoms. It is also available on Kindle.
There are many types of anxiety. Many students can be anxious about academics, and more specifically, test anxiety. It doesn't matter whether you're taking a math test or going to the DMV for a license exam, anxiety can come anytime, anywhere. Georgetown University provides a link to their website that gives you some useful tips for overcoming test anxiety.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has helpful information about social anxiety and discusses the causes of social anxiety, treatment and clinical trials that you may participate in.
An excellent relaxation application for individuals with iPhones, iPads, or iPods is called RelaxRx. This application was developed at George Fox University in Oregon by two professors who are also clinical psychologists. It costs $1.99.
For iPhone and Android smartphone/tablet users, there is another relaxation application that is very useful. Andrew Johnson, a psychotherapist from the United Kingdom, uses a script that puts you into a state of relaxation. The lite version for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is free. The paid version is $2.99 and has an alternative bonus track. This app can be used in varying amounts of time (e.g., 5 minutes or 30 minutes and it is also available in the Google Play Market (free and paid) for those with Android-based devices.
A lot of clients come to counseling because they are having problems with their relationships. One of the ways to help promote positive relationships is to have strong communication skills. Communicating well is one of the most important ways to maintain strong relationships. The University of Maine provides a PDF for free that helps you to work on understanding others.
America’s divorce rate hovers around 55 percent. Although the statistics sound bleak, John Gottman, PhD, who founded the Seattle Love Lab, has an excellent resource backed up with more than three decades of research and because of that extensive time in researching marriage, he is able to predict with 94 percent accuracy if a marriage is going to eventually fail. He and Nan Silver coauthored the book 7 Principles to Making Marriage Work. If you actively utilize its principles and diligently practice the skills Dr. Gottman describes, your marriage will begin to flourish.
Some books describing relationships can seem like you are reading a long academic text. Talk To Me Like I'm Someone You Love, written by Dr. Nancy Dreyfus, is not on of those boring books. If you have difficulty describing how you feel, you can take a page (literally!) from her book and practice authentic communication with your partner. Dr. Dreyfus’ book is filled with pre-made statements that you can use to describe your feelings to your partner. As you grow in your ability to communicate more effectively, Dr. Dreyfus has blank cards in her book so you can write down your own statements that are specific to your relationship.