Competitiveness in Women

I was recently interviewed by Women's Fitness magazine on the topic of competitiveness in women and am happy to share the article here.  In it we discuss the possible roots of this dynamic as well as how to best use these competitive streaks in a healthy and productive manner so you can best reach your goals and keep your relationships strong. 


Read the full article here: Pretty Nasty

Five Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

As the end of another year approaches, many of us are thinking about our hopes wishes for the year to come.  For many, New Years has been associated with the tradition of making resolutions for the approaching year, focusing on aspects of ourselves and our lives which we wish to change and improve upon.  Studies estimate that about 50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.  However, most of us are not very good at keeping them; in fact, studies suggest that only 10% of those who make resolutions make these behaviors lasting changes in their lives.  Below, I offer a few guidelines to improve your odds of making these changes stick. 


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Alone for the Holidays

The holidays are packed with expectations.  Expectations of where you will be, who you will be with, and how wonderfully joyous it will all be.  There are also expectations of parties and family gatherings and coming together with the important people in your life.  However, not everyone has this picture perfect version of the holidays.  If you are among the hundreds of people who will be spending the holidays alone this year, whether this is due to separation from friends and family, the loss of a loved one, or financial hardship that prevents you from traveling, this blog post is for you.  It is here to remind you that the joy of the holidays can take various forms and that you can decide to use this time alone as a rare opportunity to center and nurture yourself, and perhaps even develop some new meaningful connections in your life. 


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Top Five Reasons Why People Have Difficulty Concentrating

I often hear my clients complain of difficulty concentrating.  Be it on the job, on their creative tasks, or even in their daily routines, I frequently hear them talk about difficulty keeping track of their ever-growing list of to-do’s and their frantic efforts to keep themselves organized and on top of their various roles and demands. I hear them tell me about the lists they make and the apps they use, and then I sense the frustration in their voices when they admit that even with these gadgets, they still feel overrun by unaccomplished tasks and half-finished projects. I hear them say that despite their best efforts, their minds sometime feel as though they are on a “scan” setting, constantly jumping from one station to the next, without staying at one of them long enough to get anything done. 

So, what do I suggest?  Well, first of all, a bit education.  Let’s start with a piece of information that many may find surprising: the mind’s normal condition is disorder.  Our brains are designed to notice, recognize, and attend to a variety of random sensations, perceptions, and thoughts, all of which are competing for attention, all at the same time.  Our brains do this to keep us in touch with internal as well as external needs, and ultimately to keep us alive.  As our brains develop, we become better able to manage this chaos and turn it into reasonable order by exerting “attentional control."  In simple terms, this refers to the ability to filter out irrelevant, or less important things, so that we can focus on others.  In other words, the ability to concentrate. 


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Interview with NationBuilder: NationBuilder is shortcut to psychologist's marketing success

I was recently interviewed by NationBuilder about my use of this web tool to create, run, and manage my practice.  Out of the box thinking has allowed me to use innovative technology to re-create a more efficient and effective practice marketing and managment system and now these ideas are being shared with other mental health professionals.  The take-home message: one needs to be creative, innovative, and bold in making decisions that will bring our services to the people who need them. 


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Mental Health and Longevity

Mental health professionals and researchers have been saying it all along; a healthier mind leads to a healthier body and vice versa.  Yet many of us fail to grasp the magnitude of this concept, or at best underestimate it to amount to a simple headache or shoulder strain after a difficult day at work.  However, mental health and resiliency have been proven to not just affect the way your body feels on a daily basis, but also how your body fights against viruses, responds to injury, recovers from injury, and even how long you live.


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Fertility Treatments, Childbirth and PTSD

There has been a flurry of activity and discussion in the mental health community as two recently published studies shed new light on the possible connection between PTSD and women who have difficulty becoming pregnant and undergo fertility treatments, as well as those who succesffuly become preganant and go through childbirth.


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Retail Therapy: Clinical Insights in Blush Magazine

I was recently contacted by The Blush magazine in order to contribute to a piece examining the causes, meaning, and potential effects of the phenomenon popularly known as "retail therapy."  I was happy to be a part of this article, as I find this topic highly relevant to my clinical work.  Many times during times as stress or sadness we look for ways to comfort or distract ourselves, and while some may chose overindulging in drugs, alcohol, or sex, others indulge in shopping sprees.  

Whatever the actual behavior, I think we can all relate to the desire to distract ourselves from these negative emotions, even if just momentarily.   While distraction in and of itself is not intrinsically bad, it can potentially lead to some negative consequences and unhealthy patterns.  For more on this, as well as possible ways in which to indulge your need for comfort and still find a healthy and productive solution to your distress, please read on. 


Read the full article: The Ins and Outs of Retail Therapy: Are You Shoping for the Right Reasons?

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Latinos

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama in March of 2010, has stirred up much controversy and debate.  Don't worry, I am not here to have a philosophical or political debate, or to try to convince that my way of seeing things is the right one.  However, as a Latina living in the US, and a psychologist serving the Hispanic community, I wanted to take a closer look at the numbers and share them with you. 

There are currently 50.5 million Latinos in this country, comprising 16% of the population.  It is estimated that by 2050 they will make up 30% of the US population.  Latinos are also significantly more likely than their White counterparts to be diagnosed with numerous chronic diseases (such as diabetes and cancer), have lower life expectancy rates, and have notoriously poor access to quality health care.  Because so many Latinos are likely to be uninsured, they will likely benefit from the ACA in numerous ways.  Below are some number recently released by reputable data sources assessing the potential impact of this new law.


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Meditation For Your Physical and Emotional Health

Although meditation has been practiced and highly regarded for centuries in the eastern world, it has encountered a less enthusiastic response in the west.  Starting in the 60’s and 70’s it gained some momentum, in large part due to the mounting influence and visibility of the hippie movement.  However, precisely because of its association to this cultural phenomenon, it also acquired a negative reputation for being a pseudo, new age, insignificant practice.  However, in more recent years, meditation has been put to the scientific test and the results are quite promising. 

Meditation for your physical and emotional health

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