Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, CBIT, ERP, CBT-I, Behavior Consultation, and Treatment for Anxiety and Insomnia

Laura Van Schaick-Harman, Psy.D., BC-TMH


Dr. Laura's Meaningful Psychological Services

Online and Office Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

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Meaningful Psychological Services: Really Useful Thoughts from a Psychologist (hopefully!)

Helpful interests, ideas, and resources about psychology, therapy, mindfulness, cognitive-behavior therapy, anxiety, living meaningfully and online therapy.

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Our Struggles Can Be Beautiful

Posted on May 21, 2018 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (21)

On most of our walks as the season changed from winter to spring, my oldest son pointed out that the leaves are "trying to grow" in the sweetest most optimistic voice. At 3 years old, our perspective may not yet be influenced by negativity from the world around us. This observation has prompted me to watch how the leaves on one of my favorite trees along our route grow. For months, the tree was barren and devoid of liveliness , as were the neighboring trees. At first, we noticed tiny yellow b...

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Can You Escape in Time?

Posted on April 11, 2018 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (5)


Picture this: You are locked in a room with no windows and can't get out until you solve a series of challenging clues, riddles, or simple math problems. If you are starting to get very anxious by this imagery, then going to an escape room might be a good exposure for you.



When we are anxious, our natural fight or flight reaction kicks in gear. As we have learned before, this response changes our physiological experience. We may experience sh...

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Everything is Fine

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (32)

"Everything is fine." How many of us hope for everything to be fine?


The TV series The Good Place invites us in with this phrase right away. We find ourselves yearning for things to be fine, to have everything going well, and to not deal with sickness, anxiety, depression, or anger.


If you haven't watched The Good Place yet, consider catching up before reading this post I am sharing below, as there are significant spoilers. I have really enjoyed this series...

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Healthy Nutrition: Focus on Eating Disorders

Posted on February 19, 2018 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (6)

Caring for ourselves is very important. When we struggle with self-care, it not only hurts ourselves, but the people we care for as well. Have you ever felt like you were trying to do so much that you were actually ineffective?


There are many different aspects of self-care. This month, I am focusing on one aspect-nutrition and healthy eating.

I am sharing this blog post, republished with permission from my sister who is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializi...

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Hate and Love

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (35)

Any Doctor Who fans out there? My husband is a huge fan, so I've been witness to a few episodes and lots of memorabilia. I watched part of the most recent episode, which included (spoiler alert) an amazing monologue/last speech by the Doctor as he was regenerating. One of the remarkable and most memorable statements during this speech included an important concept.

"Hate is always foolish- love is always kind." 

This statement is actually paraphrased from British philosopher,...

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Inner Peace

Posted on December 18, 2017 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (50)

Have you ever experienced some days where you couldn't access a moment of peace? Days of craziness, hustle and bustle, or stress?

This busy holiday season can really bring up the stress levels. While we can’t control the number of holiday event invitations we receive, the expectations of those around us, the traffic jams, the flight delays, getting sick, the change in schedules, or the weather, there is a lot that we can control.

This season (and maybe moving forward, alw...

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What Not To Do

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (4)

“Don’t put that in your mouth!”

“Stop doing that!”

"No!"

When I was in graduate training, one of the most helpful and useful tools I learned was the dead person rule. No, I am not about to launch into some morbid explanation about behavior.

The dead person rule refers to a parenting behavior management principle. Avoid using langu...

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Parenting: New Perspectives

Posted on October 16, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (7)

As a parent of a preschooler and an infant, I have developed a different perspective of many elements from my professional training. I didn't really truly know how challenging parenting can be until I lived it.


Here are just a few concepts that I have gained a new and different appreciation for after becoming a parent:


How challenging managing typical toddler behavior can be.

How stimulus control, when children respond a certain way to one stimulus, ...

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Making a Change

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (6)

It's the start of a new season. School is back in session. We are going from summer to fall. And yet many of us are stuck doing the same old habits.


What if there were a way to effectively and safely change a behavior? There is! It is important to make sure any method used is backed by science and research before setting off on a new lifestyle.


First, if you want to change a habit, you need to define it. While "living a healthier lifestyle" is an admirable ...

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Making the Most of College

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (4)

It's that time of year again- returning and first-time students are transitioning into the college semester. Depending on the academic calendar, some of you have already attended classes and others may be preparing for a start in a few weeks. Whichever your status, I hope to share with you some tips to help make the college experience successful, fun, meaningful, and smooth.


First, get involved in the experience. If you just go to class and then go home or back to your dorm ...

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Changing Your Parenting Perspective

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (4)

The way we think about our world, experiences, past, present, and future matters. For this reason, I am sharing this interesting article I came across about the way we think about parenting. I hope that you find it as inspiring and helpful as I do.



Being the parent of a toddler is not an easy task. For those parents out there, I am sure you can relate. Days can be long. Nights can be short. Sleep can be lacking. Energy can be completely sapped. During these chall...

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Can You See Things Differently?

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (5)

You think you have the right and best way of doing (insert activity). In fact, you insist that you know you're right and your (insert person-partner/friend/co-worker/boss/child/parent) is wrong. Where does this lead you? Usually to a disagreement, disappointment, or a feeling of being disgruntled. In reality, there is no right or wrong way. So, why do we get so hung up on seeing things from our own perspective?


The way we view the world matters. In fact, this interpretatio...

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Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted on May 15, 2017 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (18)

May is Mental Health Awareness month. My goal for this month is to bring attention to the importance of our mental health.


Our well-being is important to monitor, develop, and take care of. Have you ever noticed when you feel irritable that you may be negatively impacting your friends, family, or co-workers around you? Our well-being affects the well-being of others.


Self-care is not selfish, but rather a necessary and important aspect of caring for and lov...

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Permanent Decisions and Temporary Feelings

Posted on April 17, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (41)

Have you ever said something and then almost immediately regretted it? Most, if not all, of us have been there are at one point or another in our lives. When we get down to the basics of this experience, we learn that we let our feelings dictate our actions. In other words, we let a temporary state make a permanent decision for us.


Our emotions can be experienced so intensely at times. We feel so angry at our spouse for forgetting to take out the garbage again. We feel scare...

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This is Us

Posted on March 13, 2017 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (5)

*Spoiler alert* This month's post is about a TV show, This is Us, on NBC that premiered this fall. If you have not seen the show, consider watching the first episode and see if you connect. The remainder of this post may spoil some of the plot for you (I tried not to be very specific), so proceed at your own risk...


Ok, so I am hooked. This is Us has successfully tapped into multiple elements of the meaningful life. The real meaningful life, not a fairy tale. We expl...

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THINK Before You Speak

Posted on February 13, 2017 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (4)

We've all been there. Someone has said something without really thinking about what they said. The words used could have been hurtful, embarrassing, careless, lies, impulsive, or revealing. We likely have experience being the speaker as well as the receiver. We likely have witnessed an emotion such as anger or anxiety speaking through a person rather than the rational mind. We wish we could take back what we said. We wish we could have not heard what was shared. Yes, we have all been there....

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Kindness

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (5)

The idea for this month's post was inspired by my toddler. Yes, my 2 year old told me what to write about. Over breakfast the other day, I asked my son what Mama should write about for her monthly newsletter. His response of "How 'bout Count and Big Bird?" inspired me.


My son is a big Sesame Street fan, which means I have read, watched, and listened to a lot of Sesame Street over the past few months. As a child, I loved the show. As an adult and psychologist, I have a renew...

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Are You Growing?

Posted on December 13, 2016 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (10)

As 2016 comes to a close, I have been reflecting back on the year. What went well? What didn't go so well? What was my biggest challenge? What obstacle did I overcome? Which goals did I achieve? Which changes are a work in progress? When and how did I use mindfulness skills?

 

As 2017 approaches, I also reflect on the future. What would I like to do differently? Which habits would be healthy for me to change? Which habits would be best to maintain? How do I want to spend my...

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Showing Thankfulness

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (3)

It's November, which means families are starting to get ready for the holidays. With the fun, family, decorations, friends, parties, and food comes the busyness and stress of the season. Whether it is deciding plans for travel, meals, and gatherings, it can be helpful to share and show thankfulness.

When was the last time that you felt or expressed thankfulness for the opportunity to make these plans? For the amazing problem solving power of our brain to even make plans? For our planni...

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Through A Toddler's Eyes

Posted on October 10, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (3)

For those of you following this blog for a while, you may remember a few years back when I wrote a piece about taking day-trips for families. While hopefully helpful and interesting, that post was written from a different perspective- the outside observer.

This month, I returned to these same two locations I initially visited, but this time as a mother. How wonderful it is to see the same exact thing from a different perspective. In my case, through the eyes of a toddler.

Being ...

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