Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank You Veterans

           Today is Veterans Day, as you are all aware. In my work over the years with different populations, I have been most appreciative of those who serve our country and those who stand by their side in service. Military veterans and their families are selfless, resilient, and adaptable people who put their own needs and futures aside and provide safety and freedom for our country.
           During graduate school, my dissertation and research was based on military family members because I was amazed at the women and men who were able to give in such an altruistic way. Most of the research was concentrated on caretakers of children in the home during a paternal deployment. 
           The results found that healthy attachment patterns, as in a healthy and functional relationship in marriage, provided resilient children, decreased negative behaviors due to deployed parents, and a stronger ability for service members to mentally withstand deployment. In less psychological jargon, this means that those in the military typically have healthy and stable relationships in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle in their family system, especially during deployment.
           It is truly a special person who will move, uproot his or her life, deploy, and continuously commit to something for the greater good of our country and lives of those he or she will never know. It is truly a special person who will selflessly put a spouses career in front of his or her own wants of the future because of the selfless commitment their spouse has made. These men and women sacrifice over and over again. We are thankful for you. We appreciate you. And we are grateful to you. Thank you for your service.

Shine on,


Dr. Kate



Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Life's Difficult Situations and How to Handle Them- LIVESTRONG.COM

Check out my featured article on LIVESTRONG.COM to learn about difficult situations we deal with in life and how to handle them in effective and positive ways.

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011586-11-lifes-difficult-situations-handle/


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Suicide.

           So much of the time, we start by celebrating. We celebrate the birth of a child. We celebrate the beginning of the day. We celebrate the first day of school, the beginning of a relationship, the start of something new. And then things move forward. There is a middle. And then they come to a close. 
           Today is the last day of September. This month has been National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. I've been waiting to write about this topic for some time on this blog. It has taken so many futures away from people that I know. It has robbed my patients from beginnings, celebrations, and going. It has taken away people from my friends and their family members that have never felt a hole in their soul as greatly as they do after suicide enters their lives.
           What I keep coming back to, are the eyes that I look into after our world has lost someone to suicide. And the loved ones that sit, in silence, in shock, in quiet. The left behind. The ones who start the painful journey of living without.
           Do you know the number one concern of licensed clinical psychologists is losing a patient to suicide during their career? Do you know what that means? That the people who are turned to for help, are absolutely just as human as the person who is touched by suicide. They are just as afraid that this person will leave our world. Because in this profession, we are taught crisis intervention, warning signs, risk factors, screening questions, and we still don’t have enough. 
           Suicide is sensitive. It’s a dance that convinces those it takes that it will always win in the mind. That this person isn’t deserving, will never be happy, will never be okay, will never be “normal”, will never, ever just be. It takes the mind's of beautiful humans captive. It’s a secretive, seductive, stranger that will always try to win.
           Walking the journey of grief hand in hand with close friends, family members, and the families of a few patients I have had in the past, I always go back to this:
           Would suicide win if everyone truly knew and felt love? What could we have done as a support network, a family system, a culture to rise up together, and beat suicide? How could love win?
           And how could we all teach one another to believe: You are enough. 
           Day after day, hour after hour, I sit with people who have stories just like yours. And they are in pain. They have perhaps been touched by the seductive stranger that suicide presents itself to be. 
           I call you today, to recognize that we are at the end of the month that raises awareness of suicide in our culture. But this is just the start. 
           If you are hurting and you have secrets, please, entrust this information with someone that loves you. Someone that finds you enough. There are people out in the world that are made to build you up and to love you. Find them. Know them. Be one of them. 
           If you are hurting because you have seen the devastation first hand of this destruction: Stand up. Love yourself. And watch for those around you who may be feeling this seductive stranger dance near them.
           There is no “cure” for suicide. There is no answer. There is no one reason that supersedes all reasons on why or how come or what made someone fall to the lies that suicide gives out.
           I believe that if we lived in a world where being yourself was truly enough, if everyone, every single one of us, celebrated in the beginning, the middle, the mundane, and the end of each part of every human we come in contact with, we would have the opportunity to fight off the sensitive dance that suicide does in the mind’s of those it captures. 
           To be enough. To know you are enough. Would that be enough? I don’t know. But we can at least continue trying. 
          “Love is an infinite victory.”
           It is. And it always wins.

           You are enough.

Shine On,

Dr. Kate


Please note these resources for suicide awareness and suicide prevention. Suicide is the third leading cause of death of young people. If you are in need of immediate clinical emergency services, please go to your nearest Emergency Room or call 911. If you are in need of services, please use these resources:

National Suicide Hotline: 1(800)273-TALK (8255) for help and crisis information
NAMI Helpline: 1(800)950-NAMI (6264) for referrals and other information
National Alliance of Mental Illnesses www.nami.org/suicideawarenessmonth



Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Never Forget

          Days like this day make us raw forms of our human selves. On this day, you have woken up, brushed your teeth, picked out your clothes, busily made breakfast, drank coffee, checked your phone, grabbed your belongings, maybe grabbed your kids, gotten one last kiss from your significant other, and ran out the door. 
           So much of human time is mundane. We walk through life operating on schedules, placing ourselves in rhythm with expectations that others have set for us. Your time clock is awaiting for you to check in, your boss has a meeting scheduled, and your children have a bell that rings for their presence.
           And then you pause. You recognize the date. You shut your eyes, close out the world, go back to the place where you were in the time that 9/11/2001 hit all of our hearts around the nation.
           You sit, you reflect, and you feel pain. You think of the loss and the tragedy. You think of the futures of human lives that were taken away, the relationships that disappeared, the love and the human connection that has been lost.
           You hold those thoughts in your head. You think of those directly affected. You think of those who you do not know, the heroes that were formed, the indescribable amount of togetherness that occurred on this day as our nation rose up from the ashes and started to build back together again.  
           Keep reflecting. Keep feeling. Keep letting this pain and these feelings and those thoughts circle in your present. 

           This togetherness, your emotional response to the sadness that this reflective day forever holds in our hearts: 
       
       This Is Who We Are

           This is what we are really made of. Emotion. The ability to feel. The ability to hold others in our hearts. We will continue to rise up from ashes, and never, ever, ever forget.

Shine On,

Dr. Kate Cummins


Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Friday, August 28, 2015

How To Be Popular

            Most Americans under 18 have put on new clothes, filled backpacks high of supplies, awaited the bus on the corner, and entered the hallways of school over the last few weeks. That's right, it's Back to School time. 
           Reflecting on this time of year, it is easy to put yourself back in these shoes- the changes, the nerves, the challenges. The most difficult pieces to navigate by far are the social pressures and networking that happen in groups of same-aged peers. 
           But let's be honest, social ability and human interaction don't stop at high school graduation. As adults, we continue network navigation. Being liked is a desire that is innately born within due to our need for attachment with others. 
            So, let's talk popularity. How can you be popular? 
1. Be Genuine
           There is nothing more enticing in a person than someone who is confident, secure in their own self-worth, and stable. If you are genuine in who you are, people will see something within and gravitate towards the comfort that you provide.  
2. Be Kind
           The definition of Kind includes a group of people who have a shared quality with one another. Being Kind allows people to connect. Being Kind provides the opportunity to share. Being Kind gives opportunity for network. So be Kind.
3. Be Honest
           Just do it. Be honest. There are an estimated 7 billion people on this planet. If you are honest with yourself, and enjoy spending time with someone, invest your energy. If you find yourself hiding the truth, figure out the reasons for this, and change your behavior. No one enjoys false information. 
4. Be Loving
           People will never, ever, ever forget how you make them feel. Fill them with respect, affection, tenderness, and love. You both win.
5. Be YOU
           You are amazing. You are awesome. You are unique. And you are the only one that is you. You are enough. Just as you are. So just be you. 
           
           Being popular is a desired trait. And it's not rocket science. Go be these things, you already are. If you find that some people don't receive you well, remember, there are 7 billion others that are waiting to make you popular in their eyes. 

Shine On, 

Dr. Kate



Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

... On Personal Growth. This Blog is for YOU. Drop what You're Doing. Read it.


  Alright. You are a person who has dealt with change. You are in transition. You are experiencing newness. You are experiencing growth. It sucks. It is hard. And it is painful. It may be really great to read all of those inspiring quotes on instagram about caterpillars becoming butterflies, growth in transition, working for what you want in order to become a successful, amazing BOSS of your life.
But let’s just get real here. This stuff is hard. It is rough. It is painful. And you have to work.
Sometimes, working is not fun and sometimes you just have no energy to do so. When you have lost yourself, or lost motivation, or changes have come your way that are too much to take on, you may find yourself stuck. You may find yourself feeling like you can’t move because if you go a little to the left or a little to the right, you may hit your breaking point.
So. What?!? What is so scary about hitting this breaking point? Are you afraid of your own tears because you are stressed? Or are you afraid that you aren’t strong enough? Are you afraid that this change in your life is going to be too difficult to handle? What is the absolute worst thing that can happen to you?
Are you afraid that there may be a hole in your life or in your heart if you take the leap, make the jump, make a move? It’s scary. It’s unknown. And it’s out of your control.
Changes and transformations in our lives are scary because we can’t hold onto them. We can’t grasp control of them. We can’t guarantee that they are going to make us happy or feel good or feel even human.
Have you ever felt sadness before? Have you ever had to change something and it be a really difficult thing to do? What was the outcome?
If you have no change, no transition, no newness, no growth, you become accustomed to what you’ve got. The lines begin to blur, you get comfortable, and you get stuck.
Holes are hard to repair. Pain is challenging to face. Fears are difficult to overcome. But you have what it takes to move. You deserve the opportunity to feel good. You deserve to feel loved and important and strong.
And sometimes, the only way to really feel strong, is to face that change right in the face, even if it’s going to make you have a hole.
Someone, somewhere, something, someplace, will come along, and help you fill that hole up. It will help you change. That move that you were scared of, that relationship you were afraid of getting out of, those people you wanted to challenge, they will help you realize that you are becoming.
We are all becoming. And you are worth every piece of the product of the change and transition in your life. Because you will find wholeness in trusting in yourself and embracing every bit of you. 

Shine On,


Dr. Kate



Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Grass Isn't Greener: Social Media and Perception of Others

           Perception of others is a nasty little trick that we play on ourselves. I was asked to write a column for a local newspaper about social media and the impact that it has on teens, but have realized that it is a common theme for us all. And here is why: It is easy to make judgment on someone else’s life based on your own interpretation of their experience when they share something on the internet for you to see.
           As humans, our brains are ever processing, ever moving, and ever interpreting at a quick speed. If you don’t believe me, think about the words that you are reading right now. Your brain is quickly scanning, processing the words, interpreting the semantics of them, and making sense of the message. You are also in the midst of your office, or your home, and if you were to look up, you would start to see objects such as a lamp, table, pens, your cell phone, etc. But until these things have been pointed out, your brain has just allowed them to sit in the external flow of your thoughts.
           So you are focused on what you see in these words, and not so much on the external pieces of things that are going on around you. That is similar to what perception of others is like. When someone places a picture on social media, they are placing information that they want others to take in and interpret about their experience. And so you do. You see a perfectly put together person with a smile on his or her face, doing something that looks like a lot of fun.
           Whatever you perceive to be happening in this picture, is what you choose to hold onto. And so you may see someone who has it all figured out, perfectly put together, something to strive for or make your own life similar to.
           DON’T. Your brain is tricking you. Because you are filling in the gap of knowledge with your own ideas rather than what is true about this person, and what they are really experiencing. Just like your brain is filling in the gaps around you with this post, your thoughts, in social comparison, start filling in the pieces of what you believe to be true in that perfectly posed picture. 
           And so you begin comparison. And your perspective of their happiness, their fun, their personality, their social connection, it all becomes a desire that you strive for, THAT YOU HAVE MADE UP IN YOUR HEAD. Because unfortunately, your perception about others is not really a good friend. And actually, your perception is normally pretty inaccurate. And your perception of things going on around you is normally pretty wrong unless you focus on the truth, which generally you know nothing about.
           Have you ever heard that expression, “The grass is always greener on the other side?” It’s not. It’s your perception of the grass. And I bet both pieces of grass are equally as green. 
           So instead of focusing in your perception of what everyone else is doing, get out there, water your own grass, and make it the greenest you can possibly get it to be.

Shine on,

Dr. Kate


Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Honesty and It's Beauty

           My patients are beautiful people. People are beautiful people. You are a beautiful person. We are flawed, but we are all beautifully trying to do what is best.
           This blog is certified parental bragging rights on my patients. They are rock stars. And here is why: They are not afraid of touching their own pain. They are not afraid of life's beautiful and messy honesty.
           In a world where we hide from the most vulnerable pieces of ourselves, it is hard to sometimes get in touch with who we are and where we came from. We all have things that we want to change about ourselves. We all have things that we wish were different.
           Most observe these pieces as flaws. They view them as something they are running away from. Maybe these pieces are insecurities, not being enough of, not being the BEST, or the CEO, or the PTA president, or the person who got the raise at work. They weigh on us, and they take us down.
           So we have choices with these insecurities. We let them define who we are, are perception of ourselves, or we pretend that they do not exist. We fight against them and become blind to them.
           Blindness is ignorance. You are not bold when you ignore something. You are not strong when you ignore your own needs. You are not changing and molding into who you beautifully were made to be if you are blind to pieces of who you are.
           Insecurities can block you from becoming the person you're meant to beautifully stand up and be. So here is why my patients are rock stars: They wrestle with these insecurities in front of another human (that is brave stuff). They honestly wave their flags of imperfection in front of me. And they express their world, that inner part that most are afraid to let others know is even there.
           My patients talk about the fight for freedom of their own insecurities, they get another team mate on their side (me) in the battle, and they come out of the darkness with honesty. They touch their pain. They feel it, and they let it go. In front of another person.
           This, my friends, is beautiful. Because it is truth, it is real, and it is honest. My hope for everyone is that they have a place to be beautifully honest in a world that tries to rid us of anything but perfection. (Which by the way, is an absolutely unattainable goal). Get up, go, be honest, and be beautiful.

Shine on,

Dr. Kate


Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Friday, July 17, 2015

I'm Throwing a Party and Here's Why You Should Come

           I'm throwing a party next Thursday, July 23rd, in El Segundo. I'm inviting all moms in the greater Los Angeles area to come hang out with me. I'm throwing a party, and here's why you should come: I am exhausted by the way that my profession has made itself a quiet and hidden place on a map in our community. 
           The stigma that taking care of your mental health has in our current culture is one that makes it a shame-based perception of needing help. My patients come to me hanging onto their last resort, their last glimpse of hope, their final "I can't do this anymore." So I'm throwing a party.
           Every. Single. Person. Walking around on this planet deals with stress. Every single person on this planet has dealt with loss. Every single person has dealt with change. When a patient finally picks up the phone to call me, when they finally hit my doorstep, their own thoughts and behaviors have almost, almost won. 
           As women, we are stretched thin. In practice I see women who are so fragile from loss of sense-of-self and loss of engagement with others that they can barely leave the house in fear of their anxiety creeping in. I see women who feel so sad that they can't possibly think about showing up to events, dinners, things they used to enjoy, because it's all too hard. I see women of all ages, who need to feel needed and wanted and included. So you are included. And I want you to come to my party.
           I am over all of this. I'm throwing a party, because mental health is just as or more important than shopping at organic food places, working out regularly, attending church or yoga to get your soul fed. I am throwing a party so that mom's can come together, dress themselves up in beautiful clothing that makes them feel good about their appearance, and sit down without responsibility for a few hours. I am inviting you, because I don't want you to feel alone anymore. And I want to make this piece of your life fun. And I want to think outside of the box so that by the time you find yourself with a child who is externalizing such difficult symptoms that you don't know what to do with, you don't feel alone.
           I'm throwing a party for moms, so that they have a place to feel lovely. And not alone. And to know that they have support because they are doing their best. And so, I'm throwing a party for you. And your friends. All are invited. And food and drinks will be there. And we want to see you. We want to celebrate you. So I'm throwing a party. Hope to see you next Thursday. Oh, and RSVP so we know how many moonshine cocktails, coffees, wine, and appetizers to purchase for you!- drkatecumminsevents.eventbrite.com

Shine On,

Dr. Kate



Friday, July 10, 2015

Be Have Your (Behavior- Get Movin)


         Happy Friday to you. Did you read that out loud? BeHave Your. Behavior. Have you thought about that word in this way? Behavior, it’s all yours. Have your own way with your behavior. Have your own way with what you do with your time, who you chat with, and what you want to do in life. 
Remember when your mom or dad used to say, “Your behavior is out of control” or “Thank you for your exceptional behavior” (Or maybe just the first one. ;)
           Your parents talked to you about the choices that you made with your body, what you did with it, where you took it, how many toys your picked up, and how many times you pushed your sister in the carseat next to you. And you listened to them talk to you about your behavior. Because it didn't feel like you could control it as a child, but now you’re all grown up and you see that you can.
           A lot of times, when someone is having low self-esteem, depressive symptoms such as sleeping too much or anhedonia (lack of pleasure in typical activities), anxious preoccupation, stress in the work place, lack of connection in a relationship (the list goes on and on) it’s because they aren’t engaging in the right behavior that makes them feel good. In private practice, my patients are typically asked in this scenario to force his or her self out the door for a social engagement or physical activity during this time. Why? To have YOUR own way with your body. And to show that you have your own behavior in control. 
           This is called behavioral activation. In private practice, I tailor it to the individual persons likes and needs. In the hospital setting, I typically tailor it to what we can get out a result of their brain injury.
Sometimes, there are voices within you that make you think, “I can’t leave the house” or “I really don’t want to go to the gym” or “The thought of putting my three children in their carseats to leave is just not a happy place”. 
           But 9.9 times out of 10, if you BeHave Your own way, and you make yourself pop up and go, you never regret it. It makes you feel good, it sends those amazing drugs called neurotransmitters flowing in the right places, and you can relax just a little. BeHave Your. Do it your way this weekend.

Shine on,

Dr. Kate


Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Family Relationships Are Nuts

           We are naturally very needy creatures. If you look at the evolution of a person, one starts manipulating its world from the minute he or she is born. A baby cries to get what it needs, to get held, fed, a new diaper, comforted, loved, etc. A baby cries, and we all stop, immediately, to hold it. 
           Believe it or not, relationships with adults are essentially the same concept. Adults use their words, actions, choices, and behaviors to drive communication and interaction with others, to get what they want. Babies, we are all just babies at the end of the day.
           We need things from one another, like trust, loyalty, help, affection, support, and whatever else you may need from those around you that you love. And when you don’t get these things the way you want or you don’t get enough, life becomes a little messy.
           The reason I post this blog post today is because we are walking into a weekend full of family time. Familial relationships are the ones we don’t get to pick. So sometimes they push us in places we don’t want to be pushed, just because they can. 
           If you find yourself at that family barbecue and Aunt Susie is driving you crazy, take a step back, find your happy place within, and disengage from the relationship. She may or may not mean to, but she is driving you to the place that makes you want to walk away from the screaming baby. 
           Embrace the relationships, the good and the bad, but know that you can monitor yourself. Choose to go pick the baby up or run from the situation. And enjoy your weekend with people who love you. Happy 4th of July y’all. 

Shine On,

Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ROOMination (Rumination)- Renting Out Room/Thoughts In Your Head

           First off, thank you for reading this blog. Do you know that in the last two weeks that it has launched, over 675 people have clicked their mouse and read away? Did you know that people in America, Canada, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Kenya, and Poland have clicked to read? Thank you, thank you so very much. Keep knowledge sharing and spread the words to anyone you know who need them.
           Now- onto today’s subject- Rumination. Do you ever find yourself completely locked into a certain topic? Do you ever feel like you can’t stop thinking about the same thing over, and over, and over again? Like perhaps a time in your life when your boss told you that she was disappointed in your work or you said something you didn’t mean to say to your husband, and then you found yourself replaying the situation again and again in your head? And maybe when you finally felt like it was all under control, because you finally were able to concentrate on the presentation you have to give tomorrow in front of 50 people at work, one reminder of that same little topic pops back into your head and you’re back to spinning in the chaos again? 
           This, my friends, is called rumination. It is the focus and repetitive thinking about causes, factors, and consequences of negative emotional experiences (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1991). It is the continuous attention to upsetting and unpleasant details.
           It is the giving up of space in your thoughts to allow negativity to take over and take control. Thus, I have renamed it rOOmination, and here’s why. 
            Think about your brain as a house. In your home, you get to decorate it, live in it, and use the space as you want. If you were to rent your house out or let people come stay in it, you would be pretty selective on who got to rest their heads on the pillows in your beds. You would hope that they would treat your house with respect. And you would background check the heck out of them if they were renters.
           Now, why oh why would you allow this to be any different in your head? Your brain and your thoughts that flow from this brain of yours are the most important aspects of you. Your brain allows you to put thoughts into things that you want to. If you are allowing your brain to continue to rOOminate, you are giving it the power to decorate bright pink walls when you want gray, or put in a vintage brown-shag carpet on the ground when we clearly are not in the 70’s anymore. 
           You have the control. If you are aware. And we will talk mindfulness in blog posts soon to come. So pay attention to the rOOminating, grab your paintbrush (or thoughts) and decide what color (or thoughts) you want to live in. When you find yourself rOOminating, remember, you wouldn’t allow negative people in your special space, so you should be selective about the special space in your brain. Choose loving thoughts, choose progress, choose change. Paint your brain the color that you want, and enjoy the process. 

Shine On,


Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com, and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973, drkatecummins@gmail.com. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of treatment or individual clinical work.





Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1991). The role of rumination in depressive disorders and mixed anxiety/depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(3), 504-511. doi:10.1037//0021-843X.109.3.504

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day Without A Father

           This Sunday is Father’s Day. Most people will celebrate their dads, give them signs of affection, gift a golf lesson or new tool, take them out to dinner, and find ways to show their dad- I am grateful for you. If you have this in your life, enjoy every single minute on Sunday. Relish and delight in the time you have with your father.
           There are others on this day, who will wake up with anxiety, hide in their covers under the roof of their houses, try not to move, and try to run away from the pain. You see, for those who do not have a father to celebrate, this day is a painful reminder of the struggle of being without. 
           In the psychology world, we tend to tell our patients to pay attention to behaviors and thoughts during holidays because people get easily triggered by the loss of their loved one, whether it be the birthday, death anniversary, wedding day, national holiday, graduation day, etc, etc, etc. Do you see? This is a constant hamster wheel. The year is jam packed of holidays to run from. Most people who have lost someone move through the motions of the first year of their loss. Thoughts tell them, “if I can just get to the next place, if I can just make it past my dad’s birthday, father’s day, my graduation…” But what happens on this hamster wheel is the reality that you exhaust without ever being able to get off.
           When loss and grief set in, the five stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are used as tools by a person to cope, they are processed, they are moved through, but they do not bring an end. That is the most difficult thing about loss and grief- there is no end. 
           There is a new change, a new direction, a new normal. But sometimes, as you finally start to feel like you are moving into a new normal that you can function in with your loss, a new trigger pops up. The pain of the loss of your dad tumbles straight forward, directly back in your direction. And you find yourself back in the memories of the day you got the phone call, the moment your mom showed up at work to tell you that he was no longer around, the time in your life when everything stopped, and you no longer had him. It was gone, all of it. That is what these type of holidays can do to you. They have the capacity to knock the wind out of you, and leave you running back to your hiding spot from the world.
           For those of you wanting to hide under your covers tomorrow- you are not alone. Your pain is real, it is true, but it does not have to define you. It does not have to be who you are. You are more than the pain you keep. And your dad is proud of you, wherever he is, for becoming the person you’ve become. I am thinking of all of you, those with and those without, on this holiday in which we celebrate by saying, “Happy Father’s Day.” 
           Sometimes refusing happy is exactly where you need to be. You are in my thoughts. And you are not alone.

Shine On,


Dr. Kate

If you are interested in connecting with Dr. Kate to learn more about being a patient in my private practice, please contact me, www.drkatecummins.com.
Information from this blog post is meant to improve your education and understanding, this is not treatment or clinical work.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

FEEL


           Pain. My heart is in absolute pain this morning after hearing about the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Charleston. And my heart cries for those who have lost loved ones to other tragedies that have happened in the world. I feel heartbroken for the aftermath of what is to come for the friends, loved ones, and family members of those who have been taken too soon.
This is part of life. Loss. It is painful and difficult and people don’t know what to do with it or where to store it. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn't feel good. And it unfortunately becomes a part of the process that we go through on our journeys of being human. 
I can only imagine what the community in Charleston is waking up to this morning. The permanence has been removed from their lives, as they have started the process of a new normal for their path. Change that cannot be undone. Change that forever removes happiness.
As people, we have a package. We have stories about our lives that become who we are. We are given choices, we are given people to join us along the way, and we are given freedom to choose how to run our lives. And then reality hits. And something is taken away. For this particular instance, 9 lives have been taken away. And the lives that have been touched by these 9 people are forever changed. 
Pain is one of the most difficult emotions to deal with because there is nowhere for it to go. Most of my patients come into the office with eyes full of pain. Their tears quickly overflow when the emotion becomes too much to handle, and they let go. They cry for how it feels to have loss and they cry for how it feels to not have closure. They cry because sometimes on the other end of tears there is a small time to feel numb. And feeling numb gives the space to release pain.
This feeling is hard. Its difficult. And it leaves humans raw. It leaves us vulnerable. I feel for Charleston. I feel for our community. I feel for humankind. I feel for you. I feel for the struggles that most are going through in their daily lives with loss. The healthiest thing to do with pain is to feel it. Feel it, release it, and let it go.

Shine On,

Dr. Kate



If you are interested in connecting with Dr. Kate to learn more about being a patient in my private practice, please contact me, www.drkatecummins.com.
Information from this post was directly reported from the following source, and this blog post is meant to improve your education and understanding, this is not treatment or clinical work.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June Gloom- How Weather Affects Your Health

           Southern California is known for sunshine and impeccable weather nearly every day of the year. Those who live in this area of the country flock by the thousands from the East Coast and Midwest to get a taste of outdoors freedom. Thus, they don't have to experience the dreary days of fall, winter, and spring months unlike most of the United States. 
           However, we are 1/3 of the way into June, and have been struck with June Gloom. The days are overcast, the sun is no where in sight, and rain (what is rain again?) sometimes falls from the sky when we're sleeping. These days can help you fixate on the not so nice things in life, as you may find yourself waking up tired, your body may feel more lethargic, and your mood might be less than optimal. But have no fear, insight is here.
           Although the old terminology of Seasonal Affective Disorder is obsolete, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes a new diagnosis of Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. The symptoms of this diagnosis are as follows: depressed mood most of the day, diminish interest or pleasure in activities, weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia (inability to sleep or sleeping more than usual), fatigue and loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, concentration and attention difficulty (American Psychiatric Association, 20130). Now, I am not at all suggesting that June Gloom is providing you with a clear diagnosis, as there must be a seasonal pattern for at least 2 years that goes along with this diagnosis.
           But here is the point of this post: Environmental changes, lack of sunshine on a cloudy day, and this 'June Gloom' that sunny, Southern California friends are experiencing currently, can give you the blues. 
           If you are feeling slower than usual, if it's hard to wake up, if you are tired or having a hard time concentrating, don't be so hard on yourself. Sometimes our bodies need the time to "reboot". So take this time, sink into bed with a book or netflix, or go on your usual run on the beach. Enjoy the change in weather, rather than look to it as a negative force in your life. 
           You can also combat your negative mood by increasing behavioral change- force yourself out the door to yoga, go sit at the coffee shop even though it's easier to relax in your kitchen. If you initiate activities that keep you moving, you are better equipped at continuing your regular pattern of life, and you will be able to get through to the other side. And by the way my friends, the other side is July, a month full of sunshine. 

Shine on,

Dr. Kate

If you are interested in connecting with Dr. Kate to learn more about being a patient in my private practice, please contact me, www.drkatecummins.com.
Information from this post was directly reported from the following source, and this blog post is meant to improve your education and understanding, this is not treatment or clinical work.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and 
     statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: 
     Author.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Merry-Go-Round of Cognitive Distortion

Do you ever feel like life is twirling around on a merry-go-round? Like your Mondays-Fridays are wished away, so you can just get to the weekend and relax? I have a friend who told me he gets the “Saturday blues” because he knows that Sunday is around the corner, and the work week will be upon him once again too soon.
The merry-go-round of life- 7 days, 24 hours to fill in each, 365 of these days in a year, and then it’s done all over again.
It’s a trap. Truly, if you think about its cyclical pattern, it’s a false sense of control. It’s man made. It’s an undefined movement in life that humans have made into something measurable. It’s easier to think this way, in measure, so we all listen to time, and we use it to structure our lives.
What if I told you that your thought pattern is similar to this merry-go-round of life?   From your beginnings on the planet, you are taught certain pieces of definition that you hold on to as truths of you.
            “I’m an athlete, I’m smart, I’m good at guitar, I’m handsome.” Maybe those are some thoughts that you have about yourself. Maybe those were the foundation of who you were as a child, and they are the truths that you hold onto today. 
           But what happens when there are not so nice cognitions that run through your head?
            “I’m a failure. I’m never good enough. I won’t succeed.”
           These types of cognitions are called cognitive distortions. Because even if they are true to the task at hand, they are not true for every single event or accomplishment that you are a part of or that you are trying to complete. 
          If you are someone who holds onto these cognitive distortions, you end up walking into whatever task you are supposed to accomplish with those evil little thoughts tugging at the back of your head. They keep a tight hold on you. And they may beat you to the finish line, proving themselves correctly, because they want to prove to you that they are stronger than you are.
            I was listening to the radio last night and Pink’s song “F***in’ Perfect” was on. She talks about this very thing in her lyrics-
  • You’re so mean when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
  • Change the voices in your head make them like you instead
          Even here, Pink, a human, talks psychology; she talks cognitive distortion, and she even has a solution. Change. Change the voices in your head and make them like you. Make those cognitions tell you who you want to be, “I am strong. I am bold. I am exactly who I am supposed to be.” Get that merry-go-round to listen to who you are and what you want to be. Take control of your own cognitive merry-go-round. 
          Oh, and try to enjoy the Mondays-Fridays, they aren’t so bad. After all, the time will pass regardless of what you’re thinking anyways.

Shine On,

Dr. Kate