Never Let the Presence of a Storm Cause You to Doubt the Presence of God

 

 

God is always with us. Our hardest times are those times we need Him most. Learning to lean on Him during these storms is life changing. The hardest times in my life have actually been a blessing because they have radically changed my relationship with God. I now know I cannot make it through life without Him.

We are not built to be strong enough or good enough to do this life on our own. We are all created with a God size hole in our soul. There is only one Love, one Truth that can fill that yearning. He is the only way we can truly feel peace and joy. No amount of money, success, or fame can compare. All things of this world leave us feeling empty because we were designed to have a relationship with our creator.

I love my family and friends, but Jesus comes first. He is the only one who understands all of me. He knows my darkest secrets and deepest fears and He loves me because of the broken imperfect person I am.

 

In the Storm

God With Us

He’s with you through the pain. He comforts you in the waiting. When you’re anxious about your future, He gives you courage. As you climb the mountain, He keeps you safe in His arms. In every moment, we have God With Us. 🙏✝️❤️

Click the link to watch it now! 🔽

Life Church Sermon: In the Storm

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Keep On Keeping On

Amazing, real, and so true, this is my new favorite song. Life is hard and sometimes we want to give up, but “I’ll Keep On” speaks the truth I feel about the love and strength that gets me through my days, the hard ones and the good ones. He is always there, no matter how much I mess up. He chases after us because He loves us more than we can fathom. I would be lost without my Jesus. He is my best friend.

I’ll Keep On by Jeremiah Carlson

Lyrics:

Oh these hands are tired

Oh this heart is tired
Oh this soul is tired
But I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on

[Verse 1: NF]
Faith is something I am not accustomed to
And trusting other people’s something I don’t really love to do
I’ve never been a fan of it, I act tougher
Really my shoulders they ain’t built for this and I don’t have nothing
It’s like I’m standing in the rain and you offer me a raincoat
But I would rather stand there and get wet than take the handout
What’s wrong with me? You said, “you’ve always got your hands out
And I cannot continue on my own so take my hands now”
I give you everything, God, not just a little bit
Take it from me, I am nothing but a hypocrite
I hate sin, but I built a house and I still live in it
Afraid to open up the door to You and let You into it
My soul is lost and what it needs is Your direction
I know, I’ve told You I do not need Your protection
But I lied to You, this thing is tiring
And man was not created for it, God
Please retire me now

I’LL KEEP ON LYRICS
[Hook: Jeremiah Carlson]
Oh these hands are tired
Oh this heart is tired
Oh this soul is tired
But I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on

[Verse 1: NF]
Faith is something I am not accustomed to
And trusting other people’s something I don’t really love to do
I’ve never been a fan of it, I act tougher
Really my shoulders they ain’t built for this and I don’t have nothing
It’s like I’m standing in the rain and you offer me a raincoat
But I would rather stand there and get wet than take the handout
What’s wrong with me? You said, “you’ve always got your hands out
And I cannot continue on my own so take my hands now”
I give you everything, God, not just a little bit
Take it from me, I am nothing but a hypocrite
I hate sin, but I built a house and I still live in it
Afraid to open up the door to You and let You into it
My soul is lost and what it needs is Your direction
I know, I’ve told You I do not need Your protection
But I lied to You, this thing is tiring
And man was not created for it, God
Please retire me now

[Hook: Jeremiah Carlson]
Oh these hands are tired
Oh this heart is tired
Oh this soul is tired
But I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on

[Verse 2: NF]
Trust is something I am not accustomed to
And I know the Bible says I should always trust in You
But, I don’t never read that book enough
And when I have a question I don’t take the time to look it up
Or pick it up
It collects dust on my nightstand
I’m just being honest
Please take this outta my hands
I have no control – I am just a person
But thank the Lord that I serve a God that’s perfect
I do not deserve the opportunity You’ve given me
I never knew what freedom was until I learned what prison means
I am not ashamed, I don’t care if they remember me
My life will always have a hole, if You are not the centerpiece
Take me out of bondage, take all of my pride
If I don’t have a Savior, I don’t have nothing inside
Take all of my lust, take all of my lies
There’s no better feeling than when I look in the sky, in Your eyes
It’s amazing

Real Love

This song speaks truth to my soul. I love the lyrics and the voice on this girl is out of this world. All of her songs are awesome, but this new one is by far my favorite. It’s given me hope and a new outlook in a rough period in my struggle with my Bipolar Disorder.

Real Love by Blanca

Blanca’s ‘Real Love’ is the song about Jesus everyone needs right now.

This is from an interview on EEWMagazineOnline with Blanca about her song Real Love.

This song has been a healing song for my heart. I’ve been through a very tough year. There are several pieces to this song coming together. The biggest focus for me to be inspired to write this song was feeling like I can check off all of the boxes and do all of the things that I’m supposed to do–I read my Bible, I went to church–but sometimes I feel empty after doing all of these things. I feel like God’s saying to me that doing those things are great, but when am I going to go deeper with Him? I feel like He is asking me, “when are you going to go out of the shallow waters into the deep waters?” That’s where it can be painful, but that’s where He wants me to go with Him.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought it for a few years, and she ended up passing away this past year. I think sometimes those very hard seasons that we walk through in life bring out these underlying issues and questions that we have. Especially in that moment, I realized that I don’t want to face the whole foundation of who I am in Him based on these shallow things that leave me empty.

When I was facing these hardest things I’ve ever walked through in my life, and I was questioning and angry and those things were coming to the surface, I remember speaking with my mom. She told me she was scared when she was in hospice. People were telling her she needed to have faith and trust God and believe and that He was going to heal her, but she was still sick. That was like a dagger to my heart. My mom was an amazing, selfless woman who loved the Lord, and when her time was ending, she felt like God’s love was running out on her. That she had done too much wrong or His grace was running out because she was still sick. She was struggling with this issue of works and striving and proving ourselves to the Lord. But He loves us because He is love, and that’s who He is.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song? 

Romans 5:8 (NIV): “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

John 3:16 (VOICE): “For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.”

1 John 3:16 (NIV): “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV): “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.”

John 7:38 (NKJV): “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

John 4:29 (NKJV): “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV): “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

What is the takeaway message?

It’s not about religion or what we check off as our good works. It’s about trusting and knowing and encountering the real love of Christ. That’s where this song came to life. I wrote it after my mom passed away. I had all these emotions, and I want this music to be real, and I want it to talk about something that so many of us are walking through. In that process, I wanted it to be healing to me.

This is a song I can turn to when I feel like I’ve missed it. A lot of people have been connecting with this song. It’s kind of an intense message for some people, and can be misinterpreted in some way when I say “you can leave your religion at home.” There is good in religion, but when you look at the Bible and read about the heart of Jesus and what made Him angry and what did He fight for, it was against the religious Pharisees who were missing the mark and the heart of God. That’s so relevant today. We get caught up in the picture of what it should be instead of the heart of what it is. It’s not about religion; it’s about relationship with Jesus.

There are so many people who have been hurt by the church or don’t know Jesus, and the last thing they need from us as the church is how they should dress or which church they attend or their status. It’s about loving on people like how Jesus treated the woman at the well. I’m thanking God that He gave me these words for this song.

Lyrics:
This isn’t easy for me to admit
I got a fire inside and some words I know I can’t keep in
I see faith turning into a show
Of Sundays and sermons and works getting caught in the flow.

Oh but we got real pain
And real fears
Thirstin’ for the drying
Of our real tears
It’s not satisfying anymore
Ain’t it true that veil was torn
Don’t need no stained glass
To be washed in His blood
Don’t need no perfect put together pretty words
To be enough
I want Jesus and His real love it’s something that I crave deep inside of my bones
So you can leave your religion at home

Spent my life trying to keep all the rules
Now I know it’s about what He’s already done
Not about what I think that I gotta do

I want Real Real Love

I got real pain
And real fears
Thirstin’ for the dryin of real tears
It’s not satisfying anymore
Ain’t it true that the veil was torn

I want Real Real Love
I Want Real Real Love
I want Real Real Love

Blanca expresses with transparency her walk with the Lord and how she wants Jesus and His real love, relying on God in the midst of self-doubt, worry and struggling with issues like identity. Believers may know Bible passages like Romans 5:8 and certainly John 3:16, but we should all continue to be so grateful that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The thought that Jesus laid His life down for us as sinners is so remarkable. The story of the woman at the well stirs up my soul to think about how excited she was to drop her bucket and go tell everyone in the town to “come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Jesus knows everything about us, and His Spirit is the well of Living Water that never runs dry. That’s a picture of His real love for us.

God explains love in 1st John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” God’s love was given at an outrageous cost, the life of His only begotten Son. Not only should we love God because He first loved us, but we should also love others unconditionally because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God, our Creator, adores us immensely, and sent Jesus to die for us to show us the definition of love: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 (NIV).

There are several truths we can cling to in this song’s lyrics: “Spent my life trying to keep all the rules,” “I don’t need no stained glass to be washed in His blood,” “I got real pain and real fears, thirstin’ for the dryin’ of real tears.” God is omnipresent and always with us, and we are never too far beyond His reach. “Real Love” is one of my favorite songs of the year. Right from the lyrics “ain’t it true that veil was torn,” I find myself praying and singing along with this amazing song as it expresses a deep desire that many people have, which is to proclaim: “I want Jesus and His real love, it’s something that I crave deep inside of my bones, so you can leave your religion at home.” Amen to that!

Watch the music video below.

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

Bipolar Coaster

 

poems-about-life-3 (1)

 

My bipolar roller coaster in a nutshell …. I’m just holding on tight, enjoying the ride, and doing my best to level out. I am way better than a few years ago, but I still have ups and downs. My super talkative, productive hypomanic self is coming out right now. I know it freaks out a lot of people who know me and think I am not acting like myself. I am thankful I am in touch with reality and have realized what is happening. It is a welcome change from the overwhelmingly gloomy and exhausting depression where I often find myself. To anyone with a mental illness, I empathize with your struggle. Although each of us suffers in our own way, we have similar feelings. I am so thankful for God in whom I find my strength to go on when I feel so run down by the burdens of this life. My family, doctors, and proper medication keep me functioning and actually enjoying life.

i_m__fine__by_banditmaster721-d9ij7hv

The Bipolar Disorder Definition of “I’m Fine”

Gabe Howard

Social etiquette is an important thing for society, and that includes such things as asking, “How are you?” when we greet others. As a person with disorder, I dont’t have any special exemption from answering that question in any way other than, “Fine”.

There are three main moods that most people with bipolar will experience at any given time: bipolar mania, baseline, and depression.  As we all know, “fine” can mean different things, based on our moods. Here are my truthful answers based on each of those moods.

Bipolar Mania: How Are You?  

When I am manic (not very happy, not excited, not hypomanic), there is only one truly honest answer to the question: “I am a god from the planet Awesome. I’m better than you. And I can shoot happiness from my eyes into your soul.”

Then, over the next five minutes, in dramatic and rapid fashion, I will tell you my amazing plans. I’ll tell you how to fix everything wrong with the world, and what incredible, exceptional, and amazing rock-star caliber thing I am getting ready to do. At some point, I will forget what I’m talking about and rush off to do said rock-star caliber thing and — who knows? — I may actually succeed.

I will make no sense, but trust me when I say you’ll love it – and me – right up until it goes horribly wrong. That generally happens around the next morning, long after everyone has gone home.

Bipolar Depression: How Are You?

The more depressed I am, the less likely you are to get any answer at all, both because I simply won’t have the energy and because I’ll be holed up alone somewhere away from your ability to ask. But, if we did come into contact and I did have the energy to answer, I would tell you I feel nothing.

Describing “nothing” is difficult and confusing. There is no analogy that is truly fitting. It can’t be described as the absence of something, much in the same way describing darkness as the lack of light doesn’t really help someone understand.

Specifically, I say: “I have no energy. I have no desires. If I were to die right here, right now, I wouldn’t care, mainly because I lack the motivation to care one way or the other. I feel nothing for myself. I feel empty, as does the world around me. I feel abandoned, alone, and broken. I have no belief in future happiness, nor any recollection of happy times in the past. And all this seems perfectly normal to me.”

Bipolar Baseline: How Are You?

Depression and mania are symptoms that anyone with bipolar disorder has experienced to some extent. However, living in recovery, which is the goal, means I spend most of my time in the middle. My moods still exist on a spectrum, but the spectrum is a lot narrower. My depression is manageable and I’m able to continue moving forward, even if at a slower pace.

I am still excitable, but mania is almost completely wiped out. I function, day to day, pretty much the same as everyone else, just with a chronic health condition to manage. This takes work, but life for most people takes effort. This is just my lot.

So when someone asks how I am, you might be surprised to know that the answer, nine times out of ten, is “traumatized.” My exact answer would be:

“I’m scared, worried, and I know that I’m going to get sick again and be left alone or be a burden to my loved ones. The emptiness I’ve felt, the suicidal feelings, the loss, the abandonment, and the failure are still living inside me. Since the illness is still with me – albeit controlled – the potential for it to come back and torture me again is very real. And that terrifies me.”

The reality is that my daily life is hard because I have to move forward with the trauma of my past weighing me down. I am scared of ending up back where I started. I’m scared of losing everything. I’m scared of hurting myself or others emotionally. I’m scared of making my granny cry again.

So that’s why I answer, “Fine.” It’s the easy answer. But never has a little word carried so much hidden meaning.

Please Note: Gabe is writing a book about a regular guy living with bipolar and needs your support. Pre-orders available and much more. Check it out by clicking here.

blogs.psychcentral.com ·

 

The Bipolar Disorder Definition of “I’m Fine”

Gabe Howard

Social etiquette is an important thing for society, and that includes such things as asking, “How are you?” when we greet others. As a person with disorder, I dont’t have any special exemption from answering that question in any way other than, “Fine”.

There are three main moods that most people with bipolar will experience at any given time: bipolar mania, baseline, and depression.  As we all know, “fine” can mean different things, based on our moods. Here are my truthful answers based on each of those moods.

Bipolar Mania: How Are You?  

When I am manic (not very happy, not excited, not hypomanic), there is only one truly honest answer to the question: “I am a god from the planet Awesome. I’m better than you. And I can shoot happiness from my eyes into your soul.”

Then, over the next five minutes, in dramatic and rapid fashion, I will tell you my amazing plans. I’ll tell you how to fix everything wrong with the world, and what incredible, exceptional, and amazing rock-star caliber thing I am getting ready to do. At some point, I will forget what I’m talking about and rush off to do said rock-star caliber thing and — who knows? — I may actually succeed.

I will make no sense, but trust me when I say you’ll love it – and me – right up until it goes horribly wrong. That generally happens around the next morning, long after everyone has gone home.

Bipolar Depression: How Are You?

The more depressed I am, the less likely you are to get any answer at all, both because I simply won’t have the energy and because I’ll be holed up alone somewhere away from your ability to ask. But, if we did come into contact and I did have the energy to answer, I would tell you I feel nothing.

Describing “nothing” is difficult and confusing. There is no analogy that is truly fitting. It can’t be described as the absence of something, much in the same way describing darkness as the lack of light doesn’t really help someone understand.

Specifically, I say: “I have no energy. I have no desires. If I were to die right here, right now, I wouldn’t care, mainly because I lack the motivation to care one way or the other. I feel nothing for myself. I feel empty, as does the world around me. I feel abandoned, alone, and broken. I have no belief in future happiness, nor any recollection of happy times in the past. And all this seems perfectly normal to me.”

Bipolar Baseline: How Are You?

Depression and mania are symptoms that anyone with bipolar disorder has experienced to some extent. However, living in recovery, which is the goal, means I spend most of my time in the middle. My moods still exist on a spectrum, but the spectrum is a lot narrower. My depression is manageable and I’m able to continue moving forward, even if at a slower pace.

I am still excitable, but mania is almost completely wiped out. I function, day to day, pretty much the same as everyone else, just with a chronic health condition to manage. This takes work, but life for most people takes effort. This is just my lot.

So when someone asks how I am, you might be surprised to know that the answer, nine times out of ten, is “traumatized.” My exact answer would be:

“I’m scared, worried, and I know that I’m going to get sick again and be left alone or be a burden to my loved ones. The emptiness I’ve felt, the suicidal feelings, the loss, the abandonment, and the failure are still living inside me. Since the illness is still with me – albeit controlled – the potential for it to come back and torture me again is very real. And that terrifies me.”

The reality is that my daily life is hard because I have to move forward with the trauma of my past weighing me down. I am scared of ending up back where I started. I’m scared of losing everything. I’m scared of hurting myself or others emotionally. I’m scared of making my granny cry again.

So that’s why I answer, “Fine.” It’s the easy answer. But never has a little word carried so much hidden meaning.

Please Note: Gabe is writing a book about a regular guy living with bipolar and needs your support. Pre-orders available and much more. Check it out by clicking here.

blogs.psychcentral.com ·

 

My bipolar roller coaster in a nutshell …. I’m just holding on tight, enjoying the ride, and doing my best to level out. I am way better than a few years ago, but I still have ups and downs. My super talkative, productive hypomanic self is coming out right now. I know it freaks out a lot of people who know me and think I am not acting like myself. I am thankful I am in touch with reality and have realized what is happening. It is a welcome change from the overwhelmingly gloomy and exhausting postpartum depression I have been in for the last 10 months. To anyone with a mental illness, I empathize with your struggle. Although each of us suffers in our own way, we have similar feelings.

The Bipolar Disorder Definition of “I’m Fine”

Gabe Howard

Social etiquette is an important thing for society, and that includes such things as asking, “How are you?” when we greet others. As a person with disorder, I dont’t have any special exemption from answering that question in any way other than, “Fine”.

There are three main moods that most people with bipolar will experience at any given time: bipolar mania, baseline, and depression.  As we all know, “fine” can mean different things, based on our moods. Here are my truthful answers based on each of those moods.

Bipolar Mania: How Are You?  

When I am manic (not very happy, not excited, not hypomanic), there is only one truly honest answer to the question: “I am a god from the planet Awesome. I’m better than you. And I can shoot happiness from my eyes into your soul.”

Then, over the next five minutes, in dramatic and rapid fashion, I will tell you my amazing plans. I’ll tell you how to fix everything wrong with the world, and what incredible, exceptional, and amazing rock-star caliber thing I am getting ready to do. At some point, I will forget what I’m talking about and rush off to do said rock-star caliber thing and — who knows? — I may actually succeed.

I will make no sense, but trust me when I say you’ll love it – and me – right up until it goes horribly wrong. That generally happens around the next morning, long after everyone has gone home.

Bipolar Depression: How Are You?

The more depressed I am, the less likely you are to get any answer at all, both because I simply won’t have the energy and because I’ll be holed up alone somewhere away from your ability to ask. But, if we did come into contact and I did have the energy to answer, I would tell you I feel nothing.

Describing “nothing” is difficult and confusing. There is no analogy that is truly fitting. It can’t be described as the absence of something, much in the same way describing darkness as the lack of light doesn’t really help someone understand.

Specifically, I say: “I have no energy. I have no desires. If I were to die right here, right now, I wouldn’t care, mainly because I lack the motivation to care one way or the other. I feel nothing for myself. I feel empty, as does the world around me. I feel abandoned, alone, and broken. I have no belief in future happiness, nor any recollection of happy times in the past. And all this seems perfectly normal to me.”

Bipolar Baseline: How Are You?

Depression and mania are symptoms that anyone with bipolar disorder has experienced to some extent. However, living in recovery, which is the goal, means I spend most of my time in the middle. My moods still exist on a spectrum, but the spectrum is a lot narrower. My depression is manageable and I’m able to continue moving forward, even if at a slower pace.

I am still excitable, but mania is almost completely wiped out. I function, day to day, pretty much the same as everyone else, just with a chronic health condition to manage. This takes work, but life for most people takes effort. This is just my lot.

So when someone asks how I am, you might be surprised to know that the answer, nine times out of ten, is “traumatized.” My exact answer would be:

“I’m scared, worried, and I know that I’m going to get sick again and be left alone or be a burden to my loved ones. The emptiness I’ve felt, the suicidal feelings, the loss, the abandonment, and the failure are still living inside me. Since the illness is still with me – albeit controlled – the potential for it to come back and torture me again is very real. And that terrifies me.”

The reality is that my daily life is hard because I have to move forward with the trauma of my past weighing me down. I am scared of ending up back where I started. I’m scared of losing everything. I’m scared of hurting myself or others emotionally. I’m scared of making my granny cry again.

So that’s why I answer, “Fine.” It’s the easy answer. But never has a little word carried so much hidden meaning.

Please Note: Gabe is writing a book about a regular guy living with bipolar and needs your support. Pre-orders available and much more. Check it out by clicking here.

blogs.psychcentral.com ·

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Treating Trichotillomania

Clinical Psychologist

I often tell my colleagues that trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) represents the wild west of psychological disorders. Unfortunately, it remains one of the least researched and most misunderstood disorders in the DSM. Additionally, there is a lot of pseudoscience, snake oil, and plain old quackery on the internet about the best way to treat it.

In this article, I will highlight what we do know about scientifically supported treatments for trichotillomania. As a disclaimer, this is only an introduction to treating trichotillomania and is not intended to formally train clinicians. Lastly, I will not be reviewing medical treatments for trichotillomania (you can learn more about those here).

Historical Treatments

hands.jpg

Photo by Gregory Parker

The first scientifically based treatment for trichotillomania was Habit Reversal Training (HRT) (Azrin, Nunn, & Frantz, 1980; Duke, Keeley, Geffken, & Storch, 2010). During HRT, individuals become more aware of their hair pulling behavior and practice interrupting the behavior by engaging in incompatible behaviors. For example, people who use their hands to pull from their scalp might practice reaching down towards one’s knees. While HRT has been effective in the treatment of tics and Tourette’s Disorder, it doesn’t work for everyone who has trichotillomania and also has a high rate of relapse. Why? As I described in a previous article, trichotillomania is a very heterogeneous disorder and affects each person differently. A “one size fits all” treatment just won’t work for trichotillomania.

Modern Treatments

Recently, researchers have developed more comprehensive approaches to treating trichotillomania. Dr. Charles Mansueto pioneered the Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB) for trichotillomania (Mansueto, Stemberger, Thomas, & Golomb, 1997). In ComB, clinicians first understand the function of hair pulling. Does it relieve stress? Does it end boredom? Does it reduce anger and frustration? Next, clinicians identify the main types of hair pulling. Some individuals pull for sensory stimulation (trying to find the hair that feels just right), others due to specific thoughts (I have to get rid of all the grey hairs), etc. Lastly, clinicians create treatments that address all aspects of trichotillomania including emotional regulation (learning more adaptive ways of dealing with stress, anger, boredom), physical habits (using HRT and objects to stop motor behavior), and environmental interventions (covering mirrors, getting rid of tweezers).

While research is underway to evaluate Mansueto’s ComB model, other researchers have found support for this approach to treating trichotillomania. In a recent pilot study, Dr. Nancy Keuthen and her colleagues found that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was effective at reducing trichotillomania symptoms for at least 3 months (Keuthen et al., 2010). DBT is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that focuses on learning new ways of regulating one’s emotions. Additionally, in a review of all published scientific treatment studies on trichotillomania, Dr. Michael Walther and his colleagues concluded that behavior therapy (HRT), emotional regulation, and acceptance together represent the most promising treatment for trichotillomania (Walther, Ricketts, Conelea, & Woods, 2010). Furthermore, Dr. Martin Franklin and his colleagues have demonstrated that this comprehensive approach to behavior therapy not only works for adults, but it can help children as young as 7 (Franklin, Edson, & Freeman, 2010).

So what does this all mean? To the best of our scientific knowledge, effective trichotillomania treatment includes three things:

  1. An increased awareness of when, where, and why hair pulling occurs.
  2. An effort to control or change hair pulling behavior.
  3. Emotional regulation training to find alternative ways of dealing with negative feelings.

Here’s how I use these scientific findings to treat trichotillomania.

Increasing Awareness

Photo by Wim Mulder

Before creating a treatment plan, I collaborate with my clients to understand the unique patterns of their hair pulling. This usually includes a 1-2 week record of all hair pulling episodes. I ask each client to record the following information after each hair pulling episode:

  • What part of the body was the hair pulled from?
  • Where was the person when they pulled their hair?
  • What time was it when the person pulled their hair?
  • Was an instrument (e.g. tweezers) used to help pull hair?
  • What was the person doing while they pulled their hair?
  • What was the person feeling before, during, and after the hair pulling?
  • What was the person thinking before, during, and after the hair pulling?
  • Was anyone else present during the hair pulling?
  • What did the person do with their hair after they pulled it? (Sidenote: You’ll want to look out for individuals who swallow their hair, this could lead to a potentially lethal condition known as a trichobezoar and will need immediate medical attention).

Changing Hair Pulling Behavior & Emotional Regulation

Photo by Aimee Quiggle

A key component of Dr. Manysueto’s ComB model is the SCAMP Intervention. SCAMP stands for Sensory, Cognitive, Affective, Motor, and Place. Once my client and I have a firm understanding of the hair pulling behavior, I use the SCAMP Intervention to create a customized treatment plan.

Sensory: For individuals who seek sensory activation on their scalp, we might use brushes, combs, pens, massages, or ice to ease sensations. For hands, individuals can get manicures, use lotions, or file their nails. For the face, bath oils, baths, facial scrubs, or a loofah could be used.

Cognitive: Often specific thoughts can lead to hair pulling. Common thoughts include, “My hair has to look perfect”, “I need to get rid of that blemish”, “I’ll just pull a little”, “I’ve already pulled once, so why try holding back?” Here, individuals practice thinking in more realistic way (e.g. “It’s okay to be imperfect”, “The best way to fix it is to let it heal”, and “A slip-up is not a failure, any progress is helpful”).

Affective: When specific emotions lead one to pull their hair, the best way to address this problem is learn more effective ways of regulating your nervous system. To become more relaxed, individuals can use diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, practice meditation, listen to white noise, use a heating pad, drink a warm beverage, take a slow relaxing walk, use an eye/face gel mask, or take a long bath. To address intensity and pain, individuals can stick their fingers in frozen ice cream, put their face in a bowl of ice water, suck on a lemon, snap a rubber band on your wrist, take a cold shower, go for a fast run, or chew a large wad of gum. To deal with boredom, individuals can learn about a topic of interest on the internet, write in a journal, draw, play a musical instrument, read a book, paint, take photographs, do a crossword puzzle, and garden.

Motor: In addition to HRT, physical barriers can often help reduce hair pulling. For example, rubber fingers, band-aids, sleep masks, head wraps, glasses, hats, gloves, thumb braces, and tape can all be used to create barriers to hair pulling. Also, changing the condition of your hair and hands can help (e.g. wetting hair, placing Vaseline on your eyelids/brows, wearing false nails, using hand lotion). Objects such as loud bracelets, elbow braces, and perfume can increase awareness of hair pulling. Fiddling toys can sometimes provide alternatives to hair pulling (e.g. koosh balls, silly putty, clay, knitting). For oral rituals, chewing gum, eating sunflower seeds, chewing raw pasta, chewing a toothpick, and eating gummy bears can help.

Place: Comprehensive interventions should also target the environment in which hair pulling takes place. Individuals can try changing light levels, covering mirrors, getting rid of tweezers (or placing them in the freezer), using sticky notes, keeping certain doors open (to decrease privacy), rearranging furniture, and sitting in different positions.

Monitoring Progress and Revising Treatment

As a client and clinician begin treatment, it’s important to keep a daily log of the hair pulling episodes and the attempted interventions. Some interventions will work right away, others will need to be fine tuned, and some will lose their effectiveness over time. The client and clinician must work together, constantly monitoring and reevaluating the treatment until a plan is developed that fits the needs of the client. This process could take weeks or months. Additionally, since trichotillomania changes as we age, treatments that worked at one phase of life may not work in another.

Advice for Treatment Seekers and Treatment Providers

As you can tell, treating trichotillomania is a complex and long process. It takes a lot of time, courage, and motivation on the part of the individual and a lot of training and experience on the part of the clinician. If you are someone who is suffering from trichotillomania, make sure that your clinician is using scientifically supported treatments. Ask them about the type of treatment they are using. If you don’t hear anything about increasing awareness, changing behaviors, or emotional regulation, their treatment may not be based on science. If they start using personal testimonials and wild theories to backup their treatment, or say their treatment cannot be evaluated by science, run away – they’re probably selling you snake oil.

I recommend using the Trichotillomania Learning Center’s list of health care providers to find individuals trained in scientifically supported treatments. If you are a health care provider wanting to learn more about these treatments, I highly recommend attending a Trichotillomania Learning Center Professional Training Institute and browsing through their clinical resources.

References:

Azrin, N. H., Nunn, R. G., & Frantz, S. E. (1980). Treatment of hair-pulling (trichotillomania): A comparative study of habit reversal and negative practice training. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 11, 13-20.

Duke, D., Keeley, M., Geffken, G., & Storch, E. (2010). Trichotillomania: a current review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 181-193.

Franklin, M. E., Edson, A. L., & Freeman, J. B. (2010). Behavior therapy for pediatric trichotillomania: Exploring the effects of age on treatment outcome. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 4, 18.

Keuthen, N. J., Rothbaum, B. O., Welch, S. S., Taylor, C., Falkenstein, M., Heekin, M., Jordan, C. A., et al. (2010). Pilot trial of dialectical behavior therapy-enhanced habit reversal for trichotillomania. Depression and Anxiety, 27(10), 953-959.

Mansueto, C. S., Townsley-Stemberger, R. M., McCombs-Thomas, A., & Goldfinger-Golomb, R. (1997). Trichotillomania: A comprehensive behavioral model. Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 567-577.

Walther, M. R., Ricketts, E. J., Conelea, C. A., & Woods, D. W. (2010). Recent Advances in the Understanding and Treatment of Trichotillomania. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 24(1), 46-64.

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