Veronica K. Needler, L.C.S.W., L.L.C.


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Recommended Meditation Apps:

Waking Up


10% Happier 

Headspace                                                                                                                                                                                                      - a resource for climate related emotions and actions - articles on a range of mental and emotional health subjects, written by experts - The Mayo Clinic - search for mental health - National Institute of Mental Health - Internet Mental Health - Sidran Institute for Traumatic Stress Education and Advocacy - for information and resources on Post Traumatic Stress - The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies - for information regarding Post Traumatic Stress - search trauma resources - Pittsburgh Action Against Rape - a reliable site for nationwide information regarding rape and sexual abuse and its aftermath - National Center for P.T.S.D. Department of Veterans' Affairs - for information for veterans and their families - Give an Hour - provides free mental health services to U.S. troops and their families  

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988

Crisis Text LineCrisis Text Line is a global not-for-profit organization providing free confidential crisis intervention. The organization's services are available 24 hours a day, every day, throughout the US and can be reached by texting HOME to 741741.

Recommended Readings:

Understanding Anxiety

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne, Ph.D. (1995).

Coping with Anxiety:  Ten Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear, and Worry by Edmund Bourne, Ph.D., & Lorna Garano. (2003).

The Worry Control Workbook by Mary Ellen Copeland. (1998).

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Davis, Eshelman, & McKay. (2000).

Full Catastrophe Living:  Using the Wisdom and Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. (2001).

Wherever You Go, There You Are:  Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn. (2005).

An End to Panic:  Breakthrough Techniques for Overcoming Panic Disorder by Elke Zuercher-White, Ph.D. (1998). 

Understanding Depression

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Cause of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari (2018). 

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain (2022). 

The Depression Workbook:  A Guide for Living with Depression & Manic Depression by Mary Ellen Copeland. (2002).

The Interpersonal Solution to Depression: A Workbook for Changing How You Feel by Changing How You Relate by Jeremy Pettit & Thomas Ellis Joiner. (2005).

The Wisdom of Depression:  A Guide to Understanding & Curing Depression Using Natural Medicine by Jonathan Zuess. (1999).

Understanding Grief

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield, & Peter McWilliams. (1976).

Understanding Trauma

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. (2021) 

Trauma & Recovery by Judith Herman. (1992).

The PTSD Workbook:  Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams, Ph.D., & Soili Poijula. (2002).

The Drama of the Gifted Child:  The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller. (1997).

Thou Shalt Not Be Aware by Alice Miller. (1984).

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis. (1988).

Healing the Trauma of Abuse:  A Woman's Workbook by Mary Ellen Copeland & Maxine Harris, Ph.D. (2000).

Understanding Relationships

Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner.

Dance of Intimacy:  A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships by Harriet Lerner.

Getting the Love You Want:  A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition by Harvell Hendrix, Ph.D.  (2007).

Messages:  The Communication Skills Book by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Martha Davis, & Patrick Fanning. (1983).

Couple Skills:  Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Patrick Fanning, & Kim Paleg, Ph.D. (1994).

Understanding Parenting

Growing Up Again:  Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children by Jean Illsley Clark & Connie Dawson. (1989).

Parenting Well When You're Depressed:  A Complete Resource for Maintaining a Healthy Family by Joanne Nicholson, Ph.D., Alexis D. Henry, Jonathan C. Clayfield, & Susan M. Phillips. (2001).

Family Guide to Emotional Wellness by Patrick Fanning & Matthew McKay, Ph.D. (2000).

Understanding Therapy

The Talking Cure:  Why Traditional Talking Therapy Offers a Better Chance for Long-Term Relief Than Any Drug by Susan Vaughan. (1997).

The Mind-Brain Relationship by Regina Pally. (2000).

Neural Path Therapy: How to Change Your Brain's Response to Anger, Fear, Pain, and Desire by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., & David Harp. (2005). 

Understanding Eating Problems

Why Weight?:  A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating by Geneen Roth. (1989).

When Food Is Love:  Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy by Geneen Roth. (1991).

Understanding Emotional Well-Being

Five Good Minutes: 100 Morning Practices to Help You Stay Calm and Focused All Day Long by Jeffrey Brantley & Wendy Millstine. (2005).

The Self-Esteem Guided Journal: A Ten Week Program by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., & Catharine Sutker. (2005).

Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., & Patrick Fanning. (2000).

Move Your Body, Tone Your Mood:  The Workout Therapy Workbook by Kate F. Hays, Ph.D. (2002).

Understanding Emotions & Health Connection

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom:  Creating Physical & Emotional Health & Healing by Christiane Northup. (1994).

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain:  A Survival Manual by Devin J. Starlanyl & Mary Ellen Copeland. (2001).

The Headache and Neck Pain Workbook:  An Integrated Mind and Body Program by Douglas E. Degood, Ph.D. (1997).

Understanding Sexual Orientation & Mood

Queer Blues:  The Lesbian and Gay Guide to Overcoming Depression by Kimeron Hardin, Ph.D., & Marny Hall, Ph.D. (2001).

Understanding Personality Disorders

Understanding the Borderline Mother:  Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, & Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson. (2000).

Stop Walking on Eggshells:  Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason & Randi Kreger. (1998).

Children of the Self-Absorbed:  A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents by Nina Brown. (2001).


"How Going into Therapy Can Get You Back on Solid Ground"

~ Adapted from an article by Christine Montross

The decision to go into therapy is often an emblem of sanity, a marker that a person is wise enough to know when he or she needs some help and support, and responsible enough to get it. 

There is no set list of issues that require therapy, but there is a common reason to begin:  A problem looms large, and there are no good solutions in sight.  For the millions of people who suffer from depression or anxiety, the central issue may be the sometimes-crippling impact of those illnesses.  Individuals with depression may lose interest in activities that once brought them pleasure.  They may sleep too much, or not enough.  They might feel hopeless or helpless.  In the most extreme cases, they may have thoughts of suicide.  People with anxiety may be plagued by excessive or unrealistic worry that can cause shortness of breath, diarrhea, sweating, or panic attacks.

For others who seek therapy, the trigger is not the debilitating symptoms of mental illness but rather ordinary life - the quotidian problems that make us feel sad or helpless or interfere with our ability to be happy and productive.  We are each, of course, differently equipped to handle challenges.  The same person who confidently navigates a career change might find himself or herself unexpectedly devastated by a parent's death.  A person whose marriage has always been a solid source of comfort and strength may find his or her partnership unmoored when unable to conceive a child.

By its very nature, the therapy relationship is targeted toward just this individuality.  And by this I mean that when you enter therapy, those sessions are a time and place wholly for you.  Therapy is focused on helping you understand your feelings and, if need be, changing your behavior.  The issues you face may involve others in your life - a difficult boss, an aging parent, a distant spouse - but you and your therapist will focus on how to steady your own life, regardless of the storms that rage around you.  In other words, therapy is focused on helping you understand who you are.

In reality, it is hard to imagine a more pragmatic and worthy task.  With a clear sense of yourself, it becomes easier and easier to grasp why you feel the things you feel, and why you react to your emotions the way you do.  Your behaviors and the decisions you have made in your life begin to emerge in comprehensible patterns.  And once you can identify the patterns, and the emotions and actions that bring them about, you can begin to steer your life toward those patterns that give you fulfillment and away from those that are stagnant or even harmful.

Which is not to say that therapy isn't work, or that it doesn't require looking at yourself with unflinching honesty, because it is, and it does.  And although the therapist is there to guide you, he or she cannot do the work for you.  Not because the therapist isn't willing to dive with you fully into the struggle but because, in the end, the struggle belongs to the one who must live it.

It is sometimes uncomfortable - we are, for the most part, unaccustomed to scrutinizing our deepest selves, let alone sharing the view.  And that type of truthful assessment can be scary.  Often, when a problem seems thorny enough to merit therapy, the feeling is a bit like being stuck in a foxhole in the middle of a war:  The situation becomes more and more miserable, but the thought of leaving it is utterly terrifying.

Therapy can also be draining - some patients cry the whole session, every session.  Others find it exhausting to constantly be asked to identify and articulate their feelings about the situations they describe.  But as is true with many things in life, from triathlons to flawless presentations to raising children, great effort can translate into great reward.  There is a kind of exhilaration that comes with each new moment of self-knowledge, and an enormous sense of relief and joy when the most impenetrable problems begin to crack open.

From a scientific standpoint, there is researched evidence that therapy is effective; that it can decrease physical pain, nausea, and fatigue; that it improves quality of life for people with cancer; that it actually restructures the pathways of neurons in the brain so that cognitive and behavioral patterns that have been deeply entrenched for years are rerouted.

And then there is evidence of the less scientific kind:  panic attacks stop after learning relaxation techniques, feeling less depressed, feeling improved self-esteem, knowing who you are, and understanding yourself deeply.