Saturday, March 5, 2016

Did You Know? Sleep Awareness Week

March 6th through the 12th is sleep awareness week?

The following tips can be implemented in your routine and may improve sleep quality.
  • Incorporate exercise into your life. Regular exercise can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, you want to avoid exercising within three hours of when you plan to fall asleep.
  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Try to wake up and go to bed around the same time each day (even on the weekends).
  • Avoid caffeine and foods/drinks with a lot of sugar close to bedtime as these substances can make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Avoid watching television in bed and do not read for an extended period of time in bed. You want to associate your bed with sleeping and not other activities.
  • Develop a bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath, engaging in relaxation or meditation activities, or listening to calming music. These activities can help your body get ready for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom a dark, quiet, cool place and make your bed as comfortable as possible. Consider putting up blinds or curtains if a lot of light gets in your room at night. 
  • Avoid exposure to bright light during the time right before you go to bed as light signals to your brain that it is time to be awake and not sleeping. You may also find fans or other sound machines to be helpful in reducing noise that is inconsistent with sleeping.
  • Avoid napping throughout the day and avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol prior to bedtime as it can reduce the quality of your sleep.
There are several websites that provide additional information on sleep hygiene and improving the quality of your sleep. Some helpful websites are listed below. Also, remember you can consult with your doctor if you have concerns about your sleep.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Did You Know? Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken Heart Syndrome
by Guest Blogger LaKisha L. Sharp, M.S., M.A.

Did you know February is American Heart Month?

Medical research has confirmed a strong relationship between one’s emotional and physical functioning. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, commonly known as “Broken Heart Syndrome” is a stress-induced cardiac disorder which mimics a heart attack. Physiologically, the condition manifests when normal heart arteries are attached to an abnormally enlarged blood-pumping chamber (Maldonado, Pajouhi, & Witteles, 2013). The name of the syndrome tako-tsubo is derived from Japanese language because the cardiovascular abnormality is said to resemble the shape of a fishing pot used to catch octopus in Japan (Maldonado et al., 2013).

The exact cause of Broken Heart Syndrome is unknown however major life stressors such as death, divorce, and sudden changes in one’s financial status (e.g. loss of fortune, winning the lottery) are positively correlated with the development of said medical condition. Similarly, over 65% of persons diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome also have a pre-existing diagnosis of anxiety or depression (Maldonado et al., 2013). A family history of mood disorders (e.g. depression and/or anxiety) and social isolation are hypothesized to be predisposing risk factors (Maldonado et al., 2013). Interestingly, postmenopausal women, aged 68 years or older are disproportionately diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome compared to men (Derrick, 2009).

The primary signs and symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome include:
  • Chest pain (Angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
  • Cardiogenic shock (Diminished blood-pumping/circulation)
The American Heart Association and Cardiomyopathy UK are both helpful, quick reference websites which contain additional information about Broken Heart Syndrome, the management of stress, and treatment options.


Derrick, D. (2009). The “broken heart syndrome”: understanding Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Critical Care Nurse, 29(1), 49-57.

Maldonado, J. R., Pajouhi, P., & Witteles, R. (2013). Case Reports Broken Heart Syndrome (Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy) Triggered by Acute Mania: A Review and Case Report. Psychosomatics, 54(1), 74-79.

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LaKisha L. Sharp is a fourth year doctoral student in clinical and forensic psychology at Fielding Graduate University. She previously completed Masters Degrees in criminal justice at Tiffin University and clinical psychology at Fielding Graduate University, respectively. For over 12 years, LaKisha has been employed as a forensic probation officer supervising a caseload of adult, severely mentally ill, felony offenders sentenced to a term of community control supervision as part of Cuyahoga County’s Common Pleas Court Mental Health Docket. LaKisha was recently appointed as faculty to the Ohio Supreme Court’s Judicial College to teach cognitive behavioral therapy to all newly hired probation and parole officers in the state.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Did You Know? Managing Holiday Stress

by Guest Blogger, Nicole Bosse, Psy.D.

The holidays are often the most stressful months of the year. This may surprise some, as many think that holidays bring joy and celebration. Often holidays can trigger many stressful situations, such as trying to figure out how to afford to buy gifts, remembering loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate with us, mingling with family members when relationships are strained, taking on too many duties, and preparing a home for guests.

There are several different types of stress that range from Eustress, which is a positive form of stress, to chronic stress, which has been linked to many serious health issues. While we want to manage or eliminate the negative types of stress, we also want to keep positive forms of stress in our lives to help us remain vital and alive.

To eliminate negative stress identify techniques that relax and energize you, have immediate impact on your stress, are enjoyable and make you feel good, consistently work for you, and are always or easily accessible. One of the best ways to reduce stress quickly is through the senses: sight (look at a cherished photo), sound (listen to nature), smell (light a scented candle), taste (sipping hot tea), touch (petting cat/dog), and movement (running in place).

In addition, here are five quick ways to cope with feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season:
  • taking a brief walk to clear your mind
  • practicing deep breathing
  • partaking in guided imagery
  • reframing the situation
  • delegating tasks
  • engaging in progressive muscle relaxation.

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Dr. Bosse is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow on the OCD and Anxiety team at the Lindner Center of HOPE. She primarily provides treatment on the two residential units, Sibcy House and William’s House. Dr. Bosse obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Xavier University in 2014 and her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at the University of Dayton in 2009.Prior to joining the Lindner Center of HOPE, she completed her APA accredited internship at the Wright State School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Bosse has also served as adjunct faculty at Xavier University for several Introduction to Psychology courses.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Racial Disparities and Access to Healthcare

By Guest Blogger, Tiffany Harris, Ph.D.

It is well-understood that minorities in America access healthcare less often than white Americans. Because some of these individuals do not consistently maintain annual well visits or mental health services, they utilize emergency department services more frequently. It is theorized that minorities who do not have access to private insurance have less opportunity to maintain well visits. As a result, Medicaid eligibility was expanded in several states and initiatives and grants have been established to ensure that more individuals have access to insurance and that they provide reimbursement for necessary medical and mental health services. It’s also theorized that minorities have more difficulty accessing healthcare services because there is a lack of clinics in the immediate neighborhood to provide these services. Consequently, many hospitals, clinics and community mental health centers have made the effort to integrate primary care with mental health care to provide a one-stop solution for individuals who might have difficulty traveling to and accessing different services.

However, there is another problem that remains a barrier for minorities to access healthcare services, that is a level of confidence that when they seek medical or mental health help, that help will be provided. Mistrust in healthcare professionals is a consequence of the long-term maltreatment of marginalized individuals. It is proposed that more ethnic minority healthcare professionals are needed to bridge the gap between minority patients and healthcare to rebuild confidence and trust. However, there is a lack of ethnic minority physicians and mental health care professionals. For this reason, it is imperative that all healthcare professionals that may engage with ethnic minority patients be culturally competent and culturally sensitive. Additionally, educational programs for healthcare professions should be made more easily accessible for ethnic minority students.

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Elizabeth Harris, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals/UH Rainbow Babies and Children. Her special interests include sociocultural stressors, consultation liaison services, performance anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders and parent-child relationships. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Toledo; and a master’s in psychology and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Walden University. She was previously recognized for an excellent non-empirical poster submission at the 2012 Cleveland Psychological Association, winner of the 2015 Ohio Psychological Association graduate poster session and she presented her research in a grand rounds lecture for the department of psychiatry at University Hospitals.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Psyching Teams: Getting Your Mind Ready To Run!

What is a “Psyching Team”? It is a team of psychology professionals who offer quick, positive times on how to be mentally prepared to run your best race. In 2013, Dr. Chelsi Day started the Psyching Team for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. The team of psychologists has a booth at the 2-day expo, as well as psychologists on the race route who help runners stay mentally upbeat throughout the race.

This year, over 800 individuals stopped by the expo booth to learn more about the program and to pick up tips on how to run the best race psychologically. Runners at this years’ Columbus Marathon and Half-Marathon that stopped by the Psyching Team booth at the expo wore a piece of finish line ribbon that is given out by Psyching Team members. This ribbon provided athletes with a concrete reminder of the "psyching" strategy they learned.

This is an excellent opportunity for psychologists who are interested in positive psychology and maximizing performance to help others! Commonly-used performance strategies include mental rehearsal, arousal control, relaxation strategies, positive self-talk, and appropriate goal setting. Psyching Team members trained in these methods will tailor the technique to the particular person.

Interested in helping out with a Psyching Team or learning more? Dr. Day has created a YouTube video to assist with training Psyching Team members, and is happy to answer questions. For more information, please visit their website at Psyching Teams in Ohio are currently in Columbus and Toledo.

From Left to Right: Chelsi Day, Psy.D, HSPP, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Indiana University Kokomo, IN and Jacqueline Lewis-Lyons, Psy.D., Private Practice, Columbus, OH. Feel free to contact Dr. Day at or Dr. Lewis-Lyons at