Family Psychiatry
Counseling & Wellness

A comprehensive, integrative psychiatric and wellness clinic serving the mental, physical, emotional and preventative health needs of all members of the family. Find better, one step at a time.

Holistic Psychiatry for your Mind, Body & Soul

At Family Psychiatry Counseling & Wellness, we specialize in performing comprehensive psychiatric and psychological evaluations to establish accurate diagnoses and prepare individualized treatment plans. We combine advanced conventional methods with safe alternative treatment approaches to bring about lasting relief and improved quality of life.

What Our Patients Are Saying

Health Resources


Too Much Negativity?

For most of us, the first and last thing we do every day is look at our phones. According to a recent study, the average person checks their phone about 58 times a day which leads to the average American spending about 3 hours and 43 minutes on their mobile device. That time is often spent flipping through apps, communicating with others, and checking in on daily events. Due to the recent election, there has been an issue with stress caused by the media. The American Psychological Association collected data observing the stress of the political climate. They stated:

“In 2020, more than three-quarters of Americans (77%) say the future of our nation is a significant source of stress, up from 66% in 2019. Likewise, the current political climate is reported as a significant source of stress by more than two-thirds of Americans (68%), compared with 62% who said the same in 2019.”

Now add the global pandemic into the equation, psychologists Dana Rose Garfin, E. Alison Holman, and Roxane Cohen Silver discuss in their new paper Health Psychology the detrimental effects of constant media coverage of the coronavirus. With the media at the publics’ fingertips, it is easy for a person to simply click on a button and be exposed to all forms of news. This access can increase a person’s “fight or flight response” which can lead to mental and physical problems. There have been studies involving lasting aftereffects of too much news exposure.

How can we stop the stress?

While the media can be daunting, here are a few tips on how to better control your news exposure.

1. Schedule a time for the news.

Instead of constantly checking in on current events, set a time during the day where you can stay updated. For some people, stepping away from the news completely does not seem feasible so instead set a time limit. Maybe schedule it during breakfast or lunch. Although experts advise not to dive into the news after dinner or before bed.

2. Make Time for Self-Care

Taking a break from the news might be a good step. If you chose to schedule your news time, make sure you also set aside time for self-care. Many professionals suggest reading, exercise, listening to music, calling a loved one, and practicing meditation. Make time to destress with things that bring you joy.

3. Focus on News You Can Solve

Ask yourself what you can do to help. Can you volunteer for local causes? Maybe you can donate to organizations that you support or raise money for them. Try getting in touch with your community and see if you can lend a hand. If you feel helpless, try to just focus on bettering yourself and those around you.

4. Look into Positive News Sites

While it is easy to focus on the negatives, why not start the day with some good news. Here are some recommended sites that are known to show the good in the world.

The Optimist Daily

“To publish positive, solutions stories every day that our subscribers can experience daily and share in just a few moments, so as to elevate, motivate, and reignite each individual’s innate reservoir of intelligent optimism as a way of catalyzing the evolution of human consciousness.”

Good News Network

“Since 1997, millions of people have turned to the Good News Network® as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media. Because of its long history, staying power, and public trust, GNN is #1 on Google for good news.”

Positive.News

“We are pioneers of ‘constructive journalism’ – a new approach in the media, which is about rigorous and relevant journalism that is focused on progress, possibility, and solutions. We publish daily online and Positive News magazine is published quarterly in print.”

When it comes to the media, you should ask yourself what relationship you would like to have. You might not be in control of what is out there, but you can control how you react to it. Listen to yourself, you are your best judgment when it comes to how much you can handle. If you need more guidance, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. We are here to help.

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Keeping Up with New Year's Goals

As we leave week 2 of the New Year, some of us might already be struggling with maintaining our “New Year’s Goals.” It is one thing to set out a list of resolutions and it is another to set out time to do them. We are here to say that building these goals can be daunting, but they can also be achieved. The journey to self-growth can be as simple as choosing to eat a salad over purchasing fast food or as intense as running a marathon. In this article, we will share some studies involving ways to keep up with our New Year’s Goals. First, let us ask why does a holiday such as the New Year tends to be a turning point for people? Why do people feel compelled to change every time the ball drops? Researchers from UCLA and UPenn’s Wharton School published a paper discussing the “fresh start effect” which is what drives people to make grand gestures of change during New Year’s Day, birthdays, starting new jobs, or back-to-school season. This paper discussed why new chapters in one’s life would make people become introspective and wish to make behavioral changes. So why do so many people end up ditching their goals come mid-February? A recent study, published by researchers from Stockholm University and Linköping University in Sweden, observed over a thousand people who made New Year’s resolutions and then were told to follow up with their progress every month till the next year. What the researchers were interested in was the difference between “approach goals” and “avoidance goals.” Approach-oriented goals were about pursing a fresh start and focused on doing something like going to the gym. While avoidance-oriented goals were focused on quitting or stopping a behavior as not eating junk food. They found in this study, that people who had approach-oriented New Year’s resolutions had a higher success rate. This suggests that rephrasing goals to be more approach-oriented can have a better outcome. So instead of saying “I want to stop sitting on the couch” try rephrasing it to be “I will start going for daily walks,” and that might increase your chances of achievement. Changing the way, you approach your goals can be greatly beneficial but there also needs to be time set out to achieve them. There is a common stigma that people who stick to their New Year’s Resolutions tend to have stronger willpower than those who do not. This thought is debunked by a systematic review published in 2015 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that argues creating positive habits is more beneficial to fulfilling goals than willpower. The studies focused on whether people with beneficial habits were more likely to show self-control and complete their goals. People with higher self-control were found to be more likely to have a set time when they would wake up and go to bed. They also showed to be consistent in positive behaviors such as working out and eating well and were less tempted to break their routines. This leads to the idea that people with beneficial habits are more likely to continue positive routines. So how can we keep our goals this year? We can start by rephrasing our goals to make sure that they are approach-oriented and then set out time to make them habits. Remember that habits are formed through repetition so give time to your goals so they can become an everyday routine. Make time to start your day off with a healthy breakfast, ask a friend if they would like to come with you on walks, or reach out to a trained professional to find other ways to make this year the best year. “It is the best time to show gratitude for the past, accept the present moment with joy, and get ready for the change to begin again.” ― Debasish Mridha, MD

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The Benefits of Gratitude

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” -Germany Kent .

As the year is coming to an end and the holidays are upon us it’s important to take some time to reflect on our decisions, behaviors, and future goals. While 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for all of us, we encourage you to take a step back and think of all the positives. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and what better time to share stories and feelings of gratitude and positivity.

Let’s understand the purpose of being grateful and why practicing gratitude is so important?

Gratitude is to be appreciative of the good and express thanks, it is known by some, as a state of mind. Grateful people often look back at the past and appreciate the good, all while reflecting on the little victories. Gratefulness can influence your outlook on life and is proven to be a very therapeutic way of living.

Expressing gratitude has several benefits for your mind and body. According to Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of Psychology at UC Davis, the positive effects of practicing gratitude is both emotional and physical. Studies show that people who are more grateful have increased emotional well-being and are also known to have more impactful relationships. Grateful people feel more connected with others and tend to be less lonely and feel less isolated. Studies also show that people who express gratitude have less depression in mild to moderate cases. Similarly, according to Dr. Wendy Mendes, Professor of Emotion, expressing gratitude even affects sleep. People with higher levels of gratitude, sleep better, and experience lower resting blood pressure.

What about the effects of gratitude on the brain? Glenn Fox, a postdoctoral researcher at USC and head author of “Neural Correlates of Gratitude,” led a study on how our brain reacts to feelings of appreciation and gratitude. They conducted an experiment to scan the participant’s brains when they are exposed to emotions of gratitude. The research team found that a grateful brain showed high activity in two primary regions: the medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. These areas are responsible for emotional processing, moral judgment, connecting with others by understanding their mental state, and rewarding social interactions. With this information, it can be noted that gratitude shows to have a connecting and bonding effect with others resulting in feeling connected to one another.

The act of expressing gratitude encompasses self-reflection, selflessness, and generosity. This Thanksgiving, during these tumultuous times, we at FPCW recommend taking some time out to journal your thoughts and think about the positives. However, we are aware that for some, dealing with your emotions, feelings, and these uncertain times has been very difficult. We want to let you know that we are here and grateful for you. We want to take this time to thank all our patients for committing and sticking through with us this year. We hope the next year brings all of us joy, laughter, and stability.

“No duty is more urgent than giving thanks.” -James Allen

From Family Psychiatry Counseling & Wellness, We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

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(805) 341-3416
fpcw@familypsychiatry101.com
Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 6:00pm

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31194 La Baya Drive
Suite 202
Westlake Village, CA 91362

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30851 Agoura Road
Suite 304
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

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