Just this moment, just this blog: The Benefits of Mindfulness

Just this moment, just this blog: The Benefits of Mindfulnesshead

It is so easy to go through our days scrolling, scanning and swiping. However, BEFORE you scroll through this blog post to see if any bold or capitalized words capture your interest, pause a moment. What is the hurry? Why are you rushing? What are the effects of rushing through the world? What could be the effects of not rushing? Continue reading

Having Difficult Conversations and Getting What You Need

Having Difficult Conversations and Getting What You Needchat-23713_1280

Several of our previous blog posts have discussed ways for being assertive and the importance of setting boundaries. This post will continue the theme of how to be effective in interpersonal relationships, and discusses a set of skills for navigating difficult conversations in order to get what you want or need. These skills are taken directly from Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (see Linehan, 2014).

Imagine your partner is not doing his/her share of the housework. You both work hard, and are often tired at the end of the day, but it often falls to you to do the majority of work around the house. This is frustrating, but you have avoided discussing this with your partner because you don’t want to upset him/her. Consequently, you have felt more distant and your frustration increases each time he/she doesn’t do their part around the house. You would like to divide up the housework evenly, and to express how the situation makes you feel. You can use the following skills in your conversation and remember them by using the acronym DEAR MAN.


Clearly describe the situation in objective terms and avoid using language that criticizes the other person.

“We both work hard each day, but over the past few months I have done the majority of work around the house.”


Discuss how the situation makes you feel.

“I feel a little frustrated that you haven’t helped more, and it makes me feel that you don’t appreciate how much I do for the family.” 


It is important to assert your desire or needs. Remember, as discussed in previous posts, assertiveness has nothing to do with being aggressive. Being assertive entails clearly expressing your needs, but in a way that does not attack the other person.

“I’d like to split up the work a bit more evenly, so we each take turns with the cooking, cleaning, and helping the kids.”


Reinforce the other person for complying with your suggestion. Individuals are more likely to comply if they can see the benefit for themselves.

“If we are able to balance the work a bit more, I think it will decrease the stress for both of us, and it will free up more time for us to spend as a couple and as a family.”

Be Mindful

It is important to remain focused and on task. The other person may attempt to derail the conversation or may become defensive and angry. Being a “broken record”, by repeating your request or continuing to bring the conversation back on target, may help keep the conversation from being derailed, while being accepting and mindful of your own emotional responses may reduce your own emotional reactivity and help you maintain a non-judgmental stance towards the other person.

Appear Confident

You have a right to express your desires and needs in an assertive manner, and it can be helpful to maintain a confident tone and body language (e.g., eye contact).


Just because you have used the skills effectively doesn’t mean the other person will immediately comply. It may be necessary to negotiate so that you both can get what you want. This does not mean that you have to comprise your values, but it may mean that you can reduce aspects of your request in a manner that the other person agrees to and is still beneficial for you.

Michael Treanor, Ph.D., Psychological Assistant | Behavioral Associates Los Angeles

Behavioral Associates Los Angeles is a group of cognitive-behavioral therapists specializing in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders. To find out more, contact us by phone at 310-205-0523 or by email at treatment@behavioralassociatesla.com.

You can also request an appointment with a Behavioral Associates LA psychologist by submitting a brief patient assessment form on our Website. Our clinical staff will follow up with you within 24 hours of submission.


Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT Skills Training Manual: Second Edition. New York: The Guilford Press.

The Secret to Building and Maintaining Relationships

The Secret to Building and Maintaining RelationshipsMD post Apr 2016

Are relationships important to you? Do you want to build strong and meaningful relationships?

Social support has been studied at length in psychology. In general, social support is related to decrease stress. In order to build and maintain relationships, it is helpful to know what to do to achieve this goal. The straightforward tips below can help you with this goal. Continue reading

The Power of Saying No: Communicating Your Boundaries

The Power of Saying No:

Communicating Your BoundariesSaying No

Every person has their own unique boundaries. Boundaries help us define who we are. Some
examples of boundaries include what you feel is and isn’t acceptable, and what you want and do not want. Boundaries can be communicated verbally and non-verbally, and there are different types of boundaries we can have. An example of a specific type of boundary is physical boundaries, such as the physical space between you and the person next to you that you feel most comfortable with. Examples of different types of boundaries (emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, physical and material) can be found here.

We are going to focus on how important communicating your boundaries with others can be. Setting appropriate boundaries, like saying no when you want to, can pose as more and more challenging as responsibilities increase and relationships expand; although challenging, boundary setting is essential to healthy relationships, self-expression, and empathy. Continue reading

Effective Communication Through Assertiveness

Effective Communication Through Assertivenesstalking

One of the most important aspects of maintaining healthy relationships is effective communication. Whether you are talking about your day or working through a disagreement, communication is the key to expressing your thoughts, your feelings and your needs. Depending on the nature of the relationship and the topic being discussed, effective communication can be challenging; this is especially true when the conversation requires confrontation around difficult subjects. Assertive communication is an effective way of expressing yourself that allows for consideration of the thoughts, feelings and needs of both you and the person with whom you are communicating. Learning how to communicate assertively can turn this challenging confrontations into productive conversations. Continue reading

How Anxiety Disorders Develop: The “Spread” of Fear

How Anxiety Disorders Develop: The “Spread” of Fear

Clients often ask, “Why do I have an anxiety disorder?” or “How did this happen to me?”. The Behavioral Associates Los Angeles Mental Health Psychiatric Resources for Anxiety and Mood Disorders Symptomsdevelopment of anxiety disorders is complex combination of genetic predispositions and learning experiences. However, this post will discuss one factor that distinguishes individuals with an anxiety disorder from those who do not develop anxiety disorders: fear generalization. Fear generalization refers to the process by which fear “spreads” from one object, sensation or situation to others that are similar to it. For example, a soldier returning home from combat may have fear when driving because his convoy was attacked on a road in the war zone. As this fear spreads to more and more situations, the individual may report greater impact on his daily life. Continue reading

Where Are You Letting Your Thoughts Take You?

Where Are You Letting Your Thoughts Take You?

The Anxiety Responsethinking head

Anxiety is a response to a perceived threat. Sometimes, there really is a threat. We have to jump out of the way of a car or are in a dangerous place. Often times however, we are actually in a safe place with no threat in sight. Yet threats in our minds (our thoughts) can often create the same anxiety response as a real threat right in front of you. Continue reading

Mindfulness Can Help Your Anxiety

Mindfulness Can Help Your Anxiety

Components of Worryingmeditation on beach

Ever notice that your worries are typically concerning something in the future, or something that happened in the past? Feelings of anxiety, worrying, or ruminating are often related to past or future events. This is because when something just happened that made us feel nervous (i.e. going on a first date) we tend to interpret that event based on our feelings (nervousness/anxiety). This leads to us worrying about what we said, how it went, and what our date thought of us. Regarding future worrying, this is often because uncertainty or lack of control can make anyone a bit anxious. In order to deal with the anxiety about the next date, we worry about all the potential outcomes or possibilities.  Thoughts about the future and the past are common, and not always anxiety provoking – but can be a huge part of someone’s anxiety. Continue reading

Why Can’t I Get A Good Night’s Rest?: The Relationship Between Anxiety and Sleep

Why Can’t I Get A Good Night’s Rest?

  • Do you have trouble sleeping because of anxiety?
  • Does it feel like every time you lie down to get some sleep, your brain starts running through every possible worry from the day?
  • Are you waking up in the middle of the night and can’t seem to shut off your brain?


Anxiety is a common causes of insomnia. With so much going on in our lives during the day (school, work, family, friends, bills, chores, etc), there is not only a lot to think about but also very little time to think about it…that is until our head hits the pillow at the end of the day. No matter how tired we may be, stress and anxiety seem to find a way to perk us and leave us sleepless. Understanding the impact of anxiety on sleep (and vice versa) is the first step to making changes that can lead you to a good night’s rest. Continue reading