Assessing and Treating Insomnia (Part 1)


There has been an increase in public awareness about insomnia, and it is estimated that approximately 60 million Americans are affected by this sleep disorder each year. There’s also been more awareness about using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI) as an effective form of treatment.  Historically, sleep disorders were thought to result from other disorders like depression or anxiety. However, research and empirical studies show that multiple disorders can exist at the same time. Insomnia affects a diversity of people, and it’s estimated that $41B was spent on sleep aids in 2015. This amount is projected to increase to $52B in 2020.

Courtney Bancroft (PsyD) is my guest on this episode.  Dr. Bancroft is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of New York with over a decade of experience at some of the nation’s greatest hospitals and institutions. She completed her clinical training and post-doc at Yale University’s School of Medicine, where she specialized in Clinical Health Psychology, specifically sleep, addiction, and the intersection of health and mental health. She graduated from Pepperdine University’s Psy.D. program and received her Master’s and Undergraduate degrees from Loyola University in Maryland. You can learn more about Dr. Bancroft at

CLICK HERE  to get info on how to download the guides on insomnia (part 1 & 2)! The guide for part 2 also contains bonus content that Courtney and I discussed that is not included in the podcast.

Enjoy the episode, and thank you for helping me help others!

Child and Adolescent Depression

Younger children may not express their feelings of depression in the same way as an older person. Typically, we think of someone who’s withdrawn or has a lack of energy. But with younger children, depression can manifest in ways that we could mistakenly label as anxiety, anger, ADHD, or frustration.  It’s really important to keep in mind that if treatment is going to be effective, we have to start with an accurate diagnosis. This session provides insight on the importance of a therapeutic alliance in treating children and adolescents with depression.

My guest on this episode is Dr. Phillip Balfanz (M.D.). Dr. Balfanz is board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist who earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.  He completed his psychiatric residency and child fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern. You can learn more about Dr. Balfanz at

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Sex Therapy

It’s not uncommon for a couple to struggle with their sexual relationship. Frequently, the infatuation stage in the relationship can act as a natural drug. But this wears off over time. There is a transition period that can lead to a couple being present but not connected. This can result in misunderstandings and resentment. It takes time, effort, and some creativity to keep communication flowing about sex. But it is possible to enjoy satisfying sex in a long-term relationship.

During this session, I discuss Sex Therapy with Deborah Fox. Deborah is a clinical social worker with over thirty years of experience in private practice in N.W. Washington.   She is a Certified Sex Therapist, and a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, providing individual, couples and group psychotherapy, as well as clinical consultation.

Tune in and learn some valuable tips that can help you re-energize your sex life. You’ll also discover some practical suggestions for those  who may not be comfortable talking about sexual issues or behaviors they’d like to see change.

CLICK HERE to get details on how to download your guide on Sex Therapy!

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal assisted therapy is the goal directed intervention in which an animal that meets a specific criteria is used and integrated into the therapeutic process by a mental health professional. This episode is packed with practical information like: the difference between animal assisted therapy and animal assisted activities, the different types of animals that can be used in animal assisted therapy, specific training for the animal and therapist, as well as neuroscientific findings of health benefits of AAT.

My guest on this session is Christina Strayer (Ed.D).  Dr. Strayer obtained her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Argosy University, Sarasota, FL. She is a licensed practicing counselor at 180 Counseling in Garner, NC with two therapy dogs of her own. Dr. Strayer and her canine co-therapists work with individuals with many issues including depression, self harm, trauma, ADHD, autism and PTSD. Her therapy animals are rescues who have experienced trauma and Dr. Strayer uses their stories to provide hope to clients. Dr. Strayer is also a professional speaker for PESI and teaches on the topic of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).  She is also currently writing an AAT treatment manual . Dr. Strayer has received training through Pet Partners and Carolina Canines.  Dr. Strayer is an Adjunct Professor at Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC where she has taught School Counseling, Practicum and Internship, Crisis Management, Counseling Techniques and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page and post a picture of your favorite animal!!!

CLICK HERE to get details on how to download the guide on Animal Assisted Therapy!

Cultural Awareness In Diagnosing Mental Disorders

Increased cultural awareness is needed to increase diagnostic accuracy. This is important because we recognize that there is a positive correlation between an accurate diagnosis and positive treatment outcomes. Research suggests that there are no substantial differences in diagnostic categories among races when using proven diagnostic instruments or assessment tools. However, clinical results show that African-American men are over-diagnosed with schizophrenia, but this same group is under-diagnosed with depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.   Often, this is the result of a lack of cultural awareness by the diagnostician.

Working cooperatively with others is imperative if we want to help the diverse populations suffering from chronic mental health conditions. This includes police, hospital staff, mental health professionals, clergy, family members, and volunteers.  We can improve diagnostic accuracy by improving mental health literacy, and that’s what Psych Sessions is all about!

My guest on this session is William B. Lawson (M.D.). Dr. Lawson is the Associate Dean for health disparities at the Dell Medical School and Professor at Huston-Tillotson where he is directing the Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center. He received a BS in psychology from Howard University, an MA from the University of Virginia, and PhD in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire.  He received his MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. He completed his residency at Stanford University and a fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health.  He has held numerous senior positions and received national recognition including past President of the DC chapter of Mental Health America, Past President of the Washington Psychiatric Society, past Chair of the Section of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the National Medical Association, and past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America. He has over 200 publications and has continuously received federal, industry, and foundation funding to address mental and substance abuse disparities.

CLICK HERE to get details on how to download the guide on this episode.

Treating Depression with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Daniela White (M.D.) is a board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. Dr. White finished her residency in Adult Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in 2000 and continued her training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the same institution till 2002. During her training, she served as Chief Resident at Baylor Clinic in 2000 and Chief Fellow Resident in the Fellowship Program in 2002. She received her Diploma in Psychodynamic Therapy after she completed the two year training program at the Houston Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute between 2000 and 2002.

During this session, Dr. White and I discuss Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a medication free approach to treating depression. You’ll learn how TMS is different from other neurostimulation modalities and who can benefit. We also discuss delivery methods, rates of remission, and ongoing research for future use in other areas of mental health. It’s a fascinating topic that will make you look at technology in a whole new way.

CLICK HERE to get details on how to download the guide on TMS!