Getting Small at the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin

We thought we knew all we needed to know about leprechauns. But with St. Patrick’s Day upon us we thought we should investigate further. Turns out that we knew next to nothing… CONTINUE READING >>

We thought we knew all we needed to know about leprechauns before we arrived at the National Leprechaun Museum.

As American kids, we learned from the authoritative source of Lucky Charms commercials just how mischievous they could be.

We’d spent hours dreaming about how we’d spend that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow – should we be lucky enough to find it.

Turns out that we knew next to nothing.

Thinking the museum was likely to be a magically delicious, cheesy tourist diversion — and we LOVE cheesy tourist diversions — we made a beeline to it as soon as we reached Dublin.

Actually, it was the first attraction we visited in all of Ireland.

The museum has its fair share of cheese – to be sure. The first hall we entered was filled with great memorabilia, including a retro example of our beloved American Lucky Charms boxes.

But this is not a museum in the traditional sense, it is more of a multi-sensual experience. Because the Irish are natural storytellers, it ’twas the storytelling that made our visit shine for us.

The magical tunnel that shrunk us down to size at the Leprechan Museum in Dublin, Ireland

Once we had our fill of the pop-culture history of leprechauns through ceramic miniatures, cereal boxes, movie posters (remember Darby O’Shea and the Little People?), and eerie-looking dolls, we were led by a dynamic young storyteller named Patrick through a magical portal.

A faerie tunnel that shrunk us smaller and smaller, until we became wee folk – diminutive enough to comprehend the legends we were about to hear.

We were made tiny at the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin!
Verified normal-sized chair

Tales of happenings that full-sized humans simply can’t wrap their big ol’ brains around.

The realm of the leprechaun is shadowy and, when our doubting eyes had adjusted, we could see that a seemingly impossible transition had indeed taken place.

We had entered a room where simply taking a seat was quite an ordeal.

Land o’ Goshen, we were tiny!

But Patrick insisted we sit, so we hoisted our way up onto the comfy chairs and he set us straight on the facts — and some of the misconceptions — about the little people of Ireland. Among them:

– A leprechaun wouldn’t be caught dead in green; they sport red jackets and hats.

– They are incredible shoemakers and you can always avoid one by listening for the sound of his cobblers hammer.

– There are no female leprechauns. We wanted to ask how they reproduce, but there were kids in the room.

– They are not the gregarious fellas of Lucky Charms lore, taunting folks with their riches. They are loners – grumpy misers who just want to make shoes and hoard their gold in private. We aren’t certain who they sell said shoes to, and had to wonder how we might get our hands on a pair.

– If you are (un)lucky enough to catch one, you may be granted wishes, but watch your back – they are known for their shenanigans.

Jumping down from our lofty height, we were led through the middle of rainbow (a first for us!) and beheld what our adult selves thought we’d never see – the mythical pot o’ gold.

While straining for the sound of a shoemaker’s hammer with one ear, we listened as Patrick imparted a cautionary tale with the other:

In a field of many trees, a human man sneak-attacked and caught a leprechaun.

David turns into a leprechaun at the National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, Ireland!The human insisted the leprechaun show him his hidden gold in return for the little man’s freedom.

The agreement was made and they made their way to a tree where the bounty was buried, but – alas – the man had no shovel!

Releasing the cagey leprechaun, the human doffed one of his red garters and hung it on a branch of the tree to mark his score.

He ran like the wind all the way home and back (most likely giggling greedily along the way), only to find upon his return that EVERY tree in the field had been marked with an identical garter.

We’re assuming lots of pointless digging commenced.

Veronica walks through the fairy land of the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, Ireland

See what we mean about shenanigans and watching your back?

As we journeyed deeper into the supernatural world, the surroundings became ever more shadowy.

We traipsed though the ebony land of banshees, fairy folk, and púca while sitting on toad stools and listening to Patrick relay their sagas.

Once the tales had all been told, we stepped through a door and burst outside into the bright daylight. We were momentarily stunned.

Returning to the realm of our normal-sized lives was an adjustment after experiencing the land of the leprechauns.

With an Irish blessing we were sent forth from the opaque faery landscape and into a land where the sun seemed too bright and the streets held no magic.

Asking for the road to rise to meet us didn’t seem to help all that much, but at least the wind at our backs was always our own.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in Ireland!

A big thank you to Ireland.com for providing this wee adventure. As always, all opinions are our own.

Analyzing the Information in Psychiatry Articles

The pandemic has certainly taken a toll, but when we began studying to find the best, as well as the most convenient, ways to obtain psychiatric help we discovered an amazing source of information at BetterHelp.com… CONTINUE READING >> 

We have been writing over the past few months about the toll that this pandemic has taken on people’s mental health, including some first-hand experience within our own immediate family.

As the anxiety of the spreading virus took hold last year, we had to step in to help one of our children who become quite obsessive and finally lost the ability to cope with the grim news reports. The feeling that there was no escape from contracting COVID had completely taken over.

She began compulsively researching every aspect of the disease and viruses hoping to find something that all of the experts had overlooked. Over a few weeks this had become all consuming in her life, so when we noticed she was becoming manic we knew that we needed to find some way to help.

But we had very little experience in these matters and needed to learn all that we could as fast as we could, because in a situation such as this knowledge was our best friend. So, we began studying to find the best, as well as the most convenient, ways to obtain help. In the midst of that investigating we discovered an amazing source of information at BetterHelp.com.

They have put together a collection of their very best articles on subjects ranging from what to look for when seeking a psychiatrist to how much it should cost, along with ways to lower that cost, sometimes to nothing.

There are links to posts exploring the different types of psychiatrists and the difference between a therapist and a psychologist. One of the most helpful for us was the look at the many types of mental disorders that also identifies their symptoms. This made it possible to eliminate the conditions that obviously weren’t part of the problem and focus on the ones that might be.

Now, just to be clear, we are certainly not advocating self-diagnosis, playing doctor by searching the internet can most definitely be a bad idea, and might just convince some people that they have all sorts of terrible diseases and syndromes. But on the BetterHelp website we found tons of material about what can be treated, how that treatment should proceed, and ideas on the best ways to obtain help.

Reading their articles gave us insight into the details of how psychiatry works and offered us some idea of what to expect from therapy, not just for our child, but for ourselves as well.

Knowing what to expect made a huge difference in our ability to deal with issues as the arose and to have some confidence that the process was working.

Another huge plus, especially during the social distancing requirements with the pandemic, was the ability to do much, if not all, of the planning and treatment online. Even if there had not been the restrictions due to the virus, this would make things easier. It also adds a level of privacy to the process that is appealing to many people.

Fortunately, our story has a happy ending. Everyone is doing quite well now, thanks in no small part to the help we found and everyone in the family pulling together.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

For more about BetterHelp.com and their programs, please see these previous articles we have shared here on GypsyNester.com:

Some Observations about Online Therapy

Anxiety is Almost Unavoidable These Days

Don’t Let the Cost Stop You from Seeking Help

Exploring the Different Types of Therapy

Identifying Problems in the Present with Cognitive Psychotherapy

Examining the Role of Geriatric Psychiatry as our Loved Ones are Aging

Tip-Toeing Through the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

Spring hath sprung!

Spring has sprung (at least in some places) and no one does Spring flowers like Holland. Join your GypsyNesters for a romp through the largest garden in Europe – the Keukenhof Garden… CONTINUE READING >>

Tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

A swab floats through Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

Viking billed our journey through Holland and Belgium as Tulips and Windmills, and it had certainly lived up to the windmill portion, but through the first half the tulips had been scarce.

That was about to change, in a big way.

The Keukenhof Gardens are just outside of Amsterdam in the town of Lisse, which should be known as Tulip Town.

Talk about flower power, the area is filled with commercial bulb producers, so as we rode in on the bus the sun lit up a patchwork of scarlet, violet, and gold in the fields of daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips that surrounded us in every direction.

The beautiful flower fields of Holland, The Netherlands

It Started in the Kitchen
The largest garden in Europe is only open for eight weeks of the year - but what a spectacular two months!

Tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

Keukenhof means kitchen garden, and that is how the gardens began, as a plot of herbs and vegetables for the Countess of Hainaut’s castle.

From those humble roots grew Europe’s largest flower garden.

Each year millions of bulbs are donated by the local growers and arraigned in a theme.

This year the display opens in late March and the theme is The Golden Age of the Netherlands.

Through the latter half of the seventeenth century Holland was a world leader in arts, science, trade, and exploration.

This was also the period when the world discovered the tulip and the flower became a symbol of the country.

Tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

 Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

For the celebration, in addition to the six to seven million bulbs throughout the gardens, Keukenhof has planted one hundred thousand of those bulbs to form a mosaic depicting Dutch trade across the seas, and the canal-side houses of Amsterdam from that era.

Since the blooms last just a short time, the garden is open to the public for only eight weeks each spring, so once again our timing was impeccable. Oh wait, perhaps Viking Cruises planned it this way.

Yeah, that’s probably it.

Channeling our Inner Van Gogh
Fun van Gogh themed photo ops at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, The Netherlands

On our visit last year, the motif was Vincent van Gogh, or as our guide pronounced it in the native tongue, van Gzchogqkthgh.

We must say she really put the phlegm in Flemish.

In keeping with that annual theme, the main exhibit featured life sized creations of some of van Gogh’s famous works, and visitors were encouraged to step inside the art.

Fun van Gogh themed photo ops at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, The Netherlands

There was no way we were passing up a chance to be in a van Gogh painting, so we jumped in with both feet.

In the center of the garden there is an enormous greenhouse with an astounding array of every possible color of tulip we could ever imagine.

As we gawked our way through the rows, it was not only the variety of hues that struck us as phenomenal, but the assortment of sizes and shapes as well.

The tulips of Holland at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

Tulips ruled the day, but there is an impressive selection of daffodils and other bulb flowers – many with multi-colored blooms.

So many varieties that we spent the better part of an hour just going from one display to the next examining all of the possibilities and combinations.

Experimental flowers (rainbow and chocolate roses) at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands
Rainbow roses and chocolate with sprinkles? Yes, please!

 Flowers in Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

These non-tulip blossoms seemed to be even more plentiful outdoors.

The tulips outside of the hothouse were not quite in full swing yet, but the others, which bloomed a little earlier, were at their blossoming best.

Push mowers are used in Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands
Shhhhh. Old school push mowers keep the peace in the gardens.
Getting Above it All
The windmill at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands
Really big shoe!

In the back corner of the garden we found a couple of Holland’s most recognizable symbols, a windmill and a giant wooden shoe.

Had there been a slope and some snow, the shoe could have easily served as a bobsled, but on this sunny spring day we opted for a photo op instead.

The windmill is authentic, dating back to 1892, but came from over a hundred miles away in Groningen.

With its pumping days behind it, it has been made into an observation tower. We climbed up, not only for an aerial view of the grounds, but a bonus look at the fields of flowers surrounding them.

Tulipmania – The First Stock Market Bubble Burst

 at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

Our final stop in the garden was a permanent display called Tulipmania.

The exhibit provided a quick look at the history of the flowering bulbs, especially the incredible market bubble that occurred early in 1637 known by the same name.

People around the world went absolutely crazy for the flowers and prices skyrocketed.

By the time prices peaked, a single bulb was selling for ten times an average worker’s salary. While it is hard to compare today’s dollars with seventeenth century guilders, that was easily over one hundred thousand dollars.

Tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, The Netherlands

With prices like that people really must have been doing some serious tip-toeing through the tulips!

A few months later, the bubble popped.

The value had fallen so hard that the people who had lost fortunes in the craze were eating the bulbs to keep from starving.

Tip-toe over.

We’re happy to see that things have balanced out a bit.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in Holland!

Thanks to Viking River Cruises for inviting us along and providing this adventure through the tulips and windmills of Holland and Belgium with stops in Amsterdam, Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruges, Veere, Hoorn, and Arnhem.

YOUR TURN:

Examining the Role of Geriatric Psychiatry as our Loved Ones are Aging

The pandemic has been hard on all of us, causing stress and anxiety from generation to generation. So now we want to take a look at some of the effects on our elder relatives… CONTINUE READING >> 

As empty nesters / Baby Boomers, we are sometimes referred to as the “sandwich generation.” That means we are stuck in between our kids and our parents, like tuna salad between two slices of bread, as both sometimes need some help.

In our family’s case, the pandemic has been hard on both of those generations, which in turn has certainly caused some stress for us. We have written a bit about our trials with one of our children in this series of articles. In them we delve into the types of help available from BetterHelp.com, but now we will take a look at the effect on our elder relatives.

Luckily, we still have two of our four birth parents with us, along with a couple of step parents in the mix, making for three households all together. As expected, they are getting on in years, most in their eighties and one in their nineties.

All except the ninety-one-year-old are still living on their own, but all are experiencing some feelings of isolation these days. Only one couple lives nearby so it has been impossible to see the others for almost a year now, which is no doubt a contributing factor.

That, along with the anxiety caused by this virus, has certainly led to some deterioration of their mental states. Of course, this varies from individual to individual, with one particular parent seeming to suffer more than the others.

In the interest of privacy we will be careful not to get too specific, but not surprisingly the one who is alone and in an assisted living facility seems to be having a noticeably harder time with the lack of family contact and disruption of normal life.

He has also been under psychiatric treatment most of his adult life. However, it may be time to re-examine that in order to make sure the treatment is properly targeted to his age. This is why we were very happy to learn more about geriatric psychiatry from BetterHelp.

There are certain age-specific challenges that we are not sure his long-time psychiatrist may be as adept at addressing as someone who specializes in treating older patients.

Aging can bring about anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and dementia at any time, but these are definitely more likely during the past year with this pandemic.

A trained geriatric psychiatrist understands this and knows what to look for in the patient due to aging. With that knowledge they can offer treatment options and medications tailored specifically to the elderly.

Sometimes physical problems make this difficult, as some symptoms may overlap with psychotic or depressive symptoms. For this reason a thorough physical examination is necessary prior to deciding on a treatment plan.

Some older folks may be quite reluctant to submit to psychiatric treatment due to sometimes archaic attitudes, others may feel embarrassed or even deny any need for it. Fortunately, we won’t have that as an issue in our situation because of his prior history with treatment.

Still, it is very important for us, and all of his family and friends, to be supportive and encouraging as we go forward with any changes that we may decide upon.

We are all trying to keep in touch as much as possible and send photos, especially of a new great grandchild, to keep him feeling connected and vital as a member of the family. This also helps us keep track of any possible changes in behavior.

With all of this in mind, we will be continuing to examine the best way forward for his health, both mental and physical, while hoping for a return to something close to our normal lives soon.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

For more about BetterHelp.com and their programs, please see these previous articles we have shared here on GypsyNester.com:

Some Observations about Online Therapy

Anxiety is Almost Unavoidable These Days

Don’t Let the Cost Stop You from Seeking Help

Exploring the Different Types of Therapy

Identifying Problems in the Present with Cognitive Psychotherapy

Satisfying the Travel Urge When You Can’t Travel

Luckily, there are ways to “travel” to any country you want without leaving your town or city. None of the following activities compare to actually experiencing a country in person, but they can help satisfy the itch during this time of travel restrictions… CONTINUE READING >> 

The world is almost a year into the travel restrictions that have been put in place to defend against the spread of Covid-19. There have been some encouraging developments that have allowed many countries around the world to start re-opening, but international travel is still heavily restricted.

Luckily, there are ways to “travel” to any country you want without leaving your town or city. None of the following activities compare to actually experiencing a country in person, but they can help satisfy the itch during this time of travel restrictions.

Make a List of Countries You Want to Visit

This seems like a simple and silly exercise, but there is some science behind the effectiveness of writing down your goals. Your travel goals are no different.

You are more likely to get to more of these countries by making an actual list of the places you want to visit. Cap the list at 5. You might want to go to more places, but the purpose of this exercise is to narrow down your list to places you really want to visit.

Go to Your Local Library or Bookstore for Books on These Countries

The beautiful library in the Parliament of Ottawa, OntarioReading is a form of mental travel. A book is a portal to a certain point in time in a certain reality. Fiction often takes us to fantastical worlds that look nothing like our own.

Non fiction books in the travel genre are portals to actual places within our world. Some even take us back in time to explore the rich history of a country.

The best part of this mental travel is the cost. Library cards are free. Travel is a genre where the newness of a book isn’t that important, so your library should have a pretty good selection.

Try to find one book to read for each country on your list. Reading these books will come in useful when you can physically travel to these countries again.

Read Blogs From Other Travelers Who Have Visited The Places You Want to Go

Travel books tend to give more general descriptions of things to do within a country. Travel bloggers give a more personal experience that often feels more relatable. These bloggers typically have their own websites, but they are also active on Facebook and Instagram.

Many Travel blog brands also have a Facebook group for their community to discuss their travel experiences. You can join one of these groups to meet like-minded individuals who enjoy travel as much as you.

Try Making the Country’s Cuisine

Cuisine is one of the best ways to really immerse yourself into a culture. It has never been easier to experiment with exotic cuisines right in your own kitchen.

Just open Google and search “cuisine from (country you want to visit).” You will find dozens of recipes for you to browse until you find something you want to try.

The key is to be willing to go out of your culinary comfort zone. Depending on what type of food you are used to, the countries you want to travel to might have radically different cuisine. Ordering out is an option if you are not much of a chef. The only downside is you will be limited by the culinary diversity of your immediate geographic area.

Learn About the Native Botanicals

The plant world plays such a large part in our daily lives, yet most people don’t take much interest in the botanical life of the places they travel. Learning about the herbs and spices that are native to a country will give you an idea of the tastes and aromas to expect from their cuisine.

It will also teach you things about a culture that you would not otherwise learn. For example, say you were looking to visit Indonesia. If you look into their native botanicals, you would learn that 95 percent of the kratom, known botanically as mitragyna speciosa, is grown there. Its popularity in the west has turned kratom into a cash crop for Indonesian natives. You can now find kratom in a lot of different local places such as your botanical shops, vape shops or even gas stations.

Immerse Yourself in Media or Literature

The final thing you can do to satisfy your travel urge is to enjoy entertainment from the countries you want to visit. This may be in the form of literature, movies, tv shows, music, or any other art forms.

These media forms can be easy or hard to find depending on the countries on your list. Netflix has an ever-increasing selection of content from around the world.

Give these things a try and hopefully you will be able to go everywhere on your list sooner rather than later.

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Florida Manatees: Where to Spot the Gentle Giants

With March fast approaching, time is running out to see the manatees this year. These gentle giants are most certainly worth a visit. So if you can, head on down to Florida’s west coast for the best viewing possibilities… CONTINUE READING >> 

Florida Manatee swimming

November to March is the time to head to Florida for spectacular manatee sightings. These gentle giants head for warmer climates in the winter, much like their human snowbird counterparts. Here are our tips to having a manatee-filled getaway.

First, Learn to Spot Them

Ft. Pierce on Florida‘s east coast is chock-full- o’- manatees! We had heard from the locals that in the evening the manatees move from inland to the ocean, so we decided watch for them from a bridge. Our first excited sighting came when we discovered bubbles rising to the surface… See more about the area where we spotted these guys

Snorkel with Manatees at Homosassa River

The Florida Aquifer feeds the Homosassa River on the west coast and manatees are known to swim several miles up the stream to congregate near the source. We chose this area for our snorkel tour because it is usually less crowded than other places, the water is often clearer, and the added bonus of getting to see some monkeys. Yup, monkeys. More on swimming with manatees

Visit Blue Springs State Park

Blue Springs State Park in Florida - fun of manatees!

Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring, pouring forth over one hundred million gallons of water a day, and like the springs around Crystal River, the water stays a constant seventy-two degrees year round. So manatees love it, and many will swim miles up the St. Johns River to get to it. The park has extensive viewing areas… More on Blue Springs State Park

Visit the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs

In the crystal clear waters of Weeki Wachee Springs there reside mermaids, seriously. We wouldn’t make up something like this. As a matter of FACT, the Florida State Park Service is a leader in the preservation of these exotic rare creatures. We were lucky enough to have the chance to observe their graceful antics in a natural habitat and manatees joined in the show! More on the Mermaids and Weeki Wachee Springs

Hit the Manatee Festival

Save the Manatees!

For almost thirty years, the Orange City / Blue Springs Manatee Festival has been raising funds to preserve the manatee population. The festival is a really fun fair, with food, music, booths and comfy busses are provided to shuttle folks to manatee viewing experiences. More on the Manatee Festival

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Click here for all of our manatee-filled escapades!

See all of our Florida antics!

YOUR TURN: Have you a hankerin’ to see a manatee now?

Home Cooking on the Run

There are certain challenges to living on the run, not the least of which is cooking. This means we are always on the lookout for easy, portable, time saving ways to have fresh, hot food while we gallivant across the globe…
CONTINUE READING >> 

After our youngest went off to college we sold our home, bought a beat up old RV, and took off on what we called our Victory Lap. The idea was that we would take a year or so off to travel around North America to see the sights and old friends and family.

We figured the old motorhome would die before too long and that would be our signal to go back to our previous lives. But that didn’t happen. That old RV ran and ran for nearly four years and one hundred thousand miles!

By the time it died we were hooked, so we bought another, and then another, and ended up living in them for almost ten years. There must have been something that appealed to us about living in small spaces, because now we live on a boat.

Yes, I am telling you all of this to get to a point, which is, there are certain challenges to living on the run like this, not the least of which is cooking. This means we are always on the lookout for easy, portable, time saving ways to have fresh, hot food while we gallivant across the globe. We are not talking burgers and hot dogs either; we want a variety of interesting and tasty home cooking while on the go.

So we were thrilled when we discovered myasiancooking.com and these fun Asian cooking kitchen gadgets.

Asian cuisine has long been one of our favorites, but neither one of us has managed to master cooking rice. We even took a cooking class while cruising in China and still can’t seem to get it right every time.

Good thing that one of these gadgets is a rice cooker. Better yet, it works off of the power socket (you know, that round thing us old folks still call a cigarette lighter) inside a car, RV, or boat.

Now we can have perfect rice in about half an hour, anytime and anyplace. It makes up to one liter, which is just right for the two of us.

Of course safety is a concern when cooking on the go, so we were glad to learn about the technology used in this ingenious little cooker. It uses special self-regulating ceramic heating discs known as positive temperature coefficient which provide safe, powerful, and energy-efficient heat in a very small space.

Better yet, it will not over heat and turns itself off if you forget to. The cooking surface is nonstick and it even comes with a measuring cup and spoon.

While the rice cooker is our favorite, there are several other clever products listed in the story too. Stuff like a combination Lunch Box / Portable Travel Food Warmer so a hot lunch is readily available even on the run, or a travel kettle for steaming hot coffee or tea anytime anywhere.

You mean we can have coffee without ever leaving our hotel room? Yes, please!

But we love these kinds of gadgets, not only for their convenience but also for their money saving capabilities. That’s right, think of all the travel savings you can pocket by not going out for quick meals, snacks, and drinks all of the time.

Even if you don’t live on the run like we do, that is something everybody likes.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Identifying Problems in the Present with Cognitive Psychotherapy

The objective with cognitive psychotherapy is to examine thinking and behavior, along with the patient’s ways of communicating, that are happening in the here and now rather than exploring events from the past. This creates opportunities to find changes that can improve life for the patient overall… CONTINUE READING >> 

After coming through a mental health crisis caused by the pandemic last year, our family has certainly learned a lot. That is why we were so pleased to be asked by BetterHelp.com  to share our experiences, along with more information, in this series of articles.

We have talked about several aspects of treatments, as well as the variety of therapy styles and options in those essays, but here we would like to focus on Cognitive Psychotherapy.

The objective with cognitive psychotherapy is to examine thinking and behavior, along with the patient’s ways of communicating, that are happening in the here and now rather than exploring events from the past. This creates opportunities to find changes that can improve life for the patient overall.

The therapist works with the patient, often through homework assignments, to identify and improve thoughts and beliefs in the moment, and then to begin implementing the techniques in a real-world setting.

In our family’s particular case, this method was remarkably successful when followed up by pursuing additional treatments and therapies. After being assessed, worksheets and reading material were used to evaluate, educate, and keep track of the progress our patient was making.

Throughout the process, thinking and behaviors were being identified that led to anxiety or pain so that methods to help make better decisions could be applied immediately. These were learned in order to help identify realistic or unrealistic expectations as they happen. With this comes an understanding of how to react properly.

Then these skills can be used going forward so that the patient can practice them even after the therapy has been completed.

Many of the issues we faced, along with so many other people through the difficult days of this pandemic, can be treated with cognitive therapy. Problems ranging from, anxiety or panic, to anger, depression, or substance abuse can all expect good results when the patient works well with their therapist.

With the help of BetterHelp.com, you can learn more about cognitive psychotherapy, as well as how this type of treatment can be pursued either online or face to face. We feel strongly that this is an important point, especially with the situation that we face with restrictions and social distancing for the foreseeable future.

Of course, choosing a therapist is an extremely important part of this process, or any therapy, so let’s take a look at a few ideas we have gleaned from our recent situation.

First, it is imperative that the relationship works on a personal level. It is difficult at best to share intimate details of your life and struggles with anyone, much less with someone who you do not feel you have a connection or trust to build on. In our case a change of therapists was made after the first week or so and we have no doubts that it helped the connection between patient and therapist.

The new therapist went on to be quite successful because there was a level of trust and understanding between them. Part of that trust is knowing that the therapist you choose is qualified and trained in the issues that are affecting you.

It is nearly as important to look for ways to keep the process as convenient as possible. Ideally, the therapy can be conducted with a minimal amount of disruption to daily life. This is another reason that online treatment can be especially beneficial.

Online therapy also opens up possibilities for choosing a therapist that may not be in your area, giving patients a much larger group to select from.

All of this adds up to making it easier to find help and complete treatment when it is needed, and we all can agree that is a good thing.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

For more about BetterHelp.com and their programs, please see these previous articles we have shared here on GypsyNester.com:

Some Observations about Online Therapy

Anxiety is Almost Unavoidable These Days

Don’t Let the Cost Stop You from Seeking Help

Exploring the Different Types of Therapy