Posted by: leslielpc | October 23, 2012

Oh what a difference a word can make!

Did you know that you can work to reduce or eliminate one word in your vocabulary and it will make a significant difference for you?  What is that word, you ask?  It is the word “should”!  Think about it.   How many times do you say, “gee, I should do this or that”, or “they should or should not do such and such”? When we use the word “should” in that way, we create a significant amount of stress, tension and disappointment for ourselves, not to mention that it is an irrational word.   A better word to use might be prefer or in my/their best interest.  For example, rather than say, “my friend should meet me on time”, I could say,  “I would prefer if my friend would meet me on time”.   By changing the wording, I will decrease the negative emotions related to that event.  Instead of being angry, I will likely just be irritated.  If I am irritated, I am in a better state of mind to address the situation, or perhaps, now just irritated, I decide to let it go.  Try it…..see how many times throughout the day you use the word “should”, then change your wording and see how YOU are able to then change how you feel.

Posted by: leslielpc | October 9, 2012

CBT and Men

I love CBT.  I have seen over and over again what a difference it can make for someone when they are challenged with anxiety, depression, weight loss, relationship issues, or other challenges.  I also think that CBT is a great therapy for men especially when compared to other forms of therapy. CBT addresses well a man’s need for self-reliance and control.  When many people think about therapy, they think they are going to have to divulge everything that happened during their childhood, constantly tell how they feel about everything and just rehash over and talk about their problems.  CBT does not work that way.  Sure, we may talk a bit about how your life was for you when you were growing up, and yes, on occasion, I may ask you how you feel, but CBT is a very goal-oriented, action-oriented type of therapy.  We’ll look at the problems or challenges in your life, decide on a goal related to that, then look at how you are currently thinking about those problems or challenges.  ALL of us have negative, distorted and irrational thoughts about situations.  We identify those thoughts and identify more realistic productive thoughts to apply to those situations.  Not only does this help to decrease the intensity of negative emotions, but once we “feel” better, we are then able to address those problems with more success (think of it this way, when you are really angry, are you able to think straight and deal with things as well as when you aren’t angry?).  This is really just the tip of the iceberg with CBT, but it gives you an idea of how the process works.  Bottom line is, let’s set some goals and do something about the problem, not just talk about it.
Posted by: leslielpc | February 24, 2010


Leslie J. Hoy, MA, LPC PROUDLY JOINS GIVE AN HOUR™ NETWORK Provides Free Counseling to Troops & Families San Antonio, TX, February 24, 2010 – Leslie J. Hoy, MA, LPC announces that she has joined Give an Hour™, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national network of mental health professionals providing free counseling services to returning troops and their families. Give an Hour™ offers services to veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their family members. Family members are loosely defined to include married or unmarried partners, parents, siblings, aunts/uncles—anyone connected to this veteran who is suffering a psychological effect related to the veteran’s service. Ms. Hoy’s office is located in San Antonio, TX. She is trained to provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Depression. People interested in receiving services through Give an Hour™ are encouraged to call 210.379.4403 or log on to to determine availability or to locate another provider in your area. “Currently, we have more than 4,400 licensed mental health professionals on our Give an Hour™ network,” notes Founder and President, Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen. “What our Veterans and their families and loved ones are experiencing as a result of deployments, traumatic brain injuries and other devastating physical injuries, post-traumatic stress and more, is incomprehensible to the general population. The sheer number of people being affected makes it virtually impossible for the very competent but overtaxed military health care system to provide help to everyone who needs it,” says Dr. Van Dahlen. “We are so proud that Ms. Hoy has joined our efforts.” Give an Hour™ hopes to recruit to its network 10 percent, or 40,000, of the approximately 400,000 licensed mental health professionals in the United States. With an average fee of $100 an hour, this would save the military and the taxpayer $4 million per week in mental health services costs. Other mental health professionals who are interested in donating counseling services to returning veterans and their families must agree to give one hour per week for a minimum of a year. # # # About Give an Hour™ Give an Hour™ ( is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), founded in September 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. The organization’s mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. Currently, GAH is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of the troops and families affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Give an Hour™ currently has more than 4,400 providers across the nation—in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam—and continues to recruit volunteer mental health professionals to its network.

Media Contact: Leslie J. Hoy 210.379.4403 For Immediate Release

Posted by: leslielpc | January 18, 2010

Diet Thinking vs. Lifestyle Thinking

One of the successful links to ongoing weight loss and weight maintenance is to change your way of thinking.  It is essentially part of the Psychology of Weight Loss.  Most of us know what is beneficial for us to eat or not eat, yet, many people continue to lose the same 20 pounds over and over again.  By changing our thinking, we can alter that negative pattern.  Consider the following shifts in your thinking to increase your success.   Print out the sheet below and read it on a regular basis.  You may want to post it somewhere so you remember it!

Diet Thinking vs. Lifestyle Thinking

Posted by: leslielpc | December 29, 2009

Are you ready to make a change?

James O. Prochaska, Ph.D. et al helped to identified and conceptualized five stages of change that can be applied to a variety of challenging and problem behaviors. The five stages of change identified are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
1. Pre-contemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change behavior in the near or foreseeable future. Often times if you are in this stage you are unaware or under-aware of any problems or challenges. In many cases, those around you are very aware of the problem or challenge and may have repeatedly attempted to help you see the need to change your ways! Examples might include but are not limited to, excessive drinking, smoking, overweight and overeating, procrastination, depression, anxiety, overuse of the internet, shopping, or TV, etc. For some people, you may have made prior attempts to make a change with the problem or challenge and have been unsuccessful. As a result, you may have resigned yourself to having the problem or challenge.

How to recognize if you are in this stage: you avoid the subject and may get very defensive about it; presence of defense mechanisms such as denial and rationalization, etc.; not being informed about the problem or challenge.
How to move on to next stage: take responsibility; become informed about the challenge or problem; become aware of your defenses; get support and help from others.
2. Contemplation is the stage of change in which you are aware that a problem or challenge exists and you are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet made a commitment to take action. You may be ambivalent about making the change/changes. You may be assessing the barriers or costs as well as the benefits to making the change.
How to recognize if you are in this stage: seriously considering doing something; may insist on the perfect solution before you are ready to take action; may be procrastinating about the change.
How to move on to next stage: look at the cost/benefits of the problem and making changes; look at the problem and the consequences of it more vividly.

3. Preparation is a stage that combines both intention and identification of specific behavioral changes. If you are in this stage you are intending to take action in the next month. You may have started to make small changes. In regard to weight loss, this may include sampling low-fat food alternatives, or seeing what it might be like to drink more water vs. soda.
How to recognize if you are in this stage: you have decided to take action and are now taking the steps necessary to prepare you to take action.

How to move on to next stage: make a commitment to make the change; announce it to others; take small steps; set up some time frames.

4. Action is the stage in which you modify your behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome your challenge or problems. You are now taking the steps required to make the change. The state of action involves the most overt behavioral changes and also requires considerable commitment of time and energy.
How to recognize if you are in this stage: you are taking the steps required to make the change!
How to move on to next stage: increase your coping strategies; control your environment; work to manage your thoughts; know what to do if you “slip”; have support.

5. Maintenance/Relapse prevention is the stage in which you work to prevent relapse to old behaviors and to consolidate and integrate the gains made during action stage. You are working to maintain the positive changes in behavior that you have learned and are utilizing. Remember that change is not linear in nature, but most of us zig-zag along the process. Don’t lose hope if you fall back to some old behaviors, but instead, ask yourself what you need to do to get back on track. Most people benefit from support, not only at this stage, but the prior stages as well.
How to recognize if you are in this stage: You have maintained your positive changes for several months.
How to move on to next stage: continue with support; review a list of the positive as well as the negative aspects of the challenge on a regular basis; have a written strategy to keep your self on course.
Consider what problem behaviors or challenges you might have, then go back through the stages and identify where you might be in the process of change. If needed, have a trusted friend or healthcare provider help you review your challenges and what you might need to do next. Get the support you need and muster your courage to take the needed steps to overcome whatever challenge or problem you are facing.

References: Changing for Good – James O. Prochaska, Ph.D. et al; A “Stages of Change” approach to helping patients change behavior – Gretchen L. Zimmerman, Psy.D. American Association of Family Physicians.

Posted by: leslielpc | December 16, 2009

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)??

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that looks at the important role of our thinking in relation to how we feel and behave.   CBT is actually a general term used for a classification of therapies with the similarity being the role of our thoughts.  There are a number of CBT approaches which you may have heard about including: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Rational Living Therapy and Dialectic Behavior Therapy. 

Regardless of the name used, CBT’s have a number of the following characteristics: 

  1. CBT is based on what is called the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response – which essentially means that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors.  Most of us are used to thinking that something outside of us caused our feelings and behaviors – such as other people, situations or events.  The good news is that we can’t change other people, situations or events, but we can learn to change how we think about them.
  2. CBT tends to be a more structured type of session where in some cases you may actually set an agenda for the session with your therapist.  Another common aspect of CBT is that homework is used to further what you have learned in your therapy session.  You may only be going to therapy for one hour on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but you can continue to progress well with what you do outside the therapy session.
  3. CBT encourages a positive relationship with your therapist as well as emphasizing a collaborative effort between you and your therapist.  The therapist will want to know what goals YOU want to achieve.  And as Dr. Aldo R Pucci notes, “the therapist’s role is to listen, teach, and encourage, while the client’s role is to express concerns, learn and implement that learning”.
  4. CBT is based on an educational model of therapy.  This essentially means that most of our emotional and behavioral reactions are learned!  Again, the good news is if we have learned them, we can UN-learn them, and thereby learn a more productive way to think, feel and behave.
  5. CBT uses what is called the Socratic Method.  Wikipedia gives the following definition: “named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas”.  Essentially this means that your therapist will ask you questions and you will learn how to ask yourself questions!  For example, you walk by a co-worker and say hello and they do not respond.  You might assume that they are mad at you or do not like you.  You might then be asked if there is any evidence for what you are assuming, and to look at what might be a different way of looking at that situation? (perhaps they are overwhelmed at work or home, just got a phone call that they won the lottery…you get the point).
  6. CBT is a research-based form of therapy that has been demonstrated in hundreds of studies to be an effective treatment for a variety of disorders and problems for adults, older adults, children and adolescents.  It has been found to be effective for such challenges as: depression, anxiety (including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety and Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Dental Anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),  Seasonal Affective Disorder, Caregiver Distress, Insomnia and Sleep problems, Weight loss and Obesity to name just some on the list (for a comprehensive listing, please visit the following link{278F27CC-505D-4330-9740-E13E28535BDA}&SP=2

If you would like to learn more about how CBT might be helpful for you, please contact me at or 210.379.4403.

Posted by: leslielpc | December 16, 2009

Great quote!

“Achievement seems to be connected
with action. Successful men and
women keep moving. They make
mistakes, but they don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton

This is such a great quote and is so true.  The best part is that all of us can be this way.  It is really interesting how this also fits well with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  By using positive and realistic self-talk, we can continue to keep ourselves moving forward and succeeding in the ways that we define as success.  I don’t know about you, but every “mistake” I’ve ever made has always turned in to a good learning opportunity.   What steps can you take today to positively move yourself forward?