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Interview with Annette Pasternak

Here's a video of an interview, where Tammy Fletcher interviews Annette Pasternak.

Its a great short video interview, covering briefly Annette's personal path, as well as her new book and her treatment process with clients.

To remind you, Annette is part of our online counseling service. If you're interested in working with her on stopping your picking, schedule an introduction call with Annette here >>

BFRB Awareness Video

Canadian BFRB recently posted a new BFRB awareness video on their Tumblr blog. The inspiring and emotional video is a “must watch” for anybody that is suffering from or knows someone who is suffering from a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior.


The short video, just over two minutes in length, was made with images from the posters that people made during BFRB Awareness Week 2013. The images are compiled along with informative text to help educate and raise BFRB awareness in others.

Raising awareness for BFRB is a very important task. One of the major problems plaguing those suffering from these compulsive disorders is a lack of understanding in the public. Friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances of those with a BFRB can all have a difficult time understanding and accepting the disorder for what it is: a disorder, not just a bad habit. Even some doctors and therapists are unfamiliar with certain types of BFRBs, including dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking disorder), and this can prevent people from finding the right treatment or even from seeking treatment altogether.

At the end of the day, its videos like this Canadian BFRB awareness video that are helping to make more people in the general public more aware of what BFRB actually is. And this is the first step in reducing some of the embarrassment, guilt, and shame associated with it. Raised awareness provides hope and community for those with BFRB and this makes dealing with and conquering the disorder much easier.

Please check out the video and share it with your friends! TLC Trichotillomania Annual Conference

tlc conference

The Trichotillomania Learning Center’s (TLC’s) National Conference is the only conference of its kind in the world. An annual event that focuses on Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs), the event is a must for anyone suffering from compulsive hair pulling disorder, compulsive skin picking disorder, and other related BFRBs.

What is the TLC National Trichotillomania Conference?

The TLC Trichotillomania Conference is an annual meeting up of suffers of BFRBs and their families. The event is open to people of all ages and aims to instill a feeling of hope as well as a sense of community in those suffering from these disorders.

Educational workshops are presented aiming to give people the tools they need to tackle their disorder. Numerous talks are given – including one by Annette Pasternak, who's part of our online counseling service – that are aimed at patients, researchers, and treatment professionals. The best part of the conference is the warm, supportive, all-inclusive environment of patients and clinicians that it provides.

Of particular note are the discussions of the latest research findings and outlines of the most effective and state-of-the-art treatment strategies. The stories of real-life recovery are also not to be missed.

Who Should Attend the Conference?

The Trichotillomania Conference is open to anybody with an interest in BFRBs. Those with pulling, picking, and other compulsive behaviors are all encouraged to attend. The same goes for their families and loved ones as well as clinicians looking to improve their treatment strategies. The conference is open to people of all ages although special programs and workshops are offered for children and teens as well as their parents.

Attending the Trichotillomania Conference

Making the effort to attend the Trichotillomania Conference could give you the tools that you need to conquer your disorder. At the very least, you will meet new friends, learn new things, and come out of the experience with a sense of hope and a feeling of community.

This year (2014) its taking place in LA, 25-27 April

More details here >>

"Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop" by Annette Pasternak

Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop

To some extent, occasionally picking the skin is an action that is performed almost universally by humans. We all will occasionally pick a bit of dry skin off or pick at a new pimple. However, it is when these actions become serious, repetitive, and compulsive (especially on “perceived” imperfections) that skin picking becomes a disorder.

It is this difference between “picking the skin” and “compulsive skin picking” that Annette Pasternak covers early on in her new book “Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop”. She lays down the ground rules for what dermatillomania is, why people do it, and why it is so hard to stop doing.

Right off the bat, it is apparent that “Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop” is different than many other dermatillomania resources out there. In a high-emotion industry saturated with scams and false claims, Annette Pasternak’s writing rings of the truth.

In fact, her own credentials back up what she has to say in her book. She is a holistic health coach who personally fought with and conquered dermatillomania herself. Furthermore, she holds a doctorate in chemistry that gives her a completely unique approach to the problem of dermatillomania.

Of particular interest in “Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop” is the fact that the information in the book is backed up by solid research and experience.

All in all, Annette Pasternak’s book aims to help you treat, or at least reduce the urges of, compulsive skin picking. Her experience as a health coach, chemist, and, most of all, a recovered compulsive skin picker all help her do this in a clear, concise, and, most importantly, effective way. If you are suffering from dermatillomania, then this is one book that you need to track down.

You can buy it here (kindle edition).
Physical book is on the way too.

ps Annette is part of our Online Counseling program - if you're interested in getting help from Annette, contact us to schedule a session with her.

All You Need to Know about Dermatillomania [INFOGRAPH]

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

That's why we produced this infographic, on the topic of Dermatillomania.

It explains in simple conjunction of words, numbers and graphics, what currently is known about this disorder.

Here it is, hope you enjoy reading it, share it and like it!

all you need to know about dermatillomania

Sure, we may all pick at our skin some time: that irritating zit that begs for popping; that ingrown hair that ache’s for a tweezer’s touch. However, there is a fine line between “every so often” and “every few minutes,” and such is defined by the impulse control disorder known as dermatillomania.

Dermatillomania is a compulsive, often detrimental habit that is characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin -- often to the extent of tissue damage and scarring.

Linked to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), this uncontrollable condition is responsible for both physical and emotional trauma; hindering one’s social life and activities, and further exacerbating any existing scars. Dermatillomania is considered a form of self-injury, and people suffering from this disorder often wear longs sleeves and makeup and/or band-aids to cover up their physical scarring and scabs.

In terms of prevalence, an estimated 1.4 to 5.4 percent of the general population is afflicted with this condition, with women accounting for the majority (at 86 percent). While the onset of dermatillomania varies, the condition typically peaks in adolescents between the ages of 11-13 years old.

Episodes of skin picking are often preceded or accompanied by high bouts of tension, anxiety and stress. Such cases can lead to a compulsive urge for dermatillomania suffers to pick or squeeze at their skin.

Interested in learning more? Take a peek at our latest infographic, which highlights everything you need to know about this condition, including causes, treatment options, and coping modalities.


Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder is in DSM-5 !

Recently I got an email from ocdla (the OCD center of Los Angeles), as I’m subscribed to their newsletter. I was surprised, but more than that happy, to read in that letter that Compulsive Skin Picking was added to the DSM-5 last May (more precisely May 18 2013). I was caught a bit off guard, since I haven’t been on top of the news lately…

To those who don’t know, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the so called “bible” of the mental health professionals. It lists and classifies all the mental disorders. DSM-4 was the outdated version of the manual, published way back in the last century.

As skin picking got more and more recognition, there were those who pushed towards its addition to the DSM. There was reluctance, mainly due to two reasons. One is that the disorder might be simply a symptom of some other underlying disorder. The second reason is that it might be viewed simply as a bad habit.

However it was clear (at least to me) that it deserves to become “official”. A bit more than an year ago I even asked our readers to support the addition of skin picking to the new version of DSM. Looks like our wish has been answered.

It was decided to add the disorder to DSM-5, due to substantial literature on the subject, its prevalence in the population, and abilities to diagnose and treat it. The skin picking disorder is listed as Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder in the manual. It is listed under the section of “Obsessive compulsive and related disorders”. The group includes other disorders such as the scope of OCD, BDD, trichotillomania and hoarding (which is also a new addition to the DSM-5).

Another interesting piece of info I dug out while researching this event: Angela Hartlin got interviewed by Canadian Press on the occasion of the DSM-5 addition. The interview got syndicated to more than 20 publications ! Good work Angie. Ps if you don’t know her blog, take a look. Good stuff there.

That’s all for now, hoping to keep you more frequently posted in the future.

Interview with Jon Hershfield (MFT)

We recently had a Skype interview with Jon Hershfield (MFT) – an experienced therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for OCD and related disorders.

Needless to say we talked mainly about Dermatillomania. We covered topics such as classification of Dermatillomania (OCD, addiction, bad habits) and various treatment methods used to deal with compulsive skin picking (CBT, habit reversal, mindfulness).

In addition, we discussed the Internet as a potential tool for counseling. In this regard we talked about teletherapy (or what we call here at SkinPick– remote coulseling), and about Jon’s involvement in online forums for OCD.

Click this link for the full interview with Jon Hershfield .

Dealing with Skin Picking through Arts

compulsive skin picking and art - Liz AtkinLiz Atkin, a visual artist from the UK, contacted us a few days ago. She told us about her new exhibition, at the center of which is her experience with the skin picking disorder.

There's a short but rather interesting interview with Liz that took place a few days ago on the Woman's Hour radio show on BBC Radio 4. She talks about the way her art is influenced by compulsive picking, and on the other hand, how her art helps her to deal with the disorder. You can listen to the 8 min interview here

If you happen to be in the London area, you might be interested in visiting Liz's exhibition, which takes place at the Bethlem Gallery until the 15th of March. More details about the exhibition can be found on this Bethlem Blog Post.

The "Trichster" documentary

I stumbled upon a new documentary in progress, called "Trichster", by director Jillian Corsie. It focuses mainly on Trich, and a bit on dermatillomania, judging by the trailer:

Towards the end of the production, the crew, together with 7 of the subjects of the film, are planning to attend the Trichotillomania Learning Center Conference in New York. You can help them attain this plan by donating here.

Planned release date is spring 2014.

"Scars of Shame" release date

Got an email from Angie about the Scars of Shame documentary, which we first wrote about almost two years ago.

To those of you who are not familiar with "Scars of Shame" - this is a documentary on skin picking by Lisa Heyden. This film is about a 24 year old Angie (Angela Hartlin) who suffers from skin picking.

After a long hiatus due to funding difficulties, production is now back on track, with the film being in last editing stages. Angie tells me that the expected release date is March 2013, which is great news.

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