Skin Picking Disorder featured on The Doctors – Friday March 6!

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11045383_10152781777402695_7580307298532758720_n (1)Great News! This Friday, millions of daytime television viewers will get information about dermatillomania (also known as Skin Picking Disorder).

Dermatillomania author and advocate Angela Hartlin will appear on the Emmy award television show, “The Doctors,”  Friday, March 6th, 2015.

Angela will discuss her experience with skin picking disorder while treatment expert and TLC Professional Member, Karen Pickett, MFT shares

important clinical information. Don’t miss out on this special episode that may have some surprises as well!

Please check your local programming to see what time it airs in your area. Or follow Angela’s Event Page for show updates, the link to watch the program after it airs, and to share your comments and reactions! (It airs on CBS/ NBC at 2pm EST, 11am PST.)

Thank you, Angela for continuing to speak out about dermatillomania and BFRBs!



REVIEW – Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop — Or, How Annette Pasternak May Have Blown My Mind

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Guest Post by Lizabeth Wesely-Casella of 

pasternak bookSkin picking and hair pulling aren’t high on many people’s conversational radar, though they are a major concern to nearly 1 in every 25 people.  What you don’t know, or don’t talk about, regarding body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) has been put into easily digestible, non-threatening bits in the latest book from Annette Pasternak, Ph.D., Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop (now available through TLC!).

In our fast paced world, if you are reading beyond that first paragraph, I’d like to take you on a brief journey and tell you why this book is so darn good.  C’mon, let’s chat!

For those of us who live with body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), whether it’s hair pulling like me or skin picking like Annette, there’s a certain “expertise” you have in understanding obsessive behaviors.  Add to that the possibility that you work almost exclusively in the mental health community where you are steeped in commentary about self-care and self compassion and the phrase “Yeah, I got this.” is your mantra when overwhelming amounts of advice heap on you daily.   For those of us in either (or both) situation, its quite literally stunning to run across a book that organizes information in a way that makes it bite sized and easy to act on during your daily life.

Annette did it.  Just take a look….

The insights Annette shares are solid, time-tested concepts, but the way in which she offers the information and suggestions is actually helpful.  The book is not a big lump of information but rather well laid out insights: how to use the book; why we pick and how to stop; strategies for addressing the behavior; examining your thoughts; examining your diet; multiple relaxation techniques; the role of hormones and how to find both balance and motivation to set yourself up for continued success.

As a hair puller, I know that when I’m in the moment I think of many of the concepts Annette addresses in the book and would love to know more about how they impact what is happening to me, but when the episode is behind me I often lose focus on how to monitor or log or chart the various ways that I feel when I increase exercise or reduce stress or avoid excessive aromatics in my cooking.  Annette’s gentle guidance and clarity of writing encourage me to set up the tools and take the steps necessary to understand more about my baseline health and well being BEFORE I encounter my triggers and in advance of my pulling episodes.  This book makes self monitoring easier and provides guidance as I look for ways to feel in control or better said, in harmony.

So the bottom line is that, Annette’s gentle and persuasive writing is powerful enough to take the “Yeah, I got this” mindset and nudge it toward curiosity; an openness to try new strategies and learn more about what’s going on in the self.  For people like me, who have about a thousand things on their plate and who often think we have all the tools, it’s worth it to take a deep dive into Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop and embrace the possibility that there are kinder, gentler and more organized ways to address our needs and cope better.

I can recommend this book wholeheartedly to hair pullers and skin pickers alike.  If you deal with BFRBs, read this book.  It will help you and you will be glad you did.

Thank you Annette!


Lizabeth Wesely-Casella is a weight stigma prevention and binge eating disorder advocate who also supports awareness for body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). She works in Washington, DC as a coalition builder and a speaker discussing eating disorders, trichotillomania and civil rights.

Lizabeth has spoken in the Senate, at the Capitol, on film and in radio. Her advocacy work has impacted program and policy design from college campuses to the White House and recently her efforts have included providing guidance on programs including Let’s Move!.

Lizabeth lives in Washington DC with her loving husband and delightfully spoiled dog Noodle. Please visit her website at or follow her on Facebook at Lizabeth Wesely-Casella or on Twitter @BingeBehavior.

The author of Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop,  Annette Pasternak, Phd is a certified holistic health coach specializing in skin picking.Annette is her own success story, and is dedicated to helping others find recovery from skin picking, hair pulling, and other body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs).

We’re so inspired by Mackensie! You should be too.

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You can help make sure TLC is there for for all the kids, teens and adults affected by BFRBs. Click below to make a donation of $20 or more today* and we’ll send you a special spinner ring as a symbol of the infinite impact your gift provides.

When 16-year-old Mackensie started pulling her eyebrows in 5th grade, her family
found the reliable information, treatment referrals, and the supportive
community created by you through TLC.

And that was the beginning of Mackensie’s  journey —
which today has led to her becoming an unstoppable force for BFRB Awareness. 

Check out her story at:
J-14 magazine 

Mackensie has spoken about trich to her classmates, helped organize a TLC workshop in her hometown and a fundraiser with her youth group. She writes for the TLC blog, and always makes herself available for  any “behind-the-scenes” tasks that staff might need help with. At the upcoming TLC Conference – her fifth! – Mackensie will give the Friday night welcome address.  She’ll share news about how she and the other members of the TLC Millennial Task Force are going to make sure teens and young adults across the globe have access to the TLC resources and community that have been so life-changing for them.

Will you join Mackensie in bringing TLC to all the kids, teens and adults affected by BFRBs?

From the moment you click donate, your support goes right to work – and it doesn’t stop. In fact,by empowering young people like Mackensie, your act of generosity keeps growing, creating a ripple-effect of relief, education and recovery.

*As a special thank you for your support this Valentine month, we’ll send some love right back to you.  Make a gift of $20 or more by February 28th and TLC will send you a Heart Spinner Ring (or our popular silver spinner ring, your choice!).

If Mackensie has touched your heart like she has ours – please show your support by making a donation today – you’ll be ensuring that TLC is there for all the kids, teens and adults affected by BFRBs.

With love and gratitude,

Jennifer Raikes
Executive Director

“I’ve found a lot of strength in coming out and talking about (trich)

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“I’ve found a lot of strength in coming out and talking about (trich),” she says. “People live in so much shame. I like being able to help let them know they’re not alone.”

We’re so inspired by Mackensie!
At 16, she is blazing ‪#‎BFRBawareness‬ trails by sharing her ‪#‎trich‬ story in J-14 Magazine, on, and now on…/when-pulling-out-your-hair-i…/

Much love to  @Cosmopolitan for doubling up on ‪#‎BFRB‬ awareness this month!

Pick up the February issue of J-14 to read more of Mackensie’s story

Get the BFRBs Stories Collection!

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In this exclusive deal, TLC has teamed up with authors Sandy Rosenblatt, Laura Barton, and Angela Hartlin to deliver to you 27 stories from people who know what it’s like to have a BFRB. The inspiring stories in these biographical memoirs from all over the world will move you as you learn how 27 diverse individuals process living day-to-day with their conditions and learn what prompted them to bravely come forward to tell the world about their struggles.

TLC advocates for more people to be a part of the collective voices in the community that refuses to be silenced by BFRBs. From now until Jan. 27th, 2015, you can have all 3 books for $50 plus get a free awareness bracelet for a total savings of 20%! Use the code “BFRBstories” to take advantage of this rare time-limited offer and look into the minds of many others who share the struggles that accompany having a BFRB.

To learn more about the authors and their books, “like” them on Facebook:
Doesn’t it Hurt? | Project Dermatillomania | Angela Hartlin

If you’ve already read these books, please leave reviews on Amazon:
Doesn’t it Hurt? | Project Dermatillomania | FOREVER MARKED

Interested in reading in the future? Click “to-read” on Goodreads:
Doesn’t it Hurt? | Project Dermatillomania | FOREVER MARKED
(or leave a review if already read!)

You don’t need to be published to tell us about your life with a BFRB. If you would like to come forward and tell TLC your story of living, fill out this form and you can be added to the list of supporters who have been inspired to share their journey with others who suffer from these conditions the world.

Trichotillomania Featured in February Edition of J-14!

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February edition of J14J-14, the number one teen celeb magazine in the USA and Canada, is known for its information on celebrities and all the hot gossip. However, the magazine also features a story on a “real girl” in every issue. In the February issue, the magazine features “real girl” Mackensie Freeman and her life with Trichotillomania.

This isn’t the first time Mackensie has been featured in the media about her Trichotillomania. In October, she was featured on both MTV and Gurl in articles about Trichotillomania. (Click the links to read the articles.) In the upcoming months, Buzzfeed and are both planning to run articles about Mackensie’s story. (Links will be posted when they are up)!

J-14 has been a big help in raising awareness about trichotillomania – back in 2012, they interviewed TLC member Claire Cameron about her life with trich.

photo 4So you might be wondering, “How does a 16-year-old get featured in such popular media outlets?” She asks! Mackensie contacted each of these publishers on her own – and the result is hundreds of thousands of young women hearing her story and learning more about trichotillomania and TLC.

If you’d like to buy this issue of J-14, it is on sale at popular newsstands from now until February 16th, 2015. You can buy the magazine for $4.00 at stores like Target, Walmart, Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, etc.

After you buy it, make sure to give a shout out to the magazine and tell them you like what you see, and that media covering BFRBs helps them, too!

If you want to contact J-14 and let them know what you think, here is their Facebook and Twitter.

Getting to Know — Ruth Golomb, MEd, LCPC

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Ruth Golomb, M.Ed., L.C.P.C.
Ruth Golomb, M.Ed., L.C.P.C.

Ruth Golomb, MEd, LCPC, is the author of The Hair Pulling Habit and You: How to Solve the Trichotillomania Puzzle, Revised Edition  and Stay Out of My HairShe specializes in treatment for Trichotillomania, Skin Picking Disorder, and other BFRB behaviors. Ruth is  a member of TLC’s Scientific Advisory Board, senior faculty of TLC’s Professional Training Institute, and, most importantly, a great friend and adviser to TLC.

1. What inspired you to become so involved in the TLC community?

I started working with people struggling with hair pulling in the late 1980’s.  I was invited to present workshops at the first Trichotillomania Learning Center Conference and have been involved with TLC ever since!  It has been a wonderful organization from the very beginning and continues to grow and help more and more people.  I am honored to have been able to be involved with TLC from the beginning.

2. You wrote “The Hair Pulling Habit and You: How to Solve the Trichotillomania Puzzle, Revised Edition.” What do you think is so helpful about the book? How do you hope it helps people?

I think this book may be helpful in several ways.  First, it lets people know that they are not alone; children as well as parents.  Many people suffer from trich and this book, hopefully, confirms that there is a substantial number, a large active community and resources to help.  Second, the book is written as a self-help book and therefore allows for people to receive help, even if they may not be geographically close to a professional who is trained and familiar with treating hair pulling.  And third, this book can used as a treatment model in therapy when a therapist is interested in helping someone with trich, but does not have the background or experience.

We wrote this book hoping that it may serve to help many people in different ways.  In addition to the above, I have also heard from several support groups who use this book as a guide for their group meetings!  I never thought of that, but I love it!

3. What do you think is the best method (or method that works best) for those suffering from BFRBs?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment available to help people suffering from BFRBs. TLC has a good brochure titled “Expert Guidelines” which outlines and explains the treatments used to help people with BFRBs.  In addition to good treatment, having a really good support system is also extremely helpful.

TLC has been very active in training professionals to become familiar with good treatment for BFRBs.  Every year there is Professional Training Institute (PTI) which is a two and a half day intensive training program.  This year TLC will expanded this important program so that more professionals can be trained.  In addition, if a professional is interested in learning about treating BFRBs but cannot attend a PTI, there is an option to view an 8 hour training video.  Many people have informed their therapists about these options and have initiated the process for their therapists to get the training necessary to help them.

4. What do you think the most important thing for people who suffer from BFRBs to know?

There are many important things for sufferers to know.  The first important point is one that TLC shares regularly:  You are not alone.  Another important point is knowing that having a BFRB is not your fault.  This is not a “fault” problem.  No one asks to suffer from a BFRB.  People either have the predisposition or they don’t.  Two people can be in the same family and one will have a BFRB and the other one doesn’t.  It is no one’s fault.  This is also not a problem with will power.  You cannot “will” this away any more than you can will your eyes to change color or will yourself to grow a few more inches.  These struggles are real and will power alone will not solve the problem.  BFRBs are challenging problems for many people and there is hope!  Many people find that they can be helped successfully regardless of how long they have been pulling hair or picking skin. The most important thing to know?  There is hope.

5. Do you think BFRBs are different for suffers in different age groups? Why or why not?

Absolutely.  Every experience changes with age.  Very young children experience BFRBs differently from adolescents and adults.  Young children are usually blissfully free from peer pressure and self-consciousness about their appearance, whereas teenagers are often plagued with self-doubt and completely tuned into their peers opinions.  Unfortunately the typical age of onset for these problems is during adolescence.  It is tough to be a teenager in the best of circumstances, having a BFRB as well makes a typically challenging time even more difficult and complicated.  These behaviors are tough on families too.  Parents are often at a loss as to how to help their children. These difficult circumstances lead to a very complicated family dynamic. Therefore teens with BFRBs often experience shame, frustration and hopelessness about having the BFRB problem, and at the same time feel a lack of support, have poor communication and experience strife from family members.  The BFRB problem can take on a life of its own and profoundly affect the family functioning. Many adults sufferers remember their adolescence as a particularly difficult time due to this phenomenon.

When a member of the family has a BFRB, is affects the whole family.  Having a BFRB at a vulnerable age, such as adolescence is uniquely difficult.

Treatment is usually tailored to fit each age and developmental stage.  Even though BFRBs are experienced differently by each age group, treatment is individualized to help address the particular needs of each person, and in many cases, the family too.

Mackensie Freeman

Written by Mackensie Freeman, a 16 year old who is a member of TLC’s Millennial Task Force, and works to raise awareness about BFRBs in the community by speaking with national media about her experiences with BFRBs. Read her story at here.