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Why Choose Rockwall Counseling?

1) higher confidentiality standards (no insurance accepted)
2) Email support between sessions
3) Coordinate care with your medical provider, if you wish
4) Quality Assessments done periodically
5) Progress updates every 6th session
6) Handouts to reinforce what you’ve learned
7) Homework
8) Testing for depression and anxiety, with actual test numbers reported
9) Reduced fee/sliding scale counseling available with Intern Therapists
10) You will leave the first session with a “Prescription” of immediate, practical suggestions

12 Tips to Help Your Child Listen and Follow Directions


By Andrea Slagle, LSCSW


  1. Get close to them and use their name to get their attention first. It is not helpful to call from across the room. For example, go up to your child and say, “Sally, I have something I need you to do.”


  1. Once you have their attention and eye contact, give them the direction in an age-appropriate manner. A three-year-old may not be able to do more than one step at a time. You will likely be able to give your twelve-year-old 3 directions at a time. For example, “Get dressed, eat breakfast, and go wait for the bus.”


  1. Give directions with a calm, but serious voice. Yelling will likely escalate your child, and this will not help them to be cooperative. But you also want them to know that you are not joking around.


  1. Give directions in a positive manner. Tell them what TO DO, instead of what NOT to do. For example, say, “Walk, please,” instead of “Don’t run.” Also, be descriptive so that they know exactly what you expect. Instead of saying, “Be good,” which is very vague, say something like, “Put your hands on your lap and sit on your bottom.”


  1. 5. DO NOT ask a question when giving a direction. Do NOT say, “Do you want to clean your room?” if this is not something that they can say no to. Also, do NOT say, “It’s time to do your homework, okay?” The okay and question at the end implies that it is up to them to decide.


  1. Provide two acceptable choices, such as, “You can eat breakfast or get dressed. Which would you like to do first?” You can even start by saying, “You have a choice!”


  1. 7. Empathize with them if your child complains about what you asked them to do. “I know you are having fun playing and don’t want to stop.” “I understand that you don’t like cleaning your room.”


  1. 8. Give them something to look forward to after completing the task. “As soon as you are finished putting away the dishes, you can go outside and play.”


  1. 9. Help them if the task is difficult, while still making sure they are doing their part. “I will help you clean your room. Would you like to put away your clothes or your toys?” Then you can put away what they do not choose.


  1. If nothing is working, tell them about the consequence if they do not complete the task. Try to make it a natural consequence. A natural consequence is something that would happen naturally as a result. It also helps to give them a time frame. For example, “If you do not get dressed before we leave for school, you will go to school in your pajamas.” “If you do not put on your coat, you will be cold.” Or if there is no natural consequence, try to make it related to the task. “If you do not clean your room before bed time, I will take away those toys that are not cleaned up.”


  1. 11. Enforce the time limit and the consequence. It is important that your child knows that you mean business when you tell them something. If you give in or do not follow through, they will learn that they can test you because they do not always have to do what you tell them.


  1. Children behave best when they are feeling loved. Make sure that you spend plenty of positive, fun time with them.

When Life Gets Hard—Finding Your Way


That which you would change, must first be accepted as is. (Anonymous)

First of all, it’s a privilege to do the work I do. As a therapist, I am trusted with the most critically important issues people can face in life. Big or small, one rule applies: if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

Some of these issues are easy to identify, harder to change: leave an abusive relationship. Limit contact with your mother if she’s critical. Drop your guard and reach out to a friend who’s hurt your feelings. Unfollow someone on Facebook whose posts upset you every time you read them.

But sometimes it’s things that can’t be changed readily by your actions. Like a cancer diagnosis. Like a mate’s affair. Like a layoff at your company.

Then what?

The words of the Serenity Prayer, used by Alcoholics Anonymous, come to mind: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Because going to war with the hard issues in your life with anger, guilt, self-recrimination or blame doesn’t help-and indeed, only strengthens the misery. Example: I’m laid off. I hate myself for not seeing this coming. Now, besides being laid off, you are laid off AND feeling self-loathing.

How did that help?

Learning to accept-to float on the ocean waves of hard times rather than flail around in the water fighting them-will get you to shore faster. Giving yourself a break with positive, loving self -talk-I’m doing the best I can, no one could’ve prevented this– will get you to shore sooner.

And on that shore are solutions or at least, ways to cope. Hope. New ideas.

And just maybe, a stronger, happier soul.





Are You Making the Most of Your Therapy? 7 Tips

Don’t miss these tips on taking an active role in counseling
If you’re struggling or stuck, counseling may be a good way to get a new perspective, move forward positively and protect your well-being. And if you’re living with a mental health condition, seeing a therapist may be a key part of your treatment plan.Are you in talk therapy or considering it? These tips can help you make the most of it:1. Set goals Be sure your therapist knows what you hope to achieve. For example, perhaps you want to:

  • Find ways to cope with strong emotions, such as grief
  • Change behaviors that are making you unhappy
  • Build healthier relationships
  • Better manage stress, anxiety or depression
  • Explore or navigate a major life change

2. Discuss a timeline It will depend on your needs and goals. Ask your therapist how you’ll work together on your goals and how long you might need counseling services. Some issues are chronic or take longer than others to work through. But in other cases, people might feel that they’re making progress after just a few sessions.

3. Be honest Sometimes, talking about personal problems can be uncomfortable. But the more open you are about your true feelings and experiences, the more your counselor can help.

4. Take notes during each session Reading them over can remind you of what you discussed, including what action steps you should try.

5. Do your homework For example, your counselor might suggest you write in a journal or change your behavior in a certain way. If you don’t get specific tips, ask what you can do outside of therapy to move toward your goals.

6. Welcome new ways Often, therapy means exploring approaches that feel outside your comfort zone. But trying new strategies for managing or responding to situations is the only way to see if they work. If you give up too quickly, you might miss out on something that really helps.

7. Speak up Your counselor wants your therapy to succeed — and collaboration is a key to that. So don’t hesitate to say if you:

  • Think a session didn’t go well
  • Don’t feel you’re making progress
  • Want to focus on a new goal
  • Are considering stopping your therapy

When you’re frank, it gives your counselor a chance to think about the best ways to help you.

It’s also vital that you develop trust and a good connection with your therapist. So if you don’t feel comfortable or you don’t feel like you’re being heard, it may not be a good fit — and you may benefit from making a change.

Do You Turn Toward, Turn Away Or Turn Against?


Savannah Ellis, MPsych

Each day, our partners make many attempts to connect with us, both verbal and nonverbal. World renowned couples research, Dr. John Gottman calls these attempts “bids” for emotional connection. A bid can be a question, a look, an affectionate touch or anything else that opens the door to connection. In his research, Gottman reports that a happy couple can make as many as 100 bids over the course of a meal! How we respond to our partner’s bids is a huge key to a successful relationship. Gottman’s research indicates that husbands who eventually were divorced, ignored the bids from their wives 82 percent of the time compared to 19 percent for men in stable marriages. Women who later divorced ignored their husband’s bids 50 percent of the time while those who remained married only disregarded 14 percent of their husband’s bids. There are three responses to a bid for connection: turning toward, turning away and turning against.

  1. Turning toward. This means to react in a positive way to your partner’s bid for emotional connection. Research indicates that over time, these couples develop stable, long-lasting relationships. They also can access humor, affection and interest in each other during conflict. They can stay connected and not let temporary negative feelings destroy the relationship.
  2. Turning away. This response is essentially ignoring or avoiding the bid or acting preoccupied. A consistent turning away response leads to defensiveness and seems to result in early divorce in married couples.
  3. Turning against. Couples who turn against each other’s bids for connection appear more argumentative, critical and sarcastic. According to Gottman’s research, this style leads to divorce in a majority of cases, but not as quickly as couples who more habitually turn away from bids. Once a couple gets into the habit of rejecting each other’s bids for connection, they tend to give up on rebidding or resuming efforts to connect. In stable marriages, spouses rebid about 10 percent of the time and in couples heading towards divorce, there is rarely ANY rebidding. Gottman believes that a couple that practices “turning toward” behavior metaphorically “deposits” good will into the emotional (love) “bank” of the relationship. These “credits” accumulate and allow the partners to more readily connect when times become more challenging in the relationship. The bottom line is that “turning toward” your partner is a strong basis for emotional connection, as well as a powerful tool to sustain passion, romance and a healthy sex life.
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