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
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
Do you know that you can focus on various areas in your life to see if you are feeling better in specific ways? This is a fun, informal quiz to use for this purpose. Rate your improvement from 1 to 4, with 4 being the most improved. Leave it blank if it doesn’t apply to you. Take the results to your therapist for discussion.
__Ability to reach Life Goals
__Your work or career
__Level of happiness
__Use of your talents
__Sense of Humor
__Ability to care for others
__Ability to make friends
__Getting along with coworkers
__Taking time for you
__Treating yourself well
__Putting your needs first
__Taking care of your body
__Not getting overly tired
__Taking care of yourself when ill
__Appropriate alcohol use (or none at all)
Track your progress on a regular basis. Therapy is all about improving your life and making it the best it can be!
(Adapted from It’s My Life Now by M. Dugan)
“If I journal, then I have to THINK about my husband having an affair,” stated my client flatly. “Why would I want to do that?”
That may sound a bit silly to you, but as human beings we are always finding distractions from our issues that need attention or problem solving. How many of these do YOU do?
- Work: feeling centered only when working or accomplishing
- Sex: hiding from uncomfortable feelings through compulsive sexual behavior
- Television: avoiding discomfort by watching TV for hours on end, every day
- Drugs/Alcohol: “I need it to relax” translates “I don’t have to think about changing or feel the pain that would push me to do so”
- Tobacco: using nicotine and the act of smoking to calm yourself
- Tasks: volunteer or otherwise: needing to stay compulsively active with endless tasks or conversations
- Rage: only feeling OK after venting anxiety and anger inappropriately
- Exercise: using exercise compulsively to seek control or avoid emotions
- Adrenaline: using risky behavior as a form of mood altering
- Food: eating compulsively for comfort or reward
- Hoarding: collecting and saving items endlessly
- Shopping: purchasing an item based on the idea that it will bring comfort, or seeking comfort in the act of buying
- Cleaning: cleaning endlessly in order to avoid stillness, which might bring attention to anxiety or other uncomfortable emotions. It’s also a way to seek control when feeling your life doesn’t have any
- Spirituality: becoming absorbed and/or obsessed in spiritual or religious ideas as a way of hiding from uncomfortable emotions*The problem is that when we resist an emotion, trying not to feel what we are feeling, we tighten muscles around the areas in our bodies where we feel the emotion. This keeps it trapped there instead of letting it flow through naturally.
- Are you ready to stop and pay attention to your life? I am your best guide to do so. Let’s get started!
*Adapted from Present Moment Awareness by S. Duncan
By Andrea Slagle, LSCSW
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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!”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- Children behave best when they are feeling loved. Make sure that you spend plenty of positive, fun time with them.
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.
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.