This article provides us with 15 illustrations of simple things we can do to maintain healthy, long-lasting relationships. From showing our partners how much we appreciate them, to exploring new things together, making a happy relationship does not have to be difficult. It takes work, genuine effort, and time. If you aren't already doing these things in your relationships, pick one and put it into practice for a week or so!
Suicide has been a major epidemic in our society, specifically amongst female adolescents and those suffering from severe mental disorders. As a clinician, I am equipped with the skills and tools to support individuals going through a crisis and contemplating suicide. Oftentimes as family members, friends, or colleagues, we have no idea how to support or even approach individuals who we care about. It is quite the touchy subject, with our own underlying fears of pushing them over the edge or not being supportive enough! Here is a great article written by a fellow therapist on how to support someone who is contemplating suicide:
With the recent events occurring in Brussels and the continued terrorist acts we see happening all around the world and in our own country, it may difficult for parents to speak to their children about their fears and how to respond. This is a great article from the Huffington Post on how to address these concerns with children:
This article from the Times is a great read about how childhood trauma has effects on the brain, with increased chances of developing mental health issues such as depression and substance use.
Studies have shown that childhood trauma occurring before the age of 10 can disrupt neural networks that are associated with depression and substance use. Because a child's brain is still developing, experiencing trauma can further hinder a child's ability for healthy brain development.
Childhood trauma can be experienced in various ways, including prolonged physical or emotional a use, witnessing domestic violence, or losing a parent. If you know a child who has experienced trauma, mental health treatment can be extremely beneficial to help the child learn to identify their emotions related to the trauma and coping skills to manage difficult symptoms. Symptoms of trauma may also look different in children than in adults, such as acting out behaviors or having difficulty sleeping. TFCBT (trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy) is an evidence-based form of treatment that has been found to be effective in treating childhood trauma. For more information, visit my website or contact me!
We oftentimes believe that our circumstances may hinder us from accomplishing our goals. In fact, I have experienced many times where I felt stuck and couldn't do anything about my situation. It's frustrating, and definitely at times feels hopeless. As a therapist, I have learned that we can create our own opportunities if we can get out of our "narrow" perspectives. How do we do this? With you, of course! You are resourceful. You have many strengths. Use yourself as a tool to think outside of the box and create opportunities for yourself. If you are having a difficult time with this (I sure did!), ask a friend or family member what they think your strengths are. People outside of ourselves have many insights into who we are and can be very helpful in identifying our strengths and positive qualities. Once you have done this, it is time to think about different ways to approach any difficult situation. Remember, this doesn't have to be an isolative process!
As a part of my new efforts to be more involved with the social media world and being connected to you, the reader, I will be starting a new blog series, "Forward Thinking Friday." Blogs will be posted every Friday (as the name suggests) and will focus on positivity in various aspects of our lives. I will be using a variety of media such as quotes, memes, articles, pins, etc. I hope that you enjoy reading and please feel free to leave any feedback about what you like (or don't like!)
To kick this week's Forward Thinking Friday (FTF) off, I am posting this quote by Steven Aitchison, which I found to be incredibly encouraging. Instead of putting energy into what we believe are flaws and imperfections, focus on your strengths and positive qualities. Oftentimes we forget that we have many characteristics about ourselves that can be useful in solving problems or achieving goals. Focusing on what we do best and continuing to do what we do best can help us stay on the right path. Also, ask yourself: how can this strength of mine help me in other ways of my life besides this current situation? You may be surprised at how easily you can apply one strength and come up with many solutions to other problems. And remember, you are enough!
As we start the new year, we reflect on things we would like to do differently. We create goals and new year's resolutions in hopes of making changes to live in ways that are more fulfilling, positive, and meaningful. Reaching these goals may be difficult as we set high standards and sometimes unrealistic expectations, oftentimes leading to feelings of disappointment, guilt, or even possibly inadequacy. We can most certainly give up on our goals too easily or quit in the middle of our plans. This can feel very discouraging and not at all a benefit or progress to positive changes. Instead of setting such high expectations for ourselves, I encourage you to give yourself permission to make mistakes, to feel that it is okay if you don't meet your goals, and to know that you are not a failure. I encourage you to look at how you have succeeded in the past, and ways that you can continue those successful behaviors in the present and future. Acknowledging and recognizing your strengths can be helpful in re-defining goals and steps to reach those goals. Also, do not be afraid of trying new things! Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something different may lead you to positive results. So, what are you waiting for? Set up reasonable and attainable goals, use your strengths, maybe try something different, and hope for positive change. If it doesn't work, try something else and don't give up! You have all the skills and abilities to make positive change happen - it is up to you to find it within yourself. Here's to moving toward a new future!
Mindfulness is a great way to be present in the moment and manage unhelpful thoughts. I have used mindfulness exercises with kids to help them with difficult emotions such as anger, frustration, and worry. These kid-friendly audios can also be used as a calming technique and for bedtime. Adults can use these mindfulness exercises as well!
Click on the link below for a list of audios of mindfulness exercises:
Whether it be natural disasters, public shootings, or random occurrences of violence, many of us have different reactions and feelings toward these events. Some of us may feel outrage, anger, fear, and even shock. As we reflect on our personal reactions to these events, some of us have children with whom we have no idea how to explain why these things happen. How do we talk about things that we are trying to understand ourselves? Where do I even start? How can I talk about these things to my child(ren) in a way that won't traumatize them even further?
This article is a great starting point for parents and professionals to talk to children about traumatic events. Dr. Cawn reviews how to normalize and validate children's feelings (and even our own feelings) and experiences toward these events.
If your child is exhibiting or experiencing more severe symptoms that are impacting their daily life, I would suggest seeking the help of a mental health professional. Symptoms and reactions to trauma may look different in children, and can include nightmares, acting out behaviors, defiance, hyper vigilance, etc.
Click on the link below for the full article: