Sunday, January 11, 2015

NAMI North Coastal San Diego upcoming Monthly Educational Meeting!

This is not your typical post and I will not do these often.. But for those of you that are in San Diego I wanted to make sure you are aware if you are not yet.. about
NAMI National Alliance on Mentally Illness.

The Carlsbad Counseling Center is located in North San Diego County on the Coast... Our local chapter has many different groups, educational opportunities and trainings.. These are for the family that has a member with mental illness and for the person themselves.. Coming up this Thursday is a great talk about the chemistry of mental illness and how chemistry can help alleviate some of the problematic symptoms... Here is the this month's Monthly Educational Meeting with:

Dr. Manish Sheth, Ph.D, M.D.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Hall
2775 Carlsbad Boulevard, Carlsbad

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

5 tips to help your child (and you) cope while they are in Therapy

There are multiple reasons why a child or adolescent enters into psychotherapy.. With Children, most often, the therapist will use play, art and other expressive mediums to help the child process , cope and restructure their current behavior and coping patterns... I always tell parents, the therapy does not stop at the end of the hour, with patience, understanding and planning, your child in therapy (while still a challenge) can continue to grow thru your hands on parenting tools. And a sense of normalcy can be kept outside the therapy office.
How can you help.. Here are 5 tips.

  1. Always have free time after an appointment. We are all fragile after therapy and you child is the same. This is a great time to veg with a book, show or play in their room.
  2. Have art supplies and outdoor activities ready. Along with needing down time, children will continue to process, We have all heard and it is true  Play is a child's work.. Have crayons, paper and an area they can do art, for outside: a bucket of water and a paintbrush, large outside chalk.
  3. Stay firm on house rules. Your child will already be feeling overwhelmed, unsafe and or insecure, either from the topics that have been dealt with in therapy or because of the reasons that they have entered therapy. They will act out and test the limits a bit more. You must let them know the boundaries are still there and you are still in charge... They need to test the boundaries to know they are still there and you can keep them safe.
  4. Never use therapy as punishment. Although tempting, keep yourself from speaking derogatory about having to be in therapy and or "If it wasn't for your (father, mother, your behavior,ect.) You wouldn't have to go". This makes the child feel worse and undermines the work they are doing in and with their Therapist.
  5. Respect your child's privacy. As adults we usually do not share our therapy content or even the fact we are in therapy with others... As we find support for ourselves thru our friends and family, we talk about what is happening.. Unfortunately, your child does hear you and internalizes the messages you send... and share with others.. Your child may already feel violated and exposed... What you share about your child gets passed on...and remember if you would not want the information shared about you, please do not share it about your child. This triggers children into secretive behaviors and limits your  ability as the parents, to be a sounding board down the road. 
So Remember, you child will act out, be a bit or alot more difficult to deal with.. Giving them space, grace and options to keep working thru their issues.  These 5 tips will allow them and you to have less strife, behavior problems and an increased sense of calm in the midst of an emotionally challenging season.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What to expect when your child is in Therapy

I wanted to address the issue of how children behave outside of therapy... Parents and guardians expect acting out behavior in therapy.. via play, art or expressive therapy modes.. BUT.. dealing with the child after therapy or as they are struggling with processing the issues that come up can be a challenge that parents are not prepared for.
I tell my adult clients to not schedule appts., meetings or other events for at least an hour after therapy. Sometimes sessions are restorative and healing other times as part of the process they bring up past hurts... 
The same rings true for children. Always take them to the park, home or beach to let them work off some steam, not expecting them to keep it together (right after therapy) and unwind... 
Children are in therapy for a reason and in many cases very painful ones... They are overwhelmed and need to feel safe.. Therefore they will test boundaries, practice their new found voices and say or do inappropriate things that they are now realizing.. 
Children do not have filters.
Children come into therapy for a variety of reasons, some need to open up, some need to learn better social or coping skills and some need to deal with a painful current situation... 
Children will have bad days and if they require therapy, then their days may be very stressful... 
Add this to your own pain and struggles with many of the same issues and parenting a child in therapy.. can cause and will create a whole other level of needed strategies... 
Part 2 will be more specific coping strategies....
(will be posted on Wed. Jan. 7th)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pushing the Reset Button for 2015

Now that we have made it through the holidays, licked our emotional wounds created by family members and listed our positive practices for the New Year.. It is time to push the Reset Button for 2015.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” ― Maya Angelou

What does this mean? Simple.. Start Fresh! When you are ready, take a deep breathe in and slowly exhale ... While breathing, breath out what ever you are holding onto... Here are a few examples.

  • Past relationships are done... 
  • I will cautiously and positively treat my friends and foes in a kind way.
  • My future choices will be based on my learned wisdom not past mistakes.
  • I look forward to learning and growing in all areas.
  • I am leaving wounds, pains and grief in the past and moving forward.
There are many basic truths that you can write... List no more then 3-5 statements and look at what is still eating at you and leave it in 2014's memory bank... Start 2015 acting and thinking the way you want it and you to be... There is a great 12 step saying.. Fake it until you Make it!... This is so true... All behavior and ways of thinking take practice... 

Last note of caution.. This does not mean going back (into unhealthy relationships) and allowing others to hurt and use you... The wisdom from the past experiences MUST guide your choices and help you to be your own best advocate and care taker... 

So when you are ready, write your list, find a quiet spot.. 

Breathe In and Push the Reset Button for 2015!...

(you will need to do this often at first until the new patterns become  a set part of your Daily Life)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions vs. Positive Pampering!

For so many, New Year's Resolutions mean changes and giving up of foods, habits spending or other areas where we cut back... This is one of the main reasons we break them so soon...
List 3 positive things that you already do for yourself and commit to doing them more often...
Some examples...
I will set money aside in my budget to eat out once a week. (vs. I will eat out less)
I will pay myself first out of each paycheck. (vs. I will spend less or start to save)
I will walk around the block each week and meet one new neighbor (vs. I will work out more)
Last example.. but there are so many...
I will eat more of my favorite vegetables. (vs. eating less...)

Basically, make positive pampering statements that take out the words less, lose or budget.
We all grow and change.. work with what you have and improve your assets.. the other issues will fade into the background.