- A written overview of life topics to compliment the counseling process.
- The views and expressions are based upon my own observations and experiences unless stated otherwise.
|Posted on April 6, 2020 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
There are significant life changes for many of us during the past months. What strikes me most about the human race during this time is the tenacity, encouragement, empathy and spiritual resiliencies, even with unexpected, grave losses. For others, past trauma’s can be triggered and rekindled which lead to overwhelming rumination of thoughts, worries, anxiety, fear, depression and hopelessness. Feeling helpless and out of control during this stormy period from the effects of COVID-19 also makes others recognize we are not alone, we are all connected with each other, called Survival. I encourage anyone who is struggling to NOT sit with their thoughts or negative behaviors alone, You Are Not Alone. The idea of reaching out to a counselor/therapist may not seem appropriate, unnatural, due to use of video or telephone as the main source of communication versus in person therapy. I know it may seem strange but recognize your therapist has your best intention. For my license as an LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor, the number one ethical influence is “Do No Harm”. This means that we are trained to work with you with a positive intent to produce change. No matter what therapy you may have had in the past today, or if you’re just considering it, now is the time. Having faith, trust and seeking care is what we were born with, though it may have shifted or trauma tainted this belief you can renew yourself with professional assistance. Wishing you good health, peace, strength, and may this moment spark transformation.
|Posted on November 7, 2017 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
Grief and loss feelings and emotions cannot be contained in one sentence. The experience is unique to each person no matter if they are in the same family or witness an event. It is imperative to see grief as various moments in time, more than just minutes, day, months or years. The process to grieve is in no way simple no matter how it has occurred. However it is important to honor your feelings and process them this is what grief wants from you. It will not just dwindle away like the shapes of clouds on a balmy day.
The following suggestions were written to help you take care of yourself following a death, but apply to any kind of loss you might be experiencing.
• Listen to your body: If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to sleep, then do so. If you need to talk to someone, seek out someone who will listen. If you need to reminisce, then take the time. It is important for the grieving process that you go with the flow.
• Lower expectations for yourself: You can't expect yourself to run at full capacity for some time. Give yourself a break and don't expect yourself to perform as well as you did prior to your loss. Educate others that it will take some time before your performance is back to normal.
• Let others know what you need from them: Don't expect others to know what you need. Communicate to family and friends how they can support you.
• If you need counseling, do get it: Get all the support you need. There are many bereavement support groups as well as counselors or spiritual advisors who specialize in bereavement counseling. Don't hesitate to contact a medical and or mental health specialist if you have feelings of hopelessness or suicidal thoughts.
• Take the time to do the things you need to do for yourself: When you feel up to it, engage in activities to which you feel drawn. It could be visiting a place you haven't been to in a while, walks in nature, reading, etc.
• Pamper yourself: Treat yourself well. Without breaking your budget, do things for yourself that are helpful like walks, being with people who are nurturing to you, and inexpensive activities.
• Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you to validate and work through your grief.
• Get physical exercise: If you exercised prior to your loss, try to maintain the same routine. If you did not exercise prior to your loss visit your doctor before embarking on a physical exercise routine. Physical exercise can improve the way you feel.
• Obtain a proper diet and sleep: Maintaining a healthy diet and getting proper sleep is essential for functioning as well as you can. If you are having difficulty with either, visit your doctor.
• Be aware of others' reactions: Many people do not know how to react appropriately to your grief. Some are more comfortable than others in responding to your situation. Be aware that people have different ideas not only about death, but also about how bereaved individuals should react. Be true to yourself and let others know if they say something inappropriate.
• Understand that often others are thinking of you and care but due to the high expectations in their life they may not come to you as time goes on. Consider reaching out often they can be a good listener even if it’s only by phone, text or other social platform.
|Posted on October 19, 2016 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
As humans we have a tendency to put off mental or behavioral disturbances until we feel “we can’t take it anymore” or try something else to avoid or defuse it (including self-destructive and unhealthy behaviors). We then want instant help and results immediately rather than understanding it took time to get to where you are and it will take time to resolve (ie:, commitment to feeling well, following MD orders and increasing healthy outlets for relief and insight). To put your healthy mind and body first is foreign for some and for others superficial appearances such as new clothes, hair color, shoes or high gloss nails, travel/vacations are considered as a temporary fix up. Unfortunately once reality continues you feel the same, stuck. Making the decision to seek counseling can be based up “how bad it is in the moment” and after months, or even years or previous therapy, a person may finally have the courage to want to forgo the same pattern. Time will continue no matter what you do and patterns will be repeated over and over. The brain stores memories, emotions, and sensation, then emotional and physical reactions will be released. This can lead to seeking the courage to finally make the person say I need to break this cycle. As humans we have a tendency to wait aka called denial until something “really bad happens” or “I have no choice” and then we want immediate change. Sound familiar? It takes courage and understanding that processing past and present issues with counseling will relieve your brain, body and soul and break the pattern for good. This leads to true genuine belief “I’m okay now, I really am”.
|Posted on February 9, 2016 at 4:45 PM||comments (0)|
In 2012, Center for Disease Control statistics report that approximately 9% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before surveyed. There is also emotional abuse or dominance including degrading name calling, regulation of what the person does, who they are allowed to talk to, scrutiny over the persons texts that have been received or sent, social network monitoring, access to passwords to scan and control perceived cheating, and monopolizing time spent alone. For parents, family members, and friends there are warning signs. Physical signs can often be seen but the victim may attempt to conceal with clothing, makeup. They may minimize what has occurred ie; “It was my fault” or “I had it coming to me” "Its no big deal". Other signs include reduction in eye contact towards others, not smiling or laughing, isolation, withdrawal from their friends & families, or quickly reply back to the person, in a matter of seconds, with text communication. No teenage victim is obligated to keep this silent nor should their friends or family. Often with professional help they can increase their assertiveness, learn about healthy connections and communication, become empowered and learn to love them self. The perpetrator can be treated as well. If you suspect speak up, they may be waiting to have the courage to reply and ask for help.
|Posted on January 13, 2016 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Are you ready for a ‘modern you’ in the New Year? If so, a good place to start is figuring out which parts of your life need reinvention. Personal, business or both? Secondly, you have to understand: transformation is not an overnight process. You’ll have to let go of a few bad habits, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Ultimately, it takes time and commitment to let go and say goodbye to ways that may have kept you stagnant and unhappy. Working with a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and supportive people have been shown to be highly effective in reduction of symptoms and increase in learning more about who you want to be and your long term wellbeing. If you are unsure if this is right for you or unsure of the process call the therapist directly. I find that clients who are highly motivated and take the risk in exploring their past and present situations exhibit more relief. The modern you no longer will have to carry around the suitcase of failures, shame, guilt and “I should of, would of or could of” thoughts and behaviors. On the other hand, you will find that your past “mistakes” can be beneficial in helping you with your future. Don’t avoid putting yourself second this year. Even if you are hesitant to reinvent yourself it is possible to pre-contemplate seeking Counseling. Many have before you and many will in the future. Thoughts then Actions make renovation.
|Posted on November 23, 2015 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
EMDR therapy is an approach to psychotherapy utilizing eye movements and other forms of bilateral stimulation to help process a wide range of psychological complaints. EMDR integrates effortlessly with a variety of different treatment approaches that has helped countless amounts of people with their daily problems. It also has been intensely researched, proving to be effective with stress and trauma, Roy Kiessling, LISW, certified EMDR Trainer and consultant was my trainer. I am under his direct supervision for an advanced certification. EMDR was initially developed by Francine Shapiro and Roy worked directly with her. I have been witness to a variety of my clients that claim their anxiety, depression, negative thinking, trauma, life stress and dysfunction has been resolved or reduced significantly even after years of their issue. There are many approaches that Roy has taught me in order to share with my clients in and outside of their session while working with me. What I like most about EMDR therapy is the results not only while a client is in session with me but when they report “ I’m good Francine, I’ve got it from here” and they are able to continue their life being content.
|Posted on August 20, 2015 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
I want to share with you 6 types of childhood abuse that you should be aware of. Some of these types of abuse are well known - other types less known. All are devastating and can leave lifelong scars that impact life as an adult. If you or someone you know was abused during childhood and believe things like "it didn't affect me", "I deserved it I was a wild kid', or "it's all in the past now". Please STOP IT!
• The pain of childhood abuse DOES affect you now.
• No child, no matter how wild, rambunctious or naughty deserves to be abused.
• An unexamined, buried, and suppressed past is never forgotten and often ends up being your present and future. It does not go away.
1. Dysfunctional childhood due to Neglect
This is the most common type of dysfunctional childhood. These children were neglected, ignored, or abandoned by their parents or care takers. Kids who were neglected in childhood grew up with a lack of food at home, dirty clothes, no access to toiletries for hygiene, unpaid bills that resulted in no utilities, dirty apartments or houses, no health care treatment, absent parents or parents who provided little guidance or rules among other neglectful acts. Kids who were neglected in childhood often had to fend for themselves - stealing food, clothes, and toiletries. Staying out at all hours, ‘crashing' with friends. Many ended up on the streets or in jail, were re-victimized throughout their life.
2. Dysfunctional childhood due to physical abuse
This is one of the most well-known types of dysfunctional childhoods. Kids who were physically beaten were often blamed for their parent's inability to control their frustration and anger. These kids were told that they were’ bad', "evil', "disobedient' “it’s your fault”. It was common for kids to be spanked or whipped with extreme force, sometimes for just doing things kids do.
During childhood if you lived in fear of your parent(s) because of regular beatings, whippings or spankings you most likely experienced abuse. And the fear and trauma experienced during childhood often continues to impact adult life if not faced.
3. Dysfunctional childhood due to sexual abuse
This is another type of well-known abuse. Any type of sexual contact directly or indirectly by an adult with a child is abusive. According to recent studies most children are sexually abused by someone they know not by a complete stranger. Many children keep secrete sexual abuse and end up carrying it with them into adulthood.
Sexual abuse does not only happen to girls. The number of sexually abused boys is growing as more admit to being abused. Sexual abuse manifests and impacts adult life in many ways - difficulty forming intimate relationships, engaging in promiscuous behavior, sexual addictions, or sexual avoidance among others. The emotional impact of childhood sexual abuse during adulthood can be devastating if healing is not sought.
4. Dysfunctional childhood due to emotional abuse - "toxic parents"
Sometimes kids were not overtly abused like physical or sexual abuse but were instead the victims of emotional abuse. This can include verbal (emotional outbursts, yelling, cursing, etc) abuse by a parent, playing psychological games, humiliation, anger outbursts, ignored, being “invisible” due to parents/caretakers own unresolved past issues or trauma, or mental health issues
Adults who were emotionally abused during childhood may feel misunderstood because the abuse they suffered was not overt. Our culture barely acknowledges neglect of a child, physical, and sexual abuse. Often people who were emotionally abused minimize their abuse and say, "well at least I wasn't beaten" making examination of the effects of this type of abuse harder to treat.
5. Dysfunctional childhood due to alcohol and/or substance abusing parents
Children who grew up with one or both of their parents abusing alcohol or substances can sometimes face the same issues as children who were neglected or emotionally abused.
Intense feelings of guilt, shame, desires for perfectionism, and rescuing or enabling behavior continues well into adulthood. Many kids who grew up with one or both of their parents abusing substances often become the parent to their parent - abandoning childhood altogether. Many do not know how to have fun and can be overly responsible.
Adult Children of Alcoholics is a self-help organization based on the same principles of alcoholics anonymous and encourages survivors to examine their lives and begin actions that heal.
6. Dysfunctional childhood due to witnessing domestic violence between parents
If you grew up watching your parents physically fight or one parent regularly physically or emotionally abuse the other parent you experienced abuse. Witnessing regular abuse in your home during childhood affects children. Many children who witness this type of violence lived in fear and were afraid that their parent would be killed. Many felt powerless and were confused about love (this is true of all abused children). This is secondary trauma which is still trauma.
Adults who witnessed regular violence by a parent or to a parent continue to be affected in adulthood - many have issues with anger, problem solving, forming relationships, and trust among other issues.
The effects of abuse during childhood impact adulthood. The good news is that you can have a healthy, satisfying, and nurturing adult life. But it will not happen automatically. It REQUIRES action on your part. This is where the counseling process is useful. To be empowered, validated and seek solace is a choice you can be part of.
|Posted on July 9, 2015 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
For some people, summer is a time to get away and take a vacation or"stay-cation". During this time a real break means time to relax, unwind,disconnect from work, life commitments and decompress.
When I lived in Europe for a few years, I witnessed that every August the vast amount of businesses shut down-for the Whole Month! Everyone went away to a little cottage, a villa by the sea, a small space of land where they had a "tiny" home and green space/garden, camping, or somewhere to connect with nature.
This one month of pure content included seasonal foods and beverages and time with family and friends. Often, they saved their money all year long to enjoy a month of serenity. This vacation did not include all the tourist traps that many Americans believe is the ideal vacation which the brain sees as just another busy day at the office, school or home life. The brain does not realize it’s on vacation, it just sees high stimulation.
Taking a Real Break does not mean having to spend a large quantity of money.
Stay within a normal means of what you can afford based upon your income.
It means finding something you enjoy to do that will ground you. These moments of time should be focused on being physically still; such as: look
at nature,use your senses, smell, hear, touch, even taste, to connect yourself. For example: garden or play in the dirt like a kid, fly a kite or
watch a bird flutter from branch to branch. No idle chit chat or talking to others is necessary. Literally be "one with nature".
It's okay that from time to time your brain will want to focus on what's next with what you have not completed at work/school or upcoming events/tasks (I will write in the future about healthy work/school habits and completion of responsibilities),but make a conscience effort to clear your thoughts and enjoy the break while it lasts.
|Posted on March 25, 2015 at 12:45 AM||comments (2)|
An exercise I have done with clients is to go over a moral inventory list. In AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, they use a similar list, which is part of the 12 steps model. Often, the list will consist of what the person has done wrong including harm to those who love them, bad choices, bad consequences, self-blame, guilt, shame,feeling wrong wrong wrong ... It is important everyone does this at some point in their life. Look at your moral compass, and values and begin to write what you have done "wrong" but don’t forget to write down what you have done right. If you can take an honest assessment of yourself, which can appear to be critical, you can move into the next stage of life change. If you cannot write the list because it hurts too much or your vulnerabilities will be exposed or you believe the list does not apply to you, then your morals are unbalanced. The only way to transform is to expose yourself to yourself. Once you write your list, put it down for a couple days and return to it on a peaceful day, that means no distractions. This is important to prioritize what needs to change. Do you need to ask for help from someone? Do you need to speak to a Licensed Counselor? Do you need to seek help from a professional organization like AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous)? Now’s the time to open the door of change.
Welcome to growing up and finding out who you are.
|Posted on January 15, 2015 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
Every January of a new year is a good time to do personal house cleaning for the Mind -Body-Spirit. This month can be reflective as you look back on the past year and assess what you have accomplished or would like to accomplish, and what you are struggling with. For many years I have given clients a short questionnaire to fill out, to contemplate what they deemed was successful from the past year, what they can improve on in upcoming year, what they would like to accomplish, strive for, or try in the upcoming year, and what they would like to say goodbye to from the previous year (their glad it’s over with). This method keeps the person on track. Having everything written down and posting it in an area where they can look at throughout the year, in some cases clients have put a reminder in their cell phone on month 6 to access their written plan
Even if January passes by this exercise can still take place.