Beyondpondering's Weblog

Northwest Arkansas Therapy

ADHD and Holidays December 21, 2008

Aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, visitors and guests………..

Sights, sounds, lights, and laughter……

Music and song,  fireplaces and snowfall, presents and parties…….

So many activities and high hopes….that this years everything will go without a flaw….

But wait…there’s more….. School is out, fun is in.

Holidays are filled with activites and expectations.  Gifts picked out with special care hoping to convey the right sentiments.

Family comes in or you go there.    Perhaps you have not seen a particular set of relatives for years.  You want everyone

on your side of the family put their best foot forward, have on their best behavior, and be especially courtesy and kindness.

 

Different house rules, or perhaps none.   Squeals of joy and running here and there.   Too much sugar and a too much Egg Nog & Rum.  Someone can’t stand someone else’s brat kids.    A child brakes another child’s toy.  Someone’s child won’t

share.  Crying and commotion.   The pie burns while you are trying to put out the fires among the children.  

Spitting and spankings.   Ho Ho Ho…..MERRY CHRISTMAS. 

 

Parents in all their good intentions sometimes shoot themselves in the foot.   Many weeks or months their child has been on ADHD medication.  They understand the need to have the child sit in class and learn.  They understand how distracting school can be.  Medication is a necessary evil in their minds.  They are willing to put up with it to help their child have a better experience with school.  Now since school is out for the holidays,,,,certainly this is the perfect time to let “Little Billy” have a Medication Holiday.

Think about it for just a moment.  Does ADHD take a Holiday?  Does ADHD take a vacation?   No, it doesn’t.

The very time when family harmony is stressed out the most,,,,,

The very time when feelings can be the most sensitive……………

The very time when families needs more peace and calm……is the same time parents want Little Billy to be off his meds.    Is it helping or hurting family relationships?   Is it helping or contributing to family stress? 

You know….The ADHD child already has difficulty feeling good about him or herself,  why contribute to their negative feelings by purposefully pulling them off their meds at the very time it is needed the most?   Allow positive family relationships to develop.  Allow Little Billy to gain warm feelings about himself in relationship to their close relationships.  Do you want to help or hinder family harmony during the holidays?   ADHD does not take a holiday.  The risk of  a child having negative behaviors in the long term is related to how they feel about themselves today.  An  ADHD child can be frustrating.  Yet try to imagine how frustrated he is with himself.  Try to imagine how that child feels as he is constantly criticized, punished, or consequenced for what he has little control over.  Does the risk  of medication  really out weigh the seriousness of  long term side effects of poor self esteem or negative self image?

ADHD does not take Holidays.

 

Relationships During These Hard Times December 10, 2008

“All we need is love. All we need is love, love………Love is all we need” (Beatles).  Is this true?  Really?

“I love you,,,,,,but I am not In Love, with you.”  “I love him but I don’t like him.”  What ?

“I’ll just die if I can’t have those jeans !”  Hugh ?

So, …..what then, do you need?

Time and patience for a start. How about giving honesty, dependability, determination, kindness, fairness, courtesy, cooperation, trustworthiness, and generosity? All of these can help sustain us during these financial hard times, as well as, help build meaningful long-term relationships.  Let’s take a look at things. Society has made so many improvements. Life is more convenient: Fast foods, drive thru’s, microwaves, dishwashers, and the like. We are so accustomed to “convenience”, we lose our patience if we have to give a little extra time at a restaurant. No wonder we get such a big surprise when we have to give time to another; or be patient

with another person’s like or dislikes; or even be patient with another person’s imperfections.We have never really had to wait, save up, or do without. Delayed gratification is almost a thing of the past. Perhaps the great benefit of today’s economy is that we are forced to realize that “relationships” are the only meaningful and lasting thing……… if we look at life Existentially or Spiritually. However, because life is so much easier than even a decade ago, many people have not learned to “press on” during times of momentary difficulty, as our historical counterpart once did. No I do not want to go back to the “good old days” when it comes to convenience. However, there are valuable principles which are worthwhile to carry with us from the past into posterity.

I was surprised when researchers came up with the term: “Benign Deprivation”. It is the idea of allowing oneself or one’s children to do without something, if that something, is not critical to sustaining life. In other words, if doing without an item, has a benign effect, it is okay to do without it.

The idea of “Benign Deprivations” still makes me chuckle because I have made it a point to do without a lot of stuff. My husband had to force me to get a cell phone. You see, I grew up around my grandparents. They lived through the Great Depression. Consequently they were fugal, never used credit, and saved tin foil. I did get caught up in materialism and conspicuous consumption when I was younger, but later sought out meaning and purpose.

We really have to ask ourselves if something is truly a need, as compared to a want. True, we may think we are going to die if we can’t have a particular pair of shoes. We may even tell ourselves….our children need a particular pair of jeans to fit into that popular crowd. Nevertheless, is it really life threatening to do without it? Maybe we need to count our blessings?

An over abundance of things can make ourselves and our kids greedy, spoiled, and demanding. Generosity and kindness can be lost unless we refocus back to positive character values.

Will we, as a society, allow material goods to replace character? Is “Benign Depravation” a new way to reminding us not to spoil ourselves and our kids with material goods? Is it a reminder for us to still value old fashioned character such as honesty, dependability, determination, kindness, fairness, courtesy, cooperation, trustworthiness, and generosity?

Relationships are necessary for life. Therefore, promoting, nurturing, and tending to the growth of quality character in ourselves and our kids, is beneficial for love and lasting relationships. Time is what our kids really want from us anyway. You too, probably.

These economic tight times need to be embraced and valued as a time to reinforce those things which are more lasting than temporal materialism. It can also bring out the best in us. Love, honor, dependability, determination, kindness, courtesy, trustworthiness, generosity, and meaningful long-term relationships will sustain us during these financial hard times.

About our RAD kids……………….time and patience is even more important.Not reacting to the fears they stir up in us is also critical. Our calmness can soothe their scared souls.

No matter what age they are. The younger they are,,,probably the easier it is to not react.Nonetheless, it is the older children who probably need it even more because they have gone without longer.

If we are going to catch ourselves before we over react, then we must be introspective and try to figure out why.

Why does a particular thing bug us?  What happened in our background….. which stirs up those irritable feelings, when our

kids bug us?  My father was a pathological lier, so when my child said anything which might resemble even a “half truth”,

my nerves were set on fire.   He might have been telling the truth yet I was already predisposed to expect the worst.

Therefore, I got paradoxical results.   I helped create the very thing I thought I was trying to prevent.

This is when I should have stopped myself. But I was not aware yet. Everyone does the best they can with what they know.

I am so glad to have a better understanding.

 

It is time to stand up June 16, 2016

Filed under: counseling,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 7:33 pm
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I have now come to an even “greater” conviction that there is only one way to prevent the exploitation of ourselves as therapists; and to prevent the exploitation of our clients. “That” way (as I see it) is for trained, ethical, hard working therapists to gather enough strength, stand up, and open their own practices. (Or, at least diversify, and have a side practice as a safety net for themselves.)

Stand up and walk. Walk to a destination beyond our comfort zone. We also need to learn. Sure we are scared because collage only taught us to work for someone else and not for ourselves. Yes, sometimes we need to move beyond our comfort level. Sometimes we also have to get mad enough, depressed enough, and “shocked” enough; we take our negative energy and do something different. We need to muster up courage.

By mustering our courage, even if it means channeling negative energy, we must learn how to run our own counseling practices. By running our own counseling practices, we are no longer contributing, perpetuating, or reinforcing the sociopathic system, which exploits us. Opening our own practice is a form of protest and self-protection. Furthermore, when we do muster our courage and open our own practices, we provide options for our clients.

Our clients (or perspective clients) are also tired of contributing, perpetuating, or reinforcing the sociopathic system. However, sometimes our clients are smarter than we are. They already know they are being exploited but they cannot find options. We still believe we are contributing to the “greater good”; meanwhile we are going down. We drown in our desire for altruism. Sure, we are scared but we cannot help people if we get our spirit, confidence, energy and life force is sucked out of us.

Interestingly enough, besides our clients, nature often possesses wisdom we do not. A mother bird always saves a few worms for herself. This is because nature’s wisdom automatically knows the mother cannot help her babies if the mother is dead. Similarly, we cannot help others if our life force is dead. Stand up. Learn. Move out of your comfort zone. Prevent the exploitation of yourself and help others.

At the risk of sounding elitist, I will sound elitist!

If you are an Arkansas LAC, LAMFT, LPC, and/or LMFT…you have passed some of the highest credentialing in the nation. You are more than just another spoke in the wheel. You are more than just another cog in the counseling industry…

You are “Crème Du La Crème”, the cream of the crop. You are part of an elite group of mental health therapists who have fulfilled Arkansas’ high credentialing. So have faith in yourself and stand up.

 

Beyond Scared March 26, 2015

I found this somewhere else, but so clearly expresses the same point of view.  Susan

Beyond Scared.

by:  Deborah A. Novo

surviveTeenYears (2)It is natural to feel apprehensive and scared navigating through some of life’s challenges and expectations. Much of the time, we can do this with confidence and competence. However, scared doesn’t begin to identify the depth and breadth of the feeling that is experienced when our children with Reactive Attachment Disorder anticipate or perceive abandonment. The feeling could be more accurately described as panic and terror.

People outside the child’s inner circle may find it hard to believe the degree of distress and impairment that is observed and the myriad of triggers. One of our sons purposefully failed a school year so he wouldn’t have to graduate. His belief was that if he graduated he would “be deserted and on his own.”

Our other son and his girlfriend break up and he is in terror mode feeling like an infant again with no one to care for him. Despite their innumerable breakups they have never been “broken up” more than minutes as he frantically begs her not to leave.

When our children were younger triggers included me leaving the house to get groceries, them standing in the outfield during their baseball game, feeling rejected by classmates, spending respite at their grandparents among many, many other examples.

It is essential that mental health professionals, teachers and others involved understand the scope of emotion that real or perceived abandonment can provoke. Fearing abandonment on a chronic basis changes your brain and has significant, potentially life long, implications in creating connection and stability in relationships, academic success, sustaining employment and keeping oneself emotionally regulated and happy.

As parents, it is important to be prepared and respond appropriately. I have learned, through the years, that the best support you can give is a consistent, calm and empathetic response during these, often volatile, reactions. Anything else fuels their panic. There are tools that our family uses with the intention of balancing and healing their whole being so they can learn to soothe themselves and use their reasoning brain. Strategies such as yoga (free online yoga classes for all ages and levels at www.doyogawithme.com), Emotional Freedom Technique (free and easy instruction at www.emofree.com) and doing Brain Gym exercises are a few fun and very effective examples. When our sons were younger we would leave notes with the respite provider, to be given periodically, while we were away from our home. The notes had simple phrases that said, “we believe in you” and “you are safe and loved.” We still do this, but we now text these messages. I have placed Power Ranger stickers on my youngest son’s chest prior to his baseball games to remind him of the “power” within him. We recently resurrected his favorite stuffed version of that Power Ranger to help this now older teen. We continue to engage in quiet activities such as drawing, board games, Reiki and lots of hugs to minimize their intense reactions and promote their attachment, safety and self worth.

I have discovered that every experience, ultimately, has its benefits. For me, I have developed infinite compassion, advanced problem solving skills, articulate boundaries, self care and advocacy skills for my family. When parenting our special children there is no shortage of opportunity to practice growing in wisdom and love!

 

 

SO SO TORMENTED BY THE RECENT NEWS March 7, 2015

I am so tormented be the recent news from my state.

I am so sorry for the child.

I am also so sorry for the adoptive parents who, undoubtedly, must have felt so helpless and hopeless.

No adoptive parent adopts a child with the intent of sending that child away to be sexually abused.

I would say for the most part, adoptive parents adopt out of a deep longing to help a child.

And there really isn’t help “out there” for parents after the adoption.

I have said before, and will say again…

That other adoptive mother,,, who sent her adoptive son back to Russia, probably came to the conclusion that that action was the most merciful; send him back to his own language, own culture, to the food he understood,to the things with which he was familiar…..

and she could not find the help she needed.

 

MENTAL HEALTH THERAPISTS “STAND UP” February 24, 2015

Filed under: counseling,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 5:12 pm

Why do Qualified, Ethical, Licensed; Mental Health Professionals Not Open Our Own Private Practices?

  • We are afraid of failure
  • We lack knowledge about running a business
  • We don’t know how to get on insurance panels
  • We don’t understand how to bill for services
    We are uncomfortable asking clients for money
  • We don’t want to be perceived as greedy
  • We don’t believe in our own worth
  • We don’t value the service we have to offer
  • We don’t know about marketing
  • We feel uncomfortable with marketing ourselves
  • We feel we should be helping people not charging
    them money
  • We feel timid about seeking out referrals
  • We don’t know where to find referrals
  • We are afraid we won’t have any clients
  • Others have discouraged them from starting a practice
  • Others have told them how hard it is to get started
  • We don’t think we can afford the start-up costs
  • Sociopathic agencies have sucked the life out of us

Therapists, stand up on you own.

Do not allow yourself to be just another cog in the INDUSTRY OF THERAPY,

in some “Sociopathic Agency”.

Prevent yourself and your clients from being exploited.

YOU ARE TOO GOOD FOR THAT !

MENTAL HEATH THERAPISTS “STAND UP”

 

Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) January 24, 2015

I would like to elaborate on this using knowledge of biology as to what happens when we experience fear; THEN LET US CONSIDER OUR FOSTER OR ADOPTED CHILDREN.

When we are faced with a tiger, or we encounter any kind of trauma, grief, rejection of a loved one and so forth, the body floods the system with adrenaline, the hormone of strenuous action and fear or fight. This hormone helps us to deal with the ‘danger’.

Adrenaline activates the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) which is a sub-branch of the Autonomic Nervous System.

It controls specific bodily organs to prepare us for fight or flight. These reactions are BEYOND THE CONTROL OF OUR CONSCIOUSNESS. These unconscious reactions can be responsible for weird physiological symptoms.

The SNS dilates pupils of our eyes, shuts down the digestive organs, increases heart palpitations, relaxes the smooth muscles of bronchi and bronchioles, leading to “breathing problems”.

The smooth muscles of the digestive tract are inhibited, so peristalsis stops, sphincter of the bladder also contracts and the bladder wall relaxes. This may lead to involuntary defecation, also known as encopresis.

HMMMMMMMMMM. So some of the problems our kids have are subconscious?

Maybe we need to consider the “CONTROL” concept.  Maybe they are not out to control us!

Are they trying to control us or is something happening beyond their control?

 

A mother’s heart: posted on Facebook December 29, 2014

(She speaks from her hear and says things I have said myself – She writes about hurt children, sincere parents, tragic events and medications.)

By Annie Martin:
“Someone shared this and the comments it received made my heart ache.”

(Article: You’ll Never Guess What Every Mass Shooting Has In Common, And It Isn’t Weapons…
Read more at http://universalfreepress.com/nearly-every-mass-shooting-has-this-one-thing-in-common-and-it-isnt-weapons/)

“Everyone immediately sees a link with medication and these unfortunate events – but what I see is parents trying to seek help for their children, and children who are out of control and may not even know why.

God creates everyone beautifully, but events happen that change children, many times events that are beyond anything most people would comprehend and events that aren’t the fault of the child. Sometimes it’s their perception of the world around them or how they are treated by others. Sometimes it’s actual abuse, neglect, or even loss. We can give our children loving guidance but there comes a point of exhaustion when parents desperate for answers and help reach out.

Until you’ve been the mom of a child that cries out in genuine pain because he isn’t “like everyone else” and you hear his pleas to God in his prayers to “just make him normal” you don’t realize how deeply children hurt and that they see their differences as “bad”. Parents can hug, love, pray, read scripture, and mold their children. That doesn’t replace their need for outside help.

No one would ever think of asking someone with high blood pressure not to take their medication. Ever.

I’ll be the first to admit sometimes medications are over-prescribed, but that’s at EVERY level and every kind of medication.
There isn’t one common denominator of medication in any of these cases that I can see from this list (several of the medications are for depression, several are stimulants, and still others are anti-psychotic, and so on) — the common denominator is parents that were seeking out help for their children. The biggest issue here is the lack of quality mental health services with doctors that stay in place and monitor these children appropriately. Watching doctors and counselors come and go at Behavorial health facilities is so hard when with every change you have to start at the beginning, AGAIN!

This is not about parents that didn’t care, but likely parents that were struggling too. No one wants to be the parent of a child and say “I have no idea what to do…I don’t know how to help him anymore”
Yes, maybe this list shows that these children were all on medications…but it also shows parents asking for help, kids who were hurting too, and families that needed love and support, not criticism for seeking out help! The mental health system is broken, like so many other systems out there. We need to fix it so that children and families can truly get the help they need to prevent these tragedies.”

 

Why are there no support groups? November 24, 2014

……asked one mother of a RAD kid….

I quickly retorted….Because there is too much embarrassment and shame….No adoptive parent adopts with this in mind……

They are too embarrassed because their child is always a perfect angel at someone else’s house…

No one knows about the anger directed towards you; the yelling, screaming directed towards you; and pain involved.

They are too ashamed because they get so many critical looks reflecting that they should “just spank the kid”;

or give more consequences.

Or they get looks and comments which communicate that something must be something WRONG WITH YOU, as a parent, that you can not control your child.

Or just the opposite…..

They get too many looks or comments which communicate…

you are too hard on him; or all he needs is love;

but she is always so polite at my house…you just misunderstand him…..

 

I communicated to the mom to not be ashamed nor embarrassed for we are dealing with the one percent of the children which nothing seems to work.

But there is hope if you are willing to try something different…and I would bet you are…or you would not be calling me now.

 

 

Sensitive Children October 15, 2014

Filed under: Parenting,Relationships,SENSITIVE CHILDREN,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 4:02 pm

THIS IS NOT NEW BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT

Northwest Arkansas Therapy “Hope, Growth, Discovery”
January 7
Raising a Sensitive Child
by Sue Fliess

He cries at the drop of a hat—or a toy, in this case. She crumbles if you raise your voice at her, even slightly. He seems to have a bionic sense of smell. Before you write your child off as a drama queen, consider the fact that this behavior may be innate.

Research by Dr. Elaine Aron shows that a high degree of sensitivity is often a physiological reality with which some children are born. Despite what other parents may tell you, it’s not due to a deficiency in confidence or social skills, and it’s certainly not something you as parents have, or ever had, control over.

Sensitive children have different, or perhaps more exaggerated, reactions to things. They don’t act the way you’d expect a typical child should in many situations. Unfortunately, in our society, this is often seen as weakness. But according to Jeremy G. Schneider, a MFT (marriage and family therapist), it’s just the opposite. Says Schneider, “The reality is that sensitive children have a gift. They are able to experience the world at a higher level than average children.”

What earmarks a child as ‘highly sensitive’? Highly sensitive children may exhibit one or all of the following traits. Schneider explains that the key is to notice a pattern of behavior, as well as the degree to which a child exhibits one or more of the following:

Is your child highly sensitive to his/her senses? An excellent sense of smell or hearing? Very sensitive to pain?
Does your child get emotionally overwhelmed easily? Does she feel a wide, yet intense range of emotions? Does she sometimes get so excited she withdraws?
Does your child have a depth greater than his peers, or even adults? Does he ask profound questions, think a lot on his own or reflect on his experiences?
Is your child highly aware of her surroundings? Does she notice when small household items are moved or minor changes in others, like a haircut?
Is your child very sensitive to other people’s emotions? Does he notice when someone is feeling sad and try to help him? Does he seem especially sensitive to the feelings of animals?

Realizing your child is highly sensitive can be tough. Not tough to understand, but tough to swallow. Don’t depair! It’s better that you know early on, and take steps toward helping him deal with his world going forward. Schneider offers these two tips to parents to help their children maintain their sensitivity and confidence without making them feel they are not like other kids:

Adjust your behavior, not your child’s. Don’t try to force her to adapt to society’s demands. Love and accept your sensitive child unconditionally. You cannot change who he is. He needs to know you love him no matter how he perceives or reacts to the world.

Become partners. Work with your child to create ways to interact with the world safely. For instance, she’ll likely have an easier time interacting with classmates 1:1 than in larger groups, so set up individual play dates so she gets comfortable with several classmates.

Focus on strengths. Sensitivity is practically a stigma in the U.S. and it’s important not to “label” your child. Help him understand that he experiences the world more deeply than most children, and help him see the strengths associated with this. He may notice things most people don’t, have a better imagination, focus or concentrate better, be a gifted student, or empathize and be sensitive to others.

Make small changes. If you need to make changes to your child’s environment, make them little by little. She will feel less overwhelmed.

Nudge, don’t push. Most highly sensitive children get easily distressed when they have to make a decision. They often reject opportunities out of fear. Sometimes the best thing you can do is nudge your child to take a risk or try something new. The same goes for punishment. He’ll respond better to you gently correcting his behavior, rather than yelling at him. If your highly sensitive child knows you will be there for him and love him no matter what he is feeling, he’ll have less hesitation in new situations, and will be less self-conscious or risk-averse. If he knows you’re not going to push him to be something he’s not, you’ll both be a lot more relaxed and prepared for the road ahead.
You can help your child deal with the world and all the unexpected noise and upset it can throw out at us. Highly sensitive or not, all children need that parental security blanket every now and then.

 

PARADIGMS September 30, 2014

Filed under: counseling,Relationships,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 12:36 am
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, I have had writers block. I haven’t written in a while. Here goes…

PARADIGMS:  

A MILLION AND ONE WAYS TO LOOK AT THE WORLD

 YET I WILL BOIL IT DOWN TO ONLY

TWO FUNDAMENTAL PARADIGMS:

Problem Focused or Solution Focused

What is a paradigm?

According to Merriam-Webster :

A:  par·a·digm noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdīm, ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim\

B: a model or pattern for something that may be copied

C: a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about

1:  example, pattern; especially :  an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype

2:  an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms

3:  a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly :  a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.

Other words used to describe paradigm are: Example, pattern standard archetype, exemplar, and prototype.

 

So what does this have to do with counseling? There are a million and one ways to theorize about how human beings function, think, live, and process their emotions; and a million and one techniques to go with them. The Arkansas Board of Counseling mentions just a few listed below.

 Individual Therapy Focus

Cognitive Behavioral

Reframing exercises

Self-talk

Self-analysis/self-evaluation/self-assessment

Homework therapy

Relaxation techniques

Muscle relaxation

Deep breathing

Cognitive imagery

Guided imagery

Systematic desensitization

Problem-solving skills training

Self-monitoring

Cognitive restructuring

Role playing social problem-solving situations

Self-reinforcement

Self-instruction

Modeling

Positive incentives

Behavioral rehearsal

Monitoring negative thoughts

Restructuring negative or maladaptive thoughts

Person-Centered

Active listening

Reflection of feelings

Clarification

Empathy

Unconditional Positive Regard

Congruence

Adlerian

Gathering life history (genogram, family constellation, early recollections) ·

Therapeutic contracts

Homework assignments

Paradoxical intention

Suggestions

Confrontation

Interpretation

Providing encouragement

Paraphrasing

“Aha” experience

Catching Oneself

Acting “as if”

Gestalt

Reliving /re-experiencing unfinished business

Confrontation

Staying with feelings

Role playing

Empty chair

Creative expression (art, poetry, writing, movement)

Psychodrama

Putting feelings or thoughts into action

Body awareness (breathing awareness)

Guided imagery

Focusing on the here and now

Behavior

Reinforcement techniques

Relaxation methods

Modeling

Assertion/social skills training

Self-management programs

Behavioral rehearsal

Coaching

Contracts

Homework assignments

Reality

Evaluation of present behavior

Willingness to change

Development of specific plan to change

Awareness of how life would be different

Commitment to follow through with plan

Psychoanalytic

Interpretation

Dream analysis

Free association

Analysis of resistance

Analysis of transference

Questioning to develop case history

Existential

Identification of responsibility avoidance

Confronting irresponsibility

Owning of feelings, statements and actions

Attacking “wish” avoidance

Attacking affect avoidance

Unblocking decision-making

 Family Therapy Focus

From General Systems Theory:

Transgenerational/Bowenian/Contextual

Boundary making

Family sculpting

Genogram

Family reconstruction

Therapeutic contract

Going home assignments

Differentiation assignments

Family ledger

Structural

Enactments

Unbalancing

Tracking

Assess family structure

Assess family rules/roles

Reframing

Draw-A-Person

Kinetic Family Drawings

Family play

Strategic

Assess hierarchy/power

Circular questioning

Miracle question

Scaling questions

Exception questions

“As-if” assignments

Homework assignments

“Go slow” messages

Experiential

Positive connotations

Paradoxical interventions

Rituals

Ordeal assignments

Prescribing the symptom

Behavioral parent training

Restraining techniques

Identifying self-defeating patterns

Invariant prescription

2nd order changes

Family Sculpting

Family drawings

Hypnosis/trance

Here-and-now techniques

There-and-then techniques

Narrative

Questioning (opening space, meaning, future)

Deconstruction

Co-construction

Re-storying

Externalizing

Mapping influence of problem

Find Exceptions to Problem

Therapist’s letter-writing

Preferred view of self/from others

Psychoanalytic Family Therapy/Object Relations

Participant observation

Listening

Avoid reassuring, advising, confronting ·

Interpretation

Avoid counter transference

Integrative Family Therapy

Language of parts

Internal conversations

Micro/Macro lenses

Solution focus

 

WOW ! ARE YOU CONFUSED YET ?

MANY THEORIES HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT AND

MORE THEORIES COME EVERYDAY.

 

Okay, I will help you get off the Merry Go Round. I try to keep things simple. Everything listed above have been thought over and discussed thoroughly over the ages. They serve their purpose and help people. Yet even within the before mentioned paradigms, points of view, theories, techniques and approaches…

 

Therapy can be either

“PROBLEM FOCUSED”

or

“SOLUTION FOCUSED”

      Over the years of practice, I have done both approaches and have eventually come to prefer the “SOLUTION FOCUSED” approach. After using and watching both in action, I gravitated to the one, which seemed to me, proved more successful.

Here, let me give a brief synopsis.  PROBLEM FOCUSED:

“You are sad. You are so sad. How sad are you? So sad you couldn’t get out of bed for a week. So sad you couldn’t take a shower. So sad you couldn’t wash you hair or brush your teeth. So sad you couldn’t get up and let the dog out…..So sad the dog has now pooped on the floor…..”

Down……

Down…

Down…

Down….

Even I got depressed!

(The focus was on the problem of sadness.)

 

SOLUTION FOCUSED:

“You are sad. Okay…But I see you got yourself up…neat and clean, make up on…you got yourself here…Where did you get the energy and wisdom to come to a counselor?”

“Oh…you have known for a while you wanted to see a therapist and you finally made up you mind and made the phone call.”

“Yes, seeing a therapist is scary. But you know what? Most people do not even make the first phone call. Just the fact you made the call then showed up today, tells me a lot about how intelligent you are, your determination, and your willingness to do better in life. Congratulations…you are ahead of most people.”

(The focus is on strengths.)

Solution focus does not deny problems. On the other hand, why should strengths be denied? To me Solution focused is more balanced and healthier.

 

 

 

SO …WHAT IS COUNSELING? June 29, 2014

Filed under: Therapy — beyondpondering @ 5:20 pm

6. So… what is counseling?

A lot of talk ? Mamby-Pamby stuff?

Being told to just get over it?  

Pull your self together?    

A sign of weakness? Poor Character?

 

NO ! Indeed not.   

Counseling is about the therapist’s education and experience guiding you to self-exploration and understanding. It is the therapist’s education and experience which helps you find your own values, which in turn help you find the path which is right for you.

If you are “stuck”, the therapist can ask questions or present new ideas to help you get “unstuck”.  Perhaps these ideas are ones you just haven’t come to yet.

 There is also a lot of listening on the part of the therapist. Being able to tell your story to a non-judgmental listener helps in the healing process. Sometimes therapy is about validation. Trauma makes it difficult for a person to believe his or her own perceptions. Perhaps trauma makes you question yourself. You wonder: Did that really happen? Was THAT what I thought it was? A therapist may help confirm your perceptions. A therapist may help give new explanations to your perceptions.

Perhaps due to circumstances, you may not give yourself permission to feel the way you do. A therapist may validate your feelings or present a new point of view about your feelings. Remember…facing feelings can be frightening. But you can do this.

 Sometimes there are medical issues, which mimic psychological matters. A wise therapist will want you to see your Primary Care Physician to make sure there are no medical issues. Sometimes a person has a poor functioning thyroid and this can seem like depression. Hypoglycemia can seem like anxiety.

 Therapy is often guided talk and listening, to get the pieces of the puzzle put together. It may mean questioning and probing for information. This is to gain a fuller picture of what is happening in your life. Please remember this is done to help you help yourself.  

 We have talked about overcoming your fears to initiate the thought of going to a therapist. We talked about various aspects to consider when selecting a therapist. We reviewed ethics, education, licensures, costs, and what counseling entails. All in all, you have more courage than you know. The next step is to ask friends or family if they know any therapists. Perhaps you feel better surfing the web for information. There are professional associations that have therapist directories. Some therapists have their own websites.

 Remember your three choices stated in the first segment of this series: Keep it the same; make it worse; or MAKE IT BETTER. Continue your forward movement and make some phone calls. Talk to a therapist and “check them out”. I have faith in you to make good decisions. Congratulations for coming this far.

 

COST June 21, 2014

Filed under: Therapy — beyondpondering @ 4:02 pm
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5. Costs?

Cost is always a consideration these days. Not only is going to a therapist anxiety producing, the thought of going broke in the process, can also be anxiety producing.

“Never Fear, Help Is Here”

Before you flip your wig over the thought of an Associate therapist, there are potential benefits to seeing an Associate. They have most likely met their necessary qualifications. The very fact they have met these qualification indicates their quality. They did not drop out or get booted out of college. They just need time. Even their supervisor has met high criteria to be a supervisor.

If you are under serious financial strain, an Associate may have reduced fees. Besides that, you have the benefit of their Supervisor or Supervisors.   Everything is confidential, yet the Associate will discuss your situation with their Supervisor. This may be in an individual setting or in a group setting. You have the benefit of the ideas, suggestions, and insights from several therapists, for the same price. Now “how about that” as a good value for the price!

A Licensed Profession Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist have met the high criteria set by the state. They have successfully met all the criteria to get their full licensure. You are essentially purchasing their extra education, extras training, extra experience, greater expertise, and longevity.

Remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” 

What is trending these days, is the therapist attempting to remove themselves from bureaucracy to have greater freedom to help you. They may try to keep overhead low by having a sliding fee scale, take cash or credit card. This can allow them more time to focus on you the client, rather than processing insurances, or hire someone else to process insurance.

So what is counseling all about anyway? We will talk about that next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. LPC or a LMFT ? June 14, 2014

Filed under: Therapy — beyondpondering @ 8:22 pm
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What is the difference between an Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist?

“By the book”…education and perspective.

     “By the book”, an LPC’s education and perspective (or focus) is mainly on the individual.   The focus is on the wants and needs of the individual sitting in the chair in front of them. What does that one individual want?   What does that one individual need?    By the book, an LPC’s education’s main focus is the individual. Our society emphasizes individualism. That is good. That is fine.      I have no problem with that as long as the therapist understands no one is an island.

     We live in a complicated society which involves other people. The client came to be where they are due to multiple factors in society including family, friends, educational institutions, religious groups, so on and so forth. This is what Marriage and Family Therapists emphasizes. Not to say that an LPC cannot.  However, Marriage and Family Therapists get extra schooling which stresses “Family Systems”.

     A Marriage and Family Therapist’s education and perspective takes into account these reciprocal and interactive factors.  An LMFT will take extra classes to learn about these reciprocal interactive factors involved in the client’s world. Then the LMFT must pass through the Associate phase of supervision and practice counseling with a “Family Systems” supervisor.  Furthermore, they pass the MFT board requirements before obtaining their full licensure.

      An “individual” may want emancipation, for example.   A therapist can help with that. However, if that emancipation alienates that person from family, friends, alliances, and other support systems…is that really helping?   If that person becomes emancipated but is unable to support him or herself, is that really helping? A Marriage and Family Therapist will help the client understand these reciprocal interactive factors.

     So… an LMFT may help the person consider the social systems that are involved. The LMFT my encourage the individual to negotiate with family and friends to resolve tangled issues while also encouraging the individual to learn ways to value him or her self; work within the culture or system; or perhaps help the client to find new social support while the client is working on goals.  

     A therapist is not required to obtain their MFT licensure. They can practice with an LPC. An LPC may see couples. However, please be aware, only a LMFT may call themselves a Marriage and Family Therapist. They have earned it. Next time well talk about costs.

 

3. License? June 9, 2014

Filed under: Therapy — beyondpondering @ 10:54 pm
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     As I wrote the last segment, you probably noticed I used the word “Licensed” often.  I like what Merriam-Webster says:  

“Permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful”.

     No matter if it is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Social Worker or any other Licensed Psychotherapist, each has an educational and preparatory procedure all perspective therapists are expected to follow. State boards establish these procedures before giving a license to a potential therapist, as a way to ensure quality.

      Each state has its own variation in their expectations: A little more or less, graduate level course work; a little more or less “practice counseling” under the watchful supervision of a more experienced Licensed therapist.  To make a long story short, there are two levels of counseling licensures: A lower level licensure for beginners; and a more advanced licensure.   In Arkansas a counselor must go through and apprentice stage before being allowed to practice more independently at the more advanced level. Merriam-Webster states an apprentice is:  “a person who learns a job or skill by working for a fixed period of time with someone who is very good at that job or skill”.

     In modern language the term “associate” is used. A Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) or Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT) never actually work FOR their supervisor.   However, they are guided, coached, taught, corrected, and perhaps even eliminated by a supervisor, if need be. This is all done to help you, the potential client.

     Arkansas Counselors have all completed a minimum 60 graduate semester hour Professional Master’s degree in Counseling or a closely related discipline (such as Clinical Psychology). They have passed a national examination, and a state examination. They must practice a minimum of 3000 hours under the supervision of an experienced counselor specially trained to supervise new counselors in order to be fully licensed as an LPC or LMFT.

     A Licensed Profession Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) have successfully met all the criteria to get their more full licensure. However, even between these two licensures, there are differences. This will be discussed next time.