Beyondpondering's Weblog

Northwest Arkansas Therapy

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.

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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!

 

 

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”

 

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.

 

 

PARADIGMS September 30, 2014

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