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Summer is often a time of year for many people to relax and decompress from the year. Many people take vacations, and many people spend a lot more time outside. Kids go to camp or play in the pool. Parents take their kids hiking or lounge on the beach. The outdoors is quite an exceptional place to be during summer time. Though summer has come and gone, do not let that stop you from engaging in the beauties of the outdoors. This is why, Davidson Family Therapy, is happy to spotlight Willow Equine. Davidson Family Therapy and Willow Equine are partners in helping people in the local communities explore and uncover deep emotional connections to problems or issues they are faced with, or just allow space for people for various purposes.
Summer may be a time to hang by the pool, but Fall is a time to explore yourself in the crisp smell of leaves and horse hair. Willow Equine, provides a nonjudgmental space for clients to explore. Willow Equine, run by Katie Stankiewicz, partners with therapists in the community to provide equine psychotherapy, or the use of horses in therapy. One such therapy office that Willow Equine is partnered with is Davidson Family Therapy. Willow Equine is located in Mooresville, NC (one mile from Lazy 5 Ranch). This area includes forty acres of land, 20 horses and 5 llamas to be used in therapy, and other creatures (i.e. dogs, cats, chickens, snakes, etc.). There are a variety of spaces for clients to explore from green rolling hills, to enclosed forest areas with flowing creeks. If you or a family member are not progressing with traditional therapy, or do not want to participate in traditional counseling, this is a great place to discover yourself and get back in touch with your natural self.
Willow Equine uses the Eagala model. This model is a solution-oriented, and incorporates horses for mental health treatment, in which treatment goals, objectives and interventions are the focus. It is a ground based model, which means there is no riding or horsemanship involved.
There is a collaborative effort between horses, a mental health professional and an equine specialist working with the clients. After the time interacting with the horses, clients can reflect on the session, their feelings, shifts and patterns. Individuals and groups are given an opportunity to have a structured experience with the horses. EAP brings about a time to learn and explore oneself, problem solving strategies and interpersonal dynamics. This type of therapy helps people build self-esteem, as they move and interact with horses. For groups, it has been seen to be helpful in team building and problem solving.
If you have ever been to therapy, you may have been encouraged by your therapist to journal. “Why,” might you ask, "is journaling so powerful?" Researchers have found that the act of journaling improves your mood. If you are tired of feeling emotionally tired, perhaps it's time to give journaling a try. What do you have to lose?
Don't have a journal? No worries! Simply find a note pad, sticky note, tablet, phone, or computer and start jotting your thoughts down. If what is stopping you is your belief that you need to go buy a fancy lock and key diary, do not let that get in your way. You do not even have to keep your journal entries. Some people find it therapeutic to burn or throw away what they have written, to allow themselves to move on. While others enjoy looking back on their entries. There is no right or wrong way to journal. You do not even need to necessarily write- you can journal can by drawing, writing poetry poetry, collecting quotes, or even scrapbooking from magazines. Journaling isn't about where or how you express yourself, it is simply the act of expressing. Ready to get started? Feel free to use these helpful prompts below!
1. 5 things I am grateful for today…
2. Write a letter from the viewpoint of a scar.
3. What are some goals you want to reach? How are you reaching them today? What can you do tomorrow? What is stopping you, or getting in the way?
4. Today I feel…
5. Critical Thoughts vs Compassionate Thoughts (on one side write the critical thoughts your struggle with, and on the other side write the compassionate thought of the adjacent critical thought.
6. I am not my story… (write a story and share it with someone else, if you choose, to come to realize that this story is not who you are, but merely something that occurred.)
7. Gather 10 Affirmations about yourself and life. (Examples of affirmations are: I am enough. May I be happy. May I be healthy. I am capable.)
8. I feel my best when… (What are you doing at your best? Who are you with? What does this feel like in your body?)
9. I feel my worst when… (What is going on when you are at your worst? Is there a specific thing you or another person(s) are doing?
10. My favorite self-care things to do are…
11. Reflect on your support system- Who are some people or groups of people who provide support for you?
12. Write/express about different emotions (Anger, Envy, Fear, Joy, Sadness) Where do you feel them in your body? What is going on when you feel them? When was the last time you felt them?
13. The Miracle question: write or draw how you would like your life to be if you woke up tomorrow, and a miracle had occurred. Who would you be with? Where would you be? What would you be doing? Try to keep this as realistic as possible.
14. Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself or someone else.
Remember to write a disclosure on your first page, letting people know that this is your property and they can only read it when you choose to let them. It is common for people to share with their therapist what they have done in their journals, but it is always your choice with whom you choose to share your intimate thoughts and feelings. Give journaling a try, and good luck on your adventure!
Imagine, it is a Tuesday evening and you have just gotten home from work. After a day of meetings, projects and sitting in traffic, all you want to do is get home and relax. You are exhausted! You open the door, and your dog greets you in a way no else can. Wagging tails, big excited eyes, and sloppy kisses as you enter the door after a long tiring day.
One thing that dogs provide us is unconditional love. All we have to do is open the door and we are instantly greeted with love and affection for no reason other than being ourselves. Humans want to feel love and acceptance, and dogs provide that with little effort made by us. Beyond the unconditional love and acceptance that some of our companions provide us, is a service. Project 2 Heal is local non-profit organization helping people acquire a service animal and more
Project 2 Heal was created by Charlie Petrizzo to help people heal in various way. Project 2 Heal breeds Labrador Retrievers with the intent of helping people heal and grow through the life of a dog. Half of each liter is donated as a service dog to people with physical or emotional disabilities, while the other half is sold in order to help financially support the efforts put in by Charlie and his staff. The mothers of the puppies may also donated to caring homes, once they are done rearing their pups.
So, how can a person who is not in need of a service animal help or benefit from Project 2 Heal? Simple! All you have to do is visit their facility in Waxhaw, North Carolina to enjoy and learn about the benefits this organization. The facility is filled with litters of puppies and dogs, for you to interact with. Please note that this is not therapy, although it may be therapeutic.
Project 2 Heal is an amazing non-profit organization that can help a human and a dog. While you or your family member, visit the dogs and puppies, you experience helping the dog train and get human interaction- an essential part of the process for these pups who will one day become service dogs. While you are with them, you yourself may gain joy, self-confidence and acceptance. If you do not believe me, check it out for yourself. Contact Project 2 Heal at 704-256-4056, or visit their website at project2heal.org. There are so many ways you can help these dogs and yourself heal and grow.
Davidson Family Therapy is proud and honored to Spotlight Project 2 Heal, as well as volunteer time and efforts to supporting this organization. We encourage our clients and others to check out this great community organization and see how you can donate or get involved.
Ahh, the holiday/winter season- full of family gatherings, vacation time, presents, and fruit cakes galore. Indeed, “the most wonderful time of the year,” at least for some. For others, it is a dark and depressing time. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a “specifier” of Major Depressive Disorder, that is exacerbated during certain months of the year. While many people do commonly experience SAD during the winter months, it is not unusual for some people to experience “the blues” during the summer months. The key is that a person experiences an increase of depressive symptoms during certain season and then as the season passes, the symptoms dissipate.
In order to be diagnosed with SAD, one must have experienced exacerbated depressive symptoms during the same season every year for at least two years. It is important to differentiate whether the depression is related to the season, or if it is a more ongoing depression, because the treatment will be a little different for each.
According to Sherri Melrose, who wrote about Seasonal Affective Disorder in A Hindawi Depression Research and Treatment Journal, when the winter months occur and the sun is not out as long the brain increases the production of Melatonin. I n response to the over-production of melatonin, people may feel sleepier, which can have an impact on someone who is already prone to depression. Melatonin is commonly known as a pill you can find in the drug store that can help one fall asleep. Melatonin is a hormone that makes you sleepy, and most people's bodies produce this hormone on it's own.
Melrose also states that people who get seasonal depression, like other depressions, have trouble regulating the creation of serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter, or neuro chemical, that is thought to play a key role in depression. Melrose found a study that showed that 5% of people who have SAD also had an increase of a protein that interacts with serotonin causing it to lower.
So, what can you do about seasonal affective disorder if your brain is working against you?
1. Antidepressants- Make sure you are under the care of a doctor, or psychiatrist who can prescribe you antidepressants, or adjust your dose during the winter months. Different antidepressants will help with the regulation of serotonin
2. Vitamin D- Since the sun is not out as much during the winter months, it is a good idea to take some Vitamin D to help counteract the lack of it you will be having during the darker months. Be sure to consult your doctor before adjusting your vitamin intake!
3. Light Therapy- Sherri Melrose and many others talk about the use of light therapy. There are boxes you can purchase that will replace the lack of sunlight. This is something that you should consult with your doctor about. He or she can hopefully recommend one for you.
4. Go Outside- Despite the cold and the darker sky, it is important that you go outside a few times a day to get a breath of fresh air. Do not let Amazon and the local grocery stores who have convenient delivery tempt you to stay indoors. It is good for you to get out, and although it is hard to do, you can do it. Of course, if there are wintry conditions, use caution before going outside!
5. Lay off Computer Screens- When we were talking about light therapy, we do not mean replace the sunlight with computer light. Stay in connection with people by interacting with them in person, and get more involved in things like books or puzzles that are not on your phone or computer.
6. Plan Ahead- If you have had SAD for a few years now, you know the routine. If it is hard for you to cook during the seasons that affect your depression the most, prepare homemade food a few weeks or months in advance, and put them in the freezer for those wintery days that are coming. You can even put a post it note with encouraging words for your future self. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you will need them to help support you and interact with you. Also, plan ahead trips that will force you to get out of the house.
7. Be Warm and Cozy- Start up the fire, and if you do not have a fireplace light up some candles. Set a warm and cozy tone for yourself, whether it is by taking a warm bath, snuggling up in warm comfy pajamas, or a hot cup of cocoa or tea. Be creative and kind to yourself.
8. Journal- We all tend to get lost in our thoughts, especially when stuck inside on those snowy days. Journaling is a great way to get the thoughts you get stuck on out of your head and onto paper. You can also do a gratitude journal or happiness journal and write 10 things you are grateful or happy about each day.
9. Get Lost in a Book- Similar to planning ahead, plan to read a book that you have been wanting to read during the particularly draining season. Reading is a great way to momentarily escape, and is such an accessible activity for those snowy days.
10. Counseling- There are several different types of therapy a person can try, such as Cognitive Behavioral or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Not only can counseling get you to challenge thoughts and behaviors, but it will get you out of the house for a purpose other than going to the grocery store. You and therapist can help you regain a sense of control over your body and emotions, no matter what season you are in.
We at Davidson Family Therapy, know how hard the winter months can be. We would like to encourage you to do some of the things on this list, make an appointment, and continue reading more on the journal article that this blog references, which is listed below. You do not have to do this alone!
Melrose, Sherri (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: an overview of assessment and treatment approaches. Hindawi Publishing Corporation- Depression Research and Treatment. Doi:10.1155/2015/178564
Clients often ask for cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, because of how successful it has been shown to be for decades. CBT was developed by Arron Beck in the 1960’s. He noticed that when he worked with clients on their thoughts, or cognitions, and challenged them, growth would happen faster. Eventually he developed what is now known as CBT, and 1,000s of studies have supported the evidence that it is an effective form of treatment for people with depression, anxiety, and many other diagnoses.
According to CBT, the first step to solving a problem is understanding the thought behind the adverse experience. While we cannot always control what happens in our lives, we can, according to Beck, remain in control of our perception of the event. Thus, focusing on the thought behind a negative experience puts us back in control of our experiences. This is easier said than done, though. Many of us are ruled by our automatic thoughts, which are brief and pop into our minds without warning. These thoughts result in what seems to be an automatic reaction, similar to a reflex, which causes us to believe we can't control our actions. The first step is to analyze the situation and determine the thought underlying the action triggered by the event. For example, if you jump when you see a snake, you jump because you are thinking "snakes are dangerous;" therefore, causing you to jump out of the way. Once you have recognized the thought, it is important to determine whether the thought is true and/or healthy.
The second part of cognitive behavioral therapy is challenging the thought. Continuing with the snake example, if there are a lot of garden snakes in your backyard that are keeping you from enjoying the environment, it may be worthwhile to challenge the thought that "all snakes are dangerous." Shifting the thought to "small green snakes are will not harm me" will help step back out on your porch again and not be trapped by an uncontrollable circumstance.
Now, here is where it can get tricky. Not everything is as concrete as the snake example. Let's say you are struggling with the thought "I am not smart," which is causing you to not pursue your dreams. Let’s say that there is no supporting evidence that suggests you are, or are not smart. How do you determine whether or not this thought is true? Constantly thinking to yourself, “I am not smart,” is not helpful, yet there is likely a way to restructure the thought in a way that is healthier. This is where the last part of CBT comes in.
The last part, and most crucial concept is to change the negative or non-helpful thought to something that is more helpful or positive. For instance, it is not helpful to think, “I am not smart.” This thought is going to make you feel sad about yourself, and you can develop anxiety around performance or even depression. Instead, you could change the thought to, “because I am human, I cannot be great at everything, but my weaknesses don't have to define me.” Reframing an unhelpful thought requires creativity, and at times an objective professional, but it can be the key to changing many of the negative areas in our lives.
So, let’s go over this one more time is a simple way, known as the 3 C’s of CBT.
1. Check the thought- is it a negative thought?
"I haven't been asked to hang out in weeks. No one loves me"
2. Challenge the thought- are you looking at all the evidence? Is this a helpful thought?
"My family calls me every Friday to check in on me. I also went to the movies with my friend last month."
3. Change the thought- make it a more helpful or positive thought. When you think of the negative thought, use this thought instead.
"People do love me, but I cannot expect them to always be the ones to reach out. I need to put effort in the relationships too."
Our therapists have done Cognitive Behavioral Therapy trainings with the Beck Institute in California. If you are looking for a therapist who can help you by using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, check out our website, and give us a call.
Ahhh, the classic birds and the bees talk that every parent looks forward to. As therapists, we see many parents struggle with this topic, causing some to avoid the topic altogether. Talking about sex openly in America is a taboo. Some parents are afraid that by talking about sex will cause their children to think about and consequently have sex. Rest assured, this is a myth! If your child does not learn about sex from you, they will learn about sex from peers and others. Take your chance in talking to your children first, before others potentially misinform them. Here's a few tips to help you get started:
1. Be calm and Relaxed
Your child looks to you on how to respond to situations. If you talk to them about sex in a ridged manner, they may receive a message that sex is bad. This message may follow them into their adult life which can lead to an unhealthy sexual appetite. If you respond with anxiety or anger related to this topic, they may leave in confusion and fear about ever coming to an adult to speak about sex at all. If you stay calm and confident while talking to your child about sex, chances are your child will respect and value what you say and feel comfortable coming to you with further questions or concerns regarding the topic.
2. Let them ask questions
This is a topic not discussed by many adults in a child's life. Most likely, you are the first (and only) adult to talk to them about sex; therefore, they likely have many questions about the reality of sex. Be prepared for a lot of questions, even questions that may catch you off guard. Letting your child ask questions gives the child some power in the conversation and helps ensure that all of their questions are answered, so they don't have to turn to peers, or worse, explore, to get the answers themselves. If they say they do not know what to ask, ask them what they know about sex, and go from there.
A lot of how kids get (mis)information from the internet and their peers. Take this time to teach them what you want them to know about sex. You can take this time to teach them what values you and your family have about sex. Educate them on the reality of sexually transmitted diseases and the potential for conception. Warn them about peer pressure and the difference between a relationship about love vs a relationship about lust. Ask them what they already know about sex, and help them with areas they may be confused with.
4. Use the correct anatomical words
It is common for parents to use terms like "cookie" or "hoo-hoo" with their toddlers. However, it is important to use anatomically correct terms in order for their to be no confusion on the topic. If a child needs to report someone violating their private areas, but uses the word "cookie," the information may get lost in translation.
5. Only explain what they need to know
Developmentally, each age group needs to know a little bit more or less when it comes to talking about sex. For instance, a 3 year old does not need to know the logistics of sex, because developmentally they will not be able to understand. But, believe it or not, talking about sex should start as early as 12 months! Here is a rough schedule of what to say and when to say it, but keep in mind every child is different and may need to hear each topic sooner, depending on development & environment:
- Age 0-4: use correct anatomical names & redirect immodest behavior (lifting shirt in public).
- Age 5-7: discuss male vs female parts, talk about good touches vs bad touches (sexual assault) & teach them how to report if wrongly touched.
- Age 8-10: educate children on the reality & dangers of porn and sexual predators on the internet, also remind children of what sexual abuse looks like .
- Age 11-12: educate on how the body & emotions changes during puberty, what healthy romantic relationships look like, and talk about how their bodies may experience sexual desires.
- Age 13+: discuss the physical acts of sex, how sexually transmitted diseases can be passed (oral and penetration), and the importance of protection if engaging in intercourse.
Educating your children about sex is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. This is where you as a parent get to play an important role in teaching the values of sex and how to remain healthy and safe. It is important for your child to feel comfortable to come to you with their questions or concerns so that they can have you as a guide. Regardless of whether you want your child to know about sex, they will learn about it, so now is your time to ensure they are getting accurate information from the one that cares the most about them!
One hallmark about humans is that we are social beings. Even introverts, who prefer to be alone, need to have relationships with other people. In many ways, we are stronger when we are together; however, some relationships may do just the opposite. Some people struggle with friendships, others struggle with family members, but one of the most common relationship struggles that we see in our office involve intimate partners. This list was made in hopes to bring to light possible unhealthy habits that may take place in your relationships, whether it be with a partner, sibling, or friend.
1. Controlling a person's appearance
Telling someone how to dress or look is basically hijacking a person’s identity. A person's style expresses their individuality and highlights the characteristics in which they take pride. It is not appropriate for someone to always tell another how to dress, what makeup to wear, or how they should style his/her hair. A friendly suggestion is one thing, but assuming control of another's style sheds light on a potential unhealthy relationship.
2. Criticizing & Name Calling
According to the legendary couple’s therapist, John Gottman, criticizing is one of the four horsemen in unhealthy relationships. It never feels good when someone criticizes another's honest effort. Know how to spot the difference between constructive feedback versus criticism- constructive feedback is given with the intention to genuinely help someone become a better version of themselves, while criticisms are simply given to tear down another's confidence. Here's an example of constructive feedback: "Wow honey, thank you for making chicken pot pie for us. If you don't mind, I think it needs a little more spices to enhance the flavor." And here's an example of criticism: "Blech. This pot pie is so bland. Remind me to sign you up for cooking lessons." Spot the difference? The first one offers a gentle suggestion amidst praise and thanksgiving, while the second is starkly punitive and belittling. It is important to seek counseling with your partner if criticism is something that you experience a lot in your relationship. The same goes for name calling- there is a difference between affectionate names and derogatory names. In order to understand if the name is friendly or not, both parties should feel good when saying/hearing the name.
3. Isolation from Family and Friends
This is one of the hallmarks of intimate partner violence, and another method of control. When a person is actively trying to keep you away from family or friends, it should be a big red flag. Once other relationships decreased it is not uncommon for the partner to begin instilling other forms of harm, now that the other is isolated.
4. Blaming & Shaming
This is a common manipulation tactic. It is hard for some people to take responsibility for their actions, and so they blame another to help lessen the blow to their ego. One of the most frustrating parts of fighting can be when a person not only denies responsibility, but then misplaces the blame on you. Making people feel guilt or shame about something may be a power play in order to continue to hold power over someone else. It is easier to have control over someone who feels shame about themselves than it is to have control over someone who is proud and empowered.
5. Physically harms
This is an obvious sign of being in an unhealthy relationship. There is no reason for another person to put their hands or anything else on you, unless it is your wish. A person can be angry without physically harming another. THERE IS NO REASON FOR A PERSON TO HARM ANOTHER.
6. Ignoring & Witholding Affection
Withholding affection and ignoring another is conditional love, meaning, “I only love you when you do x, y, or z for me.” Healthy relationships are unconditional, meaning no matter what you do or say, they will love you regardless. Withholding affection or ignoring is a passive way of manipulating another person. Often what happens is the person who is being ignored will drive themselves crazy trying to please the other.
A healthy relationship is built on the foundation of trust. If a person is going through another’s phone calls, text messages, emails or other form invasion of privacy, it is because they do not trust them. If you do not trust your partner, or they do not trust you, there is a reason. Counseling can help!
8. Makes all the Decisions
From choosing where to go for lunch, to deciding where money goes, a partnership is healthy when both parties are equal in their decisions. Some people struggle with making decisions themselves and so it can be even more challenging adding another person into the equation. This is when compromising comes into play.
9. Pressures the other
It is healthy for us to venture out and try new things, but we are the experts of ourselves. We know that if we are not comfortable trying something new or doing something we know we do not like. A person in a healthy relationship respects the boundaries of the partner. This is especially true for intimacy related boundaries. A person should never feel pressured to try or do anything they are uncomfortable doing. Sure, we should all be challenged to expand our comfort zones from time to time, but we should never be pressured or forced to compromise our values or personal desires.
10. Cheats or Threatens to Cheat
Each couple has their own definition of what cheating is. For instance, couples who are in an open relationship may have a different idea on what cheating is than another couple who is in a closed relationship. If your partner cheats on your or threatens to cheat on you, they are likely not respecting the bonds of the relationship and are misusing your trust.
11. Inappropriately Overreacts to a Situation
We all have times when we overreact to a situation, but there should be a red flag if your partner overreacts to nearly every situation. If you feel as though you are walking on egg shells around your partner in order to not upset them, it is likely because your partner gets set off by the slightest trigger. This ongoing stress to appease the other is tiresome and unfair.
12. Smashes, Throws or Breaks Things
Sometimes when people get very angry they might throw or smash something in order to relieve themselves of that anger. It is okay for a person to feel angry, but it is important to express anger in a healthy and safe way. It is not okay for someone to throw things at another or break things that do not belong to them. There are appropriate and healthy ways for a person to release their aggression physically, such as through general exercise, boxing, or playing sports.
As humans, relationships are vital for our wellbeing. We crave a sense of acceptance, understanding, and love. If you are in a relationship with several signs that are listed above, please understand that there is much room for improvement. Relationships with others are important, and you are worthy of being treated with respect and love. Contact us today to help learn how to deepen your relationship and create healthy boundaries.
Adolescence is a hard time in a person’s life time, as a lot of change is occurring. Hormones are changing, friends are changing, as well as added independence and responsibilities. Teenagers want to be accepted not just by their family, but by everyone. That is a hard and unrealistic task to accomplish. On top of the existential crises that many teenagers experience, they are challenged to make a life-defining decision of what career they want to pursue, and consequently what school they want to attend. Adolescence is indeed a stressful time for anyone. Since, teenagers spend most of the day at school, it is important that their time is spent in an environment that is safe and nurtures not only their academic and vocational needs, but also tends to their emotional, social, and developmental needs.
Each month Davidson Family Therapy promotes a local place in the community to help provide resources for our clients and our community. In honor of the back-to-school season, we are proud to Spot Light Trinity Prep, a school that puts your child a step closer towards success. Davidson Family Therapy proudly promotes this school as an option for our clients that could benefit from a smaller class size, an achievement-focused curriculum, a wellness-focused environment, and a tight-knit academic community.
Trinity Prep is a small private school, located on East Independence Blvd in Charlotte, NC. The school accepts students in 8th grade all the way up to senior year. The classes are small in size and allow students to learn at their own pace. Each class tends to a variety of learning styles, through the use of lectures, reading activities, group projects, and experiential activities. Trinity Prep assists every student in maximizing their learning potential by catering their learning experience with their learning style. This is a great environment for students with classroom or performance anxiety, attention problems, obsessive compulsive disorder, bullying, or learning difficulties. Because the school is small, each student is truly given the time and effort to help them find their own way to succeed.
Trinity Prep not only caters to those who experience difficulty in learning in the classroom, but is a safe environment for your children to grow. This school has a strict bullying policy and encourages their students to be kind not only to their peers in school, but out of school as well. If a child does act out behaviorally, the school patiently works with the child, welcoming in community resources, like therapists, to cultivate a plan that can help the child better succeed while addressing the underlying concerns triggering the disruptive behaviors. Based on our observations and perception, Trinity Prep truly is a nurturing place for adolescents.
Trinity Prep's aim is not to simply get their students through school, but rather to prepare them to be successful in their desired careers. Thus, they offer many opportunities for their students to explore their interests and cultivate the skills necessary to advance beyond graduation. Despite the small size, there are clubs, sports, organizations and school dances. Many of the students get into their first choice for college and become successful students at excellent colleges and universities.
If you are interested in enrolling your child into Trinity Prep, the process is not a hard one. Simply call to see if space is available in your child's grade level, then apply online. Once you have applied and been approved, you will meet with the head of the school, Doug Corwin for an interview. After the interview, on another date, your child will be allowed to visit the school for a day to make sure that Trinity Prep is a good match for the student, and that the student is a good match for Trinity Prep.
We have seen lives change after enrollment at Trinity Prep and Davidson Family Therapy is honored and proud to be able to spot light this school to assist parents in finding an academic solution for their child in the community. For more information visit Trinity Prep, or call 704-569-1900. If your child is struggling in school, whether it be academically, behaviorally, or socially, please reach out to one of our therapists today, as they can help you and your child navigate through whatever challenges they may face.
Summer is a great time to sit down and catch up on a good book. Reading is one of our personal favorite types of self-care, because books allow you to escape from your troubles, worries or stressors (and even the heat), if only for a brief time. Also, this reading is a versatile self care tool. You can take a book with you on your beach trip, when you take your dog to the dog park, while you are waiting to see a doctor, or relaxing in the bath tub. Reading can truly be a great escape!
This month, we are proud to spot light Main Street Books in our community. Main Street Books is located on Main Street in the historical and quaint downtown Davidson, NC. It is a great place to explore the latest and greatest books, as they have highlights and suggestions for almost every genre. Main Street books has friendly and helpful staff who can help suggest books, based on your interest. One of our favorite features they offer is a "blind date with a book," which is a bookshelf of wrapped books with hints of what the book entails. This is a fun way to read a book you may not have picked otherwise.
Main Street Books also hosts interactive events for all ages. On Wednesdays, from 10am to 10:30am they have story time for children. Meet up with other parents and children in your community while listening to a fun story. For teens and youth, Main Street Books offers an advisory board group for teens that meets and reviews new books, which is an excellent way for book-loving teens to be proactive in their community. On the third Tuesday of each month, an open book club meets at 7pm. The group explores a variety of literature throughout the year. But wait, there is more! Check out their event calendar to see if any of your favorite authors are scheduled to come for a book signing or meet and greet, or for a live music event.
So, next time you are visiting Main Street in Davidson, we encourage you to stop by Main Street Books, pick a book for yourself and your children, or even join them for one of their fun events. As bookworms ourselves, we would love to know what you are reading, so bring it in to the office and tell us all about it.
It is summer time, which means the kids are out of school and in the house. We know it can be hard to for parents to feel like they constantly have to entertain their kids, or keep them preoccupied during the summer. Here are a few things we hope might inspire you to make this summer count!
1. Family Field Day
If you have multiple children, have a field day with a healthy dose of competition and games, such as a water balloon toss. Also, try a marshmallow stacking contest. All you need is a ruler and Marshmallows. The ruler goes in their mouth and they see how many big marshmallows they can stack on the end of the ruler. Finally end the day with a chalk art competition!
2. Go to the Park
Parks are a great place to have a picnic, walk your dog, or just sit and soak up the sun. Bring a book to read, or a friend to talk to. If you have stale bread, bring that to feed the ducks. Try Roosevelt Wilson Park on Griffin street!
3. Get Active
Walk instead of drive to places that are nearby, such as shops or lunch places. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen, because it can get hot out there! There are plenty of shaded greenways for a bike ride. Check out this map for greenways in Davidson, NC. The pool is a great place to stay cool and get active as well!
4. Designate a Game Night
Afternoons and evenings are an important time for families, because many parents work during the day. It is important to use your family time wisely. If you and your family have one night that is free, pick a game to play. It does not have to be an expensive or elaborate board game, you can play cards, dominos, Pictionary or another interactive game.
5. Get Messy
Summer time is the time to get messy and fun. Have a shaving cream party- play on a tarp with shaving cream or soap and water and end the fun session with sprinkler time to wash off! For the younger kids, consider dyeing vanilla pudding with food dye to use for finger painting. Sensory activities like these are super nurturing for children.
6. Themed Dinners & Evenings
Again, evening and afternoons are an important part of the day for families, because it is typically a time when everyone is together and can talk about their day. Themed dinners can be fun, such as Mexican themed with salsa dancing and Latino radio playing the background. A murder mystery theme is always fun- everyone dresses up as a character from clue, which will make playing the board game feel more interactive. Get creative with what you and your family enjoys, (i.e. Harry Potter, Ratatouille, etc.)
Picnics are all the rave this summer. Do not think you need to go by a picnic basket and fancy picnic blanket. Plan a picnic in the back yard with a sheet, or go to a local favorite spot or park.
8. Camp Out in the Back Yard
For such a small space, there sure is a lot to do in a backyard. Pitch a tent and star gaze, tell stories, make s’mores, or watch a movie outside if you have a projector. Enjoy the experience of camping without having to leave your home!
9. Nature Scavenger Hunt
I spy with my little eye a great idea! This is an activity that not only teaches your child about nature, but helps them become mindful without them knowing it. Get their attention focused on the now. Have them find things you have either placed, or know are in your back yard/park/outdoor area. Make a list and send them on the hunt! We found this one that emphasizes sensory integration.
Giving back to people makes us feel good, not only about ourselves, but about our community. Summer is a great time to give back to others. Perhaps you and your children can stock a few backpacks, filled with the necessary items to help children in need be prepared for the school year. Ada Jenkins is a local nonprofit center that provides health, education, and human services for those in need. Check out how you can help today!
There is a lot to do this summer in Davidson. Get messy, have fun and remember to implement self-care every day. If you struggle with self-care, we can help visit our website for more information.
Time management is one of the most talked about conversations in individual and family therapy. Balancing the many struggles in life is a hard task. When we struggle with balancing, we tend to see the pillars of our lives as problems rather than accepting them for what they are. We tend to either focus on all of our problems all at once, or narrow our focus to one problem while neglecting the other areas of our life.
The first step to accomplishing anything in life is to breathe. Sometimes when we get stressed we unconsciously hold our breath. If we do not breathe our bodies begin to tense and our cortisol levels increase. Cortisol is the stress hormone; cortisol is not necessarily bad, but in high amounts it can cause serious health issues. When you breathe, your heart rate slows down and your central nervous system relaxes. If you do not believe me try it for yourself! Inhale for four seconds, hold, and exhale for four seconds- Do this 4 times in a row and you will be able to feel your mind grow fuzzy and your body slow down.
2. Take back your time
It is time that you gain back control over the life that you want and deserve! Time organization can help with that. Figure out what a perfect day is for you, from the time you wake up to the time go to bed. Figure out what things you get done better in the morning, afternoon and night. For instance, if you do not have the energy to workout after a long day's work, then you might need to workout in the morning. Figure out how much time you need and wake up that much earlier. Instead of waking up at 7:30, maybe you need to wake up at 6:15 in order to work out and shower for the rest of the day. Figure out what works for you, and how you can best conquer it.
3. Make appointments for yourself
Another part of time management is making time for all of the things that are important to your day. For instance, dedicate 30 minutes of your morning to answering emails, or meditate. Determine what your priorities are, and calculate how much time you need to accomplish these tasks and put them into your daily schedule. This can also create habits and structure.
Setting timers is a great way to take control back in your life. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with the long lists of to-do’s or tasks to complete. If you have a lot of things on your to-do list, then try setting a timer for each task. You can use the alarm on your phone or your watch. Determine how much time you need for each task and set the timer. This way you do not have to worry about getting lost in your work, because you can trust the alarm to alert you when it is time to move forward. Remember, it is important to take breaks in between tasks. Set a 5-10 minute alarm in between each task, so that you can rest your mind and body.
5. Make Lists
Lists are another great way to organize your priorities. Lists can help people figure out what we need to get done. One way people get “stuck” with lists is that they put too many tasks on their lists, or the tasks are simply unrealistic. This can lead to the task not getting completed and can consequently lead to a person feeling defeated. Try making a list of things you need to do and prioritize them from top to bottom. Make sure that at least some of them are items that will be easier for you to check off. The more you check off, the more motivated and accomplished you may feel. Also, try making a list of goals you wish to attain each day of the week. Assign certain tasks for certain days, this way you are focused on a specific item for the day.
How on earth could sitting still and doing nothing create productivity? This is is similar to the concept in number 7. Essentially, when you need to get things done, you must be at your best, yet, you will probably not be at your best when you have a million thoughts going on inside your mind. Meditating is a tool that is helpful for those to gain back control and find balance in their lives. Meditation is not just sitting on the floor chanting with your palms up. Mindfulness can simply be a moment where you focus all of your thoughts on the present experience. Sometimes, in order to be productive we have to slow down.
If you have ever been on an airplane, then you have probably heard the stewardess or steward talk about safety before taking off. They say, “in case of decreased pressure in the cabin, oxygen masks will drop. Put YOUR mask on, before helping others.” This is because, if you pass out before helping someone who needs your assistance, then you are both in jeopardy of not getting what you need. If you are not well, you cannot expect to help another person, do a task at work, or take care of your children. Self care is one of the most important concepts of life, yet it is something that people often neglect. Figure out what you need in order to“save yourself,” and then carve out a chunk of time for this daily. It does not have to be something big, or something expensive.
We hope these tips help you gain a sense of control over your routine & schedule. If you have chronic stress problems or find yourself constantly spinning in circles when trying to knock out your to-do list, counseling can help. For more information, visit, our website or make an appointment.
Picture this- It’s a Tuesday morning and the sun is shining. You have had your cup of coffee and are on your way to work. Suddenly, you have to pull the car over because you are having a diabetic emergency. You were born with this condition and have learned to manage your entire life. Your insulin is low, and you do not have your medication or any food. What started as a beautiful day is now a medical crisis. You call 911, get to the emergency room, and are treated for your diabetes. Hopefully you go to your doctor’s office, where you get checked regularly and let them know about the emergency. You continue to manage your diabetes; while hard, you continue, because your life depends on it.
Now let’s change the story around. It is still a beautiful Tuesday morning. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. You have had your morning coffee and head off to work. Except this time, you experience what you believe to be a heart attack- you are hyperventilating, sweating, your mind is racing and you feel like your body is shutting down. You call 911. At the Emergency Room, you are told that your EKG came back normal. The doctor gets some more information and then clarifies that what you experienced is called a panic attack, and not a heart attack. Shame immediately sets in. They probably prescribe you a sedative and send you on your way. You think to yourself how did this ever happen to ME? You go home, shut your door, and tell no one of the experience.
What is the difference between those two scenarios? One is a physical illness and one is a mental health illness. Why do having a mental health diagnosis and managing your mental health feel so shameful? For some people, a mental health diagnosis makes them feel weak and like a failure. Those with mental illnesses often have a concerns of judgment and discrimination, which causes many to keep their struggles to themselves. Having a mental health diagnosis does not have to be like this, and should not be like this.
According to NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Health, 20% of youth in America have a mental health condition, and 18.5% of adults in America also have a mental health diagnosis. That is a good chunk of the United States. That is a lot of shame. We make assumptions about people. Assumptions that they are well rounded successful individuals who have never struggled with the thought of suicide. We assume that no one else has struggles with emotions, thoughts or behaviors. We assume this, because we do not talk about it. Yet, if we talk about it, then it leaves the potential for being vulnerable.
We allow people to treat us the way we are treated. We allow people to judge us for having depression, anxiety, bipolar, because we also judge ourselves. We are unconsciously choosing to be a devalued and discriminated against. It is scary to put ourselves out there, and hope that we will be accepted. It is called being vulnerable, and being vulnerable is uncomfortable, scary, and threatening.
I am not asking you to go out and tell everyone about your struggles with depression, or that you almost died from withholding food. I am asking you to not label these experiences as good, bad, ugly, or shameful. A person with diabetes is not defined by their diabetes, just like a person with bipolar should not be defined by their bipolar diagnosis. There is so much more to that person that what they have been diagnosed. There is so much more to you or your family member. You are a mother, a music teacher, a mechanic, a brother, an avid swimmer, or even -believe it or not- a therapist.
I am asking you to break the silence. Have the courage to speak up to someone you trust, and get help. Find the strength within yourself to talk about mental health openly. Find the compassion in your heart to ask someone if they need help. Find the patience within you to listen to the stories of those hurting around you. Find the hope that not everyone will judge you. And above all else, don’t choose shame!
Every person is touched in some way by mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We hope that we have inspired you to be proud of who you are, and not be afraid to reach out for help. You do not have to be alone, Davidson Family Therapy is here to help in any way we can.
May is a big month for mental health professionals. It is a month when mental health is celebrated and not shamed or discriminated. Your private life is private, which is a big reason why mental health feels like a "taboo" topic. There was a time in America when cancer was not even spoken out loud- can you imagine? While we do not expect people to go around airing their problems related to their mental health in public, we hope to empower those with mental health struggles that their concerns are real and that they are not alone. If you are in need of mental health therapy, or know of someone who may benefit, here are some facts that may help you understand what to expect.
1. You are not alone, but you are unique. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 1 in 5 people in America struggle with a mental health diagnosis. While there are many people who have depression and experience similar symptoms, each individual's experience with the diagnosis is different. In therapy, it is the individual's personal experience and struggles that are the focus of treatment.
2. In order for something to be deemed clinical, it has to negatively impact your life. Everyone approaches and responds to situations differently. While one plan of action may be helpful for one person, it may be damaging for another. With that being said, if a challenge or method of coping is detrimental to your wellbeing yet you continue to engage in them, you are likely in need of clinical help. Something is defined as detrimental if it impairs your ability to enjoy life, develop relationships, maintain a job, or negatively affects your safety, or the safety of others. For example, a person may drink alcohol everyday after work in order to take the edge off. For one person, this may mean they drink one glass of wine while watching TV, but for another it may mean drinking glass after glass at a bar, causing them to receive multiple DUI's. For the latter person, their method of coping has reached a clinical need as they are constantly putting their safety at risk, as well as the safety of others.
3. You do not have to have a diagnosis to go to therapy. Life is tough, especially when it changes. We often see people in therapy who do not need to be diagnosed. Sometimes, a person only has to come to therapy 2 or 3 times to feel a sense of relief, in this case, they would likely not fit the requirements for a diagnosis. Some people feel relief when they finally have some idea of what is going on and a treatment. Other people feel labeled and stigmatized, in which case a diagnosis may do more harm than good. The purpose of a diagnosis is really to treat a person, and not to label them. A doctor is not going to write a prescription for a cold that they might for an inner ear infection. In order to treat something accurately, we have to have a name. One way we know that we are dealing with a misdiagnosis, may be ineffective treatments.
4. A diagnosis will be on your insurance record for life. What people do not know is that to use your insurance you HAVE to have a diagnosis. That is right! Your insurance company requires a diagnosis. It makes sense that they want to know what they are paying for, but at the same time, if you do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis, it is unethical for a mental health professional to give you one. But, if you have a diagnosis and need to file it on record, it is important to know the impact this diagnosis may have.
Now, I am not trying to scare you, or intimidate you about your “personal record,” but a lot of people do not know about this, and in order to make an informed decision you need to be informed. This all depends on how you feel about a diagnosis. Technically, this is your personal health care information and your insurance will not be sharing it with anyone. The only time a diagnosis may be released is when you give your consent. Some high-stress jobs, such as law enforcement, the military, and various helping professions conduct a background check on your personal health record. This does not mean you will not get a job in these areas if you have a mental health diagnosis, but certain diagnoses could make an applicant ineligible, depending on the job.
5. Being in therapy is hard work. I often tell my clients that I am like a personal trainer for the mind. If you want to see results you have to do the work. A big part of therapy is talking. Often times, the action takes place outside of the therapy setting, such as practicing coping skills when having a panic attack. But, if you don't put the words into practice, change is unlikely, therefore, it is important to consider if you are ready for change. Therapy is also a place and time to dig deeply into your. It is important to consider if you are ready for mental spring cleaning, as things can get dirty. But don’t worry, your friendly therapist is there to help you clean it up.
For some, therapy might mean that they are “broken” or “bad,” but others view going to therapy as self-care and a chance to finally having time and space for themselves. Therapy is not always long term, nor is it always short term. Going to therapy does not mean you are broken, it means you are ready to confront, tackle, and overcome the challenges that ache you. If you are interested in learning more about how therapy can help, give us a call or check out our website.
One of the most common things I hear as a therapist is, “I think I’m Bi-Polar,” or, “I think he/she is Bi-polar.” It has become an expression for people who are happy one minute and upset the next. If this were true, then I guess the majority of humans are bi-polar. It makes sense that people would use the term bipolar when describing someone with mood swings, because it is a mood disorder. Yet, Bi-Polar is so much more than “mood swings”. We hope this helps clarify some of the confusion.
There are two different types of bi-polar, and while they are very similar the main difference between them is whether a person experiences mania or hypomania. Mania is defined by the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5), as a mental state of elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, and persistently increased level of activity and energy. Most people with Bipolar I disorder experience mania and depression. While people who Bi-polar II experience hypomania, which is a state that resembles mania but of a lesser intensity.
According to the DSM-5, Bi-polar I affects 0.6% of the population in the United States; while, bi-polar II has a 0.8% prevalence in the United Stated. This disorder is typically developed when a person is around 20 years of age, but can develop as young as age 18. It is rare for someone to begin to have symptoms of bipolar disorder at a young age, but it is possible. This is often called Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder in children. This disorder is seen equally across males and females.
Signs and symptoms:
- Elevated Mood
- Possibly psychosis (i.e. hallucinations or delusions)
- Pressured to speak
- Agitated Mood
- Decreased need to sleep
- Inflated self-esteem
- Easily distracted
As stated before, some believe that bi-polar is just a person who has bad mood swings. On the contrary, bi-polar is a serious diagnosis with a large genetic and physiological component.
People with Bipolar are always cycling through manic or depressive episodes. The truth is that manic and depressive episodes are not always happening. Some people who have Bipolar may have what is called rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is when a person experiences either a manic or depressed episode 4 times in a span of 12 months. This does not mean that every or even most people with bipolar will experience rapid cycling. Many people can go years without having a manic or depressive episode. Typically, stressors or big changes can cause a person to have an episode.
There is no cure is a common misconception. While there is no one sure fire way to fix any mental health diagnosis, there is treatment that can work.
Treatment for Bi-polar is typically a combination of medication(s) and therapy. For some, a pill is a blessing, but for others, pills can have unwanted side effects. One of the most common drugs for the treatment of bipolar is Lithium. I have met many people who have sworn by lithium and said that is has changed their lives for the better. Others have had negative side effects that outweighed the benefits of the drug. Every person is different and will have different reactions to treatments. One of the most common types of therapy for people with bi-polar is cognitive behavioral therapy, but again some people do not respond well to this treatment and require a more behavioral approach.
If you, or someone you love is diagnosed with Bipolar, you are not alone. Many celebrities such as Patrick Kennedy and Demi Lavato are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Together we can break the silence about bipolar and help stop the stigma. For more information and to take the pledge to fight against mental health stigma’s go to, https://www.nami.org/stigma. Check out the Bipolar magazine at bphope.com. You are not in this fight alone. Davidson Family Therapy is here to help you and your family member continue to thrive.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.) Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
National Alliance of Mental Illnesses- NAMI.org
Bipolar Forum- bipolarsupport.org
Self care is one of the most important concepts of emotional wellness. It is easy to get stuck in the vicious cycle of stress- you know the kind, when we're stressed out about being stressed out. What an enigma! Once you're in the cycle, it is easy to stay stuck.
The most common form of stress revolves around time. One excuse I hear a lot as a therapist, is, “I don’t have the time to take care of myself.” This is a misconception of productivity. If you are running a race and become injured, you will probably finish the race faster if you spend the extra time to tend to your wound before continuing, rather than continuing the race while injured- sometimes we have to slow down if we want to speed up.
Below are a few tips to help you recover and regain enough energy to continue on with your busy day!
1. Take a bath
There is something healing about being submerged in water. Take the 10 minutes at the end of a hard and long day to just sit and soak.
2. Drink a favorite refreshing drink
Maybe you mind went straight to a margarita or a glass of wine? Well, that was not exactly what I was talking about. If you know you are going to have a stressful day at work, put some cucumber or lemon in your water and when you take a sip, imagine just for a second, that you are at a spa instead. Or, if you are more of a tea or coffee drinker, spend the extra 2$ to get a little something for yourself.
3. Sit Outside
There is benefit in just sitting outside, even for two minutes. Escape your work, just for 120 seconds, and then you'll feel more refreshed to continue with your workday.
4. Be Present
A wonderful present to yourself is the awareness of your presence. This might not be something you are used to. More often than not, we are focused on a task or something that is about to happen. Stop what you are doing, take a deep breath, and simply notice what it is you are feeling. Maybe you are feeling hot, or maybe cold cold. Maybe you are feeling annoyed or frustrated. Stop for just a moment, assess how you feel either physically or emotionally, then move forward.
Drawing is an activity that promotes mindfulness, yet most adults feel intimidated with a pencil and drawing pad in hand. Maybe you do not know what to draw. Maybe you are terrible at drawing. The point of drawing as a form of relaxation is to focus on the process, rather than the outcome; thus your intention should be less consumed by how it looks and more aware of how the process makes you feel. The point is to draw whatever you are feeling in the moment to escape stress and relax.
Dear diary, today my therapist told me to write in a journal and I thought to myself, “I am not a child.” Well, again, this may seem like a childish thing to do, but the research shows that journaling just 10 minutes a day can help with many stressors.
7. Take pictures
You do not need a professional camera to take pictures. Many people are now becoming iPhone-ographers. Try taking one picture a week that inspires you. And as a bonus, on a rough day, you can look back at that picture for encouragement and strength.
One of my favorite things to do is to go to a public place and people-watch while drinking a cup of coffee. Often times, I come up with stories about the people, or create conversations that I see people having. It is great for the imagination, and great for extroverts who want to be introverts.
This is an activity that again taps into creativity and imagination, which is a part of the brain that often gets neglected. Like drawing, the focus should be more on the process of painting, rather than the final result.
Reading is a great way to escape your world and enter the world of another. This does not have to be a book. It is very helpful to read a blog or forum post related to anxiety or something you are experiencing. Magazines are also full of great articles that can take your mind off of your stressors.
Therapeutic shopping can be very cathartic, but it can be hard for those with low financial assets. Shopping for yourself does not mean going on a shopping spree and buying $300 worth of clothes, although that may be nice. You can just window shop, or buy yourself something small like a necklace or a favorite treat.
12. Watch TV
Tv can the the black hole of time, but it can also be great for temporarily escaping and decompressing. Finding a TV show or watching a movie to escape what is going on in your life can be rejuvenating. It may be helpful to watch something that you know has a similar storyline as to what you are experiencing in order to feel less alone. For instance, watching the movie The Break Up, with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, while going through a breakup of your own may help normalize your experiences. It may be even better to watch something uplifting, such as Friends or Big Bang Theory.
13. Go to a movie
Going to see a movie is an experience. Unfortunately, it does cost money, but it is something that can be beneficial for extroverts who enjoy being around people, but are not in the mood to interact with people.
Cooking is a great way to de-stress, if you enjoy it. Cooking and baking requires a person to be mindful of the ingredients in the recipe, stirring the mix, or even chopping the engredients. Plus, you get to enjoy a meal after.
Yoga can be done in a studio with a class, or at home. If you'd rather be on your own, there are plenty of youtube videos and yoga apps to guide you through this relaxation process. Stretching is important for your body and mind connection.
16. Be with a friend
As you get older, making time for friends becomes less of a priority. If this is something that you feel like is beneficial for you, find a friend who you have a great connection with and who also is willing to carve time out for you. Make sure you find someone who agrees that making time, even just a quick coffee, is a priority.
Often times, when I talk to clients, they hesitate when I bring up meditation. Many people do not know how to meditate, or think that there is a right or wrong way to meditate. The truth is that meditating can be as simple as being mindful.
18. Be with the person you love
Again, once families start developing and children come into the picture, it can be hard to spend quality time with a partner. If going out on a date once a week is too hard, then try every other week or once a month. The goal is for it to be relaxing and not stressful to accomplish. You can also try a stay at home date, if you think you can pull it off. Or, the person you love may be your child. After working all day and going through the motions of preparing dinner and getting your child ready for bed, you may find that you have not actually spent quality time with your child. If you can relate to this, carve out a specific time of the day or week where you can spend quality on-on-one time with your loved one.
Grafting and projects are great! You are doing a task that requires concentration and at the end of it you have an end product. It can be nice to do this for gifts to others.
20. Coloring Books
Coloring books are a fun, new type of mindfulness meditation. Coloring is a great way to focus on a task, and take your mind off your problems and stressors. Try using colors that match the way you are feeling, such as yellows for feeling joyful and reds for anger.
Remember these tasks do not have to take take up much time. Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes a day as a present to yourself. It is hard to be productive and cross things off a to-do list if you are not feeling well. Sometimes you have to slow down in order to be productive. When you are running a marathon, you have to pace yourself. We hope you enjoy these ideas to help yourself slow down and rejuvenate.
It takes a village to raise a child- especially to keep a child safe. Even when we do our best, which is all anyone can do, things happen that are beyond our control or reach. Even if we put on our seat belts or wear our helmets our safety isn't 100% guaranteed. While we can do everything in our power to prevent things from occurring, life simply isn't 100% in our control. Most caregivers do everything they can in their power to protect children in their care, yet childhood sexual assault is a reality for one out of every five children in America. This reality causes families and caregivers to feel overwhelmingly defeated. Thankfully, Mecklenburg County, NC has Pat’s Place to comfort and guide families back to a state of empowerment, safety, and care.
April is Childhood Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so we are proud to spotlight such an astounding community resource. Pat’s Place is a child advocacy center for children (birth-18 years) who have been sexually assaulted and their families. Pat's Place provides a safe environment for violated children to heal and receive the treatment and resources they need. Pat's Place also serves as a vessel for all helping advocates and professionals to gather and acquire all of the information they need in order to help, protect, and provide justice for the assaulted child. They works closely with several local law enforcement agencies, such as Davidson Police Department and Mecklenburg-Charlotte Police Department, as well as Mecklenburg’s Social Services, and District Attorney’s Office, to help with the investigation.
Pat’s Place uses a Child Advocacy Model in attempt to reduce the number of times a child is interviewed, which can cause re-traumatization, and provide a one stop shop for other necessary services, such as law enforcement and medical assistance. Oftentimes, children who have been assaulted must be interviewed in order to acquire specific information for investigations and treatments to be provided. A skilled child advocacy interviewer conducts the interview in a comfortable room, while investigators and others can watch from another room, so the child is not intimidated or uncomfortable while talking about their trauma, and to limit the amount of times they have to elaborate on their traumatic experience. Pat's Place also has an onsite medical examination room, so the family is not having to travel to a hospital in order to obtain necessary treatments.
We are thrilled to have such wonderful people working in our community and helping those families and children get through this difficult time. Pat's Place provides educational presentations for the public in hopes to reduce the number of sexual abuse in our communities. They also provide ways for you to participate in making this community safe for all children, by hosting many exciting fundraisers and educational events as well as volunteer and donation opportunities. For more information, visit Pat’s Place Website, or call at 704-335-2760.
Sexual abuse is a hard topic for anyone to talk about, yet, it is important to be informed in order to be as preventative as possible. The definition of sexual abuse as defined by Pat’s Place, a child-advocacy center in Charlotte, North Carolina, as any unwanted sexual contact imposted by another. Here are some facts to be aware of regarding childhood sexual abuse.
1. 1 out of 10 people are sexually abused before the age of 18.
This is a hard statistic for anyone to hear. There are several ways that a child can be sexually abused. Childhood sexual abuse encompasses more than physical contact, it also includes child pornography and indecent exposure. This statistic comes from the organization Darkness to Light.
2. 90% of people who were abused knew their abuser.
While many parents teach their children at an early age to not trust strangers, most parents are not aware of the need to educate their kids about appropriate boundaries expected from family friends. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 60% of children are abused by someone they trusted, like a coach, church member, family friend, or family member.
3. Children who have been sexually abused are more vulnerable to sexual exploration.
Children are often left feeling confused, violated, and empty after experiencing sexual abuse. These feelings could cultivate a curiosity and desire to regain their control in a way that leads them to engage in sexual acts. If not placed in therapeutic care, sexually abused children are vulnerable to sexually abusing another when older. It is very important that children receive professional help after sexualized trauma in order to help them process what happened, teach them about healthy relationships and boundaries, and repair their emotional damage.
4. Children are more vulnerable to abuse when alone with an adult or older child
Sexual abuse often happens when people are alone (one-on-one) with one another person. To help prevent sexual abuse when your child is not with you, pair your child with a friend that you and the child are comfortable with. While you may not be able to monitor them at all times, there are some measures you can take to ensure they are paired with a peer.
April is Childhood Sexual Abuse awareness month. We hope that you have found this information to be informative and helpful. We understand that it is not easy to talk about or hear about it, but the first step to preventing abuse is being aware of the facts. If you need someone to talk to or are concerned of anyone being abused, please call our office at, 704-912-4095 or one of the resources below. You are not alone, our therapists are here to help.
Mecklenburg 24 hour Rape Crisis Hotline 704-375-9900
Mecklenburg Domestic Violence Hotline 704-712-0110
National Assault Hotline 800-656-4673
Many people often ask me if I am a psychologist, probably because that is a term many people associate with the mental health profession. Knowing the different types of mental health professionals can be confusing, but is important to know how to navigate when searching for emotional help. Below are the differences of several mental health professionals. Please be aware that these are generalizations of the types of services that these professionals typically provide.
Psychiatrists have a Medical Degree or an MD, requiring them to go to medical school. Many of them also actively participate in research. Their training includes learning in depth about medicine related to brain chemistry and human behavior. Some people go to their primary care doctor for their psychiatric prescriptions, but it is always a better idea to go to a psychiatrist if you are prescribed any psychiatric medicines, as this is their specialty. For example, you probably would not go to a mechanic and ask them to fix your bumper, even though they are capable of it. You might instead choose to go to an auto body shop, because they are experts at working on the body of a car. The same goes for an psychiatrist versus a general doctor; even though your general practitioner is able to prescribe mental-health medications, they are not the experts on those specific drugs.
Now, going to see a psychiatrist is not the same as going to a therapist. Psychiatrists are more concerned with medication management and many of them do not participate in talk therapy; however, some do provide a combination of services. Some psychiatrists have their own private office, while others work more of a hospital or group setting.
Psychologist, Ph.D. in Psychology
Psychologists have a Ph.D. in psychology. Their training includes intensive years of training with a large focus on testing and research. Psychologists are the professionals who conduct testing for ADHD, autism, and IQ, to name a few. Many psychologists do practice talk-therapy with clients. In fact, depending on the state, some psychologists can prescribe certain psychiatric medications. This is helpful for people who need both medication management and talk therapy. Psychologists tend to work in both the private-practice setting as well as hospital and other medical settings.
Social Worker, LCSW or MSW
Social Work has been around since about the 19th century. Social Workers wear several hats as they help their clients overcome life struggles. They listen to client problems, provide case management, help clients with managing daily activity skills, such as cleaning and cooking, help children who have been abused and find placement for those without a home. They help the homeless population find shelter and they help the hungry find food. Social Workers are generally trained in helping people through social justice on a societal level. Some social workers have a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) or become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and provide talk therapy for clients. Because social workers are trained to do so many things, they are able to work in a variety of settings, such as at the Social Services Office, hospitals, schools, mental health agencies, and some have their own private practice.
Counselor, LPC, LPCA, LPCS
A counselor holds a master’s or doctorate in Mental Health Counseling from an accredited school and titled Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), or a Licensed Professional Counselor supervisor (LPCS). A LPC is a fully licensed counselor, while a LPCA is an associate and are working towards being fully licensed. LPCAs get active supervision from a LPCS who ensures the therapist is working ethically and effectively. Licensed professional counselors' training focuses on emotional health through the cultivation of a therapeutic relationship. Counseling programs have a heavy foundation in ethical practices, therapeutic interventions and the theories of counseling. LPC’s are a newer license and still growing in America. Their sole mission is providing emotional therapeutic services.
Other Professionals, RNs, Occupational, Life Coaches
Other professionals include Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Life Coaches. Psychiatric RNs go to nursing school and decide to focus on the mental health population and are often are paired with a psychiatrist. Many of them work at in-patient facilities and are trained in psychiatric medications and caring for people who struggle with self-harm or reality. Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities. Life coaches help others navigate through their circumstances in a way that helps them live optimally.
Knowing you need help is the first step, but the second step- finding a professional to help you- is not as hard as it may seem. Once you know what services you need, whether it be testing for sensory processing disorder, or mental-health therapy for healing through grief and loss, all you have to do is reach out to the professional that specializes in the service needed. We understand this may not be common knowledge to people outside the mental health profession, and we hope we helped clarify this.