Are You Serious! I can be normal….? SMILE!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, February 13, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a pet to boost your mood.  This week …….. a smile! Cool

Do you want to be happier - SMILE!  Smiling can truly change the way you feel. No need to  quote research or provide reasoning or justification. Just smile. Try it for yourself.

When you feel down - browse pictures you like, particularly ones that make you smile. Then smile. It may not last, but it may be the nudge you need to engage in a pleasant activity to improve your mood. 

When you are angry - smile. Then keep smiling. It is hard to be angry or frustrated with a smile on your face.   Fake it until you make it with a smile! 

When you feel tired and apathetic - smile. It may provide the gateway to pleasant dreams or induce a serene and tranquil state on days you may not have what it takes to get a lot done.

Smile ... It is contagious. Not only will smiling lift your spirits, it will lift the spirits of those around you.

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags:

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Pets Are a Mood Booster!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP (http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap/) and NAMI (http://www.nami.org) instructor. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

Last week we talked about food affecting your mood. Remember Vitamin D? Plenty of sunshine can improve your mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D in combination with K vitamins to improve your mood (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx).

Vitamin D and a pet that likes to be outdoors is a sure recipe to boost your mood and lift your spirits.  We recommend owning a pet, however, only if you are stable and healthy enough. Pets require a lot of care.  Alternatively, you can walk or spend time with a friends’ pet. Are you ready for a pet?  http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/are-you-ready.html      Keep in mind puppies and kittens are much more work than older dogs and cats.  There are many older pets in shelters that need homes.  These articles present considerations to help you decide to own a pet or not.  Owning a pet is a huge commitment. Your life as well as your pets’ is at stake. 

http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/puppies-vs-senior-dog-adoption/

http://savingcaesar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/rebellious-rescue-or-pesky-puppy.html

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/yournewdog/Before-You-Adopt

A fish tank is much lower maintenance option for a pet. Ever wonder why you see fish tanks in doctor’s offices?  Fish have a calming effect on mood, but even fish require food and attention.  http://www.mynycdoctor.com/aquarium-therapy-adhd/  http://aquariumdesignindia.com/residential-aquarium

One of the biggest benefits to my two puppies, Patty  and Selma is that one is a lap dog who likes to snugglewhile the other is active and a constant reminder to get up and out and enjoy the sunshine!  I work from home and sit in my office with Patty stretched out on my lap.  Selma on the other hand tugs on mysleeve or arm several times a day to remind me to get out and enjoy the sun.  I go out for 5-10 minutes,even in the bitter cold and rain to play ball with Selma who does not understand bad weather.Even when I am not in the mood to boost my mood – each animal is a mood booster -- either a calming spirit or motivation to get up and move and enjoy Mother Nature, whether I am in the mood or not!  Both provide that nudge I need to feel good. 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags: , ,

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Choose Your Food. Choose Your Mood!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, January 30, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, Cheryl Johnson. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

It’s no secret food affects your mood.  Skip a meal and you feel sluggish and may get a headache.  But can food actually make you more positive and upbeat?  There is growing evidence certain foods can improve your mood.  Food is not a cure or a substitute for medication for diagnosed mood disorders, but it can serve as another tool to keep your perspective bright.  Here are some simple suggestions, but if you do research on your own, there is a wealth of information on foods to improve your mood.

Carbs – those evil carbs that make you gain weight and are not healthy.  Not necessarily.  Good carbs contribute to serotonin production, the calming, feel good brain chemical that can help alleviate depression.  (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – fish, flaxseed and walnuts are rich in Omega-3 and also help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  Fish is a good mood food!  Personally I like walnuts, but moderation is important.  Walnuts can contribute to weight gain, another factor that may contribute to a sour mood. (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Vitamin D – Plenty of sunshine can improve mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D.  But keep in mind that without K vitamins – vitamin D has limited effect on mood.  (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx)

Chocolate and Caffeine – The milk chocolate many of us love only has minimal impact on mood.  The best chocolate for mood is more than 50% cocoa and the higher the better.  Cocoa rich chocolate is an acquired taste so give it a chance and enjoy the added benefit of a calmer and more relaxed mood.  (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/27/chocolate-and-mood-disorders/)  And what about caffeine?  Moderation is best.  Caffeine may affect sleep and lack of sleep can affect mood, but a cup or two of coffee will not hurt and may help perk you up and focus to get your work done contributing to a good mood…. 

Take time to learn more at the links provided (or any others) or talk to your doctor and nutritionist. 

Focus on good mood food! 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Mental Health | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities | Mood

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Cope with and rise above mental health challenges

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am not a therapist, but I am a certified WRAP and NAMI instructor and I teach people with mental health issues and their families how to not only cope with, but rise above the challenges that people with mental health issues face. 

My interest in mental health is from a strong family history of people who have either been diagnosed with mental health issues or those who clearly exhibit behaviors consistent with a diagnosis, but do not believe they have issues. 

Those who have sought out treatment (both medical and therapeutic) definitely cope with life on a much higher level than those who have not. You are probably all too familiar with the reasons people choose or refuse to get care. 

What I can testify to is that those who consistently monitor their behavior and track it to their lifestyle habits are acutely aware of how important our lifestyle choices are to living a ‘normal’ life. 

So how do you accomplish this?  Stay tuned…. Each week into February we will explore together tips and suggestions  to supplement the care you are currently receiving to make sure you manage your condition instead of it managing you!

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags: , ,

marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Unfolding the "Magic" of Therapy

by Sherry Katz Tuesday, January 7, 2014

While often people acknowledge professional therapy creates gains in self-awareness, more confidence handling relationships, and improved ability to manage stress, how these results are achieved appears mysterious. 

What key factors in the conversation happen during a therapy session,  which inspire confidence and awareness in the patient, which were previously either weak or lacking?

 

From years of clinical practice, I summarize the way a therapist listens and responds to a patient, as “bi-lateral listening”. A therapist who helps you reach desired change, listens with both their mind and their heart. 

 

Hearing past the words, gives your therapist a read on your emotions.  If someone tells a story that includes major life shifts, and is matter of fact while doing so, a therapist may ask a question that lifts these shy emotions into the therapeutic dialogue. By giving more attention to emotions and identifying and elaborating on them during a therapy session, the patient learns how to know and explain their feelings.

 

The flip side usage of bi-lateral listening is if a patient during a session talks almost exclusively about their feelings and has little understanding of when feelings arise and how they are effecting both the patient and people in the patient’s life. In this case a therapist most likely would hear the emotions and speak to the cognitive processing of the patient. Your therapist may ask questions that help you collect information and theorize on how you are responding to the ways you express yourself.

 

As you and your therapist repeat this basic listening process during your therapy sessions, you’ll notice greater balance in your own approach and dialogues in your everyday repertoire with others. What starts developing and strengthening is your awareness of the vastness and complexity of your emotions and thoughts, and your ability to moderate when to express your emotions and when to express your thoughts. You may surprise yourself one day with how naturally you articulate feelings in situations you did not know you had any!

 

You may notice as well, yourself taking a new path in conversation rather than a debilitating emotional rerun. This will be your magical moment of recognizing the rewards of working with a professional talk therapist.

 

Sherry Katz, LCSW is clinically trained in systems relational therapy, and practices marriage and family therapy in her solo practice located in Ridgewood, NJ.  Comments and questions are welcome. 

www.newviewsfamilytherapy.com

 

Heros and the Heat of the Game

by Rosemary De Faria Wednesday, July 17, 2013

There has been a lot of buzz with the play-offs lately.  One has to live under a rock to avoid being affected by it in one form or another.

Not being a sports fan I decided to take a walk on the wild side by accepting an invitation to dinner at a local bar where the final game would be played on every screen in the place.

My immersion experience began with the driver of the shuttle who took us to the bar.  He recounted the story of the previous evening’s game, sharing with emotion how he had been close to tears when it looked like his beloved team may lose.     His voice, hoarse from all the screaming, now had a lilt in it as he spoke of the team’s dramatic win.  They had managed to turn things around and to listen to him; it had been close to a spiritual experience.

In the restaurant people were already seated in the front row.   Dressed in their Heat attire, they were screaming and throwing their hands up to clap for a play which brought the team a little closer to winning.   

I began thinking of the role these sportsmen played for people, young and old from all walks of life and I found myself wondering : “Who do we make our heroes and why? “

When I think of my heroes, the people that come to mind are rarely those with celebrity.  Oh, I admit, Oprah holds a special place for me as I’m sure she does for many, but I think instead, of Sister Mendonca my fifth grade teacher who had the kindest, most loving heart.   She made some difficult times a bit easier to bear and I have never forgotten her for it.  

Now in middle age, I think of my father as another hero.  This surprises me at first, but it is a good choice nonetheless.   He was a tough, scary man, but he modeled some of the most important principles in life for which I am very grateful.  The best parts of me are all as a result of having him as my father. 

I sometimes sit across from my clients and wonder, am I a hero for them?    If so, I hope I can be like my heroes, who in very humble and unassuming ways gave me so much. 

Take the time to seek out your heroes.   They often go unnoticed, flying under the radar with little or no awareness of their own magnificence, but they are heroes nonetheless.

Let them know how they have impacted you.  Then, think about how you can be a hero for someone else and do it.  You may just change a life in unexpected ways.   Unleash the hero within you.  I promise you it’s there …ready and waiting to get into the heat of the game.

Rosemary De Faria, LCSW has a psycho-spiritual psychotherapy practice in Miami, Florida.  With over 20 years experience she uses both traditional and alternative therapies in working with her clients.  To read more about Rosemary or to read more of her articles, please visit www.distincttherapy.com. Mention this blog article for a complementary phone consultation: 954-966-3446.

Tags: , ,

relationships, friendships | Self-Care | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship

Will a marriage counselor tell me my partner is “right” and I’m “wrong”?

by Anita M. O'Donnell Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Couples counseling requires a balancing act in order to work well. If one person feels slighted or picked upon, the overall work is compromised. You don’t want to feel that the person who is supposed to be helping you is siding with your partner.

Typically, the subject that your partner and you disagree on feels crucial. Both people are bringing strong emotions to the discussion. For example, if you’re arguing about the frequency of sexual intimacy, one partner may feel very strongly that sex isn’t important enough to the other partner. This partner may feel rejected and undesirable as a result. The partner who looks like he/she is avoiding sex might be experiencing increased stress in daily life and may feel overwhelmed generally. The emotions this partner holds on a day-to-day basis can be debilitating. Is one person “right” and the other person “wrong”? No.

Both people are affected negatively by this disconnect in the relationship. The counselor might want them to talk to each other in the counseling session about their feelings on the topic, to explore the significance of sex, perhaps to even try some problem-solving around this subject. The counselor might help the couple build upon their knowledge of each other and their friendship. The relationship may exhibit other issues that could lead the counselor to work with the couple in building specific skills to improve the relationship. Additionally, do other factors exist that affect the sexual aspect of their relationship—medical problems, substance abuse, depression? These factors would need to be addressed as well.

In most cases, there is no “right” or “wrong” person. Counselors can look at the process of how the couple relates. Counselors can help couples focus on resolvable issues, rather than perpetual issues. Counselors can help couples learn new skills and improve upon existing skills.

Counselors that help couples transform how they relate to each other, stand a great chance of helping couples gain the knowledge to improve their relationship and love fully.


Anita M. O’Donnell, M.Ed., LPCMH, NCC provides individual and couples counseling in Wilmington, Delaware through her company SuccessWorks Unlimited, Inc. She also offers telephonic and face-to-face coaching. Ms. O’Donnell earned her M.Ed. from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1991. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/YourBestLifeToday and through her website www.successworksunltd.com.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

marriage | Therapeutic Relationship

Friendship, Love and Marriage

by Gil Shepard Thursday, April 18, 2013

 

When someone says, “She (or he) is just a friend,” this generally means the relationship is not romantic, not sexual and not too intimate. It is also understood to mean, “You need not take this too seriously.”

On the other hand we sometimes hear someone say in a reverent way about a spouse, or a partner, “He (or she) is my best friend.” This is saying, “Yes, lots of people are married, lots of people have sex and live together, but what we share is a special trust, support and a rich love.”

What does it take to have this rich enviable friendship? For a start it takes risking being open about one’s feelings, being gently honest about what one thinks and does, being able to deal with disagreements in a relatively calm manner and being able to negotiate differences.

Unfortunately these skills are rarely taught in childhood. Instead many of us learned not to trust because we found caregivers not safe, not trustworthy and it was not smart to trust. Suspicion and fear are often survival skills in childhood but as an adult they can impede love. To learn how to be a true friend and how to choose someone trustworthy may take relearning in a safe environment.

In effective relationship therapy you may learn techniques, like how to let another person know that you heard what they said by repeating what you think you heard back to them and checking to see if you are correct. You may learn certain "no-no's" like telling someone they "should" do or be a different way. That is a sure way to create distance in a relationship very quickly, almost as fast as by telling someone they are stupid. These things certainly do not gain intimacy.

But most effective may be observing the therapist's style and emotional tone. Or you may notice that the therapist may see things very differently from the way you have seen them and wonder what he sees that you don't. You may explore why your partner's comments are so upsetting to you. What does it remind you of in your history? It can be very helpful to have a wise and experienced guide to do this and feel safe.

 

 

Gil Shepard is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Walnut Creek, California

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | relationships, friendships | marriage

Grieving the Loss of a Pet with Your Therapist

by Sharyn Rose Sunday, November 25, 2012

gray cat pet loss grieving

How much do your personal feelings about animals affect the way in which you are authentically able to be with someone grieving the loss of their pet? How does your past inform your present? Whether it be a sibling's allergies, cultural beliefs, or perhaps fond memories of your own childhood pet, they all help to inform our view today. 

As therapists, we have a rare opportunity to learn from our clients, as our clients learn from us. Over the course of nearly three decades, I continue to bear witness to clients' pain, whether it be buried, projected, internalized, or stuck! However, one thing remains the same: when it comes to the loss of one's pet, there is nothing stuck about the deep and expressed/experienced pain! Quite often, it is this pain that brings someone into therapy. If we, as therapists, dismiss the pain experienced by our client, they will leave feeling empty, misunderstood, and could possibly experience a sense of shame! 

Pet loss has become an important topic, even more so during natural disasters and a down economy. Most people will tell you how sorry they are, some may even send a card, but there does remain a discomfort or stigma around grieving too long or too deeply (i.e., "it was only a cat", or "she should be over it by now").

Therapy can truly be a place to grive and heal in a helpful and healthy environment. 

As a client, whether you are seeking help from a new therapist or are already working with someone, you need to feel comfortable expressing your pain over the loss of your pet. Working collaboratively with a therapist, you are entitled to feel understood, respected, and supported through this tremendously painful time. 

The following are some suggestions for clients to work collaboratively with a therapist and feel empowered in the process: 

  1. Be clear and direct around what you need, how you are feeling, and how your therapist might help you in regard to your loss.
  2. Pay close attention to how you feel. Does it feel like a safe space? Are you given the time to share, grieve, and process without there being a different agenda or the topic being changed? 
  3. Does your therapist respond in a kind, caring, and empathic way? Do you feel heard and understood by him/her? 
  4. One way to include your therapist in your grieving process is to bring in photos and memorabilia, as well as share stories about your pet. 

There is no time limit to grief and grieving. Take the time you need! Hopefully your therapist will ask a lot of questions, remain engaged, and empathize with your pain. 

The darkest hours of a client's pain around the death of their pet can also help to create a new and healthy beginning of a relationship! For some people, the loss of their pet is as important and painful as anyone's loss of a family member, friend, or partner/spouse. 

Grieving the loss of your animal is both extremely personal and profound. It is an experience that far too many people dismiss or can't understand. It is my hope that we all can find that safe place and person to help us grieve, heal, and bond/love again. 

 

Sharyn Rose is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. To learn more, visit her websites at: www.sharynrosetherapy.com and www.srosehypnotherapy.com

Tags:

Therapeutic Relationship

Therapy Feels Bad, What Do I Do?

by Shelley Quinones Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sad MumbyTherapy is a special place. A relationship is created in order to help you feel better, or at least that's the hope. When you start therapy you have all these feelings swirling around that control your life and you want the therapist to fix it. That is understandable. However, it is a false expectation. First of all, a therapist has no magic wand to make all the pain go away in an instant. We would if we could. It is a process of small changes and insights that build to create a better, calmer, more fulfilling life. 

As you build the relationship with the therapist and start trusting (oooh bad word) them, you start revealing deeper more painful things. These things often seem scary, embarrassing, and they can hurt. The irony is the more you hold onto these feelings and negative thoughts (that are hurting you) the more you are scared to face them. When you start revealing those tender, inner parts to a trusted professional, it does seem to hurt a little more for a while. However, you find out you are strong and courageous by facing those inner struggles and the emotions start to decrease. You win. You become more confident and able to make choices that benefit you and help you reach your full potential. 

Therapy is a place to be vulnerable and take risks. Speak up. Say what you need to say. Trust yourself. You will be better off in the end for finding your voice. What a precious gift to have a place to share the depths of who you are with someone you know cares for you no matter what.

Shelley Quinones

 

Shelley Quinones is a Licensed Therapist in San Dimas, California. She has been in the field in various roles for over 20 years. She is trained in EMDR which helps process minor daily traumas that accumulate, or major traumas that influence daily choices, or even allows for performance enhancement. She is a Christian and believes faith plays an important part in healing. Her website is www.shelleyqmft.com.

Tags:

Therapeutic Relationship

Calendar

<<  July 2020  >>
SMTWTFS
2829301234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678

View posts in large calendar

Page List

    Month List