September, 2012

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Talking To Your Children

Linda Harris

Approved ProvenTherapist

 

Linda Harris - Approved ProvenTherapist It’s everywhere. Talk about financial struggles is on the internet, the television, in the newspapers, between parents, and amongst students in high schools. It is almost impossible to be unaware of the rising price of gas, food, and of foreclosures. Children are very sensitive to stress in a household and when they are left out of what is happening, they create their own stories which may be more traumatizing than the reality of the family’s difficulties.

Contact Linda for Counseling and Parenting Support

The question is not if, but what is the best way to talk to your children about challenging financial times. What do you say that is age appropriate. Before having this conversation, make it a priority to put your own house in order. If you do not have a financial plan, follow the adage, “better late than never”. Helping a child feel secure is extraordinarily difficult if you do not manage your own emotions. Guilt and self-doubt may arise from feeling that something more could have been done to prevent this financial challenge.Take responsibility for your part of the problem, but recognize what is not under your control. Go for walks, connect with the beauty of nature, and stay in the present. These tools will make it easier to calm yourself. After settling on a plan, think carefully about what to say. Children do not need to know specifics unless they ask, but they need to hear that the situation is temporary, and that you are working on a resolution. Moreover, since children often blame themselves, explain that it is not their fault.

Listen empathically. without judgment. Give your children the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and fears, then carefully look for signs of distress. Are they experiencing sleeping or eating problems, or isolating themselves? If so, talk to them, and when necessary seek help from their pediatrician or a counselor.

Discuss the new priorities that you are instituting, helping children discern the difference between needs and wants. If they feel embarrassed about moving to an apartment from a house, or not having new clothes, convey your understanding about how difficult it is to make these changes. Emphasize the importance of working as a family to devise a plan as to how everyone can contribute to solve family problems. Explain how much money in the budget is allocated for each expenditure. When children feel that they are a part of the common good and understand what is going on, they feel less powerless and more in control.

Make the best of the challenges by turning adversity into an adventure. Create a list of fun, free activities such as planning a picnic, going for a hike, playing games in the evening, or making gifts.

Have age appropriate conversations. For children ages six and under, focus on reassuring them that they are safe and secure and are part of a team. Use simple language and be truthful. Answer questions that are asked. Children between six and twelve can raise money, such as having a garage sale. Help them figure out how they can help others, perhaps by donating clothes or toys. Children between 13 and 17 are more aware and are having financial discussions themselves. They need reassurance, but can do more to contribute to the family finances, maybe with a part time job. Teach them how to budget, so they can make changes to support the family’s needs.

Finally, a crises is an opportunity to look within oneself. Adults and children alike may discover new strengths. Challenges also offer a chance to recognize the importance of being a part of a community. Though hard times can be divisive, we as individuals and as a community can choose to become stronger by the act of giving and receiving, thus realizing that we are not alone.

Hoarders: Just throw it all away!

Jamie Buff

Approved ProvenTherapist
Jamie Buff In the past couple of years there has been an increasing interest in the media when it comes to hoarding. There are at least two television programs, that show the struggle of hoarders on a weekly basis. The struggle is not one that the hoarder takes on themselves, however, as it is a problem that effects the entire family. Hoarding can become so severe that a person may lose their home or have their children in state custody.

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The hoarder, sees all of their items as worthy and each item as a special meaning to them. Hoarding usually comes from a tragic event that has happened in a persons life. This event can be from childhood or something that happened recently. Some of the events that come to mind are: the death of a loved one, sexual abuse, physical abuse and abandonment. The hoarder often begins to fill their home with random items, to fulfill the void that this tragic event has left.

Hoarders Just throw it all away!For the family member or friend of a hoarder, the illness can be a very confusing concept. On the surface of the mental illness, the family member or friend may say, “Why not resolve the hoarding by throwing away all of the “junk”? As easy as this solution may seem to an outsider, it can actually cause more harm than good to the hoarder. Although the objects may seem useless to an outsider, they are very precious to the hoarder.If everything in the house were to be thrown away, the hoarder would just fill it up with more objects and the space would be just as chaotic as before.

In order to resolve the issue of hoarding, the person who hoards must seek professional help. They need to realize that there is an underlying event in their life that is triggering this behavior. Whatever the event may be, it needs to be dealt with in a healthy way, by allowing the hoarder to express their feelings attached to the event. The hoarder may have to develop coping techniques to deal with stress and unexpected life events. If the hoarder does not learn how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way, they will cope with their feelings by hoarding in the future.

Would You Tell Your Kids that You are Depressed?

Communicating with your younger ones about your mental health

Dr. MG Lazarus

communicating with children about depression The Dilemma of CommunicationMental health patients, in general, do not confide with their children that they were in a psychiatric unit during the past few days or weeks. Instead, they prefer to give some other excuses for being away from the family home. This may be due to their own worries around children becoming over anxious about parents, or their own inability to accept that they are mentally ill, or their own anxieties around the social stigma attached to mental illness among the communities or may be their own fear of being excluded from the crowd.

Contact Dr. MG for Counseling support

Understandably the mental health patients do not want to ‘shock’ their children with the news that they have a diagnosed psychiatric disorder for which they are on treatment.

If you are suffering from mental health difficulties you need to reflect on this very seriously. Is it good to tell your kids about your mental health difficulties? Or would you prefer to keep it with yourself? Or is it still a dilemma?

Playing Hide and Seek

It is easy to play hide and seek. But it is not easy to keep a secret from others eternally. If you don’t tell your children that you are having difficulties around your mental health, someone else will tell them the fact, and very often the reported version would be an exaggerated one than the fact. When someone else tells them that you are mentally ill and they did see you in the psychiatric unit or they saw you visiting the day clinic, it is possible that your children will start thinking why you didn’t tell them. This will only increase their anxiety around how serious the issue is.

Playing hide and seek will always leave room for further doubts. When your children do not have direct information, they will start guessing, which might lead to increased levels of anxiety. Telling the truth might raise some doubts in their minds, but may not be as bad as getting a shocking story from a third party. Moreover, when they see you telling your story, they are getting first hand information and they clearly see you talking to them in real terms, which is more reassuring that you are aware of your difficulties and you are taking steps to deal with it.

The Fair Play

Children, when they are in trouble, look towards parents for support. They seek energy from parents. However, when they get the message that their parent is suffering from mental health disorder they would prefer not to approach you for support or energy, for they understand that their parent is struggling without energy. In other words, they know that the energy reservoir is empty, so there is no point approaching you!

However, when parents disclose their own mental health difficulties with the children they are giving them the positive message that mental health disorder is just like any other medical condition that could be treated with medical and therapeutic support. So, you are making them confident that you are an adult and you know how to manage your difficulties with available support. In this way you are giving the positive message that you are seeking support when you have some difficulties, and in the same way your children could very well approach you for support when they have difficulties. So, it is always good to be straight forward!

Addendum: Some young children develop self blaming for the mental health difficulties of their parent. They might believe that their behavior caused this mental health difficulty to their parent. This self condemnation could be psychologically damaging to them. So, it is important for the children to know that their parents’ mental health disorder is due to their own troubled thinking and it is not caused by anyone else. They also need to be reassured that medication and supportive counseling will fix this and parents are seeking help in this regard.

MARRIAGE – Happy despite the challenges

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist I am an ardent fan of Khalil Gibran; a poet, philosopher, visionary, saint ….I run out of eulogies when I need to describe this one person. This page is dedicated to him, in the sense I will be writing his poems and try to understand them with you all. Each of us sees the same thing with a unique individual perception. Help understand this great prophet better…

Contact Sharanya for Marriage and Relationship Counseling

He writes:

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But, let there be spaces in togetherness.
Love one another but make not a bond of love
Let your love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous,
But let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your heart but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
Stand together yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Beautiful, is it not? A few lines to aptly describe the way a couple can live together happily! A marriage is not about merging with each other! How can two different people merge? It would mean a loss of identity for the partner who is making all the changes or accommodating more. This only results in bitterness and shows its ugly face at the most unexpected stage of married life.

Can an oak tree and the cypress tree be called oak tree? We need to walk hand in hand towards the same goal. Like the train tracks, each one independent yet dependent and very imperative for the smooth running of the train. The train carries so many people every day to their respective destinations and achieves its own milestones because of these two tracks on which it confidently chugs away. When the tracks need to meet and change the direction of the train they do meet and again mutually stay together at a little distance.

Couples too need to retain their individuality, take decisions together and let life stay on course with the partners holding hands and walking in forward n the same direction. Give your love to your spouse but safe guard your heart. That is for the creator! We humans forget this truth. We shower everything on each other. And breathe down each other’s neck! Too much proximity brings in claustrophobia. We are meant for each other and God brought us together for some purpose. Our individual goals and our destiny together are as designed by God. We forget the creator, the purpose of our lives and ourselves too. We begin trying to merge; with unmet expectations end up on different shores with a sea of misunderstandings between us.

He says that we all need time to introspect, be alone and ponder about ourselves. The pillars of the temple stand apart and are home to the God inside and to the thousands of devotees praying to the Lord. The couples should support each other, help each other and learn from each other. The Oak tree and Cyprus tree do not grow in each other’s shadow.

Sareeta Behera is a ProvenTherapist!

 Sareeta Behera - ProvenTherapist Sareeta Behera has joined the team of ProvenTherapists!

An Indian origin, Counselor and Psychotherapist, Sareeta is a researcher in Clinical Psychology who has been working in the therapeutic area for more than 7 years.

Strong professional background, giving highest priority to client satisfaction through dedicated service, use of effectual treatment techniques, symptom re-evaluation before termination of therapy and providing a congenial virtual environment for client treatment sessions are her hallmarks.

“The uniqueness, dedication towards helping people, effectiveness and magnanimity of quality services provided by ProvenTherapy inspired me to become a part of the team and help people across the globe…,” remarked Sareeta.

Welcome to the team Sareeta!

See press release about Sareeta: http://www.prlog.org/11976025-sareeta-behera-is-on-proventherapycom-the-latest-addition-to-online-professional-counselors.html

Profile page to contact Sareeta at ProvenTherapy: https://www.proventherapy.com/Sareeta-238.html

Teenagers And Dating

Linda Harris

Approved ProvenTherapist

Linda Harris - Approved ProvenTherapist As a parent, the thought of your son or daughter beginning dating has the potential of sending chills down your spine; you’re sending them off into an experience over which you have no control! How best can we continue to care for our children as they step into adolescence?

Several considerations are important. First and foundational to navigating this time is to have a relationship with your budding adolescent. The choices they make while away from you is based on this relationship. 

Secondly, keep communication open by practicing empathic listening. This means checking yourself when you find you are focusing solely on your own agenda. Third, know your adolescent’s friends. Even if your child isn’t as open as hoped for, knowing their friends allows a wider view of what is happening in their lives.

I recommend that your child first explore relationship in group settings. This is very natural and safer. The adolescent is preparing for responsible behavior later. In general I recommend that anyone under 16 who wants to date needs to go out in a group. After that age, and if your child seems ready, I would give them permission to go out paired.

Then it is best to graduate to supervised dating. By this I mean that an adult drives the kids to and from their destination. Before the date, however, get to know the prospective date. Call their parents, especially if they are under 16. Making your presence known offers another safeguard for your child.

Finally, appreciate the cellphone. Cell phones make it easy for your child to check in with you and for you to call as well. However, too much hovering will only result in your child rebelling. It is equally important to give your child space to experience their growth. That for the parent requires patience and trust.

Virtual Clinic at Home

Do you think that you need somebody to extend a healing touch to your troubled heart?  Visiting a mental health professional doesn’t make you feel comfortable?  Feeling embarrassed to meet a counselor face to face? Read along… you probably will benefit from taking online counseling or psychotherapy from an online clinician.

Virtual clinic is intended for people like you.  There are hundreds of virtual mental health clinics like ProvenTherapy.com and thousands of qualified therapist working round the clock to talk to you… No need for embarrassment because you are not going out from your room to physically meet a therapist face to face… No need to let others know that you have an appointment with a mental health professional what so ever… There are thousands of practitioners available online in the virtual world to choose from… You can pick your therapist after reviewing their credentials and also you have the option to inquire about the therapy methods they are using even before committing to attend an appointment.

Online counseling clinics operate through different methods.  Most of the counseling sites provide you online live chat session, which is found to be the most effective one in many respects.  The therapist can ask different diagnostic questions in real time in order to make his clinical assessment of your problem.  Once a diagnosis is made the clinician will discuss the treatment plan with you.  Follow-up appointment will be part of further care plan. Many other Internet clinics offer telephone counseling service as well. ProvenTherapy.com has a telephone call widget within the site itself. Client can click this call button to talk to the therapist who receives the call on his/her telephone. All telephone sessions as well as live chat sessions will be recorded and will be kept confidential. Clients are encouraged to check if the online clinic is protected by additional SSL encryption layer in order to prevent data leakage.

The major disadvantage of online therapy is that the clinician loses the opportunity to read the client’s body language, and hence not able to note if the client has problems like tics.  The clinican cannot make physical examination or check your blood pressure which are needed on some cases.  However, research shows that there are millions of people access this online counseling facility because of the comfort and flexibility the virtual clinic gives to them. Of course, virtual clinics offer convenience, value for money, and more flexibility in terms of appointments, and choice of therapists.

Not just the aesthetics!

Visitors will perceive a changed look and feel to the blog from today, we are sure. However, it is not just the aesthetics with a new theme, but a total enhancement of the site with new functionality and performance.

What’s New?

  • Categories listed on top bar for easy finding
  • Newsletter sign up and list management
  • Enhanced RSS feeds
  • Added captcha security for spam protection on comments
  • Social bookmarking facility for every post
  • New search bar

Getting bigger and bigger

We feel that the new design is simple and professional which our visitors will appreciate. However, please feel free to give your opinion through comments.

It’s Virtual, but Secured!

ProvenTherapy.com has gone fully secured with additional SSL encryption layer added since early August. The site is fully tested and all transactions between therapists and clients are highly secured now!

The old http link will automatically redirected to the encrypted https.

Parental Positive Instructions

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist Every Wednesday we have our group meditation. I have been in this practice (called Sahaj Marg) for the last four years and I am still trying to meditate in the real sense of the term. I go early, prepare myself to stay calm and try and treat thoughts like unwelcome guests; this is the instruction we are given. At times I pretend to be a spectator watching a wedding procession from my doorway. I keep telling my mind,”No, don’t gallop! No, don’t wander! No! No! No!” By the time I actually am able to calm myself the one hour meditation is over and I hear the hustle bustle of the others with me! 
An hour flew by with me saying, NO! NO! NO! To my cantering mind! The reins were never in my control and the mind kept saying, ”Neigh! Neigh! Neigh” In reply. It is absolutely disheartening, believe me. I am facing this situation everyday or at least 3-4 times a week definitely where all I do is tell my racing mind not behave as if Michael Schumacher is racing for his last trophy!This Wednesday also I was gallantly bracing myself when out of the blue a sense of calm prevailed over me. I was happy that the horses had decided to take rest and I would be peacefully at peace for the first time in four years. A sudden racket in the passageway jarred me out of my reverie! A mother shrieking, “No!, No!, Abhishek! You should not hit your elder sister!It is not correct! No! No!” I could hear the child guffawing, his shoes making the thumping sound and the didi (elder sister) crying out equally loud, “Ma, Ma See!, NO!!”

It was an eye opener for me! Every word I heard was underlined with no, no and no. The key instruction as to what the child should do was missing. It was a sequence of don’t do this; don’t do that and that and that too! The child did hit the sister and the mother shouted at her best pitch and volume, very callously oblivious to the vicinity, “Did I not say don’t do it! You should not hit your elder sister! How many times do I have to tell you? Why did you hit her? Tell me? Right now!”

I thought, “Hullo!, then tell the child what to do! If hitting is wrong why say it at all! Say what he/she is supposed to do, is it not simpler? Give the next instruction please, and do it soon, before I am forced to come out and speak my mind! ” It is like psyching the child, who is about to appear for an exam with, “Don’t you dare fail dear! Don’t you dare fail?” We are already pushing the child towards doomsday! Where is the need to introduce that word? It is better said, ‘Do well baby. All the best’ and the child is more confident. We send them to the battle field with a sense of failure and they come back with exactly that. Then we pile on to the child with,” failing was not an option! Did I not warn you beforehand itself! You never listen to me, you never sit and study and an endless stream of epithets ensue.” A string of ‘NO’ again! A mother warns her daughter who is about to go for her first party, “Don’t return after 9!” In case the poor girl is delayed, then? Should she run away? Never return home because the mother said so?

In a nut nutshell all I wish to say is, please give positive instruction or nothing at all. We simply confuse the child, the way I confuse my mind’s horses, asking them not to run. All I need to is, ‘Mind, stay, rest, sleep. I need to meditate and I wish to meditate, so please rest.’ And you parents tell your children what they should do! Instead of repeating what they should not do! Good luck to all of us.