Take Time To Reflect…..

As you embark upon this week working with your clients and providing them with therapeutic services, I want to encourage each of you to “Take Time To Reflect”….

Reflect upon the interactions you have with your clients……

Reflect upon the treatment interventions and services you are providing….

Reflect upon your experiences in and outside of the sessions with your clients…..

Reflect upon all the work that you have done and currently doing…..

What were some of your takeaways?

What have you learned about yourself, personally and professionally?

How have these experiences help you to grow as a clinician?

Reflection is not only good for the soul but even more for our growth and development as clinicians.

I believe in each of you and continue to be amazed at your growth as you EMERGE as clinicians.

Have a wonderful week and EMERGE On…

When The Going Gets Tough….

As a clinician in the field of counseling, every day is not a good day.

We find ourselves working with clients that are challenging and being assigned clients that seem to be beyond difficult, leaving us to wonder if we really know how to provide services and help them to improve.

I want to remind each of you that on days like this, “When the Going Gets Tough….. Continue EMERGING”!!!!!

We are never going to be the perfect clinician.

We are always going to walk away from session wondering what we could have done different.

Better yet, we are going to question if we are even cut out to do the work required of a clinician.

Always remember, each experience is a learning experience.

What you learn from the experience and how you apply it to yourself and the work you do as a clinicians, is what is the most important.

Trust me, I was once in your shoes and experienced some of the same anxieties, fears, and doubts as you have and/or currently are. Believe it or not, I have days when I still have these experiences. It is human nature. It is in these moments we grow, evolve, and EMERGE the most.

Take some time out of your day to breathe and remind yourself that you are “EMERGING”.

EMERGE On!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month…..

Do You Know Your Tools2Thrive?

While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The good news is there are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency – and there are ways that everyone can be supportive of friends, family, and co-workers who are struggling with life’s challenges or their mental health.

This May is Mental Health Month we are highlighting #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery.

One of the easiest tools anyone can use is taking a mental health screen at mhascreening.org when they need answers. It’s a quick, free, and private way for people to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems.

This May, we are also exploring topics that can help you build your own set of #Tools2Thrive – recognizing and owning your feelings; finding the positive after loss; connecting with others; eliminating toxic influences; creating healthy routines; and supporting others – all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones.

When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s ok to give yourself permission to feel. We also know that life can throw us curveballs – and at some point in our lives we will all experience loss. It may be the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, losing a home, or the death of a loved one. It is natural to go through a grieving process. By looking for opportunity in adversity or finding ways to remember the good things about who or what we’ve lost, we can help ourselves to recover mentally and emotionally.

It also is true that connections and the people around us can help our overall mental health – or hurt it. It’s important to make connections with other people that help enrich our lives and get us through tough times, but it’s equally important to recognize when certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel bad or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time. And we know that work, paying bills, cleaning, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things we do each day – and it is easy to be overwhelmed. By creating routines, we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them.

For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. But we are wanting everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Finding what work for you may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health – and set yourself on the path to recovery.

For more information, visit www.mhanational.org/may.

Self-Care if the Best Care……. A Reminder for Counselors during COVID-19!

I am sure by now your days and weeks are now running together and you are unsure of how much longer you can endure the new normal we are all trying our best to adjust to.

Our clients have begun experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety and our families seem to not understand exactly why we are having to, for some still go to work, and why others are having to find a quiet place in our homes to so that we can still provide counseling services during this uncertain and chaotic time.

I can only imagine that this all seems to much for even you, the HELPER and EMPHATIC Counselor, can bear; yet, in it all you are handling the intense pressure well.

Today, I wanted to ask you one question…………

How are you taking care of yourself during COVID-19?

Self Care is the Best Care and in these day and weeks SELF-CARE will be paramount to your ability to continue providing the services that you are to your clients, as well as maintain your health and overall well-being.

While it sounds good to say that you are practicing mindfulness or using stress relieving activities, the reality of it is that none of these techniques and/or activities will be beneficial to you if you are not taking good care of yourself.

But isn’t utilizing techniques such as mindfulness and/or engaging in stress relieving activities what taking care of yourself consist of?

Sure it is, to some extent, however, there is more to taking care of yourself that just therapeutic techniques and stress-relieving activities.

Taking care of ourselves, personally and professionally, consist of many aspects of our lives across various domains.

Physical Self-Care involves us making sure that we are getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, and engaging in exercise on a very consistent, or should I say DAILY basis?

Social Self-Care requires us to make sure that we are maintaining healthy and meaningful relationships with others, to include our significant other, children, other family members and our friends. Social Self-Care also requires us to have healthy communication and time spent engaging in activities that would nurture those relationships that are meaningful.

Intellectual Self-Care includes us doing things that will stimulate and fuel our mind/brain, as well as our creativity, to include: reading books, learning something new, drawing, coloring, completing puzzles, etc.

Spiritual Self-Care is about us as individual developing a deeper sense of meaning and understanding, as well as having a connection with the universe.

A-Vocational Self-Care involves us engaging in those leisure activities we enjoy doing, to include: writing poetry, taking a walk, playing video games, gardening, playing basketball, etc.

Emotional Self-Care is how we deal with and manage those unhealthy and uncomfortable emotions that we are experiencing. Emotional Self-Care includes activities that will help you identify, acknowledge, and express your emotions in an healthy manner on a consistent basis.

Economic Self-Care involves how we manage our finances, automobiles (transportation), and homes (living arrangements).

………………………….. and lastly;

Occupational Self-Care involves are ability to enjoy the work that we are doing and establish and maintain a work-home life balance.

Having realized that Self-Care involve so many domains, what we realize is that self-care is not a one size fits all strategy.

Ultimately, your self-care is specific to you as a person and professional and I encourage you to begin developing your a self-care plan today. You don’t have to tackle every area immediately, but rather, I encourage you to identify those areas in which you struggle more often than not and begin identifying activities that you can do so that you are not struggling and begin taking better care of yourself.

When care for yourself, you will find that you are able to doing things more effectively and efficiently.

Schedule time each day to focus on your individual needs and begin making your self-care a priority!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* Please note that the self-care domains are adapted from Dr. Karla Sapp’s “WHOLE-Self Paradigm of Wellbeing”. For more information or to learn about the “WHOLE-Self Paradigm of Well-Being”, please feel free to contact Dr. Sapp. *