Depression

7 Ways To Help Your Kids

How can anyone explain tragedies like the relatively recent killings in Santa Barbara or the Connecticut murders to kids? There are a few things that parents can do to address any questions or any fears that may come up in children after being exposed to news reports or conversations from classmates.

Kids & Tragedies Be Flexible

It is important that you realize there is no exact right or wrong way to answer any difficult questions about any of these tragedies. What matters the most is that children know that they can talk to you about their feelings and ask questions (i.e. that it is safe to talk about it).

Ask Open-Ended Questions

You want to ask kids open-ended questions such as, “what happened in school today? What did you see today? How do you feel about that conversation? This may help facilitate them expressing their feelings.

Maintain Routines

Encourage your child to go to school if they want to stay home. When they are at school with other children and teachers, this can be the best place for them to confront any anxieties. If your child is really upset and wants the day off with you, that is ok too. Just make sure any changes in routine don’t become permanent.

Be Reassuring

Use language to distance the child from the tragedy and reassure them that they will be safe at school. You can say things like, “that happened far away and I will do everything I can to keep you safe.”

Use Developmentally Appropriate Language

Children as young as 2 can be aware that something is happening, but the amount of information they need still changes age by age. It is not advisable to give them […]

EMDR | Orlando Trauma Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a treatment used to “desensitize and reprocess” memories that have been stored in your brain as a result of traumatic experiences (this can be a small trauma to a larger trauma).  EMDR is  considered to be an effective therapy because of the quick and lasting relief clients feel from their emotional distress.  EMDR therapy repeatedly activates opposite sides of the brain, which releases emotional experiences that have become trapped in the nervous system and can be completed by the eye movement, audio to tactile methods.

EMDR is shown and used at Life Counseling Solutions to have effectiveness in treating the following conditions:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Overwhelming Fears
  • Relationship Problems
  • Loss of a Loved One
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Post Traumatic Stress (Rape, Robbery, Natural Disaster, Car Accident, Fire, Earth Quakes)
  • Sexual, Physical, or Emotional Abuse

Orlando Trauma TherapyHow Does EMDR Work?

The EMDR therapist works with a client in revisiting the traumatic experience, the feelings about the experience, and any negative thoughts or feelings.  The therapist then uses bi-lateral stimulation (either eye-movement, tactile, or audio methods) to activate both sides of the brain to bring quick and vibrant images that are then processed by the stimulation bringing about relief and resolved feelings.  

Performance Based Self-Identity

Self-identity is the recognition of someone’s potential and qualities as an individual. When we have a balanced view of our self-identity, we can find the worth and value in the many facets that make us human. For example, a person can say I am smart, I am kind to others, I am attractive, I have a great sense of humor, I have a good work ethic, etc. However, many people find their self-identity, and their self-worth, not in who they are, but what they do.

This is called Performance Based Self-Identity.

Performance Based Self-Identity creates two types of people: perfectionists and avoiders. Both of these types of people have the same mantra of “I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself” (taken from “The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee- highly recommended!)

self-identity, performance, failing, workaholicBeing a perfectionist is often viewed as a good trait because perfectionists work hard, get things done, and are reliable; however, being a perfectionist means that impossible standards are set and never obtained. No one is perfect; therefore, setting out to be is impossible and frustrating when not achieved. The perfectionist’s thinking of him or herself looks like, “Today, I got a 100% on my AP test; I got the highest promotion at work; I am a mom who has it all together…therefore, I am good/valuable/worthy/etc.” While these are all wonderful achievements, situations and circumstances change on a daily basis, so if a perfectionist feels valuable because he got the highest promotion, what will happen to his self-worth if he gets fired or laid off? This is when the perfectionist spirals into a state of devastation […]

4 Healthy Boundaries in Social Media | Orlando Counseling Services

Strength Behind the Screen

In a world of selfies, hashtags, and tweets, social media and the pressures it brings have bombarded our lives. It is well understood by now that social media can be used to bring harm, heartache, and even “acceptance” to its users, but it is surprising how often we gain “strength” behind the screen to promote, defend and process.

SocialMediaBoundaries

The most common types of statuses and comments that we come across (or have posted ourselves) are ones like the following:

The passive aggressive, not so passive status: “I usually do not post statuses like this, but I just have to vent with how frustrated I am with…”

The vague, not so vague, post about someone, who knows that they’re the someone that the post is about: “I want to unfollow you because I see you with her, but I can’t because it’s my only connection to you.”

The posts that are fishing for compliments: “Feeling frustrated because I can’t seem to shake these last few pounds” which are usually followed by “What are you talking about?! You look amazing!”

The outright fights that people have via comments, which doesn’t need an example. We’ve all seen it!

While social media can be fun and even beneficial at times, it is important to understand when to limit yourself and your thoughts to the entire world. Here are some helpful tips to keep healthy boundaries online and to take that strength that you have behind the computer or phone screen into the real world.

  1. Do not pick fights over the Internet – When you are upset with someone social media is not the place to hash things out, even if they start the […]

Dangers of Teen Codependent Relationships| Orlando Teen Codependency Counseling

Dangers of Teen Codependent Relationships| Orlando Teen Codependency Counseling

Codependency is a term that can be defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” Unfortunately, codependence can affect anyone and it is an issue that is even affecting teenagers. Codependent relationships in teens can be extremely dangerous, as we have learned by recent events in Windermere, Florida.

Florida Teen Double Suicide Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.20.13 PM

On Saturday, March 22nd, two teens shot and killed an officer and then themselves. Suicide notes were found by parents along with notes to each other and plans of the future. The plans included that the couple desired to get married (Brandon Goode being 18 years old and his girlfriend Alex Hollinghurst only 17 years old), steal a boat and sail to Panama. Brandon painted Alex a “romantic” idea of a future by saying, “We could live on a beach, just you and me, forever;” however, this isolation and dependency is exactly what fed into the couple’s toxic relationship. Another letter was found where Brandon was apologizing for creating so many problems for Alex and breaking up with her. According to letters, and the events that ensued on Saturday, obviously the break up did not last.

Often times, teenagers get a tumultuous relationship confused for a passionate one. They think the codependency is romantic rather than unhealthy. And the on again/off again relationship as destiny to be together, rather than being unable to set and maintain healthy boundaries. This kind of behavior is definitely dangerous to one’s mental health, but as Windermere and the families of […]

5 Ways To Grieve The Loss of A Loved One | Orlando Grief Counseling

It seems that every time we turn on the TV that we are bombarded with tragic loss.  This can be especially hard if we are dealing with loss in our personal lives.  It is also difficult when the loss does not make sense and/or is unexpected.  We have the entire town of Windermere grieving the loss and honoring the life of their beloved officer and friend, Robert German, who was tragically killed in cold blood in a senseless murder at gunpoint.  We also have the family and friends grieving the loss of his killers, Brandon Goode (18) and Alexandria Hollinghurst (17), who took their own lives that same morning after taking the life of Officer German.  Neither occurrence makes sense to their loved ones.  Neither death can fully be explained in a way that would relieve the pain they are facing at this moment in their lives.

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 There is nothing anyone can say or do to make the pain of losing a loved one go away but there is help in the process.  If you or someone you know is dealing with a loss from a death or suicide here are some helpful tips to assist in healing along the way:

1)   Share your feelings with others.  This is not a time to be alone or to isolate yourself.  There will be moments that you may need to be alone to process the events, to grieve out loud and listen to your own thoughts and feelings, but isolation does not assist in the long run.   Avoiding the company of others or not sharing your feelings keep you stuck and can cause you to fall into […]

How To Cope This Holiday Season: Loved One’s Eating Disorder

As wonderful as the Holidays can be for many of us, this is often a time of stress, anxiety, and despair for many suffering from an eating disorder. The Holiday Season is not only focused around gifts, and time with loved ones, but FOOD. Food is an obsession that those with an eating disorder struggle with every day, and the holidays just intensify this obsession.

OrlandoEatingDisorderCounselingHolidaysThe following tips will help you cope with your loved one’s eating disorder and make the holidays merry and bright.

o Do not put a huge emphasis on what your loved one is eating.
o Check in with your loved one privately and see how he or she is doing emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.
o Be genuine with your loved one. Remind him or her that they are loved and valued no matter what.
o Make the focus of the holidays about family and quality time together, not food or eating habits.
o Do not draw attention to the eating disorder.
o Do not talk about weight loss or weight gain, even if referring to yourself or others.
o Be patient. This is an especially difficult time for your loved one.
o Have your loved one seek counseling.

Although there are some specific guidelines to help your loved one this holiday season, do not feel that you have to “walk on eggshells” and be unnatural. The more natural environment that you create, the easier it will be for your loved one to cope and not feel the pressure of his or her eating disorder.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, then call Eating Disorder Counseling Orlando with  Life Counseling Solutions today for a COMPLIMENTARY […]

What You Need To Know: YouTube & Self-Harming | Orlando Teen Counseling

This week, I was brainstorming on what to write for the Orlando Teen Counseling| Life Counseling Solutions blog. I decided I wanted to find an inspirational video on YouTube about cutting and expand on that. Unfortunately, instead, I came across some disturbing videos about teens and self-harming.

Because I have worked with many teens that self-harm, I have heard stories about them finding people they can relate to on YouTube, being inspired through YouTube videos and even posting their own videos. My desire is to inform parents of what is out there and what is easily accessible to their children.

Popular YouTube Self-Harm Videos Include:

  • 36 Self Harm Scar Excuses
  • What to do if you cut too deep
  • How to cut deep (for bigger scars)
  • Real cutters vs. Fake Cutters
  • How to hide self-harm scars with makeup
  • Cut the pain away
  • How to self-harm
  • Covering self-harm without long sleeves
  • Self-Harm (Warning graphic content may be triggering)

The scariest part about these videos is that they have anywhere from 300,000 to 1,000,000 views. This is the newest outlet for teens to express their hurt and pain. Many of them share their story to get “comments” from other teens encouraging them, or just to get their feelings out in the open.

5 Things You Can Do

  • As a parent, be very aware of what your child is posting and watching on YouTube.
  • Check their Internet history.
  • Have open communication with them about their feelings, emotions and behaviors.
  • Find out what type of music, shows and movies they are into at the moment.
  • Be involved in your teen’s life (and social media) as much as possible so that he or she is not seeking out guidance, help, or direction from YouTube or other unhealthy sources.

If you think or know that your […]

6 Ways to Combat Holiday Social Anxiety | Orlando Social Anxiety Counseling

Halloween has come and gone and now we are starting to see Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, and retailers decking the halls with sales and specials. Thanksgiving has gotten lost amongst the hustle and bustle of it all, which means one thing: The Holidays are upon us. The Holidays are a time when people enjoy Christmas parties, family gatherings and work events. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, not for someone suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder.

Orlando Social Counseling

The Holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year for someone who suffers from Social Anxiety. This may even be a time that he or she finds dreadful. Here are Six Ways to Combat Social Anxiety During the Holidays and make this season a merry one.

Six Ways to Combat Social Anxiety During the Holidays

1) Inform Yourself: Anxiety comes from the unknown: “Who will be at this party?” “What if everyone thinks I’m stupid for bringing this gift? What are we even supposed to bring?” “What time is everyone showing up?” If you ask the host these questions and get this information beforehand, it may alleviate a lot of that anxiety.

2) Stick with the least threatening situations: If you are the most comfortable at a small family gathering or an intimate dinner rather than the annual corporate Christmas party, then go to those events. You do NOT have to go to every event that you are invited to, but you DO need to remain social during the holidays. Avoidance will only fuel your social anxiety.

3) Avoid/Limit alcohol: You may think that a few glasses of wine may help calm your nerves, […]

5 Signs That Your Teen May Be Cutting | Orlando Self-Harm Counseling

Cutting, a form of self-harming is unfortunately far too common amongst teenagers today. There comes a point where a teenager may no longer know the best way to cope with stress, sadness, anger and other emotions. The emotional pain is too much to handle and the only way they can find relief is by diverting their attention away from the emotional pain and directing it to physical pain. I have had clients describe cutting as “an escape,” “a release” and even “a high.” Orlando Self-Harm Counseling Can Help!

OrlandoSelfHarmCounseling

Although a teenager that cuts is not necessarily suicidal, this is a devastating, accidental outcome much too often. This negative coping mechanism is one that needs to be addressed as soon as it is brought to light. If you are unsure if your teen may be cutting, then here are some signs to look out for.

  1. You may begin to notice that he or she has withdrawn from friends and family. Isolation is one of the biggest signs of self-harming because it is a shameful and embarrassing experience and usually done alone in secret.
  2. You may also begin to notice that your teen is no longer participating in activities that he or she once took interest in like sports, extracurricular activities, dance, music, etc. They have turned their once healthy outlet into a negative coping mechanism.
  3. You may see or hear that the music they are listening to or the movies/YouTube videos they are watching are very “dark.” There are plenty of artists putting out music and/or videos sending a message that teens feel they can relate to, but the message is usually pretty heavy and negative.
  4. If you see […]