Parenting

4 Ways To Prevent Teen Isolation | Orlando Social Anxiety Counseling

As I continue to work with teens in counseling, I’m constantly learning their new trends, ways of life, and outlooks on everything from family, to relationships, to friends. The newest sentence that keeps popping up in my sessions is: “I like my internet friends rather than my real life friends.” When I ask why the response is usually something like: “My internet friends don’t judge me” or “I feel comfortable talking to my internet friends because it’s not a face to face conversation” or “my internet friends are niceteens, online friends, anxiety, isolationr, more accepting and understand what I am going through.”

While these conversations always raise a red flag for me (i.e. online pedophiles, etc.) I remain calm and retrieve some information about these “friends” they are referring to. Back in my day, chat rooms were a big craze and you really didn’t know who was chatting on the other end. Today, apps like Instagram and Skype are used more often for online friends to connect and chat. This makes teenagers feel like they know the person on the other side of the screen because they can see their pictures or speak to them in real time. Texting apps are also a huge way that teens are “socializing” with their friends they meet online. Obviously, still, there can be predators on the other end.

What concerns me, mentally, though is the social wall that these teens are building. I have seen numerous clients push their “real friends” out of their life so much, that they are left with nothing but an online presence. They shut the real world out, and let the cyber world in. It’s […]

Five Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Five Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Do you sit in the mirror with jaded lens and pin point all of your flaws? Do you find yourself daydreaming of how much happier you would if you could just change a certain part of your body? Do you hide behind layers of clothing? You are not alone and many are in the same struggle towards self acceptance.

I was that young teen afraid of the mirror. The mirror showed me a side of myself that I despised and wished I could magically change. I had wonderful friends that loved and accepted me but that just wasn’t enough for me to love myself. This self-hatred poured into my adult years but I learned to mask it a little better. I wore a girdle on a daily basis, spent hours on my hair and make-up, and hid behind jokes, kindness, and being a pretty awesome human being BUT even with the approval of others I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror.

Orlando Self Esteem CounselingI know I am not alone and that many have experienced or are experiencing this very same thing. What I can say is that this self-inflicted emotional abuse does not need to consume your life and does have an end. It is not an easy journey but I can honestly say that it is possible to love yourself wholly and accept yourself for who you are and where you are.

Stop the negative self-talk.

Have you ever taken a day to just listen to your self-talk? Your self-talk are the comments you say to yourself about yourself. For example, if you drop your lunch […]

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 […]

5 Tips For Overcoming ADD/ADHD Without A Prescription

5 Tips For Overcoming ADD/ADHD Without A Prescription

BY: Dwight Franklin, AP

 In today’s world it is very common to address a child’s problematic behavior through the use of pharmaceuticals. While this can be a helpful tool to aid your child’s ability to function and concentrate in school, it is not without its side effects. I have heard many complaints from parents that their child seems to lose their unique personality while taking ADHD medication and/or that they sleep most of the day away. Many others have told me that while the medication helps it does not completely correct all the symptoms that their child is experiencing. I have yet to come across a parent that tells me how ecstatic they were about putting their child on medication even if it was effective. So why do parents go for the medications when they have such anxiety about doing so? It can be for many reasons but the two main reasons are the pressure from outside forces (teachers, medical doctors, family members) or it may simply be that the parent is not aware that there are other ways of handling a child’s behavioral issues. Here are 5 tips that can help a parent have the most success with their ADD/ADHD child.

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  • Cut out all processed sugars!  This by itself can make a huge impact on the behavior of the child. While foods such as cookies, cakes, white bread, and soda are bad for us all, they are especially damaging to a child. As adults most of us have learned right from wrong and appropriate from inappropriate. A child is still learning these things and when excess amounts of […]

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.

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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 […]

The Pansexual Generation | Pansexual Orlando Counseling

By working closely with teens, I often find myself discovering the newest trends, the latest beliefs and the most common behaviors. Their way of life is so different than when I was in high school (which was NOT that long ago) and while I talk to them, I often hear me “dating” myself.

The latest movement is being “Pansexual.” I first started hearing a lot of this term last year when I had a few clients loosely throwing the word around. One day, a teenage girl that I had been counseling for a while told me that her and her long time boyfriend had broken up and she was now talking to this girl named…”Susie” or whatever her name was. I responded with, “Susie? I didn’t realize you were a lesbian.” To which she responded, “I’m not.” And then we stared blankly at each other. I waited for a while and then said, “Oh, I’m sorry…bisexual?” To which she responded, “Nope!” So jokingly (while totally serious) I said, “So…how would you classify your sexual orientation?” She responded that she didn’t want to be labeled anything, but if she had to be, then she would be considered pansexual. At this point, I was so confused because I thought liking men and women meant you were bisexual. She went on to explain that it’s not just guys and girls, but it’s “anyone…” transgendered, androgynous and “gender neutral.” (The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix pan-, which translated means “all”).

Pansexual Orlando Counseling

This generation of adolescents (or at least many of them) has taken such a different approach to “acceptance” than their predecessors. While my generation has become more […]

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 […]

“Her Story” Orlando Infertility Counseling

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Orlando Infertility Counseling with Life Counseling Solutions highlights an Orlando woman who is stepping out as an advocate and writing about “Her Story”.  She is a voice for other women who are feeling alone and struggling with infertility.

“Her Story”

 When my husband and I started trying to get pregnant, we just assumed it would happen naturally and quickly…the way that 50% of women get pregnant within 3 months, 75% within 6 months, and 90% within a year.  After about 9 months of no success, I finally got a referral for a reproductive endocrinologist, and that is when our journey began.  We learned that we had some mild male factor infertility and a low ovarian reserve.  That was a blow to find out, because, at only 32, I still considered myself young and healthy.  Our doctor encouraged us to get started on fertility treatments soon since “time was not on our side.” We started our first round of IUI a few months later.  Despite everything seeming ideal that cycle, we did not have success.  I remember crying the morning I got my period and thinking that it might never happen for us.  It seemed that everyone I know was getting pregnant.  I dreaded going on Facebook because I just knew that someone else would be announcing her pregnancy, but yet I couldn’t resist checking anyway.

We did another round of IUI two months later and at the end of the month, we got the news we had been praying for…a positive pregnancy test!  My beta levels were rising just as they should and we quickly spread the word among our […]