Written by: Gabriel Merchan
Most of us know that there are times in our lives when we need some help in the form of therapy. It could be a result of a break-up, the end of our marriage or just some issue that we need to work through with the help of some counseling.
While most of know about the traditional therapy session with either a psychologist or a psychologist in their office, there are now other services offered that are very convenient.
In fact, online therapy has proven to be a very popular alternative to the traditional therapy sessions.
There are many benefits of online therapy and below are just 6.
1. Convenient Setting
Online therapy is very convenient as both the patient and the therapist can schedule the sessions any time of day. With having sessions from your home, you are also in a very comfortable setting and can have sessions at night, weekends, or whatever times work for you.
Online therapy is much less expensive than traditional therapy and is a great option for those whose health insurance doesn’t cover therapy. However, many insurance companies will offer online therapy. Make sure to contact your insurance company to see if this is an option.
3. Physically Impaired have easier access to therapy
Online therapy is a great alternative option for individuals who are either house bound or disabled. Those who are unable to leave the house due to physical or mental illness will not only be able to receive therapy but will be much more comfortable doing so.
4. Great Option for those in remote environment
For those who live in a remote area, online therapy is a great way to receive therapy. For those who live outside a city location, it can be very difficult for them to drive to the city for a one hour therapy session. And there is a good chance there might not be a therapist office in their location.
5. Takes the Stigma Out
Some individuals who want therapy but are uncomfortable either going to a traditional office setting would do well with online therapy. In fact, if the person who is seeking counsel isn’t comfortable speaking face-to-face with someone, he or she would do well with this form of therapy.
Further, some individuals might not feel comfortable if they saw other patients when either waiting for counseling or entering the office. And on-line counseling is an excellent alternative for this scenario.
6. Many Forms of Communication
With on-line therapy, you can get therapy via email, texts, a quick phone call or video. The choices of communication are much more convenient.
When Online Therapy Isn’t Appropriate
We all know the importance of keeping our personal information private. With online therapy, anything written by email or text during these meetings can be either leaked or get out. Of course, this could be said of anything on-line, but is something to consider.
Those with Serious Psychiatric Illnesses
Online therapy can be very helpful in a variety of situations, but if someone has a serious mental health issue, the traditional setting would be much more effective. Of course, this is also the case for those who have a more complicated set of issues.
A few final things to consider:
Online therapy can be a great alternative for the convenience and access. As with any form of therapy, the most important thing that needs to be addressed is comfort level.
To learn more about on-line therapy and the best companies that offer therapy, this guide can provide you will some helpful and important information.
Image from: Pexels
Written by: Eva Benoit
Are you ready to revamp your work life for the sake of your emotional well-being? There is no mistaking the stress that can come with major job changes, but according to some studies, staying in a job that doesn’t suit you can be particularly damaging. If you’re looking for a healthier situation, a venture in the gig economy could be the perfect solution.
As Medium.com points out, the gig economy offers some unmistakable benefits in the right situation. The flexibility alone opens a world of opportunity for people who otherwise struggle with traditional employment situations. It opens the door to setting your own hours, choosing with whom you interact, and working from home. These aspects can be the keys to improved mental wellness for many people.
Set up a Space
Being able to work from home in and of itself offers a number of key benefits. You can save the time and hassle of a daily commute, reduce gas expenses, and lighten your wardrobe outlay, and you become eligible for certain tax breaks on your workspace. With that in mind, aim for an arrangement that helps you thrive.
Angie’s List notes it’s helpful to set up your home office away from interruptions and distractions. To maximize productivity, invest in some quality equipment that ensures you’re readily in touch with clients and employers. Consider your perspective and comfort as well; set up your desk in an area with abundant natural light so you can take advantage of its mood-boosting qualities. Also, invest in an ergonomic chair to ease the strain on your back and joints.
It’ll feel great knowing you have a space designed by you and for you. Even if you decide on an endeavor that isn’t office-oriented, like dog walking, the space you establish will help you concentrate on bills, navigate arrangements, and promote your services to potential customers.
Pick a Great Gig
Deciding exactly what you want to do in the gig economy might be very straightforward to you, or you might not have any clear idea what direction you want to go. Do some soul-searching, and contemplate things you enjoy. Think about gig opportunities that match your skills and interests, and that promote your well-being. For instance, dog walking is a source of exercise, it gets you into the outdoors, and allows you to spend time with canine companions — all aspects with the potential to improve your mental health, reduce stress, and boost your mood.
You can explore websites that link job seekers with gig employers mesh openings with your interests and abilities. If you’re still at a loss as to what to do, you can take an online quiz to help sift through choices, or get in touch with a career counselor therapist, which is a mental health professional who can help you sort details to choose a healthy path.
Market Your Gig
Whatever avenue you choose, you’ll want to promote it to an appropriate audience. This can be done in a number of ways. If you’re working through a platform, there will be a place for you to set up a page of information about your credentials, specialized skills, and so forth. Wise Bread notes that there are other great ways to market your product or service as well. For instance, through social media, you have the potential of reaching thousands of people with the click of a mouse. A website of your own can also be a plus, and with good work, you’re likely to build your customer base through word of mouth as well.
Don’t underestimate the value of customer relationships. Building a great reputation and positive experiences means they will not only tell others about the good work you’re doing, but it also means they will repeat their business with you. Besides, it feels great knowing you’re doing something well and people are pleased with you.
If you’re ready for a position that promotes your mental wellness, the gig economy offers ample opportunities. Consider what you enjoy, set up a great space, and market your work. It’s a chance to feel better, and you deserve it.
Image from: Pixabay
Written by: Rachael Berringer, LAC
With the increase in screen time, social media pressures, school violence, and hyper-focus on academic achievement among children today, it is important now more than ever that we support our children’s social and emotional wellbeing at home. What better time to start than now, with sunshine, grass underneath our feet, and fresh air! While academic achievement plays an important role in helping our children live successful, fulfilling lives, helping them build emotional intelligence to better understand themselves, navigate social interactions and build meaningful relationships is key. Building social and emotional competence can seem complex, but here a few simple ways to help raise emotionally healthy children:
Play allows a child to navigate strong emotions and situations in a safe setting. Play is essential to development and promotes healthy social and emotional growth. Students have less opportunities to play at school and lack of play affects emotional development, leading to issues with attention and self control. Play is the language of a child. Playing with your child can better help you enter their world and understand their thoughts and emotions on a deeper level. With our hurried lifestyles, play can seem unrealistic and overwhelming for parents, however, even twenty minutes per day of uninterrupted play can promote connection and emotional regulation. Play provides our children with important experiences to help them learn about their emotions, problem solve and develop the skills necessary to become confident and competent adults.
Emotions All Day Long
It’s important that children learn that all emotions are okay ! It’s crucial that we validate when our children are feeling all different emotions. The younger that we teach our children about their emotions and build their emotional vocabulary, the less overwhelming they will become as our children get older. Understanding and accepting our emotions is foundational to being able to manage them. It’s important to demonstrate a curiosity for our children’s feelings so we are better able to help reframe their behavior in the moment.
Reflect On Your Experiences, Emotionally
Regulating our own emotions in order to co-regulate with our children is important! Its unrealistic to think we’re never going to be angry or upset in front of our kids. Process with your child afterwards so when they experience it themselves, it’s not as scary or overwhelming. Observing your child’s experiences as well as the experiences of others around them and commenting in a non-judgemental manner will help our children to identify emotions in themselves as well as develop empathy.
We all bring with us different experiences to our parenthood journey. Some of us may have been raised to cover or hide our emotions. Emotions can be overwhelming for all of us. Pay attention to what’s happening to your own body when you experience different emotions. Does your heart race fast, do your palms become sweaty? Emotions are actually a label for physiological changes that happen in your body. Identifying these cues will help you to be able to recognize the physiological changes that happen in your body and create strategies to help you regulate. By simply paying attention to our triggers, we will become more mindful and less reactive when interacting with our children.
Regulate and Co-Regulate
We constantly hear about self- regulation in children, however, what we need to first talk about is co- regulation. Our children are not innately born knowing how to self - regulate. We all want our children to have the skills to manage strong emotions, but young children may not be developmentally capable to manage their emotions independently. They need us as parents, to be their copilot to navigate the flight of emotions they experience on a daily basis. However, it’s sometimes easier said than done as our own bodies Fight or flight response may become activated when our children are having a strong emotional experience. All children ultimately want to feel safe, secure, and loved. By being mindful and reflective of our own emotions, we are better able to regulate ourselves in order to provide a calm environment and a strong foundation for healthy emotional development.
Image from: Pexels
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis, Ph.D. and featured by: The Mighty
Last month, actor Gillian Anderson posted a video where she openly shared she lives with anxiety and depression, and that it should not be a source of shame or belittlement. She also gives advice to her younger self in that although she has anxiety, it doesn’t mean she can’t live a peaceful and beautiful life.
I am so thankful that a prominent person like Gillian has been so forthcoming about her experiences. It’s very easy to think — “You’ve got it all, Gillian. What are you anxious and depressed about?” But the truth of the matter is, anxiety doesn’t know your socioeconomic status or your profession, and it doesn’t care. Many of us are either born with a genetic predisposition or we were raised by our anxious parents, who communicated to us life’s experiences and events are dangerous. Many of us may have had life experiences that have shaken or shattered our sense of safety and trust in the people and the world of which we are apart. Regardless of how you’re here, you are here.
As a psychologist, I often sit with young adults who mirror my experiences as a younger version of me. I hear myself saying or thinking, “I feel like I’m talking to my younger self.” Watching Gillian’s video really hit home for me as I often wonder how differently my life paths and choices would have been if I had acknowledged my anxiety and had not been so shameful of my thoughts, feelings and choices. I often wonder if I could have lived more in the present and less in my head, what my life would have looked now. I wonder. I also wonder what I could have said to my younger self that would have made a difference in my experience of anxiety. I wonder.
I know I’m not alone with my regrets, my hindsight and regular bombardment of “what if’s.” But that’s anxiety too. That’s the all-consuming nature of anxiety that continues to take me away from the present and keeps me living in the past. It hurts to think that my life could have looked different, possibly even looked better or more relieved.
Written by: Susan Hogan and Meredith Royster
Many college students are turning to pills instead of caffeine to get them through all-nighters, in what’s being called a crisis on campus.
Three recent college graduates agreed to talk to News4 anonymously about their illegal use of ADHD drugs when the pressure was on them.
They said the drugs aren’t hard to get and only cost, $5, $10 or $20 per pill.
“Through a friend who I knew had a prescription, and I would ask him or sometimes I would get it as a gift from somebody if they knew I had a large deadline,” one of the grads said.
“It basically made me feel like I was able to accomplish things I normally wouldn't be able to, and it also made me extremely hyper-focused in the moment,” he said.
“I think it allowed me to manage that schedule in a way that I would've really, really struggled to otherwise,” another grad said.
Prescription drugs for ADHD are known to improve mental function. Adderall is one of the most common treatments for the disorder, but there are a number of other medications that work in similar ways.
The reputation of the so-called "smart drugs" led to a massive illegal marketplace on college campuses nationwide. It's estimated that one in three college students illegally possess ADHD medication.
Dr. Gretchen Watson, a clinical psychologist and a leading researcher in the abuse of ADHD drugs on campuses, believes the abuse is a crisis for colleges.
Image from: Pintrest
Written by: Jennifer Mandato
How many times a week does your child ask you that question? Our kids can be so overwhelmed by homework and flyers that they are unable to keep track of their important papers. They are pressed for time in between school bells, that while the intention to remember where they belongings are is there it is a challenge for them. This can also then lead to a battle between you and your kids. Finding small ways to help your child organize can help alleviate some of the stress not only on you but for them.
Designing a designated work station
When setting up a designating working area for your child it is important it has minimal distractions to help keep them focused. Have them work in the same area to ensure all the supplies they need are readily available to them. This area can be equipped with visual schedules and reminders for them to stay on task and focused. Including checklists for supplies they will need to include in their backpack each day is also helpful. When they are taking breaks be sure that it does not include screen time as that can be a distraction to getting on task and remembering their work. Your child should attend to this area before the start of the school week to ensure they have packed everything and at the end of the week to clean out their folders and backpack to rid them of unneeded papers.
Setting up a work system
In continuing to keep your child organized, it is helpful to sit down and talk with them about materials that would be useful in keeping them on track day to day. What will help their time management skills, support them memory and keep them on task. This could be a multi-subject notebook or a binder with dividers and folders. There are a vast variety of academic planners available as well. Plan a trip to the store with your child and take the time to look at the breakdown of each planner to see which would be most helpful for your child. This will help them plan for daily assignments, long term projects as well as scheduled belongings cleanup. Doing them weekly will support them staying on task as well as not accumulating extra clutter.
While we all have meetings with our bosses and co-workers, we do not have weekly check in meetings with our kids. Do we want our kids to be taking ownership of these skills independently? Yes. Yet we must keep in mind their brains are still growing and developing and they need guidance along the way. Once a week, or more if warranted have a sit down check in with your child. During this time provide support and positive feedback on their progress and accomplishments. This will also be helpful when you have to provide constructive criticism for goals they need to improve on or keep working towards. We all work better knowing we are on the right track and it helps us more available to hearing the things we need to work on. Keep it positive!
While these may seem like three small things they are key to helping your child stay organized!
Written by: C.L. Lynch
Everyone knows that autism is a spectrum. People bring it up all the time.
“My son is on the severe end of the autism spectrum.”
“We’re all a little autistic– it’s a spectrum.”
“I’m not autistic but I’m definitely ‘on the spectrum.'”
If only people knew what a spectrum is… because they are talking about autism all wrong.
Let’s use the visible spectrum as an example.
As you can see, the various parts of the spectrum are noticeably different from each other. Blue looks very different from red, but they are both on the visible light spectrum.
Red is not “more blue” than blue is. Red is not “more spectrum” than blue is.
When people discuss colours, they don’t talk about how “far along” the spectrum a colour is. They don’t say “my walls are on the high end of the spectrum” or “I look best in colours that are on the low end of the spectrum.”
But when people talk about autism they talk as if it were a gradient, not a spectrum at all.
People think you can be “a little autistic” or “extremely autistic,” the way a paint colour could be a little red or extremely red.
But autism isn't that simple.
Written by: Natalie Frank
It's a well-accepted principle of that bribing children for good behavior is not a constructive parenting technique. The belief is that bribery is used only by desperate parents, and many consider it is to be “bad parenting." But virtually all parents use it sometimes (maybe in secret), even while publicly agreeing with those who criticise the strategy and who also likely use it in private. After all, sometimes parents just need children to do what they say. The arguments get old, and let’s face it: bribery works. Desperate times call for desperate measures. So why do so many "experts" give the advice to avoid using bribery to get children to comply when nothing else seems to be working?
It's a common belief that bribes are a bad idea, used only by desperate parents. But used correctly in the form of positive reinforcement, this parenting strategy can help children learn what's expected of them and become compliant with parental instructions.
Why Do Some Experts Say Bribing Children Is a Bad Idea?
The basic argument against bribing children that many experts as well as parents make is that children should be internally motivated, not externally motivated by rewards. Many parents believe that children should not be given rewards for doing things they should be doing anyway. This includes chores like making their bed, setting the table, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper or cleaning their room.
Emily McMason, a certified parenting coach, explains it this way:
“We want kids to do things because they know it's the right thing to do and they get satisfaction from conquering something new, or contributing to the family, group or class."
McMason says that while we think that rewarding children’s behavior will make it more likely they will continue to engage in the desired activity, it actually has the opposite effect. She believes that we are teaching children the worth of something such that if they don’t receive the reward in the future they won’t engage in the behavior.
So if we offer a child a scoop of ice cream for reading 100 pages in a book, they will read exactly 100 pages just to get the reward and stop there. They will then resist reading in the future unless they are offered the reward they have come to expect. McMason goes on to say that some children won’t be interested in ice cream or whatever the reward is so they won’t read at all.
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis, Ph.D.
This is a question that parents struggle with once they receive an ADHD, Autism or Anxiety diagnosis for their child. For some parents, it is out of the question. For some, they are open to the idea, while others may want more than just medication.
What is the ‘right’ thing to do? Is there a ‘right’ thing? The answer, unfortunately or fortunately, is no. There are several variables to consider when deciding the appropriate course of treatment for your child and your family, as this decision is a family affair.
What is the impact on my child’s daily functioning?
This question refers to how much your child is affected by poor focus, hyperactivity or impulsivity, anxiety, difficulty with transitioning, going to school each day, and ability to participate in daily routines, etc. That is, is your child able to establish and maintain friendships? Is your child able to take in class lessons and learn? Is your child distracting himself or others in the classroom? Is your child able to get to school each day? Is your child able to transition from home to school? From school to activities? Is your child able to complete homework? Is your child able to participate in leisure activities such as birthday parties or family gatherings?
Is your child able to participate in a family dinner at home by remaining seated and following a conversation? Are you able, as a family, to go out for dinner, to the mall, to the movies? Is your child able to play with another child in their home without breaking things/toys? Is your child clumsy or accident prone?
Your decision will be based on how severe the level of impact is on your child’s ability to participate in daily activities and events as an individual, and for you as a family.
Are there other strategies I can use before trying medication?
Yes, of course there are. You can begin to implement behavioral strategies, routines, boundaries and consistency from day to day. For example, you may create a space for your child to complete homework that is not at the kitchen table, as your kitchen is likely the Grand Central Station of your house, as it is in many. It is also helpful to implement a no phone or IPOD/IPAD rule in your house while homework is being completed. You can create a visual schedule of morning, after school and bedtime routines. You can also create a list of household rules and consequences and make sure to implement consequences consistently using a calm demeanor. You may want to implement a ‘quiet time’ each night that is electronic free where your child and family can begin to wind down and decompress before bed time.
You, the parent(s), are also part of the treatment. Parents often find it helpful to work with a therapist for Parent Coaching to prioritize areas of need within the home and assist parents in maintaining a consistent parenting style and finding the strategies specific to their home. If you are an organized person who is able to begin and complete a task without hesitation, you are likely going to struggle in understanding why your child just can’t sit down and complete 3 math problems, or why she just can’t go to school and work through her fears. I’ve seen many parents become frustrated despite being very sympathetic towards their child. However, by providing you, the parent, with small short-term goals for your child and for you as a family, you will experience success as a whole and work towards finding a balance between what your child needs to succeed and what your family needs to function.
Executive Functioning Coaching is another form of support for you and your child where a therapist can offer strategies to help with organization, prioritization, homework completion, scheduling and more. Work is done with the child and parent to identify learning style, natural tendencies and preferences in order to help the student develop self-awareness and ultimately internalize the strategies that work. The goal is to develop a sense of accountability as well as confidence for the student.
There are many strategies to choose from, but the ones that you’ll be implementing will be based on the areas of need for your child and for you as a family. Start small and expand the behavioral expectation as your child is experiencing success.
Written by: Delaney Ruston
Are youth more lonely now than in the past? I often wonder if this is true, especially when you see a group of teenagers hanging out together looking down at their phones.
We do know from Jean Twenge's analysis of past surveys that adolescents' feelings of loneliness increased sharply after 2011, which of course is when screen time was becoming more ubiquitous. And in her paper, Twenge reported that “adolescents low in in-person social interaction and high in social media use reported the most loneliness.”
Twenge is analyzing surveys of teens in 8th, 10th and 12th grades done year after year. In 2011 when asked if they agreed with the statement “A lot of times I feel lonely” 25% reported (the average of all grades combined) that they “mostly agreed or agreed.” Then, in 2015 that number went up to 31%. The 25% figure was fairly constant for the preceding 10 years and the 31% is the highest level since the survey began in 1991.
Loneliness is an emotion, and our emotions exist to teach us things. They give us information about our experience in the present moment. In the best case scenario, they are a buzzer that activates us to make a change. So if we have a sense that we are missing the company of others, i.e. a sense of loneliness, it is a signal to try to do something at that moment to lessen that unpleasant feeling. Maybe it's to make plans or to do something in the future to reduce the feeling. Or, sometimes the best thing to do is just to sit with the emotion because there is nothing you can do about it. It is important that we talk to our kids about these feelings and discuss ways we can gain skills to manage them when they inevitably arise – and also assure them the feeling will pass.
What types of loneliness do you and your kids experience? There are many different variations. Here are some examples.
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles