the healing journey counseling fl

healing, anxiety, loss, grief, depression, ptsd, self-care, suicide prevention, post partum depression


Leave a comment

Self care Tips for Counselors/Psychotherapist

The practice of psychotherapy can be very rewarding and psychotherapist spend several years making a positive impact on lives of  whom they work. However, this field can be very demanding and difficult at times due to the challenges that are presented.  It is very important that we attend to the our own mental health so that we can be effective professionals.

Feelings of Distress

As stated in the Merriam-Webster , the definition of distressed is ” unhappiness or pain: suffering that affects the mind or body.” We all experience distress, but when it goes unchecked overtime this leads to burnout.

While attending grad school it was very concerning to me that several of the professors clearly needed to attend to themselves.  I have become very sensitive to this topic every since completing my masters degree. It is very important to become self aware  of ourselves and monitor our reactions. At times our body is giving us a signal to take a step back and take care of ourselves. Some of us take actions while others simply just pour themselves in whatever task is at hand.

Therapist Burnout

As therapist we must be aware of the signs of burnout which often goes unnoticed or pushed aside. If we do not attend to our own mental health, how effective can we be while assisting clients.  It is important to take a step back and rejuvenate your mind and body.

Vicarious Traumatization

When we are assisting clients that are victims of trauma, counselors may be traumatized  by the information that is stated to them during the session. This leads to several symptoms of vicarious traumatization such as intrusive thoughts, avoidant responses, psychologic arousal,  somatic complaints, distressing emotions,and addictive or compulsive behaviors  that will affect one’s competence.

9 Tips for Self-care

  1. Listen to your body. At times we have so much to do and often forget about ourselves so identify what activities are best for you to do. For example, I take time out for myself which includes a quiet time reading.
  2. Put a reminder on the calendar. Even if it is 5 mins per day put aside some time to do some art activity, painting or journaling.
  3. Whenever you can do something for you in between session close your eyes and do some breathing exercise. In addition, you can listen to some music.
  4. Exercise if so important for you so take the time to do some light activity such as riding the bike for 30 min and increase it by 5 mins every week.
  5. If you don’t know how to say no then this will burn you out very quickly. Know your boundaries and weakness.
  6. Make an effort to ask yourself is you are working too much.
  7. Make sure to surround yourselves with people who will encourage you to take some time for you.
  8. Minimize your time and don’t surf the internet for several hours.
  9. It’s up to you to make the effort for your health, therefore, do not bargain with yourself. Just do it!

 

 

 

References:

Distressed.(n.d.). Retrieved July 29,2016 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distressed


1 Comment

Emotional Overreactions and Depression

At times we do not feel as if the day is going well and we don’t feel like getting up. We don’t feel like doing anything. What is really happening to me? It’s cloudy and dreary and I just don’t feel like doing anything today. Have you ever felt this way before?  It’s just a feeling that we can’t seem to shake. We know that this affects many of us on a daily basis, but we need to fight to get up and move around. It may seem as if its the end of the world, but don’t never give in.

 

Depression

Here we go again with that dreaded word “depression”. Lately, many people have been affected with this disorder that tricks our minds to think about things that are not true. At times, we feel lonely, unloved, disliked and the list continues which simply tears you down. It’s unfortunate how much when life events seems to distracts us and we begin to conform to these false beliefs.

 

It’s about me?

We blame ourselves for so many things and begin to sink in misery. It’s our fault. It’s true that you are crazy and no one loves you now or in the future.

 

Well, it’s not really about me.

You can be the most loveable person in the world, but still bad things happen. Indeed, bad things do happen to everyone. We simply must be mindful of how we react to situations that gets us so angry. It can be a simple little thing that sets us off and instead of walking away, we explode.

 

Emotional Overreactions and Depression

 

We find ourselves overreacting so much that affects our entire week and at times we drag it out to several months. You find yourself tearing up for several days upon weeks and your energy is not there. You are not sleeping well and you have not drive to do anything. Your self-confidence has vanish and self-doubt lingers. It takes a toll on your body and it takes a while to get back on track.


Avoiding Depression and Overreaction

It’s time for us to realize that this is a vicious cycle that continues every day. It takes a lot of practice and patience to stop overreacting. First, we need to become aware of what you are doing and put a stop to it.

 

Here are some suggestions for avoiding an emotional overreactions thanks to depression.

 

  • Life events comes and goes.
  • Stop overreacting!
  • Practice a lot of self-talk. Watch your breathing and inhale (peace) exhale (frustration).
  • Do a reality check? Check in with someone who knows you.
  • Distract yourself and do something else.
  • Believe in yourself and know that you are not alone.
  • Quiet your thoughts and mediate.


Leave a comment

Stop Overreacting

 

Effective strategies for calming your emotions

Understanding overreactions- We must be aware of the things that triggers our emotions for instance we may overreact to situation that is fueled by past experiences and raw emotions which we have not dealt with yet.  I completely understand how we can get so worked up about something and we must acknowledge our emotions that cause us to overeact and gets us in trouble. Not everyone reacts the same way which is something that I had to learn during the course of my life. Each of us as a different range of emotional equilibrium that is known as “the degree to which we can mange stressful experience in a calm and thoughtful way” (Siegel, 2010,p. 9).

The Exploder and the Imploder

When I saw this title I could relate to the imploder which is the quiet person who puts their feelings aside while the exploder gets very upset and loud. Exploder has a hard time holding on to their feelings and are easily agitated. For instance, a child whose feelings are not noticed by teachers and parents which leads depression or becoming ill. There are three ingredients to overreacting that includes “the event that triggers a sense of danger, an immediate response that involves our emotions as well as our physical state, and an interpretation of unfolding events that may be colored by defenses and emotional memories” (Siegel, 2010, p. 12). The way how we view a situations has an effect on our psychological well-being which has an effect on the way we view a situation.

In order to manage our reactions we must first be aware of the way how we tend to react. Here are some questions to help you with this exercise:

  • When someone gets very angry at your, do you tend to withdraw?
  • Would people who know you describe you as someone who is mainly logical?
  • When the stress in your life builds up, are you likely to feel fatigued or ill?
  • When someone asks you how you are feeling,  do you give them information about events or description of your emotional experience?
  • Do you often zone out or have an escape fantasies?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are an imploder style. However, here are some other questions for a exploder style:

  • Do you frequently lose your temper or fight about an issue that seems important in the moment but that you barely remember a few weeks later?
  • Do you speak your mind if you think someone has acted inappropriately?
  • When someone challenges you, do you get annoyed and stand up to them?
  • When another car cuts you off in traffic, do you try to catch up to them or start swearing?
  • Do people tell you that you are too emotional?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are a exploder style.

The following is a body scan exercise that will help you to become aware of your feelings. First, start from a relaxed position, close your eyes and focus on the different parts of your body. Ask yourself is you are aware of carrying any tension in your body. Is your heart racing? Do  your muscles feel tense? How about your neck is it tight?Are your hands relaxed? Are your fingers open or clenched? What does it feel like in your stomach? When you know how your body is when you are relaxed, you will begin to notice  how you change when you are under stress. Secondly, we must explore one of the feelings such as being angry and try to learn more about it. We can look back at how we felt when we were angry  and begin to do a body scan by asking yourselves all the questions in the first part of  this exercise. Think about the tension that you are carrying to different parts of your body, If you are uncomfortable, where do you notice this most? If you feel better, do you notice it in any part of your body? By noticing the different sensations throughout the body you are beginning the grasp a whole new way of exploring your feelings. Thirdly, we can now begin to try a guided exercise where you revisit how you feel when you experience something good. By learning how we felt during that experience we can call it up during the times that we are feeling angry or upset. If you open up yourselves to positive feelings, “you will add to your reservoir of well being” (Forsha, 2000).

 

 

Reference:

Siegel, J. (2010). Stop Overreacting. Effective strategies for calming your emotions. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.