Turtle Dove and Lovey Dove are a pair of Doves that live in my office. They are part of the Kimochis curriculum, so I can’t take credit for their story or their cuteness. The story goes that Turtle Dove wasn’t safe to live with his birth mom and dad and so came to live with Lovey Dove. Now Lovey Dove keeps him safe under her wing. Turtle Dove and Lovey Dove are used a lot in my daily work. The majority of children and families that I have the privilege of working with hold DCS involvement or adoption as part of their story. It means a lot to many of my clients and families to know that Turtle Dove and Lovey Dove have a story similar to theirs. A few weeks ago, Turtle Dove disappeared. His disappearance was made worse by the fact that one of my kiddos who is most attached to Turtle Dove is the one who discovered him missing. I searched everywhere. In couches, under chairs, moved furniture, took the opportunity to dust a lot of things, no Turtle Dove. In a panic, I emailed the folks over at Kimochis and explained the dire situation. No Turtle Dove-How was I going to be able to show stability and reunion to kids who so desperately needed this reference point? I was thrilled when the creators wrote back and said that would not only supply a new Turtle Dove, but also send extras so that there was never a moment of such loss in my office again. Turtle Dove is so happy to be back with Lovey Dove-and now he has brothers and sisters, just in case.
This weekend as the world continued to process the suicide of two individuals who influenced cultural across the world, there was ongoing conversation about the rate of suicide across the US, the individuals who experience suicidal ideation, and the survivors left behind by this painful ending. ABHS is dedicated to shinning a light on the resources available to individuals who are suffering and their support systems. We’ll be looking at issues and resources related to suicide this week. We invite you to join the discussion. Feel free to ask us questions, post resources you’re familiar with, or share your experience. If you or someone you know is currently thinking about suicide, please contact a resource below or 911 immediately.
This week we lost two public figures to suicide, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. For many of us this news comes a great shock and with some sense of reverent sadness. Sadness that a life has ended, that someone we may admired clearly struggled so much. For others these deaths highlight suicide as an option for escape. In the moments of feeling so lost and so wounded, many loose sight of all the wonderful aspects of life-birthdays, graduations, ice cream. Suicide is a growing problem in the US, up by 25% over the last 20 years. There are options for support and help if you or a loved one ever find themselves considering suicide. There are hotlines, counselors, emergency departments, and an array of family members and other professionals who deeply want to be a supportive presence in a time of darkness. The link below is guide to watching for signs of suicide and how to talk to others when we are worried for their safety.
Last week I was looking for a groomer for my dog. I found an app online that allowed me to mark all of the things I might be interested in; dog breed, price range, distance from my house, office based or home visit, etc. It occurred to me that we have no hesitations in thinking about exactly what we want from professionals such as dog groomers to baristas. Yet we so often have no idea how to choose a counselor. Mental Health is a topic that still doesn’t come up in casual conversation very often, so few people think about what they should look for in a counselor. Here is a short list of 5 things to think about when you’re searching for a counselor.
1) Goodness of fit: Is this somebody I think I can talk to? Like really talk to? Do I feel like they are excited to see me? Do they listen? Do I feel understood? Do I feel judged?
2) Specialty: Counselors typically have a specialty. Mental Health is a really broad profession, much like general medicine. Counselors specialize in different areas of concern, different populations, and different modalities of treatment. Think about what you want to work on. Does this counselor specialize in anxiety? Substance Abuse? Homelessness? Adoption? Trauma? Ask your counselor about their specialty. Listen for them to tell you how what they do will help you meet your goals.
3) Resources: Counselors practice in a variety of settings. Some work in group practices, others in agencies with additional resources, some work in combination with psychiatrists. If you think that additional resources, such as group therapy or medication management, might be of benefit for you; consider looking for a counselor that has access to those resources within their practice. This allows for your team of professionals to communicate and provide a unified treatment experience.
4) Think about payment: Counselors work in a variety of settings that mean different things for payment. Some non-profits provide services free of charge. Some counselors accept insurance which may mean a lower rate, a deductible, or small co-pay. There are other counselors who only accept private pay. There is also the option of sliding fee scales. Think about what you’re willing to invest in your services and ask what options and resources are available to you.
5) Don’t hesitate to try more than one counselor: Its all about fit. Counselors, like people, aren’t all the same. Some of us are quiet, some are sarcastic, some are younger, some prefer to work outside. If your first experience with a counselor wasn’t what you thought it would be, keep looking. The right professional is out there.
Some of the feedback we consistently hear about implementing meditation and mindfulness into a daily routine is that it takes to long. So today, we’re giving you meditation in 5
Sit some place that is comfortable and quiet. Take a deep breath. Name:
5 things you can see
4 things you can hear
3 things you can touch
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Take a deep breath. Try completing this list with a favorite memory, thinking about your last vacation, or a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Notice how your body feels before and after. Mindfulness doesn’t have to take a long time to be effective. Our goal is to feel more relaxed and better connected to the moment and space we’re in. Sometime we just have to count to five.
Often when people think about mindfulness there is a mental image of people sitting on pillows and being very still for a long period of time. That can be a difficult image to match with children, especially children who have a hard time self-regulating. For children and adolescents, mindfulness holds the extra benefit of encouraging them to be in touch with their emotions before they act on them. This is something that as parents, teachers, community members, we all hope that children learn: To think before you act. But yes, mindfulness takes on a different shape when we are talking about young children. They often need something extra to concentrate on or they may need to move. Books, like Moody Cow Meditates, or objects like lava lamps can help children learn to pay attention to their bodies, their breathing, and their emotions. These are also great activities to do as a family. Participating in these activities together sends the message that we all want to slow down, that feelings aren’t secrets, and that adults are “big enough and kind enough” to be with children as they figure out emotions.
Mindfulness is an increasingly popular topic on TV, in workplaces, and in schools. Mindfulness is the idea of taking a dedicated space focus on how your body feels, what emotions you are having, and to make efforts to calm those physical and emotional aspects of ourselves. Mindfulness is an intentional slowing down, noticing our behaviors, and the way those behaviors impact our relationships. Mindfulness is by definition, a practice. It takes work and it is often very difficult in the beginning. We live in a society that moves constantly and we are accustomed to constant information and immediate results. Mindfulness is, in some ways, the exact opposite of that. This is a time/space/place to set aside all of the other outside noise and to just pay attention to ourselves. Mindfulness can look a lot of ways, and we’ll be discussing what some of those ways are in the next few days. Below is a review of 5 top mindfulness apps. When we are beginning to slow down it can be really helpful to have something that guides us in that process. Check these out and see what you think. If you have more questions about mindfulness, or are curious about how mindfulness might help with anxiety, depression, addiction, relationships, trauma symptoms, etc. give us a call.