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Say a Big NO to New Years Resolutions

Jan 20, 2018 in Ask The Therapist

All kinds of ads are going to be appearing telling us we need to be more- healthy, fit, strong, young looking, organized; or less- in size, weight, stressed, in debt. Good to remember lots of those people are focused on getting you to listen to them, as the expert in charge of your life.

 

How about looking at ourselves and just accepting who we are right now. Focus on accepting ourselves, embracing the humanness of us. Why would a counselor, who makes her living helping people change, tell you to accept you now? Because if we accept who we are right now, we can begin to shift the things we want to shift. And the changes YOU want to make will become apparent.

 

Remember so much of what you do has gone well or you would not be around to welcome in a new year!

 

 

Written by Martha (Marty) D. Laska LPCC-S, LICDC-S, ACHT

She has a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from The University of Akron. Marty is also an Advanced Certified Hypnotherapist. Marty specializes in using both talk therapy and hypnotherapy to help couples (married or not), adolescents and adults.  Marty has been a counselor for over 25 years and takes a common sense but creative approach to counseling. She has worked in all kinds of jobs and places and enjoys working with all kinds of people.
Her focus areas include LGBT populations/issues, Trauma, Substance Abuse/Chemical Dependency assessments and treatment, Grief, and Spiritual Counseling for both Traditional and Non-Traditional Beliefs; as well as Smoking Cessation and Weight Release using Hypnotherapy

“I’m a Teenager. Are the Symptoms of ADHD Different for Me than Kids?”

Jan 6, 2018 in Ask The Therapist

 

Many teens and/or their parents ask if ADHD looks different in children vs. teens. Although the “standard” symptoms of ADHD are the same for everyone, children through adults, teens show their symptoms in some very specific ways.

Here is a checklist of ADHD symptoms for teens. If you (or your child) meet 4 or more criteria, it might be a good idea to seek a professional evaluation for ADHD. One of the main symptoms of
ADHD in children, hyperactivity, greatly drops off by the time one reaches adolescence. Outward hyperactivity is sometimes replaced by more of an “internal” feeling of hyperactivity; this has been described as “restlessness” or feeling like you have to be doing something all the time.

 

Signs of ADHD in Teens:

  • Has trouble getting organized and setting priorities
  • Has a tough time getting started on homework and other assigned tasks
  • “Spaces out” when listening to someone or doing assigned reading
  • Often needs to re-read information or ask people to repeat what they’ve said because it doesn’t stick the first time
  • Has trouble staying focused
  • Often gets sidetracked from tasks, unless they are doing something that is especially interesting to them
  • Often rushes through assignments or produces messy work with lots of errors
  • Often seems to be working well below their potential in school or on homework
  • Has trouble remembering information when it’s needed
  • Struggles to recall facts during tests, when they studied and seemed to know the night before
  • Has trouble remembering day-to-day things
  • Often forgets to write down assignments or keep track of stuff
  • Often acts/speaks impulsively

 

 

Written by Diane Heidorf, M.A., LPCC

Teaching Teens to Drive in the Snow

Dec 30, 2017 in Hot Topics

The thought of first time drivers having to endure the winter snow can be terrifying. We already know that teens are more prone to accidents, and when you add snow in the mix, it just gets worse. How can we have teens get experience driving in the snow, while still being safe?

 

The first thing to note, is that if you live in an area that gets snowfall, sooner or later, they are going to have to drive in it. Chances are, for a good amount of their life, they were driving with you. They most likely already have an idea that generally, when it snows people slow down. Other than this rule of thumb, talk to them about things they may not know about bad weather driving. Certain things like pumping your brakes (even if you have an automatic braking system, or ABS), using all wheel drive, or over-correcting may not be their first thought.

 

After they are educated on what to do in various scenarios, it is time for them to test the roads themselves. At first, they will probably keep in mind all the things you have told them. Then, they will become more comfortable and try to push the limit, and most likely speed in the snow more than they should. Obviously, the hope is that they will not disregard anything you have told them, but unfortunately, teens will be teens. Chances are they will slip or slide enough to scare them, then they will realize the snow is actually no joke. They will quickly find out there are all the precautions for a reason.

 

Ultimately, driving in the snow takes time and practice. Take time to drive around with your young driver in the snow, that way you both feel more comfortable. Also, accept the fact that eventually, they will have to endure it alone, so just ensure you give them any information they need.

Grieving During the Holidays

Dec 28, 2017 in Ask The Therapist

The holidays can be stressful enough on their own; add grief to the mix and they can seem unbearable. Here are some ways to cope with grief during the holidays.

 

1.) Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel your emotions, whatever they are: sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. They are all a part of the grieving process and they don’t magically go away because it’s the holidays. Do try to be mindful of what you plan for the holidays so as not to overwhelm yourself.

 

2.) Consider traditions. Are there traditions that you had in the past that you would like to continue, even without the loved one? Are there traditions that you want to discontinue? Are there new traditions that you want to start? All of these options are OK. It is NOT a betrayal of the loved one to carry on; in fact, it is very likely that the would want you to do so. It is perfectly fine to celebrate the holidays AND remember the loved one at the same time.

 

3.) Remember, the anticipation of the day can often be worse than the actual day itself. We very frequently talk ourselves into believing that an event is going to be terrible, awful, etc., but when it arrives, it is not nearly as bad as we anticipated. Yes, there might be some pain as you go through the holidays without your loved one…but you can and will get through.

 

4.) Surround yourself with supports. This could be family, friends, clergy, mental health professionals, co-workers…anyone who is able to provide some emotional support for you. There is no shame in reaching out, and you don’t have to be alone.

 

 

By: Laura M. Wheeler, M.A.Ed., LPCC, LMFT

Managing Expectations to Have a Rational Holiday

Dec 28, 2017 in Ask The Therapist

How many of us have heard “this year will be different” or “ everyone will get along” and this will be the “perfect Christmas” just to be let down and eternally frustrated at the first sign of dissension, or at the initial flutterings of an argument. It doesn’t take much to ruin the picture that we have in our heads related to the expectation of a perfect holiday.
The truth is, there isn’t a perfect holiday. There are always things that go wrong, and there are always weeds in the garden, no matter how much we wish and hope that there aren’t. We
know, without a doubt, the things that go wrong, or the issues that come up that typically derail our hopes of having the perfect Christmas leading us to become frustrated, blow up, or totally
withdraw and give up.

The most important thing that we can do this time of year is to identify what expectations we have and evaluate what those are based on as well as the overall rationality of the expectations
that we identify. If we go through life expecting that there should not be weeds in the garden, or that things should always be the way I want them to be, we are going to eternally frustrated
It is easy to get away from the meaning of the holidays and get stuck on the way we believe things should be. The more that we focus on what should be, the further we move away from
what is right in front of us and what we do have.

As Shakespeare said: There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. If we do our best to try to focus on what is right in front of us and what we do have, and recognize what our expectations are, we can better prepare ourselves to remain rational throughout the holiday season and minimize our tendency to overreact to our expectations not being met.

 

Gregory Pollock, M.A.Ed., LPCC-S

Choosing the Right College

Dec 16, 2017 in Hot Topics

Aside from the holidays, it is starting to be the time of the year that high schoolers choose a college. The whole process can be very intimidating. There is a lot of pressure to choose the “right” college. How do you know which one to go with? What happens if you choose wrong?

 

Choosing the right school the first time can save you some trouble later. One of the first things you should think about to narrow your search, is to ensure that the school has what you want to study. Another thing to think about is where the school is in proximity to where you currently live. Sometimes people choose to move away for school, others commute. If you do choose to live on campus, a very important thing to keep in mind is which school feels like home. The means which school has the atmosphere, people, and resources you know you will thrive on.

 

Know that even if you do end up feeling like you chose wrong, you can always transfer to another school. It is a very common thing for students, up to 1/3 of undergrads transfer at least once. If you find yourself feeling that you would be a better fit somewhere else, whether it is socially or financially, you have the right to switch. Sometimes, the school does not have anything to do with it. People may find they want to change their major, and their school does not offer what they need anymore. You cannot be afraid to take a leap and do what you think is best for yourself.

 

College can be intimidating, but if you educate yourself before you make a decision, you will end up succeeding.

How to Know When to Seek Help

Dec 9, 2017 in Hot Topics

Sometimes, the main thing stopping someone from receiving help through counseling, is themselves. Over time, we can develop this complex that we need to be a “superperson” and act like we don’t have problems. Seeking help for your own mental health can change your life, so if you feel the need, why wait? Sometimes people can be hesitant because they are afraid of seeming weak or unable to cope. In reality, everyone has their own thing to deal with, and addressing anything going on in your life can be the first step to fixing it.

 

You will know it is time to see a counselor when whatever you are dealing with is starting to affect you daily, or more frequently than you would like. Another important thing is to listen to the people around you. If they can see you struggling, listen to them. Chances are they know you pretty well. The longer you put off your health, the worse it will get. If you are thinking about going to counseling, you probably can safely say it is time to go.

 

Put yourself in a position to succeed, and you will.

Surviving the Holidays

Dec 2, 2017 in Hot Topics

Every year this subject comes up: Surviving the Holidays. We can handle days filled with obnoxious in-laws, finding perfect gifts, snow, and organizing gatherings, but when you put them all together it can feel like utter chaos.

 

So how do we cope with all the stress holidays can bring on? Well, the first thing to do is breathe. Acknowledge that this time is pretty hectic for everyone and that it will pass. It may help you to make a list of everything you need to accomplish. This gives you a visual hint of everything you have on your plate, and can help you tackle it.

If the reason why the holidays stress you out is because you are worried about your funds, try to get creative this year. Often, you can find many great gifts at lower-cost stores you might not have thought about checking before. If you are a creative or artistic person, try using some of your skills to come up with gifts for people.

The main thing is to remember to enjoy the holidays for yourself too. It is so easy to get caught up trying to impress everyone around you, that you can get lost. Enjoy the company around you and try not to let your mind wander to the “what ifs” and “should haves” that will just give you extra stress.

Medication Management

Nov 18, 2017 in Hot Topics

Counseling or Medication?

A common misconception among people is when it comes to medication and counseling, you can only have one or the other. Sometimes, people have a fear of being on medications or going to therapy, so they will only do one of the two options. However, medication and counseling should be used to work together. While not everyone needs medication, it is much better to have your clinician who knows you and your case to suggest medication that are right for you.

 

Isn’t Medication the “Easier Option?”

Medication is believed to be a “quick fix” but counseling should still be utilized. Keep in mind that just because you may be on a medication, your treatment still requires effort from you. It is very important to do what the clinician suggests. You may have seen or heard something about a certain medication that you believe will help you, but it may not actually be right for you. Know that they are the trained professionals, and ultimately have your best interest in mind.

 

How Do I Get Started?

If you are currently seeing a psychologist, they cannot directly prescribe you medications. If they believe you could benefit from them, they will refer you to a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner. From there, you will be able to explore all your options and decide with the psychiatrist what is best for you.

Seasonal Depression

Nov 11, 2017 in Hot Topics

We all know that for many people, the holidays can be a drag. For such a joyful time, there can be so many stressors that can ruin the fun. Worrying about gatherings, meals, family, and presents can all put strain on our minds.

 

One term that professionals use is “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. This is the idea that there is a cycle that takes place within the year that implies that our mood changes with the seasons. It makes sense because we know that certain times of the year bring different connotations. For example, in summer we think of being carefree and relaxed, and in winter we think of holidays and the busy times that comes with it.

Well, how do we deal with this feeling of depression during a crucial time of the year? There are many options, but these can be the most effective:

  • Seek counseling when you know you’re going to need it
  • Engage in your favorite activities around this time to keep yourself relaxed and healthy
  • Don’t be afraid to shift some of your seasonal workload on someone close to you (partner, parents, etc.) to help if you’re spread too thin
  • Start planning earlier to avoid last minute gifts, meals, and gatherings

 

These things will not get rid of SAD all together, but reducing the amount of stress you have can make it much easier to manage. As the saying goes, if you take care of yourself, you can take care of those around you.