Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Does Your "To Do" List Look Like?

To Do
Annaul physical exam-check
Eye Exam-check
6 month dental cleaning-check
Hair appointment-check
Get vitamins-check
Buy healthy food-check
Make therapy appt-?

Many of us will make sure we take care of our physical needs. But, when it comes to our mental health (not mental problems/issues), it is often put on the back burner. Many things can keep us from seeking counseling. Some people feel there is a stigma attached to seeking counseling, "People will think I'm crazy" or others will choose to pray about it or let it ride out. Still, some may say, "I just can't afford it". If thsi is you, or someone you know, here are my responses:

You are not "crazy". We all experience tougher times and talking to a trained professional is often helpful. Besides, why are we worrying about judgemental people?

Yep, I agree that you should pray, especially for a therapist who is in line with you and can understand and help you. We all have a purpose and were put on Earth to fufill that purpose.

When you sit and think about it, how much do you pay to get your hair done? At one point, I used to pay at least $85-90 every two weeks, in addition to driving 35 minutes to this particular stylist. How much will we pay to get our nails done ($30-$50, more if you like designs, gel nails and sea salt added!). What about a new outfit for a party? All of these things address our outer appearance or physical health. Yes, it is true, "when I look good, I feel good"!! But, if you have deeper underlying issues that haven't been addressed, it doesn't matter how good you look if you don't feel good too!

Let me ask you a question, if your doctor told you that you had Diabetes, high blood pressure or even needed to come in for follow up tests, what would you do? Would you not buy your life saving Diabetic or blood pressure medicine? Would you skip the follow up tests and hope that it is nothing serious? Better yet, would you make your children/spouse/friends/family worry about your condition. I am 99% sure that the answer to these questions is NO!

Yep, you're right, "money is funny" right now. And when it comes to feeding your children, buying your medication, or getting gas vs. a weekly therapy appointment, I agree. But, you may be surprised to see how many therapists are willing to work with you (after all, it's a helping profession). Does this mean your appointment is free? Well, is your copay free? Nope! But there are several locations offering lower cost services (as low as $20). For instance, I have no problem with offering a discount (not free) if a person is consistent and shows up to their appointments as scheduled. I work with financial situations and in some cases, have suggested that my clients come every other week rather than weekly so their budget isn't affected to much. I also offer a "buy 3, get one free" for those who want to pay in advance.

Now, everyone doesn't do this but, if your mental health is just as important to you as your physical health, why not check it out! We shop around for bargains everyday, so take some time to shop around so you will not only look good but to feel good too!! Soon, you will be able to mark "make therapy appt" off your ever growing "To Do" list.

To help you get started, here are a few links to check out and speed up your process. (Besides NVCC, this list does not suggest/imply that any of these places offer the same discounts/prices/etc as I do.) If you know of other counseling/therapy places, please feel free to leave them in the form of a comment.

New Vision Counseling Center (me!!)
Families First
Tiffanie Davis, LLC
Evan Katz (The Anger Guy)
United Way
Powers Ferry Psychological Associates
Georgia Professional Counseling Center

And as always, you can contact your insurance carrier.

*Info in this blog is strictly my personal and/or professional opinion. Posts and comments are not intended to treat, diagnose or replace any medical advice you may have received. Please contact your doctor or therapist if you feel you need help, and in case of an emergency, dial 911.*

Monday, October 20, 2008

Take A Break:Your Mind, Body and Soul Will Thank You!

Do you often sit back and think about how much you take care of yourself? Those of us in the profession call this "self care" or it can be referred to as "me time". While driving home today, I found myself utterly and ridiculously tired, but I said, "I have to go to Walmart, then to the office, then do some work when I get home. I can't take a nap, I'll just go to bed early". So, nonetheless, I couldn't fight it, and took a nap. I awoke rejuvenated and able to do some work. Some studies suggest that napping can be beneficial as it allows brain neurons to replenish. Ever tried to do something and you were so tired you couldn't focus, or you couldn't get beyond that one sentence you were reading? How were you when you went back to it after napping or going to sleep and picking it up the next day?

Some benefits of sleep or power napping are: less stress, increased alertness and productivity, improved memory and learning, good for the heart, increased cognitive functioning, get motivated to exercise, boost your creativity, make up for midnight tossing and turning, protect yourself from sleepiness, and better health.

Here's the twist! Many of us feel guilty by stopping and slowing down. We feel we have to be everything all the time (the soccer mom, perfect husband, carpool family, faithful church goer, workaholic and more). Practicing self care or taking "me time", can be easier than you think. My ultimate self care, is a nap when I need it (even if I have to leave the office during lunch for a quick 15-30 minute snooze)! For others, a simple stroll in the park, meditation, yoga, taking a bubble bath, watching a funny movie, going to a sports event, and going to the spa are some ways we can take a break. By taking care of ourselves, we are showing appreciation to ourselves, and in turn, also benefiting those we love. When we practice self care, we receive a "Thank You" from the most important person we know, OURSELVES! So, go ahead and take a break! You deserve it and owe it to yourself.

Leave a comment and tell us all how you take care of yourself. I look forward to reading it!

*Info in this blog is strictly my personal and/or professional opinion. Posts and comments are not intended to treat, diagnose or replace any medical advice you may have received. Please contact your doctor or therapist if you feel you need help, and in case of an emergency, dial 911.*

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What a Difference a New Vision Makes!

I received a phone call tonight from "Suzy" asking me if I felt she was wrong by not contacting a her sister "Jane" to resolve a problem. I gave my opinion, she gave hers, and that went back and forth for a while. Then, I heard something that struck a cord with me, "she knows what she is doing, she made me angry, talking to me like I'm a child". I listened as Suzy explained how her sister, Jane, "made me angry" and as Suzy negated many of my view points. Eventually Suzy was able to hear me out!

It's not what a person does to us that makes us angry, it's more of what we think about what the person did that makes us angry. For example, you go to a "classy" restaurant and the waiter, in your opinion, ignores you. You try to get his attention and he continues to walk pass you and brush you off. You really want to try this new place so you don't immediately leave. By now, you feel yourself getting antsy, somewhat hot under the collar. You think, "how dare he ignore me, he must think I can't afford this place, he must be prejudice". Now, you really get heated and ask for the manager. The waiter's action of "ignoring" you didn't anger you, it was your perception of why he may be ignoring you. Now, think about it like this, he just received a call that there was a tradegy in his family, or his wife is in labor but his boss wouldn't let him leave yet because "it's really busy that night", plus, if he leaves, his check will be short and he won't be able to buy his newborn pampers! How would you feel if you knew this information prior to your thought pattern? You'd probably feel sorry for him, be more patient, you may even leave a bigger tip!

The point is, our thinkinig can determine our feelings and how we react about a situation. Now, back to the phone call. What if the Jane really didn't know what she was doing angered Suzy, better yet, how can Jane know, if Suzy never even told her about how Jane's actions make her feel? So, Suzy is getting angry because of how she FEELS about Jane's actions. And Jane has no idea because Suzy never told her. After talking this out with Suzy, the tone changed to, "Now I can see where people are coming from, she's not wrong, she doesn't know".

Wow, what a difference a New Vision makes. But there's even a bigger reward when we make a choice to think differently, ultimately causing us to feel differently! I challenge you this week to re-evaluate some situations you may be experiencing and ask yourself, "am I really mad/sad/hurt by this persons behavior, or is it what I think about their behavior that has me mad/sad/hurt?" You may be surprised to find out how much control you really have!

*Info in this blog is strictly my personal and/or professional opinion. Posts and comments are not intended to treat, diagnose or replace any medical advice you may have received. Please contact your doctor or therapist if you feel you need help, and in case of an emergency, dial 911.*

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You must stretch yourself in order to grow!

This is the first on many blogs to come. As I am new to this entire process, something said, "why not give it a try, you will reach so many people this way". Then , that thought reminded me of the many tasks, dreams and hopes that we put off because we are not sure of the outcome. Many times, we like to live in our comfort zones, areas of limited stress, but it is when we step out of our comfort zones, that we truly grow and learn our potential. My goal is to provide weekly, if not more often, blogs that offer information, hope, moments of "ah ha" and what ever else that may be needed. I welcome posts, discussions and times of enlightenment. So, welcome to my blog! And as I stretch and grow, I challenge you to grow with me!

Now, for those who don't know me, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Georgia and a National Certified Counselor. I work with "at risk" children and adolescents in a residential facility as well as own and provide therapy at my private practice, New Vision Counseling Center, LLC; located in Georgia, providing counseling services to children, adolescents and families. I plan to offer blogs on various "self help" topics as well as other areas of interest.

Please understand that if you need professional help, contact your doctor, therapist, or in the case of an emergency, dial 911! The information discussed and posted by myself and/or others is in no way intended to treat or diagnose you!

Again, welcome and I look forward to "blogging" with you.