10/31/2023 0 Comments
The world has become a much smaller place using social media. News that once took days or weeks to
travel the globe now only takes minutes. This can be a benefit to some, but when it comes to protecting
children from the reality of the situation overseas it can be a challenging task.
Having the news at one’s fingertips can have a tremendous effect on children no matter the age. So how
can parents alleviate fears? The simple answer is to be honest, keeping the age of the child in mind.
Discussing Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War, will not be helpful when talking to your six-year-old.
Children pick up cues by watching the adults in their lives. Your reactions can help guide and ease fears
from the barrage of pictures and the recounts of those who are living through this devastation. If you
remain calm, then your children too will remain calm. Remember the adage; monkey see, monkey do.
The first step is to monitor how much information the child is exposed to, through tv, social media or
conversations. Just because children never hear their parents say, “clean up your room” does not mean
they are not listening.
If you are waiting for your child to come to you with questions…good luck. Address that elephant in the
room, ask them what they have seen or heard. Fears can make imaginations run wild. Validate their
feelings because what is happening is scary. You can also be honest about your own fears as well.
Use terms that your child can understand. What is the point in having a conversation about war if you
are taking vocabulary out of the NATO handbook? Children understand words like hurt, sad, and angry.
Do not forget the older children in the household as well. They too have fears about the climate of the
world. Teenagers may not wake you up in the middle of the night with tales of the boogey man under
their bed, but their anxiety is just as real.
Addressing a teen’s fear may require a little more visualization. Take the time to sit down and watch a
newscast with them and answer questions. Honesty is still the best policy, if you do not know the
answer to a question, now is not the time to get creative. Your teen will respect that and you even
more, and together you can do some investigating to find out the answer.
Having an open dialogue with your children now can create a better relationship in the future. If they
see how you react to their feelings and are honest with your own feelings it will make it easier for them
to be open with you later in life. Communication is an important skill to teach your child that will benefit
them for years to come.
This can also be a time to help create a life lesson with your children. An act of service can help your
child not feel so helpless. Children love to help other children. They can donate toys that they no longer
play with, or clothes that no longer fit. There are local charities that may be able to send items over to
help with humanitarian aid. Teaching empathy can be done at every stage and every age.
If your child’s anxiety escalates or brings up a traumatic experience, you may need to reach out to a
mental health provider. The staff at Transform and Renew can help. A licensed professional counselor
can be beneficial to you or any member of your family in understanding or by providing tools that can
help when the world comes knocking on your door.
Staci Makela-Kerr, LPC Associate
Staci is supervised by Elizabeth Oldham, LPC-S. Staci is an Associate who is a parent, a writer, compassionate counselor who enjoys working with adults in all phases of life but has a deep passion for older adults facing life's challenges in the second half of life.
9/12/2023 0 Comments
As schools are back in session and parents are clamoring to get their children's medications, they have noticed a shortage in ADHD medications. This has impacted their ability to support their children with their neurodevelopmental disorder. ADHD impacts approximate 5% of the population in children and 2.5 % in adults, so why is there a shortage? Learn about what is ADHD, symptoms, treatment options and next steps.
5/29/2023 0 Comments
What is PTSD? Where did it come from?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD was first given its full name in 1980 in the DSM-III. However, PTSD had many names throughout the centuries. It was first recognized in combat veterans well over 2000 years ago as documented by Hippocrates in 4607-377 BC. The effects of combat stress and flashbacks were very common then and now with other symptoms as outlined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. It was long believed that PTSD was limited to veterans, but later determined many people can experience this disorder due to a variety of factors.
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. This could occur to a person physical, emotional, and psychologically. People can experience trauma in a variety of different ways through the impact of natural disasters (fire, flood, famine, earthquake, tornados, hurricane, tsunamis, and petulance). They may be the victim of interpersonal violence, be a victim to community violence, early childhood trauma, medical trauma, physical/sexual/verbal abuse, sex trafficking, leaving a war-torn country as a refugee, terrorism, or even traumatic loss.
Many individuals may never experience these traumas in their lifetime, but for those that do, it can be:
1. Acute (one incident, one time)
2. Chronic (exposure over a long period of time)
3. Complex (a variety of traumatic events and exposed over a long period of time often interpersonal in nature).
Each will have its effect on the mind, body, and spirit. For those of us in the helping industries (counselors, social workers, medical staff, first responders) often experience what we call secondary trauma or vicarious trauma.
So what is PTSD? What are the symptoms?
PTSD Symptoms are a culmination of different factors. There are 4 main areas for consideration.
1. Intrusion- Intrusions look like intrusive thoughts, repeated, involuntary dreams, memories, flashbacks of the traumatic event. It is not uncommon for people to report that he dreams or flashbacks are so vivid that they feel as if they are reliving the event.
2. Avoidance- Avoidance of reminders of the event by avoiding people, places, objects, situations that cause a distressing memory or feeling. They avoid sounds, smells, lights and the like that resemble what they experienced. So think on a small scale, if you ever were in a minor car accident you may avoid driving, driving by a certain intersection, etc. Those who have had major car accidents may avoid this long-term impacting their ability to go places due to their experiences.
3. Changes in cognition and mood including inability to remember important aspects, negative feelings and distorted belief about themselves or others, resulting in blaming ongoing strong emotions such as fear, anger, shame, guilt or even horror. Often people will experience feeling dissociation or being detached to themselves or others, or the difficulty with experiencing happiness or personal enjoyment.
4. Arousal and Reactivity. These often leave a person more irritable, increased anger, behaving more reckless or self-destructive. They may become more hypervigilant and suspect of others’ behaviors or their surroundings. Difficulty with sleep is not uncommon, concentration challenges and startles easily.
Well, I have all the symptoms for PTSD, now what?
Be sure to meet with a qualified mental health professional to be assessed and rule out any other issues that may also present similarly. If one does not have experiences of trauma but has difficulty with sleeping, they are going to have difficulties with cognition, being on edge and moody. Not everyone who experiences trauma will go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So it is important to meet with a professional to rule things out.
We complete a long diagnostic interview and assessments and will often discuss you following up with your medical providers as well to rule out medical issues that you may or may not be aware of.
Treatments can include a variety of different therapies and sometimes in conjunction with medication from a qualified psychiatrist prescribing. Different therapies may include cognitive therapies, interpersonal, supportive, psychodynamic, prolonged exposure, somatic, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing or even Accelerated Resolution Therapy. Your counselor will help you decide what is the best option for you as you work together to develop your treatment plan.
Am I broken for good?
The short answer is No. With the help of therapy, learning new skills and a supportive community and spiritual practices many people go on to live a full life, and not impacted by the symptoms long term. There are some who struggle and will need ongoing support through therapies for awhile, but many people are able to receive therapy and move forward in life. While I’d love to tell you it will only be 1 session or 3, often it's quite a bit more sessions. Your individual therapist will be able to guide you in what your treatment plan will look like depending on your current circumstances and point you to specialty treatments as needed.
Aimee Rhodes, MS, LPC-S and Doctoral Candidate for Global Training and Development. Aimee is co-owner of Transform & Renew Counseling. She enjoys working with her clients as well as training the next level of clinicians through their educational practicum and internship processes.
5/5/2023 0 Comments
Does depression ever really go away?
Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect individuals of any age or gender. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low self-worth that can interfere with your daily life. Many people who experience depression wonder whether it will go away, and if so, what steps they can take to manage their symptoms and prevent recurrence. Counseling in person or online can help you to begin understanding your symptoms as well as provide some hope.
Yes, it definitely can go away.
The short answer is yes, depression can go away. However, the length of time it takes for a person to recover from depression can vary depending on the severity of the condition, the underlying causes, and the treatment options available. There are many different types of depression, and each person's experience with the condition will be unique. Some people may experience mild symptoms of depression that resolve on their own, while others may struggle with severe and long-lasting symptoms that require professional treatment. It's important to understand that depression is not a weakness or a personal failure. It is a medical condition that requires appropriate treatment to manage. Seeking professional help from a mental health specialist is essential in managing the symptoms of depression.
What is it caused by?
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and life events. Some people may experience depression after a traumatic experience, such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce. Others may experience depression due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which can be caused by a variety of factors including medication, substance abuse, hormonal changes and even vitamin deficiencies.
How do I get help for depression?
Treatment for depression typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. These medications can take several weeks to become effective, and individuals may need to try several different medications before finding one that works best for them. Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help individuals identify negative thought patterns and learn coping strategies to manage symptoms of depression. In addition to medication and therapy, many self-care strategies can help manage symptoms of depression. These can include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Support from friends and family can also help manage depression symptoms.
While medication can be useful, please remember it is not required for getting better. There are holistic options and a medical consult to rule out any physical health complications. Getting your labwork done with your primary doctor is essential to rule out low vitamins such as vitamin D, B, Magnesium and Iron. All of which are essential for a healthy body and mind. If your vitamin D is low, your sleep is likely to be poor and you will likely have a depressed mood.
What if it doesn't go away?
While depression can go away with treatment, it's important to understand that it may never truly go away completely. Like many chronic medical conditions, depression may require ongoing management and monitoring to prevent symptoms from recurring. It's also important to note that depression can be triggered by life events or stressors, so it's important to continue practicing self-care strategies and seeking professional support as needed.
It's important to remember that depression is a common and treatable condition. Seeking help from a mental health professional is the first step in managing symptoms of depression. While depression can be a challenging and long-lasting condition, it is possible to recover and live a fulfilling life with appropriate treatment and self-care strategies.
It's also important to remember that recovery from depression is not a linear process. There may be setbacks and challenges along the way, but with perseverance and support, it is possible to manage symptoms and prevent recurrence. This can look different for everyone, but it can include developing a support network of friends, family, and mental health professionals can be a crucial aspect of recovery from depression.
In conclusion, depression can go away with the appropriate treatment and self-care strategies. The length of time it takes for a person to recover from depression can vary depending on many factors. Seeking professional help, practicing self-care strategies, and developing a support network are all important aspects of managing symptoms of depression and preventing recurrence. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available for those struggling with depression.
Ariana is a student counselor studying mental health counseling at Sul Ross State University. Ariana enjoys working with kids, teens and adults.
overprotective partners: AM I one or do i have one?
If you constantly feel like you're never pleasing your partner and they are constantly accusing or doubting you, you may have an overprotective partner.
What is an overprotective partner?
An overprotective partner can be someone who tries to take control of your life and restrict you from your freedom.
When a person finds themselves in love with an overprotective partner, they can feel unhappy and suffocated in their relationship. If you find yourself in this situation and feel that it's impairing your relationship, you may want to address this early on so it doesn't affect your relationship long-term.
Here are a few ways to address your partner's overprotective behavior:
1. Having an honest conversation
Being honest with your partner about your concerns while also encouraging them to open up about their fears without being judgmental can help you understand your partner better.
2. Setting boundaries
Setting boundaries with your partner may be a good next step to prevent overprotective behavior. It's important to be assertive in your boundaries, and how you will address them should they not be respected.
3. Compromise is important
Make notes on what you're willing and unwilling to compromise on in a relationship. For example, telling your partner when you're hanging out with friends to keep them in the loop.
Healthy relationships can offer a sense of support, comfort, partnership, and many other benefits. That being said, they also require working collaboratively with your partner, and yourself in ways that can feel uncomfortable. Having an overprotective partner can often have the opposite effect on us, but it's important that we remind ourselves that we are in charge of our independence and are not obligated to do things we do not want to.
References: Kedia, S. (2022, September 22). Do you have an overprotective boyfriend? 40+ signs to identify. ThePleasantRelationship. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://thepleasantrelationship.com/overprotective-boyfriend/
Wright, L. (2021, February 22). Overprotective partner? here's what you can do. Marriage Advice - Expert Marriage Tips & Advice. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/overprotective-partner/#:~:text=A%20person%20in%20love%20with,give%20up%20on%20the%20relationship.
Ariana is a student counselor working on her masters in mental health counseling at Sul Ross State University. Ariana will be finishing in Fall of 2023 and looking forward to seeing what she does next. Ariana is supervised by Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S
Healthy relationships play an important role in our overall life satisfaction. Social media and the portrayal of healthy relationships in movies and tv shows can create unrealistic expectations. So what makes a healthy relationship? While there's no such thing as a perfect relationship, there are some key characteristics that can create a strong foundation for a relationship.
1. Trust and vulnerability
Trust and vulnerability are both important when it comes to relationships. If your partner isn't being vulnerable with you, it can be difficult to trust they are being their authentic selves. When you don't trust your partner, it can be difficult to feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable. When there is vulnerability and trust in a relationship, it is easier to form a deeper connection with each other.
Clear communication is part of a healthy, long-lasting relationship. Conflicts are inevitable in all relationships, but learning how to communicate with your partner effectively to resolve differences of opinion is key to a fulfilling relationship.
In a healthy relationship, you need to be able to work with your partner in an effective and balanced way. Who picks up the kids from school? Who washes the dishes? Who cooks dinner every day? It's not about who's doing more, but being able to find resolutions that feel good to both parties that can make you feel like a better team.
When you share a life and love someone, you're not obligated to spend every moment with them. It's important in a healthy relationship to have friendships and interests outside of your partnership. This will allow you to grow as an individual and no be co-dependent.
5. Have fun
Last but not least, have fun! Couples who play, laugh, and have fun together have more satisfying relationships. Play helps build intimacy, and bonding, and allows couples to feel more confident in being their authentic self.
Ariana is a student counselor working on her masters in mental health counseling at Sul Ross State University. She enjoys working with teens and young adults addressing anxiety, depression and phase of life issues. Ariana is supervised by Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S
who does depression affect?
Depression can affect not only the person who is diagnosed with it but also those who are a part of this person’s daily life. When someone is experiencing depression, they may have a difficult time engaging in daily activities, which can affect their relationships and interactions with others. Depression can have also a ripple effect on the mental health of those around the person with depression. Family members and friends may feel helpless or frustrated in their attempts to support their loved one with depression, leading to feelings of anxiety, stress, and even guilt.
Depression and how it affects your family
Depression can impact a person's ability to fulfill their roles and responsibilities within their family, such as parenting, providing emotional support, and contributing to household chores. This can cause strain and stress within the family dynamic, leading to feelings of frustration, resentment, and even guilt. Family members may feel helpless or frustrated in their attempts to support their loved one with depression, which can lead to further strain in the relationship. They may also feel like they are walking on eggshells or have to tiptoe around the person with depression, which can create tension and distance in the relationship.
Depression and how it affects friendships
Depression can have a significant impact on your relationships with friends. When someone is experiencing depression, they may withdraw from social interactions and have difficulty maintaining connections with their friends. Depression can also impact a person's ability to engage in social activities, which can make it difficult to participate in things like going out with friends or attending social gatherings. Friends may also struggle to understand what their friend with depression is going through, which can create tension or misunderstandings in the relationship. They may not know how to support their friend or feel helpless in their attempts to do so, which can also cause strain in the friendship.
If you know have any friends or family members that are dealing with depression, here are some suggestions to support them during this difficult time:
It is important to remember that depression is a serious mental health condition that requires treatment and support. Seeking professional help can not only benefit the person with depression but can also help to improve the quality of life for those around them. You can also join a support group yourself to learn more about how to best support your friends or family members dealing with depression.
Ariana is a student counselor studying at Sul Ross State University and working on her masters in mental health counseling. She is supervised by Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S
How Can Depression Affect Your Daily Life
Depression is a medical condition that negatively affects the way you feel, act, and think. Depression can have a significant impact on your daily life in many ways. Some common effects of depression can include:
When dealing with depression, it’s important to show ourselves grace. As we’ve discussed earlier, depression can lead to disruptions in sleep, appetite, and impact our quality of life.This further exacerbates feelings of fatigue and lethargy, which can make it harder to muster the energy to engage in activities or complete tasks.
It's important to seek help if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, as depression is a treatable condition with various treatment options available. There are a variety of treatment options, such as therapy, medication, and overall lifestyle changes that can help improve your overall mental health.
Ariana Hernandez is a student counselor under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S. Ariana works with a variety of individuals providing a warm inviting environment for therapy.
ow influencers are spreading misinformation about mental health
Nowadays, it seems like so much of our lives are influenced by what we see on social media. When it comes to mental health, stigma is alive and well. This stigma can present an issue in the adult and youth population, as many avoid treatment out of fear of embarrassment. When faced with a lack of social support, many turn to social media to find relatable content creators for comfort. While content creators focused on mental health are great for eliminating stigma, the rise in people using social media may not be all good news.
While social media influencers may not have ill intentions, their job is to generate views on their page for ad revenue, and they often need to create large amounts of content to engage as many users as possible. With this in mind, facts and evidence-based practices may take a backseat.
While there is nothing wrong with using personal experiences to raise awareness about mental illness, there is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to mental health. When watching mental health content on social media, be mindful of influencers using uniform solutions for mental health issues. Oftentimes, many influencers are drawing from their limited experiences, which leads to gaps in knowledge that can result in misinformation. It's important to remind ourselves that many mental health content creators are not licensed practitioners and may not have the qualifications to offer quality mental health advice.
Raising awareness for social media can provide support and inspire you to make a positive change. However, if you find yourself struggling with mental health, it may be best to seek a mental health professional. Social media cannot replace treatment from a therapist and can have adverse effects if we take everything that is posted online as fact.
Ariana is a student counselor at Sul Ross University and under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes. Ariana works with teens and adults dealing with anxiety, depression, life adjustment issues and grief.
Tips For Finding The Right Therapist
If you're thinking about starting therapy, finding the right therapist can be a daunting task. Here a few tips that can help you find the right therapist, and things to avoid when looking for a provider.
1. Decide what type of therapy you'd like to try.
A good first step for finding the right therapist is finding a provider that is well-versed in the type of therapy you want to try. Different types of therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, and person centered therapy.
2. Ask people you trust
If you have a friend or colleague that you trust, a referral can be a great way to find a therapist that is a good fit for you. While referrals are a good place to start your search, it's important to remind yourself that you might have different goals from your friends, and therapy will look different for you.
3. Be mindful of your budget
Out of pocket expenses can make it difficult to be consistent with therapy. Verifying with potential providers that they accept your insurance can help offset costs.
4. Set up a consultation call
If you feel like you've found a therapist that will be a good fit, schedule a consultation call. Therapists want to help you, and if they feel that they're not equipped to deal with your situation, they might have referrals to point you in the right direction.
5. Be open to trying different therapists
Finding the best therapist for you can take trial and error. You should not feel obligated to stick with the first therapist you meet - building a strong working relationship with your therapist is beneficial for you in the long term.
Things to avoid:
1. Waiting for a crisis before seeking help
You should not wait until you hit rock bottom to seek help. This can create a sense of urgency when looking for a therapist, and you may not give yourself enough time to find the right provider for you.
2. Therapists with no boundaries
Therapists are mental health professionals, and they should behave professionally. While therapists are meant to create a safe environment for you, they are not meant to be your friend.
3. Offering services they aren't qualified to provide.
Many therapists specialize in certain types of therapy. If they do not have the training or experience working with specific populations or methods and are advertising the opposite on their website, that is a red flag to look out for.
It can be discouraging when trying to find the right therapist, but in doing your research you may find a match that can show you all the good that therapy has to offer.
Student Clinician studying Mental Health Counseling at Sul Ross University. Ariana is seeing clients on the weekends under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes, MS, LPC-S.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.