top of page
bgImage

Archived Weekly Tips

Week of 07/11/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Lena S. Kessler, Ph.D

This week's tip is about #beautifulbreathing


The beauty of breathing. Not only does it keep us alive, but it has the power to help us regain sanity and comfort in many instances.

If you are feeling anxious, worried, overwhelmed, angry, or any other emotion that is taking you out of a rational headspace and/or leaving your body taking hits for your emotions, try the following methods:


4-4-4 or 4-7-8 breathing:

Inhale to the count of 4 through your nose; hold to the count of 4; exhale to the count of 4 through your mouth. Eyes open and focused on something or closed. The point is to focus on your breath. Or do the same but to the counts of 4, 7 and 8. Repeat each one at least three times.


Box breathing:

Envision a box that you are making with each of four parts of your breath and use the numbers 4-8 as the same for each side: Inhale to the number to go up the side of the box; hold to the same number to make the top cross of the box; exhale to the same number to go down the other side of the box; and hold at the same number to make the bottom of the box. Match your breathing to the lines of the box. Repeat at least 3 times.


This mindful act helps to control your breathing rate, which also helps to control your heartrate; these all help to calm down your sympathetic nervous system which is also in charge of the dilation of your blood vessels, the prepping of your muscles, and the slowing of your digestive system (ie, increased blood pressure, muscle tension, and tummy yuck). Not only does doing all of this overall help your body and mind to calm down, but when you recognize that your breath control has all of these wonderful effects, you recognize your power.

Week of 07/04/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Breanne Fenning, LPC

This week's tip is about #betterandbelievable #lessnegativemorepositive #trysomeB3stoday!


Struggling with persistent and intrusive thoughts? You might be engaging in some negative thinking patterns such as catastrophizing, using should statements, or fortune-telling. While we can sometimes reduce our worries and negative thinking by coming up with a positive thought instead, this at times can feel frustrating or unhelpful because that thought might not necessarily be true or is unrealistic.


Instead, try coming up with some B3’s: Better-but-believable thoughts.


A term coined by Jennifer Abel, Ph.D., better-but-believable thoughts are simple, yet effective, catchy, and practical. You can do this quickly and likely even believe the thoughts you come up with!


For example, if you are worried about getting laid off from work, rather than saying “I’m sure I won’t get laid off” (which you cannot actually guarantee, so might find it hard to believe), try instead a B3: "They probably won’t let me go, but if they do, I might find a job that is better or be able to get unemployment for awhile and catch up on personal things”…. Can you see how that second version is better, but also believable? That itself can lessen the worry.


Give it a try for yourself and see if you feel better, or less worried, when you use Better-but-believable thoughts to face a negative thought you’ve been dealing with.

Week of 06/27/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Alex Bice, Social Work Supervisee

This week's tip is about #howtraumarepeats #howtraumarelates #traumainlove


How Unhealed Trauma Shows Up in Relationships:


Addiction to chaos, crisis, or fighting as connection:

If we witnessed these things as ‘love’ when we were children, we will unconsciously seek these patterns as adults. Stability, predictability, and safety might feel boring.


Relationship Sabotage:

Betrayal, deceit, substance use, and financial irresponsibility are ways that we sabotage relationships because on a subconscious level, we fear them and never feel safe within them.


Inner Child Fantasies:

When we had parent figures who abused or neglected us emotionally, we become fixers or rescuers who chase love or approval. Rather than seeing people for who they are, we see them for who we want them to be (a fantasy).


Inability to Communicate:

We learn communication from our parent figures. If we weren’t taught healthy communication, we can shut down, become defensive, stonewall, or deny our partner’s reality.


Repeating Dysfunctional Cycles:

This is called repetition compulsion. We unconsciously repeat or re-create our childhood trauma dynamics. Finding ourselves with the same kind of partners or in the same dynamics over and over again.


Fear of Abandonment:

We think of worst case scenarios, over-think or analyze our partner’s every move, or end the relationship as soon as we feel vulnerable because a fear of abandonment keeps us in fight or flight.


Becoming a Parent to our Partner:

Many of us take on a parental role to our partners. Micromanaging their finances, their choices, setting harsh punishments, or unconsciously treating a partner as if they are our child causing unhealthy power dynamics.


Lack of Self Trust:

Denying our own reality, second guessing our feelings, and thinking we are ‘crazy’ are common manifestations of how lack of self-trust shows up in our relationships.


@the.holistic.psychologist

Week of 06/20/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Adam Hanson, LPC

This week's tip is about #microtrauma


Most of us can think of an example of a major psychological trauma, but micro-trauma can occur over time and become more and more harmful. The good news is that because these things occur over time, we can identify and interrupt them before they cause us psychological damage. Here are some examples:

• Being constantly put down or insulted.

• Repeatedly being abandoned in relationships or feeling that we’re abandoned.

• Repeatedly trying to “fix” someone who is not interested in changing thus maybe setting ourselves up for thinking that

we’re not worth changing for.

• Feeling chronic outrage that is likely at least in part due to our own expectations of how things should go/people should act.

• Glossing over our own negative traits and working hard to present ourselves as perfect which requires never-ending

work and not much enjoyment

• Chronic all-or-nothing thinking likely leading us to experience let downs, self-criticism, and/or stress and overwhelm due

to our inability to understand that much of reality exists in the grey/some/middle grounds.


Here are 4 ways to break free of these examples:

• Try to identify the self-destructive patterns.

• Find ways to process your past to see how it may play a role in the present.

• Try to stay grounded and present in day-to-day life (…But you JUST said “process the past!?”…See the above explanation

about “All-or-nothing thinking”😃).

• Be patient with yourself!

Week of 06/13/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Sydney Beasley, Resident in Counseling

This week's tip is about #whatiloveaboutyou


Showing your partner that you value them as individuals and within the context of your relationship is powerful and necessary. Spending just five minutes a day expressing your appreciation and admiration for your partner can do wonders to strengthen your relationship.


Statements of appreciation might sound like:


"I'm so proud of you."

" I feel ____ when you _____."

"Wow, I'm in awe of you."

"I'm so impressed that you ___."

"I like how you ___."


Cultivating a practice of noticing the little things that your partner does, that were once novel but have become routine, can reignite connection and decrease feelings of resentment. Validation is a powerful way to improve communication. It almost always leads to immediate change for the better when both partners are committed to sustaining a practice of appreciation and admiration. Try it out! 

Week of 06/06/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Lena S. Kessler, Ph.D.

This week's tip is about #beyourtruth


There's a well-known saying in the addiction recovery world that, "you're only as sick as your secrets." I have found this to be true in all areas of mental health work. We maintain our own sickness in ourselves and in our worlds when we are not honest.


1) Honesty to self involves:

--admitting to yourself what both your struggles and strengths are

--a reckoning of who you are and who you aren't; who you'd like to be and who you'd like to avoid becoming

--what helps you and what harms you; what works for you and what doesn't

--getting to know your feelings and inviting them to be part of your life's experiences; being vulnerable

--learning about yourself without judgment; simply observing with curiosity and love


2) Honesty to others involves:

--telling people how you really feel about them and what they mean to you

--asking for help and expressing your wants

--expressing your boundaries

--expressing honest emotional reactions

--letting people in enough so that they could disappoint or hurt you, but hoping they won't

--allowing trust to grow but basing it on evidence


Being genuine and sincere has a way of clearing a path towards healthier and happier lives. 

Week of 05/30/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Breanne Fenning, LPC

This week's tip is about #havepride


June is LGBTQ+Pride Month! Pride is a celebration of people coming together in love and friendship, to support members of the LGBTQ+ (or also referred to as LGBTQIA) community, acknowledge how far rights have come, and also to recognize there is still work to done!


If you do not identify as LGBTQ+, you can still support those that do by:


1) Educating yourself!

*Do you know what LGBTQ+ or LGBTQIA stand for? It is an acronym to collectively describe those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual.

*Do you know why we celebrate LGBT Pride month in June? Pride month began as Gay Pride Day, celebrated on June 28th, to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where a rebellion to bring awareness to the LGBTQ+ communities occurred, and has since turned into a month of both celebrations and remembrance.

*If you aren't certain about terms or want to learn and do more to support others, spend time doing some research. Don't be afraid to ask members of the community questions as well.

----

2) Being an ally!!

How can you do this?

*By realizing you do not know it all, but also that you want to learn and understand more.

*By providing support to someone when they open up to you about being LGBTQ+.

*By being mindful of the language you use and the conversations you engage in.

*By speaking up for someone in your friend group, your work place, or any other group that is being treated poorly or not being addressed properly.

*By reaching out to various organizations to show your support and ask how you can further support efforts to bring awareness and resources to others.

By attending a Pride celebration in your area!

----

3) Volunteering - You can give back to the community by supporting local organizations in your area, volunteering at youth or community centers, or helping to raise money for various charities/foundations that are working hard to raise money and awareness.

*Here is a local chapter of PFLAG, an organization based on friends and family and other advocates: https://pflag.org/chapter/pflag-norfolk-south-hampton-roads

----

4) Sharing - Look into and share resources with others, who are part of or just beginning to identify as LGBTQ+, or with those who could also use more education and support.

Resources:

https://thesafezoneproject.com/resources/

https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/pride-month-2022/

https://buffer.com/resources/lgbtqia-resources/

https://www.thetrevorproject.org


Share any other resources on our Facebook page, reach out if you need support in your own journey as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or in supporting someone close to you that is LGBTQ+. 

Week of 05/23/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Alex Bice, Social Work Supervisee

This week's tip is about #befriendthefamily


When families make things harder for each other, they may be dysfunctional. The following are five traits of dysfunctional families and ideas for coping better:


1. Shutting down or Isolation

Dysfunctional families tend to shut down outside ideas or anything that would change the family dynamic (even if that dynamic isn’t healthy). Remind yourself that you’re safe to learn new, healthier ways of existing. That is how generational trauma cycles are broken.


2. Guilt tripping or Shaming

Dysfunctional families use guilting or shaming to get member to comply. ‘You’ll miss me when I’m gone’ or ‘you’ve changed’ are common. Find friends or a community who can support you and encourage your growth, rather than push it down.


3. Tribal ‘Group Think’ Mentality

Dysfunctional families require members to commit to a specific story of how things are. If you start healing or go to therapy and uncover childhood wounds that don’t go along with this narrative, you might be punished. Affirm that your reality is valid, even if other family members deny this, or choose not to see it.


4. One family member holds all the power

One family member creates the emotional tone of the entire home and other members cater to that person’s emotional state. This can create a lot of fear or intense anxiety of ‘going against’ the family leader. Learn to practice setting and holding boundaries, even when it’s painful or scary.


5. They give limiting messages and remind you of worst case scenarios

In dysfunctional families, growth is never a priority. Keeping the family unit intact is the main concern. When you attempt to change or do something meaningful for you, they may list reasons why you can’t do something. Understand these are fear-based beliefs. Surround yourself with other people who believe in your capabilities.

Week of 05/16/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Adam Hanson, LPC
This week's tip is about #anyonecanbecreative #creativityboostsmentalhealth

Week of 05/09/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Sydney Beasley, Resident in Counseling

This week's tip is about #mothersday


With Mother’s Day a few days behind us, there are many reasons why an individual may still be struggling with it.


If this is you, be sure to take good care of yourself this week. Do not try to force doing something that you do not feel comfortable with. Prioritize your needs.


It also may be hard for you because you have a uterus and there’s a lot of conflict about uteruses right now.


This is all valid. Please reach out for support if you are struggling. 

Week of 05/02/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Michael Wilkinson, Resident in Counseling

This week's tip is about #nomoreburnout


5 Tips for Dealing with Burnout


Once burnout sets in, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You may feel emotionally exhausted and full of dread; you may feel hopeless, with no motivation or energy to keep going. Dealing with burnout typically involves first recognizing that's what you're feeling and then trying to lessen the stressors.


1. Reframe Your Mindset-Consider the role you're burned out from and remind yourself why you started. It could help you to view your situation in a more positive light. Burnout causes many people to hyper focus on the negative aspects of their job or role.


2. Make Time for Self-Care-Start small, it does not have to be an hour each day. It may look like spending 10 minutes a day engaged in meditation, listening to music, exercising, etc.


3. Ask for help- Don't be afraid to ask for help, and be specific about what you need. Ask for help with meals or carpools to pick up kids from school or activities. This will make it easier for your helpers and supporters to make sure that no boxes go unchecked. At the end of the day, self-sacrifice does not help anyone.


4. Maintain your social life- Sometimes it helps to talk about what you're going through with family and friends. Sometimes it helps to use social time to step away from stressors and simply use the time to enjoy another person's company.


5. Set boundaries-When you're not working, leave your work behind, and when you can step away from other responsibilities that are causing burnout (like caregiving), do so.

Week of 04/25/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Lena S. Kessler, Ph.D.

This week's tip is about #tobeornottobeangry


ANGER.

We all know it. Some of us hate it; some of us love it. Either way, though, it’s a secondary character. A false hope. A cloak or a blanket or a shield that’s trying to protect us from a difficult emotion.


Whether here or there, or regularly, anger comes up to protect us from something more threatening, like, fear, vulnerability, helplessness, etc. Anger makes us feel puffed up and strong, but we’re actually very much not in control. You know it, if you’re honest with yourself.


And the whole time, the real issue, the real feelings are not even in our conscious awareness so we’re likely not dealing with them. So they’re getting more and more problematic and so likely is your anger. More consequences in relationships, legal issues, regrets…


When you feel anger. Take a step. Take a breath. Ask yourself what the trigger was and what emotion is really at play underneath. Now THAT is real control. Your strength is the courage you took to face the truth. 

Week of 04/18/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Jaslynn Giles, Resident in Counseling

This week's tip is about #lovethyself


In the spirit of transitioning into a new season, just as we transition into new versions of ourselves, let's reflect and explore. When thinking about the relationship you have with yourself, what are some areas of growth, and what are some areas that deserve celebrating? The relationship you have with yourself is so important, as we teach others how to treat us. Be gentle with yourself on this journey.


Graphic Cred: @selfcareisforeveryone

Week of 04/11/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Adam Hanson, LPC

This week's tip is about #sexualassaultawarenessmonth and #stayinformedstaysafe

Website: https://www.rainn.org/

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Week of 04/04/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Breanne Fenning, LPC

This week's tip is about #coolcatsdontcatastrophize and #logicisyourfriend


What is catastrophizing?


Catastrophizing is when we believe something is worse than it actually is. Often, this can result in coming up with all the worst-case scenarios and not focusing on the more realistic or likely outcome. It can even mean seeking out information to match your worry!


Experiencing loss and/or trauma can often enhance this, because these individuals have seen or been through through very difficult situations and emotions - possibly even seen an actual catastrophe - and the mind then has more of a tendency to revert back to the past in emotionally heightened moments.



What can this look like?


   • A fight in a relationship = the belief the relationship is over.

   • A medical symptom = the belief you have a terminal illness.

   • A failed test = the belief they will fail school and/or are a failure.

   • A phone call unreturned = the belief something terrible has happened.



How can one limit engaging in this negative thinking pattern?


   • Acknowledge your feelings, but stick to the facts, and what is happening in the here and now.

   • Give the thoughts a name! (hey there, Catastrophizer!) and challenge that negative thinking by asking questions such as, “where’s 

     the evidence?”

   • Do something contrary to the thought = engage in exercise, a relaxing activity, watch tv, etc (distraction is okay!)

   • Call someone who will support you, but not your catastrophizing thoughts, and can help you see things differently

   • Try to reframe it in a positive direction (What else could be true? Could this go differently, better even?)

   • Avoid confusing the present with the past or the future. Just because something went a certain way before, does not mean it will 

     now, nor does it mean your future will be impacted.


What ways do you catastrophize?

Week of 03/28/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Adam Hanson, LPC

This week's tip is about #notcantbutwont

Week of 03/21/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Sydney Beasley, Resident in Counseling

This week's tip is about #openuptheconvo


Connecting through dialogue is essential to any relationship and our questions often determine the quality of that engagement.


By asking closed-ended questions (questions that can be answered by "yes" or "no"), you lead the other participant down a path with minimal opportunity for depth and connection.


In contrast, open-ended questions require us to be fully engaged. This allows us space to have more meaningful conversations and deeper intimacy.


Use these start-ups during your next interaction and notice the difference in how your partner/friend/coworker responds. 

Week of 03/14/2022

KP's Weekly Tip brought to you by Michael Wilkinson, Resident in Counseling

This week's tip is about #selfencouragementthinking


Self-Encouraging Coping Thoughts


When distressing times occur in life, we often want to hear some encouraging words to keep us motivated, or to help us endure the pain we’re experiencing. But when we are alone, we can encourage ourselves to stay strong. Coping thoughts are reminders of how strong we have been in the past, and are especially helpful when we first notice something is wrong. The following are examples of coping thoughts that may be helpful.


1. This situation won’t last forever.


2. My feelings make me uncomfortable right now, but I can accept them.


3. I can be anxious and still deal with this situation.


4. I am strong enough to handle what is happening to me right now.