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Thibault Sarah for webTherapist Corner...
The Power of Acceptance

A few months ago I had the exciting experience of decorating my new office at Family Resources. Like many therapists, I try to be very mindful of the items that I am putting into my office, attempting to carefully choose furniture and decor that is inviting and if all possible, inspiring to the clients that are courageous enough to walk through my door.

One of my favorite items in my office is a small, teal plaque that hangs on a north facing wall. This plaque is small and simple in appearance, but after a closer look it’s what is engraved on the plaque that is important; a much less simple and very powerful message: the Serenity Prayer. The Serenity Prayer was originally authored by Reinhold Neibuhr and published in the 1930s. It has since become an anthem of sorts to 12 step meetings and chemical dependency treatment programs across the world.

The message of the Serenity Prayer has always resonated with me. I work with so many individuals battling issues such as struggles with mental health, drug or alcohol dependence, and family/marital issues that many times can feel hopeless and out of their control. Initially, I decided to use this plaque as a message of hope and a new perspective to these people that I am privileged and blessed to work with every day. Instead, though, I have found myself reflecting on the message and what it means in my own life each time I see it hanging on my wall.

I have always been a “planned” type of person. I prefer to know what to expect and to always have plan for how things will go. So naturally, I have the tendency to feel stressed out when things do not go according to the plans that I have set for myself. I will be the first to admit that finding the “serenity to accept the things I cannot change” is not a strong point of mine. Life does not always go according to our plans and there is not always a quick fix or simple solution to the circumstances that do stray from the plan. The unexpected is part of what makes life interesting. Attempting to accept what I cannot change and doing so with integrity has become something that I try to work towards each and every day. This simple “decoration” has been a perfect daily reminder that despite what is going on in life in that current moment, I am still able to slow down, notice what I am experiencing, and make the decision to accept it.

We all have life struggles that we must endure and often times have no control over. It is easy to dwell on these problems and ruminate about these issues that are out of our hands. How freeing it can be to let go and accept those situations that we are not able to change at this point in time. Even more freeing is the ability to view them as a greater purpose that we may not understand yet. I, for one, am grateful that in my feeble attempt to remind the people that I work with of this this message, I ended up reminding myself. Now when I find myself stressing over little issues or feeling anxious about future events not going according to my plan, I look up at my wall and read:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Sarah Thibault, Therapist

JReisingerGuest Segment...
Back To School Attitude!

I was recently reminded from both my girlfriend, who’s daughter is about to enter the first grade and, my son who is about to enter his Sophomore year in college that going back to school brings both excitement and fear. No matter the stage of life your child is in, going to a new place generally brings with it some degree of uncertainty and anxiety.

In both of these cases, our children are going back to a building they left just a few months ago and they are now preparing to enter a school room completely different. In some cases, your child will return to the classroom with friends they spent the summer with or, they will greet friends they haven’t seen since summer started and in other cases they will meet new friends, new teachers and others along the way. As this summer comes to a close you may be experiencing some very natural anxiety about the school year changes and wondering how both you and your child will successfully deal with all of the “newness” in this back to school season.

One of the most important and lasting ways you can succeed this school year and for many more years to come depends on the attitude you choose. Hal Burton, a high school teacher, author and leader in Character Education tells us,

Adopt a positive attitude. Research has shown that attitude is far more important than intelligence, education, special talent or luck. Attitude is a mental outlook, a frame of mind. It’s how we think. It’s what goes on inside a person – thoughts and feelings – about self, others, circumstances and life in general.

Put another way, we are pulled in the direction of our thoughts, whether they are positive or negative, we usually get what we expect because the thoughts we choose set the wheels in motion and then move us in a certain direction.

Our thoughts can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Our thoughts can provide us with a positive outlook or a negative outlook. That’s why attitude is the most important CHOICE you’ll ever make.

Keeping in mind how your thinking influences your own feelings and actions can be one of the first stepping stones to role modeling how your first grader will approach the excitement and the fear of returning to school and meeting a new teacher and new classmates. Choosing a positive attitude from year to year will bring abundant rewards for the day you’re your child turns into an adult and enters their college years.

Your young first grader most likely doesn’t yet know how to express what they are learning from your choice of positive attitude. Your patience with them as they learn from you will be important to your parenting success.

Your adult child will start to show you and express verbally what you have taught them through the years. Your choice of positive attitude will come back to you through their positive direction. They will fill your txt message box or your twitter direct messaging or your facebook private message with their plans for their future, how they will study hard, help pay the rent and ask you for that favorite recipe of goolash you lovingly made week after week as they grew from a first grader to a Sophomore in college. This is the day you start to realize your success.

“The thinker knows he is today where his thoughts have taken him and that he is building his future by the quality of the thoughts he thinks.” ~ Wilfred Arlan Peterson

~ Joni Reisinger, Guest Columnist

HainAFrom Our EAP...
End of Summer: 
Back to School Tips

Going back to school can be a tough transition, particularly after the relative ease of summer. Whether you’re a family with a college bound student or grade school trekker, taking a few hours to prepare can make a big difference in how you begin your school year.

1. (Grade School) Start with structure early: An earlier wakeup may leave your kids tired and sluggish. Help them be at their best by reestablishing structure a few weeks before the school year begins. Eat meals at the same approximate time each day and enforce bed and wakeup times. The more closely you can mimic your school’s schedule, the better.

2. (Both) Get organized: Put together a checklist of needed supplies and have them ready before school starts. Prepare and label all notebooks and folders ahead of time. Copy class schedules and tape them inside of folders along with maps and directions to classrooms and buildings.

3. (Grade school) Address fears and anxiety: Returning to school is stressful for some children. Encour- age your kids to express any negative emotions they may have. Treat their concerns with respect while pointing out some of the more positive aspects of the new school year like being reunited with old friends.

4. (Both) Do a walk through: Visiting the school ahead of time and doing a practice run is a good way to ensure a smooth first day. Take a notebook and jot down important locations and rehearse your routine.

5. (Grade School) Bone up on bullying: Bullying occurs across all age ranges and can happen to both boys and girls. Bullying isn’t always physical. It can also include gossip, taunts, and malicious exclusion. Children sometimes don’t report bullying out of fear and embarrassment.Arm your child with information and resources by visiting http://www.bullying.org.

6. (Both) Don’t over schedule: If extracurricular activities begin to be more of a chore than a fun break, then you’re probably overdoing things. Back off and reprioritize.

7. (Both) Keep the focus on learning: Don’t make getting good grades your end goal. Instead, treat them as a way of measuring progress. Understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Struggling with schoolwork does not make you stupid. Try to find real world applications for everything you’re taught.

Check out the next newsletter for additional college-bound tips!

~ Anna Hain, EAP Program Director

tina

We've been busy!!!!

* The staff of Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. attended a training on the changes in the new DSM-5. Tina Chasek, professor at UNK, presented the new diagnostic material.

Our Clinical Director, Doug Tillman, traveled to Lithuania to help the counseling profession. He returned to the States and boarded a plane the next day to Washington, D.C. to advocate for our profession through the American Counseling Association. They lobbied for counselors to be approved through Medicare and for more counselors in the VA.

* Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. has two staff members retiring and we celebrate their life changes. Look for pictures and more in our next newsletter!

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