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DHoytTherapist's Corner...
Better Communication with Young People in Life

     In my practice I am often running in to situations where caregivers get frustrated on what to do in order to get the attention of their children. In case you are also in this group, here are a few suggestions to help foster a healthier relationship with the young people in your life.
     1. Speak in a calm, gentle voice will grab your child’s attention and KEEP it longer than yelling! Does anyone really like being yelled at? Usually not. The old adage of treating others like you want to be treated often rings through my head. If the young person is loud towards you, simply let them know that you are willing to talk to them once they are able to in a calm voice and leave the area they are in – loudest does not equal most righteous. The louder the other person gets, the lower you take your voice tone. If nothing else, they will have to be quieter to hear what you are saying. Avoid taking what they say personally so the talk doesn't turn in to a conflict.
     2. Try to eliminate words you use that may be ridiculing (“You’re being a big baby”), name-calling (“You’re a really bad boy”), and shaming (“I was so ashamed of you today”). This type of language achieves very little except leaving your child feeling worthless and tends to develop a poor self-concept. Positive and kind words give your child more confidence, make them feel happier, helps them behave better, encourages them to try hard and achieve success. They learn to imitate you and deliver the same respect and praise to others. Examples of positive words are: “I like to way you remembered to pack up your toys”, “Thank you for helping me clean up this mess”, “You tried so hard to share your things with your sister, it made me feel really happy.”
     3. Connect with your child using eye contact. You may need to get down to their level or sit at the table when you are chatting with young people. Not only is it good manners, it helps you to listen to each other with fewer distractions. You can say your child’s name a few times until you get their eye contact, especially before giving them a direction. Make sure to give them your attention and really listen to what they are saying. A simple check-in can accomplish this. For example “What I hear you telling me is…” Model the behavior that you want them to exhibit.
     4. Use volume appropriately – Don’t ever compete with a yelling child. When they have calmed down, then talk. If you use the volume of your voice appropriately for the majority of the time, raising your voice in an urgent situation should not be ignored. They will sit up and take notice because it doesn’t happen all of the time. Yelling orders or directions from another room may also fall on deaf ears after a while, for example yelling “Turn off the TV now, please, Chad” or “Hurry up and get dressed” from the kitchen gives the impression that you’re busy and not too serious. Walking into the room, joining in for a minute or two and waiting for the commercial break will go down with far more cooperation. You are modeling respectful behavior to start with, and you have come to where they are to give direction, so they know you mean it!

~ Dave Hoyt, Therapist

Thibault Sarah for web

Therapist's Corner...
Putting Our True Selves Forward

     Last year, my husband and I welcomed our first child. These last six months have been such a whirlwind. We have experienced more joy and love than we can imagine but also definitely our share of growing pains. Our baby girl struggled with acid reflux and pretty intense colic for the first four months of her life. She also seems to have inherited her parents’ active, always on-the-go nature because sleep and naps are definitely not her forte. When we are asked by friends and family how new parenthood is going, it is tempting to discuss only the cute smiles, new milestones reached and all of the incredible joy.
     It would be easy to shy away from telling anyone about the sleepless nights and during the first four months, endless crying. After all, who wants to admit to struggles that can be interpreted as signs of weakness? We often hear the phrase “putting your best self forward” meaning showing only the polished parts of self to others. What if we were to start putting our “true selves” forward? I have come to learn that when we ignore our hardships, we are not necessarily putting our authentic selves out there. As humans, we all experience our share of struggles. It is part of living. For this reason, I have made a conscious effort to be transparent with my support system about BOTH sides of new parenthood, and try to have gratitude for the entire experience, not just the “good” stuff. After all, without struggle there is rarely growth.
     Oftentimes I have clients in my therapy office who are struggling with a multitude of issues: Depression, anxiety, divorce. One common theme I hear when asking them who in their lives that they are talking to about their difficulties is, “I’m not. No one wants to hear about my struggles. I don’t want to be a burden.”  While this concept sounds selfless, it can lead to these individuals never revealing their entire selves to their loved ones. It may seem easier to put on a mask of never ending happiness that we wear around others but in reality it takes much more energy to do this. It is so freeing to be open with those closest to us and show our true, genuine selves: the good, the bad and the ugly, without judgement.
     People are so often surprised that when they remove the masks that they are wearing and are honest about any difficulty that they are experiencing, family and friends tend to WANT to help out and support them. Think about it this way, if you knew that your spouse/parent/sibling/close friend was struggling, would you prefer that they be transparent with you about their situation or would you rather them “sugar coat” what they are experiencing to avoid worrying you with their problems? Would you see it as a “burden” if they turned to you for support? Chances are if your relationship is positive, you WANT to help your family and friends in need. However, there is no way to support others unless you realize that they need it.
     One of the goals that I have for 99% of my clients has been to strengthen their ties with their support systems so that they do not have to shoulder their problems alone. This seems to make such a difference in the experience of their problems, even if the problem itself remains. So next time you are asked by someone close to you how you are doing, I challenge you to be genuine in your response, even if the answer isn’t picture perfect.

~ Sarah Thibault, Therapist

Lenz

From Our EAP...
Developing Resiliency: Recovering from Life's Setbacks

     Imagine the last upsetting event that you experienced.  What was your reaction to it? Were you able to quickly recover from it and get back on track, or do bad experiences throw you into emotional tailspins that affect your quality of life long after they’ve occurred?
     How quickly you are able to bounce back from setbacks is a trait called resiliency.  People who are highly resilient tend to be happier and more successful both in their careers and in their personal lives.  
Rewriting Negative Scripts
     Things like dealing with an unreasonable boss, a tight deadline, or a car breakdown can be a challenge for anyone, but the resulting stress is caused by our reaction to these problems, not the problems themselves.
     By paying careful attention to your emotional reactions to upsetting events, you’ll be able to spot unwanted and habitually negative scripts that play themselves out in your head, and gradually replace them with positive ones.
Negating the Negative
     Dwelling on a negative emotion, such as anger at being treated unfairly, sucks away our time, energy, and creativity and prevents us from moving forward constructively.  Highly resilient people have the ability to diminish or postpone indulging on negative emotion. They aren’t in denial. Instead, they refocus their attention on problem solving.
     This begins by tuning out everything that falls outside of your sphere of control and influence and asking yourself, “What can I do right now to improve this situation?”  Perhaps the most you can do is take a few deep breaths, calm down and organize your thoughts, but even this small action is a positive step.  The idea is not to stifle negative emotion, but rather to prevent its paralyzing feedback loop.
Planning for Success
     Resilient people view obstacles and setbacks as “outcomes”, “challenges”, and “opportunities” to learn rather than disasters.  More importantly, they anticipate success, but expect setbacks a natural part of any goal-oriented process.  Here are the best practices for building resiliency:
     Know yourself:  Be realistic about what you are able to accomplish, and be honest about your limitations.  Set your goals accordingly, but don’t be afraid to stretch to the higher rung, and then build on your successes.
     Know your partners: Focus on the strengths, not the weaknesses of those around you.  Always be looking for ways that their unique talents can complement yours or help you to accomplish your goals.
     Think strategy, planning, and action:  You are in control how you deal with a problem to produce a result. You can’t predict a result, but you can act again on the result to produce a different out come, and so on. Unexpected variables show up as we reach for our goals. So measure success by incremental advancements toward your goals.
     Treat life as a classroom:  A helpful question to ask yourself in any challenging situation is, “What can I learn from this.”  Temporary failures almost always precede future success.
Internal Focus
     By relentlessly seeking to improve how you react to obstacles, you train yourself and create a new habit to act upon your environment rather than allowing yourself to be mugged by external forces beyond your control. 
     Develop and practice resiliency, and you’ll discover a life skill the pros in any profession have mastered to achieve more. 

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Administrator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)

FRGN Spotlights!!!

Emerton Seanne

     Seanne Larson Emerton, owner of Family Resources of Greater NE, P.C., completed continuing education at the Nebraska Association for Marriage and Family Therapy spring conference in Omaha April 15, 2016.  The training, entitled, “ Increasing the Capacity for Love”  was presented by Brent Atkinson, Ph.D.,  of The Couples Research Institute in Geneva, IL. 
     Dr. Atkinson presented pragmatic interventions to use with couples that translate new scientific findings about the brain into practical methods for improving relationships.  Participants learned how to help clients engage in daily practices that rewire their patterns of emotional response by engaging in practices that prime and strengthen the brain’s intimacy circuits, boosting naturally occurring feelings of empathy, playfulness and desire.   Research on the neurobiology of resilience was presented to help couples enjoy resilience and health in their relationship across the lifespan.  

DHoyt     Family Resources of Greater Nebraska therapist Dave Hoyt, recently attended and completed phase one of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)  therapy training.  EMDR is an integrative approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR uses the most effective elements from many different treatment approaches shown to be effective.  In the hands of a trained counselor, this is used to reduce symptoms of trauma and assist in obtaining optimal emotional health.

 

denim

     April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. On April 27, 2016, the staff of Family Resources of Greater Nebraska will be wearing denim to show support against sexual violence. 

     For the past 17 years, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign in April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. In this rape prevention education campaign we ask community members to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. (resource: http://denimdayinfo.org/about/)

 

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