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Ryan LindaTherapist’s Corner…Don’t Believe Everything You Think!

     Have you ever wondered why you think, act and behave the way you do? Have you ever wondered why you can’t ever seem to stay on a healthy meal plan, or workout when your best friend seems to do those two things easily? Have you ever thought “I’m not creative” or “I’m poor at public speaking”?
     Where do those negative thoughts come from? When did you first have those thoughts? How long have you been acting out of that belief system? Could you benefit from learning to identify the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Or from identifying your internal monologue? Could you ultimately benefit from challenging yourself to change? 
     Early in life we construct a narrative about ourselves. We pick up clues from our environment, decide what they mean, and act in a way that makes sense to us. For example, one day as you are walking across a parking lot, your 2-year-old lets go your hand, and races off. She is happily laughing. You panic, and yell (angry tone), “You get back here.” When you catch up to her, you grab her arms, look straight into her eyes and say, “Don’t ever do that again.” The 2-year-old thinks about it and decides “I made mom mad because I didn’t stay right beside her. I will never leave her again.” You hang on tighter as you walk through parking lots, she feels that pressure and reminds herself to “never leave.” In this way, the child is developing a narrative about anxiety and always hanging on. 
     We begin to operate out of the narrative we have constructed for ourselves. Worst case scenario, we have a child who refuses to explore her environment. A child who does not make decisions without asking permission of others. And later, an adult who does not take risks, doesn’t challenge herself to excel in anything, and is afraid to make a decision on her own.
     Of course, there are other ways that situation could be interpreted and acted out. 
     As an adult, learn to identify negative thoughts you have developed about yourself; ask why the thought exists, if it’s accurate, and whether or not you want/need to keep it. Perhaps your lack of confidence stems from something you told yourself since junior high when you didn’t make the cheerleading squad. Maybe you confirm that negative thought every chance you get (we call that a confirmation bias). If you’re not careful, you will create a self-fulfilling prophecy, repeating over and over your negative belief system. 
     As a parent, learn to identify the negative thoughts you believe your children have and ask them about it. Listen very carefully to their thoughts and answers. Rather than to tell them they are wrong to think that way, find ways to get them to think about their belief. Just as we adults don’t want to be told we are thinking or doing it wrong, neither do our children. 
     Learn to challenge those pesky negative belief systems. Perhaps you’ll find some things about yourself that you didn’t know. Perhaps you’ll find out you’re more creative than you thought. 
     In general, our confidence increases when we investigate our inner self, challenge our thoughts and discover new insights. Our confidence increases with mastery. When we master new ways of behaving, we feel better about ourselves. As we master new ideas and behaviors, we even become more flexible. 
     Hmmmm, maybe I’ll go try my hand at homemade cinnamon rolls!

 ~ Linda Ryan, Therapist


Therapist’s Corner…And The Grieving Process Continues

     On April 2nd, I celebrated the fourth anniversary of the death of one of my very best friends. We had been close friends for 48 years, and while I knew she was not in the best of health, I certainly did not know that she was as close to the end of her life as she was. Looking back, I think it is our HOPE for the BEST DREAM TO COME TRUE, for lots of ANOTHER DAYS, and even for a MINI MIRACLE, among many other things, that keeps the reality of death from finding a place in our minds! 
     I have come to believe that it is partly the “let down” from “this great hope” that sends us into the depths of physical and emotional shock with the actual separation of a loved one from this life - and makes us sure that we will not get through the experience!

  Today I want to give testimony to the fact that all the realities that are associated with the understanding of grieving – the struggle of our hearts to wrap our brains around the reality we are experiencing; the fear that if we let go of anything, we will forget all the precious memories that we cannot think of giving up; the misunderstandings that may occur because ideas and concepts are not able to be clearly communicated and understood under such extreme stress; and never knowing when the emotions will break lose and we will not be able to reign them in – do happen. 
     It has also been my experience that a movement toward a new “normal” and the ability to build a new identity over time changes and grows – not an easy progression, but one that is worth the effort. This new identity can include additional experiences within ones ongoing relationships - and choices we make about who we are and how that can develop in the absence of our loved one, new tasks and skills you will need to learn, how you will cope with feelings of social isolation that you may experience, as well as any values or belief shifts you may choose to explore as you find ways to honor your loved one by carrying on the accomplishment of their dream, etc. I can also attest to the certainty that all of these pieces happen in their own time for every individual. For example, as I have taken a bouquet of flowers to my friend’s grave each anniversary, my experience of my loss of her friendship and my appreciation of the fact that she no longer is struggling to live - my ability to “let go” - changes.
     As we have entered the season of SPRING, and the spiritual remembrance of Easter, I hope that each of you can experience your own sense of strength in being able to grow through your individual grieving process and feel supported by those who surround you. If you would like further support, as in counseling, please do not hesitate to call Family Resources.

~ Carlene Headrick, Therapist


Tips from Our  EAP...Stopping Workplace Harassment

     Has your workplace behavior ever crossed into workplace harassment? The answer may surprise you. When most people think of workplace harassment,  they usually associate sexual harassment because it’s easily recognized as unacceptable, and it has received widespread attention in media and courts. There are other forms of harassment. For the average employee, the real danger is harassing a coworker without being aware of it.
What is Workplace Harassment?
     According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and/or age. Harassment becomes unlawful when 1) tolerating the offensive conduct becomes a condition of employment or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
A Key Myth to Dispel
     None of us think of ourselves as the type of person who’d harass someone. And the truth is that most of us wouldn’t knowingly. The myth of harassment is that it’s a consciously malicious act. More often, harassment stems from common human failings like lack of consideration or empathy, ignorance of acceptable boundaries, impulsive behavior, or simple thoughtlessness spurred on by our biases or personal problems.
Understand Individual Boundaries
     A little good natured fun to one person may be offensive to another. No matter how well you know your coworkers or consider them friends, you have one thing in common--a paycheck. This unavoidably influences relationships and it must deepen your thinking about how you act.
     Our increasingly diverse culture makes it difficult to judge someone’s religion, national origin, and background. As a rule, gauge your comments—avoid negative comments or jokes that generalize particular groups. If you say something that seems to make a coworker uncomfortable, find a private area and ask if you’ve unknowingly caused offense.
     Be careful not to substitute what you think should be “okay” for what a coworker thinks is “not okay” behavior. Even ethnic jokes about your own background may cause offense to someone with a similar background.
     It’s okay to say you messed up. Mistakes, slips of the tongue, and other faux pas happen. The key to resolving these mistakes is direct communication with your coworkers.
Types of Harassment
     Almost all harassment has one thing in common—unwanted behavior. This requires you to practice self- and other-awareness skills so you can make judgments about whether something you are doing is inappropriate or unwanted. To be on the safe side follow this rule: “If someone says your behavior is offensive or unwanted, stop it. And don’t do it again.”
"No" and "Don't" Mean "No" and "Don't"
    Don’t interpret a request to stop a behavior to mean you can repeat the behavior later or do it in a different way. Accept “no” or “don’t” for what it means without reinterpreting it to meet your needs or desires. Accept the boundaries others want you to recognize and respect.
Harassment vs. Offensive Behavior
     Although good manners and civility are the general expectations in the workplace, it’s important to note that any behavior that is rude, obnoxious, or offensive isn’t automatically harassment. Harassment defames or attacks the reputation, and in general, is any form of behavior that is unjust and repetitive and makes someone feel humiliated (the behavior puts him/her down), offended, or intimidated.
     How can you avoid harassment? Practice being polite, thoughtful, sensitive, and empathetic toward coworkers. It’s an effective and practical way to avoid creating a hostile work environment. It probably won’t hurt your reputation, either.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP,

FRGN Highlights!

Emerton Seanne   Seanne Emerton completed the training “Addressing Modern Sexual Issues in Therapy, Effective Clinical Strategies for an Evolving World”. Course director, David Ley, Ph.D, is an internationally recognized expert on issues related to sexuality, pornography and mental health. Training included strategies to help clients and their families understand and contextualize their sexuality; reducing clients’ fear and shame; assessing, treating, and responding to unique, modern sexual dilemmas; and strategies to help individuals and couples communicate in healthy ways regarding sexuality. Also emphasized were ways for parents to engage children and teens in healthy, open dialogue to help healthy choices.

April 25, 2018 is Denim Day in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. 

healing seanneHealing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist 
by Geri Henderson and Seanne Emerton
Healing from Incest tells the journey of a victim-turned-survivor, working with her therapist to find healing. Read more about the book at 


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