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Klein Chris

Therapist’s Corner…
Change: How Do You Cope?

     Life, much like weather in Nebraska, can change without notice. The day may start out well, sunny in fact, and within a brief period of time, a storm blows in with high winds and moisture falling from clouds that may not have been there previously! Have you found yourself grumbling about how long this winter has dragged on and saying to yourself or someone else “is spring ever going to get here?” If so, you are not alone. I am undoubtedly the first to grumble about the weather. I’m not proud of it, just not a big fan of winter.
     Change is stressful, whether it is the weather or the day-to-day experiences in our lives. Choices we make that spark change, painful losses that are out of our control, or positive changes are all opportunities to react and respond. Our attitude about change will contribute to how we experience it and the level of stress that follows.
     According to research, people cope with change in two ways: control coping or escape coping (Coping with Change, www.mindtools.com). As you might have guessed, avoidance is the desired outcome in escape coping. As an addiction counselor, I can attest to the varied ways people “avoid or escape” by using or misusing alcohol and/or drugs. Of course, there are many additional ways to avoid, like missing an important meeting, ignoring phone calls, avoiding people, blaming, and technology, to name a few.
     Control coping, on the other hand, involves being proactive and positive (verses reactive and pessimistic). Acknowledging and accepting that change is part of life and trusting that we can ask for the support we need, find the proper resources, and manage our feeling about the changes we are facing are examples of control coping.   
     Often I remind people (and myself) to focus on that which you have control. Sounds profound and easy; however, it isn’t always. Acknowledging and accepting doesn’t mean that we have to like it (whatever IT is). It means that we accept (something we can control) that there are things over which we have no control, If we fight it, we can become exhausted and angry, perhaps even depressed.
     Before you get too down on yourself about how you cope, most of us respond to changes with a mixture of both coping styles. And we may react with shock and disorientation (like snow on Easter and your Christmas Cactus is blooming. I have a picture to prove it!!), anger and other emotional responses, acknowledgement of the change or new circumstances (it is what it is), and acceptance which can move us forward (it will be what we make it). Our ability to move through these stages, and the time that it takes is unique to each of us and depends largely on our coping strategies.
     Change is part of life and YES it can be stressful. So remember to focus on what you can control and get out there and enjoy spring. I think it is FINALLY here!

~Chris Klein, Therapist

JMcCasslin

Therapist’s Corner…
What If I Make A Mistake?

     We were on our way to my daughter’s concert the other night when she asked a question I’ve heard before: “What if I mess up?” I glanced at her through the rearview mirror, and in my most serious voice replied “What if you do? Will you quit? Will you throw a fit? Or will you learn from it?” (Don’t you love my rhyming abilities?)
     Mistakes illicit a negative connotation in many of us. Mistakes are bad, troublesome, annoying, and problematic. However, we tend to forget that mistakes can be great learning opportunities. Mistakes build character and perseverance.  Mistakes steer us in different directions in order to accomplish a goal. 
     What about you? How do you handle mistakes? Do you display your version of a toddler/child/teen/adult temper tantrum? Do you give up and throw that project away? Or do you look at the mistake and analyze what went wrong, how to improve, and to change?
     When a mistake is made, we learn to clarify, whether it be a project or our lives. We examine what we want (the goal), possible solutions, our values and expectations, and how we communicate with others. We learn what works and what does not. 
     Most importantly, we learn about ourselves. We learn how many times we are willing to repeat a behavior before we learn from it. We learn to take responsibility for our actions and the consequences. We learn that we are not defined by our mistakes—we are more than that. Mistakes allow us to reach more of our potential, if we allow ourselves to take risks, and to grow, learn, and stretch our limits. Our mistakes can be a powerful learning tool for others, especially our children. When we make mistakes, the courage we show in making different choices, or asking for help, or admitting our faults can be inspiring to others.
    One of the biggest things we learn about ourselves is that we aren’t perfect, nor can we do everything. There are some things in life that just don’t work out, no matter how many times we try, or how many different ways we do something. The fear of failure is a huge issue for many people. It’s in these moments that we learn to swallow our pride and to ask for help. It takes courage to admit when we are wrong or helpless. At this point, we find that we are able to reach out to other people, resources, and solutions. It’s in these moments that we are reminded that we do not have to face the world alone.
     We can allow others to see our failures and mistakes. Take those opportunities to talk through what we could or would have done differently, and ask others for input. If we allow others to know we are not perfect, and accept that they are not perfect, imagine what we can learn from one another.

~Jessica McCaslin, Therapist

Lenz

Tips from Our EAP...
Workplace Communication Tips

     Every business wants a welcoming and well-functioning, effective work environment. One of the top variables of a positive environment is effective communication. Communicating expectations, goals, mistakes, and achievements lead to improved performance and morale. 
     Following is a list of communication tips managers/supervisors may find helpful in the workplace:

  • Make sure the deadlines are clear and manageable.
  • Be straightforward. Most people want to have clear expectations. Be sure to define the project clearly. Specify what you expect to be done, or what the task is to accomplish. Also, when working with several employees or a team on a project, be sure to clearly designate responsibility for tasks. Also, pick a leader or point person so the team knows to whom they can turn if they have questions, problems, or suggestions.
  • Listen when you are not speaking. Paraphrase and reflect back what someone has said to make sure you understood correctly. If you aren’t sure the employee understands, ask them to repeat it back to you.
  • Keep your voice volume at a moderate level. Vocal tone and volume are important indicators of mood.
  • Consider giving written instructions or expected outcomes of a task.
  • Give recognition for work well done.
  • Be clear about the consequences of not completing work, missing work, showing up unfit for work, arguing with customers, acting out aggressively, or being uncooperative with team members.
  • When correcting an employee, describe what can be observed, not what you suspect. Keep it simple.

 ~Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (adapted from Veterans Affairs, Communication Tips in Your Role as a Manager or Supervisor, https://www.va.gov/vetsinworkplace/docs/em_communicationTips.html)

FRGN Highlights

     Chris Klein, mental health and addiction therapist at FRGN, completed training April 4, 2018 on "Providing Effective, Inclusive and Affirming Care of LGBTQ Individuals." Clinicians were trained in current health trends impacting clients who identify as LGBTQ. In addition, strategies and activities to improve clinician-client communication and interactions were identified. Barriers were also discussed.

     On April 6, 2018, Leanne Elder and Jessica McCaslin, mental health therapists with FRGN, attended the training "Ethical Practices in Promoting the Healing of Suicide Bereaved Survivors." Presenters included Dr. Don Belau, Dr. Krista Fritson, and Dr. Brenda Petersen. The presentation focused on responding ethically to suicide loss survivors, trauma-informed care, grieving and learning to move forward, empathy, assessing suicide risk, and barriers to healing.

     May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Paying attention to both your physical health and your mental health can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery. See our page for periodic tips and challenges to improve your overall well-being.

 

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