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10 Parent Talking Points About “13 Reasons Why”

Lately, the masses, including many teens, seem to be tuning into a trending Netflix show called “13 Reasons Why.” For those of you who aren’t yet familiar, it is a show focused on a high school girl named Hannah who committed suicide. The storyline dramatizes bullying, sexual assault, rape, drunk driving, slut shaming and suicide. If you’re a parent, you may be wondering how to talk to your children about this show and if it is even appropriate for them to watch these highly charged topics.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recently sent out guidelines for educators and parents on how to process the issues presented in the TV show. NASP does not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those with suicidal ideation, watch the series. Although many youth are able to differentiate between real life and a TV show, it’s vital to have proactive, intentional, and thoughtful conversations with your kids about the show. The key takeaways for these conversations recommended by  NASP are that suicide is not a solution to problems and that help is available.

If your child does watch the show, here are 10 talking points parents may want to consider. Remember to listen carefully and try to hold judgements in order to open the opportunity for a deeper conversation.

  1. What was accurate about the show (e.g., bullying, high school drama), and what was portrayed unrealistically (e.g., the writers neglecting her mental health issues)?
  2. How do you think Hannah reacted to some of the events/interpersonal conflict in the show?
  3. What could she have done differently?
  4. Who could she have turned to for support?
  5. How else could Hannah have gotten her message across to the people who wronged her (rather than making tapes about them and choosing to end her life)?
  6. What do you think are the warning signs of suicidal ideation?
  7. Do you think any of your friends or classmates show suicide warning signs?
  8. What do you think you should do if you think that someone you know is contemplating suicide?
  9. What could you do in similar situations?
  10. Have you ever thought about suicide?

What other talking points have you discussed? Let us know below in the comments.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. If you think you need more support, check out our services, which include parent guidance and a slew of other supportive services. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

You might also pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

Suicide is never a solution and there is help: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “START” to 741741.

Written by:  Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Brandy Baker, Psy.D., and Meg Beardmore, M.A.

Image Credit: Netflix

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4 Steps to Mindful Parenting that Will Change Your Relationship With Your Kids

Mindful parenting is not about adding something to your routine but rather about consciously choosing what you pay attention to and what you don’t. Mindful parenting will help you connect with your children and partner because they will feel a greater connection to you. Best of all, it can help reduce your stress too.

Family DinnerIn today’s society, most of us lead busy, stressful lives trying to balance our careers and personal lives. We are pulled in 100 directions. Our kids want to play with us. Our partners want to talk about their day’s joys and frustrations. Our work requires dependability and promptness with project deadlines. Emails call out to us through the buzz of our phone notifications. Our friends text us about hanging out. Bills lay in a pile begging to be opened. Home projects wait for us to get started. The newest episode of our favorite TV show are a couple of clicks away from us watching it. Dinner still needs to be cooked. Dishes washed. House cleaned. Kids fed. Dogs walked… You get the point.

I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that our brains are being pulled in too many directions. It’s not good for our health and it’s not good for our relationships. If you answer yes to the following questions, mindless stress is affecting you:

  • Have you ever noticed that you are thinking about a business meeting while you’re taking a shower?
  • Do you ever find yourself checking your email during dinner or while watching a movie?
  • Have you ever been told by someone that they had to repeat themselves several times before you acknowledged them?
  • Do you ever walk while staring down at your phone screen oblivious to the world around you?
  • Are you ever lost in your own thoughts, worries, or ruminations while someone is talking to you?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else. That is OK. The beauty of mindfulness is the realization that we get to choose what we pay attention to with kindness rather than with criticism. Here are four mindfulness steps that I personally use and often recommend to my clients to help improve relationships:

  1. Just Be Present: At the core of mindfulness is the act of being in the present moment. That means that if you are eating dinner, choose to taste your food or reflect on how your child’s day went rather than tuning out as you watch tv during dinner. You can bring mindful awareness to any moment during your day by simply choosing to bring your awareness to the sensations (e.g., sounds, sight, smells, touch, tastes), thoughts, or feelings.
  2. Breathe: Breathing is not only vital to your life but can be used to increase or decrease energy levels. If you intentionally breathe deeply, you slow your heart rate and blood pressure which has the side effect of relaxing the mind and body. If you breathe quickly, it has the opposite effect. Parents are less reactive if they are relaxed and thus, when your child inevitably tells you something alarming, infuriating, or disappointing, you will be better equipped to respond in a non-critical manner.
  3. Be kind: The third step to mindful parenting is about not responding critically, judgmentally, or in any violent ways to others, especially your kids. Being mindful is about acknowledging any feelings that come up and consciously deciding how and with what to respond. Remember, if your child discloses they did something wrong and your response is criticism, they will be much less likely to share personal matters with you again in the future in fear that you may judge them again. Mindfulness is also about being kind to oneself (self-compassion), which allow us to be kind to others.
  4. Teach your Kids: Kids learn so much from their parents– “the good and the bad and the ugly.” So why not teach them mindful tricks? Parents who model mindfulness and opening talk about it are going to experience a deeper relationship with their partners and children. There are lots of activities that parents can do to promote mindfulness in their children such as having dinner and conversation with distractions such as TV turned off. Kristen Race, Ph.D., author of Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World offers lots of practical ideas in her book on how to cultivate mindfulness in children.

In summary, mindfulness is about choosing to pay attention in the present moment without judgement. The applications of this simple practice can have a profound impact in your relationships with your children and partner. If you are wanting to start your own mindfulness meditation practice get started with our free 10 easy steps to mindfulness meditation.

Question: What are some mindfulness tricks you incorporate into your family life?

Subscribe to our Newsletter for service and general practice updates or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Psychologist

Image by U.S. Department of Agriculture

A Word about Affiliates

Some links above contain affiliate links to products. If you click through and purchase, Intuition Wellness Center will receive a small commission on the sale. Rest assured, we only recommend products or services that our team members personally use or believe will be helpful to our readers or clients.

 

 

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6 Parenting Mistakes that Will Cost You Tons of Headaches

In my role as a clinical psychologist I get to witness many parenting successes as well as mistakes. I try to remind the parents who I work with that parenting is challenging and that each child is unique, requiring their own customized approach. In other words, what may work for one may not work for another. However, there are a couple of universal tactics that parents can use to help improve the odds of having a headache-free day.

Father & Son

I remember getting angry with my parents when I was a teenager. My mom would allow me to visit a friend and then my dad would veto that approval. I can’t begin to tell you how common it is for parents to confuse and anger their kids because they don’t seem to agree about parenting or how to discipline their kids.

Here are six mistakes and lessons I have encountered from both my personal and professional life experiences that may just save you a headache:

  1. Not talking about parenting: It is so important to discuss parenting preferences because we each come from our own very distinct family cultures with varying rules and expectations for children. The key here is to talk about your parenting styles, which will increase your united front and help you come to an agreement about any differences.
  2. Not deciding ahead of time: Parents can avoid parental conflict by identifying common behavioral problems and coming to an agreement ahead of time on how to deal with a particular situation. Discipline usually is most effective when done consistently, which means both parents agreeing on rules, consequences, and rewards and then following through.
  3. Complicated discipline: This is probably one of the most important rules about parenting. Make it easy. Make the consequences easy. Make the rewards easy. If the consequences or rewards are complicated and a hassle to dish out then we simply stop doing it. When it comes to behavioral change, consistency rules.
  4. Not offering choices: Remind your kids about their choices and the consequences of their decisions, especially when you foresee undesirable behavior. For example, remind your son that you hope he chooses to brush his teeth so that he has time to read a book before bedtime. Otherwise, if he chooses to goof off then he will not have time for a book although he will still have to brush his teeth.
  5. Not encouraging the good choice: You also want to encourage they make the desired choice but, keep in mind, ultimately it is their choice. Let them know you hope they make a good choice and praise them when they do make the right choice. Allowing kids to make mistakes is a great way to teach kids the value of how failing or mistakes leads to growth and opportunities.
  6. Poor or inconsistent example: Parents are their children’s primary role models and they pick up our good, bad and ugly habits. It is so important that parents practice what they preach. Otherwise, your kids will not take your rules seriously.

Question: So what parenting strategies do you use that help you avoid tantrums and arguments?

Subscribe to our Newsletter for service and general practice updates or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in counseling children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist & Administrative Director

Image by: Ben Francis

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Parenting Tip: 5 Self Care Recommendations

Parenting_tip_selfcareWhat is self care and why is it important? The way I often find myself explaining this idea to youth and their parents is that self care is about actively doing something to maintain enough energy to not only get through the day, week, month, or year, but, more importantly in my opinion, to enjoy life.

It can be easy to get bogged down with life, struggling to keep anxiety and depression at bay, or even manage modern day stresses. A limited amount of energy can make it very difficult to take in the moments of joy and happiness that occur throughout our daily lives.

I view self care as a solution that falls on a continuum with no time spent recuperating on one end and with an overindulgence on the other end of the spectrum. Either extreme usually leads to problems while the middle road often is the most adaptive and healthy. For example, I often find that children with behavioral or academic problems spend an excessive amount of time playing while adults with anxiety may spend a majority of their time either working or thinking about working. As you can probably see, the right balance between play and work needs to occur allowing for times in our lives where the balance changes due to special circumstances such as a final exam or an important deadline at work.

Keeping that in mind, I often talk with clients about making time for themselves because they are worth it and because they will be better able to take care of others if they are well themselves. Below are my top 5 recommendations:

  • Have a date night or go out with friends: When was the last time you spent time with your significant other or friends? Social support has been showed to be have positive effects on our health.
  • Exercise: Whether it is going for a run, hitting the weight room, or going to a dance class, find an activity that gets your heart rate up. Research has demonstrated that regular exercise help effective way of treating anxiety, depression and stress.
  • Meditation: One of the most ancient ways to relax and find peace. Meditation can be as simple as deep breathing and paying attention to your breath. There is tons of evidence that meditation is a great way to manage stress, anxiety, depression and even pain.
  • Take a hike: Going for a walk around the neighborhood can be relaxing but for a greater effect find your way to a local nature trail away from the city. Going into nature is a great reminder that we, and our problems, are minuscule in comparison to the vast expanse of nature and the universe.
  • Play: Have fun, smile, and laugh playing a game, checking out a comedy club, or doing something that makes your day brighter. Playing is a great way to relax and to connect with your family or friends.

I hope you enjoyed reading about self care and my top 5 suggestions. If so, please like us on Facebook and share it with friends and family.

Subscribe to our Newsletter for service and general practice updates or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, young adults and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Image by Dedda71 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Taekwondo Wellness Therapy Group Announcement

TKDKidsFlyerHello,
We have exciting news about a new Taekwondo Wellness therapy group for kids ages 7 and up that will be starting on May 24, 2016 at Intuition Wellness Center. We are currently accepting referrals for kids, teens, and adults who may benefit from an alternative approach to overcoming emotional, behavioral, and social challenges. The cost will be $35 per 60 minute group session. We are a provider for BCBS insurance and group therapy services may be billable. Please note that this can be an adjunct to current counseling services or a standalone service for clients.
Please call 520-333-3320 to register or visit us online to learn more about Taekwondo Wellness therapy groups and other services we provide. Here are two flyers, one for kids TKD and the other for teens and adults TKD. Please feel free to email (contact@intuitionwellness.com) or call (520-333-3320) if you have any questions about Taekwondo Wellness therapy groups. Below is a bit more info about Taekwondo Wellness.

Taekwondo Wellness Difference

What sets Taekwondo Wellness apart from your typical Taekwondo school? We incorporate three distinct services into our classes that are aimed at helping youth, adults and their families improve their mental health and family and peer dynamics. The first key component is psycho-education, which teaches psychological hygiene, coping skills, and social skills. The second key component is parent coaching that helps families improve their communication and interactions with their kids and others. Mindfulness meditation is the third key component, which is incorporated into each session to take advantages of its many benefits such as improved attention span, pain relief, and decreases in anxiety to name a few.

Taekwondo Wellness Core Curriculum

  • Clinical Interview & Treatment Plan: Participants will each be evaluated by one of our clinicians who will help identify mental health needs and treatment plan.
  • Taekwondo Philosophy: Students will learn about the core Taekwondo principles and how yin jang concepts of Taoism can be applied to our daily lives to reach a state of harmony.
  • Poomsae: Students will learn and practice a set pattern of defensive and offensive techniques as a means of improving power, speed, and balance while striving for self refinement.
  • One Step & Self Defense: Students will learn to apply Taekwondo blocking and striking techniques to real-life situations building self-esteem and sense of security.
  • Olympic Style Sparring: Intermediate rank students will learn sparring rules, skills, and strategies of Taekwondo sparring while developing good sportsmanship, coordination, balance, self control, and self-reliance.
  • Board Breaking: Students will learn to focus their minds and overcome fear to achieve feats of strength and build confidence.
  • Physical Fitness: Through rigorous exercises using interval training students will see improvements in their endurance and strength as well as managing their weight.
  • Flexibility Training: Students will practice stretching regularly for improved range of motion not only for higher kicks but for its physical and stress relieving benefits as well.
  • Psycho-education & Mental Training: Students will learn about self talk, goal setting, and energy, stress and anger management in addition to other psychological issues and risk factors.
  • Parent Coaching: Parents observing class will get parenting tips and learn how to manage or redirect unwanted child or adolescent behavior.
  • Meditation: Students will learn and practice mindfulness meditation for its physical and psychological benefits, including stress, pain, and mood management.
  • Body Awareness: Students will became aware of their bodily sensations and the difference between tension and relaxation, as well as, a better understanding of how stress can be stored in the body.
  • Fun: Last, but not least, is fun! Students will laugh, smile, and have lots of fun while practicing Taekwondo. Humor has been shown to have physical benefits such as boosting our immune systems and energy and diminishing pain, in addition to improving mood and relieving stress.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

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Parenting Tip: Follow Through

ConsistencyIsKeyIn my last blog post, Parenting Tip: Love, I mentioned how important it is to a child’s sense of worthiness for parents to consistently follow through on what they say they are going to do. I want to expand on that idea to include parents following through on rewards and consequences. Let me explain. Parents often motivate their kids to complete chores and their homework with either a reward such as more time to play video games or TV time or with a consequence like taking away their cell phone or iPad for the day. I would be a millionaire if I had a nickel for every time a child or adolescent client has told me that they don’t care about what their parents tell them to do because they don’t follow through on their promises. So here are some tips for parents.

When I talk to parents about the importance of following through, I commonly hear the following four barriers:

  • Fear of a tantrum or anger outburst is probably the most prevalent explanation cited by parents for not following through.
  • It’s just easier to not argue with my kids than have to deal with the unwanted behavior is another common explanation that follows the above mentioned fear of anger outburst.
  • Some parents have also expressed not following through with discipline because they feel sorry for their children after a major adversity (e.g., divorce or death of a parent, grandparent, sibling) and don’t want them to suffer more.
  • Parents also explain they don’t follow through because the kids don’t seem to care about the consequences or rewards.

Why these barrier are counter-productive: Unfortunately, giving into your child’s requests due to fear of a tantrum or because it’s just easier not to argue is reinforcing that very behavior that you don’t want. In other words, if you give your child what they ask for because otherwise they will start to whine, the child learns that to get what they want, they just need to whine a bit and the parent (and likely others too) will meet their demands. This type of behavior also extends to later in life and can be a root cause for interpersonal problems, including marital conflict or difficulty with co-workers.

Much like giving into your child’s requests due to fear of a tantrum, giving into your child because of fear of hurting their feelings may be easier the moment, but misses several learning opportunities. For example, taking it easy on your child may send the message that they aren’t resilient enough to handle emotional pain. It also sends them the message that they can get what they want if they are perceived as being emotionally unstable. When a child has been through something that shakes their world like a divorce or a loss, they need consistency and predictability more than any other time. Stability in everything else will be a comfort to them. A 5-year-old child whose parents struggle with follow through may seem manageable, but what happens when you have a teenager who has no boundaries? What I have seen frequently in my practice are parents attempting to implement rules after years of limited discipline, and by now the teenager knows (or thinks they do) they run the household.

Kids’ attitudes of not caring about the consequences or rewards often stem from inconsistent follow through on either rewards or consequences or both. For example, how would you feel if someone tells you they will pay you for some work but once the job is done, they don’t pay. I am almost certain that most adults will quickly learn not to work for that person or at the very least avoid them. Kids will develop a similar attitude of avoidance if parents don’t follow through. A similar process can happen when parents make threats of a consequence and then do not actually deliver. As a result, the child learns that their parents threats are empty.

Tips for Following Through: The solution is to “extinguish” that behavior by not reinforcing it! To avoid unintentionally reinforcing unwanted behavior, try:

  • When your child starts whining ask them to come talk to you once they have calmed down. Then reinforce that new behavior of coming to you to talk about what they want or feel by praising them. If what they are asking is not reasonable or impractical, explain that to them but don’t forget to reflect on their feelings by saying something like: “I know you’re disappointed that….”
  • For youth who have experienced a major loss or negative change in their lives, don’t go easy. Don’t go harder either. Discipline as you would have. It does not mean you have any less compassion for your child’s suffering. Instead, it signals that you value them, know they can still bounce back from adversity and will continue to be a source of predictability despite the recent change in their life. Acknowledge the suffering of the loss with compassion and maintain family and home rules.
  • To make kids care about the rewards or consequences, simply follow through consistently. For example, if you ask your teen to complete a task and tell them they will get to go to the theater afterwards, then let them go to the theater after they complete the task. On the other hand, if you tell the teen that they will not be able to go to the theater if they don’t complete that task, follow through and do not take them or allow them to go if they didn’t complete the task.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the importance of following through. If so, please like us on Facebook and share it with friends and family.

Subscribe to our wellness blog for more tips (see the far right column of this page or the bottom of the page if you’re using your mobile phone) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Image by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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Parenting Tip: Love

Blog HeartLove is an utterly important emotion for the development of children, catalyzing them to create strong healthy attachments to their parents, to others, and improving life satisfaction. That is because humans are social beings that thrive on being and feeling connected to others and there is not doubt that our psychosocial environments impact not only our brain development but also our genes. Our brains and genetics, are hard wired to love and protect our children otherwise our species would have gone extinct. When children do not feel loved, they may be at risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depressive disorders. So here are four ways to show your love for your children no matter what age they are.

  1. Your actions speak louder than your words:
    • So demonstrate that your kid is a priority by behaving in a way that lets them know they are important to you. For example, be present when talking to them by making eye contact or looking at them. You would be surprised how many parents have conversations with their children while distracted on the phone, watching tv, putting on makeup, or engaging in some other activity.
    • Also, if you say you are going to do something, do it! Teens often share their disappointment about their parents not following through on their word. It’s one thing to have to cancel once but when parents consistently don’t follow through, kids may interpret that as not being worthy of love or your attention.
    • Express affection. I know that every family is different in how they express affection whether it’s through snuggles or hugs or kisses or some other manner. The important concept is that you express affection towards your child so that they feel loved and internalize the believe that they deserve to be loved. It is a common pitiful to pull away love from kids when they misbehave, sending them the message that they are only love if they behave in a certain way rather than unconditionally. Instead, try to let them know how you feel but that you still love them. Teach them that one can be angry at someone but still love them very much.
    • Have fun together. Their is much to be said about the importance of laughter and fun. It is a good way to convey the message that they are valued, and have something to offer. It’s also conveys the message that you want to spend time together and enjoy each others company.

Ultimately it comes down to demonstrating to your children that they are important and loved, no matter what, so that they go on to grow up into adults who believe they are worth loving. Remember children believe they get the love they deserve because they don’t no any better or don’t know how love is expressed in other families. So make a commitment to have fun, be present and express love and affection to your children with consistent follow through, as it will impact their whole lives.

Subscribe to our wellness blog for more tips (see the far right column of this page or the bottom of the page if you’re using your mobile phone) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

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Parenting Tip: Structure Via Rules & Routine

RulesIt may come as no surprise, but kids can thrive with a bit of structure that gives them a sense of routine and with rules that inform them of how they are expected to behave. Structure is an overarching concept that includes a consistent routine and well defined, individualized rules. Routines help children know what to expect and rules help them understand what is expected of them. I have put together a list of recommendations to keep in mind when developing a structure and rules for your family.

Suggestions for structure:

  • The key to creating a structure is to be as consistent as possible, knowing that you will have to be flexible once in a while.
  • Keep in mind that the younger the child the more “transition” time they will need. For example, if you want your 4 year old to go to sleep at 8, then plan on starting the wind down process about 45-60 before.
  • Teens also need some transition time and so don’t expect them to stop what they are doing the second you ask. Instead, remind them that they have 5 minutes so that they have some time to wrap things up before moving on to the next thing.
  • Try not to over schedule yourself and your kids. For example, enrolling your child in a sport can be a wonderful activity but it can also strain your family time and “rest time” because you’ll end up spending lots of time commuting.
  • Remember to schedule in family fun time so that spending time together becomes part of your routine. If you want to learn more about scheduling family time, read our previous blog on that topic.

Suggestions for rules:

  • When creating rules, keep in mind that family rules are not just rules for the children. In other words, if behaving respectfully is a rule, then the rules are more likely to be followed and successful if the parents model respectful behavior. Read our blog about modeling and its importance.
  • Be inclusive and ask your kids for feedback on the rules you are planning on setting up. Ultimately, the parents have the final say but rules are more successful if the kids have taken part in their creation.
  • Create rules for all your children not just one otherwise that may create family dynamics of unfairness, entitlement, resentment, etc.
  • Lastly, age-appropriate monitoring and loving guidance complete the learning loop by providing children with structure that is consistent with family values.

Subscribe to our wellness blog for more tips (see the far right column of this page or the bottom of the page if you’re using your mobile phone) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image credit: Yoendry Torres

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Parenting Tip: Traditions & Predicability

640px-Family_jumpWith the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to bring up the importance of having predicable family traditions. If you’re like most parents, you are busy working, keeping up your home, and chauffeuring your kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. It’s no wonder that busy schedules often leave parents with little to no time to have dates with each other or play games with their kids. As a result, I find myself suggesting to most families who I work with to create traditions, such as “game night” and make them predicable by scheduling them and making those times sacred. It is a no brainer that spending more quality time with your partner and kids will have a positive impact on your relationships. Below are a few tips to help you create some traditions.

  • Make it a family decision by asking your partner or kids what they want to do. In other words, don’t just do what you want, instead include the family in the decision making so everyone looks forward to family time.
  • Put it on the calendar and make it recurring regardless if it is annually, monthly, or weekly. Unfortunately with busy schedules, if it’s not on the calendar, it’s unlikely to happen.
  • Agree to make the tradition sacred and do not schedule other events during those times. This means learning to do a few things such as getting into the habit of checking your calendar before scheduling new events and learning how to say no.

Here are some ideas for traditions:

  • Date night with your partner that includes dinner and a fun activity such as mini golf, bowling, movie theatre, ballet, comedy club, or festival.
  • Game night with your  partner and kids.
  • Craft night with your kids.
  • Have an overnight camping trip.
  • Go fishing.
  • Cook dinner together.
  • Take a vacation.
  • Take a weekly hike on your favorite trail.
  • Go to church, temple, synagogue, etc.

Finally, just have fun with it and reap the rewards of joy that comes with spending quality time with your kids.

Subscribe to our wellness blog for more tips (see the far right column of this page or the bottom of the page if you’re using your mobile phone) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image credit: “Family jump” by Evil Erin – http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilerin/3565026821/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Family_jump.jpg#/media/File:Family_jump.jpg

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Parenting Tip: Balance

ca_20141120_012It can be a challenging balancing act to figure out and maintain our work and personal life balance. This is especially difficult when we are connected to our work 24/7 via email, social media, or other technologies, work overtime, complete projects at home, and race around town driving our kids to one activity to the next. Another way I like to think of work-personal balance is work-play balance. Play meaning anything that we do that nourishes our mind-body-soul, our connection to loved ones, and brings us joy. Now, don’t get me wrong, work can and is very nourishing to us, can connect us, and bring us joy as well but like most other things in life, its about moderation. I’ve put together a list of recommendations to help achieve a better work-play balance that I frequently share with the families I work with below.

  1. First, step back and think about what you want your work-play balance to look like. Also reflect on how your current work-play balance is impacting your stress levels and your family.
  2. Cut out the fluff from your schedule. Look for activities or tasks that can either be eliminated all together because they cause stress or aren’t enjoyable or hire someone to do the chore. For example, if you dread cleaning your house and can afford to, hire someone to come clean the house every now and then so you can spend more time with your family doing something you love.
  3. Create boundaries and limits about what you are willing to do and what you will not. For example, if you set the boundary that you will not answer work emails on weekends, then stick to that or use technology to help you by turning off your work email in the settings of your smart phone.
  4. Be consistent by starting a routine that you follow. For example, try scheduling regular date nights with your partner or play dates with your children or friends. It could be weekly, biweekly or even a monthly date. The frequency doesn’t matter as much as being consistent and not canceling or rescheduling.
  5. Be mindful and present when you’re with your family and loved ones. That means paying attention to them without the distractions of work, technology, media, etc.
  6. Evaluate what you’re doing on an ongoing basis to make sure that what you’re doing at the moment or planning to do is consistent with your values and fits your vision of work-play balance.

Remember that the key is to find the right balance for you and your family and to be thoughtful, deliberate about what you are spending your time on. I plan to write about other tips in the near future so stay tuned. You can subscribe to our wellness blog (see the far right column of this page or the bottom of the page if you’re using your mobile phone) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image credit: “Ca 20141120 (15652310840)” by Costică Acsinte Archive – https://www.flickr.com/photos/costicaacsinte/15652310840/. Licensed under No restrictions via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ca_20141120_(15652310840).jpg#/media/File:Ca_20141120_(15652310840).jpg

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Parenting Tip: Actively Listen

1024px-Ruído_Noise_041113GFDLYouth I work with often share with me that their parents “don’t listen” and/or “don’t understand.” Listening to children is about communicating to them that you truly heard them by validating their feelings and expressing empathy. This type of listening is called active listening and it can help create a stronger bond and trust between parents and children and help resolve conflicts.

Here are a few tips about active listening:

 

  1. Active listening is being in a conversation without a preconceived notion of what should be said or defensiveness to what the other person said. Instead listen with curiosity.
  2. Active listening is about hearing the content but focusing on the underlying feelings of what was said. Listen and look for clues as to what they are feeling. For example, if a teen rolls their eyes they are probably annoyed or frustrated. Reflect on the feeling by saying something like “You seem really annoyed with me right now.”
  3. The key to active listening is to repeat back or summarize what the other person said in order to check if you understood them correctly. Simply paraphrase what they just said in your own words to check if you got it all. If not, ask for clarification and keep asking questions to learn more about what they are thinking and/or feeling.
  4. When practicing active listening, remember it is about expressing curiosity of what the other is sharing and not about defending or rationalizing your own behavior. For example, when your child says that they’re upset about you arriving late from work, ask more about how that makes your child feel rather than going into an explanation about why you were late.

I hope you found these listening tips useful! I plan to write about other tips in the near future so stay tuned. You can subscribe to our wellness blog (see the far right column of this page or the bottom of the page if you’re using your mobile phone) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image credit: “Ruído Noise 041113GFDL” by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga Commons)(Lmbuga Galipedia)Publicada por/Publish by: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ru%C3%ADdo_Noise_041113GFDL.JPG#/media/File:Ru%C3%ADdo_Noise_041113GFDL.JPG

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Gardening for Stress Management: Get your free cilantro tips here!

cilantroIt’s no surprise to most that time spent in nature— unplugged from technology and without everyday burdens— can reduce stress. But I bet you didn’t know these facts…

 

 

  • The actual components of soil may increase serotonin and lead to a decrease in depression! (See the Journal of Neuroscience, 2007)
  • Gardening reduces one’s levels of cortisol (the body’s natural stress hormone) and, in turn, can lower levels of anxiety! (Journal of Health Psychology, 2011)
  • Exposure to a natural environment— even looking out the window at a natural scene or having potted plants in the room— improves our ability to tolerate stress, think creatively and problem solve! (Journal of Affective Disorders, 2012)

As a token of our appreciation and to inspire people to do something joyful like gardening, Intuition Wellness Center will be distributing over 100 coriander seed packets to teachers and staff at Tucson local schools. These coriander seeds, (when planted with care and joy), will grow into cilantro plants that can be eaten, frozen, or enjoyed simply for their fragrance and the mental health benefits of growing them. We know not everyone has developed their green thumb just yet, so for all of our new friends who are taking home seed packets and to any others inspired by the joy of gardening, here’s some basic “how-to” info on planting coriander seeds, storing cut cilantro leaves, harvesting seeds from your cilantro plant, as well as a quick and easy recipe for a tasty and unconventional cilantro pesto.

How to: Plant Cilantro (Coriander Seeds)
Tucson falls are ideal for growing cilantro! Plant in your garden or make your cilantro a potted plant. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy the refreshing “fruits” of your labor with fall or spring planting.

Method

  1. Plant seeds just under the surface of the soil in a sunny or light shade location about 6 to 8 inches apart.
  2. Keep the soil moist.
  3. From the time of sowing seed, cilantro leaves can begin to be harvested in about 3 to 4 weeks. Cut or pinch the large leaves down about once a week to keep it bushy and productive. Eventually it will flower, signifying it’s nearing the end of it’s lifespan.
  4. To enjoy cilantro all season long, plant successive sowings every 2 to 3 weeks.

How to: Store Cilantro
Have you ever had trouble keeping fresh herbs fresh? This super easy trick is a surefire way to keep your cilantro perky and tasty for up to two weeks in the fridge!

Method

  1. Snip off the bottom of the stems.
  2. Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Better to hold off rinsing them until you’re about to use them.
  3. Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.
  4. Store in the refrigerator, cover loosely with a plastic bag.
  5. Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor.

Cilantro can last up to 2 weeks or longer when stored this way. You can also freeze! Put the leaves in a freezer storage bag and voila!

How to: Harvest Cilantro Seeds
Cilantro is a forgiving and relatively cooperative plant. Though a cilantro plant may not produce new leaves for more than a month or so, it’s so easy to harvest seeds and re-plant, you can still enjoy fresh cilantro all season long!

Method

  1. When the cilantro grows its stalk, you can either leave it be and let it self-seed or choose to store the seed (called coriander).
  2. To store coriander seeds, cut off the seed heads when the plant begins to turn brown and put them in a paper bag.
  3. Hang the bag until the plant dries and the seeds fall off. You can then store the seeds in sealed containers.

Beyond being used to grow a new cilantro plant, coriander seeds are also often used in cooking and are enjoyed for their distinctive flavor!

How to: Make a Fragrant and Refreshing Cilantro Pesto
Prep time: 15min; Cook time: 15 min; Ready to eat: in no time at all!

Icilantro pastangredients
1 (16 ounce) package pasta of your choice
1 bunch fresh cilantro
3-5 cloves garlic, minced (to your preference)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts
salt to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (to your preference)

 

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, cheese, cayenne pepper, nuts, and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and blend the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Pour pesto in a small saucepan and place over low heat, stirring constantly until pesto begins to simmer.
  4. Pour pesto over cooked pasta and toss. Enjoy!

Want more ideas for bringing joy and health into your life? Like us on Facebook to receive regular updates on Intuition’s activities, practical tips for families, creative inspiration, and links to educational material.

 

Images courtesy of SOMMAI and KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Creating a Behavior Chart that Works!

Behavior ChartI’ve worked with lots of teachers, school staff, kids and families who have either given up on behavior charts altogether or who seem to be losing their confidence in them. Many of my clients support teams have described a disappointing scenario— “She never really took to it” or “He seems to respond wonderfully at first and then loses interest” or even “We had good intentions, but it was really hard to keep it updated.” I’m not suggesting that  a behavior chart is the answer for everything, but I will say that they can be pretty helpful for some kids. And here’s the best part— they can be EASY and FUN! So whether you’re ready to give it another shot or if you’re developing your first behavior chart, here’s our freebie (and a bonus) to you: 5 Tips for Creating Successful Behavior Charts AND Ideas for Rewarding Preferred Behavior

BHchartScreen Shot

For more free printables, advice and amusing musings, subscribe to our blog (see the far right column of this page or, if you’re on your cell, try scrolling to the bottom of this page) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who are experts in working with families and schools on challenging behavioral issues. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

 

 

Written by Brandy Baker, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image courtesy of twobee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Parenting Tip: Teamwork

Parenting Team

“There’s no I in team” is a common sports expression and a value highlighted in many superhero movies. It’s also a great motto for parents. Consistently working together toward family goals with a unified parenting approach reduces the chances of children being confused about what is expected from them. Creating simple and concrete rules and expectations that are clearly and jointly communicated to children is a great way to accomplish this.

A few tips to help parents be a strong and unified team:

  • Come up with a game plan: It’s important for each parent to be able to identify their own values and goals first before coming together to discuss family values and goals. Then parents can jointly and collaboratively decide what the family values and goals are that they want to instill in their children. Try this four step exercise to accomplish this:
    1. First write down what are your most important values. Write down as many as come to mind and do this independently from your partner.
    2. Then write down your goals for yourself and family in as much detail as possible by asking yourself the following questions: What do I want to accomplish in 5, 10, 15 years? What do I want my family accomplish in 5, 10, 15 years?
    3. Now that you have both written down your own values and goals, spend some time sharing what you wrote with your partner. Be curious and ask many questions to explore these values and get more details.
    4. Lastly, you will probably have a good idea about what the family values and goals are by now since both of you have shared your own values and goals. Write these down and use them as guidelines for parenting decisions and also when making other decisions that impact your family. In other words, keep those values and goals in mind when making future choices.
  • Keep your eye on the ball: Parents work best together when they keep their eyes on a common goal. So keep discussions focused on the goal rather than falling into the trap of blaming each other. Focus on how you can achieve the goal such as reducing or eliminating an unwanted behavior your child is doing.
  • Get on the same page: Present a unified front when disciplining your children especially about rules, consequences, and incentives. Doing the exercise above is a good way to start because it helps clarify the rules. It is helpful for parents to also have discussions about consequences and incentives they want to use with their children. I will write more about this in a separate blog.
  • Avoid mixed messages: A common trap that parents fall into is when one parent gives a consequence that the other parent quickly overturns after the child complains. Instead, back up your partner even if you don’t agree and discuss your disagreement with them out of your children’s earshot. If it turns out that the consequence requires adjustment, both parents can explain the reasoning for the change to the child together. This way the child hears a clear message and views parents as a unified front.

I hope you found these tips useful! I plan to write about other tips in the near future so stay tuned. You can subscribe to our wellness blog (see the far right column of this page or far bottom on mobile phones) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image credit: By The Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA (Comikaze Expo 2011 – mutant family) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Nine Great Tips for Getting your Kids to Sleep

SleepIt’s not at all uncommon for the kiddos that come through my door to struggle with getting a good night’s sleep. This can happen for all sorts of reasons— anxiety, depression, sensory sensitivities, over-stimulation, and just plain old unhelpful sleep habits to name a few. I recently had the great pleasure of collaborating with local pediatrician, Dr. Jessica Schultz from Children’s Medical Center of Tucson, to assist a client who was having some minor sleep difficulties. Dr. Schultz gave some fantastic recommendations focused on relaxing the body and mind. This stuff seemed just too good not to share! Dr. Schultz; my esteemed colleague, Grazi Martins; and I have collaborated to put together a great little printable chock full of practical advice on getting your child to sleep.

Click Here or Image below for Sleep Tips! 

Sleep Tips Doc Image

For more free printables, advice and amusing musings, subscribe to our blog (see the far right column of this page) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who are experts in anxiety, depression, and sleepy kids. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Brandy Baker, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Parenting Tip: Modeling

1024px-Vlečení_kolaMahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” One way that I interpret this inspiring quote is to act the way you want others to act. I work with many families and I believe this mantra often applies when there is conflict between parents and children.

Parents usually want their child to stop disrespecting, yelling, acting aggressively, etc. I work collaboratively with the parents on how they can model the behavior they want to see in their children. We work toward enhancing parenting skills that help bring peace and joy back to their home.

Here are a few tips that usually help parents achieve this goal.

Parenting Tips:

  • Schedule play. Make time in your schedule to play with your family. It is important for families to have fun and bond through positive experiences. Schedule a game night or a hike or time together at a park. It is far too easy to get so bogged down with today’s hectic lifestyle that we fail to engage and enjoy our loved ones despite our best intentions. Making time for your child teaches him or her the important values of having fun with your family and communicates to him or her where your priorities lie.
  • Be present. How many times have you seen parents and children on their cell phones while sitting at a restaurant? Pretty often is my experience. Unfortunately, not much bonding is happening when everyone’s eyes are focused on the screens. Instead, put down the phones or any other distractions and be present with your children. Listen to what they are saying and reflect back on the feelings underneath their comments. This will go a long way toward creating a strong bond where your child feels listened to and understood.
  • And lastly, be the change you wish to see in your children. Parents are typically the main role models for young children so consider what you want your kids to learn from you next time you get angry. For example, it is often helpful to request space from each other and go into another room and later, once calm, discuss the situation with your child. When your children observe you engaging in a healthy coping skill to calm down when you feel angry, they will be more likely to do the same.

These are just a few of the frequent topics that I find myself discussing with families. I plan to write about other tips in the near future so stay tuned. You can subscribe to our wellness blog (see the far right column of this page) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image credit: “Vlečení kola” by cs:ŠJů – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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Parenting: the anguish of trying hard

Parenting

My blog-writing inspiration often comes from upcoming events and when I realized that World Breastfeeding Week is approaching (August 1st-7th), I was pretty quick to gently and metaphorically shove my colleagues at Intuition Wellness Center out of the way so that I could get my blog-writing on. It also took me no time to find some excellent resources regarding breastfeeding. See?

 

I had planned to write something lovely about early attachment between infant and mother and the benefit of early touch, skin-to-skin contact, and the other wonderful things involved with breastfeeding. But… I couldn’t even get an initial sentence out. Why? Having been privy to many conversations about mother’s guilt, the difficulties with bonding to baby, postpartum depression, the work/home balance, the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding a premature child, milk production issues and so on with many women in particular, well I just really didn’t see how re-hashing the benefits of breastfeeding would help and/or honor the truths of my current client base. They know the benefits, which is why it’s so difficult to let go of preconceived expectations for themselves and why so many felt so awful when breastfeeding or, let’s face it, any number of the other planned parenting methods they tried did not go well.

If you’re a parent or someone who works much with parents, I think you know what I’m talking about. I think you’ll also understand that one of the costs of being a parent is sheer disappointment when we don’t live up to our own (forget society’s!) standards. This is something that Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun: the paradox of modern parenthood, describes as “parent anguish.” In her 2014 TedTalk, Senior says:  

“We feel like if we aren’t trying everything, it’s as if we’re doing nothing and we’re defaulting on our obligations to our kids…. In another era, we didn’t expect quite so much of ourselves.”

So, in homage to all of those mamas and papas who have found parenting to be so much harder than they could have imagined and to those who have felt that parenting served to highlight their shortcomings after a life of many successes, I direct you to a very honest Ted Talk by speakers, Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman. I discovered this talk some time ago, but it’s one I re-visit sometimes because it speaks directly and truthfully about how difficult parenting can be and everything that people don’t say about bringing new life into the world.

Ted Talk: Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman: “Let’s Talk Parenting Taboos” 

Let me add to this a statement that I say to parents regularly when I am working with their family in my practice, “Perfect parenting doesn’t lead to perfect children.” Children actually benefit from seeing us struggle and make mistakes from time to time. The reparations are invaluable. Please absorb that, Mamas and Papas and other caregivers, and apply it to any feelings of parenting regret you’ve been holding on to. Forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to be human is great modeling for your kids anyway.

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who are experts in parenting, early attachment, and just plain old frustration. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Brandy Baker, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Yoga in Therapy

Yoga in TherapyYoga and meditation methods have been applied in the treatment of depression and anxiety by western health care providers since the 1970’s. So what is yoga?  How does it help with mental health challenges?  And can it also be helpful for children who are experiencing challenges?

Before being able to understand how yoga might be helpful it is important to understand that there is often a physical as well as a psychological component to mental health challenges. Here’s the key, the cognitive or psychological struggles often found in mental health challenges are not separate from the body AND the associated physical challenges negatively impact our way of thinking. We are looking at two sides of the same coin.

Mental health professionals use an array of strategies that can be helpful in dealing with the cognitive or psychological aspects of these challenges. These strategies might include cognitive behavioral therapy, ego supportive counseling or other talk therapy approaches.   Research suggests that combining a body-based approach such as yoga with traditional talk therapy can effectively target both the physical as well as psychological aspects of mental health challenges (See the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry for information on the importance of treating the physical symptoms of depression).

The practice of yoga generally combines a series of postures called asanas, with specific types of breathing in conjunction with a meditation and/or a time of relaxation. Asana in conjunction with breath is used to support relaxation and to increase body awareness.  Improved body awareness helps provide feedback to us regarding our emotional state as well as the impact of our thoughts and choices. By learning to control the breath, we can also learn to regulate our emotions. Additionally, yoga directly impacts many of the physiological challenges associated with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Interested in more reading? Harvard has published research on the positive effects of yoga on anxiety and depression.

Research is also finding that yoga can benefit children.  The practice of yoga can help children who struggle with attentional difficulties learn to listen, to follow directions and can be used in a group setting to enhance social skills. Children who struggle with anxiety can also benefit from yoga’s focus on relaxation. More information is available here on the benefits of yoga for children with emotional and behavioral issues.

For more information on the application of yoga to support mental health treatment or to inquire about our yoga therapy groups please contact Intuition Wellness Center at (520)333-3320.

Written by: Navneet Lahti, LCSW and Certified Yoga Instructor

Photo courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net

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Men, Fathers & Mental Health

ManJune is a great month for men of all ages to take time to reflect on their health and wellbeing, as it is Men’s Health Month. There are a number of health issues impacting men such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer, but this blog post will focus on mental health issues affecting men, particularly depression and suicide.

Suicide is a lethal symptom of depression and should not be taken lightly. Although women tend to have higher rates of depression, men are still susceptible  to experiencing its debilitating symptoms. In fact, the CDC reported that between 2009 and 2012, 5.8% men ages 18-39, 7.2% men ages 40-59, and 3.4% men over 60 years old experienced moderate to severe symptoms of depression. More importantly, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2010 and men comprised 79% of all US suicides according to a CDC suicide data sheet; in addition, the CDC reported in the same data sheet that men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Sadly, men, like most Americans (about 65%), do not seek out treatment with a mental health professional for severe depressive symptoms, which include suicidal thoughts. People suffering from depression also tend to give less attention to their medical needs, which can lead to medical complications or the development of chronic illnesses. If that doesn’t give you something to think about then consider the impact your health can have on others, particularly your family.

Thoughts that no one cares often accompanies feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide. But, that is likely not the case since most people experiencing depression have family members who are deeply concerned for them and would be devastated if they committed suicide. Children and partners are often the most affected but parents, grandparents, extended family, and friends would also suffer tremendously at the loss of a loved one.

Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 21st, and can act as a annual reminder for the important role that men have in families, especially to their children. If you are experiencing any of the warning signs of depression (summarized below), please seek out a mental health professional that can help you. Depression is a treatable disease.

Signs of depression:

  • Feelings of sadness nearly every day of the week
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and helplessness
  • Anhedonia (loss of pleasure in activities one used to love to do)
  • Problems sleeping either too much or too little
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating and focusing
  • Decreased energy and feelings of fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide

I have also included some men’s health resources that can help you connect to more information about these issues or to a mental health professional.

Men’s Health Resources:

My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in treating depression. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

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Intuition Wellness Center Proudly Introduces Navneet Lahti

Do you know the old saying, “Good things come to those who wait?” That may be true, but we here at Intuition Wellness Center tend to take a proactive approach and go for what we want. That’s why we were so surprised and beyond delighted when what we wanted came after us!

We could not be any happier that, Navneet Lahti, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in children, teens, parent guidance, and adult therapy has joined our team. Ms. Lahti is an exceptionally gifted and experienced therapist, administrator, supervisor and yoga instructor. She utilizes creative techniques such as art and yoga to providing a safe and nurturing environment for her clients. Ms. Lahti’s approach is rooted in evidence and focused on drawing on her clients’ strengths as a means of bringing joy to their lives again.

Ms. Lahti is currently accepting new clients of all ages. For more information on Ms. Lahti, visit her profile on our website. Call us today to schedule an initial appointment with Ms. Lahti.

Welcome, Ms. Lahti!

–Dr. Yoendry Torres, Dr. Brandy Baker, and Ms. Grazi Martins

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