ways to cope

Seeing Yourself in a New Way Part 4

Seeing Yourself in a New Way Part 4

One of the things we help teach our clients is how to "reframe" something in their life from a negative to a positive.  This could be a characteristic of them, their spouse, or a behavior they do.  Most people become attracted to another person based on something specific, and end up in a marriage

How to Help Someone Who Cuts: Introduction

How to Help Someone Who Cuts: Introduction

People have a variety of ways to cope when going thru a hard time. Some people find healthy ways, but reality is that many people seek out ways to cope that are destructive and make things worse. Whether a person turns to addiction, isolating from loved ones, or hurting themselves to ease the pain, if the coping skill isn't promoting a person's emotional health and growth, it can lead down a bad path.

This week we are helping people understand more about cutting. It is something we've seen clients of many ages engage in to "numb" the pain of life.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Food is a big part of our society. There are rarely times it is not included with socializing and celebrations. But sometimes food is misused. Many people use food for more than just nourishing their bodies to give it energy.

People emotional eat when they are using food to comfort themselves, reduce stress, and push away uncomfortable feelings.

Numbing out on food is not always a conscious thing people do. It is often an "easy" way to distract in a struggling time to get a quick fix to "feel a little bit better" in the moment. It's not common that someone will say, "I'm sad, where's the cookies."

Beware that this can be a dangerous cycle for many as they develop unhealthy coping skills and can find themselves and their health spiraling out of control.

Read more tomorrow about what triggers someone to become an emotional eater.

Written by guest blogger Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC 

www.RenewedHorizons.com

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizons Counseling, who does virtual counseling with clients in Indiana and Florida. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Taking Care of Yourself Through A Divorce: Adjusting

Taking Care of Yourself Through A Divorce: Adjusting

Evaluate your relationships and make whatever life adjustments you feel are necessary. During a divorce, you might encounter many "Monday Morning Quarterbacks"... the people who feel like they need to give you advice on what you should have done differently, or those that might think you need to hear them repeatedly "bash" your soon-to-be-ex.  Perhaps there are people around you that encourage you do things that are self-destructive (like trying to set you up on a date, thinking it will ease your transition period...

Ways To Handle Change Better: Think Differently

Ways To Handle Change Better: Think Differently

Ahhh, change. Sometimes it's welcomed, sometimes it's dreaded. I don't know about you, but I'd rather gracefully enter into change than trip and fall head first into it. This week we're offering up some tips to do just this very thing.

Think Outside The Box

Sometimes when we're facing change our vision gets near-sighted. We only see things from our perspective and from the view point of the here-and-now.

Decrease Holiday Stress- Emotional Boundaries

 Decrease Holiday Stress- Emotional Boundaries

Clients tell me all the time, “I hate the holidays”. There are many stressors as people are attending family gatherings and trying to meet everyone’s expectations for the season. We hope reading this week helps you stay focused on making this holiday season less stressful! Keep your emotional boundaries firm

How Do I Know if I’m Stressed? Part 5

How Do I Know if I’m Stressed? Part 5

Have you identified the stressful areas of your life so far with this week's blog topic?  Stress is something that is almost inevitable in our society today.  With so many areas of life to balance, stress is bound to creep up on us once in awhile!  Today, we will continue with some additional areas that stress may be causing difficulty, and discuss some tips that can help you with each.

The Five Freedoms: To See And Hear

The Five Freedoms: To See And Hear

Virginia Satir was a pioneer in the therapy world in bringing amazing concepts to life to help individuals, families, and couples. She looked at the importance of the "experience" of life and how to make it a positive one. She connected the importance of our 5 senses and what impact they have on our experiences.

The Masks We Wear…But Why?

Halloween can be so much fun to get dressed up and be whoever you want to be! At Halloween we give permission as a society to “pretend” to be someone else. It can be overwhelming to walk through the aisles and see all the choices!

Did you realize that people wear masks every day of their lives and not just on Halloween? No not real masks- emotional ones! This week Imagine Hope is going to help you understand some emotional masks we hide behind and why.

Have you ever noticed how you might be one way around some people and put on a new “mask” in another area of your life?

Why do we hide from people? Why aren’t we able to be our “real” self in all areas of our lives? Is it fear of judgment? Fear of getting hurt? An image thing? To impress others? To avoid conflict? Wearing masks keeps us from showing people who we really are and only let’s others see who we want them to see.

When we find ourselves switching to a different mask, we need to slow down and ask why. When you tune into your internal self-talk, you can develop more self awareness. Understanding the messages you say to yourself will help you see the masks you wear.

If you want to have connected and fulfilling relationships with others, it’s time to take off the masks and put your real self out there. Keep reading this week to hear more about the specific masks we see people use with others!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

How To Love Yourself

We all fail. It’s part of being human. Unfortunately many people respond to their mistakes with self-hatred and condemnation. The voice inside beats a person up like an internal bully and abuses it's victim relentlessly.

Believing the lies of this voice results in shame issues, feelings of abandonment, isolation and destruction in relationships.

When a person is under the influence of these issues, they often have trouble giving and receiving love. The voice tells them that they are not loveable due to their failures, so the result is a “love repellant”. The ability to love ones self is negated by the voice; therefore, the ability to accept another’s love is too.

The voice can be strong and will grow overtime when it is reinforced.

So what weapons can we use against such a powerful negative self-critic? LOVE YOURSELF.

This week we are going to share simple, yet powerful tools to help you learn to love yourself and practice it regularly.

As you can see, if you don’t learn the skills to love yourself, you will likely fall into the painful voice’s trap where your thoughts and relationship will be twisted to support it’s lies that you are not loveable.

Read all week for great tools to fight against and be free from the negative voice inside!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

10 Ways to Become More Resilient-Part 3

5. Be Optimistic Staying positive during difficult times can be hard.  However, being optimistic and finding the silver lining can definitely help you to be more resilient.  This doesn’t mean you ignore the problem or dig your head in the sand—but rather that you are able to find some light among the darkness.   Understand that setbacks and struggles are a part of life.  However, you have the ability and the skills to handle any challenges you may be faced with.

6. Nurture Yourself

Something we therapists preach about here at Imagine Hope is self-care!  When you are stressed out, you have a tendency not to take care of your health.  You may not eat well, get enough sleep, or do positive things for yourself.  When you don’t take care of yourself, your overall health (physical and mental) decline.  Self-care is directly related to resiliency.  Make sure that despite your struggles, you are carving time out for yourself.  Read a book, get a massage, cook healthy dinners, go for a walk, etc.  It is amazing what these little things can do to make you feel better!

Come back tomorrow as we talk about more ways to become resilient.

*Source: 10 Ways to Become More Resilient by Kendra Cherry http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/tp/become-more-resilient.htm

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

4 Ways to Tear Apart A Relationship- Contempt

#2 Contempt In his book, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, John Gottman describes contempt as the intention to insult and psychologically abuse your partner. Wow, that sounds bad, right? I don't think any of us set out to do this, but in the following examples, I think more of us are guilty of contempt than we realize.

Contempt is when we hold negative thoughts about our partner. Where as we start off with an innocent arguement, the further it goes, we no longer have any admiration for our spouse, and eventually forget why we married them in the first place. With contempt, we cannot see any positive qualities about our partners at all.

The most common signs of Contempt are:

  • Insults and Name Calling - whether it's calling each other a "jerk", "lazy", or worse
  • Hostile Humor - covering up contempt with a thin layer of humor. Cracking mean jokes at our spouse's expense
  • Mockery - a very passive put-down. When you put down/make fun of/ridicule  your spouse's words are actions
  • Body Language -  rolling your eyes, grunting, laughing , curling your upper lip, etc., while your spouse is sharing with you

The best way to approach your spouse and stop contempt is to stop seeing arguments as a way to "get back" at your spouse or get power over your spouse. Your relationship will get better if you approach your partner with direct complaints (see yesterday's blog for the difference between a complaint vs. a criticism) and show your spouse admiration.

*Source: Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

4 Ways to Tear Apart A Relationship- Criticism

Imagine Hope is in the relationship repairing business. Which means we see a lot of people come to us with bad habits that need undone in order for the relationship to last. This week we are going to explain John Gottman's theory called "The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse", which focuses on four behaviors that will sabotage a relationship's chance of being healthy and happy.

#1 Criticism

Expressing yourself in a relationship is key to fulfillment, so airing a complaint or disagreement will need to happen. But this can be a slippery slope into the pit of criticism.

The longer you hold in a complaint the more likely it will come out as a criticism, or even worse an explosion of criticisms that ends with a lot of damage.

So how do you know the differences between a complaint and criticism?

  • A complaint is "a specific statement of anger, displeasure, distress, or other activity". So basically it is when you need to tell someone that something isn't okay with you, and that you need it to be different. With complaints, you attack the action, not the person. The focus is on the negative thing that happened, not the person who did it.
  • A criticism is when someone accuses, attacks, and blames a person and their character when they need something to be different. It can be through a generalization ("You always..." or "You never..."), through keeping a long list of complaints and unleashing them all at once, by judging your partner ("You should..."), and by accusing them or betraying your trust ("You said you were going to get this done...").

A good way to figure out if you are complaining verses criticizing is the word "you" and "I".

  • Complaint: We don't go out as much as I'd like to.
  • Criticism: You never take me anywhere.

I hope you can see the ways criticism can cause things to fall apart in a relationship. Make an effort today to shift your criticism to complaints and see how quickly things change!

Check back tomorrow to hear how contempt can sabotage your relationship!

* Source: "Why Marriages Succeed Or Fail" by John Gottman

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

5 Steps for Handling Frustration- #1

Frustration is part of life and unavoidable. Everyone has a pet peeve and something that can get under their skin. The problem is that we don't always handle it too well. Some might take it out on others. Others might build resentments. And some people will overreact to a simple thing when frustration has built up and not been resolved. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life,  wrote 5 steps for people to follow when they feel frustrated. We hope you find these simple steps easy to include in your daily life in order to decrease frustration.

Step #1 Ask Yourself Did I Cause it?

Are you your own worst enemy? Do you put yourself in frustrating situations? Do you surround yourself with people who aren't emotionally safe and who push your buttons?

When you're frustrated, it is important to examine if you had anything to do with it. If so, it is refreshing and empowering to know that you can choose differently and have some control over this frustration from happening again!

This exercise is not meant for you to beat up on yourself and wallow in your mistakes. It is intended to help you get insight into what happened and how.

I know it doesn't feel good to admit that you brought this frustration on yourself, but it does help to own your actions and make a choice to do it differently in the future.

Once you realize you might have been the cause of your frustrations, try doing the following:

  • Set boundaries with others and yourself.
  • Surround yourself with safe and supportive people.
  • Be aware of your actions.
  • Be intentional as you make choices.
  • Learn from your mistakes.

Keep reading tomorrow for the next step for handling frustration! Thanks for reading!

Source: Five Steps for Handling Frustration by Rick Warren  author of Purpose Driven Life

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.