Spring Update

spring2I am grateful to have entered my 8th month since my private practice opened.  I’ve welcomed 15 clients to date and so appreciate the referrals from the community.  My private practice hours now fall on Thursday evenings and Saturdays with a couple Skype clients I have added to other week day evenings.  It’s hard to believe just a year ago I was finishing up my last month at the University of Southern California’s masters of social work program.   The year of transitions has been both exciting and challenging.

Spring is here and several of my clients are using this time to look at their goals for this next year, tweaking some, while adding others, and also realizing what they’ve accomplished.  The challenge then becomes to draw out the steps to those goals that become a part of a larger plan; and most importantly, to track the progress.

This month’s newsletter I am going to focus on facing addictions, tips on how to address feeling overwhelmed, and an inspiring story I’ve found that I feel depicts hope.

My Best,

Jasmine

Facing Addictions

In April I read a blog post by Farnoosh Brock in which she names 10 addictions that can cause pain. What I like about her post is that she names addictions that harm the brain and physical body (alcohol, smoking, drugs, junk food and violence), but she also names addictions that harm the heart and mind (negative self-talk/self-sabotage/self-hatred, blaming the world for our problems, complaining about everything to everyone, berating and belittling others, and holding on to the victim mindset). She talks further about facing these addictions in order to be pain free.

CourageChalkboardIt can be really difficult to give up these addictions, and it takes courage to face them. One of the things I’ve seen when trying to give up an addiction is that it has become a habit, second nature, and it can seem overwhelming to change something that has taken a hold of our life. Asking for help is the first step she talks about, and showing gratitude to the person who is going to help hold us accountable. Creating new habits can be difficult. It takes courage to both name the addiction and find strategies to take steps towards giving those addictions up.

These addictions have become engrained in our society and are often part of our cultural and familial history. One of my favorite professors who is in the addiction field, Margaret Fetting, has studied how we tend to whisper about someone’s active addiction and often judge it. We gossip about it, but we don’t really have meaningful conversations about the human need to get high. While she generally is referring to drugs and alcohol, I think we can extend that to the adrenaline highs we can get from our work place environments, relationships, and food.

Facing these things takes time, courage, and a plan. Writing out that plan, talking about the plan, and tracking progress will aid in reaching the overarching goal. Often letting go of these addictions can be enhanced by joining a support group or by reading and studying about how others have overcome their addictions. Generally, letting go always involves the support of individuals who can cheer us on, encourage us when we have doubts, and hold us accountable.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

What does being overwhelmed look like to you?  Perhaps it is a never ending to do list, too much work, not enough time to play, familial obligations, emotional exhaustion, or major life transitions that are throwing us out of our normal routine.  Here are some tips on how to attempt to address those feelings of being overwhelmed.

  1. Look at what has to get done vs. what you’d like to get done.  Think about what matters most.
  2. Set small goals and steps to achieve those goals.
  3. Consider what you have said yes to.  Is it possible to assign a task to someone else?  What are the consequences of not meeting what you’ve said yes to?  Perhaps there’s some leeway in asking for an extension to get something done?
  4. Cut out distractions from social events that feel more like obligations rather than fun and time spent on social media, TV, or the internet.
  5. Find some quiet time to do something you love, time to relax, rest, think and feel.
  6. Nurture those relationships that are most meaningful to you.  Find time to share what’s going on in your heart and mind.
  7. Focus on what’s going well in your life.

Inspiring Hope: Molly Burke

Molly Burke speaking for Me to We.

Molly Burke speaking for Me to We.

Molly Burke was 4 and a half years old when she was diagnosed with Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that eventually causes blindness.  She was 13 years old when she could no longer see colors, and her vision continued to decrease. She started being bullied in school – other students would take her crutches, backpack and dignity, and she grew depressed.  Things got difficult enough that in 9th grade she transferred to a school for the blind.  Still, she found over time she started being bullied again.  In 11th grade she decided to switch back to a sighted school.  With the help of a vision itinerant (a teacher trained to help visually impaired) she was able to transition back to school.  While Molly made friends at her new school, the bullying never stopped completely.

After Molly finished high school, she discovered an organization called Me to We and joined one of their youth trips to Kenya to build a school.  She spoke at a local girls’ school and realized her new goal.  Through Me to We she joined their speaker’s bureau and began to share her story about blindness and bullying.  Molly is proud to say she has overcome her depression, has come to terms with her blindness, and now lives in her own apartment.  Read more about her story.

 

December Update

First of all I would like to thank everyone for their support. Having just entered the third month of my private practice, I’ve been introduced to nine clients who are meeting with me regularly.  I’ve also been participating in a couple of holiday bazaars selling handmade beaded jewelry while introducing the counseling business. Networking has been really enjoyable. 

This last month I was offered a position as a monthly facilitator for a support group for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  They support individuals and family members who are coping with a variety of over 40 neuromuscular illnesses. I’m excited to start this endeavor this month.

I hope you’ve found my last few newsletters helpful, and I welcome any feedback and topic suggestions you might have.  Have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

My Best,

Jasmine

The Benefits of Support Groups

 

Photo Credit: Puiu Adriana Mirabela

Photo Credit: Puiu Adriana Mirabela

Support groups can come in varying forms and provide individuals with a group atmosphere to address addictions, mental illness, physical illness, social skills, grief, and more.  They are often run by a facilitator who may be a licensed professional or a peer who has had training and experience with a certain issue.  Research has found that support groups often foster strong emotional bonds that encourage a high level of sharing of emotionally-charged experiences.  These social ties have been found to be important for health maintenance, helpful in providing informational support and access to health-promoting resources in the community.  Social support has also been seen to buffer against stress and facilitate better self-care.  A support group also provides a sense of belonging.

While doing research on group work I learned that the group approach can be more effective than the individual approach, because group members gain insight, practice new skills, and benefit from feedback and insights from other group members.  The group provides a re-creation of the participants’ everyday world, particularly when the group is diverse in age, interest, background, and socio economic status.  As a teen I attended a support group with my family, and while I don’t remember all the content that was addressed, I do remember I felt supported, encouraged, and less isolated.  If you have any interest in attending a support group or need help finding one to match your needs I welcome you to email me at joregonrose@yahoo.com, and I will do my best to find something that will work for you.