Below are a collection of articles in local media by Century Health staff.
In my 39 years of being a counselor, I have had the privilege and honor of working with families through family therapy. These families include a variety of family members functioning in the parent role: parents, stepparents, grandparents functioning as their grandchildren’s parent, and even great-grandparents take on the parenting role.
Parents come into counseling asking for help. Their parent- ing job had become problematic. Parenting is a full-time job, and when we add another job on top of our full-time parenting job or we are parenting a high-need child, our daily life can become chaotic and exhausting, where the only goal is just to survive the day.
A goal of family therapy is to move from mere surviving to thriving.
Here are several ideas to help the parenting process improve:
A get-ready-for-bed plan turns into a daily routine that helps children to calm down and be ready to go to sleep. Giving a 10-minute warning that getting ready for bed will begin stops the argument, “I need a few minutes to finish ...." The child has already had “a few minutes."
The routine can include: a healthy snack; brushing teeth; taking a bath or shower; and, depending on the age, reading a book or time to relax and talk to mom or dad.
The house needs to be calm: no loud TV or music at this time. When we establish such a routine, our bodies do relax.
I advise parents not to parent with their voice. If we repeat “take your shower” 10 times, then we are ready to scream, which ends up causing the situation to become even more chaotic.
A simple phrase I learned some time ago can be helpful: “Act, don’t yak.” Tell the child once, maybe twice, what you want them to do; then get up and move toward them. Use a firm, calm voice and, if needed, take them by the hand (or, for a teen, take their cellphone and state they can have it back when the task is done).
“No means no" is a useful rule for parents to live by. I ask each parent to think about their answer to a request and, if it is “no,” be ready to “take it to the mat.”
When we give in because they have nagged us, then we have taught them that nagging works. When our children attempt to use the “wear-down technique” in an effort to wear us down, we cannot run the risk of giving in, for the consequences are too high.
A few years back, a mom came into session and was so happy. The teen’s father had called her son and asked if he could do something, and mom said “no." Apparently, dad argued, and she heard her son say, "Now look, dad, when mom says ‘no,’ no means no!”
I was thrilled for the mom and equally thrilled for the teenager.
Our children feel safer when we are in control. Children may push to be in control, and it’s our job to push back and keep them safe.
Hanson Lindabury has a doctorate and is a therapist at Century Health. If you have a mental health question, please write to: Mental Health Moment, The Courier, PO. Box 60.9,
EMDR, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is the new treatment technique for a variety of anxiety issues, particularly post-traumatic stress syndrome. There are training programs for clinicians that include a period of supervision time for the therapist in training, but, in reality, it is a tool that can be used by many clinicians with referral to area experts for more challenging cases. We are fortunate in the Findlay area to have several of these experts and many more skilled and supportive clinicians able to use this as a technique. For the most part, EMDR looks like pretty straightforward therapy. Someone comes to a clinician because of an issue. After that issue is thoroughly explored, there is likely to be one or two sessions focused on relaxation, identification of negative self beliefs or irrational beliefs, and developing an understanding and awareness of being safe in the here and now. Each of us has irrational beliefs. I am certain that at some point in childhood each of us put our hands on our hips and told an adult, “That’s not fair.” Well, guess what? Life is not fair. If we had continued to believe this, we would be pretty miserable. Persons living with post-traumatic stress syndrome will be asked to identify what particular memories and events are most troubling. But this will not happen until they are emotionally safe in the here and now, and affirmed in their ability to stay safe and develop resilience. A relationship needs to be developed with the therapist that includes mutual respect and trust. The next step in this therapy is the EMDR part, bilateral stimulation. This involves focusing on the irrational belief or negative event while following the therapist’s moving fingers as they move back and forth or using tappers or some sort of bilateral stimulation, and then replacing it or installing a healthy thought or belief or image. At any point, the client has permission to put up a hand and stop the intervention. Most don’t. This is followed by the therapist encouraging the client to scan their thoughts and body for tension or stress or irrational belief. EMDR concludes with a revisualization of past events and present situations that have caused problems. Clients are amazed that they now have control over the memory and not the opposite. The therapy concludes with the development of skills needed to manage memories and stress and focuses on the continual development of resilience. If you or someone you love is plagued with anxiety and trauma from past events, consider this new and helpful therapy. It works. Stephani, coordinator of emergency services at Century Health, is a licensed independent social worker supervisor. She is on professional staff at The Ohio State University at Lima. If you have a mental health question, please write to: Mental Health Moment, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839.
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