Tag: family therapy

​Relationship Tips for 2020 – Part 2

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Relationship Tips for 2020 – Part 2

Blog by Jenn Baker, GSCI at Agape Therapy Institute

Welcome to Part two of Relationship Tips for 2020. Last week’s blog discussed how to increase positive interactions with your partner by using acknowledgments, which means offering words of appreciation. During the last week, did you and your partner have a chance to acknowledge one another? How did it feel to offer and receive appreciation? 

For many of us, trying something new may feel uncomfortable at first. Like anything else, it will become more natural over time with practice. Be patient and kind with yourself and your loved one. Remembering to bring this practice into your daily life will continue to strengthen your connection. 

For this week, I’d like to focus on:

  • Making Time For Yourself – No matter how much we love being with our loved ones, every person needs alone time to de-stress and recharge. Coordinate and plan this special time each and every day. Make sure that you use this time to care solely for yourself. Unplug from your phone, social media, and the news. Focus on doing something that brings you peace or joy. You may find it helpful to make a list of activities that you love and check one off the list every day. Some ideas include:
    • Taking a bubble bath
    • Listening to music
    • Meditating
    • Getting outdoors
    • Watching your favorite TV show
    • Reading a book
    • Writing in a journal
    • Cooking your favorite meal
    • Anything you love to do for you

Stay tuned for next week’s blog with the next relationship tip for 2020.

To book an appointment with Jennifer Baker, GSCI click here.


"Woman Lying on a White Bathtub" Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Tags:

  • communication
  • counseling
  • couples therapy
  • family therapy
  • healing
  • mental health
  • mindfulness
  • partnership
  • psychotherapy
  • relationships
  • self help
  • self-care
  • stress

Relationship Tips for 2020 – Part 1

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Relationship Tips for 2020 – Part 1

Blog by Jenn Baker, GSCI

While each person’s situation is unique, each and every one of us is experiencing unprecedented stress in our lives this year. We face an ongoing global pandemic, continued racial injustices, an upcoming presidential election in a country increasingly divided, stress on our educational system, and fears of a global recession, just to name a few. 

For many of us, these events have led to unemployment, financial problems, death of loved ones, health issues, depression, anxiety, fear, and other losses, which all take a toll on our relationships. 

Data show that divorce rates are spiking across the country. Do you find that you and your loved one are fighting more frequently? Do you feel emotionally distant or disconnected from your partner? These feelings are increasingly common as many relationships are experiencing strain during this time. 

On a more hopeful note, these challenges offer us an opportunity for growth and repair. In this blog, I will present one tip each week. For this week, I’d like to focus on:

Acknowledging Your Partner – Studies have shown that successful relationships have a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative interactions. You can work on increasing positive interactions each day by acknowledging your partner. Acknowledgment is the act of communicating positive appreciation for the things that your partner does and brings to your relationship. An example would be to say “I appreciate you cooking dinner for us last night.”

    • Make a list of the things that you are grateful for in your relationship.
    • Make sure to include those things you may take for granted that your partner does.
    • Take the time to acknowledge your partner daily to express your gratitude, appreciation, love, and respect and increase feelings of connection.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog with the next relationship tip for 2020.

Citations:

Gehart, D. R. (2016). Theory and treatment planning in family therapy: A competency-based approach. Australia: Cengage Learning.

Rosner, E. (2020, September 02). US divorce rates skyrocket amid COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://nypost.com/2020/09/01/divorce-rates-skyrocket-in-u-s-amid-covid-19/

Koch-Sheras, P. R., & Sheras, P. L. (2006). Couple power therapy: Building commitment, cooperation, communication, and community in relationships. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

To book an appointment with Jenn Baker, GSCI, click here.


"Couple While Holding Hands" Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

Tags:

  • communication
  • counseling
  • couples therapy
  • family therapy
  • healing
  • mental health
  • partnership
  • relationships
  • self help

Why is my Child Still Having Temper Tantrums?

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Why is my Child Still Having Temper Tantrums?

by Alexis Pardo, LCSW

Temper tantrums are essentially mood swings. Children get stuck in feeling a negative emotion because they do not have the coping skills to handle them. Adults help children learn how to manage their difficult emotions typically by being empathetic. For example, if a 1 year old cries and throws themselves on the floor because their sibling took their toy, we show them empathy and recognize that this hurt them. We also realize that this is a small slight but to them it is not. Through that empathy we validate their feelings as real, which helps them move through negative emotions. What happens though when the child is 9 and for whatever underlying reason (e.g., emotional control issues and anxiety)  experiences the same reaction. It may seem ridiculous and emotionally immature, but how these situations are dealt with are just as important. 

Below you’ll find some quick tips to deal with these changes in mood. It’s important to be attuned to your child so that you can start to notice the minor changes in their mood before it becomes a full fledged tantrum. Usually there are signs. 

Things to do when you first notice the mood change:

Step 1:  Take a deep breath for yourself

Step 2:  Acknowledge the feeling. Have a couple scripted phrases to use as you may also become emotionally reactive and have difficulty thinking on the fly.  

Example: I can see you’re really upset about this. 

Step 3:  Give instructions for the next step 

Example 1:  I think this would be a good time for you to try and sit in the calm down corner/take a shower/us to do some breathing exercises together. 

Example 2:  I can see you’re really disappointed you didn’t get XYZ toy. I want to hear you out. Let’s go the car so you can take some time to breathe and we can talk about this.  

Step 4:  After some cool down time is allowed, ask him if they are ready to talk about their feelings. I call this “sitting in the dark”. Essentially validate feelings and use empathy. Reflect back what he is saying “what I’m hearing you is you were really sad about the possibility of having to go to bed earlier.” Empathy does not mean the behavior is okay. We can be mad/sad/disappointed/fearful but how we express it is our decision. 

Step 5:  Discuss the consequence for their behavior once he has cooled down completely. It’s okay if this is hours later. They are able to remember what happened and likely understand that this behavior is inappropriate. 

Things to avoid:

Always/never statements

Catastrophizing - “You can’t do this when you’re ____.” It’s important to stay with the present moment. We don’t know what he will be like in the future. This is a difficult time for some kids but many of them turn out more than okay. 

Reasoning - “Think about what you just did”. The reason this doesn’t work is because the reasoning part of the brain is shut off during a tantrum. They do not have access to it. 

Problem Solving - Wait until they calm down to do this

Threatening - Don’t threaten what the consequences will be. It’s important to, again, wait until things have calmed down to discuss why their behavior was inappropriate and the real consequences of behaving that way.

Labeling - “You are being bad” or “you don’t care about anyone but yourself” which means “you are selfish”.

Comparing - “_______ would never do this”

Maintain anger rules:

No destroying property
No hurting others
No hurting yourself

Calm down corner:

Bean bag (aggression can be taken out on it)
Weighted blanket
Anything else you would consider calming or soothing

But this is really hard!

Yes, this is really, really hard and it might feel impossible. Usually parents have spent years trying to deal with their child’s tantrums, so every time they happen they have difficulty not becoming emotionally reactive themselves. After all, they have been dealing with this for a long time and have had many moments that were sometimes equal parts scary and embarrassing, but I know this works! It won’t work immediately because it is not a pill, but over time it will get better. You will know that you’ve strengthened your empathy while simultaneously helping your child strengthen theirs. Your child will also learn to not be ashamed of themselves for having feelings. This helps prevent the “I’m bad for having these feelings” thoughts. Lastly, you will not contribute to lowering their self esteem. Social media does a good job at that already. 

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Alexis Pardo, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Agape Therapy Institute in Downtown Orlando.  She specializes in working with individuals, couples and families across a range of issues. To learn more about Alexis or to request an appointment with her, click here.


Blog image photo: @pixabay

Tags:

  • communication
  • counseling
  • family therapy
  • mental health
  • parenting
  • stress
  • stress

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