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Kessler Psychological, LLC

Psychotherapy and Evaluation Services

Virginia Beach, VA

Archived Weekly Tips

Week of 05/03/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Lindsey Wright, LPC

Here is another tip that comes from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Practicing taking a nonjudgmental stance:

First, let’s identify what judgments are.:

• Describing things in rigid and inflexible categories, such as good/bad, right/wrong, valuable/worthless, smart/stupid, etc.

• Describing by comparing or contrasting, such as “I got a B on my test, but I usually get As, so I didn’t do well.”

• Describing with the words “should” or “shouldn’t.”

Why do we use judgments?

• Because they can be helpful when trying to make quick decisions.

• Sometimes our labels/judgments are correct! Example: If I drive 100mph on a dark and winding road, then labeling the situation as dangerous may be warranted and helpful.

• Judgments allow us to foresee possible consequences.

How are judgments harmful?

• Often times, we treat judgments as factual. Judgments are opinions. Opinions are not facts.

• When people judge emotional states, they tend to work towards avoidance or minimization of these emotions.

• Positive judgments can be fragile, as something that can be judged as ‘good' can just as easily be judged as ‘bad.'

What do I do about judgments?

• Practice making note of judgments. Keep a journal and note what feelings come along with these judgments.

• Ask yourself if your judgments are helpful for that moment. (Hint: sometimes they are)

• Try being as objective as possible in the present moment. It can be helpful to acknowledge your perception versus the facts of a situation.

• Practice accepting what *is*. Particularly if this is a feeling, because no matter how intense a feeling may be, it will never last forever. When we stop fighting what we cannot control, feelings seem lighter and easier to manage.


Week of 04/26/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Jaslynn Giles, Resident in Counseling

Hey there, when is the last time you unplugged and took a break? Social media can be both a gift and a curse. Studies are now showing that social media use can lead to depression, low self-esteem, body image issues, anxiety, and social isolation; It can even perpetuate eating disorders and self-harm behaviors. On a more positive note, social media can bring individuals and communities together and can be an engaging platform to meet new friends, especially in times like this! However, the balance between the two can be easily skewed. Now is the perfect time to check in with yourself and determine if you could benefit from unplugging. Check out the visuals below for tips and suggestions on how you can get the most out of your time away and fully benefit from a good rest.

Tips and Visuals sourced from @SelfcareIsForEveryone and @ButWhatTheyDontTellYou on Instagram.

Week of 04/19/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Edith Mercurio, Resident in Counseling:

Self-Care is any intentional activity focused on improving one’s own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It does not necessarily have to involve seeking professional help, but it may. Additionally, it does not have to involve a pricey trip to the spa, but it occasionally may.

Taking time for self is something many people struggle with. Deadlines, timelines, grocery store lines, appointments, work schedules, social engagements, social media, …the list of daily activities and responsibilities in our lives can be overwhelming, especially if you are a person who puts all those tasks and responsibilities before caring for yourself. It is easy to get wrapped up in life’s everyday tasks and to-do lists and allow self-care to be that tiny little last line on the list that can wait until tomorrow.

With the presence of Covid-19 and all the limitations/stressors involved in alleviating the current pandemic, it is so important to take care of yourself. Not taking time for self-care can result in stress, anxiety, depression, and a vast array of other physical and mental health issues.

Make a decision to move yourself to the top of the list of priorities!

Some self-care tips

1. Take time to check in with yourself in the loving caring way you may check in with a friend or loved one. Listen to what your body and mind are telling you about your own needs.

2. Let others help. Delegate tasks or ask for help when you need it.

3. Create healthy boundaries. It is ok, even vital to say no when you are already feeling overwhelmed by demands on your time. No is a complete sentence.

4. The Basics - water, rest, exercise, sunshine, and fresh air.

5. Laughter - lots of it!

6. Limit caffeine, alcohol, and sugar intake. While great in moderation, these can be detrimental to physical and mental health when used to excess.

7. Monitor your physical health and schedule annual physical exams. Follow the recommendations of your health care provider or get a second opinion.

8. Engage in activities that bring you joy, or peace, or that feel pleasant – make a list for those!!

Repeat often!!

Week of 04/12/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Brea Fenning, LPC:

Let’s talk gratitude (because it’s more than something we just make note of during the holidays!). Gratitude can be practiced daily, and doing so can help us feel healthier, happier, and cultivate better relationships! Gratitude is about affirming there is some goodness in our lives, and also making note of who and what has played a role in that goodness - not just yourself, but other people and things too 🙂

According to Robert Emmons (a psychologist and expert on gratitude), doing this regularly can be impactful for a few important reasons:

1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present by magnifying positive emotions, and by encouraging us to be more active in our own lives.

2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, and regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness.

3. Grateful people are more stress-resistant.

4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.

***So what are some ways you can start practicing gratitude?

—-Keep a gratitude journal - Try writing down 1 thing each day, or a few things at the end of each week, that you are grateful for.

—-Make a mental note - Practice asking yourself each morning or night, “What am I grateful for today? What went well for me today?”

—-Write a thank-you note to someone (or thank someone verbally, or even mentally!) - Letting someone know you appreciate them can benefit them, but also you too! Maybe even try writing a note to yourself occasionally!

—Pray and/or meditate - You can use prayer or try focused meditation for just a few minutes each day, and reflect on what you are grateful for (a friend, your pet, a tasty treat - there’s no judgment here on the things that make you happy or feel good!).

Remember - Practicing gratitude does not mean that life does not have stressors, burdens, and serious challenges. But, it can help to balance out the negative with positive, and this is a big benefit to our well-being.

Week of 4/06/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Antoine Nichols, LPC:

Grief is the feeling of deep sorrow and emotional pain. Most people associate grief with death of a loved one, but grief can come with any type of loss. The loss of a pet, a career, a friendship, an identity or belief, or even selling the home in which you grew up or raised a family. Grief is something that each of us will experience at one point in our lives. Here are some tips for dealing with grief.

Don't ignore your feelings

Grief will bring forth intense emotions and it may be tempting to ignore them, either hoping they go away or out of fear of being consumed by them. However, facing these fears will help you in the long term.

There is no "right" emotion

Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you are feeling in that moment. Whether its sadness, fear, anger, doubt, helplessness, etc. Your emotions will change and they will differ from someone who might be experiencing the same situation. There is no one way to grieve.

There is no timetable

2 months? 6 months? 1 year? I am often asked how long someone should grieve. There is no timetable. Every person and every situation is different. It is okay to think about a loss from 10 years ago and feel an emotion. The goal is to accept the loss and work through your emotions in an effort to reduce the intensity of the feelings, not to forget the loss or have no feelings.

Most people are aware of the "5 Stages of Grief" by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Those stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These feelings are common with grief but remember, this was never meant to be a one-size-fits-all roadmap for grief. People might experience all of these feelings or only a few. They might go through them in order, jump back and forth, or start at the end. There is no right way to experience grief.

If you are experiencing grief, facing your emotions can feel daunting. Don't be afraid to reach out for help from friends, family, or a mental health professional. You can work through this tough time.

Week of 03/29/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Adam Hanson, LPC:

Many people who were already struggling with substance abuse have seen their struggles increase over this past year due to stress, isolation, job insecurity, anxiety/fear, loss of loved ones, and numerous other factors. Last week was National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, so I’d like to give some brief tips on how to recognize if you or someone you care about may be struggling with substance abuse, and what you can do about it:

Substance abuse occurs when someone uses alcohol, prescription medicine, or other legal or illegal substances too much or in the wrong way.

If you or someone you know exhibits 2 or more of the following signs, there may be a diagnosable substance use disorder present:

1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you're meant to.

2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.

3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.

4. Cravings and urges to use the substance.

5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use.

6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships.

7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.

8. Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.

9. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance.

10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).

11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

What you can do for friends or family:

1. Reach out to support them, and be honest about your concerns.

2. Encourage them to speak with a physician about physical effects of substance abuse, and to get a full check-up.

3. Encourage them to seek therapy from a qualified mental health provider.

4. Encourage them to join a local in-person or virtual support group.

5. Seek support for yourself, though organizations such as NAMI, AL-ANON, NAR-ANON, or another reputable organization for family members of individuals with substance abuse issues.

What you can do for yourself:

1. Get in touch with a close friend or family member for support, if possible.

2. Speak with a physician about physical effects of substance abuse, and get a full check-up.

3. Seek therapy from a qualified mental health provider.

4. Join a local in-person or virtual support group.

5. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and with people you care about.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a free phone counseling hotline, through which anyone can call to discuss concerns related to substance abuse: (800) 950-6264.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers many valuable resources, including referrals and information on substance abuse.

Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alateen, and Nar-Anon each hold both in-person and virtual support groups numerous times daily.

Week of 03/22/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Sydney Beasley, Resident in Counseling:

The way a couple communicates is a strong predictor of the success of the relationship. Communication is particularly important when approaching difficult conversations. Something that can be helpful to minimize feelings of defensiveness is to implement soft/hard/soft communication. This is used to speak kindly and say hard truths in a way that can be more easily heard by your partner.

When you have something difficult to communicate start with something, “soft,” such as:

--Recognizing something you enjoy about your partner.

“I love how patient you are with our children..”

--Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

“ I know you had a really busy day today so this maybe slipped your mind..”

--Verbalize your confidence in the relationship

“ I know that we can figure this out together.”

2. Next say the “hard,” thing with the same soft energy, like:

--Make a request instead of criticism.

“Can we work together to limit our spending over the next several months?” instead of, “You spend money without thinking.”

--Start with “I” statements instead of “You.”

“I’m having a hard time with our lack of physical intimacy” instead of, “ You don’t care that we aren’t physically intimate.”

--Stick to descriptions about the problem and not labels.

“There are dirty clothes on the floor" instead of, “ You are a slob.”

3.Then add another “soft” statement.

Discussing difficult topics doesn’t have to result in feelings of isolation. Try the soft/hard/soft method to sustain connection and build trust and intimacy in the relationship! You’ve got this!

Week of 03/17/2021

KP Weekly Tip brought to you by Lindsey Wright, LPC:

Virginia recently passed legislation that will make recreational cannabis legal. Legalization of substances can help to decrease incarceration for substance use disorders and increase treatment as the primary focus for problems. At the same time, it is important to remember a few things about cannabis, health impacts, and abuse concerns:

--According to studies, cannabis has been shown to have negative impacts on learning and memory, particularly in individuals below the age of 25.

--While cannabis use does not cause physical dependence, psychological dependence is common, which does make the substance addictive. Psychological dependence can cause symptoms of withdrawal (emotionally and mentally) that are unpleasant and make stopping more difficult.

--Smoking cannabis does increase the chances of developing lung cancer.

--Using both cannabis and alcohol increases the odds of developing binge drinking behaviors as well as alcohol use and major depressive disorders.

--Be cautious of casual claims of what THC can treat medically. Due to only recent law changes, medical testing of THC and therefore the medicinal properties are not entirely known.

--Be wary of the tendency to self-medicate with cannabis, as research shows specific physician-supervised therapeutic dosing. Much like other prescription drugs, there is misuse and abuse potential, even if the intention is to treat symptoms or illnesses.