The Future of Internet Counseling

I occasionally get asked about the future of internet (Email) counseling.. What do I think about it? How effective is it? Have I conducted internet counseling?
 
Internet counseling can serve as an effective method of counseling in many situations. Often times, a person is simply looking to quickly and anonymously gain emotional stability regarding a challenging situation and having an online therapist to email is often an ideal solution. Therapists are emotional compasses and can often help provide some objective levity or help the patient gain an alternative perspective.
 
Lack of eye contact with internet counseling can often promote less perceived judgement by the patient which often lends itself to faster problem resolution. For example, for those diagnosed with Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia, the anonymity afforded by email-type counseling is a welcomed nuance.
 
With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, some obsessions that have an overture of fantasies to kill, harm, rape, etc, internet counseling can be particularly effective…especially in the beginning when the patient is speaking of his or her obsessions for the first time.
 
And, there is the matter of cost. With internet counseling, one doesn’t have to drive, secure child care, pay for parking, take time off from work, etc. Isn’t it nice to know there are choices?
 
If you are interested in internet counseling, Private Message me or call 208.258.3510 today. Why wait any longer?

 

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC-5494

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is a chronic state of tension that affect 6 major system in your body. Think it isn’t a big deal. Think again. Left untreated over time, it can result in tension headaches, insomnia, Fibromyalgia, panic attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, ulcers,  poor circulation (cold fingers usually), diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), inflamed colon, and increased blood pressure. While this list is not exhaustive, it should wake you up to the detrimental effects of untreated chronic anxiety.

How do you know if you have GAD?

Only a licensed healthcare professional can render an official GAD diagnosis, but the tell tale signs are usually:

  • Can’t control the worry
  • Feeling ‘on edge’
  • Feeling ‘worn out’
  • Can’t concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Restless sleep patterns
  • Insomnia

Did you know that you can change your response to your worries, when you treat the worries as simply ‘noise’ in your brain? It is possible to shift your perspective. Remember Dr. Dyer used to say, “When you change the way you look at things; the things you look at change.”

How do you do this?

  1. Listen for your worried thoughts. (Can you take action or are they just noise?)
  2. Decide that you want to stop the noisy thoughts.
  3. Reinforce your decision by self dialogue, like “I can choose what I want to focus on.”
  4. Visualize a STOP sign.
  5. Slowly count backward from 10-1.

Now, if there are worries that you can take action on them, take action. Sometimes, worry is just your mind trying to get your attention. When you take action on that particular worry, it goes away.

I hope you found this helpful. This is just one technique to deal with worry. More to come later.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC

Perspective Shift

Often, a simple shift in perspective can make en enormous difference in how we react even to the most challenging events in life.

The same disarming event can happen to two people and it will be internalized two very different ways. Why is that? It’s because the filters are different from one another. Let’s use Mike & Jim as an example.

Mike and Jim are both laid off the same day from Micron.

Mike says to himself, “I knew I wouldn’t last here; my parents were right when I was a kid – I will never amount to anything! I am a failure and I am too stupid to do anything right! I cannot provide for my family. I’ll never work again. I always screw things up!”

Jim says to himself, “Finally! A little time off! I am tired of being away from my kids so much. I am marketable, smart and well-connected. Just because I failed at my job doesn’t mean I am a failure. I need a little break anyway. This is a perfect time to re-invent myself and try my hand at what I really like.”

Jim and Mike have different perspectives because their self dialogue was different. Notice how Mike incorporates words, like “never”, “anything” and “always” in his self dialogue. This black and white thinking doesn’t serve him well.

The take away?

What are you telling yourself when challenging things come your way? Could your self-dialogue be your worst enemy? Check yourself. Life is gray. Life is messy. After all, at the end of the day, you are all you got, right? Be kind to yourself – even when the world isn’t. Become your own greatest cheerleader and watch what happens.

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC | Anxiety Counselor | PTSD

~Lisa Schiro, M.S, LPC

K-Counseling.org

Calm mind. Calm body.

Sleep

How to Reduce Childrens’ Nightmares:

  • Turn off the news when kids are around. And limit their exposure to frightening movies and video games.
  • Choose tranquil activities (no roughhousing or cartoons) at bedtime. Save the most relaxing one – a back rub, a story – for last, and make sure it happens in your child’s bedroom, not in the living room or playroom. With older kids, talk about the day and any events they’re looking forward to. This isn’t the moment for a discussion of disasters, though reassuring conversations at other times during the day can help quell bad dreams.
  • Know when nightmares signal a serious problem. A dream that occurs over and over can be one sign, says Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., cofounder of the Association for the Study of Dreams. And having bad dreams frequently is another. Regardless, parents should try to figure out if there’s a pattern: Does your child have nightmares only when she spends time with a certain friend or babysitter? Addressing the daytime problem may take care of the nighttime one. If not, a chat with your pediatrician (and possibly a referral to a therapist) may be a good idea.
  • Don’t dismiss the worry with “It’s just a dream.” A three- or four-year-old has to be given specific proof, Mindell says. “Show her that the dog is not hurt or that her baby sister is safely asleep in her crib.”
  • Help your child describe the dream. And quietly reflect on what happened in it. Praise any detail that shows he took some kind of action – yelling at the monster, for example. “This helps because it shows kids they have power to change the dream,” Garfield says.
  • Suggest ways to make a dream less threatening. One patient Garfield worked with learned how to “put a big X on any scene she didn’t like;” another “changed the channel” in her head. Your child may come up with his own ideas.
  • Tell children that others share their fears. Reading books that deal with nightmares in a sensitive way can offer gentle reassurance. Experts’ favorites: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer, and Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.

Children

Building a relationship with your teenager may seem challenging at times. There, are, however neurobiological reasons why teens act the way they do. Understanding the premise of this behavior is paramount to building authentic and meaningful relationship with your teen.

MY TEEN DOESN’T THINK THINGS THROUGH!

~Try not to take it personally.

The prefrontal cortex is the mothership of the brain. It takes in data, analyzes the data and determines the actions to take. The teenager, however, has an immature prefrontal cortex, which results in heightened impulsivity, poor judgment, lack of foresight and ineffective problem solving. Keep in mind that the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until at least age 25. Recognizing that this is a real developmental deficit for your teen can help minimize personalization of your teen’s behaviors.

MY TEEN IS SO MOODY!

~This is a very real feeling for your teen; be empathetic.

During adolescence, the emotional center of the brain, called the amygdala, is on overdrive. The amygdala allows us to survive because it is where fear and aggression are housed.

In fact, adults use the thinking part of the brain, the cortical area, to interpret facial expressions, whereas a teen uses the amygdala to interpret facial expressions. All perceptual data is being filtered through the amygdala so a teen cannot help but be moody and personalize his or her experiences. So, it follows, that their interpretations are often misguided.

MY TEEN CAN’T STAY FOCUSED!

~Be supportive and understanding; new neural connections are being made.

Myelination, brain shaping, and neuroplasticity are taking place at a rapid rate during adolescence. Your teen’s brain is physically changing and making new connections through a process called myelination. Myelination is an important phase of brain development, as behaviors that are no longer needed are being weeded out. The pathways that are used more often are being supported by a process called myelination, strengthening the connections in the brain.

For more about how to understand and work more effectively with teens, check out the book “What Works with Teens: A Professional’s Guide to Engaging Authentically with Adolescents to Achieve Lasting Change.”

Cool Facts

Cool Fact:
Frequent complaining shrinks your hippocampus?

My what?

The hippocampus – the area of your brain that enables you to problem solve and be the intelligent human you are.

~ Yes, it does, according a study by Stanford University. And, just when the news couldn’t seem to be worse, the stress hormone, Cortisol, ‘floods’ the brain when you frequently complain. And, according a recent study by University of California Davis, over production of Cortisol impairs your immune system and creates susceptibility to higher levels of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Sustained high levels of this stress hormone makes one vulnerable to strokes.

The Take Away?
~Be a solution finder, not a problem dweller.

Mindfulness

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS DO THESE TEN THINGS:

1. Using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed. Backlit devices interfere with melatonin production. Turn it off approximately one hour before you desire to fall asleep.

2. Impulsively surfing the Internet. Contrary to popular belief, the human brain cannot multi-task. You are distracting yourself from the state of flow.

3. Checking your phone during a conversation. Be present with your company; you are not the president of the United States.

4. Using multiple notifications. Be brave; turn off all of your notifications so that you can focus on the task at hand. Simply create a habit to check your phone/tablet every hour or two hours instead. This helps you stay present. You are a human being; not a human doing.

5. Saying “no.” One of the best med-free stress relievers available.

6. Perseverating on toxic people or toxic situations. This requires self discipline, but envision a stop sign when you think about a toxic situation or a toxic person and simply ‘stop’ and turn right or left. Bring your awareness to something or someone for which you are grateful.

7. Multitasking during meetings. Multitasking during meetings hurts you by creating the impression that you believe you are more important than everyone else.

8. Gossiping. Never a good idea; not productive; not nice. Great minded people talk about ideas; simple minded people gossip about others.

9. Waiting to act until you know you’ll succeed. Slow down; great ideas take time to percolate.

10. Comparing yourself to other people. Take your power back; when you compare, you are giving your power away.

The take away? Be patient with yourself; making changes takes time. Your brain likes what is familiar; the question is are you productive as you would like to be? If you are not, then maybe a few changes are in order.

If you keep doing what you are doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.

~Thank you Entrepreneur Magazine for kicking off this discussion.

Trauma

Unprocessed trauma can cause you to filter your current experiences in a way that doesn’t serve you well. If you have never processed raw trauma, it stays stuck in the right brain. EMDR is the number one treatment for processing trauma. Traditional talk therapy rarely resolves deep-rooted (unprocessed) trauma. You can be free to live the life that you deserve. What are you waiting for?

Panic

Treat your Panic Attacks like a Bully…

First of all…words are powerful, for they modify the perception of this event.

Let’s call the ‘attack’ an ‘episode.’ Stop giving the panic episode the same power as you would being mauled to death by a bear; now *that’s* an attack!

~Do you fear when your next panic episode will occur any moment?

~This episode truly feels ‘out-of-the-blue’ … doesn’t it?

~A panic episode does not lurk in the background, waiting to pounce.

Panic attacks are actually something we decide to initiate when we feel out of control.

~Hang on….stay with me…

It usually begins with a racing, or skipped, heart beat or tightness around the chest, which is misinterpreted by your brain that you are in physical danger-at which point your brain fires of a warning to the body, flooding your brain with stress hormones and preparing your body to fight or flee or paralyze.

Being that the bodily sensations are very intense and unusual, sometimes the unsuspecting person finds himself in the emergency room believing he is having a heart attack.

~Scary?

~You bet it is!  It is downright frightening…

~ It is nearly impossible to visualize or think your way to calm state at this point.

After the panic episode has run its course; it is followed by a prolonged period of general anxiety. Then, one is left with the fear of the fear, like “When is that awful episode going to happen again?”

~So now that you know this valuable information, what is the next step?

The answer may not be what you expect.

~The more you run from anxiety or panic, the worse it gets.

~So, what do you do?
………………………………………………………………………

Treat the episode like a bully. Except when *this* bully comes knockin’ on your door (when your heart begins to race), invite him in; stop running from him. Essentially, you face the bully; let him do his thing and then begin to slowly escort him right back out of your house.

Then begin the countdown, beginning at 25 and picture the image of an upside down triangle…count slowly down to 0.Don’t despair if, when you get to 0, it doesn’t completely disappear. Trust me; continue this process for several times. It works fantastic because it shifts the power to your favor over time.

Note: The way you will know it is successful is you will begin to count quicker with time, in an effort to ‘catch up’ with the episode (bully) leaving.

Anxiety

Cool Fact:

Anxiety causes a contraction in your mind and body.

Acceptance creates a flow again.

 

Accept your anxious thought(s).
~ Here’s how:

1. When you feel anxious, take a very deep belly breath

and say to yourself…“I accept this anxious feeling.”

2. Then release the air with a sigh , haaaaa….

3. Repeat this pattern over and over until you feel 
the transformation within…a physical relief (flow), that is.

The take away?

~Stop running from anxiety; start accepting your anxiety.

Calm mind. Calm body.