Ways To Make Group Therapy More Fun and Effective

 

Source: c1.staticflickr.com

 

Group therapy doesn’t have to be discussions about feelings and personal experiences. There are several ways in which you can spice up your group therapy sessions. Read on to find out different exciting ideas on how to make the group therapy more fun and productive. Psychotherapist Ali Miller, MFT said, “[T]here is encouragement to both talk about your life outside the group and also to talk about the dynamics within the group.”

 

  • Art Therapy

According to a study, art therapy was successful. This therapy has helped its participants in the areas of perception, personal integration, emotion regulation, behavior, and insight and comprehension. “Art Therapy gives voice to clients’ experience and stories, as well as provides empowerment for their lives,” says Elena Lamaak, MA, LMHC.

Holding a group art therapy is not as difficult as it might seem. You and your group may hold a painting session or a pottery class. Art has been a frequently used mode of expression for people. In art, participants can express their emotions and experiences that they couldn’t do so in words.

 

  • Culture

Centering on culture can be a great way to start your group therapy sessions. Discussing culture can promote tolerance, challenge perceptions, and learn more from each other. Interestingly, researchers found out that some cultures are more friendly to mental health and illnesses than others.

If you want to discuss different cultures in your group therapy, host an adult version of a show-and-tell. To do this, ask your participants to bring a token that represents their family culture or history. Then, have each one of the participants explain what these tokens mean. You can also give a portion of the time for the participants to ask questions to each other.

 

  • Music

Music brings everyone together, so this is a good idea to start your group therapy session. Similar to art therapy, music therapy allows people to express their thoughts and feelings that couldn’t usually be expressed in words. Moreover, it is found that music actually reduces stress. Before, it is believed that music strengthens bonds, connects people spiritually, and fosters group cohesion. “Music has such a large impact on our lives! It crosses cultures, age groups and has an effect on everyone. It can make you smile, dance, sing, cry, instantly recall memories like they were yesterday and process emotion.” As explained by Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D.

To start a music therapy, just bring a guitar and let the music do its thing. You may sing popular songs or make your own lyrics. Encourage your participants to bring an instrument of their own. Also, try to give compliments along the way. Some participants get shy because they think they’re not good at singing or playing the instruments. But, most of the time, that’s not true.

 

  • Lifeline

This is an activity from the Lesley University. Lifeline is an activity that lets participants review their life and see how far they have come. It is effortless to do and only requires a pen and a piece of paper.

To do the activity, a participant must make two points on the paper, labeled ‘birth’ and ‘now.’ They must be connected by a straight line. On that line, identify three high points and three low points of your life. Then, join these points with a zigzag line. After accomplishing this, have each of the participants explain what they drew and what it means to them.

 

  • Lawbook

This is a fun activity that allows each participant to reflect on what the right thing to do is. First, have your participants discuss Kohlberg’s six stages of morality. Then, make a book of laws regarding this discussion, including at least one page on these topics:

  • World Laws
  • School Laws
  • Society Laws
  • Romantic Relationship Laws
  • Friendship Laws
  • Self Laws
  • Family Laws

 

Source: i.routestofinance.com

 

There are several ways to make your group therapies more fun and effective. If you are looking for more ideas, then don’t hesitate to try one of these methods.

 

Tips On Reducing Anxiety For Young Professionals

 

Source: creative-commons-images.com

 

According to Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, “It’s ‘normal’ to experience some degree of anxiety when stressors are unfamiliar, unpredictable, or imminent.”  Anxiety is very evident in young professionals. These young professionals are struggling to find contentment and happiness in their work in the era of social media.

Are you one of those people who was thrown into the cruel world after graduation, with no chance even to find your place? If you were struggling with finances as I was, you will find yourself lucky if you were able to find any work that would give even minimum salary.

Once you open your social media account, you instantly become envious of the posts of your friends who had it better financially. Your anxiety builds up when you see your friends chilling out at the beach and living the jet-setter life, while you’re still stuck in the office. Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist explains the scenario by stating, “Think about what our devices have done to the fabric of our society. When you go to a restaurant, you’ll see an entire family on their phones. While I’m sure [the rise in social anxiety] is a combination of many factors, I think all of us intuitively understand that it has something to do with technology.”

You’re working for five years already but you feel as if you’re already lost twenty years of your life. At the end of the day, even after giving your all, you feel that you’re still at the bottom of the food chain. You’re feeling burnt-out because of pressures from your boss and co-workers, and there’s a bleak chance at promotion.

 

How can you alleviate anxiety in a world that glorifies only the best? How can you be your personal best at your own pace? Read up and know how.

 

Source: muscle-zone.com

 

Maintain Work-Life Balance

You should be able to strike the right balance between work and your personal life. They say all work and no play makes a person dull.

  1. Enjoy Your Weekends!

Are you always the last one to leave the office? Are you accepting calls from your superior even after office hours? Scared that you will be laid off if you don’t receive work on the weekends?

Think of your personal welfare first. You should be the one to set limits. No one will be able to fight for you unless you do it yourself. Use your weekends to recharge and engage in activities that excite you. Working even on the weekends will increase your anxiety and make you susceptible to burnout. “A number of studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.” That is according to Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP.

 

  1. Reconnect With Family And Friends

When was the last day you were out with your friends? Without really thinking about the pending work you have at the office?

Appreciate the time spent with friends and family. Live in the moment! Don’t spend too much time on social media and being anxious about taking the best pictures. Or thinking about the pending work at the office.

 

Seek Expert Advice

Upon starting this journey towards a better you, it is essential that a medical professional will be able to monitor your progress. If you know you’re feeling anxious all the time, a medical professional will be able to diagnose if you’re suffering from a specific condition.

Set a schedule with a medical professional. This will definitely help you in the long-run.

 

Source: cdn.pixabay.com

 

Live Life At Your Own Pace

Be happy for your friends who are enjoying their life now. You will also get to enjoy yours, sooner or later. You should be able to understand that people have their own timelines.

Think back of your struggles from three years ago. You will be able to realize that you have improved a lot. Using this method often will make you grateful for your journey. Remember that everyone has their own kind of struggle. Don’t worry if you’re struggling a lot now.

 

Art And Mental Health: Similarity In Dissimilarity

 

Source: cdn.pixabay.com

 

Art comes in innumerable forms. As explained by Douglas Mitchell, LMFT, “There are various uses for art therapy with regards to healing, but the benefits may surprise you if you’ve never heard of art as a form of therapy.” It has been long defined by so many different people, in so many different ways. Countless purposes have been enumerated. And today, one emerging purpose continuously being explored is to heal.

“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.” Catherine Cleveland M.S., LMHC-P said. Mental health is an aspect that is now being given attention and importance. It has been a very sensitive topic that has been avoided for so long. Further, mental health has been a deeply misunderstood condition, often, given a direct relation to mental hospitals and craziness.

Very similar to art, mental health gives rise to different meanings for different people. It may be as complicated as shaking and screaming at the sight of something that triggers a miserable memory. Or, it may be as familiar as not having the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Mental Health is indeed a very complicated subject that cannot be easily interpreted.

And now, the question is, how can we heal it? How can we restore a healthy mental state? Is such thing possible? We must understand first that it is different for many people. As we’ve read in many BetterHelp articles, what may work for some may not work for others. That this is the way a person copes, while this utterly alien technique is how another person copes. And that it is fine.

Rising to quick judgments about this will not truly help the person. In fact, it may just discourage that person. We must understand that we have been endowed with different minds, that we all think in our own unique ways–in our personal capacities and speeds. And that there is nothing we can do about it but to embrace it–to develop it.

Source: cdn.pixabay.com

 

Art And Mental Health: Connected

Now, how can we connect art and mental health? In 2004, “creativity in counseling” was finally formalized within the American Counseling Association (ACA) as its 19th Division. This formalization gave birth to the Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC). But long before this event, creative approaches to treatment have been applied by so many psychiatrists and counselors. And this exploration has led to improved communication, authentic self-expression and helped establish human potential.

In addition to this, group therapy is emerging as an efficient way for people to heal. The addition of several fresh perspectives from people with similar experiences helps patients cope. This method acts as a support group–a network of people with similar experiences yet dissimilar opinions.

Further, the support network helped generate relief for people and gave assurance that you are not alone in fighting for mental health. Often, people are afraid to open up and think that they are “weird” or “different,” when in fact, there are people out there who undergo the same experiences. And this kind of therapy helps foster a mutual connection between patients and result in rewarding experiences.

 

Source: cdn.pixabay.com

 

Now What?

Now that we have established that, what course of action should we take? Explore. Let us take this opportunity to explore this method to help contribute to a better, healthy state of mind. “Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements.” Licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D. said.

Yes, it is an endless chain of possibilities. Yes, different people think differently and cope differently. But these dissimilarities are what makes us similar. This is a proof that we are all unique–in our own special way. And that each and every uniqueness possessed by each and every one of us are equally important.

6 Truths About Peer Counseling

Source: goodereader.com

When the going gets tough, and the tough gets going, we often find ourselves lost. With just barely existing, barely breathing, the bitter agony hits us hard- we have no one to talk to. Instead, we fear that we have no one to talk to so we shut ourselves out. We lock our rooms. We put on our headphones and sulk into the abyss of despair and overthinking.

Online Counseling In Groups

With all the recent advancements in technology, the lives of many people have become more convenient and more comfortable. An excellent example of this is online counseling, which has helped a lot of individuals ever since it became available to those with mental health issues or problems. One of the most common forms of this treatment is group counseling in an online setting.  

Source: pixabay.com

Seeking Help The Right Way: How To Be Honest To Your Therapist

Source: pixabay.com

When you’re experiencing mental health problems, it is difficult to deal with the symptoms on your own, not to mention inadvisable. Seeking help through therapy is a huge step towards recovery. The good thing about therapy is that there is no single “template” to follow; many available treatments cater to various types of patients with different conditions and experiences. 

Crossing the bridge to seek help for your condition can be a daunting endeavor. Once people experiencing mental health problems overcome the fear and stigma enough to reach out, they immediately face another hurdle: talking to their therapist.

So, how do you prepare yourself after seeking help? How do you open up to your therapist about your condition? How do you become honest to your therapist? Sal Raichbach, PsyD often say, “Sadly, only a small percentage of people actively seek professional help for their mental health problems.” That is true.

Assess Yourself: Are You Ready For Therapy?

Before asking how to be honest to your therapist, you must be straightforward to yourself first. When people seek therapy, they do it with the idea that a therapist should be able to fix them up in no time. That is the wrong mindset to bring when coming to your therapy sessions.

Going to therapy means being ready to go to therapy. If you remain closed off or unprepared for the treatment your physician might come up with, recovery will remain unachievable too. You have to be sure you’re ready to reach out. Wanting to recover does not automatically translate to being prepared to face your therapist. Be clear about the difference with yourself; otherwise, going to therapy will be counterproductive.

Source: pexels.com

Start Small: Trusting Your Therapist

Trust between you and your therapist is a vital aspect of your treatment. You have to accept that recovery means discussing things that might be painful or even traumatic. But you do not need to discuss anything you don’t want to, not without your express permission.

You need to trust your therapist will not push you beyond what’s comfortable for you. If they do, remember that they have your best interests at heart, as well as years of education and expertise. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” A reminder from David Klow, a licensed therapist.

You do not need to unload every thought and feeling to your therapist immediately. Tell them about your day. Or better yet, you can also ask them about their day. Begin with a small anecdote or memory. From there, your therapist might have follow-up questions to keep you going. Once you hit a particularly sore spot, tell your therapist that you feel uncomfortable with it. 

Source: pixabay.com

Professional medical practitioners possess empathy, which helps them understand your situation. They might never know what it’s precisely like to be in your shoes, but they still have a pretty good idea. If you’re not ready to explore a specific issue, ask them to switch topics or offer one of your own. Your therapist might or might not push it, but remember that they know what they’re doing.

“therapy is a lot of work and this is important to keep in mind before starting. It’s imperative to understand this so that you can set realistic expectations for yourself.” Nathaniel Cilley, LMHC said. Vulnerability is part of the reason why a lot of people hesitate about being honest to therapists. They fear all sorts of things, from being judged to being hurt by other people. Seeking therapy is indeed a leap of faith sometimes, but rest assured that therapists are well-equipped and well-trained to help you recover and live your life to the fullest.

Financial Problems: The Best Way To Deal With It

Every married couple has different struggles and challenges that they need to overcome on a daily basis, one of which is the issue when it comes to financial matters. Money does not make the world go round, but it is necessary for the sustenance of a family. It is used not only for the food of the members of a household but even for the education of the kids or meeting the goals of the husband and wife.

 

Source: pixabay.com

How Therapy Can Address Workplace Stress

Source: pixabay.com

Many employees experience work stress, from the tons of responsibilities at hand to conflicts with their colleagues. Because of the said problems, a majority of these people often find themselves experiencing various mental health problems. Some even find themselves faced with different physical issues such as migraine, back pain, headaches, and skin complaints. “Stress can seem omnipresent. Between working, socializing and taking care of the home, it sometimes seems we don’t have a minute to ourselves, let alone enough time to really take care of our bodies and minds,” says Sonja Seglin, LCPC.

 

Take these recent statistics regarding workplace problems in the UK as examples:

  • The Mental Health Foundation revealed that 6 out of 10 of the working population in the area has trouble sleeping at night because of the stress they feel from work.
  • A recent survey by the mental health charity Mind stated that 32% of male employees blame work as the primary cause of their current mental health issues.
  • According to the Labor Force Survey, stress accounted for 37 to 40% of work-related health cases and approximately 45% of the working days of the workers were lost due to bad health.
  • The Health and Safety at Work survey by the Health and Safety Executive found that around 1.3 million employees suffer from a work-related illness.

Source: pixabay.com

With this in mind, a lot of professionals recommend that those affected by workplace stress seek the help of therapists. They can help them cope with the adverse effects brought about by hectic environments such as the workplace. So, how does therapy address stress exactly?

Therapy Lets You Become More Self-Aware

Many workers know that they are feeling stressed out but are not sure where it is coming from. With the help of therapy, you can reflect on your daily life at work and pinpoint the primary sources of your mental health problems. Becoming self-aware is essential in tackling this concern since it helps you avoid or address your stressors. As explained by Robin D. Stone, LMHC, “The benefits of therapy are vast, including having an objective perspective on happenings in your life, a sounding board for you to talk through options before taking action, a place where you can deepen self-awareness, access resources to support your growth and personal development, and much more.”

Therapy Helps You Face Insecurity

You have to be aware that you will face criticism at work from time to time. That’s just how the professional world works. If you’re unwelcoming or sensitive about criticisms and feedback, you will experience insecurity. This mindset will only lead to more self-doubt and decreased self-worth.

In these cases, therapy can help you explore your insecurity. The process will allow you to explore the why’s and how’s of your self-doubt. As time passes by, you will sort out your thoughts and emotions and regain your sense of self.

Therapy Calms You

Some therapy sessions focus on relaxation training. According to professionals, the more you relax, the less tense your muscles are and the higher the functionality of your brain. These characteristics will help you see things from a more objective and broader perspective. “therapy is a lot of work and this is important to keep in mind before starting. It’s imperative to understand this so that you can set realistic expectations for yourself.” Nathaniel Cilley, LMHC said.

Source: pexels.com

Therapy Provides You With Motivation

Your enthusiasm about going to work declines as time passes by. Worse, it might reach the point where you’ll dread it. A visit with a therapist might help you regain your love for your job through a technique called gestalt therapy or transaction analysis. These strategies are employed to help you find the fine line between your real self and your adapted self.

You need to address the stress you feel at work since it leads to many negative results, such as lower productivity, decreased employee engagement, and poor health status. Seek the help of a therapist, and you’ll be on your way to a better experience at work.

Tips On Improving Your Relationship With Your Wife

“Couples’ expectations about what marriage should be like are completely off from the reality of what marriage is actually like”  That is according to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC. Keeping a marriage healthy and loving is a difficult task to maintain. Sometimes, no matter how a couple cares for each other, there will come a time wherein staying happy in a marriage becomes challenging. In fact, there are days when choosing to stay with a partner feels like a complete struggle. If you experience any of these, then it is a sign that you are having troubles in the marital union. Do not fret because there are many ways on how you could spice things up with your wife.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Signs That Your Spouse May Be Reverting To His Alcoholic Ways

Can you breathe a sigh of relief now that your husband is no longer a devotee of alcohol?

Yes, yes, it is indeed marvelous to see your better half choosing water or juice over whiskey, gin, wine, or any beverage whenever you go out. You may also feel delighted by the fact that your man comes home without a stench of liquor wafting around him. Plus, you don’t need to sort the glass bottles he emptied and left on the floor as his drunken days are OVER.

However, the real question is: how confident are you that he’s not going to relapse?

Source: wikimedia.org

 

You may look for various sources of information online, but most studies reveal that beating alcoholism once does not make anyone – not even your husband –immune to the addiction. While the probability of ending sobriety decreases as years pass by, time cannot guarantee that he won’t revert to his alcoholic ways. The sudden news of unemployment or mid-life crisis may strike your spouse, for instance, and that may enable him to fall back into his old steps.

“The term “alcoholic” places the problem within the person, not within the nature of the drug.” –Sara Nash, PhD, LMHC

Instead of getting worried sick due to this disclosure, though, you need to practice constant vigilance to notice the following signs of relapse.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

  1. Your Beloved’s Brain Is All Over The Place

Alcohol addiction is not too different from being in love, in the sense that your husband may only think of his subject of affection. Whereas the latter makes him dream of a special someone, though, the former allows him to fantasize about his favorite liquor and perhaps chugging its bottle until the last drop. Because of that, you cannot expect his thoughts to be present even when he is sitting across from you.

Given the reality that spacing out is not the only relapse indication, your significant other may try to redirect your suspicions. The man may tell you that it’s the exhaustion doing that to him or that he has too many things to ponder about in the office. Nevertheless, once you confirm that he barely does anything at his workplace, then you ought to accept the possibility that his addiction may be on the rise again.

  1. It Does Not Take Much For Your Spouse To Snap In Anger

The deal with relapsing addicts is that they often contemplate whether they should return to their bad habits or not. These folks are highly aware of the consequences of what they’re itching to do – no doubt regarding that. At the same time, however, the need for their substance of liking must also be getting stronger. As explained by Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I, “Addiction develops over time, as a person continues to use a substance and grows more dependent on it.”

With that idea in mind, you should take note of any extreme change in your husband’s mood. If his usually calm demeanor often dissolves when something does not go his way, that may be an indicator of impending relapse. If he yells at your kids for wanting to play with him, it can be another sign too.

  1. He Finds Ways To Avoid Treatment Or, Worse, You

Last but not the least, your husband will try to relinquish his connection to people or things that help him get better if he is on the verge of relapsing.

At first, he may only skip treatment, saying that he has extra work to do. Other times, your spouse may claim that he feels okay enough to stop the therapy. Considering the excuses do not affect you anymore, he may then go out to shake you off and hide the truth that his love for drinking is coming back.

 

Source: pxhere.com

 

As the spouse of a former alcoholic, you have no choice but to take on the role of your husband’s minder. “There is a fine line which makes distinguishing alcohol abuse from alcoholism.”  Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD explains. Make sure that he gets to manage his stressors well and that they do not cause anxiety or depression to grow in him. Know the typical characteristics of your better half; don’t be afraid to inquire if something seems amiss. Otherwise, you may have already noticed the signs of relapse in its early stages, and yet you ended up ignoring them and letting the addiction rule since you didn’t have any clue of what they may be.

Hopefully, the indications above will encourage you to learn more about alcohol relapse and save your better half from going through that. Good luck!