Category Archives: Blog

Good Mental Health and COVID-19

Greetings and I hope this information finds you to be in the best of health as we all find ourselves continually challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eight months in and all have had to make major lifestyle adjustments to stay safe such as testing, wearing a mask in public, social distancing, and extra hand washing. Some of us may find this to be a nuisance, but when we listen to the Scientists and the raw data and statistics, currently over 220,000 Americans alone have succumbed to the novel coronavirus. The world-wide total of deaths resulting from the coronavirus is staggering to conceptualize, and the overwhelming grief and loss we all had to face this year is very disheartening.

In your own personal experiences, you can attest to the fact that the coronavirus is scary and unpredictable. The research has indicated that some people can have the virus and be asymptomatic, while others have full blown symptoms of a “fever, coughing and shortness of breath.” They say that getting a test for coronavirus can help save lives, in addition to practicing the above-mentioned protocols. Thousands have survived the coronavirus and are on the road to total recovery.

Our families have had some major adjustments to their lives. Some people have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs, and schools and houses of worship have had to shut down to keep our children, families, and congregations safe. This has placed additional hardships on all of us financially, socially, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It has caused us to re-think and be creative to not only ensure safety, but also to seek out some form of normalcy for our own and our children’s well being. Families are at home all day with each other. At first, this seemed to be great to see each other every day – all day. But, after a while, we may have experienced “cabin fever” and felt the need to just get out of the house. Some may have had a loved one who was hospitalized and subsequently died, but they were not allowed to have their families with them to hold their hands and to tell them, I love you, due to the contagious, deadly coronavirus disease. The grief is overwhelming.

Anxiety, stress, sadness, and depression can easily set in, and people can lose perspective and hope – when is it going to end? Domestic violence, substance/alcohol abuse, and suicides are on the rise. Taking care of your mental health and keeping a positive mindset is very important as we navigate this pandemic. Anxiety and stress can make a person feel fearful as worry sets in about finances and figuring out how to pay bills after being laid off or furloughed. If you notice family or friends withdrawing or isolating themselves from others, this can be a red flag that they may need an intervention. Here are some signs or symptoms to look for: restlessness, fatigued, difficulty concentrating, tightening of the muscles, being short or augmentative, and interrupted sleep. These are all indications of anxiety.

Symptoms of stress are closely related to anxiety in addition to experiencing a traumatic event: being laid off or furloughed—no paycheck and no definite date of returning to work—can cause a person to start drinking to numb the reality that they are faced with, experience low energy, and struggle with completing everyday tasks.

When a person loses hope, suicidal ideation and fleeting thoughts of self-harm may increase and they may believe that “If I were not here, others would be better off without me.” Drugs and alcohol, which impair judgment, may increase their risk of carrying out a plan to self-harm.

This pandemic has caused us all to do things differently, but the goal is to keep all of us safe from this deadly respiratory disease. It is highly recommended that we try to keep some sense of normalcy to our daily routine like cook your favorite meal for the children and your family; get ice cream; celebrate birthdays and anniversaries; go shopping wearing a mask; go for walks or bike riding; plant some flowers; and get some fresh air – breathe!

There is hope, and help is available 24/7. Anyone of these resources is a life line and provides the needed resources until we can go back to a more normal routine and living a healthier lifestyle. Be encouraged! Stay well and stay safe! Practice good mental health!

Resources for Mental Health Intervention and other Basic Needs:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  (800) 273-8255
Domestic Violence: (800) 799- SAFE (7233)
Substance/Alcohol Abuse Treatment:  (800) 854-6025 or (844) 998-1907
Homelessness: (800) – Shelter or (800) 743-5837
Women Shelter: 24 hour hotline: (412) 687-8005
Food/Hunger Relief: (800) 538-5381
Unemployment Insurance – Michigan: (866) 500-0017
Emergency: 911

Dr. Ruby J. Bowens, LMSW
Clinical Social Worker/Christian Counselor
Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers    

 

Parenting Guidelines: Supporting A Child After Teen Dating Violence

Dating violence can begin at an age that is early. You need to be mindful of the signs of teen dating violence, should they present themselves if you have a teen who has started to date. While certainly not in a position to avoid physical violence completely, you can find actions you can take to aid your son or daughter through the healing process. In the guide below, we’re going to talk about some parenting strategies for assisting a young child after teen violence that is dating along with other resources you may possibly look for dating recovery.

Assist Your Child Comprehend It Is Not His/Her Fault

Manipulation usually accompanies physical and emotional abuse, where the individual committing the punishment helps make the target feel like they’re at fault. It might take some time for the son or daughter to see through that mindset and understand that physical violence wasn’t their fault. Whenever talking about the situation along with your kid, make certain you stress that your particular youngster wasn’t the individual committing the physical violence. Your youngster will gradually begin to reconstruct their self-esteem and gain a far better viewpoint on the problem.

Be Aware Of Emotional Triggers For The Youngster

Dependent on just exactly how traumatic the physical violence ended up being, your son or daughter may react within a way that is unusual day-to-day circumstances. For instance, hugging or pressing your son or daughter may cause her or him to flinch or push you away. This is especially valid for victims of intimate assault, or people who experienced constant abuse that is physical. Discover exactly what the child’s triggers are and get respectful of those. They will be less serious as your teenager will continue to heal.

Expect Psychological Outbursts

Teens are notable for having psychological outbursts in general, not to mention once they encounter some kind of trauma. Your child could have a difficult time processing exactly what occurred to her or him, which might result in irritability, mood swings, despair, anxiety, and more. Most of these can trigger “meltdowns” or “tantrums” that you need to be prepared for. Understand the root underneath those emotions, and truly pay attention to exactly what the son or daughter needs to say. Make an effort to stay because relaxed as possible to assist you to help your youngster make it through this time that is difficult.

Likely Be Operational To Conversation But Not Forceful

It’s essential for your child to comprehend that he/she includes a help system, but that doesn’t imply that you should attempt to force her or him to speak with you. Many teens have difficulty expressing their feelings and feelings, regardless of circumstances. Encourage discussion as frequently as you can, but don’t create your kid feel pressured to keep in touch with you. That may only push your son or daughter further away.

Speak To Your Child About Teen Counseling

Teen guidance is a superb resource for victims of teenager violence that is dating. In this scheduled system, your son or daughter will be able to work with a counselor to know what has occurred to her or him. The therapist could also be helpful your teen focus on methods to recover from the upheaval she can move forward to a happier place in life so he or. The counselor can provide assistance for those areas as well if your teen is facing other issues, like low self-esteem or bullying.

Your child could proceed through specific guidance, or perhaps you might proceed through household guidance together. This can rely on just exactly what environment works for your youngster. Some teenagers prefer speaking with a counselor by themselves because you will find things they don’t desire their moms and dads to learn about. Other people feel more content having a familiar face in the area using them. Speak to your teenager about your guidance choices, or contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers to learn more about our household guidance programs.

Parenting Guidelines: Assisting A Young Child After Teen Dating Violence

Dating violence may start at an age that is early. For those who have a young adult who may have began to date, you should be mindful regarding the indications of teenager dating physical violence, should they prove. You can take to help your child through the recovery process while you may not be able to prevent the violence altogether, there are steps. When you look at the guide below, we’re going to talk about some parenting strategies for assisting a kid after teenager violence that is dating and also other resources you may possibly search for data recovery.

Assist Your Child Comprehend It Is Not His/Her Fault

Manipulation usually accompanies physical and emotional abuse, where in fact the individual committing the punishment helps make the target feel like he or she is the culprit. It could take some right time for the son or daughter to work through that mindset and understand that the violence wasn’t his / her fault. Whenever discussing the situation together with your kid, make certain you stress that the son or daughter had not been the individual committing the physical violence. Your youngster will start to rebuild slowly their self-esteem and gain an improved viewpoint on the problem.

Know About Psychological Triggers For Your Kid

Based on just exactly how traumatic the physical violence ended up being, your youngster may respond in a way that is unusual day-to-day circumstances. For instance, hugging or pressing your youngster may cause her or him to flinch or push you away. This is especially valid for victims of sexual attack, or those who experienced consistent abuse that is physical. Discover exactly what the child’s triggers are and stay respectful of those. They shall be less serious as your teenager will continue to heal.

Expect Psychological Outbursts

Teens are notable for having outbursts that are emotional basic, aside from when they encounter some type of upheaval. Your child might have a hard time processing exactly what occurred to him or her, which could induce irritability, swift changes in moods, despair, anxiety, and much more. Each one of these can trigger “meltdowns” or “tantrums” that you’ll require to be equipped for. Understand the main underneath those emotions, and truly listen to exactly what your youngster has got to state. Make an effort to stay as relaxed as feasible in order to help your youngster make it through this difficult time.

Most Probably To Discussion But Not Forceful

It’s essential for your child to understand that he/she has a support system, but that doesn’t imply that you should attempt to make her or him to speak with you. Numerous teens have difficulty expressing their feelings and feelings, regardless of circumstances. Inspire discussion as much that you can, but don’t make your kid feel forced to keep in touch with you. That may only push your son or daughter further away.

Confer With Your Child About Teen Counseling

Teen guidance is a superb resource for victims of teenager dating violence. In this program, your youngster will be able to work having a counselor to comprehend just what has occurred to her or him. The therapist could also be helpful your child focus on techniques to get over the injury so they are able to move ahead up to a happier place in life. In the event the teenager is facing other problems, like insecurity or bullying, the therapist can offer help for all those areas also.

Your child could proceed through specific guidance, or you may undergo household guidance together. This can rely on exactly just what environment works for your son or daughter. Some teenagers choose conversing with a counselor by themselves since there are things they just do not desire their moms and dads to understand about. Other people feel much more comfortable having a face that is familiar the space together with them. Speak to your teenager about your guidance choices, or contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers to learn more about our household guidance programs.

WE ARE PRACTICING SOCIAL DISTANCING!

We encourage people to follow the CDC’s (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html) and WHO’s recommendations.  If you have concerns about your physical health and safety please consult with your physician to figure out best options for yourself and your family.

If you are noticing high levels of depression and/or anxiety or rumination (circular thinking you can’t turn off) about current events, consider asking for help.  Psychotherapy is a way to connect with someone and build on skills to take care of yourself and build a plan to manage symptoms, thoughts, and experiences you are dealing with.

Even with the need to self-quarantine, there may be options for teletherapy.  Teletherapy is a way to remotely do psychotherapy. This is accomplished with a HIPPA-complaint and secure video or audio “call” with a therapist.  Teletherapy may not be appropriate for all cases. However during the pandemic all insurances are welcome. Check with your therapist to see what options are available.

The Mental Health Impact of Workplace Stress

Stress at work is normal, many would say. But should it be?

While a stressful week on the job or a particularly busy time of year can feel like an expected part of the grind, experts say work stress can have a significant impact on your mental health. Writing it off as “normal” can actually lead to major problems.

The American Psychological Association lists workplace stress as one of the top seven stressors, and some studies list it as the No. 1 source of stress. Certain occupations are even associated with higher rates of suicide – like construction jobs and positions in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, according to a 2018 CNN article.

Though stress can sometimes be a positive driving force to maintain focus or alertness, it can also become harmful, says psychologist Leslie R. Johnsen, executive and clinical director at Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers.

“When stress stops being helpful, it can be damaging to your health, relationships and productivity,” she says. “Stress typically occurs when a person is confronted with a threat that he (or) she does not feel they have the resources or coping skills necessary to deal with. Stress becomes negative when a threat is perceived as excessive or unmanageable.”

As summer begins, it’s a key time to pay attention to workplace stress. June is National Safety Month, and parents also face added stress this time of year as kids begin a long break from school. Changes in the family’s schedule can create a stressful transition period, Johnsen says.

“Some parents might also feel a little more guilty being at work, and that might increase the stress of being pulled in two different directions – wanting to be with their family,” she says.

Even without the juggling act, demands at work often feel overwhelming. A recent study by behavioral health system Ginger found that nearly half of American workers have cried at work, 50 percent have missed at least one day of work due to work-induced stress and 83 percent of workers said they experienced stress on a regular basis.

Beyond that, 16 percent of people surveyed said they have experienced “extreme stress” daily at work.

Workplace stress has a variety of causes, including low salaries, excessive workloads, lack of social support, conflicting demands or unclear expectations, according to the American Psychological Association. This can result in anxiety, insomnia, depression and other health problems.

“Many anxiety-related disorders can be related to elevated levels of untreated and unmanaged stress,” Johnsen explains. “Common warning signs are memory issues, inability to concentrate, poor judgement, negative attitude, anxious or racing thoughts and constant worrying. This can be displayed through physical symptoms as well.”

For parents, this can “absolutely” have an effect on their children, Johnsen says, in part because of symptoms like poor judgment or irritability that can impact parenting.

So what can be done about it? The American Psychological Association recommends establishing boundaries, taking time to recharge, relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness and – importantly – talking to your supervisor about what’s happening and seeking mental health support.

It’s also important to “act rather than react,” Johnsen says, by identifying aspects of the situation that you can control and working on those. Eating right, sleeping well and eliminating interruptions at work can also help.

“Schedule your day for energy and focus,” she recommends. “Take regular breaks, stretch (and do) breathing exercises.”

Parents can also benefit from “a cool-down between work and home” to help them refocus on the tasks at hand, she says.

As workplaces become more open about discussing stress and ways to avoid it, there’s hope for a less stressful work life in the future.

“I do think there is a higher level of attention focused on workplace stress recently as focus groups are working towards destigmatizing mental health issues in general,” Johnsen says. And though she believes the stigma is decreasing, “we have a long way to go.”

People in management need to acknowledge workplace stress, validate their employees and try to identify and resolve the root causes.

“Improving communication and assigning appropriate workload are two of the most important preventative measures management can instill in an organization to reduce chronic stress,” Johnsen adds. “Communication is key.”

New Medications Being Tested to Treat Symptoms of Autism

New Medications Being Tested to Treat Symptoms of Autism

Two new drugs targeting the main symptoms of autism have been bumped to the fast lane for testing and approval within the next year. While this is great news, because of the long and arduous process of getting new pharmaceutical drugs to market, it’s not likely that you’ll be seeing these drugs on pharmacy shelves anytime soon.

Balovaptan Thought to Improve Communication and Social Skills for Individuals with Autism

Drugmaker Roche is working on an autism medication called Balovaptan, which supposedly helps to improve social skills and communication for individuals with autism. This drug achieves this outcome by targeting a certain hormone which is tied to behavior. The drug has recently received what’s called a “breakthrough” therapy designation from the FDA which simply means that there has been evidence that shows the drug could offer some form of clinical benefit. Clinical trials are currently being conducted for children, teens and adults with autism.

L1-79 Medication from Yamo Pharmaceuticals Has Also Received Favorable Designation from the FDA

The FDA also provided Yamo Pharmaceuticals with a “fast track” designation for its autism medication called L1-79, which helps to improve socialization and speech by targeting the central nervous system. It’s important to keep in mind that receiving a “fast track” designation is a significant breakthrough for this drug, because it means that Yamo has a lower standard to meet compared to other drugs seeking FDA approval. All that is required for this drug to come to market is that it successfully treats a serious condition, in this case autism, and that it fills a current unmet need in the medical market. According to Yamo’s management, if all goes well regarding meetings with the FDA, the company plans to start a clinical trial in early 2019.

FDA Designations are Significant, But Hard Work is Still Ahead  

While these FDA designations for both of these drugs are quite significant, and show significant promise, both are still in their infancy in terms of the many hurdles related to getting these medications to market. At Perspectives Counseling Centers, we’re constantly monitoring new developments in the treatment for autism, both from a counseling perspective as well as through medication treatment. If you or a loved one has autism, and you’re interested in learning more about our approach to treatment, feel free to reach out to our team today.

Using CBT as an Effective Form of Autism Treatment for Children

Using CBT as an Effective Form of Autism Treatment for Children

Some of the biggest challenges for children with Autism include symptoms such as anger, anxiety and meltdowns that can seem to come about without warning. These emotional symptoms while very real, can be difficult to treat using standard treatment plans that focus only on the social symptoms. A new study from York University is showing that cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT could be an effective autism treatment for children because it helps them to feel more in control of their emotions.

Details of the Autism Study Performed at York University

The way this study worked is that 68 children with autism were randomly chosen to receive either 10 sessions of CBT or be put on a waiting list, which served as a control. After the cognitive behavioral therapy was completed, all of the children were then assessed by a clinician who had no knowledge of which group each child was assigned. 74% of the children that received CBT showed significant improvement in terms of their emotional symptoms, as opposed to just 31% from the control group. Another significant finding that cannot be discounted is that the children’s parents were also involved in the sessions and applied some of these CBT techniques at home with their children.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a form of psychotherapy where patients attempt to reframe negative thought patterns into positive ones. The idea is that transforming these thoughts can result in positive actions and behaviors when individuals are faced with difficult situations. CBT has been shown to be useful for a wide array of individuals suffering from all types of conditions including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other conditions such as autism.

It’s important to realize that advances in CBT are based on significant research and clinical findings showing the ample scientific evidence that exists related to CBT improving the function and quality of life for patients of all types.

CBT Counseling Focuses on Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Other Evidence Based Counseling Approaches

For more information on CBT as a treatment for autism in children, or any of our other counseling services, feel free to reach out to us today.

5 Reasons to Get Marriage Counseling

reasons-marriage-counseling

Do we need marriage counseling? This is a question you may ask after a big fight or sudden revelation in your relationship. Most people assume that marriage counseling is only for people on the brink of divorce. That is not the case though. You can benefit from marriage counseling at any stage of your marriage, even if you are on good terms.

Here are some reasons to seek marriage counseling, courtesy of Perspectives Counseling Centers.

You Repeatedly Have the Same Arguments

If you feel like your arguments recirculate time and time again, you may consider marriage counseling. Circular arguments usually come from two sources: the inability to bring closure to past arguments and ineffective communication strategies. With marriage counseling, you can finally put an end to ongoing disputes, and you can learn how to prevent new ones in the future.

You Feel an Imbalance of Responsibilities

Does your relationship feel one-sided? This is also something you can resolve through marriage counseling. There are many ways to create balance in a household. You and your spouse can come up with a way to ease the burden both of you feel. This applies to household and financial responsibilities. Your marriage counselor will be there to guide you every step of the way.

You Have a Hard Time Expressing Your Emotions

Some couples have a hard time getting through to one another. You may feel like you’re expressing yourself clearly, but your spouse does not fully understand your feelings and emotions. Couples counseling will teach you how to communicate with one another in a way that fits both your needs. You can learn to be more vulnerable and expressive, and you can gain insight into your spouse’s perspective.

You Have Gone through a Traumatic Event

Trauma, in all forms, can be challenging for couples to overcome. Going through a traumatic event changes a person, so you must adapt to the changes you each have gone through. If you experienced the loss of a loved one, the loss of a pregnancy, a major financial loss, a severe car accident, or any other traumatic event, consider going through marriage counseling. You can overcome this, and best of all, you can do it together.

Something Feels “Off”

We hear this all the time in marriage counseling. “I don’t know what’s wrong, but something just feels off.” Maybe there is a distance in your relationship that wasn’t there before. Perhaps the stress of work, raising children, or managing a household has dampened your once vibrant spirit. Through marriage counseling, you can find the source of the issue and come up with a plan to overcome it.

Perspectives Counseling Centers offers marriage counseling in Michigan. We have multiple locations to serve you, and they all have licensed marriage counselors on staff. If you and your spouse are interested in couples therapy, give us a call at (248) 244-8644.

Sleep Deprivation: How Much Sleep Do I Need?

sleep-deprivation

Sleep deprivation impacts your energy levels, memory retention, focus, attentiveness, and more. If you can achieve a consistent sleep routine, you will feel better in all areas of your life. What qualifies as sleep deprivation? How much sleep do you actually need? Let’s explore this topic more and find solutions to improve your sleep schedule.

How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need?

You’ve probably heard that adults need 8 hours of sleep per night. However, the amount of sleep you personally need will depend on several factors. Adults who are highly active throughout the day may require more sleep than those with less active lifestyles. Some adults naturally thrive on less sleep than others. The rule of thumb is to get 7-9 hours of sleep, but that can be adjusted to suit your lifestyle.

Note that if you experience several days of sleep deprivation, your body may go into a “sleep debt.” You may need to sleep longer than normal for one night to repay that debt and recharge your mind. If you know you will not get much sleep for a few nights in a row, try to schedule a recharge night for yourself.

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Mental Health

There are many side effects of sleep deprivation, including loss of control while driving and slow productivity at work. What you may not have considered is the mental health side effects of sleep deprivation. Your mind relies on sleep to sort through your thoughts and emotions. Your brain spends all day making sure your legs move, your eyes blink, and your body is working effectively. At night, it can focus on the memories you’ve made.

If you don’t get enough sleep to process those emotions, you wake up with the weight from yesterday on your mind. This compiles over time, leaving you tired and stressed before the day has begun. That is why we focus on sleep maintenance in depression counseling and anxiety counseling. Being well rested will do wonders for your mental health.

Good Sleep Is about Quality vs. Quantity

You can experience sleep deprivation even if you sleep for 8 hours each night. If you wake up multiple times in the night, your body is never fully at rest. Some rest is better than none, but good quality rest is ideal. Keep this in mind as you start planning your sleep routine.

How to Avoid Sleep Deprivation

The best way to avoid sleep deprivation is to get on a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, even on your days off. Create a wind-down routine for yourself, such as taking a bath or watching a calming television show. Avoid looking at your smartphone at least 30 minutes before bed, and avoid eating at least one hour before bed. This will give you the best chance at getting solid rest.

If you find yourself staying up all night with thoughts running through your head, you may consider talking to a therapist. This gives you an outlet for those thoughts so your mind is less pre-occupied with them. Perspectives Counseling Centers has licensed therapists in multiple specialties, including anxiety treatment, depression treatment, grief counseling, marriage counseling, and more. Contact our office at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with a therapist near you.

What Causes Depression?

what-causes-depression

Depression is a complex condition that affects many walks of life. No matter what race, gender, social class or religion you may be, you could be one of the 6.8 million American adults who suffer from depression. What causes depression, and what are the best depression treatments? We will answer these questions and more in the guide below.

Potential Causes of Depression

Depression can develop in many different ways. For some, it comes about after a traumatic event. For others, it gradually develops over time. Here are some potential causes of depression:

  • Stress
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • The loss of a loved one
  • Certain medications
  • Relationship conflicts
  • A family history of depression
  • Addiction (or depression can lead to addiction)
  • Major life transitions (new job, moving, divorce, etc.)
  • Other mental health conditions, such as anxiety
  • Chronic pain or illness

Because depression is such a personal experience, there are other situations that may lead to depression. Your mind interprets experiences in a unique way, and that interpretation plays a large role in developing depression. Through depression counseling, you can learn how to change your thought patterns to reduce depression symptoms in the future.

How to Treat Depression, No Matter the Cause

Despite the many causes of depression, there are also tested and proven methods for depression treatment. This may include counseling, medication, or a combination of the two. Depression counseling gives you a chance to discuss experiences from your past to find solutions in the present. You can learn what triggers your depression and how to control your reactions.

Depression therapy provides a personalized care plan for you. Rather than following generic advice for depression treatment, you can learn specific techniques that fit your lifestyle. At Perspectives Counseling Centers, we match each person with the best therapist for his or her situation. Clients receive individualized care from licensed counselors in Michigan.

If depression treatment requires medication, a psychiatrist will oversee that process. Psychiatrists have a doctorate of medicine, and they are trained to understand the body’s complex chemistry. They use that information to find the right medication and dosages for each person. Some medication-based treatments only last for a few months, while others are designed for long-term depression treatment.

If you are interested in depression counseling or other depression treatment options, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.