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Positive Discipline

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

The Perception of Effective Discipline

Where did we get the crazy idea that to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Apply this to yourself – if I make you feel bad, then you will do better. Is this really when we tend to do better? From my experience these conditions lead people to rebel, give up, argue, etc…

Children do better when they feel better. Just like with all people, children can only access their rational brain when they are feeling positive.

How to Use Positive Discipline

To use the ideas of positive discipline you need to work to bring the message of love first. Often Children need to have a sense of belonging and significance before they can learn what we want them to learn. If we can get clear on our intent of teaching our child lessons out of love instead of anger, they will be much more inclined to hear us.

Why is it so hard to do this? Because we all have buttons and triggers and our kids now how to push them!! We often know better but we don’t do better. When our buttons are pushed we go into the reptilian brain.

The reptilian brain is where our emotions take over and we can no longer access the more logical parts of our brains. When you feel your reptilian brain kicking in take a timeout, reconnect with your positive emotion and go back to your child in a positive frame of mind. In this act, we teach our children a lesson in and of itself.

My challenge to you: When disciplining your children, try to come from a place of love and caring.

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Embrace Your Mistakes

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Some may find this a shock but I make mistakes. Seriously! Okay, well now that you are over the shock of it all, let’s talk about how to embrace your mistakes and love your imperfect self.

How Do I Embrace My Mistakes?

It is inevitable that you will make mistakes. While making a mistake may feel discouraging or may cause you negative thoughts, they can be useful opportunities to help us improve ourselves.

When you discover you have made a mistake, embrace it by acknowledging any consequences or damage done. Apologize if necessary and take ownership for your mistake. Then identify what you can learn from the situation and move on knowing you will do better next time!

See mistakes as wonderful opportunities to learn. When we accept our mistakes, and ourselves we can learn and realize how our imperfections can help us grow.

It may take some time to adapt to this new style of thinking about mistakes, but there are little things that you can do to incorporate this kind of thinking into your everyday life. If you have a family, make it a practice to create an environment of acceptance towards mistakes. For example, at dinnertime have everyone share a mistake and what he or she learned from it. When we model for our children that we can be imperfect, it gives them the space to feel positively about themselves in spite of the lessons learned through mistakes.

More than anything ~ have the courage to be imperfect, because we all are!

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Teen Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

The teen years involve a lot of stress. Some studies have indicated that teen stress is on the rise.  However, many of the stressors teens face today, are the same as those faced by teens many years past.

Teen Stressors

The teen years involve many unique challenges from other phases of life. Some of these challenges include:

  • Most teens want to fit in. An important part of the teen years is finding a sense of acceptance from friends, family and community. While this is easy for some it can be very difficult for others. The social hierarchy is always at the forefront of teens attention.
  • Hormones are on the rise! Teen years involve many changes biologically which for some happen right on time, for others too slow and for others far too fast.
  • Brain development is rapid. In the teen years the frontal lobe begins to develop allowing teens to plan more and sometimes making them feel they know it all!
  • Peer pressure kicks in to full gear. Teens begin to feel more pressures to fit in to social expectations, to take risks and to try new things, some of which include alcohol, drugs and sexual behaviors.
  • What are you going to do with your life? Increasingly teens are feeling the pressure to figure out what they will be “when I grow up”.

How to Help

As a teen, there are many competing demands from parents, peers, teachers, employers, coaches and more. The goal of the teen years is to develop positive ways to cope with the stress of the increasing demands of life. As parents it is important to be a listening ear for your child as well as to pay attention to their friends and life dramas. Most of all, it is important to foster the sense that your child has the ability to make positive choices for themselves.

Teen stress will always exist. To learn more about how to support your teen in developing the skills to navigate the teen years visit https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/teen-counseling

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Talking to Kids About School Violence

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

With so much media coverage of acts of violence, including school shootings, both adults and children are aware and thinking about violence in schools. We have heard many parents say they don’t want to send their child to school and kids are worried about it too.

When significant acts of violence occur, it is important to be aware that some children may react strongly to these types of events. For parents, teachers and therapists it is important to be able to talk to children about their thoughts and feelings.

How to Cope

Here are some tips and guidelines to help be prepared to talk to children about school violence:

  • Be honest. Give children information they can understand in their own level. Help them to understand that while bad things happen to children sometimes, most children will not get harmed while at school.
  • Limit exposure your child has to violent video games, movie, TV, computer and books. Research shows the violent information has a cumulative effect in children. Also do not describe scenarios that may further frighten your child.
  • Monitor what information your child is getting or already has about the recent events. If they are hearing rumors or have wrong information, help them to understand the facts.
  • Be there for your child. Listen to what they have to say. Reassure your child is safe and that you and their school is working hard to keep them safe.
  • Work to manage your own fear and anxiety. Avoid letting your child take on your worries.
  • Give your child information on how to maintain safety through their actions. Provide them with information on how their school works to keep them safe.
  • Try to maintain normal activities and routines.

When difficult situations such as these occur, it can be hard to manage our own worries and those of our children. It is important to remember that while coverage of these types of school shootings and other acts of violence can be overwhelming, they are very rare.

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Are You Made of “Solid Gold”?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

These days we frequently hear advertisements luring us to sell the “old gold” we having lying around the house. However, how do we know if it’s real? If it’s pure through and through? That got me to thinking about congruence within ourselves. Are we pure gold through and through?

What Does It Mean To Be “Solid Gold”?

It has to do with values. Not WHAT you value, but what DO you value. By this I mean living and behaving according to our values. We all know and admire folks like this. They do what they say and they believe what they do.

In counseling others, I encourage clients to think about this. Are you living and behaving according to your values? When you do, peace will be yours and so will respect. It’s a challenge to really sit back and take our own inventory. It can be much easier to take the inventory of others, however then change doesn’t really occur.

Counseling is a way to gently guide you to your true golden self.

For more information about counseling visit: http://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/individual-counseling

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Waiting for Answers

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

If you’re anything like many of us, you’re all too familiar “dot dot dot” you get while waiting for a response from someone. Often, we see them when we’re finalizing plans, or asking someone how their day went. Other times, we see them in response to a big question, like “Where is our relationship at?” or “Are you mad at me?” That visible pause- in three tiny dots- we see light up our phones puts all of our fears at the forefront of our mind. It can be the most gut wrenching two minutes of your life as you wait for their text to materialize.

What Makes You Pause?

Just think about your life for a minute. Do you feel like you’re on pause, waiting for answers? How many of us have stalled at the “dot dot dot”? We ask ourselves, or our spouses, even our friends, the hard questions like:

-Am I happy in my marriage?

-Am I doing the right thing by taking this new job?

-Should I have another baby?

-Is my son/daughter in need of more help than I can give them?

-Are issues in my prior relationships keeping me from moving on?

-Why can’t I find contentment in my life?

And we don’t have the answer, and neither do they. So we wait for a response, but nothing comes. And we sit, staring at that “dot dot dot” in life, wondering what we do next. How do you know if you’re choosing correctly? Who can you turn to when you don’t have the answers, and people around you can’t help you?

Seek Help

If you are tired of being on pause, waiting for an answer, consider talking to one of our therapists. We are here to listen and help. Our goal is to help you bring more joy, laughter and love into your life. We provide counseling that will help you live your life to the fullest by supporting you through difficult times as well as teaching you skills that will allow you to make changes and progress towards a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life.

Stop waiting for the answers, and let us help you find them.

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Thoughts on Caring for Yourself When in Grief

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

The five areas of ourselves that really need extra care now are (1) your physical self, (2) your emotional self, (3) your mental self, (4) your spiritual self, and (5) your social self. Below are somethings that will help in each of these areas.


  • Good food (junk food, caffeine, & alcohol will sabotage your healing).
  • Sleep/rest – your energy field and immune system are in shock.
  • Walking in nature is healing – head for a park, zoo, or conservatory.


  • Forgiveness and total lack of blame for everyone.
  • Giving support & compassion to all others who are suffering now in this.


  • Get a clear & total understanding of what lead up to the tragedy.
  • Do not make any major decisions for a while.
  •  Silence and calming music will help you heal.


  • Ask God/your Higher Power to allow you to feel his love & support.
  • Know that time always heals.


  • Your family cares about you and wants your well-being.
  • Calm conversations with other family members will help you.
  • Your friends want to help; let them know ways in which they can-
  • Suggest making a meal, walking the dog, doing laundry- anything that seems to be a burden right now. This will help them.

If anyone causes you anxiety, remove yourself from them- some people are negative by nature and will be toxic for you & your recovery.

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Be Open to Outcome, Not Attached to It

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Reflect for a Moment

Do you often find yourself wanting to be in control? Do you end up in a job or relationship for too long because you really want things to work out, even though it causes you unhappiness? Have you ever found yourself continually trying to make something work that just clearly isn’t working? If you answered yes or maybe to any of these questions, this article holds a critical lesson.

Be Open to Outcome, Not Attached to Outcome

This lesson is embedded in the practices of Buddhism. This tends to be a very difficult way of life for people of Western cultures. One of the biggest obstacles is our sense of security in believing things will work out the way we want them to. It seems as though this is a common illusion we often have. A Yiddish proverb tells us “We plan, god laughs.”

Being attached to outcome has many negative consequences as well. If you are attached to an outcome you won’t hear things that are inconsistent with the way you want things to be. In addition, you may end up with unnecessary unhappiness trying to make something work that no matter what you do just isn’t going to work.

Begin paying attention in your own life to whether you are being attached or open to outcome. Furthermore, observe yourself with open-minded curiosity. It is always good to hope for the best. However, it is never wise to expect the best. Remember: be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.

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Count Your Blessings

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. All to often this causes us to become grumpy or irritable and we don’t take time to think about all of the things that make our lives good. So, how can we combat this negativity and remind ourselves of all the things that make our lives wonderful?

Take a Moment to Reflect

Every time something doesn’t go like we planned, or someone annoys us, or needs our time unexpectedly, let’s think of something that’s going right. Let’s think of all the good people in our lives. Moreover, how lucky we are to have things in our lives that sometimes need attention. How does that sound? I once counted my blessings for ten days straight, and have accumulated so many of them that they should last me a long time to come!

I admit, it does sound a bit more simple than it is. However, when negativity appears, it can help us to put things in perspective and neutralize them a bit. The next time you are feeling pessimistic, remember to take a time out and think about one thing that you are grateful for or that brings you happiness.

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Should I Get a Divorce?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Making the decision to divorce is often one of the most difficult choices to make for any person or couple considering separation. If you are questioning your decision or are trying to make a decision about whether or not to separate or divorce your spouse, it is important to think things through.

Of course there is no one question or set of questions to help you make this life decision, however there are some important things to consider that may help you sort through your thoughts and feelings related to your relationship.

Questions To Keep In Mind

  • What are the things that you would miss about this relationship?
  • What would ending this relationship lead you to give up? Think hard on this, there are always things you lose with the ending of a relationship.
  • Are there more things you can do to try to make this relationship work?
  • What is your role in this relationship not working? Are there things you could work on to improve this relationship?
  • Have you gotten all the help you could from counseling, your respected family members or others who may be able to support you in finding ways to work things out?
  • Is this a relationship you could see making improvements?
  • Is your spouse open to working on things?
  • Could you see yourself committing to try couples counseling or another form of relationship help to try to make changes?
  • Do you have children or other family members who will be impacted by this?
  • Can you imagine your life without your partner? If so, are there things you could learn to imagine having your partner also be a part of?
  • Is this relationship abusive in any way (emotionally, physically or verbally)? Is this something your or your partner needs to work on?
  • Are the issues you are having now a pattern you have had in other relationships?
  • Have you done everything you could to make things work? If not, what are your reasons for not trying?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Without working on issues you have and patterns from your current and past relationships, it is important to remember that you may just repeat this pattern in your next relationship. Furthermore, to prevent regrets or just avoidance of your own issues, it is important to consider if there is more you could do to save or repair this relationship.

Ultimately, you need to make this choice for what is best for both you and your family. It is a huge decision with lasting impacts.

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