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31

Stress and Relaxation

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Stress and Relaxation is a balancing act for sure.  Because everyone gets overwhelmed and stressed sometimes. A lot of people struggle to manage stress in life. It is important to have balance in your life, so here are some ideas to consider trying to help reduce your stress by taking the time to relax.

Here are 10 easy ways to practice relaxation:

  1. Read a book or magazine. Reading can help take us out of our present worries and into a new frame of mind.
  2. Any type of exercise can help to burn of stress – run, walk, take a yoga class or lift weights.
  3. Take a moment to just focus on your breath. Try to breathe in counting your inhale and breathe out counting the exhale. Try to exhale for twice as long as you breathe in. For example, breathe in, two three; breathe out, two, three, four, five, six.
  4. Hang out with a friend.
  5. Have a cup of tea or go out for your favorite coffee drink. Then enjoy drinking it while being in the moment.
  6. Do whatever you may be doing one-mindfully. One mindfully is when you focus all of your attention on whatever it is you are doing, if your mind wanders, you notice the thought and then go back to whatever you were focusing on. You can do this while doing homework, while cleaning, while doing the dishes or while moving your body.
  7. Do a craft or hobby that you enjoy. Whatever you enjoy – take time to do what you love most!
  8. Take a nap. You may be amazed what taking a 15-20 minutes snooze can do to your mood.
  9. Take a bath or hot shower. Try doing it one mindfully (see #6).
  10. Change your mindset. Focus on thinking about all of the good things in your life. If you feel grouchy, take time to make a list of all the good in your life.

 

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09

What unique gift or talent do you bring to the world?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
unique gifts

Deep within us all exist unique gifts or talents needed by the world around us. Often we can get stuck in patterns of negativity, unhealthy relationships, a bad job or other things that take away from our talents. Sometimes we may not even know we have lost sight of our talents or maybe they have never been discovered…

Often we have found that when people take time to reflect upon their values and beliefs they are more likely to discover some unique talents about themselves.  Here are some questions that could help you begin to explore your values and beliefs:

Have you asked yourself?

  • What are you energized by?
  • Do you know your personal strengths? (One good tool to help you uncover your strengths is StrengthsFinder 2.0)
  • What is the most important to you in life?  What are the top 10 things? How about the top 5? Or the number one most important thing?
  • Are there things that that you enjoy doing at your current job? What don’t you enjoy?
  • If you could do anything with your life, what would you do? What would be fulfilling about that?
  • Is anything else missing from your life?

While, you may find yourself wondering “what are my talents?” or “I don’t have anything unique to offer the world”, these exist within all of us. Your talent may be your ability to observe beauty around you or it may be your ability to be a good listener to others. Any talent or skill has a way to make the world a better place. Therefore, I encourage you to challenge those thoughts and seek ways to begin uncovering your uniqueness.

In addition, sometimes a person’s values and beliefs are strongly tied to their unique gifts and talents. If you are still struggling to uncover your unique talent, seek a professional counselor or coach to help you to reveal your inner beauty.

As a result, in uncovering your unique talents, you can become able to make choices that will allow you to share your full potential while, making the world a brighter place.

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10

Teen Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

The teen years involve a lot of stress. Some studies have indicated that teen stress is on the rise, yet many of the stressors of teens are the same as those faced by teens throughout the yesteryears. Furthermore, counseling for teen stress can help them to work on the many struggles particular to being an adolescent.

The teen years involve many unique challenges from other phases of life. Let us count the ways teen stress exists:

  • First, most teens want to fit in. An important phase of the teen years is finding a sense of acceptance. Teens seek a sense of this through friends, family and community culture. This is easy for some and very difficult for others and the social hierarchy is always at the forefront of teens attention.
  • Second, 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.
  • Also, brain development is rapid. In the teen years the frontal lobe begins to develop. Thus allowing teens to plan more and sometimes making them feel they know it all!
  • In addition, 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.
  • Last, teens are grappling with questions like, “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”.

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

Since teen stress will always exist, it’s important we learn to support our children through these years. To learn more about how to support your teen in developing the skills to navigate the teen years visit our website here.

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28

What is play therapy? Learn more here!

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Play therapy

What is play therapy? Play therapy is an interactive form of counseling. It that allows children to express themselves. Children express their thoughts, feelings and struggles through play. Adults and teens are often able to understand and express themselves through talk therapy. Children, on the other hand, often have not yet developed the skills to process difficult situations and feelings through traditional talk therapy.

In therapy children are allowed the freedom to express themselves in a therapeutic setting. Play therapy is nonjudgmental and safe. Often children will act out whatever is bothering them through metaphors within their play. Play therapy may involve individual sessions with just the child. It may also include other family members (siblings, parents, etc…). Family therapy is frequently a part of therapy with children as well.

Also, play therapy can include activities such as art, playing board games or playing with dolls. Therapists use the normal ways children play to help them process feelings.

In addition, this therapy also involves a component that includes parents. Parents often can help the child to develop better emotion regulation, positive self esteem and much more. The involvement of parents in a child’s therapy will vary depending upon the presenting concern but may include the following:

  • Parenting skills sessions
  • Family therapy
  • Interaction therapy to improve the parent-child relationship
  • Homework for parents to help the child with as they develop new skills.

For more information about play therapy services in your area, check out: http://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/play-therapy

 

 

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09

Letting Go

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

One of the hardest obstacles in life at times can be in knowing when to let go. Often we have ideas about how things should be or how we want things to be. The trick is in knowing when it’s time to let those wants and beliefs about how things could or should be go.

So, how do you know when to let go? I find that you need to release yourself from those wants when consistently your needs aren’t being met or that hanging on to whatever it may be causes you more unhappiness and pain than vice versa.

Think about the big thing in your life that you are struggling to decide – should I stay or should I go? Yeah, yeah, the song comes to mind for me too! But really, what is it? A job, a relationship, a friendship, an old goal that no longer fuels your passion?

The struggle I often see is setting your expectations for what you want out of whatever it is you struggle to decide to hold on to or to let go of, yet not sticking to those basic needs and desires. Do you need more meaning in your work? Has your relationship become a greater source of unhappiness than happiness? Do you have a friend who has become more of an energy drain than a source of support? Do you have a roommate or spouse who is more of a burden than someone you want to invest time and energy into?

Life seems to sometimes boil down to weighing out the pros and cons. What are the pros or sticking with it versus not? What are the cons of sticking with it versus letting go?

In the end, no one else can decide your right or wrong. No one else can say let it go or stick with it and give it your all.

I encourage you to take the time to weigh out your list of positive versus negative for both options. Often you already know the answer, however sometimes it’s easier to stay complacent. And at the same time, it is your responsibility to get your needs met. If you are in a situation that ultimately is more of a burden than a source of light, often it is time to let go.

Hold your wants lightly. When you practice that, you too become lighter and more able to actualize your best self.
To learn more about becoming your best self and letting go, visit our website at: http://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/individual-counseling

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05

Plant a seed

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Let Love Grow

Let Love Grow

Plant a seed.

You might be wondering – what does that have to do with counseling?! I would argue it is at the core of psychotherapy.

Seeds can be a recommendation, a challenging question or something we notice within another person. Sometimes seeds take root and grow right away and sometimes they stay dormant for years before getting what they need to grow. Be patient and remember to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome – you can plant the seed but you can’t force it to grow.

If you are a parent, you may at times think your kids aren’t listening to a thing you say. I recommend you to keep talking anyway because when you least expect it your kids will start to catch your bits of wisdom.

If you notice someone struggling in life, offer him or her a kind act or caring words. Sometimes the kindness of one person can change the life of another. It’s worth a few minutes of going out of your way.

Sometimes we get stuck on trying to find the extraordinary things we can do to make a difference but really we make the most different through the small things we do. Don’t give up all of the chances to do something good looking for the one chance to do something great.

My challenge to you: plant a seed everyday.

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18

11 Tips for Accepting Criticism

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

11 Tips for Accepting Criticism

 Accepting criticism from others can be a very difficult thing. Accepting criticism can help you improve communication. Here are some tips for how to make criticism productive because we are bound to make mistakes. The key to our mistakes is to be able to learn from them and find a way to become better in the future.

So lets begin reviewing our 11 tips for how to accept criticism:

First, accept that you are not perfect. If you begin each task thinking that nothing will go wrong, you’re fooling yourself. You will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.

Second, double-check your work. After you’ve finished, and before you submit it to your supervisor, be sure you’ve gone over everything carefully. This can help you to avoid silly mistakes and ensure that your boss won’t have to bother you about minor problems.

Don’t take it personally. If your co-worker has criticism for you, remind yourself that it doesn’t necessarily mean s/he doesn’t like you, or that you’re not good enough for the job. Your co-worker is simply trying to ensure that you do the best work possible.

Then, listen carefully. If you ignore critical comments, you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Take notes and continually remind yourself how to fix the problem. This step is the most difficult, as it can mean that one must “suck up” one’s pride and admit one’s responsibility in one’s work-related errors.

Another helpful tip is to ask yourself what can you learn from this criticism. If you feel yourself growing defensive or getting angry, repeat the question ‘What can I learn?’

Now agree with part of the criticism. When faced with criticism, most people focus on the part of the negative feedback that may not be true and ignore the rest. This doesn’t solve any problems, and you don’t learn anything. When you agree with one part of the criticism, you become open to learning. You don’t have to agree with everything; even agreeing with one small aspect of the criticism will create an atmosphere of teamwork. The focus then can become how you’ll work together to solve a problem, which will lessen your feeling of being attacked.

Now you must analyze and evaluate what you’ve heard. You need time to process the information, determine if it’s a valid criticism and decide what you’ll do to solve the problem or correct the mistake. If this is a complaint you’ve heard repeatedly, you should think about what you can learn from the situation so it doesn’t happen again.

In addition, don’t hold a grudge. Staying angry/upset about criticism can affect your future work. Put the mistakes out of your mind and focus on doing the best job possible on the next task.

Make sure to clear the air. If you’re upset with how your co-worker criticized you, let him or her know as soon as possible, so there are no lingering bad feelings between the two of you. Explain why it upset you, and suggest changes that could be made to strengthen your relationship.

Accept the fact that others may see something that you don’t. Even if you don’t agree with the criticism, others may be seeing something that you are not even aware of. If people say that you are negative or overbearing, and you don’t feel that you are, well; maybe you are and you just don’t see it. Allow for the fact that others may be right, and use that possibility to look within your self.

And last, be happy whatever the criticism and do not let the criticism bring you down. It may be that the co-worker has problems at home and is just venting his anger off you as an outlet. Be glad you have at least helped him or her.

Improving your ability to take criticism can help your relationships, so even though it’s hard we hope you give these tips a try.

Adapted from a handout, source unknown.

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17

10 Communication Tips for Couples

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Put your relationship first by seeking couples counseling.

Put your relationship first by seeking couples counseling.

Communication with couples can be difficult. Here we share 10 communication tips for couples. If you are struggling to communicate effectively with your partner, couples counseling has been proven to support improved communication between couples.

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13

What are the different types of therapies you offer?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

It is important as a consumer to know what different types of therapies are available. There are many different theories our therapists pull from to make sure to target the concerns you bring to therapy. We encourage you to talk with your therapist about your treatment and to ask questions about what therapeutic approach is being taken. Below is some information on commonly used therapeutic approaches:

Cognitive Therapy

First, lets learn about cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapies focus on changing one’s attitude, perceptions and perspectives towards both oneself and situations to healthier and more positive ones. Many people develop cognitive distortions that require examination. Examples of cognitive distortions include: mind reading, over generalizing, exaggeration or minimization, self-fulfilling prophecies and more.

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25

Introducing Collaborative’s New Website!

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Check out Collaborative Counseling’s brand new website! Our new site layout features responsive design and interactive content for a customized user experience on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops of any screen size. We are based in Maple Grove, Minnesota; Lakeville, Minnesota; Eau Claire, WI; and Hudson, Wisconsin. Collaborative Counseling provides comprehensive therapy services for all ages. Our skilled and compassionate therapists specialize in a wide range of therapeutic services.

Our main areas of service include:

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