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14

Summer in The Twin Cities

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

We know this summer will not feel the same as usual, but many businesses are putting together creative ways to stay busy, social and active in this unprecedented time. Here is a list of activities to do with friends and family both indoor and out, all while supporting small businesses and staying safe! Make sure to check out businesses near you for ways to get involved there too.

Activities with kids

Outdoor activities

  • Minnesota Zoo
    • The Minnesota Zoo is now open! For tickets and information, click here.
  • Como Conservatory
    • In addition to the reopening of the Como Zoo, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is open by reservation!
    • The Como Zoo is also offering “Camp in a Box”, where kids are given supplies for 5 days of camp activities, such as crafts and scavenger hunts. Find information here!
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
    • The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is open for driving and walking access, but tickets and reservations are needed ahead of time. Check out this link for more information!

Food and Restaurant activities

  • Bummed about the canceled Minnesota State Fair? Here are some ways you can fill those state fair food cravings from those vendors but in a different location!
  • Eat Drink Dish MPLS and Twin Cities Eater are great resources for finding local restaurants to support during this time.
    • Eat Drink Dish MPLS allows you to search for restaurants that are doing curbside pickup, delivery, and are categorized into neighborhood communities. This makes it easy to find new places right in your backyard!
    • Twin Cities Eater compiled a list of places you can order “Take and Bake” meals from your favorite Minneapolis and St. Paul restaurants!
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08

Trauma Informed Therapy

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Individual Therapy for PTSD Treatment

If you are beginning your search for therapy, it can be hard to know where to start. It can be overwhelming to understand the types of therapy that are offered by therapists, and which one might be a good fit for you. Here we will cover the basics of trauma informed therapy and how this type of therapy may be helpful for you.

What is trauma?

Trauma is any distressing experience. Anyone can deal with trauma and we can experience trauma in varying degrees. 

Karen Onderko, the Director of Research and Education at Integrated Listening Systems describes different levels of trauma through large “t” and little “t” trauma. 

We often ignore or disregard little trauma, because these are things that do not completely disrupt our daily life. As Onderko puts it, small “t” trauma “seem(s) surmountable”. Life changes, relationship conflict or financial troubles can be trauma. The internalization of these events may be interpreted differently for everyone, so for some, they may not be as distressing.

On the other hand, large trauma sends us into deep distress or helplessness. These tend to be larger experiences, including things like traumatic events or ongoing stressors, such as emotional or physical abuse.  These are things that most people think of when they hear the word, “trauma”.

It’s important to acknowledge and understand that we can all experience trauma in many different forms and at different levels. Everyone internalizes life events differently.

What does trauma informed therapy mean?

Trauma informed therapy aims to understand how trauma affects one’s life. This type of therapy is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which sees to identify our thoughts about how we view our current life situation or issue. CBT helps us learn how to change the way we view or think of ourselves.

Trauma informed therapy helps us process events that have happened in our past, how that may be triggering to us, and the effect it may take in our life.

How can it help?

The effectiveness of therapy increases when we discuss and recognize our trauma. It searches to identify and understand the root of our pain or anxiety, and then helps us understand ourselves from that perspective. 

This type of therapy is beneficial to anyone who experiences trauma—large or small. Through these traumas, we can see how that may influence our behavior. Understanding our behavior from this perspective may also help us grow into healthier behaviors sooner.

Overall, trauma informed therapy may be a good option for therapy for some, but there are plenty of types of therapy that are beneficial to those seeking help.

To find a list of therapy types, click here.

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14

How to create a healthy work environment from home

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
unique gifts

If you are making the transition to work at home, it can be difficult to navigate working and living in the same place. It is helpful to make small changes that will make your work-at-home experience a positive one.

Here are a few things you can do to create a healthy work environment:

1. Designate an office space for yourself

Set up an office area with reliable connectivity and the essentials. Then add some color or décor to make it an enjoyable place to spend your day. Face a window or add some green!

2. Keep a routine

Set a routine that will help you start your day off on the right foot. Do you look forward to your morning coffee? Get up a few minutes earlier, find a sunny seat in your house and enjoy a few quiet moments. Plan out your meals and move and take stretch breaks throughout the day. 

Small things like this can set your day on the right track! 

3. Give your eyes a break

Blink often, wear blue-light glasses, adjust your monitor and take eye breaks. Use the 20-20-20 rule by looking at something 20 yards away for at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.

4. Dress the part

It is easy to wear lounge clothes while working from home, but challenge yourself to act like you are getting ready to head into the office. Doing this helps to create a more professional work environment, limits distraction and promotes productivity!

5. Plan for times out of the office

Whether this is a walk around the neighborhood, or doing something productive around the house on your break, make sure you have a moment to step away from your desk.

Woman Practicing Being Present and Mindful
Take a moment each day to spend time outside or in the sun.

Take a small step today to create a warm and welcoming work environment from home!

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07
Understanding PTSD Through Individual Counseling Services

We live in a day and age where technology can be consuming, but during this time of “social distancing” there are many ways that we can use technology to stay connected from a distance.

You can use apps such as Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, and Houseparty to connect with family and friends!

1. Share with friends

Reach out to friends and family and keep them updated on how you are doing with all of your time spent at home. Share what books you are reading, shows you are watching, or small things you have accomplished throughout the day. 

2. Snail mail

Go old school, find a pen pal and write them a letter. Document what you are experiencing in this time of quarantine, then you will have these letters to look back on in years to come.

3. Virtual game night

Looking for something to do with friends while all staying in your own homes? Virtual game night! You can play charades, Heads Up, Pictionary, Drawful and many other games with a group of friends or family all through a video chat platform.

4. Cook-off

Share your favorite recipe with friends, and make each other’s favorite dishes. Video chat your meal with each other and share how your meal turned out!

Make it a little more exciting by leading your friends in a “follow-along” recipe night, and teach them how to make your favorite dish while they follow along in their own kitchen.

5. Create a virtual event

Make a Facebook event and invite some friends to join you for a virtual party. Create a virtual spa night, or “host” video game tournaments with friends. Plan to all watch the same movie or documentary together and discuss it after!

We all know that actually engaging with others face-to-face is the best type of interaction, but talking through these technological platforms allow us to stay connected in any situation.

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02

The Power of Validation

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Happiness

Validation is a powerful tool that can be implemented in almost every relationship we have. According to Karyn Hall, PhD: “Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors as understandable.”

Why Do We Need Validation?

Validation is important for us to feel accepted by others. As most of us can attest to, feeling like you belong and matter is an important part of  feeling good about yourself. When we validate others, it brings us closer and strengthens the relationship. Additionally, validation helps us to build understanding with others and aids in effective communication. Validation also helps people feel important and cared for. This is especially true for kids who need validation to feel connected to their parents, express emotions and to develop a secure sense of self.

Levels of Validation

Marsha Linehan, PhD, has identified six different levels of validation and some tips on how to implement them.

  1. Being Present: giving your complete attention to the person struggling in a non-judgmental way
  2. Accurate Reflection: Summarize what the person has said, try to really understand and not judge the person’s experience
  3. Reading someone’s behavior and guessing what they may be thinking or feeling: pay attention to the person’s emotional state and label their emotion or infer how they may be feeling. Be sure to check in with the person to make sure your guess is accurate!
  4. Understanding someone’s behavior in terms of their history and biology: think about how someone’s past experiences may be affecting how they are feeling now, in this moment or situation.
  5. Normalizing or recognizing emotional reactions that anyone would have: recognize that many people may feel the way that you or the other person is feeling in a given situation and let them know that it’s okay to feel this way as many people do.
  6. Radical genuineness: this happens when you are able to understand how someone is feeling on a deeper, personal level. Perhaps, you have had a similar experience. Sharing that with the other person can help to validate their feelings and reactions.

Putting Words Into Action

Learning to validate others can be easier said than done. However, being more conscience of how our words affect others and even implementing the first few levels of validation can make a big difference in our relationships and interactions with others. An essential tenant of the therapeutic relationship is validation. It is important to know that we must first be able to validate ourselves before being able to validate others. Therapy can help you to achieve self-validation skills as well as learning skills to validate others. For more information about our clinicians and how they can help, visit: https://www.collaborativemn.com/meet-our-team.

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20

How to Cope With Holiday Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Woman Stressed about the Holidays

While the holidays can bring plenty of joy, for many people it can be a very stressful time of year. Almost a quarter of American’s report feeling “extreme stress” around the holiday season. Even if you are not someone who experiences a great amount of stress around this time of year, here are some coping skills you can use yourself or share with others who may be struggling with the stress of the holiday season.

Let Go of Expectations

We often become fixated on our expectations and become upset when reality does not match those expectations, especially when it comes to the holidays and traditions. Remember that things may not go perfectly or exactly as planned but that is not what really matters. The holidays are an opportunity to surround ourselves with friends and family and to share in experiences that bring us closer together.

Be Present and Mindful

The holidays are obviously a very busy and fast-paced time of year for many people. While it can be easy to fall into this pattern of go, go, go, be mindful of when you are experiencing stress or anxiety and when it may be time to take a break. Around this time of year, we tend to be focused on the needs of others and let our own needs fall by the wayside. It is important to make time for self-care, whatever that means for you.

Set Boundaries

Know your limits and know when to say “no” to things. Stress and anxiety can often arise from taking on too much at once. Part of good self-care is knowing when you have reached your capacity and setting boundaries around the use of your time (including who you spend time with and when). Know that you do not have to attend every holiday event you are invited to or spend time with people who do not make you feel your best.

Maintain Your Routine

With the holidays come plenty of fun events and delicious treats to enjoy. However, trying to maintain most of your daily routine can help greatly when it comes to coping with stress. Exercise, diet and sleep are key components to both mental and physical health. Most people do not get enough sleep and holiday stress can exacerbate that problem. Taking a daily walk, setting a “bed-time” for yourself and/or starting your day with a healthy breakfast can help you to feel and stay on track and maintain healthy habits during a time when schedules tend to fluctuate.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of extreme stress! Try to focus on the things that fill you up rather than the things that drain you. Spend more time doing things and spending time with the people who lift you up and make you feel your best. Most of all, remember that the holidays are what you make them, no more and no less.

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13

Understanding Depression

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Growing Plant Symbolizing Hope for Depression

There is a common misconception that depression is a choice. The truth is that depression is a common yet serious mood disorder that has to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain. People experience depression in a number of ways and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Depression can affect how someone feels and thinks as well their daily activities such as work and sleeping. There are a variety of factors that can put someone at-risk for developing depression such as:

  • Genetics: Depression can be hereditary and runs in families.
  • Environmental Factors: exposure to neglect, abuse and violence can be risk factors for depression.
  • Personality: Traits such as low self-esteem and being easily overwhelmed by stress can make people more vulnerable to depression.
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop depression.

It should be noted that depression can look different for everyone. Some common symptoms of depression include.

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in hobbies/activities
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability

Treatments for Depression

There are several therapeutic treatment options for depression. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based CBT and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) have all been shown to help reduce depressive symptoms and increasing coping skills.

Many courses of treatment for depression will include medications such as anti-depressants in combination with psychotherapy to treat depression. Remember, no two people are alike and therefore, neither are their treatments. What worked for one person may not work for you.

Additionally, activities such as yoga and exercise in general as well as meditation and healthy eating can all have an impact on our overall mood and help to decrease depressive symptoms.

If you are struggling with depression the first step is reaching out for help. Visit our website at: https://www.collaborativemn.com/  to learn more about the services we offer and the people who can help.

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18

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Depression & Alzheimer's

June is national Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month. Alzheimer’s has become a focal point in the discussion of memory disorders over the last decade. However, there is still confusion about what exactly Alzheimer’s is and how to cope when a loved one develops the disease.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. It causes issues with memory, behavior and thinking. Often times, people associate getting older with being forgetful. They assume things like memory loss are a normal part of aging. However, this is not the case. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects a person’s ability to function in daily life and worsens over time. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease mainly affects individuals ages 65 and older, it can happen earlier in life. This is called early-onset Alzheimer’s and it affects approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65.  The most common symptom of the disease is trouble remembering new information.

What’s Next?

Unfortunately, there is currently not a cure for Alzheimer’s. There are, however, some treatments for the symptoms of the disease. It can be difficult to learn that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and there are many new unknowns when it comes to the future. As a caregiver, friend or family member, it is important to seek out support to cope with this new phase of life. It may be wise to find a support group for others in the same situation or your own individual therapist.

How Can a Therapist Help?

Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease therapy can help a recently diagnosed individual deal with the emotions surrounding this news. Emotions such as depression, agitation and anxiety, which can be side effects of the disease, can be addressed in therapy. Therapy can also help an individual come to terms with and eventually, accept their diagnosis.

Depression affects up to 40% of Alzheimer’s patients making it an important issue to address with this population. Depression can prevent those with the disease from participating in activities such as physical exercise and mentally engaging activities, which can help to improve their overall condition.

Visit our website to learn more about how our team can help you or a loved one through this time of change at: https://www.collaborativemn.com/meet-our-team

For more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia visit: https://www.alz.org

 

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23

How to Find the Right Therapist For You

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Therapist and client

Trying to find a therapist that is a good fit for you can be challenging. While there are many wonderful therapists in the field, you need to know what you are looking for in a therapist to determine if they will be a good fit for you. Here, we share some tips to finding the right therapist for you.

Credentials

There are many different degree’s and titles that a therapist can hold. Below is a breakdown of the various titles and degrees and what they mean.

  • Psychologists: This is someone who holds a Doctoral Degree, either a PhD or PsyD. In addition to being trained in psychotherapy and counseling, they are also trained in psychological testing for issues such as ADHD or Autism.
  • Social Workers: These individuals hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW). Social workers who perform therapy will have the title LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker). Their education focuses on systems including the family and the community. They typically work with families and groups in addition to individuals.
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors: LPCC’s hold a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. They work with a variety of mental health issues and modalities. Their education focuses on being client-centered versus illness-centered.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists: LMFT’s hold a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Their education focuses on family systems and relationships. They typically see couples, families and individuals.
  • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors: LADC’s hold a Bachelor’s Degree at minimum. However, some people choose to hold this license in addition to their main license. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders.

Look Around

Take your time and look at therapist biographies and profiles on company websites or sites like https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists.You can see pictures and descriptions of therapists as well as the issues they work with and their specialties. When looking at therapist bio’s take notice if they are selling themselves orthe work they do and their philosophy when it comes to working with clients. Pictures can be a helpful first indication to if you will feel comfortable with a therapist, so follow your gut! When searching for a therapist, keep in mind your preferred gender as well.

Keep an Open Mind

Once you choose a therapist, keep in mind that there is no obligation to return if you do not feel it was a good fit. Often, people will continue to see someone they do not connect with. Many times, this is because they do not want to hurt the therapist’s feelings. Remember, the therapeutic relationship should benefit you. If you feel you would connect better with someone else, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you decide to try someone else out, keep in mind what you liked about the previous therapist and what you did not. This will help you narrow your search and hone in on someone who may be perfect for you.

Check out the therapists we currently offer at our various locations within Collaborative Counseling!

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11

Antidepressants Versus Placebo

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
The Collaborative Counseling Can Help

There has long been a debate over the use of antidepressant medications to treat depression. Recent research indicates that antidepressants may be just as effective as using a placebo medication.

What is a Placebo?

A placebo medication is essentially a sugar pill many studies use to compare true medications to. Those taking the placebo believe they are getting better because they think that they have been given the true medication.

It is important to remember that antidepressant medications have helped millions of people. Therefore, this study doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medication. It does however indicate that they may not be the best first option for treating depression.

Alternative Options

Psychotherapy and counseling are proven to be effective treatments for depression. In fact, they are as effective as medication in the treatment of moderate, severe and even very severe depression. For some patients, the combination of psychotherapy with an initial course of antidepressants can work even better. However, the question now is – how do the drugs work? One possibility is that medication with therapy works best because people believe that it will.

Many people are hesitant to go on medication. This research indicates psychotherapy as an equally effective alternative to antidepressants.

If you or someone you know may be depressed, it is recommended to seek out medical and therapeutic advice to determine the best approach to help yourself or your loved one in overcoming their depression.

Learn more about psychotherapy at: https://www.collaborativemn.com/individual-therapy/

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