Trauma informed care has become a highly coveted model for treating people who have experienced traumatic experiences or events. Read more to learn about trauma and this form of treatment.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is defined as an emotional or psychological response to an event that is deeply distressing or disturbing. It can refer to things that are upsetting, such as being involved in an accident, loosing a close loved one, or going through a divorce. It can also refer to the extreme end of the spectrum as well. This would be things that are severely damaging such as assault or kidnapping.
Trauma informed care is not about specific techniques. It is an overall approach to providing care. Trauma informed care should include the following six principles.
A safe therapeutic environment is essential to aid in recovery.
Trauma related symptoms and behaviors originate from adapting to traumatic experiences.
Recovery from trauma is a goal in treatment.
Resiliency and trauma resistant skills training are part of treatment.
It focuses on client strengths.
Trauma recovery is a collaborative effort.
What to Look for in a Trauma Informed Therapist
First and foremost, a trauma therapist should realize the impact that trauma has on a person. They should also have an understanding of potential paths for recovery. They should also be able to detect the signs of trauma in clients. Along with being able to detect the signs they should be able to respond to these signs. They should use their full knowledge of trauma practices and procedures to assist their client. Lastly, a trauma informed therapist should actively resist re-traumatizing clients.
The Importance of Trauma Informed Care
Everyone has different reactions to traumatic events. Some people may be able to cope with and move past their trauma rather quickly, whereas others may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The way people react to and retell the traumatic event that they experienced can determine whether the people around them will believe what happened. Those who react with strong emotion are often seen as more credible than those who remain stoic and are able to look past the emotion.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme is “Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority.” Here at Collaborative we asked our providers to share their thoughts on mental health and well-being for all.
“What would our lives and communities look like if mental health was a priority?”
“I think there would be more compassion for all human experience and an openness to hear one another’s stories. I believe hearing each other’s story has the capacity to connect us, not divide us. People wouldn’t be so afraid of judgement to share their experiences.” – Coleen Kittleson, LPCC, LPC, NCC
“If mental health was a priority, we would spend more time connecting with one another. Our culture values busy-ness and being so busy all of the time detracts from our ability to play and have fun. I also think we would place more value on caring for our children and loved ones. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘If you want to change the world, go home and love your family,’ said by Mother Theresa.” – Naomi Doriott Larson, LPCC, LPC, owner of Collaborative Counseling
“If mental health was a priority, people would recognize the importance of kindness. A little goes a long way. We are all different so it only makes sense that we are not going to agree with or fully understand each other, and that is okay! What is key, though, is recognizing we have a choice in how we respond to the situations we experience and to those around us.” – Rian Rahm, MS, LPC
What are some steps we can take to make mental health a priority?
“I think communities could address this by increasing social opportunities for all and increasing an individual’s sense of community. Host social gatherings and physical fitness opportunities for all ages.” – Cynthia Hunt, LCSW
“We advocate and educate for mental health at every micro and macro opportunity. It is essential that diversity and intergenerational trauma is a part of the conversation. Mental health professionals create partnerships with community organizations, businesses, schools and hospitals. We could also create a public relations campaign for mental health. This would send a message that it is not only connected to physical health, but just as important as physical health.” – Coleen Kittleson, LPCC, LPC, NCC
“Since I was a teen, my mom would let me take mental health days from school (as long as I had good grades). I think we need to view mental health with the same priority that we view physical health. When we are worn down, we need to be allowed to take a day off. And on top of that, instead of being so busy, we all need to have down time to just be with one another and connect. Feeling connected to others is essential for the well-being of humans. Sadly, many people we see do not have that connection in their life.
The first five years are developmentally critical for lifelong wellbeing. If we would provide more support and resources for parents who lack resources and skills, we could make a world of difference in mental health outcomes.
As a society, I believe that we are only doing as well as those who are struggling the most. Finding a way to make healthcare, including mental healthcare, accessible for all is something that would improve our overall well-being. Our society could benefit from balancing our individualism with a collectivistic mindset. This requires us to see that we all do better when we all do better.” – Naomi Doriott Larson, LPCC, LPC, owner of Collaborative Counseling
National Resources for Making Mental Health a Priority
With all that has happened in the past year, we know life may feel monotonous, repetitive and dreary at times. You are navigating life through a pandemic! Life is hard and there is no question that it has been even more difficult these last 12 months.
Spring is a wonderful time to consider ways to grow and bring to life the things you love! There are gentle reminders all around us in springtime that nudge us in the direction of healing and growth. Here are some things that may be tools for you this spring to help foster a season of change and redirection if you are feeling stuck in your ways.
1. Cook a new meal from fresh herbs
It may be too soon to grow your own, but until that day comes, fresh herbs from the grocery store may do the trick! Try a chicken pesto pasta with fresh basil, or a Greek gyro with fresh dill.
2. Spend time outside on walks through a park
While this is a very common spring activity with Midwesterners who are itching to get outside, find a way to switch it up every week! Find a new local park or grab an afternoon tea on your way to a park for your evening walk.
3. Plant seeds or fresh flowers
Planting annuals is a great way to switch up your landscaping outside! Go to your local greenhouse, Lowe’s, Home Depot or Menards and choose from a selection of annuals to add to a flower box or landscaping around your home. The bright colors in these floral arrangements will surely bring a smile to your face!
4. Stop and smell the roses
Quite literally! If you notice a bright beautiful tree or a large bush of lilacs, take five seconds and soak it in! The aroma of spring and the flowers from the trees only lasts for a few weeks a year, so don’t miss it when you see it.
5. Try a new local coffee shop or small business
Beautiful weather makes for a great afternoon of sitting outside a local coffee shop or leisurely checking out a new local store. It is fun to see what hidden gems are right in your neighborhood!
We hope that these ideas give you a boost of creativity or a sense of renewal this spring. Embracing change can be hard, and it can also be so fun to find something new you love with new experiences.
This article shares about types of licensure so you can understand the difference in types of therapists. There are several ways that one can pursue education in order to become a therapist. Understanding the differences in each licensure will help you understand how your therapist, or potential therapist is trained.
Here we will outline some of the most common licensures that our therapists have here at Collaborative Counseling.
Above all else, a masters degree is required before obtaining licensure. Therapists can received a masters degree in many areas of study. These include psychology, social work, counseling, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and many more.
It typically takes two years to complete a masters program. And requires completion of a four year degree.
Once a masters degree is obtained and before one can take the state or professional exam, several steps of provisional licensure and supervised counseling take place. When an applicate completes and passes this exam, they are a licensed therapist.
In the U.S., requirements for becoming a therapist are determined by state. As a result, the requirements vary depending where you live.
Here are general descriptions and requirements of different licensure.
Licensed Psychologist (PhD, PsyD, or EdD)
Generally, you will need a doctoral degree to practice as a licensed psychologist. Doctorate programs are often the highest level of education in most fields. They take around four years to complete, after completing a bachelors degree. These psychologists have the ability to do psychological testing. In general, other licensed professionals cannot.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
Licensed Professional Counselors are masters level mental health providers. They require:
A minimum of 700 hours of supervised field experience in graduate school
Depending upon degree, 2,000-3,000 hours of post-graduate clinical supervision hours
Passing the credentialing exam
These professionals can work in a variety of settings, including communities and private practice. LPC’s work with individuals, families, couples and groups.
In Minnesota, LPC is not a common licensure, but Wisconsin uses these requirements for LPC’s.
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors are also masters level professionals that have a masters degree in counseling or another related field. Some requirements for these counselors include:
an additional 2,000 post graduate supervision hours for licensure compared to LPC’s, for a total of 4,000 hours.
passing the credentialing exam
This is a more common licensure in Minnesota because this is the license insurance companies will reimburse.
LPCC providers can work in a variety of settings including private practice, residential facilities, community based agencies, schools and more! This licensure level is trained to offer therapy to individuals, couples, families, and groups.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)
A Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker is within the field of Social Work. These training programs focus on therapy from a perspective of the community that surrounds oneself.
To become a LICSW:
First, one must get their masters in social work (MSW)
After that you work towards licensure via clinical experience in and after graduate school.
After schooling comes a post graduate school experience. During this time social workers are supervised by a fully licensed person before receiving their own independent licensure.
Then they must take the state licensing exam.
Also, another variation of LICSW’s is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). This includes minor changes in requirements from state to state. For example, LCSW’s practice in Wisconsin, while LICSW’s practice in Minnesota.
A big benefit of this type of license is the type of insurance that LICSW’s and LCSW’s can accept. For example, they are able to accept Medicare if they choose to, while other licensed professionals do not have the option to accept this due to Medicare guidelines.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
Licensed Marriage and Family therapists are another sub-sect of mental health providers that offer services to couples, families, and individuals. While LMFT’s do tend to work more in family and relationship settings, this is not the only population LMFT’s can work with.
Marriage and family graduate programs focus more on the family systems and relationships surrounding one’s life. This training informs and impacts the way LMFT’s approach therapy.
These therapists require:
4,000 hours of post graduate supervised experience
Passing the national MFT exam.
LMFT’s can also work in private practice, community settings or residential facilities.
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors are master level professionals. They require:
Completion of 880 hours of supervised experience during the alcohol and drug graduate program
Candidates must pass the licensing exam
Having a variety of training programs for counseling helps keep our field diverse. It also helps provide a variety of specialties in our field. The vast array of services that are offered come from the differences in licensure. Providers with different licensure often focus their practice in certain specialties based on their degree and license.
However, a provider’s specific area of expertise could vary. It is best to schedule an appointment or meet a therapist personally to see if they are the best fit for you. We hope it helped to learn about the types of licensure of our providers.
According to the ADAA, anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults every year. In addition, we are living in a very anxious time with all that is happening with COVID-19. While it is common to experience anxiety on a daily basis, there are also small steps to take to reduce the anxiety in our lives.
Here are six simple ways to fight the stress in your life.
1. Meditation and breathing
There are many ways to engage in mindful breathing and meditation, but one way in particular is yoga practice. Yoga helps you connect your mind and body. According to one study, researchers found that yoga practice shows a decrease in anxious and depressive symptoms in a variety of populations.
This is a technique that connects you to the present moment. Use the 3-3-3 rule in time of anxiousness. Name 3 things you see, 3 things you hear and move 3 body parts. Doing this will bring you back to the present moment and help you focus on what is happening around you.
3. Put stress in perspective
Take a step back and view your stress as part of a bigger picture. Try to maintain a positive attitude, and keep doing your best with the situation in front of you. Laugh often!
4. Food and drink
Limit alcohol consumption and stick to healthy, well-balanced meals. Avoid skipping meals, plan ahead and always have a healthy snack option on hand.
Rethink your thoughts and fears. Often times when we are anxious, we think of worst-case scenarios. Each time a worry comes into your mind, reframe the thought and speak what you know is true about the situation.
6. Practice saying no
Saying no to requests that others ask of you isn’t always selfish. By saying no to some things, you allow yourself to give more time and energy to the tasks that are already on your plate.
These techniques can be a small step in reducing the anxiety in your life. If you or someone you know is looking to set up an appointment with a counselor, our therapists at Collaborative Counseling are open to scheduling new clients through the Telehealth platform, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Take a small step today to create a warm and welcoming work environment from home!
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.
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.
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.
Being Present: giving your complete attention to the person struggling in a non-judgmental way
Accurate Reflection: Summarize what the person has said, try to really understand and not judge the person’s experience
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!
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.
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.
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.