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.
Divorce can be a very difficult and emotional experience. It can be hard to come to terms with the end of a relationship, and it can be even harder to trust someone else again. But it is possible to move on from a longer term relationship and find happiness again.
Tips for managing after a divorce
Here are some tips on how to have a better outlook on life and learn to trust after divorce:
First, allow yourself to grieve. It’s important to allow yourself to feel the pain of divorce. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend that you’re not hurting. Allow yourself to cry, scream, or do whatever you need to do to express your grief.
Talk to someone you trust. Talking to someone you trust can help you to process your emotions and start to heal. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or anyone else who you feel comfortable talking to.
Take care of yourself. It’s important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally after divorce. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. You may also want to consider talking to a therapist or counselor to help you deal with the emotional aspects of divorce.
Focus on the positive. It’s important to focus on the positive aspects of your life, even after divorce. Think about all the things you’re grateful for, such as your health, your children, your friends, and your family.
Give yourself time. It takes time to heal from divorce. Don’t expect to feel better overnight. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to adjust to your new life.
Don’t be afraid to start over. Divorce can be a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to start fresh and create a life that you love. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people.
Divorce is a difficult experience, but it is possible to move on and find happiness again. By following these tips, you can start to have a better outlook on life and learn to trust again. It may take time, but it is possible to learn to trust again after divorce. Start by trusting yourself. Once you’ve learned to trust yourself, you can start to trust others. It’s important to remember that not everyone is like your ex-spouse. There are good people out there who will treat you with respect and love.
Here are some additional tips that may help you
Set realistic goals for yourself. Don’t expect to be over your divorce overnight. It takes time to heal. Set small goals for yourself, such as going out with friends once a week or reading a book every night before bed.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone heals from divorce at their own pace. Don’t compare yourself to friends or family members who seem to be moving on faster than you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling to cope with divorce, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide you with support and guidance as you move through this difficult time.
Remember, you are not alone. Millions of people go through divorce every year. It is possible to move on and find happiness again. With time and effort, you can heal from your divorce and create a new life for yourself.
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
The Valentine’s Day season is around the corner, and so is the pressure to celebrate it. During this time of year, there is no shortage of candy brands reminding us that the best way to express love is through treats. The fact of the matter is that love is a daily choice that requires much more than chocolate.
Oftentimes we can get caught up in the overwhelming stress of life’s commitments. Therapy is a tool that helps us process our feelings and open our minds to giving and receiving love, thereby strengthening our relationship with others.
Therapy teaches us to love ourselves with…
Maybe you’re familiar with the phrase “You are your own worst critic”.
Unfortunately, this phrase holds more truth than we want to believe. Psychology Today’s article discusses the negative impact that self-criticism can have on our mental health. Therapy creates a safe space where we can process the internal disapproval that we allow ourselves to be burdened with. By reducing some of these burdens, we can free our minds to make room for more positive mindfulness and self-love.
When we’ve learned to exercise compassion, there will then be space for recognition. The thought of having to be mindful and vulnerable is scary, but breaking down our internal barriers empowers us to see our strengths. All too often, we do not give ourselves enough credit for the good qualities that we have. We have a tendency to break ourselves down, instead of building ourselves up. By doing the opposite, and recognizing our strengths, we can master the art of loving who we are.
One way we can learn to love ourselves is by taking steps to help us meet our potential. Therapy creates a safe space where we can discover what we need to grow. This can be hard to do, as sometimes we are forced to acknowledge parts of ourselves that we hope not to. But, by managing bad habits or negative mindsets, we can develop into the thriving person we hope to be.
Therapy teaches us to love others with…
Communication is an important part of every relationship. If you google synonyms for “communication” you might find words like “give” or “deliver”. Very rarely do we equivocate communication with “receiving”. It’s important to remember that communication between two people goes both ways. While this practice requires speaking with calm tones and kind words, it also requires active listening. Therapy not only teaches us the techniques to be heard, but also the ability to hear others. This can be hard to put into practice, but, when done correctly, allows us to build a greater connection.
When we interact with others, we tend to get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to forget that the other person has a different perspective from our own. Therapy teaches us to take a step back and recognize the kinds of burdens that others might be carrying. Check out Psychology Today’s article on the 5 Ways Empathy is Good for Your Health. By practicing empathy, we will find that we can build stronger connections with others.
Just like we should work to be less critical of ourselves, therapy helps us to be less critical of each other. It can be hard to let go of the things that hurt us, but the practice of compassion can help us move forward. Therapy creates a safe environment where we can learn this skill, together, and strengthen our connections.
As we wind down from the holidays and settle back into our routines, we may find ourselves already dreading the season of cold and day-to-day living that awaits us. At times like these, it is important to actively engage in self-care. Some days, taking care of ourselves can come naturally. However, there are some days when it just feels like we don’t have enough time or energy to devote to proper care for our minds and bodies.
Here are 5 simple methods of self-care that will have a big impact on how you feel with a small impact on your schedule.
We tend to associate being dehydrated with extreme physical symptoms. We forget that it can be a mild, everyday, occurrence resulting in a profound impact on our mental health. Drinking water throughout the day can help boost your energy and your mood, reducing overall feelings of depression and anxiety. If you struggle to keep up with your water intake, start with small goals. For example, drink a glass of water when you wake up, and at every meal. There are also great resources, and apps to help you track how much water you drink a day. Find a system that works for you, and start small. Remember to set achievable goals, and build as you go.
Listen to Music
Listening to some good beats can be an excellent way to add simple self-care to your routine. It can help you gear up for your day, or wind down for the evening. You might have 5 minutes to sit and meditate, or have a day packed full of activities. Luckily, listening to music is an easy self-care method that can fit into any schedule.
How does science link music to mental health? The University of Central Florida has a great tool that helps us understand how music positively impacts each area of the brain. Check it out here: https://www.ucf.edu/pegasus/your-brain-on-music/
Take a Warm Shower (or bath)
When we experience extreme emotions like stress or anxiety, our muscles can get very tense. We might start to feel like we are stuck, or that our bodies have locked up. Taking 10 minutes for a hot shower can help relieve a lot of that tension, and allow us to relax. If you find that you have some extra time, try taking a warm bath right before bed to get a good night’s sleep.
Take a Hike!
…Actually, even a short walk around the block will do some good. A study done in 2013 found that people who suffered from depression experienced a positive mood shift after walking outside for 50 minutes. In addition to a mental boost, a walk around the neighborhood is a simple and free way to add a little exercise to the day.
Check our our blog post on what happens when you spend time outside.
This last act of simple self-care requires little effort but will have mighty results. Deep breathing sessions are a great way to help the mind and body find a space to relax. If you’re experiencing anxiety, it can also slow your heart rate, and help to regain control. This exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Some smartwatches and phones come with guided breathing applications that make the process easy and convenient.
If you want to give it a try, you can also check out this 3-minute guided breathing exercise video
These 5 acts of Simple Self-Care are a great way to boost your mood, and they only take 30 minutes or less. Consider adding just one to your daily routine, and you will find that even the slightest change can make a big difference.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.