Archives for the month of: August, 2013

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A guest blogger this week on his experience in AA:

“You are not alone. Those words were carved into a piece of wood hanging on the wall at the very first AA meeting I attended.  I can’t think of a better way to describe my experience with 12 step programs.

I spent my life surrounded by my closest friends yet always felt alone. Finally alcohol removed even my friends and I discovered what real loneliness was.  Seeing those words on the wall comforted me and kept me in AA long enough to realize I could have a life beyond my wildest dreams. Then the steps and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous took over (with a healthy dose of my own willingness).

Anyone out there that can identify with feeling alone in a crowded room, feeling desperately that you want to stop drinking (or any destructive behavior), I encourage you to seek out the fellowship and recovery that I found in AA or whatever 12 step program applies to you.  We have a saying that sums it up nicely. “Give us 90 days and if your life doesn’t get better, we will gladly refund your misery.”  It worked for me, and like the sign said: You Are Not Alone.”

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Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

Family trees have become popular over the past several years due in part to Ancestory.com. The commercials are very catchy and it sparked interest in many people to look at their family history.

In therapy, family trees, called genograms, are used to see patterns in family behavior. Genograms are given as homework assignments for clients to work on and then process in sessions. Patterns can include healthy and unhealthy ones.

Some of the types of patterns that can be plotted include mental illness, substance usage, medical issues, marriages/divorces, family roles, sexual and physical abuse, emotional abuse, traumatic events, and any other significant issues that have impacted a family. This information is used to help a client see how they have been or can be impacted by their family history.

One of the most common traits passed down from generation to generation is drug usage and alcoholism. Completing a genogram can be used with a client who comes from an addicted family. A therapist may point out how generational substance usage can impact other areas of lives. For example, research shows that there is a correlation between substance usage and physical abuse. It depends on what the client is working on, but all the information can be used to move a client along the therapeutic process.

Another way a genogram can be used is to track positive family relationships, personality traits and happy memories. This would be an effective tool to use with a client who wants to forge a relationship with a family or repair a broken system.

If you’re in therapy or working a 12 step program, a genogram is a great supplement to the work you’re already doing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to do your genogram, click here.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

Family.  Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes a burden.  In the world of therapy and personal development, there is a huge focus on family.  In therapy, clients are often encouraged to look at how their family patterns have impacted their current behavior.  Family trees are a popular tool to use to explore how unhealthy patterns are repeated throughout a family.  In personal development, there is also a focus on how problems are passed on from generation to generation.  Often, there is much attention on how families have impacted us in a negative way, the positive is forgotten.

Families, no matter how chaotic, are often the primary source of love and affection.  Families teach us about what to do and what not to do.  What to do: Tie your shoes when you put them on or always hug before going to sleep.  What not to do: Push your sister when she doesn’t give you a toy or disrespect your elders. 

It is my intention for you to think about your family and how to celebrate the relationships that you do have with them.  Look past the hurt and pain and find the love and support.  Think about the funny moments of your childhood.  One of my favorite memories was a pool party my family threw for me and my youngest sister.  My uncle dressed up as Mickey Mouse and we had a huge Godzilla float in the pool.  It’s a memory I can always go back to in order to remember the silly times with my family.  What positive memory can you go back to in order to appreciate the good your family has done for you?

In addition to thinking of fond memories, here’s a list of things you can do to nourish your relationship with your family:

  1. Call a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  2. Throw a party.  Invite every family member (even if they live far away).  Insert fun.
  3. Look through old pictures and reminisce.  Post an old one on Facebook or Twitter for Throwback Thursday. 
  4. Send a postcard or written letter to a family member who would appreciate that type of communication, a grandmother perhaps.
  5. Take a young niece or nephew to the park and blow bubbles with them.   Adults and child nieces and nephews alike?

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

One of the main reasons I was drawn to “Life Counseling Center of Broward” was the feel of the office. It’s warm and inviting. I knew right when I walked in it was where I was meant to be.

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Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.