Archives for posts with tag: counseling

I got a call from an old client recently. I accidentally scheduled an appointment for him through my online system and he was calling to let me know. We chatted briefly and he reported that he is doing much better than when he came in to see me. He was experiencing debilitating symptoms at the time and despite previous attempts at treatment, medication and current therapy with me, his symptoms just weren’t lifting. He suddenly called me one day and dropped out of treatment. And for me, that is where our story ended, or so I thought. My goal with clients is to help them heal and relieve symptoms and at the same time respect their decision to change course in treatment. I’m a naturally inquisitive person and often wonder what happens to people I don’t hear from again. Little did I know, I was going to have the chance to find this out.

When I spoke to him, he reported that something I said must have sunk in. Something shifted inside of him and changed. He sounded really great on the phone and shared that he was feeling great too. He thanked me for the work we did together and we hung up. I gave our conversation some thought and wondered how this turned out to be a treatment success, when if someone had asked me prior to talking to him, I would have said treatment was not effective. What I was able to recognize that the biggest factor in his case, and with many people, is the desire to have things differently in their life. The biggest factor of change in therapy is the client. I am simply a conduit for change. I provide the tools and feedback, but it’s up to the client to do something with that information given. This was truly a case of reciprocity that continued on past the time in my office. This client was able to show me that no matter what technique was being done and what really insightful information was explored, it has to do with a person’s willingness and desire to have a different life.

So now I decided to write a post about this topic for both myself and you, the reader. It served as a reminder to me that even though I might not see the fruits of my labor right away as a therapist, the seeds were planted and someone can bloom in their time, in their way. As for current and future clients, I implore you to think about what you desire in your life and how you (and me) can make it happen. It is after all the New Year and a time for renewal and setting intentions. What do you want your 2015 to look like? Are you currently in therapy and feeling stuck? Just remember therapy is a process and things take time and who knows, one day you will be able to call your old therapist and gush about the shifts you have made in your life.

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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.

Disclaimer: The client stories posted on this blog are intended to provide learning opportunities or address challenges in the home- or community-based counseling settings. Identifying information has been omitted and details have modified as necessary.

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Having a defiant toddler can feel like you are losing all of your power, especially if you are engaging in power struggle and find yourself giving in or walking away as the “victor” but not feeling good about the interaction. Every parent wants to feel in control with their children but sometimes they make it difficult to be the empowered parent you always wanted to be. Here are five tips for you to disengage in power struggle with your toddler.

Negotiate to achieve Win/Win
During conflict, one side is attempting to get their way or assert their desire over the other person. What if you decided to come from a win/win stance and look for ways you and your child could benefit? If you are fighting over bedtimes, you want him to get sleep and he wants to watch one more episode of tv, what is the win/win? If he watches one more episode, will you be able to complete one more work assignment? When you work towards win/win, both keep leave the conflict with a sense that they mattered and they were able to negotiate what they wanted. Can you think of a situation where you could have negotiated win/win and had an amicable outcome?

Do something completely unexpected
Is your child throwing a temper tantrum about something? Why not turn on the music and dance! Do something unexpected and see what type of response you get. It will probably confuse them in the beginning and then show them that you are not willing to go into power struggle. They will be forced to do something drastic themselves in order to meet you on your new level. They might even start dancing with you.

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Try using one word
Your child doesn’t want to go to sleep again despite your many reminders? Try saying one word: bed. Repeat it strong and assertively but do not engage in dialogue with them. Do not allow for power struggle to occur with words. Use one word to signal the desired behavior and once they realized, again, that you aren’t going to go into power and control with them, then they will be given the choice to follow through with the request.

Give options and choices
If your child is generally defiant, then give them options. Would you like to wear the pink or purple shirt? Would you like to go to the park or the pool on Saturday? Giving them choices on a regular basis will help them to feel like they are a decision-maker in their life and thus allowing them to let go for the need for control.

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Teach them to be powerful
If we teach children to be powerful, they will not need to try to control situations in their life to be powerful. They will naturally feel like they have influence on the things that happen in life. They will develop into strong leaders that know how to influence people without defiant behavior. Have your child look in the mirror every day and repeat powerful affirmations as a reminder of their worth.

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Again, being the parent of a child, especially a defiant one can be taxing. Remember to look for ways to get out of power struggle with your child, which is probably going to be a new concept for both of you. You and your child will have the opportunity to do something different during periods of high stress. How much easier would your life be if you and your child lived together in cooperation versus powerful struggle?

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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.

Three years ago my life looked very different than it does today. I was working at a job that was fulfilling; however it was very stressful. I was working with mentally ill teenage girls. They were emotional, they were sick and they were demanding. Back then, I didn’t know how to set boundaries and I certainly wanted to “save” them all. It was during that time that I decided that this therapist needed a therapist. Luckily, I found a woman who has been a change catalyst in my life and I am grateful for the work she brought me through. She taught me that I needed to work on myself both in therapy and outside of therapy. She reminded me that without forgiveness of my parents, I would be unable to move forward in my life. She confronted me during the hard times and supported me in the good times. It’s been three years of seeing the same therapist that has helped me build a bridge to my most whole self. I am a better therapist because of my own therapy. I learned to connect with myself and in connecting with myself, I have been able to connect with others. I’ve received book recommendations that I now recommend to my own clients. I’ve completed worksheets that I now have my clients complete. And you know what I get to use every time? Empathy. I have been where my clients are sitting; on someone’s couching crying my eyes out, getting confronted for unhealthy behavior, doing homework assignments and getting support from someone who is willing to tell me like it is while always looking out for my greatest good.

In January of the following year, I came across a personal development workshop called “The Living Course”. I decided to take it as a student and it has helped me shift my life in ways I never knew was possible. During the initial course, I learned about my circle of belief, the feelings of sadness, anger, shame and fear and ways I was still looking for approval for others and not living my authentic life. What I didn’t know about the course was that I was able to go back and assist every six weeks and witness others go through the same journey. In the meantime, I was invited to be on the panel of therapists for the course and I’ve been coming back ever since. See my video testimonial here.

Within six months, I was ready to complete their advanced course. This was a series of three weekends over 80 days and a big focus was on teamwork. The first weekend, I learned to process my feelings of sadness about my childhood. I was able to see how that sadness kept me stuck and unable to move forward with my dreams and goals. During the second weekend, I completed a ropes course with the culmination of jumping off a 30 foot telephone pole while giving up my long ingrained pattern of perfectionism. The final weekend was a fire walk. This walk allowed me to see how powerful of a person I truly am. It has helped me see how to empower myself, my clients and everyone around me. The best part of the experience was a group project where we went to Joe DiMaggio’s Children Hospital and threw a Halloween party. We dressed up in costume, attempting to do the Thriller dance and helped make Halloween special for the children in the hospital.

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The final step in my journey was taking the Leadership Course through Personal Development Community Organization. It was five sessions over 10 months and it was intensive, to say the least. I decided to take the course because I knew there was something more out there for me in terms of personal satisfaction. I had a job that was meeting many of my needs but not all of them. I knew that I was set to do something bigger; however the picture was fuzzy at best. During my leadership course, I worked through ways I was still stuck in my life; valuing safety over spontaneity, control versus flow and resentment versus forgiveness. I had to finally forgive my parents for what they never meant to do. I had to learn to let abundance in my life flow in naturally. And I had to learn to let go, have fun, take care of myself and seize the day. During this 10 month period, I was able to get my private practice off the ground, become a more connected and empathetic therapist and say good-bye to a full-time job that was no longer serving me.

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Being a skilled therapist has been about harnessing the tools I already had inside of me and letting them come to light. Doing my work has allowed me to go deep with clients to places I never imagined before because I have gone to those places myself. I was recently listening to a webinar for private practice by Samara Stone and she mentioned that the secret weapon to building a private practice is taking care of yourself and I loved her message because it worked for me. I am grateful for every person who has helped me in my journey of self-discovery. Because of my work, I am now able to better serve my clients on their journey and there’s no place I would rather go with them than to their true, authentic selves.

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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.

A colleague of mine asked for a recommendation for a group therapy topic for a group of 30 addicts. She mentioned how it is difficult to find topics that haven’t already discussed since many of them have been around the rehab block, so to speak.

I decided to brainstorm with her some ideas for a group on inner child work. An outline of the group is below:

– Present the concept of the inner child as our child-like self that is a result of the experiences we had before our teenage years

– Have participants connect with their inner child through a meditation or guided script

– Ask participants to share about their inner child

– Introduce an experiential activity, such as coloring with the non-dominate hand (the gateway to the inner child)

– Play music during the coloring time, such as the Disney station on Pandora

– Have participants share their drawings and discuss their experience

– Ask for a commitment from each participant to engage in one activity a week that fosters a relationship with their inner child

I’d love to hear feedback from anyone who tries this type of group. Good luck and have fun.

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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.

Today is the day I embark on my blogging journey.  Everything I read promotes the importance of having a blog so I decide to join on in.  As a therapist, I’ve learned the hard and easy way how important writing can be to a thriving practice, just as significant as therapeutic skills. 

My blog will be all things mental health related.  I’m planning on blogging about being a therapist, techniques that have worked and ones that haven’t, tips related to mental health, links to helpful resources and anything else that may come up that would be of interest to post.  I invite you to follow my blog and provide me with any comments of suggestions.  Happy Blogging!   

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.