Archives for posts with tag: therapy

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.

So you want to live your dream but don’t know where to start? The place you start is right here and right now. It’s about making a decision to live your life in a way that brings you happiness. One thing I often hear from people is that they don’t know what their dream is so they are comfortable in the space they are in. If you love the idea of living your dream, then start today. Grab a journal, paper, your phone or anything to put your thoughts down and start writing.

Develop your passions and purpose
What makes you excited in life? What will get you to wake up every morning and greet the day with open arms? This step is about formulating ideas. Maybe you love your job and you can create more purpose out of your current profession. Maybe you have wanted to make a location change but you have been too scared. Start to write down the things you want in your life. Jot down random thoughts like freedom, abundance and love. Formulate bigger ideas like “a job I feel fulfilled in and I make a salary to cover my needs and wants and “I am in a relationship where my physical, emotion and spiritual needs are met”. You can develop these ideas into a vision board or journal entries in order to develop and manifest them into your life. What are your passions in life and how can they be used to create your purpose?

Create goals and a plan of accountability
Once you have a general idea of where you want your life to go, create some goals. You want to make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. You can create a goal for each area of your life you want to shift and then create smaller action steps you are going to take to achieve your goal. An example of a goal would be: Complete one triathlon by March 2015. Smaller action steps would be: sign up for race, put together and follow a workout schedule, purchase biking equipment and put up motivational messages around the house to keep me engaged. What goals will you set for yourself in relation to your dreams, passions and purpose?

Reward yourself and bask in your glory
Do something to reward yourself for achieving your goals and living your dream. How do you best reward yourself for your achievements? Living your dreams will feel good in and of itself. You will end up feeling more connected to yourself and others. You will receive reward from the emotional freedom you will feel from living your authentic life; however it is important to reward yourself in ways that work for you. When I quit my full-time job, I bought a purse I had been eyeing for a long time. It was my reward for stepping outside of my comfort zone. The purse has become the symbol of my shift towards pursuing my dreams. What have you been eyeing that can be a personal symbol for your change? What emotional rewards are you looking to gain by following your dreams?

Interested in setting your sights onto something bigger but need help? Call me or text me at 954-258-8845 for a free 15 minute consultation on manifesting your dreams. I can help you develop a vision, set goals and hold you accountable to what you have set for yourself.

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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.

Early today I was talking to a friend about tv shows and he was trying to convince me to start watching some new series. This year alone I caught up on Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and Scandal. I gently shared that the only thing I want to watch over the next several weeks is Christmas movies! That statement reminded me how close the holiday season is and I decided to write a post about the holidays to kick-off the season. Below are my recommendations on how to make the best out of the upcoming holiday season.

1. Spend time with family and friends
Many people who suffer from depression often isolate. This is a common symptom of depression and can be a part of the never ending cycle of depression. You don’t feel like being around people so you withdraw. You withdraw and feel isolated and alone. You feel isolated and alone and you withdraw. The pattern can go on and on until you do something different. Get out there and spend time with people who support you. Most people will spend time with their family on the actual holidays, but you can increase the time you spend with them doing others things. How do you plan on spending time with your friends and family during the holiday season?

2. Participate in holiday themed activities
There are a plethora of fun-filled activities to engage in during the holiday season. Why not plan a holiday gift exchange with your co-workers or circle of friends? Decorate your house and show off your Christmas cheer. Attend a movie in the park at this showing your favorite movie. A couple years ago, my sister and I watched Elf while sitting on a blanket in Downtown Fort Lauderdale and it was loads of fun. There are festivals, ice skating stands, Christmas parties, Menorah lights and Nutcracker plays to go to and that just scratches the surface for Christmas and Hanukah themed activities. What activity are you looking forward to doing this year?

3. Connect with people in creative ways
One of my favorite things about the month of December is receiving holiday cards. It’s a lot of fun to see people getting really creative with their cards. People dress-up in their funniest or most stylish outfits and take amazing pictures. Also, you can make it a point to schedule a trip to see some family members you haven’t seen in a couple of months. You can send gratuity cards for Thanksgiving as a way to let people know how much you appreciate them. What creative way do you plan on connecting to others?

4. Set boundaries, when needed
As previously outlined, there are activities galore for you to engage in during the holiday season. It’s important for you to connect with others and have fun while doing it; however it is equally important to set your boundaries. If you have two parties in one weekend and your parents want to take you to dinner, asses your priorities and act accordingly. You don’t have to make it to every Christmas dinner, and Hanukah dinner and New Year’s Eve party. You can connect with your family members without buying $100’s of dollars of gifts. Set a budget for your holiday spending and stick to it. What boundaries will you set for the upcoming weeks?

5. Live in the moment
The magic of holidays is about appreciating all that is afforded to you and the spirit of how it comes together. Let yourself enjoy yet another viewing of Home Alone. Let yourself enjoy building a snowman or going skiing. Take time throughout the holidays to really take in your life. Laugh! Sing! Party! Decorate! Live in the moment. What are you most looking forward to this year?

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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.

When considering breaking it off with someone, here are four things to think about:

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Do you still get butterflies?
When you look at his picture or think back to a special date, do you get those familiar feelings in your body affectionately known as “butterflies”? When we still care deeply about someone, there is always that feeling, even if it was been turned off due to problems in the relationship. If you still blush when you think back to a stolen kiss or laugh at a recent inside joke, there is still some spark and it just might be the right amount needed to relight the fire.


Are the issues workable?

People are different and what they find to be acceptable in a relationship may vastly differ than another person. This would be a time to reflect on what you find acceptable in a relationship and if what’s happening is not acceptable, then it may be time to reevaluate your role in the relationship. If the issues are workable, then you might want to give it another try because in the end you may always wonder what would have happened if you had an extra talk or if you tried something outside of the box.

Are you willing to work them out?
Speaking of things outside of the box, are you willing to do that? Are you willing to put yourself outside of your comfort zone to improve your relationship? If you are willing, you may find that your significant other is willing to step outside of his norm and meet you halfway in dealing with your problems.

Do you love him?
Love is the reason we are in relationships. It’s the unexplainable thing that ties two people together when no other explanation makes sense. If you can honestly answer that you are still in love with him and you come from that place of love, it will always conquer all. Love is the foundation and if that isn’t broken then you can always repair the damages.

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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.

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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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.

The Do’s

1. Do put your best foot forward

– This is your first impression with your potential new mate. Wear something nice. Think of it like an interview. Dress to impress without overdoing it

2. Do monitor your thinking

– If you catch yourself in your head, employ thought stopping techniques. Be in the moment during your date and enjoy your time together

3. Do go in with a positive outlook

– The point of dating is to find your other half. Let go of the worry that will come with a new date. Look forward to what this date could be, as opposed to worrying about every and anything

4. Do share about yourself

– Again, this is like a job interview. Open up to that person on things you feel comfortable sharing. Having open communication is one of the foundations of a relationship

5. Do order whatever food you would normally get

– I’ve heard time and time again that many women order salads on the first date. This sets up a false impression. Go into the date as yourself and let the person appreciate that you might love quesadillas, not just lettuce and tomatoes!

6. Do have a good time

– Dating can be a lot of fun. It’s like opening up presents; you never know what surprise you might receive

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The Dont’s

1. Don’t place a lot of expectations on the other person

– It’s the first date. Don’t start dreaming up the next ten years of your life. Live in the moment

2. Don’t mislead the person on what you are looking for

– If you are looking for marriage, be upfront about it to manage the other person’s expectations

3. Don’t overshare

– I know #4 under “Do’s” says share, but there are some things you shouldn’t share on a first date, like exes or family drama

4. Don’t discuss politics, religion or other sensitive topics

– This goes along with the above but it needs to be reiterated. Telling a person your religion is appropriate but going into detail or trying to convert someone is not the best approach

5. Don’t worry too much

– Just breathe and be! It’s a first date, not a marriage proposal. Just use positive thoughts and affirmations to stay in the moment

6. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to reach out after the date

– There are a ton of “rules” regarding communication. Throw them out and do what feels right. If you want to text them the next day, then do it. If you want to call and plan the next date, then do it. If you are worried about this, read #5 again

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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.

The way through resentment in a relationship is through forgiveness. I’m reminded of the serenity prayer when I think of past hurts in a relationship. “God granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”. Behaviors in the past cannot be changed. They can be processed and forgiven, but never changed. It’s a good place to adopt the serenity prayer and realize that accepting and forgiving are the way out of resentment.

How do you forgive someone?
Write it all down and get it off of your chest. If this is a resentment you’ve shared with your significant other and it hasn’t gotten any better and you still have it stored in you, then it needs to go down on paper. Write it all out and sit in those emotions. If sadness comes up, then go to sadness and let the tears flow. If anger comes up, find a release for your anger. Write it all out until you’ve exhausted every word, feeling and story related to the resentment.

Time to forgive.
You have to make a conscious decision to forgive and then live in that forgiveness every day. Let them know you are forgiving them. Sit your significant other down and tell them about your path of forgiveness and let them know what your commitment to forgiveness will look like in your relationship. An activity you can do is what’s called “70 times 7”. For seven days, write down 70 times that you forgive that person. It would look like this: “I, Suzy, forgive you Bob for not communicating your needs”. When you run out of things to write you simply write “I forgive you for everything”. This is a very therapeutic exercise that can bring closure to you in situations where you were previously unable to forgive.

Still having a difficult time forgiving? Schedule an appointment with a therapist to explore deeper wounds keeping you from living in forgiveness.

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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.

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Anxiety can bring on the thought that nothing is going to get better. It can make it seem like the night will never end, especially when you can’t sleep. Or that nothing is going to change, especially if things haven’t been going your way. Anxiety can be an uneasy feeling in your chest or your stomach. It can be unhealthy thoughts in your mind. It can be tightness in your chest. Anxiety comes in many shapes and sizes, depending on the person. How does your anxiety manifest in you?

The real root of anxiety has to do with thinking patterns and belief systems. People go through life and have experiences and those experiences help shape thoughts and beliefs. If you grew up in a household where your parent’s belief system was that dangerous things happen to people, you probably took on the belief system that the world is dangerous, especially if something dangerous (or dangerous enough) happened to you when you were younger. It would look something like this: Your parents warned you how dangerous the monkey bars are. You decide to go on them anyways because you’re a kid and sometimes kids don’t do what their parents tell them to do. You slip on the monkey bars and bust your lip. You probably feel pretty scared about your lip and now you start to see the monkey bars as dangerous. And what also begins to happen is you start seeing many parts of the world as scary, not just the monkey bars. You continue to live your life through a lens that the world is a scary place.

When you live your life as though the world is scary, then everything tends to be scary. One of the ways to tell that you have a belief system that the world is something to be feared is the presence of catastrophizing in your life, assuming the worst in a situation or making something out to be worse than it really presents. Here’s an example of what catastrophizing looks like: Your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning and you are going to be late for work. You start to feel anxious in your stomach as your mind goes on to tell you that you are going to get fired for this. Your mind tells you this automatically, even though you are rarely late and you received a positive annual evaluation. It’s the thought that whatever is about to happen is going to be huge and it isn’t going to be good. Other examples of catastrophizing might include thinking you are going to be broke when you have to take money from savings, assuming your significant other is cheating on you if they don’t answer their phone or expecting to crash on a plane on the way to your vacation, even though statistically you are more likely to be hurt in the car on the way to the airport.

Another prevalent thinking pattern that can show up is black or white thinking. It’s where a person only sees things in terms of yes or no, black or white, on or off. This thinking does not allow for any gray area or the possibility that two things might both be correct. Sometimes things can be black and white. Imagine you are in a relationship and you get into a fight. A fight for someone who sees the world as dangerous will see a fight as something very bad or wrong. They will be worried about fighting and how it will affect the relationship. They might get really anxious thinking about having to talk to their significant other about their wants or needs because it may lead to a fight. So they go into all or nothing thinking. They assume that if they express their needs that the fight will lead to a negative outcome, instead of seeing a fight as a fight and something that can occur and can be resolved without any real danger. The danger that a fight might signal the end of a relationship is only a form of black and white thinking. What many people do then is nothing at all and they sit with the anxiety, because it feels better to deal with the anxiety then risk that something major and scary might come along. This is a prime example of why people don’t take control of their lives to make changes, doing just that is scary in and of itself.

So what do you do if you want to feel less anxious in your life? The answer is to change your thinking patterns and belief systems. Start to see situations as they really are. Begin to think in terms of gray. Challenge and change that belief system that is no longer working for you. It takes work to change unhealthy to healthy, but in the end you will feel a relief of anxiety.

We’ll pick back up on the belief system that the world is dangerous. That is the core belief system a person may have. In order to challenge and change it, you need to begin to look at the world with a different frame of reference. You need to look for ways in which the world is indeed safe. You will need to look for it high and low, and in every area of your life. Look for ways you are safe at home and at work. Ways you have been safe over the years, even in times of stress or danger. Look for ways your life can become safer. Become motivated to change any of the ways you can make their world a safer place to live in. For instance, if you feel unsafe at night because of the neighborhood you live in, consider moving to somewhere more safe. How have you been safe over the years? How can you become safer in your life today? How are you safe in your world? What are the signs you can see that the world is safe? How often do dangerous things happen to you? Do you have control over the dangerous things happening in your life?

Another surefire way to change belief systems and thinking patterns is through the usage of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is an evidenced based approach to treat anxiety and one of the major techniques taught to mental health counselors, social workers and psychologists, both in school and through workshops. The whole premise of CBT is to change your thoughts in order to change your behavior. It’s proven to work with anxiety and symptom relief can be accomplished through short-term therapy with a skilled clinician. When looking for a therapist, look for someone with a specialization in both anxiety and CBT. It should be clearly outlined on the website or marketing materials. Have you considered receiving therapy? Do you know where to find a good therapist at? Are you willing to receive CBT? What are the potential benefits to receiving therapy? Do you have any fears about going into counseling? What are you looking to get out of counseling?

Getting a self-help book can provide a supplement to therapy. One of my favorite books that I recommend is “The Feeling Good Handbook“by David Burns. There are specific chapters on anxiety and how to deal with it. There is a chapter on several types of thinking patterns, including the ones listed about. It gives you many strategies to challenge and change your thinking. It gives you information about medication, in case you are considering seeing a psychiatrist, alternative healer or going to a local vitamin shop to get natural anti-anxiety pills. This workbook is designed for you to follow it as it applies to you. It gives you activities to complete, as well as writing prompts for you to sort out how your anxiety works in your life and how the implementation of the techniques worked for you.

The good news is that anxiety is treatable. You can get symptom relief through many avenues. It’s about finding the one that works for you.

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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.

Building a relationship or keeping one takes a balance of having a person maintain their identity and creating a life as a couple. It is easy to fall into a relationship and lose yourself in the moment. When you start to put 100% of your energy into your relationship, you risk the chance of losing your identity and independence in the process. Here are some tips for you to continue to do throughout your relationship as a way to maintain your “I”.

1. Keep your own hobbies

It’s always fun to date someone who has similar interests as you. This way on Saturday afternoon you can both go paddle boarding. But what about Sunday? Chances are he might be watching football. She might be reading the latest Chick Lit book. What are you going to do with your time? Find or maintain your own hobbies. Find a new local coffee shop, go to the gym or meet up with some friends at a 5k. Having your own hobbies is important for your sense of self and efficacy.

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2. Make time for family without your significant other

Again, this is an easy routine to fall into. Of course your significant other will be at every holiday and major event. However, sometimes it’s important to take time with your family, for you. There is a different level of comfort and openness between family members. Take the time to go to lunch with your sibling and share about your relationship, work or whatever else is on your mind.

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3. Enjoy time with your friends

When we get into relationships, it’s natural for your friendships to fall to the wayside. This is a normal process that happens; however it is also important to recognize that it is happening and recommit to incorporating a balance. Just like with your family, take the afternoon to go out with your best friends. The time you spend apart will make you appreciate your other person just a little bit more when you get home.

When you find yourself losing yourself in your relationship, just take a deep breath, recommit to your other relationships (including the one to yourself) and enjoy the time you spend both with and without your partner.

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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.

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Self-worth is strengthened by creating identity for yourself. As women, we sometimes fall trap into creating our identities outside of ourselves. Sometimes, we look for relationships, jobs, friends, family members and outside entities to tell us who we are, instead of looking inside.
Even if we look within ourselves to figure out who we are, we often name off our attributes, what we do for a living or descriptive things like our names, hair style or favorite color. It goes like this: “Hi, my name is Patricia and I am a teacher, who is sweet, loves the color green and recently got an ombre hair style”.? While that does describe “Patricia” it doesn’t get down to the essence of her womanhood.
It’s important for women to step into their power to discover who they are.

It takes time by asking the hard hitting questions
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– What makes me, me?
– What are my likes and dislikes?
– What do I want out of life?
– How do I express my feminity?
– What was I taught as a child about being a woman?
– What are my physical, emotional and spiritual wants?
– What can I do to take care of myself on a daily basis?

When we get to really know ourselves, we are able to come to value what is there. Once you have a good idea of YOU, then you can start working on the areas in your life where your self-worth is low. As you answer the questions above, if you are having a difficult time recognizing how to express your feminity, then you can come up with ways to do that. You can read a book about addressing womanhood, join a women’s group, do an overhaul of your make-up supplies, buy a few dresses, schedule manicures and pedicures for the next six months or find a therapist who specializes in women’s issues.
Having high self-worth is about knowing your true essence. It is about recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and capitalizing on them. It’s about knowing that you have an immense ability within you to stand in your power. Increasing your self-worth means taking a look in the mirror, looking deep into your eyes and finding your authentic self and letting it shine for the world to see.
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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.