Often times clients will ask the question, “What should I do in this situation?” As a Type-A personality who feels passionate about my own personal decisions, I often know what I would do in that situation. As important as it may be for me to know my choice, I could never assume that my choice would be a good choice for someone else. It is for that reason, that I use the question as an opportunity instead to guide clients to find their own direction.
Many times clients want to be told the next step they should take because there is a belief that the therapist will make the “right” decision. Luckily, therapists are human too and have no better specific skills at making decisions than others do--they simply have a tool set that allows them to explore options and view things from a different perspective. All therapists make mistakes, regret things we have said and think “I could have made a better decision in that scenario”.
When looking for guidance from a therapist, it is good to remember that they shouldn't play the role of parent or probation officer, but more of a sounding board to bounce off ideas and an accountability partner if that is what one desires. If you find that you are often wanting your therapist or others in your life to make decisions about what next steps you should take, it is possible that you may not trust your own judgment or may be more worried about others perceptions of you. If you find yourself constantly looking to your therapist for the right answer, some helpful topics in therapy may be self-confidence, healthy boundaries and decision-making skills.
Amber Reed, LSCSW
Resolve - Counseling & Wellness
Prairie Village, KS
Massage. One little word that makes you wonder the last time you gave yourself a little bit of “you time”. In our daily lives, it is easy to give and give and to never ask for anything in return. That is, until we become so bottled up with stress we have a breakdown, want to never leave our bed, or demand what we need by snapping at those we love. This happens frequently, and yet, when we feel like a massage could be the answer, we often make excuses why we don’t need it. We make getting a massage a luxury, instead of something to give us balance and wellness in our fast-paced lives. When you make massage a regular part of your life, you can notice benefits such as the following:
With all these benefits, you may still have questions. Usually, people want to know the cost and how often they should get a regular massage. Cost may vary depending on your location, and places may have promotions you can use. The frequency of getting massages varies on your goals and what you are looking for to create balance in your life. At The Wholeistic Approach, I offer complimentary consultations to go over costs and frequency and to create a treatment plan. Each plan is unique to the individual and designed to meet each client’s specific needs.
Take charge of your self-care and schedule a massage today. The Wholeistic Approach with Resolve is here to help.
One of the most difficult things to talk with our children about is death. We like to think we can protect our children from all pain and hurt in the world, but death is an inevitable part of life, and children will see and experience it in their lives. If you find yourself in a position where you need to, or are ready to, talk to your child about death then here are some tips.
A Note on Avoidance
In parents attempt to protect their children, they sometimes avoid conversations about topics such as death. However, not talking about it doesn't mean your child doesn't see, hear, and formulate his own understanding of death. Children see dead bugs, animals on the road, and hear about death from friends. The only thing avoidance does is leave our children to formulate their own understanding alone. And in many cases, what they come up with can be scarier than reality.
Use Real and Age Appropriate Language
It is important to use real and appropriate language when speaking with our kids about death. Use the words dead and dying. Do not say the person went to sleep and didn't wake up. This might seem easier or nicer for the child, but all it does is confuse them and create an unnecessary fear around sleeping. Use simple and age appropriate language that addresses what actually happened. You can say that sometimes our bodies stop working and living things die.
Answer Questions Honestly
Children will have questions. If we don't answer their questions openly and honestly they will fill in the gaps on their own. One that most children have after a loved one dies is if a parent might also die. In these cases, the child is looking for a sense of safety and security. The honest answer is yes, a parent might die. You might say that this is something that could happen, but if that were to happen they would be taken care of by _________. You could also say things that make this unlikely, such as being in good health and being careful.
Different Ages and Understanding of Death
Infants - Infants still grieve loss of parents. They recognize that a caretaker is missing and might be extra fussy and have difficulty sleeping. It is important for the new caretaker to hold and nurture infants to help them feel safe and comforted.
Pre-Schoolers - This age will have difficulty understanding the permanency of death and might continuously ask when the loved one will be back. This can add to the difficulty of a grieving parent. It is important at this age to answer with simple, concise, and honest language. Understand that you might have to say the same thing multiple times.
5-9 - At this age children start to understand the permanency of death. They associate death with bodily harm and are more interested in the biology of death. At this age you might get questions about how someone dies or how the body stops working. They might also think at this age that their thoughts or words caused someone to die.
Adolescents - Adolescents understand the finality of death. They might wonder about their own death, death of caregivers, and they start formulating their own spiritual beliefs. Older teens who are grieving struggle with trying to be in control of their feelings and not relying on caregivers, while still desiring comfort and support. You might see some push/pull at this age and seclusion in an attempt to hide their emotions. For adolescents, having someone to talk to is important, but don't be offended if you as the parent aren't that person.
Be Open For Questions And Patient
Children grieve at their own pace (as do we all). Let children know that you are available to talk with them and be open and honest when they are ready to talk, but don't push them when they aren't ready. Also, don't be surprised if it seems like they go in and out of grief faster than adults. Children have the ability to move between emotional states faster than adults and this is a part of their age.
For additional information about speaking to a child about death please see the following resource:
National Institutes of Health - "Talking to Children about Death"
If you or someone you know is struggling with the greiving process, you can contact Resolve for support. James McMillian is experienced in grief therapy for adults and children and our play therapists can help young children work through their grief.
James McMillian, LCPC
Resolve Counseling & Wellness
Prairie Village, KS