Staying in my lane….

Our clinical director started out the day/week by sending us this video on “Staying in Our Lane” (via Heaven in Business). What does that represent to you? I think for me, staying in my lane will be challenging myself to stay focused on what I need to get done when I am at work and at home. Instead of getting caught up in the drama of the world, I need to stay focused. Perhaps that should mean a social media break for the week. As we spend time in the Holy week, let us be reminded of “staying in our lane” in all aspects of our life (bio/psycho/social/spiritual).

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PARENTS: 5 Things To Talk To Your Kids About This School Year

I have worked with teenagers for a few years now, and somehow, the beginning of the school year causes me anxiety too. Bottom line, school is stressful. Kiddos have to worry about their social life, their appearance, sports, if their friends are in their class, etc. Oh yeah, AND school. I wouldn’t want to relive it all again and I had a fairly easy going family and school schedule. I was trained at looking at things from a systemic lens. I often sit with families for mental health assessments and ask a whole lot of questions that people normally don’t get asked from a stranger. I sat back and thought about some of the most unspoken topics I see with families, kiddos and parents. Parents, it is not that fact that you don’t know about these topics, but that you just do not realize how often they are coming up or how important they are to those kiddos in your life.

I put together a quick list of 5 things I encourage you to talk to your kiddos with prior to school starting (or at anytime for that matter). There is a cheesy billboard that I read every time I drive home from my parents house in Northern Minnesota and it is a picture of a couple of kids from the 80’s and the sign reads, “Parents! Talk to us!” I have no idea who funds the billboard, but I always thought it was silly. I came from a family where we talked about everything. And, I realize more and more in family sessions that this is not always the case in other families. So, I hope this short list can pave the way for more in depth conversations in the future. It doesn’t have to a be a lecture, or something you did research on – it just has to be talked about.

1. Urgh – BULLIES – There is not a single intake that I complete where a kid mentions they have never been bullied. Ever. I am still shocked by that. It makes me sad that it is happening way too frequently. I could sit here and talk about the reason, and big picture, but this is so individual for every client. Were they ever bullied? If so, what did it happen? How did it affect them then? How does it affect them now? Are they still bothering you? The Center for Anti Bullying has some awesome tips and tricks and contact information if you want to learn more. But, some kids even need someone to explain to them what an actual bully does. And, sadly, that this needs to be normalized.

2. Mental Health – What is anxiety? Depression? Do you know the answer as a parent? Talking about symptoms of mental illness minimizes the stigma of mental illness tremendously. It is a difficult topic to bring up, but another necessary one. If parents can feel comfortable about talking about this topic, then kids can feel comfortable asking you for help. More and more schools are embracing the mental health support in your school. Check the school site or talk to your school administration for more information. Several mental health agencies can also work with schools to help get the school to change the student’s schedule, or personalize an IEP/504 plan.

3. What are your expectations & goals – What are some or your expectations as a parent for the remainder of the school year? Do you expect your kiddo to get his learner permit AND start taking Spanish? Is there a short term and long term goal? Try talking about that. What are some goals and expectations that your kiddo has for themselves? What do they have of you? Is there a difference in short term vs. long term goals? Do they have separate personal and educational goals? Help them define them and start thinking. Maybe put together a vision board to get started.

4. Have a back up plan when nothing is working. You are feeling stuck mid school year and don’t feel like you can talk to your kiddo. What are some signs they can give you that it’s okay to talk? Maybe a sign that they need a break for a few days but have to come full circle for 72 hours to check-in, etc.

5. Have some fun! At the end of the day, they are kids, and this is life. If things change or something unexpected happens, adjustments will need to be made. Be sure to incorporate some fun, give them space to be kiddos, and be present in those moments with them. Way too often I hear parents talking about how their kids grew up way too fast and they wished they would have enjoyed more of their time together. No time like the present. And, being mindful is the best way to handle all those intense emotions.

Top 15 Facebook Pages for Couples/Relationships

A client of mine has been working hard at being mindful and on her relationship with her husband. She is too overwhelmed by books, but is an avid Facebook user. So, I put together a list for her of my favorite Facebook pages that are focused on marriages & couples. It’s important to check-in with your relationship daily. Be well.

  1. https://www.facebook.com/RelationshipsLoveandMarriage?fref=ts
  2. https://www.facebook.com/GottmanInstitute?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  3. https://www.facebook.com/5LoveLanguages?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  4. https://www.facebook.com/mindfulorg?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  5. https://www.facebook.com/marriage365?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  6. https://www.facebook.com/staymarriedblog?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  7. https://www.facebook.com/TheCenterForRelationshipWellness?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  8. https://www.facebook.com/marriageadvocates?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  9. https://www.facebook.com/MindfulnessMFT?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  10. https://www.facebook.com/ModernMarried?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  11. https://www.facebook.com/ThrivingLovingRelationships?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  12. https://www.facebook.com/Loveumentary?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  13. https://www.facebook.com/ScienceOfRels?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  14. https://www.facebook.com/happywivesclub?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
  15. https://www.facebook.com/unboxlove?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
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The New Therapist, The RAD (soon to be) step-mom, The Military Family Advocate, The HUMAN….

I am a recent Graduate of my Master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy. Within the last year, I have grown exponentionally in my personal and professional life, and I thought I could share some of my growing pains/adventures with others.

I am passionate about Military mental health, and went back to receive my Master’s because of losing too many friends and family members to their battle with PTSD. The invisible wounds of war are not seen on a daily basis, but felt so deeply by those affected. It’s a ripple effect throughout the entire family system. I had been volunteering for the local Army chaper for awhile, but needed something more. I had been working in social media marketing for several years, and thought about becoming a consultant, or going back to get my MBA, but that just didn’t fee right. Back to my psychology roots I went, and I haven’t looked back.

While I was still working full time in Marketing, and going to school, I needed to start a Practicum (or intern) placement for 9-11 months to complete my degree. I tried to get in with the VA, but of course, unless you are on the Doctorate path, you are not welcome there for an internship. I was deflated. I knew that was my area of focus, but how do I do that in Minnesota – one of the very few states without an active military base? So, I went for a location that was not too far from home, was very focused on attachment (which I had just written a huge paper on), and felt like a good fit for me. However, the main clients were children, and I swore that I didn’t want to work with children. Ha (as I snort), funny how those things happen.

In the midst of all of this, I met an unbelievable guy, who also had an adopted son with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), which was also very prevalent in my client base. I stopped the quest for learning everything I could in a short period of time, and started to focus on things that would help me and my client base at that time. I was becoming burnt out, overwhelmed, and frustrated with the job switch. Technically, we would call that an Adjustment Disorder, but that is a whole different story. So, I started to focus on family therapy in the context of RAD work. From Facebook groups of other RAD parents, I soon realized that it was really hard for people to find RAD focused family therapists. Learning how to be a better therapist for my clients was also helping me be a better errr….step-parent to the 14 year old that was now living in my house.

I haven’t given up on my dream of focusing on military families, but am adapting as I go. I’ve always struggled with finding the perfect niche, but have found that the more I just roll with the changes, the more the Universe talks to me. So, here I am. I want to share my journey with other people dealing with the same struggles. I don’want to just focus on the military, or just focus on social media, or just focus on RAD, or just focus on being a new therapist – I want to just focus on the overcoming of the struggles. With that adversity, I know I can help other people. I hope you enjoy 🙂

Usually, the best way to find the yellow brick road of your life, Heather, is to start out on the dusty, dirt one.

And then let yourself become so preoccupied in making the best of it, having fun, and challenging yourself that you actually stop paying attention to the path.

Until, one day, not so long from now, with a new best friend, wearing cool clothes, feeling awesome, a teeny tiny bit taller, fresh from a WOW vacation, looking for the path you just left, you’ll notice that it’s 24 carats… baby.

And you’ll wonder for a long, long time, sipping on some exotic fruit drink, when the transformation actually took place…

Tripping,
The Universe

Usually, the be…

WWTD – Murse

Look who it the new face of our pop-up banners!!!!!

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WWTD – July 29th

Funny things that happened today/this last weekend:

1. I was talking with our web designer about how anxious moving our desks at work is making me. The whole marketing department is going to the other end of the building, which I believe it because the other departments want to keep us quiet. Let’s call it “STFU island.” Anyway, we were discussing the island move today and I started itching my neck. He goes, “are you okay?” and i say, “I haven’t broke out in hives like this since the last time I tried on a wedding dress.” Speechless.

2. I was walking into the gym this afternoon with Darrell (my work husband) and there was a shorter elderly care bus there…..shit, i gotta wait for his response on this one because I lost it. Maybe I am the elderly one now. Have you see a picture of my age spots? I’ll send you one.

3. I am going on a date to a Twins game Wednesday night with this guy. When Dwight and Lynda were asking about him the other night at our cabin happy hour, Dwight suddenly goes, “is he good in bed?” and I go, “DAD! We aren’t going out on our first date until Wednesday” and mom chimes in with, “she’ll find out on Wednesday then” and then Dwight mumbles, “can you at least wait until Thursday?” — WTF. Who do they think I am? Aren’t these the same parents that tried to pimp me out to a mechanic for free service when I was in High School?! Yeah, so what if he was cute. Yeah, he might have been a great kisser. But, COME ON!

3a. I also told said date tonight that I have two ground rules: 1. no jail. 2. no running across the field. He told me that was a little broad, but he was okay with my rules. Then I said, “surprisingly, I’ve never had a first date that ended up with the guy going to jail. i would prefer to keep my record clean.” But just in case he still feels like jail, I reassured him that I would bring some extra cash. I am wondering if he regrets this whole first date thing…..Actually, I think he likes me more.

4. I found this picture on the internet today. I know how much you love cats. I am picturing you peeking over the front of the ship like this as pirates come and try and seize it. PEW PEW PEW!!!!

military

5. After dinner at mom and dad’s tonight I was in kitchen talking to mom. Dad yells in from the living room, “grab me a donut” and I yell back, “no, you’re a diabetic” him again, “grab me a donut or I’ll come in there and put ice cream on it.” What?! Is that a threat?

6. 15 min. later, Dwight, “run down and grab me a sprite.” I run down to garage and search for Sprite. Nada. I come up with 7up, “sorry, no sprite down there.” Dwight goes, “I knew that. I meant run down to cub foods.” RUFKM?!

WWTD…What Would Tony Do?!

My brother just got deployed last week. I was starting to write him out ridiculous things that happened during my day, but then I realized other people could benefit from the ridiculousness as well. So, thus blog posts. They might sometimes sound like they are directed to him. Hopefully others can find joy out of them as well….

When Tony (brother) was in basic my mom would get all worked up. I told her that Tony would not be very happy, and that I was going to make her a “WWTD” (what would Tony do) bracelet so that she always puts herself in check. This is an appropriate name for these series of blog posts.

Mobile Texting Etiquette – Park Nicollet Example

I am currently a patient at Park Nicollet Health Care Services. Just recently, I got a reminder text of an upcoming appointment. I never gave them permission to send me mobile reminders, and only share my cell phone because, like many others, it’s my primary number.

I sent a tweet out about it:

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And they responded with the following two tweets:

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Personally, I think that companies should never contact you via text unless you have agreed to it (in a signed agreement) or opted in yourself. Also, they never told me how to unsubscribe in the initial text, should that be assumed? Should we also assume that opt in is a default? In Wisconsin, texting someone without their consent is in the “no-call law” I am curious to know how other people feel about the subject, and look forward to thoughts about it.

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Bridging the Gap Between Military Families and Civilians via Social Media

I come from a full time job in social media and I am going to school to be a marriage and family therapist that specializes in military families, veterans and PTSD.

Lately I have seen a lot of things on social media and the military, and there are a lot of places out there for tools. The problem is lack of knowledge and communication.

I am going to try and bridge that gap for people. I believe that the tools I bring to the table could really benefit military families. There are thousands of places to find the information they need, but it is very confusing. Social media is a great outlet to share these things.

More to come,
H

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