Mike Marjama’s, MLB Catcher, Struggle with an Eating Disorder

Mike Marjama retired after playing 15 games in Major League Baseball. He then accepted a role as an ambassador to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Check out the video of Mike explaining his struggle.

 

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Mindful Parenting – Key to Happy Healthy Family

Start of the School Year

Summer’s Over and the Kids are Back to School

Congrats parents! You made it to the first day of school. Now you can relax…

On second thought, while you are now off full-time parenting duty, it’s likely that your busy, chaotic weekdays are back in full swing. We forget over the summer that having kids in school equates to hectic mornings, homework to check, extracurricular activities to attend, and all the same regular errands to run. No matter how well you balance life’s challenges, life gets stressful, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.

As a parent, the list of ‘to dos’ feels never-ending and always being updated by so many priorities. Rushing from first thing in the morning until we with luck falling asleep in our bed instead of the cozy warm pile of laundry.

Stress

Stress effects our bodies causing the rational part of our brains take a back seat. We start relying on bad habits like yelling, threatening, and issuing ultimatums. The longer we are stressed it can lead to being short-fused, irritable, impulsive,  and actually changing the structure of our brains.

Ignoring stress allows the effects to compound until it finally spills over into our lives impacting:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Jobs
  • Health

Q. How to address this parenting rut?

A. Mindful Parenting

Mindful parenting is about being aware, acting with intention, and accepting the reality of any given moment. It means being in control of our emotions and how we respond to our children. The magic of this approach is that it validates that none of us are ‘perfect’ or immune to getting angry or frustrated. We simply choose to do the best we can, at any given time. Mindful parenting empowers us to stay calm, see challenges as opportunities, and have fun with our kids. Best of all, it fosters deeper connections, leading to happier, healthier families!

Sounds amazing, right?

Join me the first 3 Saturdays in October for a Mindful Parenting
  • Location: Cuyahoga Falls Office
  • Dates: October 6th, 13th, and 20th
  • Time: 10am – 12pm
  • Cost: $150 for the 3 sessions

This 3-week workshop is designed to introduce and discuss the following:

  • Mindfulness and mindful parenting practices
  • Ways to foster, grow, and sustain resilience in children
  • How to connect, create joy and have fun with your children

Click Here to Register for this workshop, space is limited.

Check out these excellent articles for more information!

 

By: Rachael Muster M.Ed., LPCC-S

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Another Addition to TY

Shirley Sloan-Oberdier, PhD., LPC

We are so excited to welcome Shirley to TY & Associates. Shirley’s experience over the last 9 years working in local schools will provide us with insight to better structure treatment for our younger clients.

Shirley has a PhD. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Kent State University.  In addition to her PhD., she has a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and has worked as an elementary school counselor for 9 years.  Working as a school counselor, Shirley has become comfortable supporting children and families through a wide range of experiences. While obtaining her Professional Counselor license, she appreciated the change of pace as she worked with clients of all ages.  Shirley has experience providing individual, couples, family, and group counseling, as well animal-assisted therapy. Shirley especially enjoys tailoring therapy to support her clients’ specific interests and goals. In her free time, Shirley loves to spend time with her family, friends, and dog, particularly while participating in outdoor activities and traveling with them.

Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid

Our Guy Winch – 2014 Ted Talk Emotional First Aid

We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.

 This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxLinnaeusUniversity, an independent event. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.

Dealing with Grief

Experiencing Grief

Experiencing grief can be a grueling long path to again feel whole.  There are countless books and websites outlining the 5 stages of grief

  • Denial
  • Pain and Guilt
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

This list although generally true implies that there is a linear progression to grief and once you move past one stage you are done and will not go back to a stage multiple times. Nobody’s grief is like yours and nobody will know how you feel. There is nothing magically anyone including a therapist can do to fix you or make you move past what can be debilitating grief and sadness.

How long should you grieve?

This is your grief and it will be a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. You may be laughing at the funeral hearing a funny story about your loved one and you may cry a year later when a birthday or anniversary is missed. The saying “Time heals all wounds” ignores that “grieve” is a verb and needs to be an active process.

Active Grieving

There are many ways to actively grieve.

  • Fully accept the loss
    • By accepting the loss, you are able to be open to truly grieving.
  • Talk about your loved one with family and friends
    • Talking about your loved one brings out memories of happier times and relieves the feeling of loss
  • Find time to cry
    • Crying releases chemicals and hormones that relieve stress and can alleviate the effects of minor depression.
  • Turn your loss into action
    • Find a constructive way to honor your loved one in the community

The bereavement period begins after the initial grief and is a process that has no clear end and it may take years to fully mourn the loss of a loved one. Feelings of guilt are normal as you move through bereavement as your loved one enters your thoughts less and less.

Avoiding Bereavement

There is a societal stigma about seeking professional mental health therapy. People consider their mind as something they can control and through personal strength and will they can solve their problems. Being the strong one or working so hard that you don’t have time to think about let alone grieve your loss leads to living years with unresolved trauma that manifests itself in not easily connected health and behavioral issues.

Consider that chronic pain or fatigue maybe rooted in a loss that occurred years before that you thought you dealt with or forgot all about.

If you think you may need help, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why you shouldn’t?
    • Is it financial?
    • Can’t find the time?
  • How your mourning may impact someone else?
    • I need to be strong for them?
  • Are you responsible to keep everyone happy?
    • If I am sad they will be too
  • Would my loved one want me to feel this way?
    • Would they?

The need to strongly consider professional help if you experience thoughts of suicide or self-harm, serious changes in weight, or are unable to perform daily functions such as getting out of bed or going to work for more than an occasional day.

Links

 

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Talking to Your Child About School Violence

That pit in your stomach you get when you hear about yet another school shooting and the anxiety you feel sending your child to school is normal. So what do you say when your child asks what to do in the event of a school shooting at school? How can you possibly explain this to your kids and how to do you talk about it? What if your child is feeling anxious going to school, what can you do to help? All of these questions come to mind.

Here are a few strategies:

Support system and coping skills

First, you as a parent must take care of yourself first and rely on your support system. It’s like that metaphor of the airplane oxygen mask…you must put your own mask on first before helping others. Talk to friends, family or other parents about your own concerns or feelings of anxiety…you are not alone! Daily rituals like meditation, yoga or exercise to de-stress and improve your mental health is essential and will be beneficial both for you and your child.

Let your child lead the conversation  

Since, like many parents you may not be sure where to begin, ask your child what questions they have about this event and other difficult situations. This ensures you are answering their questions, while not sharing too little or too much.

Talk regularly with your child

Talk to your kids one-on-one about school and anything else on their mind. Have a safe space for children to trust they can share their concerns. A good time to do this may be in the car on the way to/from school, extracurricular activities or at bedtime. Have screen-free family time for example at dinner (where everyone puts their phones or laptops aside) and talk openly about what’s on their mind. Say things like “How was school today?” or “What did you do at school today?”  

Teach your child coping skills to de-stress

Practice coping methods like deep breathing and grounding exercises while in a calm state, so it’s easier to do when your child is feeling anxious. Hot Cocoa Breathing Technique or Figure 8 Breathing can be very effective and used anywhere if your child is feeling anxious. A grounding exercise can also be useful to practice and decreases anxiety.  

Encourage your child to acknowledge their feelings

Encourage your child to express their feelings. The reality is with social media children are exposed to more information than ever before. They are on snapchap, youtube and instragram. Ask them how they feel about what’s posted there, and if they are having any strong feelings about them. Ask if they are feeling overwhelmed, worried, sad or scared about anything and if they would like to talk about it.

Limit exposure to media

In this day and age this is difficult, but if you can limit the amount of violence your child sees in the news, TV show or social media. Research has shown often young children when watching something on TV believe it is actually reoccurring.

You cannot mess this up if you love your child and talk with them

There is no manual on how to talk to your child about school violence and there is no right or wrong way to do this…just talk to them. Show them you love them and empower them to focus on what they can control instead of what could happen.

Know the warning signs

Most children are resilient and will return to normal after exposure to violence in the news, however children with anxiety may need more help. If your child worries excessively, does not want to go to school, has difficulty sleeping, displays changes in school performance, changes in relationships with peers and teachers, or losses interest in activities they once enjoyed they may be experiencing anxiety or trauma it may be helpful to seek professional help by contacting tycounseling.com.

Links:

 

By: Allison West Kaskey  M.Ed., Eds., LPCC-S

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Is Love More than Words?

Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me

‘Cause I’d already know (Extreme 1991)

The Day to Celebrate Love

As another Valentine’s Day arrives, we will try and make a special effort to show our partner how much they mean to us with chocolate, dinner, and flowers. I will admit that I love to receive all of those things. Then I asked myself, how will I make an effort the other 360+ days per year.

One day to keep our relationship fresh?

It’s hard to imagine one day would be enough. It can be hard to always find quality time in our fast-paced lives to make time regularly to show our partners how we feel. We fill our time with the chores and obligations of life waiting for the quiet moment that rarely comes.

Sustaining our needs with small gestures

Small moments showing love such as:

  • A loving smile from across the room
  • A quick text just to say you are thinking about them
  • A gentle touch as you pass them

When the concept of love enters our world, we look to people around us as models of a healthy loving relationship. More times than we like to admit the role models we have as children do not reflect what we come to desire in a loving relationship.

Putting our Foot in our Mouth Should be Expected and Kept in Perspective

No one ever taught us how to breathe and love seems like something we should just be able to do. Feeling love for someone in your heart is the easy part, but how we express that love in a way that is understood can be a learning process.

When we fall in love we are compelled to show our partner how we feel about them, but the message isn’t always received loud and clear even when to us the message is in high definition. When our partner doesn’t get the message, it is easy to feel rejected by our partner. Never realizing that the message is being misinterpreted by our partner. Feelings of anger and passive aggressive behavior can quickly enter the relationship. These feelings can pile on each other until we spend more time feeling defensive and insecure. Eventually growing closer in our relationship starts to take a backseat. Being vulnerable with our partner and telling them when we feel hurt or misunderstood clears the out hard feelings. Taking accountability for our missteps keeps the walls down in our relationships. We need to keep perspective on what is most important in our relationship, each other.

Understanding the Love we Give

Learning that everyone receives love differently can be surprising.

  • Do our partners need gifts, words, or acts of service to be fulfilled?

Talking with our partner about what they need to find fulfillment can answer that question. It’s important to find the time to talk before we feel hurt. Once we are hurt, our emotions can be perceived as a criticism to our partner. Expressing to our partner how important they are and asking how we can better show them love.  Leads into telling them our needs without coming across as something they need to fix. Remembering that the success of our relationship relies on each of us to be fulfilled.  Sometimes this means putting our partner’s needs ahead of our own. The natural way our partners express love is likely the way they want to receive love. So our partner may not understand how they are not meeting our needs when their approach works so well for them. Meeting their needs first may help them understand. Knowing our needs change overtime and we should continue to talk with our partner about our needs.

Change Can Be Uncomfortable

Being uncomfortable to make ourselves vulnerable especially when our concerns have been dismissed by our partner is to be expected. We should not resign accepting that our needs will never be fulfilled. We just need to change our approach in the way we talk to our partner about our needs.

Engaging a impartial 3rd party into the conversation can help . Counselors who focus on relationships or on individuals will provide an unbiased perspective. Sometimes it just takes someone putting our feelings in words that our partner understands to make all the difference.

Until we feel comfortable with our needs we may give indirect clues on what we need to feel loved. Expecting our partner to be more direct with their needs is not fair, so we should look for indirect clues from them as well.

Have you ever heard any of the following from your partner?

  • I tell you I love you every day and you never say it back
  • You used to get me flowers
  • I am so busy all I want from you is to help me with the dishes
  • Can we sit together later and watch the Bachelor?

Although indirect these clues can indicate a desire from our partner. We may just hear them as a complaint about us as a partner or just see them as another thing they want us to do. Both thoughts are correct they are complaining and they are asking us to do something. The challenge is for us to realize they are asking us as their partner to show them love in a way they need to receive it.

Back to Celebrating Love

So as Valentine’s Day passes and our grand gestures are eaten and wilt, let’s resolve to make everyday a day where we are open to loving our partner by doing, showing and telling them in ways that allow them to feel appreciated and understood.  Let’s understand that the spark that brought us together doesn’t need to die, but can be kept alive with taking the time to notice and talk about our love. Because at the end of the day our love is unique to us and not like anyone else’s it deserves special effort every day of the year.

 

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Technology and Mental Health

Teens, Technology and Mental Health

I bet you’ve seen a lot in the news lately about the impact of technology on the mental health of teens.  If so, like so many of you I’m trying to make sense of it all. Several articles referenced generational research by  Jean Twenge. Who in 2011-12 saw something shocking in her research that “scared her to the core.” More than 50% of teens had iphones, therefore creating the iGen. The iGen, born between 1995 and 2012, have never known life without smartphones!

One article, included alarming statistics on technology:

  • 1 in 5 children has a mental health condition
  • 43% increase in ADHD
  • 37% increase in clinical level depression in teens
  • And even more alarming a 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old

Additionally, for at-risk teens technology can be linked to problems with attention, behavior and self-regulation, according to a 2017 Duke study.

Some say, this generation is on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades!!!

However, it’s not all so bleak. The positive impact of technology for the iGen was reported in an article stating this  generation is physically safer, they drink less, drive later, and are waiting longer to have physical relationships with significant others.

For adolescents, 11-15 of lower economic status, a study found technology also had a positive impact. For example on days when teens spent more time using technology they were less likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression. Possibly meaning, the short term impact of technology is beneficial, but not long term. In this study, teens spent approximately 2.3 hours a day using technology and sent 41 texts a day on average.

What can we do about it, a few tips:

  • For parents hold off as long as possible getting your child a smartphone.
  • If your kids need a phone to call for rides, emergencies, etc…get them a basic phone.
  • Set ground rules and monitor usage (no technology while eating dinner, etc.)
  • If all else fails, there are apps to control the amount of time and restrict viewing.

What else?

  • Model appropriate use of technology (I know it’s tough, I can’t put down my ipad!)
  • Limit your technology distractions while your kids are home.
  • Talk to your kids and encourage they to come to you if something is wrong, say it daily!

 

I know it seems overwhelming and scary, but you are not alone and we can help! 

 

By: Allison West Kaskey  M.Ed., Eds., LPCC-S

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