Written By: Kimberly Hansley
Going back to school, or starting school for the first time, can be an overwhelming time for children. They will have new teachers, new schedules, and new classmates. Many questions or worries may arise. What if my new teacher doesn’t like me? What if I don’t have any friends? What if I have to sit by someone I don’t like? What if the work is too hard? As parents, we don’t always know exactly how to respond in tough situations like these.
Here are a five tips to help alleviate any back to school fear and anxiety that your child may be facing.
Talk About It. Normalize It. Don’t Minimize It.
Everyone feels anxious at times. Telling your child “don’t worry about” can often make the child feel invalidated. Try listening and telling your child that you understand that school can make him/her anxious. Talk through the different scenarios that are worrying your child and also different strategies to help your child get through the day.
Get On A Schedule
It’s hard adjusting to school after having the summer off. To make the transition easier, begin to get on the new schedule prior to school starting. Begin transitioning your morning and bedtime routines a few weeks before school starts, and try to stick with it on the weekends. This way, the adjustment isn’t as difficult when school begins.
Make Sure Your Child Is Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for healthy brain functioning. It’s common for both kids and parents to feel restless the night before the first day of school. This is where having an established bedtime routine will help ensure your child is getting the rest they need. Making sure your child is getting enough sleep is key in managing nerves and anxiety.
Don’t Give In
Sometimes parents give in and don’t make their children do things that make them uncomfortable. Instead of giving in, encourage your child. Remind them that they will make it through the day and you will be there for them at the end of it. That evening, let them know how proud you are of them for facing their fears and completing the school day. Reward systems can be a great way to help your child accomplish their goals.
Model How To Handle Anxiety
The best way to help your children manage anxiety is by modeling it yourself. If your children see you handling with your own anxiety in a positive way and using the strategies you’ve talked about, they will be more likely to do the same.
Bob crosses his arms and pushes away from his wife, who fights tears and grits her teeth. “This is going to ruin our marriage,” she declares. By the end of session, she is curling into him, while he soothes her tears. There is a renewed sense of connection and safety between them. How does the couples therapist get such a dramatic and uplifting result in the course of just 100 minutes?
Our Department Head and PACT Ambassador, Debra Campbell, LMFT, was recently published in The PACT Institute Blog. Her article, titled “Techniques to Help Distressed Couples Slow Down and Reconnect,” deals with how she, and other PACT trained therapists, “granularize” or slow couples down during therapy sessions, forcing them to not experience the same old hurts and argument, but a different, new one.
The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Counseling uses physical proximity, facial expression, and body language to uncover true underlying emotions. Couples sit face to face, eye to eye in session and are in each other’s care. This draws the couple back from historical memories and into the present, allowing the couple to experience disagreements differently and achieve win-win solutions. .
These techniques create a space, or frankly no space, where the couple is “forced to address the reality in front of them,” not reliving an old fight, but instead tackling the one right in front of them in a unifying manner.
Read the entire article here
Written by: Jeanette Belew
For clients feeling stuck in their issues, struggling to change or make progress, EMDR is a great option. Founded in 1987, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique that clients have found effective at working through emotional distress experiences and their often lifetime consequences. One of the most attractive aspects is how quickly client experience results with EMDR.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. Also, it is given to current situations that cause distress, and to developing the skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions.
EMDR can be used to treat a variety of mental health issues, such as PTSD, phobias, panic, pain, weight loss issues, as well as increase performance and coping skills.
If this short introduction to EMDR has peaked your interest to learn more, please stay tuned for upcoming blogs that will discuss how EMDR actually works, the different mental health issues that EMDR can treat, what an actual session might look like, and does it really work.
If you just can’t wait for the upcoming blogs, please reach out to me to set up an appointment to discuss individually if this amazing therapy would be beneficial to you. Take the necessary steps to improve your life today.
June rolls around and, ready or not, here comes high school graduation. The day has finally arrived, and all your hard work has paid off. Grabbing your diploma and preparing to shift your tassel to the left, you can hear the echoes of your family screaming your name. While they are unquestionably the loudest family in the auditorium, you’re struck with a painful silence ringing in your ears…someone is missing. Reality strikes in this first moment of stillness in a long time; your dad is dead. He died when you were nine.
While this is not the first milestone that he has missed since his death, nearly a decade ago, it undeniably seems to be the hardest. A faint smile creeps across your face as you see your mom, clapping unceasingly and screaming your name. She is the rock that has been there to serve as both parents for the last 9 years. You smile as tears stream down her face, tears of joy undoubtedly mixed with sorrow, knowing she feels the same kind of pain that is aching in your chest. You both miss him, but on a day supposed to be filled with celebration and happiness, you feel like you can’t talk about him.
Time starts to move again, just as it always does. There you are, crossing the stage with your heavy head held high and a forced, but believable, smile on your face. Your stomach does back flips, and your heart feels like it is shattering inside of your chest. This is a feeling you would never wish on anyone, not even your worst enemy. Your grief is a journey that never ends.
Teenage grief is not just a phase. When children or teenagers experience the loss of a loved one, they relive the death over and over again. At each developmental stage and life event, they will process their grief in new ways. They will continue to gain new layers of understanding the death and its impact on not only their life, but the lives of those around them. Their grief story is ever changing.
Teenagers are at a complex stage in their life and will always process their grief differently than children or adults. They tend to rely on their friends more than their family and feel connected to others their age who have also experienced loss. Many teens feel a complete loss of control, trying to regain it by either picking up extra responsibilities or engaging in risky behaviors.
During such a difficult time, how can we help teens who are grieving? One way is to use Alan Wolfelt’s philosophy on “companioning” where those who are grieving can teach us about their grief as we sit with them and listen without judgement (Wolfelt, 2012). It is important to reassure teens that they still have their basic needs met, are being taken care of and are safe. Always be patient with them, as they are struggling with grieving in addition to all the other stressors that come with being a teenager.
If you are currently helping a teen work through their grief, do not hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources locally and nationally, including my services at Curis Functional Health. I specialize in working with children, teens, adults, and families who have experienced the death of loved ones. I have experienced several impactful losses at different ages and developmental stages in my life. I feel that what I can provide in session is true empathy and compassion for my clients while also having hope for them and their future. I have volunteered and been a part of several of the organizations on my reference list. I am constantly seeking new information and trainings to better serve my clients. I am a passionate speaker on child grief, particularly in raising awareness of its prevalence.
Local Grief Support Groups:
Journey of Hope- A grief support group for children, teens, and their families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. They have support groups in Plano, Frisco, and will be expanding to Dallas in late 2019.
The Warm Place- A support group for children and their families serving the Fort Worth area. https://www.thewarmplace.org/ways-to-give/
The Dougy Center- A national center for grief and loss for children and their families located in Portland. They provide wonderful resources for those helping bereaved children and teens. https://www.dougy.org
National Alliance of Grieving Children- An organization that raises awareness of childhood grief. They provide wonderful resources and training.
Actively Moving Forward- A peer led grief support system that helps young adults in or out of college who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
To learn more about Alan Wolfelt’s Companioning Philosophy: https://www.centerforloss.com/grief/like-help-someone-grieving/
Written by: Rhyan Geiger
Reading a nutrition label can be overwhelming especially if you’re unsure of what to look for. Using the nutrition label and the ingredient list can help you understand and know how to better choose products. Nutrition labels can be hard to understand, but they don't have to be. To make it simple and easy for you here are the 5 best tools on a nutrition label.
A serving size is a standardized amount of foodwith specific calorie and nutrient content.
Using the label above eating 2 cups instead of 1 cup, would be 2 servings. Increasing the servings by 2 doubles all values on the nutrition label, including the %Daily Values. *%DVs are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and are required on all food labels.
Contrary to popular belief serving size and portion size are different.Portion size is how much food is portioned onto the plate.
Calories are a measure of energy based on the serving size of the food.
The minimum amount of calories an average adult should consume is 1,200 calories, but almost all adults have higher needs than 1,200 calories. Each person has different energy needs based on sex, age, and activity. If you would like to find out what your energy needs are click here to come see me.
Fat, Cholesterol + Sodium
Fats, cholesterol, and sodium are things to limit. Eating too much fat, saturated fat, transfat, cholesterol, and/or sodium may increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Avoid trans fat a.k.a partially hydrogenated oil on ingredient lists.Sometime the label with reflect 0g trans fat although the ingredient list says “partially hydrogenated oil”. Per FDA regulation if a food contain less than 0.5 g of trans fat per serving it is labeled as 0 g of trans fat per serving.
When looking at saturated fat, theAmerican Heart Association suggests that no more than 5% to 6% of calories come from saturated fat.
For healthy Americans adults 2,300 mg of sodium is the threshold to each day.Those with heart conditions or athletes will have different needs.
Fiber + Vitamins
Eating more fiber, vitamins, and minerals can improve your overall health. The more colorful your plate the more vitamins and minerals it has.
Fiber promotes regular GI function. To increase the amount of fiber each day, eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. Not only are they high in fiber, but low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Manystudieshave shown that fiber-rich diets may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Women should eat no less than 25 g fiber daily and men no less than 38 g fiber daily.
Check the ingredient list for additives, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and dyes. Ingredient lists shouldn’t be too long and should be mostly familiar to you. Sometimes you may not know what an ingredient is, instead of putting it back without ever knowing schedule a grocery store tour where we can go over real life products together.
The images used are from the FDA a Sample Label for Macaroni and Cheese
Written By: Curis Functional Health
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the terms “prebiotics” and “probiotics.” But do you really know what they are, and the role they play in your body?
Probiotics are known as “good” bacteria that are similar to the naturally occurring bacteria found in your GI tract. We can think of them as a supplement since they work withour resident bacteria to keep our digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Probiotics are living organisms. And, as we all know, living organisms need food to survive. For that reason, prebiotics exist and serve as the food source for probiotics.
Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible food (fiber) that probiotics use as energy, or fuel.
Since our bodies cannot digest fiber, it remains in the GI tract for most of the digestive cycle, until it reaches the large intestine, where most of our gut bacteria is rooted. Then, bacteria ferments and breaks down the prebiotics to help in the digestion of food, the production of certain vitamins, and in keeping the immune system healthy.
So, why are probiotics and prebiotics significant?
Our gut plays an important role in our health, especially the health of our immune system. It is filled with trillions of different bacteria, but not all of them are beneficial. The goal of consuming probiotics and prebiotics is to increase the ratio of “good” bacteria to “bad” bacteria.
Everyone’s gut microbiota is unique, and it can be impacted by the foods we consume. Most of the time, our microbiota can adapt to change. However, there are some instances where a rift in the balance can arise. Research states that such imbalance may be linked to inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, allergies, and diabetes ( 1) . Moreover, ongoing research have attributed prebiotic and probiotic consumption with reducing antibiotic associated diarrhea, improving mild to moderate IBS and other digestive symptoms, and maintaining overall digestive and immune system health( 2) .
Where can I find prebiotics and probiotics?
Prebiotics are naturally found in fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, artichokes, garlic, onion, leeks, and tomatoes; in grains such as bran; and in nuts such as almonds. Hence, including a variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet is one way to make sure you are getting natural sources of prebiotics in your diet.
Probiotics supplements are available, but you can also find them naturally in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, kimchi, pickles, and in some cheeses such as gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar.
Maintaining a healthy environment for gut bacteria to thrive is key to optimal health. Supplements are readily available, but make sure to include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet so you can reap the benefits of these little living organisms!
1.European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. (2017). Gut Microbiota for Health. Retrieved from http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/about-gut-microbiota-info/
2.Sanders, M. (2016). Probiotics. International Scientific Association of Prebiotics and Probiotics. Retrieved from https://isappscience.org/probiotics/
Having a child diagnosed with psychosis is often devastating. For some, it may even feel like the end of the world.
For the first few hours after the diagnosis, no reassuring words seem to help. However, once you’re through the initial shock, Psychosis is more like one chapter of your child's life is over and a new is beginning.
It is easy for parents to instantly blame themselves for the unforeseen things that happen in their children’s lives. The instinctual reaction is to jump in and try to solve the problem for them. Then, when we realize that we cannot solve it for them, we blame ourselves. Unfortunately, we cannot and should not do that either.
So, what can parents do?
Most importantly, being there for your child, no matter how angry they get or irrational they appear. Being physically with them, even if you're just sitting there while they go on and on about something you want to correct, just sit with them. They are aware that you are there. Your job is to be supportive while our job, as professionals, is to challenge them and determine the best course of treatment and medications. Let us be the tough guys in their eyes. We will take the blame and are trained to handle it.
When you are not with your child, learn as much as you can about their condition by reading. Go to support groups available in your community to network with other parents in a similar situation. Become involved in their care, work with the treatment team and provide input. Most importantly, ask a lot of questions and let the team know what your limitations are.
Make sure your child takes his or her medication. There is no amount of therapy that I or any therapist can do that will help rid them of the psychosis. Therapy is useless without the client being on medication. My job is to help them once their symptoms start to go away.
Wait before you stop reading, it is important to emphasize the following points:
About Tom: Tom Earnshaw, LCSW is a therapist at Curis Functional Health who specializes in Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Psychosis. To schedule an appointment with Tom Click here.
Curis Functional Healthis a multidisciplinary functional health center that integrates mental health, chiropractic, and dietetics. Click here to learn more about Curis.
“I didn't cause it.”
“I can’t cure it.”
“I can’t control it.”
If you have ever been to an Alanon meeting, you’ve probably heard these before. Though there’s a lot of wisdom in these thoughts, they can be truly hard to understand, especially when you’re family is caught up in the addiction cycle.
A lot of times, family members try to do things to control the addiction behaviors of their loved one. To do so, often feels like self-preservation. We’re just trying to survive it with as little damage as possible. There’s a theory in psychology called change theory, which basically states that we don’t really make any changes unless we’re uncomfortable. So, avoiding discomfort may actually be perpetuating the disease process in our loved one. Our interference with them being uncomfortable can actually allow their suffering to continue longer than it would have. Wrap your mind around that one!
We are not meant to control their behaviors, or rescue them from their consequences. We are allowed to let it go. In fact, most times, our desire to control them backfires on us.
Family members and mostly parents can feel like they have somehow caused the addiction. The reality is, there are many factors that contribute to the creation of the disease and it’s very rarely one person or one event. Genetics can be a factor in someone developing the disease of addiction. On the other hand, there are many people who are genetically loaded for it and never manifest the disease. In addition, people experience many painful things in their lives. We just are not capable of rescuing our loved ones from all of them and allowing them to go through these pains, often make people better.
How are we supposed to know the difference? We can’t bubble wrap our loved ones to protect them from every life event. Our addicted person may try to blame us, which is common. But once we choose to let go of that blame, it can allow them to take responsibility for their own lives and grow from it.
I wish we had a quick fix or a pill that could cure addiction. I’d have to find a new line of work and I’d be okay with that. But, in reality, those do not exist. There is no quick cure. There is only continued progress toward health and peace. If you think about it, most diseases are like that. Our body tells us there is something wrong and we may be able to change our lifestyle (this can mean taking medication, or not) but if we go back to an unhealthy-for-us lifestyle, the disease comes back.
Addiction acts the same way. We, as the army of family members, do not have a way to cure the addiction for our loved one, but we can support their recovery, and our own. As we learn what addiction really is, we can help with the recovery process for our addicted family member. Learning how to have boundaries with them and to create a sense of safety in the family is key.
Most of us begin this journey with no idea how to do this. It’s part of the process of moving our family into recovery. Having a group of supportive and knowledgeable people in your life is important and will help you and your loved one enter into, and stay in, recovery.
About Julia: Julia Wesley, LMFT-S is a therapist at Curis Functional Health who specializes in addiction, codependency, couples, and family therapy. Click here to schedule with Julia today.
Curis Functional Health is a multidisciplinary functional health center that integrates mental health, chiropractic, and dietetics. Click here to learn more about Curis.
For nine months, life revolves around one question, "how can I bring my baby into the world healthy and safely?" This generally includes numerous visits to the OB/GYN, vitamins, supplements, cravings and nutrition changes, difficulty standing or getting out of your bed or car, sleep discomfort, and even pain.
The reality is that most women will experience discomfort during pregnancy. Common medical solution like painkillers and muscle relaxers can’t be had, stretching can worsen the problem, and even sleep aids are not recommended. Chiropractic care can be of great help to alleviate the pain and discomfort, which makes the expecting mother (and father), much happier and the pregnancy much more enjoyable.
Approximately 50% of women experiences back pain during pregnancy and that ratio spikes to 75% during labor. This can mainly be attributed to the altered physical and hormonal changes a woman goes through. As the baby grows, it pulls your weight forward causing posture imbalances and increased curvature of your lower back, which diminishes the ability of your pelvis and spine to adequately support your weight. This, typically, results in compression of the spinal and pelvic joints, pinching of the sciatic nerve, and contraction of muscles to try and retain stability.
All of this contributes to pain, and is made worse by the hormones relaxin and progesterone, particularly in the third trimester. These hormones allow the pelvic cavity to expand to accommodate the growth of the baby, but also allow muscles and ligaments to over stretch.
In a series of studies, it was found that an outstanding 84% of women who underwent Chiropractic care experienced relief of back pain. It also significantly decreases the risk of, "back labor.” Typically, women who experience back pain through pregnancy are three times more likely to experience back labor. The study also noted that women utilizing Chiropractic care during pregnancy experience 25% shorter labor for a first time mother, and 31% shorter for subsequent births.
So, is Chiropractic safe? Another study showed that women experienced relief in symptoms in an average of 1.8 visits, with no negative reported effects.
Not only can this help reduce pain and shorten labor times, but also decreases the likelihood of a cesarean section by 24% and forcep usage during delivery by 14%. This is accomplished through Chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic massage, and moderate exercise focused on core/pelvic strengthening.
Chiropractic is a safe, affordable, and dependable means of relieving pain during pregnancy and assisting expecting mothers in bringing their baby into this world happy and healthy.
Written By: Curis Functional Health
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
What comes to mind when you think of the word DREAM? For some, it may bring up thoughts of the future and potential achievements, while for others it may be reoccurring nightmares or nightly dreams that they just can’t shake. And of course, there are the daydreamers… There are so many meanings to this single word that we delve into, so today I would like to focus on the meaning of dreams that occur at night.
Reoccurring dreams or nightmares can be haunting and confusing - Why do I keep having the same dream? What does it really mean? What does this say about me and about my life?
Many different theorists in the world of psychology have come up with different ways to view and interpret our dreams. The first person that comes to mind when thinking of dream theories is Freud. He wrote the book ‘Interpretation of Dreams’, which stated that our dreams were a way of fulfilling our desires that we kept repressed in our subconscious. He believed that our dreams, both good and bad, held hidden meanings within them. Seems intriguing, right? Well not to everyone, apparently. McClarley and Hobson had a different theory when it came to dreams, and it was the opposite of Freud’s. Their theory is known as the Activation-Synthesis Theory and it states that our brain circuits being activated during REM sleep cause our dreams. Though this theory looks at dreams as mainly random firings within the brain, they do believe that some dreams could be useful.
These are just two of the many theories out there that discuss dreams, their origin, and whether or not they hold meaning. However, sometimes when our dreams are distressing we need a little bit more than a theory to help us understand and process their distressing nature. That’s where we can help! As counselors, we can help you walk through those dreams and build the tools necessary to process them. One of the best tools to start your work is to keep a dream journal. We can also help you through creating your own journal.