September is Suicide Prevention Month and we at Foundations Family Therapy want to be part of the solution to end the stigma of suicidal thoughts and help everyone know the signs that someone you love could be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The first thing to note is there are different tiers of suicidal behavior. The first is suicidal ideation. This can range from thoughts of “I don’t want to do anything” to “hurt or kill myself” but sometimes “I wish I could just not wake up” to contemplating suicide on a regular basis.
The next step is suicidal plans. This could be someone who has moved from the desire to be dead into making a plan of how they would kill themselves.
Lastly, suicide attempts are the last stage of suicidal behavior. This is someone who has moved from thinking, to planning, to taking action and is the most serious.
Many people who experience suicidal thoughts have some common signs. These include talking about death or suicide, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, verbalizing that they are a burden to others, losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, extreme mood swings, giving away possessions, or saying goodbye to people they care about.
Don’t be afraid to ask your child or someone you care about if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. You are not going to “give them the idea” if they are already having these thoughts. Many times, people want someone to ask and acknowledge how they are feeling and will tell you honestly.
If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, don’t wait, act. If they verbalize a suicide plan or have attempted suicide, please call 911 immediately or take them to your local hospital.
If they are voicing suicidal ideation without plans or means, please reach out to a licensed mental health provider about getting them help or reach out to their doctor immediately. You are not alone and there is help available.
*The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*
Your body feels tense, sleep is up and down, time feels like it is slipping and as soon as you feel like you have a bit of a footing on life, one more thing comes and demands your attention.
It’s hard to know what a social life looks like before COVID – but now?
It feels like survival is the only option. Thriving during stress appears to be a far-off, whimsical idea.
Well, if you somehow squeezed in the chance to read this – pause – resist the urge to skim through and think “that had some nice thoughts” and continue buzzing through your day.
Close your eyes, if you’d like, and let yourself rest and notice all the ways in which your body and mind have been on overdrive.
As you observe the places where tension and tiredness is sitting – ask yourself how those parts of yourself have been serving you.
Are your muscles stiff and joints aching? Does your head feel like it’s swimming? Are you to the point it feels like your eyes want to close but they can’t? Does it feel like you are carrying more than you feel able? You’ve been giving so much of yourself that your body is starting to hold what you have not had time to process. Or maybe you feel if you slowed down you worry there is too much to process, and it’s easier to just keep going?
You don’t have to just “get by.” It’s time to ask for help and unburden yourself. Challenge the idea that there is nowhere to turn to. Question the thought that it’s not worth reflecting on the matters at hand. Ask yourself – is this sustainable? It’s time to move from “surviving” to thriving!
Here are some suggestions.
Turn towards your faith.
Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve felt connected to your faith or you’ve fallen away. You’re not alone! Many people fluctuate with their connection to their faith identity for many reasons. Here is a great book to look into on this: “It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way – Finding Unexpected Strength when Disappointments Leave You Shattered” by Lysa Terkeurst
Find a way to renew yourself.
Give yourself permission to care for yourself and your needs. It’s not selfish! If you ever have been on a plane, the flight attendants will inform you that in case of emergency, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you help the person beside you. What is your best way to “get some oxygen,” so to speak? Is it a day trip to the beach or the mountains? Painting? Gardening? Building a puzzle while listening to your favorite music? Is there a way to build silence and rest into your day?
Ask for help.
Many people feel they have to endure trial alone – that what they are experiencing is “too much” or a “burden” for others. Others feel they will be judged and misunderstood. Not relying on others means spreading yourself thin and is a recipe for burnout. If this is true for you, please reach out. What does your support system look like? If you are not sure who to trust or are struggling to find healing, make an appointment with a counselor who seems like a good fit for your needs – that’s what counselors are here for!
You are not meant to go this alone. If you feel like you are trying to survive and are struggling to get by, know this – you are meant to thrive, even when times are stressful!
Successful people often have a few common characteristics that have helped them move past their mental roadblocks and into a thriving mindset. There are hundreds of videos and self-help books out there that share success tips and tricks but success boils down to self-improvement and personal growth.
Here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you move forward in success…
Develop A Growth Mindset
Successful people are not afraid of making mistakes and taking on challenges. They leave their fixed mindset behind…the one telling them they’ll never change and their environment will always stay the same… to move into a growth mindset.
People who have a growth mindset view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. They always take away lessons from the negative things that have happened in order to build resilience.
While setbacks happen to everyone, you can keep moving forward in positivity even after a few steps back. That’s what resilience is all about!
For example, instead of thinking, “I really don’t understand this new program at work. I’ll never understand it so I give up!,” try thinking with personal growth in mind, “I don’t know it yet, but I will learn.”
Don’t let the fear of failure be the voice that stands in the way of your success in life.
Create a Plan
Personal development plans help you stay on track and meet your goals. They are a good way to attain more self-awareness and figure out what aspects of personal development have been working and which aspects you need to improve.
Not sure where to start? Grab a notebook or journal and make a commitment to write each day. Evaluate your vision and your values. What does success look like and feel like to you? Create small and measurable steps to get there.
Include periodic check-ins with questions like…
Am I taking care of my mental and physical health?
Am I coping with stress effectively?
Are my goals aligned with my life vision?
Coping with Stress
Coping with stress in a healthy way is an important part of the journey to success. Stress can blur your clarity and focus. It can have an effect on how you eat, sleep, or think. Stress can dampen your productivity and create problems in meaningful relationships.
Managing stress is an important part of your overall health and wellness. Try incorporating some common stress-relieving habits like meditation, exercise, socializing, reading, or simply changing up your environment.
It is also important to know your triggers when you feel extremely overwhelmed and need a break. We understand. You’re tired of just surviving each day. You want something different. You’re ready to take your life back, to gain control over your thoughts and feelings, to repair your relationships. You were made for more than just surviving; you were made to thrive.
Our team of licensed therapists in Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh help struggling individuals, couples, and families gain hope, reclaim their foundation, and move from surviving to thriving.
We’ve all been there…
Lost in a downward spiral of negative thinking. It’s a self-defeating cycle fueled by doubt and anxiety. It continues to build and gain momentum like a snowball down a hill taking out everything in its path.
These feelings are only intensified for those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Negative thinking can easily feel like quicksand if left unmanaged.
The good news is you can stop negative thinking in its tracks and move forward in positivity. Here are a few things to keep in mind…
One of the best ways to stop negative thinking is to refocus your energy on the current moment. Stop and be present. The next time you feel yourself spiraling into negativity, remember to shift your thinking to the here and now.
Mindfulness techniques work to help keep you present and focused on the current moment. There are several mindfulness practices you can use to stop anxious thoughts from flooding in. Focus on your breathing. Let go of all the “what-ifs” and negative self-talk.
Tune Into Your Thoughts
You are not your thoughts.
When your thoughts are negative, they can make you feel sad, angry, and confused. Remember, thoughts are never the real you! Let your thoughts come…process them…and let them go.
As you process your thoughts, think about why you might be feeling a certain way. Many times, there’s an underlying cause to your negativity that you can work out on a deeper level. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support!
Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries in all areas of your life can help you thrive! Boundaries are important in relationships with others and with ourselves. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by learning when (and how) to say “no”. Also, don’t fall victim to the comparison trap social media sometimes presents.
When you feel your thoughts spiraling negatively, take a step back.
Stop and listen—ask yourself why they are happening.
Once you do, set some boundaries that will prevent a downward spiral of negativity in the future.
Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time but it’s important no to let them spiral and ruin your entire day. We’re here to help you to gain control over your thoughts and feelings. Give our office a call today!
Hearing is something we do every day.
We hear the sound of a lawnmower or the sound of a beeping car horn. Our sense of hearing is not necessarily something that we can just “turn off” – it’s involuntary.
On the other hand, active listening is about tuning in to a conversation with motivation and purpose. Active listeners tune in with an intention to connect and participate in a conversation – not just hear.
Active listening can help nourish meaningful relationships in your life. Use these 3 tips that can help you become a more active listener in your relationships.
Master Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal conversation has a lot of deep meaning. You can learn to read and use body language in ways that help build better relationships. Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and posture affect the way you are communicating.
These nonverbal cues can signal interest, affection, or hostility without saying a word. Before you engage in a conversation, think about all of your nonverbal cues and what they communicate.
Put down your cell phone and shut off the TV! Active listening is about making a conscious decision to hear what people are saying. It’s about being completely focused on others—their words and their messages—without being distracted.
Active listeners can tune out distractions and noise to tune into the conversation at hand. In its most basic form, active listening is when someone is listening for meaning and feeling and not just content. When you eliminate background noise and distractions you are signaling that the conversation (and your relationship) is a priority.
Mindfulness is an essential part of active listening. When you are mindful, you make a conscious decision to focus on the moment at hand. Mindfulness helps you focus on the here and now which is an especially important skill set. We’re so often triggered by words the words we hear that it’s hard for us to understand what’s really being said.
Remember that mastering communication and the art of active listening is something that takes work in any relationship. The good news is that it’s an achievable goal.
At Foundations Family Therapy, we provide counseling to help strengthen relationships. Whether you are trying to work through something small or on the brink of divorce, counseling can help if you and your partner are ready to work on your relationship. Give us a call today!
Governor Cooper just announced that Phase 2 begins at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22,2020, and remains in place until June 26, 2020, unless changed or canceled.
Phase 2 is all about the transition from “Stay At Home” to “Safer At Home”. But we know that transitions can be difficult for some people. We’ve all been asked to change and adapt in unprecedented ways because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It some ways, these changes have taken an emotional toll on people. In other ways, we’ve learned to practice gratitude and find joy in the little things that make life so great.
If you feel like the past few months have been an emotional roller coaster, you’re not alone! Studies show that the Coronavirus is causing a historic rise in mental health problems. New polls indicated Americans are feeling more anxious than ever- especially over concerns for the health and safety of those they love.
So how can we move forward during this period of transition in health and happiness?
Move At Your Own Pace
Remember, just because you can go out doesn’t mean you should. Don’t feel pressured to follow in line with what others are doing. Understand your risks, know how to stay safe, and find ways to keep living your life. What works for you and your family might be different from what your neighbor is doing.
Self-care during a period of transition is an essential part of your mental wellness. Personal self-care routines vary and there’s no right or wrong way to practice self-care. The bottom line is making yourself a priority! Whether that’s going to visit your favorite salon during its reopening or for a quick walk around your neighborhood, make your health and happiness a priority.
Above all, try to maintain a positive mindset. Remember, this won’t last forever. Find the beauty in your ‘new normal’ so you can focus on all that you have. This period of change, transition, and adaptation can help us all build a little more resilience in our lives.
We know that building resilience, adapting to change, and finding personal happiness in life isn’t always easy. Our team is here to walk with you through your struggles. Many of our providers are still offering teletherapy appointments that can help you adjust accordingly while staying safe at home. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today!
Staying safe and healthy is a top priority during the era of a pandemic. We have restrictions and recommendations in place to help keep us physically safe as we continue to adjust to a new normal. However, many of us are relying on our phones, laptops and other devices to stay connected now more than ever as we’re socializing online.
With all of the increased online activity, there’s a greater risk of exposure to cyber-attacks and scammers. Here are a few ways to ensure your safety while socializing online.
Spring Clean Your Digital Accounts
There’s no better time to clean up your digital accounts! Delete programs and accounts that you no longer use to help reduce data exposure. Getting rid of old and unused accounts can help reduce your privacy risk. Clean out your inbox by hitting the ‘unsubscribe’ button to help remove digital clutter in your life.
Update Your Devices
Keeping your devices updated can actually help keep you safe online. If you are using old versions of apps it is more likely there will be bugs that can leave your device vulnerable. Follow all recommended updates on your phone, tablet, and computer to reduce your risk.
Password Protect Virtual Meetings
Unfortunately, many scammers and cyberbullies are finding ways to cash in on all of the increased online activity. Try to password protect private meetings documents while socializing online. When choosing a password, incorporate different styles of capitalization, characters, and numbers to further help ensure your safety.
Spend Time With Your Children Online
Children still need to connect with friends, family, and teachers online. Try to create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions online.
Start by helping your child recognize and avoid misinformation and age-inappropriate content that may increase anxiety about the COVID-19 virus. Consider using parental controls in apps and devices to monitor and limit what your child does online.
Check Your Sources
Staying safe during COVID-19 starts with education. Make sure you’re not
contributing to the spread of harmful content. Check your sources. Stick to a credible source for up-to-date information like the CDC.
At Foundations Family Therapy, we’re helping our clients stay safe during
COVID-19 by offering secure virtual therapy appointments for mental wellness. Even during these times of ‘survival’, there are still ways to thrive.
Let us help you live your best life.
Grief can be a natural response to what’s happening in our world right now.
There’s a shift and a sense of loss for the ways things were.
We’re preparing for how things may have to be.
Life as we know it looks very different as we “social distance” ourselves and many of our expectations and way of life have had to rapidly change. What we never imagined having to worry about is affecting us. The novelty is beginning to transform.
This is new and this is hard.
The thing is, our new norm can look both similar and different from our coworker who is also running a school for their kids at home, our friend who works as a nurse in a hospital, or our next-door neighbor who is elderly and also a widow.
Some might have had to re-think what walking down the aisle looks like, someone you know may soon be delivering a new life into the world, and many have to face the heartbreak of not walking across the stage for their well-earned diploma. What grief are you facing? What should you do about it?
Tending to your needs.
Give yourself time to make space for what is difficult. You can do this by setting a timer to journal, lighting a candle to pray at night, or taking a walk to have a space big enough to hold what you are going through. It is important to find a way to both open and close the space and time you are in to create a container for your grief – so it doesn’t flood into the rest of your day and become debilitating.
Creating hope – not despair
While social distancing has limited our ability to physically be present with one another, it has not taken away our ability to connect.
What I can’t help but notice is that our spirit as a community has not been extinguished – on the contrary – it has inspired us to create.
As I write this the Easter Bunny will be coming down my street in a fire truck today, after three hours of going down every neighborhood in my town. While it feels a little cheesy, I also notice a sense of excitement for my daughter to be able to squeal with joy and clap her hands at the sight.
I pray that hope – not despair – may fill your lives during these times as we see and respond to each other’s loss and needs. Together, we will see this through.
Jessica Block, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
In a time where so much is unknown, take comfort in knowing our team at Foundations Family Therapy is here for you! Social distancing and limiting human contact are essential when it comes to flattening the curve and we’re stepping up to do our part.
Effective Wednesday, March 25th, we will be servicing our clients via online sessions only. Book Your Session Today
Online therapy offers secure, convenient, and easy to access care in a time when you need it most. Also, many major insurance companies have agreed to pay for Telehealth services the same as they would pay for in-office visits. This means your out of pocket cost should be the same for Telehealth services as it is for in-person office visits. They have agreed to continue this throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our team at Foundation’s Family Therapy remains committed to doing everything that we can to provide you a safe and comfortable environment for wellness. We look forward to connecting with you and moving forward together in health and happiness.
Jamie Criswell MS, LMFT
The health and safety of our clients and therapists is our priority and utmost concern.
As we continue to see a spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, and in our local communities, we are closely monitoring the recommendations of the CDC and our local and state health departments and are following all guidelines provided by these organizations.
Currently, we have no plans of closing our offices or canceling sessions. The local County Health Department is encouraging citizens to continue with daily life while taking precautions such as increased handwashing and staying home if you aren’t feeling well.
Social distancing has been encouraged to minimize the spread of the virus, however, because we are a small group, we do not have large events or crowds and we see our clients one-on-one, closing the practice does not seem warranted at this time. If the CDC or WHO provides different guidance at any time then we will make changes as needed.
Some precautions that are part of our normal operations to reduce the spread of any virus, and that we will continue to take include: daily cleaning of our therapy rooms and waiting rooms, availability of hand sanitizer throughout the practice, and encouraging clients to do telehealth from home if they are sick.
Some additional measures we are putting in place include:
While we’ve always cleaned throughout the day, we’ve now introduced increased awareness and commitment to actively cleaning throughout the day. In addition, we have a routine schedule for deep cleaning, wiping down surfaces and disinfecting common areas.
We use CDC-approved products for cleaning that have been recommended by the CDC as being effective against COVID-19.
Limiting Community Contact
Though we love our clients, therapists are now required to wash hands between sessions and refrain from common physical contact with clients (handshakes, hugs etc.)
We also are encouraging clients to come right at their appointment time if they would like to minimize contact with others in the waiting room.
Making Telehealth Services Available
We would also like to offer telehealth services to any client that feels uncomfortable meeting in the office or is deemed high-risk or someone in their family is at high risk of contracting the Coronavirus.
Please talk with your therapist about scheduling your sessions using telehealth until you feel comfortable coming back into the office for sessions.
Please remember that if you or anyone in your family has any symptoms of illness (fever, cough, vomiting) to stay home and do telehealth appointments (if you’re able to do so) until everyone has been symptom-free for 24 hours.
We understand that this virus is concerning and may cause increased anxiety for a lot of people.
We are here to help and want to ensure our clients that we will continue to meet with them in the best way possible while making sure that they receive the appropriate level of care.
We are closely monitoring the situation and adjusting to any new developments. We will communicate any changes through our website, email and social media channels.
Jamie Criswell, LMFT