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Reflecting on the Present Moment

7 Jun

Reflecting on the Present, Importance of Grounding

This image and quote from the Dalai Lama holds a lot of meaning. In stressing over the future or worrying excessively, many develop anxiety responses. In focusing on the past, trauma and pain from the past can prevent enjoyment of present. In being consumed with pleasing others or being “perfect,” the individual can neglect self.

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Sleep Therapy and Tweaking Your Sleep Habits With Technology

8 May

Ok…as a graduate student (or working stressed out human being in general) sleep quality is not always the best.  However, psychologists as well as others have begun experimenting with ways to increase sleep quality through the use of smart phone alarms as well as through dream manipulation. The following article on LifeHaker discusses some of these apps.  I’m currently using the DreamOn app.  I’ve only been using it for a week or two, and would like to wait a bit longer before going into depth about the app; however, my experience so far has been (a) increase in vivid dreaming and (b) more restful/higher quality of sleep – leading to increased energy/mood during the day.  Now if only I could use this app to help me study for the NCE. 🙂

(Click the Quote to Go to the Rest of the Article)

Sleep. It’s the one thing we all do and the one thing that few of us are willing to screw around with—if only because a bad night of sleep can ruin an entire day. Still, hundreds of sleep tricks, hacks, and dream induction techniques exist that are supposed to give you a better night of sleep, and they’ve all been ported to your phone. But do any of these really work? If so, are these apps worth using? We’ll take a look at the science supporting various sleep apps, and then see how it really feels when your sleep and dreams tinkered with.

Bullying: Mental/Physical Abuse and Harassment …

29 Sep

Bullying, in many ways, is the last “acceptable” form of mental/physical abuse.  Parents, eager to support a child as an adult against workplace harassment and discrimination, view that same harassment and discrimination IN the school system as “kids just being kids.”  Then, once those same children grow up, we as a society are shocked that these “now adults” expect to get away with harassment or assault for minor slights – club/college brawls, road rage, etc.  Moreover, victims of bullying have little recourse.  Reporting abuse/harassment to school administration may result in the perpetrators receiving “detention” or suspension (and possibly eventual expulsion); however, the initial perception of detention as a “slap-on-the-wrist” often causes the bully to retaliate later against the victim.  The victim, having not been protected by the system, resolves self to not report future incidents out of fear of escalation.

There needs to be extensive research into appropriate consequences/deterrents to Bullying behavior.  Some consequences such as involving authorities early on, may be seen as extreme by parents seeking to protect the bully; however, I personally feel that addressing the seriousness of such actions early may have 2 distinct benefits: (1) prevention of escalated retaliation/protection of the victim, and (2) emphasis on the seriousness of harassing/abusive behaviors in the public setting – behaviors that as an adult will not be ignored as “kids-being-kids” and could result in jail time.

The following are a series of resources for victims of Bullying:

  1. National Bullying Prevention Center
  2. Stop Bullying. Gov
  3. Resources to Help Stop Bullying by Ellen Degeneres – including The Trevor Project, Pacer Center, and GLSEN (among others)
  4. Free Anti-Bullying Lesson Resources – Power Points, Lesson Plans, etc.

The National Association of School Psychologists has the following to say about Bullying:

Bullying is a widespread problem in our schools and communities. The behavior encompasses physical aggression, threats, teasing, and harassment. Although it can lead to violence, bullying typically is not categorized with more serious forms of school violence involving weapons, vandalism, or physical harm.  It is, however, an unacceptable anti-social behavior that is learned through influences in the environment, e.g., home, school, peer groups, even the media.  As such, it also can be unlearned or, better yet, prevented. (Cohn & Canter, 2003)

(Click the Quote for the complete article by: Andrea Cohn, and Andrea Canter, PhD, NCSP)

Step 5: Finding a Counseling Graduate School Internship Site

17 Aug

Well it’s been a while since I wrote…again:)  I had planned to post a lot between semesters, but wound up using the break to search for an internship site.  If you are in Mental Health Counseling (or seeking an LPC)  part of the graduate requirement (per-graduation) is a practicum/internship (the hours required vary from state-to-state).  I’ve found a site, all I need to do now is get approval from my university **fingers crossed!** The process of “finding” a site went smoothly, in part because I prepared early and

Tips to finding an Internship Site (Graduate School):

  1. Create a resume or update yours when (a) you first start school, and (b) once more 9 months before job hunting
  2. Use University career centers and/or a professor in YOUR field of study to review your resume and edit it! (Every profession has things it looks for, keywords/etc, in resumes.  Catering your resume to your field is essential.)
  3. (Note: Counseling/Psychology fields like “Bulleted” items in their works.) For a sample resume please see mine HERE.
  4. After you have a polished resume make sure you review/update it before searching for a site.
  5. Begin searching for a site no less than 6 months prior to the scheduled date of internship – this will give you ample time to complete paperwork for your university and/or have a site rejected by said university (giving you time to freak out and find another if need be).
  6. If every place you go to seems not to want you, get a teacher or friend to “interview” you informally (try to find someone in the field you’re going into) and critique your interview-ability.  Something you are saying (or not saying) may be putting potential sites off you!
  7. DON’T forget to mention that (A) the internship is UNPAID for graduate school and (B) you will have your own INSURANCE via a professional organization.  There are “paid” internships/career openings that you may not qualify for; however, if you are working for “free” the company may employ you anyways to save money and receive help that budgetary limitations would otherwise not allow for…
  8. You have a site but it’s still 6 months away?  Follow up!  At least once a month check in with your potential supervisor.  Keep up with the paperwork that must be done.  Ask about additional training sessions you may need, if you have to foot the bill for these sessions, and ask about background/medical/other checks may be needed in order to work at your chosen site.
  9. A little work NOW can mean BIG results later.  It will also keep you from needing to be committed due to last minute rushing/panic attacks.

Are you a procrastinator??? Well guess what me too!  What you don’t believe me??? Here’s a trick I do to FORCE myself to keep ahead of the game:

On my calendar (physical or the one on my cell phone) I set the most annoying reminder with an alarm for whatever I am trying to accomplish.  For instance, tomorrow I need to call and follow up with a potential internship site and have been procrastinating because of the false sense of security gained from finding one so quickly.  I have the most annoying alarm/sound set to go off every 3 hours tomorrow until I call.  Once I call, I’ll delete the alarm(s).  Additionally, it’s important to FORCE yourself to do something to prep for future school requirements (like an internship or a portfolio) at least once to twice a month.  The act of accomplishing something also decreases anxiety/stress by increasing feelings of accomplishment.  There are times that even doing a bit here and there is not enough to keep away the mad rush at the last minute.  On the other hand, even when the mad rush is unavoidable, previous feelings of accomplishment and work can make the act of coping with the stress more manageable.

GOOD LUCK:):):)

Another semester…survived!

23 Jun

Well, I’ve finished another semester…which means I’ll have until July 11, 2011 to write as many blog posts as possible:);) It’s looking good so far, although I’m still waiting on a few grades to be turned in.  This semester I took (1) Principles of Psychopathology and Diagnosis, (2) Addictive and Compulsive Behaviors, and (3) Group Therapy.

Next semester I’ll be taking: (1) Human Sexuality, (2) Child and Adolescent Counseling, and (3) Mental Health Counseling Residency Track 2.

Last semester was awesome, I may post a slideshow I completed for Group Therapy as well as some excerpts of papers completed either on here or on my digital portfolio (or both)…I haven’t really decided yet.  Anyways, right now I’ stressing out trying to line up a future practicum/internship site for my experiential learning component required for graduation.  Counseling jobs are a bit scarce in Louisiana at the moment (giving me a somewhat not-so-mild panic attack); however, one thing at a time:) 😀

Remember! Keep on Swimming!!! (Watch the video below, it makes me smile when grad school gets tough!)

Randomness and Life…Myfitnesspal, a tool 4 self-awareness

7 Apr

Ok, this has nothing to do with counseling in a traditional sense.  In counseling, the counselor seeks to promote “mindfulness” or awareness of cause/effect.  Awareness can relate to eating habits, sleep patterns  (as in the ZEO product I discuss HERE), and/or mental/emotional awareness (through meditation and reflection), etc.

My fitness pal is a website (and an Iphone app) that lets users keep track of caloric intake, nutrition, and water consumption.  It also calculates (based on height/weight/activity level) the suggested calorie consumption to promote weight loss.  It’s completely free.  I was not contacted to review their site, and am not receiving compensation.

Physical health is tied to mental health and can influence depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, and dysfunctional coping strategies.  Since joining I’ve lost 7lbs:) (and goodness knows I haven’t hit the exercising/dieting hard).  Having the Iphone app also makes it easier to make decisions when eating out at fast food places (as you can see the values and select one based on your plan).  Unlike other programs (that will not be named), it is free.  Which makes it not so much a diet, as a change in behavior/habit.  Lifestyle changes are sustainable.  Diets, are not.

Counseling is about making small lifestyle changes that build to make larger impacts.  For myself, this meant using an Iphone app as a tool for mindfulness.  It makes me wonder what other resources to promote mindfulness are available that could be used to support client/individual interventions.