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"Say this, not that." Supporting someone with depression.

Posted on May 3, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)


“You shouldn’t feel that way.”


When we are grasping to support our friends or family members who are suffering from depression, in desperation, we often fall into the trap of telling them “you shouldn’t feel that way.” We mean this as a way to comfort, but instead we are likely causing more pain. The statement “you shouldn’t feel that way” is actually being received as: “it isn’t OK to feel that way” or “you are not justified in the way you feel” or “your feelings are wrong.” Instead of creating an atmosphere of support, this statement creates an atmosphere of judgement. Ultimately, if an individual experiencing depression hears “you shouldn’t feel that way” frequently enough he or she will stop reaching out for help. Instead, try statements such as “I am sorry that you feel sad.” -or- “It’s ok to feel sad.” -or- “is there anything that I can do to help you feel better?” These statements are validating statements that will provide a safe environment and will build trust. 


Erin Touchette MA, LLP


This is the first of a series of posts. Stay tuned for tip #2 “I know how you feel.”



A Therapeutic Review of the Movie "Bad Moms"

Posted on August 5, 2016 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Last night, myself and a group of moms went out to watch the movie “Bad Moms.” Wow, what a movie! The movie was very funny, very inappropriate, and very touching. I could relate to this movie in two ways: as a mom and as a therapist.

 

What I found interesting was the different “mom” personalities that we witnessed in the movie. There was “the stay at home mom” that was so lost in being a mom she did not know herself. “The absent mom” that was uninvolved and disconnected from her child’s life. “The career mom” who was trying to maintain a career and be a good mom to her children. Lastly, “the PTA mom” who showed up to all the events and took everything to the next level.

 

The movie takes the personalities and magnifies them in such a way that makes the plot highly unlikely yet hilarious and enjoyable to watch. The touching part of the movie is that as the mom personalities are battling it out they begin to recognize that they are all the same. They all love their children and are working very hard to protect their children while making ends meet.

 

The moms begin to join together and as they do this they begin to make positive changes. As the moms are developing and learning about themselves, they begin to recognize changes in their children, husbands, and bosses.

 

Interestingly, this movie essentially outlines how people can develop by investing time in therapy. It is an important development - instead of running around like a lunatic in the grocery store because you have pushed yourself beyond your breaking point (a very dramatic and hilarious part of the movie). For those frequently finding themselves in these breaking point situations, it may be beneficial to look into individual therapy as a way to learn more about yourself.

 

Part of the therapeutic process is to help you identify your personality traits. The next step is to identify how you can use these traits to strengthen certain areas of your life. The last step is to recognize how these personality traits may hinder you in your personal development as well as your relationships with other people. You can use this knowledge to help with reducing depression, reducing anxiety, raising self-esteem, developing anger management skills, and developing healthy relationships. As you learn more about yourself, your life will change in ways you did not even know was possible.

 

So should you watch the movie “Bad Moms?” Yes! There is a lot to be learned from this movie! Just keep the kids at home.

  

Erin Touchette, MA, LLP




 

Summertime Parenting

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Parenting school-aged children over the summer can be a challenge for any parent. For nearly ten months out of the year, we have a routine and a strict schedule where we are typically very busy managing our own personal and professional lives. It is difficult to switch gears mid-June as all the busy-ness seems to come to a screeching halt. There are so many concerns that plague the minds of many parents over the summer. How much studying or learning should my kids be doing so they do not “fall behind?” How much play time and free time should I give my kids so they can learn to entertain themselves and get all the value from the experience of play? How do I keep them from being bored, being rambunctious, and making me lose my mind?

 

These worries alone can put a good deal of unnecessary stress on you and your family during a time that is supposed to be fun and relaxing. These worries may cause you to begin counting the days until your kids can go back to school and wanting to pull out your hair more than ever. Let us consider three tips on how to make parenting over the summer more enjoyable and less stressful and worrisome.

 

1. Seek out balance.

 

Despite all the concern in our society about our kids falling behind academically, we have to remember that they spent all year getting a lot of new information crammed into their brains. The summer can be the time to let that information sink in more and be applied in ways they did not have time for during the school year. If given enough and a variety of opportunities, our kids will naturally apply those skills and capitalize on what they learned. We can, perhaps, expect a small amount of time dedicated each day to reading, writing, spelling and/or math, but it does not need to be an all-day activity. Summer is great for being casual about learning through an array of opportunities and experiences. Finding balance in work and play is key to having a successful summer with your kids.

 

2. Consider what works for YOU as well as what works for your children.

 

When it comes to how much time to dedicate to different types of activities, summer gives us the freedom to decide not only what our kids need but also what works and does not work for us as parents. The summer can be a time to take a break from the frustration and arguments that often revolve around homework, so do not force your child to do more sit-down work than they can tolerate as it will cause stress for them and you. Let them do the hard work of figuring out how to entertain themselves. In the summer, as parents we have the ability to accommodate ourselves better than we do during the school year. Take the opportunity not to force yourself into a stressed-out state, if it does not work for you….let it go!

 

3. Have fun.

 

The summer is a great time for families to be together, to have fun, and to learn and grow together. There are so many places to go, and there are options for every family with every level of income. Find the things your kids like to do and engage with them, ask them questions, get their brains thinking while having fun and bonding. Let them have fun on their own and with you. Remember that children develop differently, and different traits develop at different rates. What you worry about in the winter, your child may catch up on over the summer (but probably not if you and s/he is stressed out).

 

Overall, let summer be what we all want it to be - fun and relaxing for the family. You will see the information your children learned over the school year pour out of their little minds, and you will feel relieved. There is so much more to life and learning than academics and so much can be done together as a family and with fun.

 

If it turns out that you continue to have serious concerns about your child’s development and learning capabilities, there are resources to address this. Consider psychological and neurological testing, therapy, community and educational resources. There is no reason to suffer and struggle. My colleagues and I are here to support you and your families with all of those needs.

 

Stacey Dalton, MA LPC