The Benefits of Telemental Health

This season has found many of us utilizing the virtual world in order to maintain the rhythms of normalcy as much as possible. From company meetings to church services, this pathway has proven to be quite beneficial, providing a lifeline for the economy and connection.  But we may also find ourselves disconnected from services that we may truly need, like mental health care. 

As much as we are all working to maintain a sense of normalcy, we may also be experiencing thoughts that increase feelings that are making maintaining normalcy difficult to achieve. The growing number of job losses and the number of us finding ourselves struggling to meet basic needs are making it clear that mental health services are needed now more than ever. It may seem that seeking those services is not a viable option at this time. At Aubrey Counseling, we want you to know getting the services you need IS a viable option through the virtual pathway and telemental health.  Telemental health affords benefits that are available to you now, all from the safety and comfort of your own home. 

Choosing telemental health services offers:

  • Choices: Participating in telemental health allows clients more choices in who you would like to work with.
  • Time / Cost Savings: Clients not only have more options of providers you can choose, you can do so without worry of travel time, cost, and waiting which makes scheduling more convenient. 
  • Consistency: Telemental health fits into a busy schedule with ease. This helps ensure less cancellations and more consistency, which makes telemental health services just as effective as in person therapy.
  • Psychological comfort: One of the greatest barriers to seeking help is the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses. Telemental health allows individuals to receive needed services in the privacy of their own home.

At Aubrey Counseling, we are proud to offer this telemental health services. Please feel free to contact us for more information. We would love to know how we can hold virtual space for you. 

Coronavirus, Covid-19, covid, Twenty-twenty….

I have adopted “covid” as my way of referring to this invisible enemy we are fighting. Words influence our thinking heavily and our thinking affects our moods and behaviors. Two words in that first sentence speak to the fatigue, the frustration, and all of what is overwhelming us after nearly two seasons of this battle.

Tammy Boyle, a colleague, put it this way prompting me to write this post:

“I don’t know any of us thinks we should be able to handle it all. For moms, I can’t imagine the toll it must be taking on you. The stress of the pandemic is equal to being in a war zone. You don’t feel safe, you don’t know what’s coming and still, you have to manage the needs and feelings of others while trying to survive, yourself. You’re going to be half as productive, twice as fragile emotionally, and more prone to illness and exhaustion – not just fatigued. Scale back your expectations. This is the worst time to try to be a perfectionist. Reduce the demands, take frequent days off and don’t fill those days with to do chores. Just rest. I’ve slowed way down and when I can’t keep up, I cut myself some slack.”

This was in response to a mom posting that she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t keep up with her professional reading and other things she normally did easily (even with toddler twin boys!)

If you are exhausted but are confused because you are not going out as much, or you don’t have the motivation to do the things you normally enjoy, you are not alone. We are all in this boat together. We must learn to be kinder to ourselves. We must protect ourselves as much as we can.

Turn off the news as much as possible. Stay out of the many debates if they are overwhelming to you. Check your “bandwidth”. Do you have enough of it to do more than what you’re doing? If not, then allow yourself to let some things go. Prioritize and give yourself slack on the things that don’t matter.

There’s a poem that meant a great deal to me when I was a new mom:

“Calm down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

It allowed me to better enjoy my time with my boys when they were very little. And it stuck. Now we have bigger things to tell to calm down and go to sleep, and let’s face it, dust and cobwebs are never going to have a vaccine to eradicate them.

If you are having trouble letting these things go, if you need someone to listen just to you and provide you with encouragement, we want to help you get through this time. Call 940-300-2312 or click here to request an appointment today.

The Rings of Your Story

I love trees, especially in the hot TX summers. Mature, strong trees provide shade to cool off, strong limbs for fun & imagination, & a strong trunk for a great resting place. While much of nature takes advantage of what is seen, there is a story in that tree that we can’t see.  If you were to cut down a tree & look straight down on the stump, you would find one ring surrounding another & another & another. It is in these rings where the story of the tree is found.

Studying Tree Rings

Dendrochronolgists study tree rings with specific & scientific techniques for a number of reasons to understand:

  • The past of the tree
  • How the tree’s current environment is affecting the tree
  • The future environment in order to develop positive change

These scientists get to know the tree. How old is it? What trauma has it experienced? What is going on around this tree now that is playing a part in its growth & it’s life? What can the future of this tree look like? However, dendrochronology is more complicated than just counting rings. Dendrochronologists know how to spot things such as false rings, which actually have a different cellular makeup than true rings & fool the novice into thinking the tree is older than it actually is. They can see if a tree experienced a dry season or a rainy season, as well as any scarring from trauma like fire or lightning. All of these things reveal the story of the tree.

What Would Your Rings Show?

Humans have rings as well. You can’t cut us in half and see them, but they are there & they tell our story. Each year, we have 365 days to make a full circle before we move on to the next year. And within those 365 days, marks are made. False rings may reveal a time when we tried to be someone we weren’t made to be. Some rings may bear witness to a dry season while others may reveal a season of abundance. Still others may reveal the scars of trauma and pain that we try to forget.

I drew my rings one time, one circle for each year. I saw a visual representation of my story thus far: the good, the bad, & the ugly. When I finished & considered this piece of art before me, I saw things I continued to carry that made me weak, as well as how some experiences were necessary to become who I am. It also prompted me to take steps to move towards positive change.

Need some help dealing with your rings? Amy is holding space for you both online in office. Contact her today at 214-980-2079 or amy@aubreycounseling.com

Amy Glover, LPC Intern Supervised by Sharon Beam LPCS

Compassion, a COVID-19 Common Grace

It is a strange time in our world. We are having real life experiences that, up until now, we’ve only seen in movies and TV. Our interactions are as limited as the Charmin, jobs as unstable as The Tiger King, and the news as unpredictable as the TX weather. In the words of the great Bob Dylan, “the times, they are – a – changin’”. 

With these unprecedented changes, it’s almost certain we have all been experiencing the ups and downs of emotions and the ping ponging of our thoughts. But as humans, we have been created with magnificent complexities, abilities, and adaptations that allow us to adjust to crisis situations. Sometimes we cope really well and sometimes not so well. The spectrum of the way this experience is affecting is great.  But have all been given what I call common graces that we can both experience and extend. One of those common graces is that of compassion and is something we have the capability to experience and extend no matter how we are being affected by the uncontrollable. 

Here are some ways for you to experience this common grace: 

Practice acts of kindness. Some examples may include:

  • Hand write a letter of encouragement to a friend / family member.
  • Put together a quarantine survival pack (i.e., bag of microwave popcorn, chocolate, inspirational bible verse or message in a ziploc bag) and put them in your neighbors mailboxes.
  • Make a care package for those who care for you; mail carrier, delivery driver, grocery worker. You can include a face mask and small bottle of hand sanitizer with a thank you note. 

Give laugher.  Invite others into a space to just laugh. Play charades, tell jokes, talk about your most embarrassing moments. 

Practice presence.  Turn off the TV and social media and be present with the person in front of you. Our world of busyness and technology was creating social distancing gaps long before COVID-19. Give the gift of presence to help close it.

Make it a goal this week to practice compassion in one way or another. You may just discover it can make getting through these days a little easier. 

Compassionately,

Amy

Are you in a space where you need compassion? Has the experience of COVID-19 been a heavy burden for you? Amy is ready to hold space for you. For more information, contact Amy at amy@aubreycounseling.com.

More Quarantine Tips (Practical Stuff)

This stuff is just hard. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Here are some helpful resources I’ll link to and give credit to where I’m getting them from.

From “How to ADHD” YouTube Channel (we are all having problems with concentrating so I think these tips can help everyone). Manage working from home and schooling from home AND dealing with our new reality.

Here is a great workbook from Psychology Tools, always a great source, Living with Anxiety and Worry COVID-19

Quarantine Tips

Manage Covid-19 Anxiety:

Turn off the news. Watch only once or twice a day; even better – just listen. Everything you really need to know is here. Watching constantly is signaling danger to your brain, causing cortisol levels to stay elevated (so that energy needed to flee the danger your brain is believing is there ready to chase you is readily available). Shelter In Place does not go well with raised cortisol levels so let’s work to lower them by turning off the news and doing something else.

Watch these videos. Covid-19 is a reality. One way we can fight it is by laughing about how it’s affecting us. This will help desensitize us to the fear. We must remain vigilant about the things we can control but we can do that without stressing out our brains and bodies with constant high levels of cortisol. It’s okay to feel happy right now, or afraid, or angry, or any of your feelings. You NEED to feel them. Allow yourself to feel them. We tend to fear that if we start to cry we won’t be able to stop. You will stop. Let it out.

Talk to your friends and family, your doctor, your therapist about your fears.

Do some Square Breathing, especially when you feel anxiety that causes physical symptoms, like tightness in your chest. Add belly breathing to it.

Choose an app that helps. Here are a few:

  • Calm
  • HeadSpace
  • Pacifica
  • Happify
  • Worry Watch
  • Brain.fm
  • and do your own search in your app or play store!

Focus on What You Can Control – think about what particularly is within your control related to COVID-19. Let the rest go.

Take extra time to rest and just be. Instead of your commute maybe you sit in the sun by a window for a little while.

Use Social Media for FUN. Do not rely on it for news. And don’t forget to be social! Virtual interactions with others are definitely not the same as in person ones but they are still good for you. We are social beings, we need to interact with each other.

Check on your friends, send a text, give them a call or video chat. They need you as much as you need them.

Keep to a routine. Create one that fits your life now, don’t worry that your regular routine can’t be kept right now. If working from home, it really helps signal your brain when you get OFF work if you change into your comfy clothes when you end your work day (even if that’s from sweats to pajamas).

Find ways to move your body – dance, gentle stretching, follow along with a You Tube exercise video. Get into cooking as something fun or interesting. Build things, draw, color, make music. These things soothe us. Really get into it. Let your mind and body slow.

If you are having difficult reactions to the quarantine, the pandemic, to loss, or for anything that you can’t get to us for, we are here to help you. Right now. We are telehealth therapists. Give us a call or send us an email, we’ll send you a link.

Request Appointment

Chronic Diagnoses? What about the gifts these diagnoses often have? Let us help you see yourself as you, not a label. 

Our Equine Assisted Psychotherapy team provides a setting where you will discover the solutions to problems for yourself so you become more independent, strong, and happy. We help you see the positive sides of problems such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other chronic diagnoses and to find solutions from within yourself to deal with these and other problems like anxiety, depression, or trauma. We are here for you in every life circumstance that you choose to share with us, whether large or small. We accept you as you are and support you in your journey to become who you want to become, or just to get you through a rough place while you are walking your journey. We focus on you and we provide support as you explore what is going on in your life. 

Active!

Or in other words, life got really busy after that active surrendering! Time to take a breath.

I was back to working on the website tonight and got sucked into this vortex of rabbit holes that I think doesn’t happen to millennials. Computers were in their hands from as long as they can remember, so their brains are shaped differently than mine.

In my active surrendering I found a lot of help from my friends and my family. When I surrendered, and surrendered… there were people there to catch me. Sometimes I forget to use my support network,  I forget to ask for help.

We can all use a hand for things that are not our strengths, or for those blind spots we all have. We are all human, and we can all use some rest and help from our support networks.

When we don’t realize that we’re doing too much or trying too hard, our bodies will tell us. We get tired, or we get sick, anxious, or stressed.

If you don’t have a support network, we can help you build one. Just ask!