December 19, 2018

Do You Struggle with Making Decisions?

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Well-being tagged , , , at 10:06 am by kellyfdennis

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Try This:

STEP 1: Identify the decision to be made. You realize that a decision must be made. Your awareness may be triggered by a variety of things: the need to declare a major, pressure from friends and family to make a vocational choice, or a general sense of dissatisfaction or unease. You then go through an internal process of trying to define clearly the nature of the decision you must make.

STEP 2: Gather relevant information. Most decisions require collecting pertinent information. The real trick in this step is to know what information is needed, the best sources of information, and how to get it. Some information must be sought from within yourself through a process of self-analysis; other information must be sought from outside yourself-books, people, and other sources.

STEP 3: Identify alternatives. Through the process of collecting information you will probably identify two or more possible paths of action. You may also use your imagination and information to construct new alternatives.

STEP 4: Weigh evidence. Draw on your information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each of the alternatives to the end. You must evaluate whether the problem or need identified in Step 1 would be helped or solved through the use of each alternative. Eventually you are able to place the available alternatives in priority order, based upon your own value system.

STEP 5: Choose among alternatives. Once you have weighed all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternative that seems to be best suited to you. You may even choose a combination of alternatives.

STEP 6: Take action. You now take some positive action that begins to implement the alternative you choose in Step 5.

STEP 7: Review decision and consequences. In this step you experience the results of your decision and evaluate whether or not it has “solved” or helped to solve the problem in Step 1. If yes, you may stay with the decision. If no, you may repeat certain steps of the process in order to make a new decision.

June 12, 2018

Coping with the Symptoms of PTSD

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Post Traumatic Stress, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 8:15 am by kellyfdennis

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Here are some direct ways to cope with these specific PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) symptoms, your doctor or therapist will help you with these:(ptsd.va.gov)

Unwanted distressing memories, images, or thoughts

  • Remind yourself that they are just that, memories.
  • Remind yourself that it’s natural to have some memories of the trauma(s).
  • Talk about them to someone you trust.
  • Remember that, although reminders of trauma can feel overwhelming, they often lessen with time.

Sudden feelings of anxiety or panic

Traumatic stress reactions often include feeling your heart pounding and feeling lightheaded or spacey. This is usually caused by rapid breathing. If this happens, remember that:

  • These reactions are not dangerous. If you had them while exercising, they most likely would not worry you.
  • These feelings often come with scary thoughts that are not true. For example, you may think, “I’m going to die,” “I’m having a heart attack,” or “I will lose control.” It is the scary thoughts that make these reactions so upsetting.
  • Slowing down your breathing may help.
  • The sensations will pass soon and then you can go on with what you were doing.

Each time you respond in these positive ways to your anxiety or panic, you will be working toward making it happen less often. Practice will make it easier to cope.

Feeling like the trauma is happening again (flashbacks)

  • Keep your eyes open. Look around you and notice where you are.
  • Talk to yourself. Remind yourself where you are, what year you’re in, and that you are safe. The trauma happened in the past, and you are in the present.
  • Get up and move around. Have a drink of water and wash your hands.
  • Call someone you trust and tell them what is happening.
  • Remind yourself that this is a common response after trauma.
  • Tell your counselor or doctor about the flashback(s).

Dreams and nightmares related to the trauma

  • If you wake up from a nightmare in a panic, remind yourself that you are reacting to a dream. Having the dream is why you are in a panic, not because there is real danger now.
  • You may want to get up out of bed, regroup, and orient yourself to the here and now.
  • Engage in a pleasant, calming activity. For example, listen to some soothing music.
  • Talk to someone if possible.
  • Talk to your doctor about your nightmares. Certain medicines can be helpful.

Difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Keep to a regular bedtime schedule.
  • Avoid heavy exercise for the few hours just before going to bed.
  • Avoid using your sleeping area for anything other than sleeping or sex.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. These harm your ability to sleep.
  • Do not lie in bed thinking or worrying. Get up and enjoy something soothing or pleasant. Read a calming book, drink a glass of warm milk or herbal tea, or do a quiet hobby.

Irritability, anger, and rage

  • Take a time out to cool off or think things over. Walk away from the situation.
  • Get in the habit of exercise daily. Exercise reduces body tension and relieves stress.
  • Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases your stress and can cause health problems.
  • Talk to your counselor or doctor about your anger. Take classes in how to manage anger.
  • If you blow up at family members or friends, find time as soon as you can to talk to them about it. Let them know how you feel and what you are doing to cope with your reactions.

Difficulty concentrating or staying focused

  • Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what it is you need to learn or do.
  • Write things down. Making “to do” lists may be helpful.
  • Break tasks down into small do-able chunks.
  • Plan a realistic number of events or tasks for each day.
  • You may be depressed. Many people who are depressed have trouble concentrating. Again, this is something you can discuss with your counselor, doctor, or someone close to you.

Trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions

  • Remember that this is a common reaction to trauma. You are not doing this on purpose. You should not feel guilty for something you do not want to happen and cannot control.
  • Make sure to keep taking part in activities that you enjoy or used to enjoy. Even if you don’t think you will enjoy something, once you get into it, you may well start having feelings of pleasure.
  • Take steps to let your loved ones know that you care. You can express your caring in little ways: write a card, leave a small gift, or phone someone and say hello.

December 5, 2017

Thinking About Thinking

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:06 pm by kellyfdennis

figure-thinking-with-question-mark-100152866 I am similar to many other counselors who use an “eclectic” theoretical approach when counseling. However, I’d have to say that I do use a large percentage of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques when counseling. I use these techniques for a couple of reasons: CBT is empirically based, which just means that there has been a substantial amount of research confirming its efficacy; I find the techniques are easy for clients to understand; and the approach just makes sense.

Essentially, the premise behind CBT is that the way we think affects they way we feelwhich inturn affects the way we behave. See, it just makes sense! The tricky part for most people is learning how to “think about one’s thinking”. Generally, we go about our days on autopilot; we may not even be aware of the “thinking” going on inside our minds. Remember when you were first learning how to drive? You had to consciously think, “I’m turning left, so turn on the left turn signal. I’m stopping, so I need to gently apply my foot on the brake.” Now, if you’re an experienced driver, those thoughts happen pretty much outside of your conscious awareness.

Similar thoughts happen for us on a daily basis. We’re going along on our merry way and, for what seems like no reason at all, we begin to feel blue, anxious, irritated, etc. Most of us look for a person or a situation to blame for this feeling when really, it’s caused by a thought that we are having.  So, you might be saying “No, that doesn’t seem right, if a guy cuts me off in traffic, I get mad because he’s a jerk!” Well, to a certain degree that’s true…but you get mad because the thought you’re having is, “That guy’s a jerk!” What if the thought you had was, “I guess he just didn’t see me coming.”? Hmm…maybe you wouldn’t feel so angry.

Something to “think” about, isn’t it?

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

February 16, 2014

Thinking About Thinking

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:55 pm by kellyfdennis

I am similar to many other counselors who use an “eclectic” theoretical approach when counseling. However, I’d have to say that I do use a large percentage of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques when counseling. I use these techniques for a couple of reasons: CBT is empirically based, which just means that there has been a substantial amount of research confirming its efficacy; I find the techniques are easy for clients to understand; and the approach just makes sense.

figure-thinking-with-question-mark-100152866Essentially, the premise behind CBT is that the way we think affects they way we feel,which inturn affects the way we behave. See, it just makes sense! The tricky part for most people is learning how to “think about one’s thinking”. Generally, we go about our days on autopilot; we may not even be aware of the “thinking” going on inside our minds. Remember when you were first learning how to drive? You had to consciously think, “I’m turning left, so turn on the left turn signal. I’m stopping, so I need to gently apply my foot on the brake.” Now, if you’re an experienced driver, those thoughts happen pretty much outside of your conscious awareness.

Similar thoughts happen for us on a daily basis. We’re going along on our merry way and, for what seems like no reason at all, we begin to feel blue, anxious, irritated, etc. Most of us look for a person or a situation to blame for this feeling when really, it’s caused by a thought that we are having.  So, you might be saying “No, that doesn’t seem right, if a guy cuts me off in traffic, I get mad because he’s a jerk!” Well, to a certain degree that’s true…but you get mad because the thought you’re having is, “That guy’s a jerk!” What if the thought you had was, “I guess he just didn’t see me coming.”? Hmm…maybe you wouldn’t feel so angry.

Something to “think” about, isn’t it?

Until next time, embrace those things in your life that lead to wellness.

stefdennis

ponderings on life, food, God, and love

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Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

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