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Psychotherapy: one of the best options for your life

This blog has been created to help people like you and me to better understand the role of psychology in our everyday lives. We don’t have to be mentally ill or be diagnosed with a “disorder” to benefit from it.

Actually, it is the opposite. The people that tend to attend counseling at different times of need in their lives as well as a preventive measure, report benefiting more and more each time.

Reliable research demonstrates that psychotherapy, or the guidance offered by mental health professionals. It is neither unproven nor a luxury, but in fact a viable. It empirically supported intervention. Who doesn’t deal with everyday struggles, doesn’t need to learn how to make the best of ourselves or to live life to the fullest?. We don’t longer want to survive, but to thrive! [continue reading…]

By Jessica J. Canales,  M.Ed., LGPC 

We often fantasize about summer months being less busy and a time where we can connect more with our children. We dream of sun filled days with lots of relaxation that allow us to slow down and provide fun memories for our children. The reality is that while we may have these moments and days the summer months are often filled with overscheduled days, overtired children and over tired parents. In the midst of summer fun we forget to fill our own sand buckets while busily filling our childrens buckets full of sand. The answer may lie somewhere in our own childhood memories of summer. Memories that are filled with unlimited outside time, watermelon toothed grins, playing with friends, and overall living a more simplistic lifestyle. Below are tips self-care tips to reclaim childhood summer and fill your own sand bucket and in turn show up better for your children.

Three Tips to Fill Your Sand Bucket

  1. Spend time outdoors doing activities you enjoy
  2. Meet up with supportive friends
  3. Reduce over scheduled summer activities 

Spend time Outdoors Doing Activities You Enjoy

Childhood summers were filled with sun filled days and sun kissed skin, after having full days of outside time. The reason in the winter months we dream of warm days and yearn for that sun on our face, is that sun exposure is associated with mood boosting potential. Studies show that there is a link between the amount of sunlight we get and improved mental health. Sometimes as parents, we get so caught up in trying to meet the demands of our kids every whim we forget to meet our own needs. In between all of the summer fun activities, it is important to make it a priority to do activities that you like outdoors to reap more mental health benefits from sun exposure. Whether it’s reading your favorite book, cultivating your garden, taking a swim, going for a jog, or simply just sitting outside; take the time to soak in the sun and soak in that serotonin boost. 

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Choosing between a small counseling private practice and big online therapy platforms like Better Help, Alma, Grow or Headway should be seriously considered. It depends of course on various factors, including personal preferences, needs, and circumstances. Here are some considerations to help you decide:

Personalization and Expertise:

Small counseling private practices often offer a more personalized experience. You’re likely to work consistently with the same therapist, fostering a deeper therapeutic relationship over time. They offer in person options in addition to online.

There is usually an owner or a receptionist communicating with clients instead of a robot. Therapists feel in community, supported, better paid, and therefore, able to perform better quality therapy. Therapists tend to be more specialized and qualified since they invest on their long-term education and growth.

Online platforms like BetterHelp, Alma, Headway, Growth … may provide access to a broader range of therapists, but the interaction can feel less personal due to the rotating nature of therapists and the asynchronous communication. The therapists tend to be overworked and underpaid.

Read more: Is your Therapy Really Private and Confidential?

Do you know your chronic stress can be linked to trauma?

Are you constantly tired or stressed out? Work, kids, finances, can be regular sources of stress. However, when your response is stronger than usual (beyond the normal or manageable levels of everyday stress) and it is difficult for you to move on or to recover your emotional balance, it might be more than stress. Yes, stress can be linked to trauma. Trauma refers to a distressing or disturbing event or series of events that can have a profound psychological and emotional impact on an individual. When a person experiences trauma, their body and mind can react in various ways, and one common response is increased stress. Trauma can be subtle and ordinary trauma that most people can’t identify or see as such.

Here are some ways in which stress can be linked to trauma:
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Summer is often perceived as a time of relaxation and enjoyment, with families looking forward to sunny days, vacations, and quality time together. However, the reality of parenting during the summer months can sometimes be overwhelming and exhausting, leading to a strain on parents’ mental health. Balancing the needs of children, maintaining routines, and managing additional responsibilities can take a toll on parents’ well-being. This article aims to shed light on the importance of summer parenting mental health and provide practical strategies for self-care and overall well-being.

  1. Recognizing the Challenges:

The first step in addressing parenting mental health during the summer is acknowledging the unique challenges it presents. Longer days, disrupted routines, childcare arrangements, and increased demands for entertainment and engagement can create stress and overwhelm for parents. Recognizing and normalizing these challenges can help parents feel less isolated and more empowered to prioritize their own mental health.

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Author: Lorrie Appleton, LCSW

“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I leave the children with you for five minutes and now they have colored all over the wall? What were you thinking??  Was your brain in your head when I put you in charge?” Verbal Reply: “It’s just a little crayon.  Look.  It comes right out.  Why do you always get so worked up over little things? You’re just like your mother!”


Here’s another one.

Spouse/Partner has agreed to meet family for dinner at 6:30 pm.  She/He has been sitting on the couch for 30 minutes with foot tapping, hand on head, and eyes closed. Her/His face is drenched in agony.  “We are going to be late!  We are always late! We knew about this dinner over a month ago. What’s so hard about being on time?”  Behavioral Reply: Deadening silence combined with icy glare that could cut a diamond.  Tick, tick, tick. More time elapses. Partner’s Thought Bubble: “That will show her/him to impose time constraints on me! I am not going to dignify her/his demand with a reply. You know what they say, ‘Don’t get mad, get even!’” 

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I was sitting calmly the other day drinking my coffee when I overheard a conversation about somebody considering going to therapy. The person was conflicted because she could not decide if her problem was that “big” (whatever the definition of “big” in her mind was).  I could hardly contained myself from interrupting but  left thinking about the important need of educating people about what therapy is, when they can benefit from it, and when and how to look for it.

Most people think that depending on what happened, they are allowed to feel one thing or another. As if we have to have a logical explanation of the incident before we can feel and/or ask for help. Therefore, I decided I have to start by explaining the topic of trauma.

Read more: What is Ordinary or Developmental Trauma?

Perfect time to find out your attachment style.

How does your attachment style affects you during quarantine?

What do you think of being quarantined together? If you ever doubted it before, now you know: Life is very unpredictable. As the recent viral outbreak has shown us too, everyone’s life is unpredictable. What was once a secure income, home, or even a secure relationship, may feel shaken and unstable.

Just when we thought we had got a handle on things, something out of left field occurs. Social distancing, PPE, and thoughts of quarantine weren’t even on our radar not long ago. And now, they are terms that direct or influence our actions from moment to moment.

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As a center that focuses on Attachment and healthy relationships, we know that good relationships are so important to your happiness, yet you may not know just how vital they are to our health and well-being.
What do our connections to others give us? And what happens when we don’t have them?

Here the latest information about the effects of loneliness in your body at a cellular level. You will be impressed with the effects of it. They are compared to the effect of 15 cigarettes per day. We are facing an epidemic of loneliness and we need to be aware of it before is too late!

We are fortunate to live in a time where advances research and science in neurobiology continue to inform us. There is where attachment therapy comes alive. Because unhealthy or toxic relationships are as detrimental as loneliness.

I am happy to share this fascinating article and I hope you pass it along as well.

Article: Is the a Cure for Loneliness?

Attachment knowledge and work are the pathway for healthy relationships and we are here to help you. So ad healthy relationships to your list: balance eating, regular exercise and healthy relationships for a longer and more fulfilled life.

Your DC VA Counseling Team!

“It is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” __M. Scott Peck

“For one human to love another, that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” __Rainer Maria Rilke

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of of fear.” __Mark Twain

Author: Lisa Prickett, LCSW

couples counseling falls church

Couples Get Creative

It’s easy to feel engaged and enthralled in a new relationship because you both have so much to learn about each other’s pasts, hopes, character, connections, etc. Once you’ve built a thorough love map of your partner, however, you may find yourself struggling to think of things to say/ask. Maybe you don’t feel like rehashing your day, maybe the day was uneventful, or maybe you spent the day together and there’s nothing to share that the other didn’t experience with you.

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