Summertime is a great time for families to spend more time together.

Close families don’t happen by accident, they happen on purpose.  If you want a close family, you have to work at it.  Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

  1. Let each family member pick a day to be “their” day. Circle those days on the calendar and put the family member’s name on the date.  On that day they are to have their favorite meal and choose an activity which they want the entire family to participate in.
  2. Turn off all electrical items that can interrupt (TV, stereo, phone, etc.) and have the entire family play a game together.pexels-photo-279008.jpeg
  3. Have each family member design and make a card for other members of the family in which thoughts and feelings of appreciation are expressed.
  4. Begin a contest to see who can deliver the most hugs in a certain period of time.
  5. Spend the evening looking at family photographs together.
  6. Invite someone you know that is recently widowed to your house to share a family meal.
  7. Send a thank you card in the mail to a family member thanking them for something they have done for you or the family.
  8. Even if it requires getting up early, sit down and have breakfast together.
  9. Let each family member tell their most unforgettable family memory.
  10. Declare a family clean-up day. Work together inside or outside the house instead of assigning separate choirs.

These ideas are just a few of the suggestions in “30 Days to a Closer Family” by David Johnson, M.S.W. and Scott Bonk, M.S.

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Research shows that supportive relationships are good for our mental and physical health. However, dealing with difficult people and maintaining ongoing negative relationships is actually detrimental to our health.

The following are tips for dealing with difficult people who are in your life, for better or for worse:

  1. In dealing with difficult people, don’t try to change the other person; you will only get into a power struggle, cause defensiveness, invite criticism, or otherwise make things worse. It also makes you a more difficult person to deal with.
  2. Change your response to the other person; this is all you have the power to change. For example, don’t feel you need to accept abusive behavior. You can use assertive communication to draw boundaries when the other person chooses to treat you in an unacceptable way.
  3. Remember that most relationship difficulties are due to a dynamic between two people rather than one person being unilaterally “bad.” Try not to place blame on yourself or the other person for the negative interactions. It may just be a case of your two personalities fitting poorly.
  4. Try to look for the positive aspects of others, especially when dealing with family, and focus on them. The other person will feel more appreciated, and you will likely enjoy your time together more.
  5. Know when it’s time to distance yourself, and do so. If the other person can’t be around you without antagonizing you, minimizing contact may be key. If they’re continually abusive, it’s best to cut ties and let them know why. Explain what needs to happen if there ever is to be a relationship, and let it go. (If the offending party is a boss or co-worker, you may consider switching jobs.)

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Remember that you don’t have to be close with everyone; just being polite goes a long way toward getting along and appropriately dealing with difficult people. Be sure to cultivate other more positive relationships in your life to offset the negativity of dealing with difficult people.

 

From Elizabeth Scott, M.S.,Your Guide to Stress Management About.com Health’s Disease and Condition

Following exposure to a trauma most people experience stress reactions. When trauma survivors take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. Certain actions can help to reduce your distressing symptoms and make things better. Plus, these actions can result in changes that last into the future.

Active Coping. Active coping with the trauma makes you begin to feel less helpless. Active coping means accepting the impact of trauma on your life and taking direct action to improve things. Active coping occurs even when there is no crisis. Active coping is a way of responding to everyday life. It is a habit that must be made stronger.

Positive coping actions.

  • Learn more about trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is useful to learn more about common reactions and what is normal. When you learn more you realize that you are not alone or weak.
  • Talk to others for support. It is important not to isolate yourself.
  • Distract yourself with positive activities. Pleasant activities can improve your mood and distract you from your memories.
  • Talk to your doctor or counselor. Part of taking care of yourself means using the helping resources around you. If efforts at coping don’t seem to help, you may become fearful or depressed.

 Practice relaxation methods. Try some different ways to relax, such as:

  • Muscle relaxation exercises.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Meditation.
  • Swimming, stretching, yoga.
  • Prayer.
  • Listening to quite music.
  • Spending time in nature.

Know the recovery process. Understand that recovering from the trauma is a process and takes time. Knowing this will help you feel more in control.

  • Having an ongoing response to the trauma is normal.
  • Recovery is an ongoing, daily process. It happens little by little. It is not a matter of being cured all of a sudden.
  • Healing doesn’t mean forgetting traumatic events. It doesn’t mean you will have no pain or bad feelings when thinking about them.
  • Healing may mean fewer symptoms and symptoms that bother you less.
  • Healing means more confidence that you will be able to cope with your memories and symptoms. You will be better able to manage your feelings.

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We are here to help if you would like to learn more about coping skills. Whether there is a recent trauma or stress in everyday life, active coping is a habit that can be made stronger.

adhdIs your child unfocused or over active?

Is your child struggling academically?

As an adult, are you constantly disorganized?

Are you constantly struggling to stay on task?

Early diagnosis and treatment can improve self-esteem, build confidence and make one more productive in the workplace.

The staff at Christian Counseling Center is trained in the diagnostic criteria and treatment strategies to assist children and adults with ADD/ADHD.

Call 270.442.5738 for more information and to schedule an appointment.

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Focus on your future today!

 

Thank you for visiting our page. Do you have questions about our Center or how to get counseling? Here are some frequently asked questions.

Why should I have counseling? Anyone who would like to better themselves or enhance their relationships can benefit from counseling. Our therapists have tools that can guide you to improve the way you interact with others at home, at work, and other areas of your life. They also see people who have depression, anxiety, stress, anger issues, substance abuse, or trauma in their life.

Who will I be speaking to? We have 2 licensed therapist and have offices in Paducah, Benton, and Murray. Roger Thompson is our Director. He has a Master’s degree in Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Karen Diane Reed has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is Licensed Professional Counselor.

What can I expect from counseling? The first session we call an Intake or Diagnostic Interview. There is a lot of information gathered at that time about family, health, current issues and goals. The therapist will make an assessment and discuss a plan that meets your needs. Therapy is not a magic cure, and it requires that you are invested in taking steps to achieve your goals.

How much do I pay? Regarding fees, we are in network with many commercial insurance companies and programs available through employers. Your fee would depend on your Mental Health coverage. We also have fees based on income and there is an additional $15 off for self-pay clients paying at the time of service.

When can I make an appointment? At this time we are scheduling about 3 weeks in advance for new clients, but after the initial visit we will do our best to arrange multiple appointments so the wait is not as long in between. Someone is available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in Paducah; on Tuesday in Benton; and on Friday in Murray.

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If you are struggling with the direction that you are going right now, stop and take the first step in discovering how things can be better. Call our office at 270-442-5738 to make an appointment.

People generally find themselves functioning in one of these ways. When conflict arises people are most naturally either aggressive or passive. Being assertive is a skill that needs to be learning and practiced. Here are the difference in the three with assertiveness being the ideal.

Aggressive behavior is treating another person as if your thoughts, feelings, emotions are more important than theirs.

Passive behavior is treating someone as if their thoughts, feelings, and emotions are less important than others.

Assertive behavior is treating the other person that displays both people’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions at an equal level of importance.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

A first-born or only child may be more likely to become a doctor or lawyer. Younger siblings more often turn to the arts or the outdoors. In part, you can credit parenting.

  • Parents may over-protect oldests or onlies. So they tend to follow more brain-based interests. When later children show up, parents can be more relaxed and hands-off.
  • Firstborns tend to try to be “perfect” more often than later-borns. But kids without siblings, who are often treated like little adults, seem to have even more of this trait.
  • 21 out of 23 of the first American astronauts were first born. All seven of the original Mercury astronauts were firstborns. Other famous firstborn trail-blazers: Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, JFK, and Oprah Winfrey.
  • It’s lonely at the top — or at least, at the beginning! A 2007 survey of corporate leaders found that 43% of CEOs were firstborns, 33% were middle children, and 23% were youngest children.200485798-009
  • Even when parents try to be even-steven, it rarely works out that way. Kids born first get as much as 3,000 more hours of quality time with parents than younger siblings do at the same age. Parents spend about equal time with two or more kids. But there’s less total free time than there was when a firstborn passed through a given age.
  • It’s clear why birth order interests us so much. Most of us weren’t born as the only child in a family.
  • Older moms say they feel closest to their “babies” no matter what the family size or spacing between kids. In the same study, mothers said firstborns were the ones they’d turn to when facing personal problems or a crisis.

Depression is a complex problem that affects many people.  It rarely exists in isolation.  It can be triggered and affected by neurons, hormones, nutrition, thought patterns, social interactions, or genetic predisposition.  Many depressive episodes are triggered by major life changes and stressful events; biological imbalance, illness and injury; personality and family history; vitamin deficiency; medications; or other causes.

Major Life Changes and Stressful Events

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  • Childhood trauma
  • Death or a loss
  • Divorce (break up)
  • Redundancy
  • Loneliness
  • Moving
  • Getting a new job
  • Financial worries
  • Difficult social circumstances
  • Abuse (emotional, sexual, physical)
  • Overworking
  • Giving birth
  • Unemployment

Biological Imbalance, Illness, Injury

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  • Brain injury
  • Under-active thyroid
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Celiac disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Kidney disease
  • Pyrrole Disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lupus

Personality and Family History

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  • Chronic self-criticism
  • Crippling guilt and shame
  • Being criticized and invalidated
  • Perfectionism
  • Ruminative thinking
  • Negative bias
  • Learned helplessness
  • Predisposition based on family history

Vitamin Deficiency

  • B complex
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Folate
  • Magnesiium
  • Amino acid
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Selenium

Treatments and Medications

 

  • Hormonal contraception
  • Accutane
  • Corticosteroids
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Opioids
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Anticholinergics
  • Poor Sleep
  • Internet overuse
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug use
  • Passive lifestyle
  • Unmet basic emotional needs

 

–throughdarknessindaylight.com

 

Intellect, athleticism, good-looks, and even “grit” are all qualities that find value in our society. Some more important than others.

A trait that does not feature as much when describing a person is emotional intelligence. This quality may be one that is harder to recognize than other ways to define a person but can be just as important. The good news is that unlike some other traits this can be positively developed.

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So what is emotional intelligence?

Simply put it is the capacity one has to be aware of, control, and express emotions. This skill creates a higher chance of success in interpersonal relationships.

Growing in emotional intelligence can be done with intentional work. One proactive option is to practice self-exploration when feelings arise. Try to specifically identify what feelings you are experiencing. Hurt, anger, and sadness are surface emotions. Being able to recognize a feeling such as rejection, disrespect, or a sense of loss helps solutions to be possible. By recognizing specifically what the emotion is occurring a more specific solution can be planned. Additionally, determining whether that feeling comes from a rational or irrational place is possible. It also helps discuss these feelings with other people.

Ways to practice:

Write down specifically what you are feeling–there may be more than one emotion.

Say out loud what you feel to judge how rational the feelings are.

Focus on remaining calm in highly emotional situations. Mentally prepare yourself to respond a certain way. Pause before reacting.

Although cliche, there is a reason “how does that make you feel?” is asked in counseling sessions. Work on improving emotional intelligence and you may be surprised at how much your interpersonal relationships will improve.

Therapy is a good place to develop emotional intellect. We at Christian Counseling Center are trained and have experience walking with people as they grow this trait. Give us a call at 270.442.5738 for more information or to set up an appointment.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

Somewhere I once heard the quote:

“Be Yourself. If you won’t who else will be?”

I would like to take credit for this tidbit of wisdom, but alas, it just wouldn’t be right. These two short sentences to form a challenge of introspection can be quite meaningful. Trying to be different in ways that we think are necessary are just exhausting and we end up not really being anyone at all.

Each of us has value and can add through whatever skills and talents we may possess. This does not mean certain times don’t call for different behavior or that we can improve on skills. But, not embracing who we are as a person is highly unfortunate.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

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