Can I Really Avoid That "Freeze” Moment When I'm Confronted?

That moment. When someone comes at you in a tone where you know nothing good is going to come from this conversation…

If someone approaches you with offensive commentary, an aggressive stance, or dumps misplaced feelings into you —-most of us go into a flight, fight, or freeze mode. We don't really know what to do with that comment. ⁣

More often than not, I hear folks share experiences about “freezing”, not saying anything, and continuing to hold on to that unpleasant interaction. We may even beat ourselves up for not saying anything. ⁣

I can identify with this. Growing up in Texas as a woman, behavior was modeled for me and more often than not I used to freeze and carry all those unpleasant emotions that didn’t belong to me. ⁣

So I want to share this ‘life hack’ that I learned from my previous therapist. It helps to have a phrase to remember so one is less likely to freeze. ⁣

Here it is. One statement. ⁣

🌟 “I feel uncomfortable with ________.” ⁣

Ex: aggressively postured co-worker begins to make de-valuing statements, demeaning you, and ordering things for you to do as if they were your boss. ⁣

“I feel uncomfortable with the way you’re speaking to me.” ⁣

Yes there will be about 3-5 seconds of awkward silence, but it always passes. Many times people don’t know how they sound or even if their actions are out of line. ⁣

One you get the hang of naming what makes you uncomfortable, that once negative interaction turns into a beautiful assertive experience. You can’t control others’ response and you aren’t responsible for their feelings. But truly most the time the other person apologizes. ⁣

You are only responsible for your feelings. Don’t try and make the world “comfortable” at the expense of your own wellbeing. It’s not worth it.

Should I Meet with a Therapist Who is Younger Than Me?

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One of the things you may notice about me is that I’m…how do you say it…fresh-faced? Sprightly?

 Sometimes people wonder whether they can truly benefit from psychotherapy with a younger therapist. Here’s where I happily report that yes, you absolutely can.

Here’s why.

1.    Research

Research indicates the biggest predictor of success in therapy is not the amount of life lived, but rather something that is called the therapeutic alliance (Lynch, 2012). The therapeutic alliance simply put is the bond between therapist and client. When looking for a therapist, it’s all about the right fit and quality of the relationship.  Research consistently shows that a more experienced therapist does not generate more successful results, even though one might think otherwise (Ardito, Rabellino, 2011).  

In the therapy world, there are both skilled and less skilled therapists. Just like any other profession, there is a spectrum in the quality of service provided to you, the client/consumer/patient.  The truth is I’ve met people with very little experience who have the incredible ability to build a therapeutic alliance just as much as therapists who have been in the field 25+ years.

Having sat on both on the couch and in the chair, the first contacts with your therapist provide you with a great sense about that fit.  Therapy is your time and I believe that the beginning stages of therapy are about exploring and building the therapeutic alliance.

2.    Fierce desire for growth

During my clinical internship, one of my supervisors said “if you think you’ve got it all figured out, that’s when you are really in trouble”. I’ve held on to that sentiment not only because I believe it’s true, but also it speaks to the misconception that experience is the leading influence on ability to provide therapeutic services.

Many young therapists have an energetic and fierce desire for learning. Complacency is the enemy of clinical growth. The longer we do something, naturally people may feel they have it figured it out. Younger therapists may be more in touch with their difficulties, shortcomings, and areas for growth as a therapist by virtue of being relative newcomers to the field, only having 3,5, or 10 field experience. But having this awareness is key in the ability to grow as a therapist. In other words, its very difficult to grow if you think you have it all figured out.

3.    Industry Standards

Although we may not be conscious of it, very few people have serious discomfort about seeing medical residents or doctors fresh out of medical school. In fact, we may reason these doctors have cutting edge research and trained in the latest medical techniques that medical industry has to offer. Yet, when we think about mental health needs, suddenly these same realities are seen as a liability.

I imagine part of this is due to a misunderstanding on the true nature of counseling. To many, counseling is supposed to involve a meeting with soothsayer who looks into their psychological crystal ball and pronouncing what you are doing wrong and how to fix it. If this is the case, then of course you’d want someone who has spent years and year fine tuning their crystal-ball gazing. And believe me, there are those therapists out their dying for someone to sit at their feet. (HINT: Run away fast!). Perhaps to the chagrin of many therapists, we have no special powers.

 We are just people who are trained to listen in a particular way and then tell you what we see. Deciding what to do next and where to go from there is up to you, and a good therapist should put you in the driver’s seat, even when you try to squirm out of it. Therapists come along for the ride, and are willing to cry when you cry, rejoice when you rejoice, they can’t do the work for you. Your ability to trust what we say and incorporate it into your life is predicted on how well we can connect with you, not on our chronological age.

So, not only am I a therapist, but I’ve been to plenty. There’s good therapists out there and some really not-so-good-ones. I have no problem being honest about that. It’s just that being young or old doesn’t seem to impact the reality one way or another.

That is to say, there’s nothing wrong with seeing an older therapist if that’s what is important to you in some way. I have seen a good number of them myself, and they’ve been helpful.

I’m professional, non-judgmental, and expert in my specialties; however, I’m also youthful, energetic, and lively and I’ve seen these qualities become contagious. I’m certain you will be pleased with the outcome!

 Looking for counseling in Sacramento? Get your life back today! Start by making this simple call!

(916) 538-9288

Feel more comfortable with email? No problem, you can reach out to TrueGrowthTherapy@gmail.com

 

Signs Your Child Might Be Anxious

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How can I spot anxiety in my child or children?

Does my child need child counseling to help with anxiety?

Anxiety can be tricky to spot in children. Anxiety can also have a huge impact on a child’s ability to thrive in a school setting.

For many parents, anxiety is challenging to see in children because it doesn’t tend to look like what it is. Even teachers may send a child for learning disorder testing and nothing is identified.

A child suffering from anxiety in school may look like acting out, difficulty following directions, or not able to sit down when asked. A child may be studying furiously, but when it’s time for the test the child draws a blank. These are some examples of what anxiety can look like for children in a school setting.

If you believe your child might be suffering from anxiety then I encourage you to reach out as soon as possible to a licensed therapist who specializes in child counseling in your area.

There is hope. Your child can heal from anxiety, learn coping tools, and find their groove in school.