Mind Control

mind

I help many people try to restructure their thought patterns. As a counselor, I’ve always found hope in others and have helped them find even a shred of faith in themselves. I follow cognitive-behavioral therapy practices, in order to help with depression and anxiety. Often times, people become depressed due to getting overwhelmed by their worries and losing the ability to have hope or cope with their stressors.

When they learn how to reframe their thoughts and challenge them, people get better. The mind controls everything and what we tell ourselves becomes our reality and shows through our feelings and actions. If you’ve been suffering for several weeks or feel hopeless, then please go to or call a local mental health provider for help.

There are common cognitive distortions or dysfunctional ways that we think. We all get them, but they are worse when depressed or are under excessive stress. The thinking distortions that I treat most often are dichotomous or all-or-nothing thinking, catastrophizing, personalizing, negative focus, jumping to conclusions, and living by fixed rules. Dichotomous thinking leaves you with no middle ground, while condemning yourself based on a single event and thinking in extremes. Catastrophizing is about overexaggerating an event and thinking that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Personalizing (“it’s all my fault”) is thinking that everything going wrong is because of you and you’re to blame, even when it probably has not much to do with you. Negative focus is the tendency to find the dark side of things and ignore or misinterpret the positive aspects of you, others, or a situation. Jumping to conclusions or mindreading is when you interpret something as negative, even though you have no definite facts. Living by fixed rules leads to a lot of disappointment and guilt due to having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others people.

To help yourself, identify the cognitive distortions and challenge them. There is almost always a way to see the light side of things. When fully in despair, a person will need to read something inspiring or speak with someone who is usually an optimist. The best results occur when in the beginning of the thought process versus letting it go on for awhile and then trying to challenge it. Writing is extremely useful to help correct dysfunctional thought patterns. While engaging in this self-care exercise, it’s also important to review your overall health. Assess and attempt to optimize your nutrition, sleep, spiritual needs, and fitness. Never give up on yourself.

I’ll conclude with some examples of dysfunctional thoughts and simple challenges to them:

  • He didn’t call me right back and must not care about me.
  • He’s probably busy and got distracted. He does care about me, give him some space and have patience.

 

  • I’m a bad mother and a horrible person because I lost my temper.
  • I will try to control my temper and work on that, but I’m not a horrible person.

 

  • I’m cursed and will never be happy in life.
  • I’m happy about what I accomplished this morning and will go on a run later. I have a lot of blessings in my life.

 

-Rebecca Perry, LMHC, LMFT

 

 

Goals of Teen Misbehavior

I have a lot of people call or write me for help with their teenagers. It’s certainly a difficult time of life, but you can and will get through it. Education and awareness of behavioral patterns are helpful when trying to solve a problem. I would also suggest that you bring your child to a medical professional for review of any medical conditions that might be contributing to their behaviors. They can also screen for severity and underlying emotional problems.

There are four major reasons why a teenager misbehaves, and this phenomenon has been described in depth by STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens). I have conducted STEP instructional workshops for parents and have been familiar with the program since I started out in the field. I regularly educate clients about these concepts. The four goals of misbehavior are Attention, Power, Revenge, and Displaying Inadequacy, and there are active and passive aspects of each goal. Once you’ve determined the goal, then it becomes easier to tackle the problem. This will be a basic introduction to the concept, but knowledge and practice of it has been effective for many families over several decades.

Attention

If attention is the goal, then common behaviors would be unique dress, minor clowning around, being forgetful, and not doing chores. Parents feel annoyed when their kids have attention as the goal, but what the kids really need is involvement. Basically, parents would need to stop giving attention on demand and to ignore what they don’t like. Stop waiting on your kid and being a servant. Reserve all attention for what you want, positive behaviors. Watch your commentary, is it all about what your child is doing wrong? Are you only focusing on the negative or paying attention when they are doing something you don’t like? Well, then you’re encouraging that behavior to continue. Notice good contributions and preserve the relationship.

Power

If power is the goal, then the teenager will disobey and be demanding, stubborn, and ignore their parents. Parents feel angry and threatened when their kids have power as the goal, but what’s needed here is independence. In these cases, parents should not give in or engage in a fight. If they get you to fight with them, then you’ve lost. A parent needs to leave the room and withdraw from the power struggle. Have faith in your teenager to make decisions that are age-appropriate, in order to boost confidence. Give them some power, so that there’s not a battle over it.

Revenge

If revenge is the goal, then the child will be rude and mean, sometimes violent. Parents feel very hurt and angry when their kids show revenge, but what’s helpful is to have fairness. Often the teenager will just glare. In this situation, parents need to not counter with hurtful behaviors back to their kids. Set a good example and show respect for other people in life, along with showing love toward your child. Reacting negatively to revenge-type behaviors will only lead to more of them. Try to be as fair as possible and do not let your feelings or actions be influenced by revenge behaviors.

Displaying Inadequacy

Displaying inadequacy is just passive- giving up easily, not even trying, and escaping with drugs and/or alcohol. Parents feel hopeless and like giving up when their kids give up, but what’s necessary is a shift toward being competent. A parent cannot have too much pity or criticism with kids showing these types of behaviors. There’s a delicate balance- not too strong, not too soft. It’s best to notice any and all efforts, even the tiniest of trying. Never give up and focus on their strengths and talents. Encourage them and notice when they do make the right choices. Stay involved and busy with family and positive activities. Ensure a safe environment at home, school, and with friends.

There’s a lot to write about helping teenagers and families, so this is only the beginning. Do not expect perfection in yourself as a parent or expect perfection from your kids, no one is perfect.

-Rebecca Perry, LMHC, LMFT

Happiness in 2017

Happiness in 2017

Happiness is within you…

 

Hi, I wanted to share some of my knowledge and experiences with you and will start on this blog. I absolutely was inspired by one of my amazing clients from the past. While I’ve met with many over the years, quite a few have influenced my life too.

I thoroughly enjoy my job, as it’s me doing my thing and not just a job, so how could I not enjoy it? I show up and am myself, not a bad deal. I hardly ever talk about myself, but you get what I mean. Before becoming a therapist, I was already a curious person who was fascinated about people and wanted to help them all. I went to school for many years and became a smarty-pants for a minute. Nope, I’ve learned a lot and have plenty of learning yet to do. I’ll be on my death-bed and still thinking about existentialism.

I could make a specific list of things to do to help you be happier this year or link to some article perhaps, but don’t feel that will help you so much. That’s all over the internet already. I’ll share- my favorite thing to do is random acts of kindness. It brings me absolute joy. Anyways, to get back to my point…the answers are within you, don’t underestimate yourself! Do we listen to help from others? Sometimes, right? We often help ourselves and listen best when the ideas come from within our own minds. This is how the motivation will last longer than a day or week. You have to figure out what works for you. A helper can shine the light here and there, but you have to go look for yourself.

When was the last time you were truly happy and is it possible to do that again? If not, what could come close to it? What’s convenient and simple enough to do quite often? The answer is within your mind, your thoughts itself. You can imagine and believe enough in you to create your own happiness right now, as what we think becomes who we are.

Let’s put happiness into perspective too. What is happy? To me, happy is a moment of joy, but mostly free and content. You’re not angry or anxious, sad or crying, just kind of at peace and smiling more often than not. Increased moments of “happy” lead to overall feelings of happiness. People are bound to negatively affect your happiness, and you’ll need to not let them. Making your happiness be all about something outside of you will often lead to problems too.

Happiness is created by our brains, and I will write more about that at a later time. Please be sure to always at least get a physical with thorough blood work, as the mind and body are absolutely connected. Lots of people are unhappy (meh status) in direct relation to what’s going on within their bodies, and it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to sustain happy for long.

I’ll leave you with a little list of a few ways that I get my brain to send the happy:

  • Dopamine-learning, listening to music, completing tasks and feeling accomplished, and physical affection/sex
  • Serotonin- workout daily, eat well, take my vitamins, spend time outdoors in the sunshine, relaxation, and limiting sugar while having awesome carbs
  • Oxytocin- love, being in love, being around people and pets who I love, and being around people who are in love..relax and enjoy being close to good people
  • Estrogen and Progesterone- yoga, meditation, don’t smoke, relax again and have a nice bath, eat well and let it all go

-Rebecca Perry, LMHC, LMFT