From now on, Monday is going to be parent affirmation day at Help 4 Your Family. Sometimes I will share affirmations I have created and used, other times I will quote affirmations from teachers I have come to trust.
For this Monday, May 7, 2012 your parenting affirmation is:
My children give me constant opportunities to learn and grow.
Now, you know this one makes you smile, even when you are tired. I would suggest that, to make this part of your self-talk, you repeat it many times throughout the day. Say it to yourself in the mirror, and mention it to your friends in conversations.
If you have a parenting affirmation that you would like to share, please feel free to let me know. Maybe you will see it some other Monday :)
All the best to your family,
Well, I’ve been tagged by Rebecca from Mom meets Blog. What does that mean? It’s some kind of game in the blogosphere, and I’m a child therapist so I know games are good. Here are the rules of this game:
- Answer the question the “tagger” listed for you in their post
- Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
- Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post
- Let each blogger know that you have tagged them
Rebecca was kind enough to allow me to choose a question. I figured since she listed me as the fifth blog she tagged, I would answer question number 5. It’s a good one. “Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence in your life?” Why, yes, quite a few as a matter of fact.
I recently took a meditation class where the teacher, Claudia, explained about people with a name she pronounced ( ash-o-les). When she said it, I thought she was talking about her wise, spiritual teachers. The actual spelling of this word is assholes. In fact though, Claudia said that assholes have been some of her best teachers. Well, the same is true for me! They are, indeed some of our best teachers if we allow them to be. In figuring out how to live life with, around, and in spite of, assholes, we learn so much about ourselves, including our weakness, strength, resilience and even courage. I have had several teachers in my life who, I have to say, sometimes I thought were real assholes (and sometimes they really were). I won’t name them here- they don’t really need it. Most of them were wounded and were assholes because they carried the belief that whatever they were doing was self-protective.
Now, on to another great teacher for me who is most definately not an asshole. Well, not to me anyway. My mom thought he was a real asshole for a long time. She’s long since worked it out, but who can blame her? After all, she and my dad divorced back in the early 80′s after he came out of the closet. The non-asshole is, you guessed it, my father. Stay with me, I’m going to bring this right back to the beginning. My father is one of my greatest teachers because, among other things, he decided to be true to himself. Back in the 80′s, being gay was not considered to be too awesome. In fact, things were pretty hush, hush. My dad’s coming out caused quite a ruckus. He lost his marriage (and almost his children), and he came close to losing the private practice (he is a physician) that he started when his partners nearly voted him out. He has told me, in the many conversations we have had since about this time in his life, that he felt he no longer had a choice once he came to the late understanding that he is gay. In coming out, my father modeled for me how to stick with the strength of my convictions even though sometimes people are going to think you are an asshole.
I offer this to you, readers, as a lesson as well. Sometimes in life, we need to be okay with other people thinking we are assholes. It can save lives, literally. We can also learn that sometimes, when we think someone is being an asshole, they are just trying in the best way they know how, to protect themselves, or even save their own lives- even if it does not look that way from the outside. The people who think you are an asshole sometimes could be your kids, your parents, your boss or co-workers. They could all think you are an asshole when you don’t do what they want you to do. The trick is to figure out if you are doing what you are doing for the greater good and whether this is actually self-protection (or protecting your children) or not. I’m so glad my dad was able to weather that storm. His decision to be true to himself gave me so many gifts. I am also grateful and for all the other lessons he has taught me- like, that being honest is really the best policy, and how to maintain long-term, healthy relationships (he and his husband have been together for more than 30 years). Thanks Dad.
Now, on to the next part of the game…tagging others.
- Queen of Familosity
- Anger Management Chicago
- 400 days til 40
- Science of Mom
- One Inch of Grace
- Let Life In Practices
- Boundaries of the Soul
- Unhappy Mommy
- Danielle’s Story
There are so many great blogs to choose from! If I didn’t choose yours, or you don’t have a blog, feel free to just answer one of the following questions below. I pose the same questions (pick one or more) to the chosen blogs.
- What is advice you would give to new parents?
- How is your life different now than you imagined it would be ten years ago?
- Have you ever had a good lesson that came in strange wrapping paper?
- What is something you said you would never do that you now do routinely?
- What books are you reading and what do you think about them?
- What path did you take to do the job you are doing now?
- If you could change something about your life, what would it be?
- What is the best thing that has happened to you in the past year?
- What do you think will be different about your life in ten years?
- What is your favorite blog post ever, and why (you can include your own)?
- What is something about you people might not guess from your blog?
So..you decided that you want to find a therapist for you or your child. How in the world are you supposed to know how to do that? What an intimidating thing to do, and, like any other doctor you see, who you pick can have a strong influence on your outcomes. While your first instinct might be to go through your insurance to find a provider, this is actually not the path I would suggest for the majority of people (even if money is an issue).
My first suggestion is that you identify the reason you are seeking a therapist. Is it for marital issues? Are you looking for a social skills group for your child who has a diagnosis of ADHD? Have you had a history of trauma and are you seeking to heal from it? If you know anyone who has had similar experiences and you are close enough to them to ask, check with them if they have found a good mental health provider. Even if you do not want to see their provider because that might feel weird, if their person is good, you can call them and ask for referrals. Similarly, do not be afraid to ask a mental health provider that you know personally about referrals as long as you trust their opinion. While someone you know personally can not see you for ethical reasons, they may know of a referral for your specific issue. If you do not have a resource like this, look up local groups in your area that specialize in the issue for which you are seeking treatment. They may have some providers they commonly refer to. School counselors also typically have referral resources. If you are attending a college or university, you may also be able to see a therapist on campus.
On a side note, if you are not clear on the specifics of who you are looking for, think of mental health professionals being like other health providers. There are specialists and general practitioners. If you are unsure, go to a general practitioner. If you work for a large company, there may be an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider who will see you for a few sessions and steer you in the right direction (with the understanding that then your work has a record you saw someone), or there are many good, general mental health practitioners out there that you can find using your personal network. If you find a good one and they identify that you need a specialist, they may refer you out for more specialized treatment.
Now that you have identified possibilities, it’s time to make some calls. I would encourage you not to be put off by someone if you can not find them on-line, you may find that in my profession, there are not as many technologically savvy people out there so there are tons of wonderful professionals who may not have a website- or even email! Call the professional directly. Try to speak with them on the phone to get an idea of availability and whether they specialize in the area for which you are seeking help. Ask about what insurance they take, if any. Those lists you find on line from your insurance company can be hopelessly out of date so always ask.
Pay attention to how you feel when you are speaking to the provider on the phone. Do you feel they listened to you? Do they have availability to see you at times that work for you? If you are uncertain, do not be afraid to say that.
Now is the time to check with your insurance. If the provider you want is in-network for your insurance, great- skip this paragraph! If not, call your insurance and see what your out-of-network benefits are. For instructions on how to do this, you can look under the insurance button on my practice website: www.ahealingplaceincolumbia.com. Do not give up if you do not have out-of-network benefits and your selected provider does not take your insurance. Call your insurance, ask them to find someone in-network who works with the specialty you are looking for. If they can not locate someone in-network with the specialty you need and who has openings to see you- they must offer you an option to reimburse the person of your choice. There is a law that says insurance companies cannot deny you coverage simply because they do not have an in-network provider that provides that specialty.
If all else fails, ask your chosen provider if they are willing to give you a sliding scale for payment up front- you would be surprised how many providers are willing to negotiate. Finding someone that you work well with and trust, while it may cost more up front, you will also probably get better quicker so you do the math- say you go to see someone 10 times for $75/ week sliding scale vs. seeing someone who takes your insurance with a $40 copay but since they don’t specialize, let’s estimate it takes twice as many sessions- 20 for you to feel better. That’s a total of $750 for the first treatment and $800 for the second (plus the extra time in your life you spent in treatment). When you look at it that way, it’s a no-brain-er. And, don’t forget, if you have a health spending account through your work, mental health care is covered and reimburseable.
Next it’s time to go ahead and meet with the person you feel comfortable with on the phone and remember- you are a consumer! As a consumer, you have the right to decide where and from whom you are going to get treatment. If you go in and see someone and they just are not it- try someone else. Not all therapists are a good fit for every person. However, if you find you have gone to meet five different people in search of the right person, you might want to think about whether your expectations are realistic and give the one you found the most helpful another try.
I will be the last person to tell you that all therapists are good, or even the same. Look for my future post on different kinds of therapists to learn about just how different we can be. No matter who you see, what is found consistantly in studies about mental health is that it is the relationship between the therapist and the client that is more important than the choice of intervention when we look at whether therapy has been successful. You have a right to getting what you want from treatment.
Look for future blogs to address red flags when looking for a therapist and when it might be time to move on. Since I specialize in attachment disorders, I will also be posting about finding an attachment focused therapist.
- Happy Parent Tip #1
- Why Sexual Abuse is Never a Child’s Fault…Not Even a Teenager
- Naming Patterns Changes Patterns
- This is your brain on attachment
- Last Chance for Two Great Opportunities
- Mother’s Retreat Weekend- It’s Really Happening!
- Stopping the Parent Shame and Blame Game
- Making Peace With Your Inner Critic
- Putting together something fun for you!
- Quick Jobs for Kids
- Staying Strong as a Couple
- Letting Go of the Parent You Thought You Would Be