Realizing there can be more than one version of reality is probably the best thing that ever happened in my journey as a clinician. That realization allowed me to look at clients as individuals and help meet them where they were at with THEIR goals instead of trying to “fix” them and teach them “the truth.”
Are hallucinations a symptom?
Are they also a part of some people’s reality?
It is naive to deny psychosis, delusions, symptoms of personality disorders, etc AREN’T a part of day to day life.
Ultimately I found if you treat the person as a person and let them personalize their treatment plan, you should be good to go!
Living with Anxiety
Anxiety is an issue faced by nearly every client I treat. Seldom will I meet with someone who doesn’t identify any struggles with anxiety at all. Key points were when it stated anxiety can be a lifelong phenomenon, but that’s OK! The author speaks about the role of family and the community in the client’s life as well and how a support system and routine can be helpful. Part of a counselor’s job is to educate clients and then help them develop coping skills to utilize for the anxiety.
The bulk of this article focused on the coping skills themselves:
- Identifying negative thoughts
- Learning to only worry about what you can control
- Normalizing the experience and existence of anxiety
- Scheduling “worry time” or utilizing a Kuhn’s “worry tree”
- Practicing mindfulness, meditation, relaxation techniques
- The butterfly hug *a deep cross arm hug provided to self during deep breathing
- Teaching clients not to stereotype situations
- Becoming aware of your negativity and purposely avoiding it
- Practicing healthy habits: diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, social media, substance abuse
- Externalizing the problem *”I am anxious.” -“No, you are Susan, and you have a problem with anxiety”
The author reminded counselors to be up to date on their knowledge of anti-anxiety medications as some clients will choose to use them. It can be part of our role to help with educate, stigma busting, and also helping the client cope with their own comfort with the medicine. It is also important to know if a client is on meds so you, the counselor, can keep an eye on the dosage. No, you are NOT a medical personal nor are you a prescriber, but you should have a general understanding of how they work and can refer them back to their doctor as needed or work with them more on coping skills if symptoms seem to be increasing.
Lastly, remember that the person in front of you is that, a person. Ultimately, what most matters is their presenting problem and how the two of you can develop and utilize a recovery plan to accomplish their goals.
Bray, B. (2017) Living with anxiety. Counseling Today, 59(12).
I recently used these questions in a Wellness Group I am facilitating
If you follow my blog, you know I am big on insight and self care though so I think they are good for all of us to answer. Counseling and self discovery can benefit anyone.
You do not have to have some traumatic event occur in your past or some life changing decision to make now to benefit from speaking with a mental health professional.
Sometimes being able to learn certain skill sets to better your coping skills and increase your quality of life CAN be your goal.
When this is the case, I would have you reflect on questions such as these. What have you tried? What are you trying? What are you willing to try?
These are very useful tools in counseling, but are also good in our day to day life to keep us in check and challenge ourselves. We can say we want something or that it is important to us, but when we ask these simple questions we can better understand how much effort we are truly making.
Thoughts for you as this weekend wraps up. I hope you all had a blessed weekend and go into this week ready to make the world a better place!