Happy 6th Anniversary to my practice! WOW 6 YEARS–This year I’m reflecting on the growth. It’s just amazing to see. I understand how I got here. I can feel all the hard work in my body, in my bones. One day I woke up and realized how far this practice has come. One day I turned around and seen people that I’ve worked with in middle school and high school that are now adults making their own way in life. It’s just fascinating.
I think one of the best rewards for me is that I can see my own personal growth alongside my clients. I had someone say to me in session: “You’ve gotten even better.” It was the most sincere and honest compliment. The kind that makes you take a step back and reflect.
This has always been my passion. But even still, you can only go as far as your life experiences. As I reflect on the many years I’ve spent talking with clients, long before I opened my practice –
I realize, I am now a grown woman.
I’ve always had the knowledge base of mental health but now I bring the woman who has lived the life. It has opened up a whole new level to what I can provide as a therapist.
It’s interesting when the psychology theories you’ve studied for many years and the woman you’ve become join together. It brings tears to my eyes because I don’t exactly know when that happened, it just did. These are tears of joy.
I have always had a passion for working with women and girls, but this has made it even more of my focus. We need to protect girls and women. Hear their stories. Cherish them – love them. I have finally wrapped the hug around my inner child. I forgave the young woman that didn’t know what I know now. I am free. At my practice, every day I reach back to help other women out of their traumas and strongholds.
There is so much depth now. And I just thank God. For growing me, giving me vision, and allowing me to support others.
Michelle Obama said in Becoming “It’s important to have a place that you know as your home. One place where people know you, they’ve seen you grow up. Where people don’t have to make up a story about who you are. It’s what keeps me grounded.”
Thank you to my family and my friends who have become family. This is exactly how you make me feel. And as this vision continues to grow and spread out beyond what I ever imagined; I realize this is what I will always need in my life.
To everyone I’ve worked with, I’m so proud of you! All the amazing things you are doing in your lives. To be a part of that has always been so special to me. Thank you for allowing me to hear your stories. Know that I am forever grateful for you.
Let’s keep pushing… Together!
As the saying goes, there’s just so much to be grateful for! But how often do we take the time to reflect on these things? Spending even just a few moments acknowledging the ways that you have been blessed can transform your mood and outlook on life.
I like to create lists of the things that I am grateful for. Kind of like reminders that keep me in the right place. It helps to see it written down. Try it for yourself!
Erin’s Steps to Create a Gratitude List:
Here are a few things I am grateful for:
Last night I prepared a delicious dinner. I was proud of myself. I enjoyed my meal and there was food left over. I will not have to worry about what to eat tomorrow – that’s a double blessing!
I remember when I had difficulty identifying loving relationships in my life, back when struggled to find love and fulfillment within myself. I now realize there is love all around me. For this I am grateful.
A good friend of mine used to say: “Earn your peace – find your peace.” I am grateful to now understand what that means. I’m aware of the environments I need to be in to recharge. I know what puts me at ease. I have found peace in my spirit. I am made whole in God. I have peace.
Have you ever been in an uncomfortable position in life, where you knew the issue wouldn’t be resolved for some time? Sometimes I meet clients who are in this space – waiting for finances to improve, spending years in a rigorous graduate program, wondering when all the effort you’re putting in to save your marriage will actually work.
Sometimes in life there is just no easy answer. There are days when you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall in hopes that something will stick. If everyone was to be completely honest, we would see that we all go through these times in our lives.
It’s important to remember, there is still life to be lived in the storm. I was reminded of this when I visited Beyond Van Gogh. There I was, standing in front of The Starry Night in awe of its beauty. In that dark night, there were still stars. There was still beauty. Light and dark both paired together and somehow it worked. Actually, it was brilliant.
Vincent Van Gogh painted this piece while he was in a mental asylum looking out a window. He was deeply depressed. He was probably asking himself the question: what is life? I believe the answer was in that painting.
Life is a mixture of shitty days and great times, struggle and overcoming, pain and pleasure. And it’s still beautiful. All of it. Every last bit of it.
Sometimes our most challenging times produce our greatest fruit. So, I want you to hold on. I want you to ride the waves of life. I want you to never give up. I want you to remember that even in the darkest night, there is still light.
I enjoy yoga because it’s a full body and mind release. For this reason, I often recommend yoga to my clients. Yoga is especially beneficial for individuals that have been impacted by trauma.
“Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.”-American Psychological Association.
We hold traumatic experiences not just in our minds, but also in our bodies. For a person living with posttraumatic stress, it’s common to experience random flashbacks and sometimes feel actual pain that mirrors the traumatic event. This pain can be physical and emotional.
As humans, even with continued self-work, we can’t control everything that could present as a trigger for our mind and memory. Yoga and breathing exercises help myself and many others manage life after trauma. I believe that when you have several healthy lifestyle practices in your weekly routine, it helps you to heal overtime. Yoga has other benefits including better sleep, managing chronic pain, supporting mental health, and improving digestion.
I attended a yoga class at Miami Botanical Garden. Walking through the lush garden towards the class was relaxing. The yoga instructor, Franci Blanco lead us in breathing and various yoga positions. She continued to say in the gentlest voice: “Let go of your past story.” As I focused on my breathing and allowed my body to stretch, I began to let go. Just thinking about it brings up emotion. The process of acknowledging pain and releasing it at the same time is so powerful. While you are going through this releasing process, everything is still. The sounds of nature were comforting. I felt peace within myself.
The stretching of the body creates a straining sensation followed by a feeling of rest. This reminds me of life, which is sometimes tough, but we always move through it eventually. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to take part in this yoga class. I left feeling renewed both inside and out. I walked around the garden looking at the beautiful plants and let go of my past story – because today is a good day! Give yourself permission to have experiences that allow you to heal.
It’s common for parents to contact my practice when their child displays behavioral issues in school. If these issues are not addressed early, they can progress as time goes on. Negative behaviors can be turned around when children are set up for success from the start of the school year. Here are some tips to help your child and family:
Psychology teaches us the importance of sleep to brain development, also how the mind and body have negative reactions to lack of sleep. Schedule wind down time in the evening to help your child get into a state of calm. Sometimes children are walking, jumping, playing until parents’ yell: time for bed! By introducing quiet time a half hour before bed, children feel more relaxed and better able to transition into sleep.
Children benefit from structure. In my years as a therapist, I’ve had some child clients in family sessions express to their parents that they would like more structure. Simple tasks such as asking your child to brush their teeth and wash their face before coming to breakfast helps children feel more responsible in their own lives and creates structure. This starts their day off with a sense of accomplishment.
Just think of how we are impacted by words of encouragement and good news. This is sometimes what makes your day special or helps to keep you centered when tough situations arise. When you consistently motivate and encourage your child this builds self-confidence which will carry over into their school day.
If your child or your family is struggling with something, introduce yourself to the school counselor. Schools have counselors on staff that help children with everything from social skills, support groups to family challenges. Making the counselor aware that your child may need support can make all the difference their school day. It’s also important for children to participate in school activities. Staff serve as mentors to your child which promotes positive behavior. Being involved in school activities creates a sense of community for both your child and your family.
If you are a parent of a child taking medication for a mental health disorder, it is essential that your child takes their medication consistently each day. It’s beneficial to get medication management advice from your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist. This can help you to figure out the time of day and dosage your child should take to ensure their medication will be most effective. Also, it’s important to keep up with your child’s counseling appointments throughout the school year. Both the medication and routine therapy sessions work together to give your child maximum mental health support.
Think about ways that you can promote family fun time on the weekends. This gives your child something to look forward to and a way to encourage good behavior.