Browsing articles tagged with " mental health"

Anchor Counseling Center: 4 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Relationship

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Relationship


Each week couples come into our office seeking help for problems in their relationship. Some couples have been married for several years and feel that they have lost a connection with their spouse. Others have only been together a couple of years but feel that they are no longer happy together. Whichever category you fall into, it is important to seek some kind of counseling as soon as you start to feel unhappy. According to John Gottman, a relationship expert, the average couple waits six years before seeking therapy for problems in their relationship.

Here are some tips for a healthy and happy relationship:

Trust: According to Gottman, trust is the most vital ingredient to a successful relationship. Many factors go into building trust and it is something that couples need to nurture every day.

Good communication: It is important to listen to what your spouse has to say and consider their feelings when making decisions. One way to make sure everyone feels that their opinion is heard it to take turns talking and not allow interruptions until the other person is done speaking.

Make time for each other: Often couples report that they are not spending time together like they used to. This can be due to busy schedules or having children. Some couples feel that finances hold them back from doing things together. All couples, no matter what their situation, can take half an hour each day to go for a walk or cook together.

Parenting: Being on the same page in terms of parenting is crucial. Not agreeing on rules and consequences at home can lead to children acting out which can make for an unhappy household.

If you feel that this applies to your relationship, please call us at Anchor Counseling Center today to schedule an appointment with one of our therapist.  You can visit our website by clicking here.  If you would like to call us our number is 401.475.9979

Tania Weld, LMFT

Anchor Counseling Center

Do we need Stress in our lives? 6 Steps to decrease.

Sep 17, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Mental Health, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

Do you really need stress in our lives?

I know many of you may be thinking “Well of course not, who needs stress?” but believe it or not we do need some level of stress in our lives in order to function.  There is such a concept as good stress (eustress) as well as bad stress (distress).  I think most of us are more familiar with distress but eustress actually helps us thrive in our daily lives.

Eustress (good stress) can be events such as starting a new job, getting married, having a baby, etc.  To most of us, we may think these are great moments in our lives and of course while they are great moments, it also involves some level of stress.

So now let’s switch over to distress.  It’s something everyone has encountered and coped with differently.  If we are able to see challenges in our lives as manageable, it will lead us to handling stressful situations effectively.

I would like to offer some self-care techniques that can help us cope with stress more effectively.  These are strategies that when implemented on a consistent basis will help improve our mood, overall well-being, and perspective in general.  Please check out the bulleted list below to learn more about these strategies and see if you are already applying them in your daily lives.

v Take time to relax. Seriously this is important.  Try to take mini breaks throughout your day.  Examples include going outside for a brief walk, stretching, taking deep breaths.

v Get enough sleep. We underestimate how much sleep we really need in order to function.  A healthy range for adults is anywhere between 6-8 hours every night.  If you can get more then you’re in good shape.

v Practice positive self-talk. This will help us to view stressors as manageable rather than impossible.  Examples include:  “I will get through this”, “Things will get better”, etc.

v Exercise. Believe it or not adding physical activity to your day will help release energy in a positive way and provide you with a more balanced outlook on life especially stress.

v Make a to-do-list. Getting organized by making a checklist at the beginning of your day of reasonable items you can accomplish will alleviate stress.

v  Enlist social/family support. Talk to friends and/or family members on a regular basis.  It is vitally important that we connect with others and share our feelings.  It is okay to ask for help.

Can you think of a time in which you were faced with what you thought was an impossible thing to overcome?  Think about how you handled and could you have handled it differently.  If so, would it have made a difference on how you felt following the outcome of that event in your life?

Accepting Transition in Your Life!

Sep 17, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, cranston  //  No Comments

At Anchor Counseling Center we help people quite often with transitions in their life.

Adjusting to a transition is an experience that allows us all to grow in many different ways.  Transition: movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc.,to another; change: the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
We all experience it, even daily…transition. A myriad of options allowing us to choose our daily path. We sometimes move along with ease, other times with trepidation, and still others with impulsivity, but all with consequences. Life is never really the same.

What’s your acceptance of transitions? Different, difficult, delicious? I think of transition as possibility, as layers of mystery peeling and revealing a life unfolded. Looking for that which must be articulated in order to propel one self into the world. Of course, not without that familiar armor arising, the sting of abandon, of resistance, of not belonging, of wanting to fix, of not knowing but wanting to.

I try to face this incredible period of life with exploration and personal freedom and see how much a theme of transition has in my life. Just as I begin to get comfortable, kaboom! It changes. A pattern of living that has the possibility of both good and bad choices. I’m moving into it and away from it at the same time, just being in the present. I welcome that change, but I also mourn the loss of the other. It’s important to also find a way to continue to find space to be quiet and investigate inwardly the meaning of it all.

So lets remember that life is Movement. Change is always present. That really is all there is. Nothing stays the same except the space to transition and to choose.

Ask yourself: what was I was born to do, right now? Explore it, share yours, your meaning, your heart. There’s always someone ready to hear it and understand as they are on an adventure full of transition too.

Written by Catherine Cummins, LHMC

Anchor Counseling Center

If you or someone you know can benefit from speaking to someone about this very subject of transition and life changes, please call 401-475-9979 or visit our website @ www.AnchorCounselingCenter.com

Mental Health News: 10 Steps to Prevent Suicide

Jul 19, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

Anchor Counseling Center is sharing the latest on Suicide Prevention.  As a private practice with locations in East Providence, Cranston, Lincoln, and North Attleboro, we are very involved in the community and reach out to our members with a caring and supportive manner.  Our mission is to provide our patients with the help they want as quickly as possible with reliable, courteous, and professional counseling and psychiatric interventions.

Just as CPR has been promoted to save lives, it is vital that the general public knows how to recognize suicide risk and prevent suicide. Here are the steps:

1. Notice if the person appears quiet and withdrawn, oversleeps, has crying episodes, has loss of appetite and energy, appears dishevelled, the gaze is downward, the voice tone is flat, consistently negative comments, irritability, or says things like, “Life’s not worth living,” or “I hate my life,” etc.

2. Ask: “How would you rate your mood right now on a scale of zero to ten with zero meaning life’s not worth living and ten meaning life is great?”

3. If the person rates the mood as 5 or under, ask: “Have you had any thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself?” *

4. If the person indicates yes, go to the next step. If the person says, “I don’t know,” hear this as a “yes” to the question in #3.

5. Ask: “Have you thought about how you might end your life?” If the person says yes, the risk is increased.

6. Ask: “What have you thought about as how you might do it?” If the plan or method is ineffective or non-lethal, such as cutting wrists, the risk is low. If the method is lethal such as using a gun or jumping from a bridge, etc., the risk is high.

7. Regardless of the method, ask: “Can we agree together that if you have thoughts of killing yourself, you will speak to me personally (not my voice mail) before carrying out a plan to harm yourself?”

8. If the person says “no” or “I don’t know,” to the question in #7, say: “What I am hearing is that you are in a lot of pain right now and thinking of ending your life, so I am wanting you to go to the emergency room right now and get some help to feel better right away. Will you go? I will make sure you get there safely. Is there a family member or someone I can call to go with you?” Or tell the person you will go with them yourself.

9. Arrange for the suicidal person to be accompanied to the emergency room, and call ahead to tell emergency staff the person is coming.

10. If the person refuses, then ask the person to wait there with someone while you call police in another room to report that the person has threatened suicide with a lethal method. Ask the police to come and accompany the person to the emergency room.

If you know someone that needs help please call us immediately at 401.475.9979.

*Note: If the person rates his mood as 6 or over, after feeling consistently depressed, and he now reports life is great and he is smiling, the risk may be increased because he has decided to end his life and has made arrangements.

Article shared from http://www.prlog.org/11928309-mental-health-news-ten-steps-to-prevent-suicide.html

Inspirational Quote

Mar 27, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

You are responsible for your life, and doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”―Oprah Winfrey

Counseling for Children, Adolescents, Adults, Couples and Families in Cranston

Mar 9, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, Stress, cranston  //  No Comments

Anchor Counseling Center

Cranston Office

At Anchor Counseling Center we offer counseling, therapy, psychiatry, coaching for children, adults, families, and couples.  The center also offers group therapy and consultation to school districts to assist with providing appropriate education to those children who need the assistance in order to be able to access the general curriculum.

Our services also include:

  • Adult psychotherapy
  • Child psychotherapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Holistic Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Suboxone Treatment
  • Social Skills Groups
  • Couples/Marriage Counseling
  • Psychiatric Evaluations
  • Medication Management
  • Services for Children with Autism
  • EAP Services and Consults
  • Life Coaching
  • ADHD evaluations for children and Adults

Our clinical staff are all independently licensed therapists and are committed and capable of providing quality care by listening to our clients and together creating a plan for change.

In each of our locations, we have created an environment where they are warm, welcoming, calming, and relaxing for your therapeutic process to begin.  We work closely with all medical professional involved in your life and take you, the entire person into account to allow the most exceptional care.  We believe in working in collaboration with all the people involved in your life.

Everyone presents with different issues at different times.  Our integrative approach allows us to partner you with the most qualified therapists.  With over 25 therapists, each with different areas of expertise, we will find one that best suits your needs.

We believe in helping our clients facilitate their own ability for change.  He or she will become an expert by being offered education, groups, and or workshops.  We also use social media to reach out to our population with journals, quotes, and information on a daily basis.

Our mission and vision:

Our Mission

Here at Anchor Counseling Center our mission is to provide superior, family oriented mental health services through dependability, integrity and social responsibility.

Our Vision:

To provide the tools to heal through reliable support, coordination of care, psychoeducation, medication, and counseling.

To teach the maintenance of mental well being to patients, their families and the community.

To service all ages, from children through the elderly, without prejudice, prejudgment or bias.

Our vision is t o provide superior, family oriented mental health services through dependability, integrity and social responsibility throughout Southern New England.

To ease the pain of mental illness and provide hope to patients and their families.

To help others help themselves.

To advocate for patients to get them the care they need and deserve.

To reverse the negative stigma attached to mental illness.

At Anchor Counseling Center…

We are here for when you need help…Now.  No waiting lists.

We listen

We help

We support

Let us be the Anchor in your life.  We promise to be reliable and consistent.  No issue to big or small.  We want to help.  Together, we can attain your goals towards a better tomorrow.

You can click on contact for immediate assistance.

You can follow us on Facebook.

You can follow us Twitter.

You can email us @ info@AnchorCounselingCenter.com

or call us 401.475.9979


Creative Group Therapy! Using creative measures with teens!

Jan 25, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

The Adolescent Struggle for Autonomy and Self-Identity:

Using Creativity in Group Therapy

By: Aryssa Washington, Roger Williams University (2011)

Therapeutic work with adolescents is often seen as a challenging task, especially in the initial stages of the therapy processes (Allen, 2005). It is important to remember that while some adolescents may be in therapy voluntarily, others are required to participate in therapy by parents and/or court mandate. Since adolescents are not often in the position to initiate the process of therapy, they may express apprehensive attitudes that work against the formation of a healthy therapeutic relationship. As with adults, some teens may not have the insight to perceive the need for therapy. Also, adolescents involuntarily participating in therapy may feel that clinicians are allied with their adult guardians, as opposed to with them. Regardless, if the therapeutic experience is new, most youth will be processing feelings of discomfort in the therapy environment; thus, creative and culturally-aware approaches that address adolescents’ uneasiness and resistance become a necessary feature in therapy (Allen, 2005).

According to Erikson, social and cultural experiences are integral to human development (Zayas, 2001). His theory expressed the need to cogitate both the individual and the common needs all humans share (Zayas, 2001). During latency and preadolescent development, youth are challenged with assuming socially-specified roles and balancing a sense of autonomy with the sense of inferiority (Erikson as cited in Zayas, 2001). For adolescents, developing a sense of individuation and independence is an important achievement, and the society surrounding the youth “provides the guidance, opportunities, challenges, motivation, experience, counsel, and instruction for accession into adulthood” (Zayas, 2001, p.363). In accordance with Erikson’s theory, youth will rehearse the roles that perceived to be essential to later success in life, as observed within his/her social culture (Zayas, 2001). The confidence that is associated with a sense of autonomy helps form the adolescent’s identity, and occurs when he/she feels supported (Zayas, 2001). Because of the universal adolescent struggle with self-identity and independence, group therapy is often thought to be an effective option. Aadolescents, with and without a clinical disorder, have ongoing issues with low self-esteem, and developing problem solving skills (Hartz & Thick, 2005; Richmond, 2000). Group work with adolescents often aims to address this over-arching issue, in the process of targeting more specific issues such as, behavioral/conduct problems, trauma, medical illness, and substance abuse (Veach & Gladding, 2007). One way of targeting the issue of self-esteem, self-identity, and autonomy, as it is associated with more specific clinical issues, in adolescent group therapy is through creative therapy modalities.

Creativity, in the therapeutic setting may be described as the “ability to produce work that is both novel, and appropriate” (Sternberg & Lubert, as cited in Veach & Gladding, 2007, p.72 ). Creativity is the creation of original work by clients that is useful to the therapeutic goal. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not to be misconstrued as unstructured work. Many therapists recommend the use of creative therapies within the construct of some theory basis—most often found as an adjunct to cognitive behavioral or client-centered group therapy (Veach & Gladding, 2007; Pardeck, 1994).  In fact, working creatively in groups with youth requires structure, albeit a subtle use of directives when facilitating groups (Vick, 1999; Backos & Pagon, 1999; Pifalo, 2002).  For the purpose of this paper, creative therapies and expressive art therapies are used interchangeably.

Expressive arts therapy, as posited by person-center theory, includes “movement, art, music, writing, sound , and improvisation  in a supportive setting  in order to facilitate growth and healing” (Rogers, 1993, pg. 3). Person-centered theory supports the notion that all individuals are innately creative, thus expressive art therapy can be used as a process of self-discovery through emotional depth and self-expression. Humanistic principles support that the focus of expressive art therapy has nothing to do with the end product or the mechanical principles of any art form, but its focus is on the clients ability to “let go, express, and release emotions and to gain insight from studying the presented symbolic and metaphoric messages” (Rogers, 1993, pg.4). For adolescents, the production of artwork operates as a medium of ownership and a means to explore personal identity. The group setting provides the social support necessary in increasing confidence, as well as provides another modus to gain insight and learn new ways of thinking from social peers. Based on the adolescent struggle for self-identity, and desire to be self-productive, this paper examines the use of several creative therapy methods with different adolescent populations.

Music Therapy

Music therapy may include the creation and/or deconstruction of musical pieces. This could comprise the analysis of musical lyrics, the composition of musical pieces, or even playing beats on a drum (Towse, 2007). In their overview of the literature on creative techniques with adolescent groups, Veach and Gladding (2007), found that music therapy was often used to help improve social communication and as a preventative measure by increasing the development of coping skills. DeCarlo and Hockman (2003), found that the use of RAP therapy in conjunction with psychoeducational therapy promoted prosocial behaviors. These researchers posited the use of rap music in order to connect with African American juvenile offenders, status offenders, and high school students (with no record) from the same urban setting. The rap music served as a connection between therapy and the contemporary customs of the youth.  The rap therapy condition analyzed the lyrics of chosen songs that related to the specified psychodeducational topic of the day. While very much a goal-oriented treatment, DeCarlo found it was important to use cultural customs, to relate to the adolescents on their level, in order to influence desired behaviors.

Movement

A common use of movement, or dance, therapy is with adolescent female groups (Veach & Gladding, 2007). Movement therapy often has a preventative focus for young females experiencing radical body changes, or with teenage females struggling with self-image or self-identity conflicts (Block, 2001). In her clinical work with female adolescents and in dance, Block (2001) has created a framework for dance therapy in efforts to address young women’s issues with self-confidence, identity, and image. Again, the group setting functions as social support and a forum for discussion and insight development. In her framework, Block (2001), proposes that the members chose an undesired body part to lead with in a sequence of movements. Then the girls go into a group and discuss how social media and cultural assumptions contribute to their own perceptions of their self-image and self-concept. Following this, the group works as a team to build a dance with their new perceptions of the previously unwanted bodily feature.  The final stage is for the members to create a dance that illustrates how they view their bodies now (Block, 2001). In this type of dance therapy, transformation occurs when the teens become aware of his/her Self, and how society may contribute to the formation of one’s Self. The members must also become aware of others and how they relate (physically and mentally) to others (Block, 2001).  The resultant creation is an external demonstration of how he/she views him/herself. The performance of the Self for the group helps to facilitate confidence in how the youth identify themselves.

Literature

The use of literature in therapy is often termed “Bibliotherapy.” In essence, participants read specifically themed books, poems, or news articles, to explore particular issues that the members of the group may be dealing with (Pardeck, 1994; McArdle & Byrt, 2001). Bibliotherapy is often used as an adjunct to cognitive behavioral therapy with teen groups because it is a creative method that allows for therapists to address cognitive distortions or faulty impressions adolescents may have. Group members work through the stages of identification, catharsis, insight, and universality in relation to the main character and the other group members. Group bibliotherapy usually includes interactive projects, writing exercises and discussions (Pardeck, 1994). This creative methodology has been effective with various teen and even adult populations, but there has been a large amount of research done with the use of bibliotherapy and juvenile delinquent populations, or with teens that have emotional and aggressive regulation difficulties (Bogestad et al., 2010; Schetman, 2000; McArdle & Byrt, 2001).  McArdle and Byrt (2001), and Pardeck (1994), found that bibliotherapy was efficient in providing a place for emotional purging, problem solving opportunities, increased personal insight, and a medium for positive expression.

Expressive Writing

Prominent psychologist, Stanley G. Hall’s “intellectual emancipation” concept coincides with Aristotle’s notion of empowerment through understanding language and how it is used (Leary, 2006). The idea of teaching writing principles and then allowing the individual to narrate his/her own story applies to the use of expressive writing in group therapy with adolescents. As with bibliotherapy, expressive writing provides the means for emotional purging, self-expression, and personal insight. Expressive writing is often used with juvenile offenders, youth suffering from chronic or acute illness, or with youth who have suffered some form of trauma (Baerg, 2003; McArdle & Byrt, 2001; Veach & Gladding, 2007). The issue, as it relates to these aforementioned populations, is the youth’s feelings of powerlessness and/or low self-esteem.  According to Dr. Kane (as cited in McArdle & Byrt, 2001), the aim of expressive writing is to generate creativity and empowerment which is likely to assist in the establishment of self-identity.  In most cases, the group members are taught basic writing principles and are given a writing prompt, the resultant product provides each member with a narration of his or views and experiences (McArdle & Byrt, 2001). Basically, it provides teens with a tangible visualization of his/her thought processes and cognitive patterns.  This provision of self-understanding promotes feelings of power and self-esteem in situations where adolescents may not actually have/ or did not have a lot of control over. McArdle and Byrt, (2001), also found that in adolescent forensic populations, expressive writing promoted social interest, helped develop decision-making skills, as well as aided in increasing youth accountability.

Drama Therapy

Drama in group therapy with adolescents can be used as both a preventative or intervention method. For instance, group members may be asked to role play and act out parts of life in order for them to practice different behaviors (Veach & Gladding, 2007).  One study used Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, to explore the idea of consequences in relation to personal choices and accountability (Veach & Gladding, 2007). Participants were asked to act out the play and discuss the various choices the characters made in relation to how they would respond and the associated consequences.

With the intention of promoting positive youth development, Dutton (2001) used drama as a preventative measure for preadolescent youth. Positive youth development included building competencies, increasing the teens self-worth, and promoting the recognition of individual and group strengths (Dutton, 2001). In this type of drama therapy, the initial step is to form a group, then to get the group to form an identity, and then to get the group to use the forum as a place to enhance decision-making skills. In Dutton’s study (2001), a group of ten members was formed and then asked to put on a performance using any art medium they chose. The group facilitator acted as a monitor, mediator, and was there to reflect the ideas of group members. The main decisions had to be made by the group as a whole. The ten members agreed to do a Hip Hop drama, and created their own group name. The group was provided with a snack, over which they discussed ideas, concerns, and problems. They also created their own session times to accommodate students with busy schedules, and agreed to go see a different play outside of therapy to get ideas. Eventually, the group chose and performed Romeo and Juliet, which included setting up a dress rehearsal, charging admissions, advertising, and selling concessions during intermission. Allowing the teens to create together and agree on all major decisions, promoted a sense of autonomy, and helped in the development and verbalization of problems, concerns, and decisions. Granted this creative modality generates a sense of autonomy and prosocial behaviors, certain populations of youth may not benefit from such a therapy as it relies heavily on participant responsiveness and group work.

Activity Therapy

Activity therapy is basically the extension of play therapy with children, however, developmentally appropriate (Paone, Packman, Maddux, & Rothman, 2008). For the most part, the literature shows that activity therapy with adolescents is often used to promote a sense of achievement, teamwork, and prosocial behaviors (Veach & Gladding, 2007). Paone et al. (2008), used activity therapy with at-risk ninth grade students to examine the effects of group work on the development of moral reasoning. Paone et al. (2008), measured moral reasoning via pre and post test scores on the Maintaining Norms Schema Subscale of the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT-2). This study addressed issues regarding the adolescent struggle of autonomy versus the constraints of social authority. Paone et al., (2008) posited that the moral values that help humans make decisions about what is right versus what is wrong, are formed by the observed patterns each individual learns(or perceives) in his/her social surroundings. This notion supported the use of the group as a social support unit and environment to observe and re-learn new behaviors or thoughts.

Participants were split into 12 small groups (N = 61) and received either group activity therapy (GAT) or group talk therapy (GTT). Each group was given 5 different dilemma situations over the course of 10 weeks.  While the GTT group simply talked through the issues and consequences presented with the dilemma, the GAT group had several stages.  First, the GAT group was presented with the dilemma by the group facilitator, then the group participated in a developmentally appropriate structured activity relating to the dilemma. Afterwards, the members could have free play by themselves or with other members, and the final stage consisted of a snack and discussion table.  Throughout all of these stages the facilitators reflected feelings, content, and behaviors to be incorporated in the activity (Paone et al., 2008).  The results revealed that the increase in moral reasoning was greater for those who had received the group activity therapy intervention. This creative therapy is heavily structured, but implements movement, interest (or fun), and interaction. The idea that youth can learn by simply being youth and having fun, was important in understanding how group activity therapy works. With this technique, teens can do developmentally appropriate activities that are set up within the context of situation the group facilitator desires the youth to derive knowledge from. Activity therapy allows for adolescents to actively make personally relevant choices/decisions as it relates to a problem, as well as see other ways to handle the same problem.

Art Therapy

Art therapy (visual art) has been used with a variety of juvenile populations. Hartz and Thick (2005), used visual art therapy with female juvenile offenders and found that it improved their self-esteem. They also found relevance for the discussion of social change elements when the group was discussing each other’s art work. Fliegel (2000) and Vick (1999), found that art therapy was useful in short-term psychiatric inpatient treatment programs for adolescents. An abundance of literature exists on the use of art therapy with sexually abused adolescents, and adolescents who suffer from chronic and acute illnesses. Unfortunately, most of the research with these two populations of teens in particular is focused on females. The emotional component of expressive art is used to its advantage with these two juvenile populations.

Pifalo (2002) found that art therapy provided female adolescents with a sense of power and control, which increased their overall self-esteem. Allowing the adolescents to explore their emotions in creating art and then attaching their own meaning to it put the power back into the hands of the victim. Pifalo (2002) also found that therapy through art reduced the anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and overt disassociation of adolescent victims. Backos and Pagon (1999) revealed similar results with their study of female adolescent sexual abuse survivors. They found that art therapy allowed survivors to first withdraw, then reflect, and finally explore their associated emotions and thoughts. The goal of their experiment was to assist adolescent survivors in forming a sense of a unified persona, with a feeling of mastery, or control over his/her life (Backos & Pagon, 2008).

According to Baerg (2003), many adolescents may not have the words to effectively express the depth of emotion they feel with regards to their sexual abuse or medical illness—art operates as a modus to express first, explore, and then attach meaning. Baerg (2003), who does art therapy with adolescents with chronic or acute illness, states that her role as the therapist is to make general and encouraging comments about the artwork group members present, and allow that individual to discuss their own work further, find their own meaning, and provide their own insight. The use of art in this fashion allows adolescents to feel in control, and provides them with the opportunity to explore those emotions and thought processes. Baerg (2003) also found that with adolescents suffering from a medical illness, showcasing his/her art work was an important part of group and individual therapy, because it enabled the members to tell their story as they perceive it in a very supportive setting (which an individual may or may not have outside of the group; Pifalo, 2002).

Conclusion

What seems to be an important focus of group therapy with adolescents is the fact that during this developmental stage, an individual may be struggling with more than a clinically diagnostic disorder (i.e. psychotic disorder, personality). Most teenagers are in that stage where they are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Alongside the question of self-discovery, adolescents struggle to be independent, productive and successful, but they also fear the responsibilities associated with independence (Richmond, 2000). Both of these concerns result in conflicts with self-confidence and self-esteem, especially if the youth exist in an environment that lacks social support or proper role models of the desired success. What I found interesting was that the use of creative mediums in group therapy with adolescents often aimed to address these two over-arching issues.

Structure is a major element of therapy to be conscious of when using creative techniques, because adolescents do require more structure than adults in order to reach a therapeutic goal. In some art therapy settings, facilitators actually went as far as lighting a candle at the beginning of the session and blowing out the candle before the end of the session. The symbolic boundaries the lighting created allowed for the emotions or trauma an adolescent may have been expressing during the session to remain contained in that setting so the depth of the experienced emotions did not flow over into participants daily lives. In another study, the art materials were set up as a demarcation of creative space versus discussion and instruction space.  There also appeared to be more use of foods/snacks in group therapy with adolescents, which, from my experience, is a fantastic idea.  In a couple of the studies I presented, a snack was set up to separate the space of creation and activity, from the discussion and social interaction space.

Prior to doing the research on various creative group therapy methods, I thought that expressive arts was seen as ineffective or a waste of time in the therapeutic arena, but I found that most of the creative art therapies with adolescents are used in brief, or short-term therapy. For example, the predominate number of the studies presented in this paper had a therapy period of approximately 10 sessions or 10 weeks. Because I desire to do clinical work with both children and adolescents in individual and group settings, I was excited to discover that these creative methods really are not all that unconventional. I was impressed with how easily applicable creative methods are to theories such as cognitive behavioral, positive, existential, and humanistic.

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Discovering Anxiety: Are we trapped?

Jan 25, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, cranston  //  No Comments

Anxeity

From an existential standpoint, humans are often plagued with anxiety when they discover the inescapable truths about life. Often times we feel trapped by the things we can’t change or the things we must go through to end up in a different position. The questions is, are these anxious feelings the problem or is it our chosen way of being in the world that makes it a problem?

Discovery

By: Aryssa Washington

Trapped in fragile transparency, the echo of my image blemished by apathy

The single last glint, a streaking spark of a fading sun,

lain unseen.

Sneaking stillness quickens in pace roving across a vast, bleak space of time,

leaving silence in its wake

consumed by darkness.

My hands and fingers in harried tremors grasp at everything—anything

This gravity of terror, a pressured panic preying on the single seeker

Am I nothing?

An edging horizon, a lone last flickering speck,

In trepidation, a shimmering glance of recognition—

I walk alone.

Counseling, Therapy, Psychiatry, Psychology now available in the Bristol County Area!

Jan 19, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

For people in Barrington, Bristol, Warren, East Providence, Riverside, Rumford you can now get help with your issues at Anchor Counseling Center.
Please call 401.475.9979 or visit our website at www.AnchorCounselingCenter.com. We are open 6 days a week from 9-9 and 9-6 on Saturdays. Most insurances accepted.

In need of a counselor or therapist in Cranston?

Jan 19, 2012   //   by Richard Figueira   //   Blog, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, Self Help, cranston  //  No Comments

Alex Irving, LMFT

Alex Irving is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) who received her Master degree from the University of Rhode Island. Alex recently completed an Approved Marriage & Family Therapy Supervisor Program from the University of Rhode Island. She is currently supervising students and clinicians who are pursuing their Marriage & Family Therapy degree and license. Alex is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and the Rhode Island Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (RIAMFT). She is also supervising an intensive home based clinical program providing crisis intervention services to emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children, who are at imminent risk of hospitalization, and their families. With over 10 years of experience in the field Alex provides individual, couples and family therapy. She has experience in treating children, adolescents and families. She primarily uses a strength-based, family systems approach to improve individuals overall well-being and develop healthier families. Alex works hard to develop positive relationships with her clients and empower them to achieve the changes they are looking for in their lives

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