Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Therapy Group Being Offered

Writing as a Tool for Growth Therapy Group

This new therapy group will offer adult participants an opportunity to explore places where they are stuck in their lives or in need of healing through the creative act of writing.

The group will offer a sacred and safe space for sharing insights and growth from each person’s writing process. Writing activities will be designed to assist participants in accessing their inner guidance and finding their authentic voice.

No writing experience necessary!

Please call Pam McDonald, LCSW-C, for more information at 301-712-9015, x1022.

The group will meet weekly for 10 weeks on Tuesdays from 6-7:15 p.m. Starting date to be announced. Cost: $60/session.

Recommended Reading

You are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

By: Thich Nhat Hanh Shambala Publications, Inc.

In this book Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Zen monk, author, and meditation master, distill the essence of Buddhist thought and practice, emphasizing the power of mindfulness to transform lives. “Mindfulness is not an evasion or an escape,’ he explains. ‘It means being here, present, and totally alive. It is true freedom—and without freedom, there is no happiness.”

Based on a retreat that Thich Nhat Hanh led for Westerners, this book offers a range of simple, effective practices for cultivating mindfulness, including awareness of breathing, walking, deep listening, and skillful speech. You are Here also offers guidance on healing emotional pain and manifesting real love and compassion in our relationships with others.

Simple, warm, direct, and startlingly potent, this book reveals the heart of the Buddhist path and helps us to reconnect with the joy and wonder of being alive, regardless of life’s changing circumstances.

- Taken from inside flap of You are Here

Tips for Nurturing Emotional Intelligence & Resiliency in Children

As much as we would like to protect our children from all stress and conflict, it is not possible. We, therefore, need to strive to raise children who are resilient and have the skills and confidence to handle life's challenges.


Provide your child with unconditional love. Acknowledge that each of us has our own temperament, personality and capabilities. Strive to nurture each child's unique gifts. Provide frequent positive feedback and encouragement.


Help children recognize and identify feelings in themselves and others. Teach them to express their feelings in a positive and respectful way. There are a variety of ways to do this, for example, read stories about emotions and emotional situations, encourage them to express their feelings through art and play, express your own emotions in a positive way, and reflect their feelings ("you seem sad that...").


Before trying to correct or teach a value or behavior, try to see the world through your child's eyes. Validating his/her feelings and beliefs builds self-esteem, opens the lines of communication and models having empathy and respect for others.

Positive Communication

Actively listen to children by allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings and then reflecting back your understanding. Teach children positive ways to express their feelings such as "I statements" (I feel ________ when __________). Model respect for different opinions and beliefs by refraining from using negative adjectives when expressing a differing point of view.


Help children recognize that conflicts are a part of life. Don't dismiss the conflict by saying "it's not a big deal", ignore the conflict in the hopes that it will go away or "fix" the situation on your own. Instead acknowledge the feelings and thoughts related to the conflict and help your child find a way to resolve the situation. It may be uncomfortable, but if the conflict is resolved in a positive way, your child will be stronger for the experience.

Problem Solving

Help your children solve problems rather than rushing to fix problems for them. Help them identify the problem, generate possible solutions, choose a solution/plan of action and then evaluate the outcome. This process can be applied to simple tasks such as choosing a book to read or game to play or more difficult situations such as how to respond to a bully at school.


Let your child make mistakes! Help children understand that no one is perfect. Allow mistakes to be an opportunity for learning.


As parents it is important to be aware of and address our own anxieties and discomforts so that we are able to be fully present and positive in helping our children in the above areas.

By: Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C

301-712-9015, Ext 1012

7 Steps to Influence Your Partner to Change

Getting your partner to change often seems so difficult to do. Perhaps that’s because when we ask them to change something we start with an expectation of how it’s in their best interest to do so and “if you really loved me you would change this behavior”. This often creates a power struggle where both partners lose. But it is possible to create a win-win situation.

So here is a 7 step process from The Couples Institute to help you create a change in your partner. The key to success here is that the process helps your partner feel motivated to change instead of feeling coerced.

Here’s what you do.

1. Make a list of the top three things your partner does that annoy you. For example, drops clothes around the house; gives you the silent treatment; doesn’t do their share of household tasks, etc. Then, select the one problem that has the best chance of your partner responding to your unhappiness. Only focus on one problem at a time. Let’s go for a common one here and say the problem is that your partner is not pulling their weight around the house.

2. Describe the problem in clear detail. This includes what your partner does and your reaction to the problem. For example: “Honey, Can we talk about a problem that is bothering me? When you come home from work it seems like you start reading the mail, change your clothes, turn on the TV, or return a phone call without looking around and noticing the kids are cranky, squalling for dinner, and I’m swamped just getting dinner ready. You never seem to notice what’s going on around you. This problem has persisted for over a year now with little relief in sight.”

3. Describe your reaction to the problem. “When you act so oblivious, I think you are so selfish and I feel angry, alone, and resentful. It hurts me that you can’t see I need help. When I feel that way I end up being chilly to you and withdrawing any spontaneous signs of affection. I don’t like how I react but that is what I have been doing.”

Here is the “formula” for describing the problem.

A) You have specified the behavior of “not pulling his weight” by giving specific examples.

B) You have given your reaction to it by stating: “when you do (the behavior) I think_____ (forexample, you’re inconsiderate...) and I feel _____ (for example, angry, alone, resentful), and then I do _____(for example, withhold affection). It is important to let your partner know what your complete response is to the behavior that is a problem. Especially let them know what you do when you think and feel the way you do. This really informs your partner of the consequence to them when they do the undesired behavior. Include in your reaction the meaning of the problem for you. For example, not pulling their weight represents not being loved, respected, or valued.

4. Be empathetic. Tell your partner why you think that it would be hard for them to change the undesired behavior. This lets them know you see the problem from both perspectives and that you have an appreciation for what you’re asking them to change.

For example, “Honey, I think pitching in when you get home would be difficult because you feel depleted and want some time to yourself in order to regenerate. I think pitching in at the level I want is a lot to ask of you.”

5. Describe how you will help. Because you’re not just going to make a request and then hopefor the best, (this hasn’t been successful in the past, neither has been nagging or pleading) the next step is to describe what you will do to help your partner make the change you want. For example, “Honey, your pitching in is so important to me when you get home that I will do _____________ .” (Fill in here something that you think will be a high motivator for your partner to make the requested change.)

6. Ask if they are willing to make the change you’re requesting. They may agree to all or part or none of your request. They might say “no” to you but would be more willing to consider the change if you offered a different motivator or inducement to change. Then you

can decide if it is worth your efforts.

7. Find out why. Regardless of whether they are willing to change or not, ask why. Knowing why they are willing to change will help you understand what motivates them. You’ll be able toencourage them more effectively along the way. If they don’t want to change, finding out why will help you determine how to move forward. In that case you still have 2 more options. One, you can ask if this is a temporary or more permanent condition. If it seems there will be no change for now, let them know the consequences — how you think, feel and act — and then drop it for now. The second option is to go to the second problem on your list and repeat the sequence described above.

Of course the biggest improvements in a couples’ relationship come when both people change and grow. But there are often things you’d like your partner to change, and this format helps you do it in a way that supports both of you.

Adapted by Marie Kish

Original article written by Ellyn Bader, Ph.D. and Peter Pearson,