Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Skills and Social Groups for Kids!


Make Your Own Herbal Medicine for Fall and Winter


Clinician in the Spotlight- December 2014

Dr. Kimberlyn Cahill, DM, E-RYT 500
(Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership; 
Experienced, Registered Yoga Teacher, 500 hour)

Discovering yoga after a traumatic bicycle accident, Kimberlyn found healing, and recuperation, and eventually vitality and strength. Reconnecting with her body, mind, and spirit through yoga, Kimberlyn resumed and redesigned her life with renewed passion and commitment. Kimberlyn offers light-hearted humor, a positive attitude, and a smile to foster inspiration, self-discovery, and transformation through her Life’sWork Coaching and teaching. Whether on or off the mat, upright or inverted in the aerial silk, Kimberlyn serves as a companion guide to cultivate space for living a life of passion and purpose. 

A seasoned entrepreneur and Life’swork Coach, Kimberlyn has over 25 years of experience training, educating, and supporting hundreds of people in pursuit of work-life balance and fulfillment. An experienced, certified, registered yoga teacher, Kimberlyn offers private and group instruction in mat and aerial yoga, therapeutic yoga, meditation, and breath practices (pranayam) and holds specialized certifications in prenatal, aerial and laughter yoga. Kimberlyn is available for workshops, presentations, and individual consultations.

Kimberlyn aspires to help her clients breathe deeply, fly freely, and live fully.

How did Kimberlyn come to practice Yoga?

Fifteen years ago, I quit my university job and sold all my worldly possessions. Well, truth is, I didn’t own much other than a decade of academic books, a TV and a car; I kept (most of) the books, but the TV and the car went. I set off on a self-contained cross-country bicycle trip that culminated in 5000 miles and over 15 states. Five years ago, I landed in the hospital 5 miles into a local ride due to an accident that almost cost me my life. Today, I often simplify this story to say, “A helmet saved my life but yoga enabled me to LIVE it.”

The scratches and bruises took only a few weeks to heal, but the damage done to my brain by concussion lingers to this day. For over 12 months, I suffered from disorientation, inability to sleep, and painful headaches. I was unable to read, unable to listen to music, and even the high- pitched tones of my kids' laughter caused me to hide away from my life. I was a work-from-home mom, who couldn’t work, let alone care for my children. I was barely able to dress and feed myself. When I think back, I have no memory of how we made it through those days. I’m sure that had something to do with my brain’s inability to process short term memories. My kids were 2, 5, and 8; babies really, all of them. We had some help: meals came from church the first couple weeks, and a friend would take the kids for a play day once a week. The other days, we mostly cuddled on the couch, or listened to the eldest as she read picture books to the little ones. We ate mostly semi-prepared foods from the grocer's freezer after the meals stopped coming. My husband was amazing; his patience and love forever picking up the slack of my brokenness. His courage and devotion helped me to hang on in the darkness of my weakness. 

My dear friend introduced me to yoga as a way out of my broken darkness. She took me to my first yoga class and showed me how to set out my mat, taught me what to expect from class and she even demonstrated a couple of poses- child’s pose and downward dog, I think. I spent most of that first class in a propped-up child’s pose, as my injuries prohibited me from inversions of any sort. I couldn’t put weight on my shoulders or touch my head. But something almost magical happened in that class. It was the first place, since the accident, that I didn’t feel like a drain, like a burden. I didn’t have to make any decisions and I didn’t have to defend my feeble attempts to physically manipulate my body. I felt like I was connected as I had never been before, that I was part of a community. I had nothing to offer, yet nothing was expected. I could just be. 

I continued to practice 2-3 times a week, as my budget could afford. In time, I found strength, openness, and resolve. I found humility, vulnerability and unknowingly, I found myself.  
Yoga taught me to breathe. Yoga taught me that stillness is not my enemy. Yoga taught me that hope is not an impossibility. Wellness did not descend immediately, nor did it arrive quietly or neatly packaged in a perfect container.  In fact, most days it was messy, noisy and unconventional. I learned to redefine wellness, allowing for good days and bad days. As my body found new ways to move, my ears found new ways to hear- invitation instead of expectation, opportunity instead of obligation. Using the yoga language of Sanskrit, my brain built new pathways of understanding, connecting the extremities of my physical, mental and spiritual components of my body. 

As a perpetual academic, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program. I wanted to learn more about yoga, to ask my questions and get some answers. Through the teacher training, I learned to see with new eyes, hear things that were never said aloud, and feel energy in a whole new way. I found strength I didn’t know I didn’t have. I found a place to be my imperfect self and still offer value to others.

Today I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been. Wellness has become my journey- A walk to cultivate harmony in mind, body and spirit. The practice of yoga helped me reconnect my body and breath, rediscover the desires of my own heart, hear the voice of my own wisdom. Yoga has helped me to breathe and continues to teach me to live mindfully, moment by moment with gratitude and joy, even in the pain and sorrow. I am so grateful for the practice of yoga. I am forever grateful for the breath of life.

I am back to work- though my work is different now. I am still self-employed, only now I am a better boss and a better employee. I am still what one might call an over-achiever, only now there is less push and more passion and more patience. I budget more time in my schedule for transitions between appointments, allowing for inspiration and transformation in myself and others. I still arrive late once in a while, but less often, and without the frantic panic. I now see my work as a daily offering of myself- an offering of support and encouragement to others. I see myself as a carrier of hope. So often in life we lose our ability to hope, to even hope for hope. My healing and recovery has cultivated and affirmed an awareness of a universal need for hope. So, I carry hope. I carry hope for others when they can’t carry it for themselves and am ready to gently return it to them when their hearts and minds are ready to carry it for themselves. Sometimes knowing that I have hope for them is enough. 

I have always been one to ask a lot of questions- forever seeking knowledge, truth and fact. I find today that I am content with discerning the questions, even if the answers don’t come. I demand less of myself and others (except maybe from my kids) and yet I continue to receive in abundance, more than I ever imagined possible. 

But how did Kimberlyn land here at Healing Circles Wellness Center?

As a former dancer, I was inspired to try aerial yoga in pursuit of the graceful relief of the perpetual tug- of-war with gravity. I have suffered from back pain much of my adult life in addition to the residual side-effects of my bicycle accident injuries. I had come to believe that pain was an inevitable part of life. However, through my study of aerial yoga and positional therapy, I am now living pain free and finding awesome results for others through these mediums. 

Aerial yoga is yoga (think the integration of intentional movement with breath) practiced on, in, and with the support of a "silk" or hammock safely suspended from the ceiling to allow participants to hang just inches off the floor. Aerial yoga allows us to change our relationship with gravity and in doing so, change our relationship with our body, our self, and our life. Aerial yoga cultivates space in the spine and joints, builds strength and stability, and relieves compression and congestion in the entire body. Yoga flight energizes, enables one to confront fears and challenge assumptions and limitations, allowing for true flight. All while offering a child-like playful experience.

Positional therapy is a practice of sustained holding of the body in specific positions to undo the demands of daily life. Positional therapy offers pain relief due to muscular imbalances, reduces the frequency of surgeries and increases flexibility, fluidity and balance in the body. The integration of positional therapy and yoga offers a therapeutic balance to our modern life style of stress, busyness and over-commitment, and obsession with achievement.

Kimberlyn joined the growing family of wellness practitioners at HCWC in January of 2014 as a natural extension of the growing demand for her personalized, private yoga mat and aerial yoga. Kimberlyn continues to develop her knowledge in expertise in therapeutic approaches to yoga helping others to rebuild strength and vitality after life’s challenges and hurdles.

What is Kimberlyn up to today?

My family continues to grow, and the kids' laughter is still a little too high-pitched to be pleasant, and yet it is pure music to my heart, bringing tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. I still get headaches, especially if I push too hard to do too much. I laugh more, I cry more. I’m not sure if that's related to the concussion or the resulting personal growth. 

Today, I teach 10 (or so) yoga classes a week, coach entrepreneurs and mindful professionals on alignment principles to cultivate blissful business practices, volunteer as a Girl Scout leader and still try to prepare and eat dinner with my family almost every night. I practice yoga every day. Some days my practice is on my bike, most days it's on my mat surrounded by those who share my desire to live mindfully with gratitude and laughter... Often laughing for no other reason than because it feels good and I am happy to be alive.


Kimberlyn can be reached at 240-447-4435 or KimberlynCahill@comcast.net or found at facebook at www.facebook.com/Kimberlyn.Cahill or www.Facebook.com/Life.in.flight.yoga

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gross National Happiness

Led by Heather Tydings-Goldfarb, LCSW-C

It's almost the month of Thanks & Giving. Who is ready for some more RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness) and roll 2014? The clinicians at Healing Circles Wellness Circle have joined this group and are ready to spread some kindness! 
If you are new to this group, here's the skinny: 3 years ago, many filled the world with Random Acts of Kindness. The biggest RAOK was someone helping a young girl get a new car (donated by a dealership) after superstorm Sandy washed hers away. One very generous soul organized a large shipment of items to a family who lost most of their belongings in the same storm. Others bought strangers coffee, gave flowers to the check out clerk at the grocery store, helped a neighbor rake leaves, donated blood, babysat for free, dropped off food for their pediatrician, randomly handed out gift certificates at gas stations..... and the list goes on. Starting november 1, this is a place to post all the large and small ways you RAOK it out.
There are two reasons I started this group: I got the idea from studying about the country of Bhutan (see the movie Happy.) Instead of focusing on their Gross National Product, they focus on the country's Gross National Happiness. The governing powers consider the people's quality of life in making decisions (how delicious!)
Also, my family was also given a most memorable RAOK 22 years ago that saved my brother's life. At the age of 17, my brother was stabbed in the heart in Mexico in a random robbery. Once in the hospital (termed used loosely) his heart stopped multiple times. A surgeon pulled me aside and advised they could not do open heart surgery until they had payment. It was the middle of the night and I was in my pajamas and had no belongings on me. A random businessman happened upon the hospital, saw my distress, plopped down $10K and his credit card number and helped me call my parents in the US on his phone card. He also navigated the hospital system for me as I did not speak spanish. He asked for nothing in return. How can I not give to others for the rest of my days?
Feel free to join this love fest in any way that feels good to you; whether publicly or privately. Research shows RAOK's release endorphins. so let's pump up the J O Y.

To join this amazing group and start to RAOK and Roll, click HERE and request approval (it is a closed group). Once approved, start giving!!

Heather can be contacted at 301-712-9015 ext. 1026 or ownyourevolution@gmail.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clinician in the Spotlight

Bonnie Triantafillos-Wright, LCSW-C

Bonnie Triantafillos-Wright is excited to be with Healing Circles. Bonnie is a licensed psychotherapist and grief coach with training from Cath Duncan’s Creative Grief Studio.  Bonnie has background in all areas of mental health but with a specialty in loss and life and transitions.  She also comes with a strong background in adjustment to illness issues and end of life support and planning. Additionally, Bonnie provided brief solution focused therapy for depression and anxiety with an emphasis on building coping and identifying manageable goals. 

Bonnie graduated from University of Maryland with her MSW and has been working 14 years as a licensed clinician. She has worked as a therapist in a Pediatric Cancer Department doing end of life support to parents, psychosocial assessments, and adjustment to illness therapy.  Bonnie also supported families of pediatric patients with other life threatening and chronic illnesses on the Pediatric In-patient Unit. Bonnie also brings a strong background in supporting clients at end of life while working as a therapist at hospice. She has also provided therapy to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, as well as led psycho-educational bereavement groups. During her time in graduate school, Bonnie worked in a residential treatment center serving adolescent boys and girls.

Bonnie’s personal and professional experiences have provided her with a rich background and knowledge in grief and loss that has been most recently complimented with tools from Cath Duncan’s Creative Grief Studio. Bonnie’s theoretical perspective on grief and loss, coupled with traditional talk therapy, provide an opportunity to empower clients with resilience and creativity in their grief journey. Bonnie incorporates tools that allow her clients to become more self aware and to experience grief and loss more wholeheartedly.  Bonnie uses her skills to encourage her clients to approach their emotional experience with more compassion and curiosity; allowing them to see that there is wisdom and opportunities in their grief. This is a unique approach to grief and loss work, as the process explores opportunities to celebrate the life that has ended and to find ways for continued connection, while also providing space to process and share their loss.  Bonnie’s work supports clients in examining their thoughts, leaning into their feelings and trusting that their emotions ebb and flow, thus providing greater likelihood that they will experience  an authentic expression of their grief.

Bonnie works with anyone grieving as a result of any death. Bonnie also supports those facing end of life, chronic illness and life threatening illness, loss of job, divorce/end of relationships or any life changing event that brings about feelings associated with grief and loss. Bonnie also provides education as to what grief looks and feels like so that clients have permission to experience grief for those circumstances that are “non-tangible” loss; specifically loss not experienced by death. With a strong medical social work background, Bonnie provides education and awareness to clients dealing with physical illness and pain. Through exploration of lifestyle and coping, Bonnie works with clients to make adjustments that may improve their overall physical and emotional health. 

Bonnie can be contacted at: 
301- 712-9015, ext. 1046

bonnie@rootingthroughgrief.com
www.rootingthroughgrief.com 

Meditation Offered by Pam McDonald, LCSW-C

Pam McDonald, LCSW-C,  offers weekly meditation groups at Healing Circles! 

Pam will continue to offer her 30-day meditation coaching program to assist beginners in getting started with a meditation practice. Pam will guide you to discover and experience meditations that fit your needs and lifestyle. The meditation coaching package includes:

  • Weekly, 50-minute meditation practice and coaching sessions at Healing Circles
  • 4 digitally recorded meditations to keep your practice going
  • Daily emails delivered Monday through Friday to inspire and strengthen your practice
  • Personalized coaching and instruction to fit your needs



Dates: NEW! This program is now offered on an ongoing basis. You may sign up at any time and begin when it fits your schedule.  

Meditation practice times: Meditation coaching participants will meet with Pam for her meditation practice sessions on Tuesdays from 6:00-6:50 p.m.

Location: Healing Circles Wellness Center, 10 N. Jefferson Street, Suite 203, Frederick, MD 21701

Cost: Receive 30 days of supportive meditation coaching for only $100.


In addition, Pam is now offering her open meditation group every Tuesday evening. These mid-week meditation gatherings are a great way to learn and experience the benefits of meditation through an informal format with a guided meditation.

Format: At each gathering, Pam shares a short inspirational reading followed by a guided meditation. Questions and comments are welcome after the meditation. 

Location: Healing Circles Wellness Center, 10 N. Jefferson Street, Suite 203, Frederick, MD 21701

Meditation schedule: EveryTuesday evening from 6-6:50 p.m. 

Cost: By donation (suggested donation: $10.00)                  



RSVP’s appreciated. For more information, please call Pam at 301-712-9015, x1022 or email at pam@therapywithpam.com. On the web: therapywithpam.com

Parenting the Highly Sensitive Child



With Psychotherapists Bonnie Triantafillos-Wright and Christy Van Horn

Do you sometimes feel confused or overwhelmed when trying to parent your child? And yet, you may also be aware of their unique gifts and wisdom beyond their years.” Raising a highly sensitive child is an exciting journey when you have the insights and tools to fit your child’s needs.


Do some of the following remind you of your child?
  • Does your child seem to feel things deeply?
  • Does your child appear very emotional or strong willed?
  • Does she appear “wise beyond her years”?
  • Does your child complain about the texture of his clothes due to tags?
  • Does your child ask a lot of questions?
  • Is your child a perfectionist?

  • If so, you may be parenting a “highly sensitive child.”
Join therapists Bonnie and Christy for a six-week group to increase your insights into the beauty and challenges of parenting the highly sensitive child. Based on the bestselling book entitled The Highly Sensitive Child, by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D, we will provide practical coping skills to manage these sensitivities through a child’s different developmental stages. By becoming informed and aware of your child’s needs and sensitivities, you will learn to help your child navigate their world with a cool set of new tools aimed at strengthening self-esteem and validating their Gifts and unique purpose.

When: Group begins Tuesday, November 4! Meets for 6 consecutive Tuesdays, 7:00-8:00 pm 

Where: Healing Circles Wellness Center, Group room, 10 N. Jefferson St. Suite 203, Frederick MD 21701


Who: Parents, caretakers and friends of highly sensitive children


Cost: 2 installments of $260.00 per participant or a one- time payment of $468. 
The book, The Highly Sensitive Child, will be provided at the first group.


Reserve your seat today! Call Bonnie Triantafillos-Wright at (301)-524-0296 or email at Bonnie@rootingthroughgrief.com. On the web: www.rootingthroughgrief.com 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Parents Need Oxygen, Too!

By: Mike Southers, LGPC


When we’re on an airplane, attendants tell us that if the plane were to make a quick descent and there is an emergency, oxygen masks will fall from above, and we’re shown how to put the masks on.  Just as importantly though, the attendants remind us to put on our own masks first before others’.  And it makes sense—after all, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you risk suffocating and then are unable to help your loved ones, which is a perfect metaphor in self-care when we encounter crisis.  First, let’s define crisis though: crisis happens when people’s ability to cope is outbalanced from stress.  That means that crises can trigger differently for each person and it can happen at different times too.  

So when entering a crisis without the practice of putting on your oxygen mask to check in with yourself it is difficult to re-establish balance.  Also, despite the benefits to putting on your own mask first and checking in with yourself, it is often viewed negatively.  People often feel shame for taking actions that benefit themselves first; however it can be more dangerous otherwise.  If you are not mindful and able to take care of yourself, you may not be able to meet the needs of your children as effectively, and even if you have the skills before checking in with yourself, you may not have as much patience as you would otherwise. 

This dilemma to care for oneself or to rush to the aid their children is instinctual for parents.   If a child is having difficulties at school, in the home, or in other domains, parents want to ensure sure their child gets the best care for their child.  Parents may encourage their child to access the help they need, but the parents have not yet put on their own oxygen masks to manage their own stress regarding their child’s difficulties.  Also, if parents aren’t getting the oxygen they need themselves as human beings, this can lead parents to feeling burnt-out or have shorter tempers with their loved ones.  

So how can one make sure you’re getting the oxygen you need?  There are many ways and everyone is different, so each person may get more out of some interventions than others. Some options are deep breathing exercises, getting a massage, or finding another way to release emotions.  Perhaps watching a movie or TV show (whether it be a comedy or something sad) can provide an emotional release.  Sports or other physical activity are also a good alternative, and can give you the literal and metaphorical oxygen you need, to relieve stress.   

Other options are talking to friends about how you really feel about what is going on in your life.  If that makes you uncomfortable due to being a more private person, you can also search for local support groups and meet other people in similar situations, or see a therapist where you can have a comfortable environment to express yourself.  

In my own experience, parents often do not realize how much care they’ve been giving to others and additionally not caring for themselves.  This is normal for many people, but a therapist can help you identify and hone individualized ways to take care of yourself which can then lessen the stress you experience, and by extension, your family.  Additionally, by just meeting a therapist in their office by yourself, you are also giving yourself the space and time to take the breaths you need to release your thoughts and emotions. Regardless of the way you get your oxygen in a crisis or to be better prepared for the next one, it’s crucial to get the care you need so you can keep being a great caregiver.



Mike can be contacted at 301-712-9015 ext. 1014 or southerscounseling@gmail.com
www.southerscounseling.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fear: Sitting on your Edge and Winking

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” ~Steven Pressfield

It is common for fear and resistance to increase (sometimes to epic levels) when you get closer to your true purpose or calling; whether the fear is related to a personal project, being open and vulnerable in a relationship or accepting your dream job. The fear being referred to is not the fear that gives you cues to run for safety, it is the manufactured fear from memory or imagination. The kind that keeps you from taking that final step to creating the life you truly desire. 

The upside of allowing fear: when we sit on our edge, we get the opportunity to grow and change. We learn that fear is just a feeling and will go through us in about 90 seconds if we simply allow it. Karla McLaren, Author of The Art of Empathy and The Language of Emotions posits that fear has gifts. It focuses us and hones our intuition. She states “fear stops you – not to immobilize you but to give you time you need to gather yourself and your resources.” The internal question to ask when fear presents its scary head is “what action should be taken?” Sometimes the action is rest or play; not push harder. 

The downside: It feels scary, vulnerable and causes us to doubt ourselves. Most of us haven’t been taught how to cope with fear and we assume something is wrong. 
From an evolutionary perspective, there is a part of our brain called the reptilian brain that developed to broadcast fear. The purpose was to keep us safe from lions, tigers and bears. Fortunately, most of us are no longer being chased by large mammals. However, we are still living and reacting as if we are. (Refer to the last person who blithely cut you off in traffic.)

How to stare down the 3 a.m. (irrational) fear monsters:

1. When fear takes over your calm ask “what am I most excited about?” The reframe is instantly freeing. Focus on what you will get or feel after you do what frightens you.

2. Research others who have sat on their fear edge. Feel free to borrow their brilliance. How did they do it? For instance, check out Liz Murray, who was homeless and an addict at 15 yet won a scholarship to Harvard and is now a bestselling author. Or Ralph Lauren who was a clerk and high school dropout.  And Jim Carrey who lived in poverty and worked in a factory and now makes a few dimes. If your concern is that you are a non degreed, single mother with no work experience, find others just like you who are creating, writing and otherwise living out their passion and talent.   

3. Accept being perfectly imperfect when meeting your goals. Expect to suck or fail at times. You will live up to your goal regularly and allow yourself to be perfectly human. 

4. Get comfortable with people judging, not accepting, nor understanding AND still loving them. You can choose not to see yourself through anyone else’s eyes. What they see is their story. You don’t have to subscribe to it. You can lean back and let it all pass by. 


5. Adhere to a “no chicken out” rule. Even if you present to an audience and flop. YOU DID IT. This affords the opportunity to watch old stories unravel. The ones we create based on past events or were handed down to us about how to be, think, feel and act. These stories do not have to be your future. So don’t live as if they are. This is how you can look at the fear in the eye and wink. 


Heather Tydings-Goldfarb is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. She can be reached at 301-712-9015 ext. 1026 or ownyourevolution@gmail.com.

Grief and Children

Most people do not realize that grief is experienced across many different types of loss and transition. Feelings of loss often show up as a result of any life transitions. These can be positive transitions as well as unwanted transitions, including but not exclusive to, death.
Most recognized is grief experienced through loss of a loved one. However, grief can be felt when there are transitions precipitated by divorce, deployment, loss of job, diagnosis of life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, death of a pet or any other change that disrupts the balance of one’s life.

Children are not exempt from grief and loss. They feel loss and react to change just as adults do. However, their grief often presents itself quite differently than adults. Additionally, depending on developmental stage, maturity level, and social environment, grief can look different in children that are the same age. As a rule, each person’s experience with grief is unique to them and this is also true for children.

For those who know, as well as interact with children who are grieving due to any loss or life transition, the following are some basic principles for supporting children. Release fear or concern about speaking of the loss or change. Children feel changes and feel the energy of the adults around them when there has been a loss. By speaking about what is happening, at their invitation, it eliminates any ideas they may be making up in their creative minds. Often, what children imagine is scarier than the reality. This does not mean sharing all details of a death or relevant transition, rather sharing what they ask in an age appropriate way. For younger children, the response provided will be different than that of an older child or adolescent who can understand more.

Being honest, open and clear will likely satisfy the curiosity that they have while alleviating a child’s imagination. Avoid using metaphors, particularly with death, such as “they have gone to sleep” or “daddy got sick and could not get better.” This can create new fears and anxiety related to sickness or sleep.  Typically, children will initiate their questions or make statements related to the loss. A good rule of thumb is to follow their lead for questions related to changes in their life, such as divorce or illness, as well as with death. Be prepared to be repetitive in your responses, as you may be asked the same questions repeatedly. This is seen a lot more in the toddler to elementary age range.

An important consideration is that grief is often expressed differently in children than in adults. This may be confusing and challenging to adults who are likely to experience grief very differently than children. Children may manage grief with emotional numbing, episodes of anger, sadness, fear and regression. There may be an ebb and flow to these manifestations; times of playing and being adjusted that can unexpectedly be disrupted with no trigger.

Initial understanding of loss will be age dependent. For a young child, pre-school age, it is difficult to grasp the finality of losses. Therefore, younger children will have a completely different understanding of loss than that of a middle school age child. Likewise, as children become more emotionally mature, their understanding of loss and expression of grief will likely change. Thus, even if a child will adjust at one age, as they reach various milestones in their life, the grief may re-emerge with a different understanding or manifestation. In the instance of loss as a result of death, a young child may miss their loved one and wish to visit them or have them come home but as they become older, they will likely experience more of the implications of not having one of their parents at school functions, birthdays or holidays.

Children across all ages can thrive and adjust to loss in a supportive and nurturing environment. Things like sleep, diet and physical activity are basic needs that children of all ages need. Permission to share their feelings and permission to be creative in their expression of grief are also valuable in supporting grieving children. 

Again, grief is experienced in various types of circumstances. Children experience grief when their parents go through a divorce, they can experience grief when they move to a new home or location, and they grieve when a parent is deployed. Grief is not limited to death and response to one loss may not be the same for all losses. There really are no rules or one right way to manage feelings related to loss. Guidelines are provided as a resource and above all else, the loving presence and reassurance of a trusted adult can go a long way in providing space for a child to explore their response to loss.


Bonnie Triantafillos-Wright is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Grief Coach @ Healing Circles Wellness Center, Rooting Through Grief, LLC. She can be contacted at 301-712-9015 ext. 1046 or Bonnie@RootingThroughGrief.com. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tips to End the Homework Battle

By Jess Albright, LCPC


School will be back in session soon, which also means that your child's backpack will have that dreaded content - homework!  It can be excruciating for them and also for you as the parent, am I right?  Well, let's end the battle and help your child succeed with his homework by implementing a few tips.

  • Allow your child to have some free time when he gets home from school instead of forcing homework right away.  I know that after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is continue what I didn't have time to get done during the day.  I need to relax a little.  Your child is no different - he just spent 8 hours in the school environment.  Let him recharge his batteries, eat a healthy snack, use up some energy, and re-center himself.  Depending on your child, and what time he gets home from school, an hour is a nice block of time for this.      
  • Create a quiet and effective space for homework and studying.  This should be away from all distractions, electronic devices especially.  You can have your child "check his tech" after his break is over, knowing that he can earn them back when his homework is complete.  
  • Also make sure that this space has all the supplies and materials your child will need.  This can include a desk/hard writing surface, sharpened pencils, markers, eraser, ruler, calculator (if applicable), assignment notebook, scissors, glue, etc.  Having everything easily accessible to him will allow your child to concentrate on the task at hand rather than scour the house for colored pencils.  
  • Encourage your child to divide his homework assignments into "What I can do myself" and "What I need help with."  This will also help prepare you for when he may need your assistance so that you can make yourself available.  
  • Allow your child to take breaks throughout the duration of his homework.  Depending on your child's age, he could earn 10 free minutes after completing each subject, or 10 free minutes after every 30 minutes of hard work.  You are your child's expert here.  However, keep these short breaks tech-free.  We all know how addictive electronics can be at times, so avoid the power struggle and don't allow tech until homework is completely finished.  It is also helpful to set a kitchen timer so your child knows when his 10 minutes is up.
  • Consider doing your paperwork at the same time because modeling is the best example for children.  I know you have to slap on that Superman cape and make dinner, clean the house, take care of the kids, feed the cat, walk the dog, and so on and so on.  But as much as you can, try to complete these other duties before or after homework time, or even during your child's earned break times.  If everyone is focusing on quiet work at the same time, there are much fewer distractions, thus creating a more efficient work environment.     
  • Use encouraging words when your child is struggling.  Some examples are: "What parts do you understand?"  "What part has you stumped?" "If you had to guess, what would you say the answer is?"  "How could you find the answer?"  This shows your child that you are there to support him, but that you won't jump in and actually do the work for him - that's his job.
  • Feel free to look over your child's homework when it's completed.  This way you can help him make sure he didn't forget anything, especially if the assignment has several parts.  You can even encourage your child to put check marks in his assignment notebook as he completes each piece to help teach him how to become responsible for keeping track of what he needs to complete.  As much as you will want to, fight the urge to correct your child's mistakes (unless you have checked with his teacher).  If his teacher sees patterns with his errors, this can be very helpful for her and what content she might need to re-visit the next day.  
  • Understand that your child's homework is his job and his responsibility.  This may seem very difficult for you.  However, it is vital that your child learns as early as possible that the consequences for not completing his homework rests on him, not on you.  After a few times of learning the consequences first-hand, your child will begin to see that he has responsibility in the matter.  Life lessons - gotta love 'em!

Take all of these tips into consideration, sit down with your child, and develop a system that works best for everyone.  There is never one right way to do things, so allow yourself to be flexible and make alterations to suit your child, especially as he progresses through grade levels.  Don't let homework be a battle you choose! 

Back to School: Conquering Transition Stress

By: Elise Abromson, Psy.D.


Going back to school can be an exciting and scary time for many children and teens. This may be the year your child transitions from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school. These transitions can be stressful and anxiety provoking. Many children do not know what to expect in a new school. They worry about the schoolwork as well as the peers they will face. Even if they are returning to the same school they may have some back to school jitters. Here are some ways that parents can help their children make a smooth transition from summer to back to school. 
  • Start talking with your child early about their concerns and also what they are exciting about for the upcoming year. This will allow you enough time to address their concerns and take action when needed. Encourage your child to be open with you about their worries and not to be embarrassed by them. 
  • If your child is transitioning to a new school speak with the principal to set up a time for your child to look around the school before everyone gets there. If possible, bring his or her class schedule and help him or her find his or her classrooms. Orientations can be overwhelming; seeing the school without as many people there makes it a less intimidating experience. Many children also find it helpful just to drive to the school and stand outside the building to get used to it. 
  • Encourage your child to call peers he or she knows from his or her previous school and set up a time to meet and go to school together. Children feel better approaching a new situation if they have someone there with them and have their peers as support. They also begin to feel as though they are not in it alone. If your child does not know anyone, speak with the school counselor or principal and look into getting your child a "student buddy" that may be able to show him or her around. 
  • Get your child back on a school schedule BEFORE school starts! Do not wait until the night before to send your child to bed earlier. The combination of nerves, excitement, and a new schedule can be a recipe for a sleepless night and a tough first day. Try to begin the school schedule about a week in advance. 
  • Create a sense of excitement! Go back to school shopping for clothes and school supplies. Make a family day out of it so your child does not dread going back! Help them pick out their clothes for the first day and pack up their backpacks. Give them a special lunch for the first day that will result in a smile on their face (feel free to include a note as an added bonus!)!
  • Look on the school's webpage before school starts to find information about clubs, sports, and other after school activities in which your child may be interested. Make sure he or she knows when, where, and how to sign up for the activities. Activities are also a great way for children to meet new people and feel happier in school. 
  • Of course, always encourage your child to come to you should he or she experience any difficulties during the year. Letting them know you are there for them is so important, as they may need support throughout the year.

This article addresses typical school worries. There are other issues that factor into back to school time that are more serious. Bullying and school anxiety are just a few. If your child is experiencing more intense emotions about school it may be necessary to seek professional help. 

Clinician in the Spotlight


Pam McDonald, LCSW-C


Pam McDonald, LCSW-C, has practiced integrative psychotherapy in her private practice at the Healing Circles Wellness Center since 2009. Her passion is awakening clients to their innate healing capacities and assisting them on their journey of self-discovery and healing. Pam integrates mindfulness-based and Somatic Experiencing techniques into her practice to address the wellness of the whole self. She believes, "To fully engage in our lives, we must feel connected to and balanced in body, mind and spirit."

Pam's mindfulness practices teach clients to nurture self-compassion, non-judgment, and deep acceptance of all their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences. This inviting and loving approach teaches clients that "what we resist, persists" and gently, but deeply allows clients to experience the wholeness that lies beneath their chattering mind. Whether the chattering mind is believing anxious or depressive thoughts or traumatic histories, there is a way through the noise of the body and mind to a place of inner peace and potent creativity--always present, always within the self.

Pam assists clients with reconnecting to the natural intelligence held in their bodies through Somatic Experiencing. Somatic Experiencing, developed by Dr. Peter Levine, is a powerful psychobiological approach that gently yet deeply resolves trauma symptoms and relieves chronic stress held in the body. Trauma research reveals that there are multiple ways that humans experience trauma--from the birth process, attachment and early child development, accidents, surgeries, chronic stressors, war and terror, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. These traumas can produce persistent symptoms that mimic physiological and psychological disorders--symptoms that clients have difficulty getting lasting relief from traditional approaches. Somatic Experiencing provides a holistic framework of working in the body to reset the nervous system so that clients can access their innate vitality, equanimity, and fully engage in their lives. Pam has found it to be a transformative process for her clients.

Pam enjoys working with men and women, teens and adults, individuals and couples. She is experienced with helping clients with anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, trauma, stress management, navigating life transitions, grief/loss, and Asperger's. She also provides meditation coaching and meditation groups. Pam is also available as a speaker to groups and organization

Learn more about Pam at www.therapywithpam.com. 
She can be reached at 301-712-9015, x1022. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Welcome, Grief Coach, Bonnie Triantafillos Wright, LCSW-C!

Bonnie is a licensed psychotherapist and grief coach with training from Cath Duncan’s Creative Grief Studio.  She also comes with a strong background in adjustment to illness issues and end of life support and planning. Additionally, 
Bonnie provided brief solution focused therapy for depression and anxiety with an emphasis on building coping and identifying manageable goals.

 
Bonnie’s personal and professional experiences have provided her with a rich background and knowledge in grief and loss that has been most recently complimented with tools from Cath Duncan’s Creative Grief Studio. Bonnie’s theoretical perspective on grief and loss, coupled with traditional talk therapy, provides an opportunity to empower clients with resilience and creativity in their grief journey. She incorporates tools that allow her clients to become more self aware and to experience grief and loss more wholeheartedly.  Bonnie uses her skills to encourage her clients to approach their emotional experience with more compassion and curiosity; allowing them to see that there is wisdom and opportunities in their grief. This is a unique approach to grief and loss work, as the process explores opportunities to celebrate the life that has ended and to find ways for continued connection, while also providing space to process and share their loss.  Bonnie’s work supports clients in examining their thoughts, leaning into their feelings and trusting that their emotions ebb and flow, thus providing greater likelihood that they will experience  an authentic expression of their grief.

 
Bonnie works with anyone grieving as a result of a death, including the loss of a pet. Bonnie also supports those facing end of life, chronic illness and life threatening illness, loss of job, divorce/end of relationships or any life changing event that brings about feelings associated with grief and loss. Bonnie also provides education as to what grief looks and feels like so that clients have permission to experience grief for those circumstances that are “non-tangible” loss; specifically loss not experienced by death.

 
With a strong medical social work background, Bonnie provides education and awareness to clients dealing with physical illness and pain. Through exploration of lifestyle and coping, Bonnie works with clients to make adjustments that may improve their overall physical and emotional health. 

Bonnie graduated from University of Maryland with her MSW and has been working 14 years as a licensed clinician. She has worked as a therapist in a Pediatric Cancer Department doing end of life support to parents, psychosocial assessments, and adjustment to illness therapy.  Bonnie also supported families of pediatric patients with other life threatening and chronic illnesses on the Pediatric In-patient unit. Bonnie also brings a strong background in supporting clients at end of life while working as a therapist at hospice. She has also provided therapy to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, as well as led psycho-educational bereavement groups. During her time in graduate school, Bonnie worked in a residential treatment center serving adolescent boys and girls.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Gift of Time

The Gift of Time
By Jess Albright, LCPC


Summer is finally here, and since things are less hectic than during the school year, it is a great time to focus on an invaluable gift you can give your children – the gift of TIME

Talk.  While you may have a very busy schedule, you also need to set aside time for when your child needs to talk.  Make sure to remove all distractions in order to be completely available to him.  Pay close attention to activities and the names he mentions, as these topics and people are of importance and will most likely be brought up in future conversations.     

While your child talks, be sure to actively listen to him.  You can do this by showing your interest in his opinion and point of view, even if they differ from yours.  You are more than welcome to share your opinion, but just make sure you respectfully allow him to finish what he has to say.  Also, instead of just “uh-huh-ing” and “yeah-ing,” repeat what you heard him say to make sure you understood correctly.  You can even ask clarifying questions along the way.  Last, but not least, look for the feelings underlying the words he says.  Feelings are never right or wrong, and emotionally supporting your child goes a long way in showing that you love and care for him.    

It can also be helpful to ask your child what are his expectations from the conversation.  Does he want advice?  Does he just want you to listen and to be heard?  Does he need help understanding his feelings?  Or is he trying to solve a problem?  It is very helpful to know what to expect from the conversation so that you can support your child in the way he needs to be supported and you don’t make detrimental assumptions.  

Imagination.   Children have a natural-born creativity that needs to be embraced all year long.  
Children learn significantly from trial and error and from engaging their senses.  Make-believe play is also a powerful time for your child to grow his vocabulary, understand cause and effect, learn real-world rules about sharing, and understand social interactions.  All of these elements are vital because they help your child build the skills necessary to communicate and grow with his peers, and they promote problem solving skills he needs to become a successful adult. 

Making crafts, writing or telling stories, reading, playing house, or putting on a show are all times when you can nurture your child’s imagination.  And the best part is that you don’t need anything super fancy or expensive to do any of the above mentioned activities.  In fact, by thinking and acting outside the box to facilitate these activities, you are modeling creativity to your child.  After all, a used makeup compact can make a pretty awesome Turtlecom when playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles outside with your brothers.  And an old broom stick with athletic tape makes a pretty cool bow for Donatello to use to fight off the Foot Clan.  I’m just saying…

Movement.  Turn off the TV, the Wii, and all other electronics and encourage your child to play.  For that matter, don’t hold back – join the fun!  Children actually crave time with their parents because it makes them feel special.  And playing with your child builds a bond that will last forever.  It lets your child know that you love and appreciate him.  Playing with your child will also help you get to know, understand, and embrace the uniqueness of your child.  And best of all, it is also a great stress reducer for you as an overworked parent.  So, enter your child’s little world, let lose, be silly, and have fun with him!          
  
Getting up and moving is also a great opportunity for you and your child to get much needed exercise.  No more Couch Potatoes!  You, as the parent, can be a great role model by going outside and playing along with your child.  Together you can make healthy choices that will have positive, long-term health benefits.  Throwing or kicking a ball back and forth, riding bikes, playing tag or hide-and-seek, or going on a nature hike are just a few examples.  In being active, you can help your child develop motor coordination and learn good sportsmanship.     

Eat.  In sharing a meal with your child you can also spend time with him.  However, with our busy lives and overscheduled children, this can be difficult.  But it’s not impossible.  Even if you can’t sit down together every night, a stronger relationship with your child is worth rearranging schedules to make it happen a few times a week.  And when I say sit down, I mean at the dining room table, not in front of the TV or in the van driving through McDonalds.  In fact, make sure there aren’t any distracting screens during dinner time (this includes cell phones for both you and your child).  

Around the table you and your child can talk and share.  Having meals together provides your family with an opportunity to catch up with one another, learning about the events in each other’s day.  Additionally, this is a place where you can teach your child social skills especially manners.  “Will you please pass me the butter?  Thank you.”    

Family meals also provide an opportunity for you to model good balanced eating habits and help improve his diet.  You can introduce him to a variety of foods prepared in various ways.  Also, family meals tend to have less soda and fried food and far more fruits and vegetables than meals that are easy to grab on the go (i.e. fast foods).  So by providing a family meal, not only are you promoting a healthy lifestyle, but you are also growing a healthy relationship with your child.  

It might take some time to settle into these new habits, but, I hole-heartedly agree with Louise Hart who stated, “The best thing to spend on your children is time.”  And with this gift you will raise healthy, happy children. 


Vision Board Playshop!

There are 5 spots left! 

Vision Board Playshop 2014: If you can dream it, you can do it!

I am offering 12 spots for women who want to own and create their one "wild and precious life." 

Do you believe in magic? Join me for a Vision/Dream Board Playshop. You will create your own unique masterpiece that reflects what you want for your ideal life. Skeptical that vision boards are effective? Ask me how I met Oprah. That's right, Ms. Winfrey in the flesh.

Please bring a background of your choice (poster board or cork board work well.) You can also bring images or words cut from magazines, personal pictures, memorabilia, quotes, affirmations or anything that speaks to you. You can create a board that addresses many aspects of your life or make it apply to a specific area. I will provide magazines, scissors and glue to aid in the creative process. There are no rules so come out and play.

Vision Board Playshop: will be offered Friday July 18, 2014 from 6-9 p.m. at Healing Circles Wellness Center~ 10 N. Jefferson Street, Frederick Maryland 21701. 

Fee: $60. Includes all materials (except background) and refreshments.

RSVP to: ownyourevolution@gmail.com or by calling 301.712.9015 x 1026.


Heather Tydings-Goldfarb. LCSW-C
Own Your Evolution
301.712.9015 x1026

YOGA!

Yoga FUN-damentals:
An Introduction to Yoga

Don’t let your new-to-yoga anxiety keep you away from this amazing practice any longer. This 3-week series is designed to get you on your mat with confidence to enter any community class of your choosing. Content will include a brief history of yoga, styles & types of yoga, as well as instruction for the “meat” of a community yoga practice- the asana (postures), breath (pranayam) and internal inquiry (meditation). Students will learn 20+ common postures and 3 basic breathing practices. Small group setting allows for individual questions, concerns and adjustments.
Tuesdays 10am-11:30am: July 29, August 5, August 12
$50 for 3-week series
(Requires 3 students minimum to hold class; maximum of 8)




Weekly Gentle Yoga Practice

A working, gentle mat yoga practice designed for those who want to integrate breath, movement, and internal inquiry to cultivate a greater sense of peace, joy, and wellness.
Tuesdays 10am-11am, Classes begin September 2
· $10 per session for pre-paid registration

· $15 per session “drop-in” rate, paid on-site

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Welcome, Stacy Lynskey!


Stacy Lynskey is a psychotherapist and Licensed Pastoral Counselor.  She combines relationship-based therapy with a psychodynamic approach to life experiences, i.e., she believes that past events and experiences inform our present lives in ways that we may not realize. She supports her clients in the exploration of their unique challenges in order to discover what may be blocking a fuller life.  Her goal is to bring clarity to the influences that we all have, to sort out what strengthens us and discard that which no longer serves us.  Many clients find Stacy when they have made numerous attempts to move beyond the impact of experiences, past and current, and decide that it may be time to gently take a look at them.   

Stacy’s academic, professional and life experiences combine to give her strong clinical skills, multicultural awareness and the sensitivity for spiritual exploration, if desired.  She is deeply appreciative of diversity of all kinds, and committed to individual and community social justice. Stacy offers traditional psychotherapy, support through recovery from trauma, as well as spiritual exploration and direction. She promotes mind, body and spirit unification through therapy and other integrative practices. She will guide you in discovering and honoring the wisdom and power within us all.   

Stacy works with women to break the cycle of abuse and to provide support as they find their own voice.  She believes that the therapeutic relationship is the necessary basis for trust and growth.  Stacy has many years of experience supporting caregivers and those with end-of-life challenges. She is mindful of the difficulties and hardships of these life transitions and sees herself as a companion on the journey.

Stacy graduated from Loyola University of Maryland with a Masters in Pastoral Counseling. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the National Board of Certified Counselors. Stacy returned to school later in life to become a licensed therapist. She worked as a pastoral caregiver for over 20 years, responding to a variety of life crises and challenges. She also spent many years providing one-on-one support at the end of life for patients and their caregivers. As a parent and grandparent, Stacy brings a diversity of knowledge and life experience in family, work and spiritual challenges.

Stacy can be contacted at 301.712.9015, ext 1050 or stacylynskey@gmail.com
  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Overcoming Obstacles: An Idea that can Change Your Life

This idea goes back to a Greek philosopher named Epictetus who said, “Men are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of things. This means that your thoughts – not actual events – create your moods. Only one person in the world can ever make you feel depressed, worried, or angry – and that person is you.

This idea can change your life when you understand that your feelings result more from the way you think about things than from what actually happens. This is true about how you view the future as well.

Positive states of mind can act as antidotes to negative or harmful tendencies. Recognizing the inevitability of suffering and the impermanence of life, coupled with an appreciation of the enormity of human potential, allows for the development of optimism and genuine transformation and change.

To bring about change, first a strong willingness to change is needed. Next it is necessary to develop a sense of enthusiasm and urgency. Urgency is the key to utilizing the potential that lies within. 

The awareness of impermanence coupled with a sense of great human potential creates urgency and the desire to use every precious moment. Patience, insight, and tolerance can enhance one’s capacity to develop a positive state of mind and allow you to be more available to make improvements.


Therapy can help you to identify your issues and can help you to develop an understanding of how these issues are impacting your life. Avenues for positive change can be explored and change can happen.  Overcoming negative behavior patterns equals happiness.


Susan Mason, M.S.Ed., M.S., LGPC, can be contacted at 301-712-9015 ext. 1038, or sqmason@wholenessintherapy.com