Columbia SC

It’s ALMOST TIME Fiercely Speaking

Trauma and abuse can entomb your persona, kill your dreams, and silence your voice. What if you found out you weren’t the only one who has survived traumatic circumstances? How would you feel discovering keys to successfully fight your way through the aftermath of abuse?

In Fiercely Speaking, the voices of 14 authors escort you through a journey of deep wounds and betrayals that yield to healing, hope, and a reclamation of their voices to speak their truths.  Now is the time to confront the ghosts of your past, establish a blueprint for your better life, and capture your voice with ferocity.


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Read more in our clinical director’s forthcoming book #FiercelySpeaking. Pre-order TODAY and receive a complimentary trip to Myrtle Beach at www.carmen.fiercelyspeaking.com Official Release is in Fall 2019. 

Three Common Pitfalls When it Comes to Trust in Relationships

Trust is an important factor in any relationship. Trust helps us to feel secure in our relationship - that, even if there are challenges further down the line, there's still a strong foundation to fall back on. 

Of course, it's not always easy to express trust constructively. Things can get in the way - insecurities about the relationship, fears about things that might go wrong, weak points in terms of communication - and it can be easy to fall into a number of common 'trust pitfalls'.

If any of the following sound familiar, it may be worth having a think about the ways in which you approach trust in your relationship - and whether any support might be necessary.

The 'tight grip' relationship

The 'tight grip' relationship is a type of relationship in which either one or both partners feel unable to trust the other, and become jealous and controlling as a result. They might raise suspicions about what the other partner is doing when they're not around them or get upset when they spend time with other people.

The 'tight grip' relationship is rarely a satisfying situation for either of the pair. The person raising the suspicions often doesn't want to feel like this - sometimes acting out of a sense of inadequacy as much as anything else - and the person being accused feels like their partner has no faith in them.

If you're in a 'tight grip' relationship, you might want to consider Relationship Counseling. The counselor will try to help identify where this behavior comes from - often looking at whether there's anything in the jealous partner's past that is making them insecure.

The ostrich relationship

In the 'ostrich relationship', one or both partners are aware their relationship may have issues that need exploring, but prefer to simply bury their heads in the sand. This can be a result of insecurities about certain things - such as the relationship's future or areas of incompatibility, personality wise. Although this approach can allow the couple to avoid tricky areas of discussion for a while, it isn't a sustainable solution: these things are likely to need talking about at one point either way.

If you find yourself avoiding certain topics, ask yourself why. If you're honest with yourself, you'll realize there are areas of your relationship that might need work. This isn't a disaster! Coming to terms with the challenges ahead is a much better place from which to proceed than pretending that everything is perfect.

The 'scales of trust' relationship

Some couples find themselves in constant conflict over trust, with each accusing the other of not trusting them enough.

For instance, one member of the couple might insist that they're perfectly capable of looking after the children by themselves, saying that the other should have more faith in them. The other might fire back that they're rarely afforded this level of trust themselves.

Like the 'ostrich relationship', this kind of conflict can be borne out of a desire to avoiding talking about things properly. By accusing our partner of not giving us enough credit, we avoid the spotlight being put on the things that we actually aren't doing very well. We know that acting as if we've been wronged can help us to look right.

Again, it's best to face tricky topics head on rather than pretend they aren't there. Accusing your partner of not trusting you enough is only likely to build up resentment - and then you may end up bringing up the real issues in the middle of an argument.

15 Fun Ways to Play and Connect with your Child

15 Fun Ways to Play and Connect with your Child

Because connection with your child is so essential.  I am sharing some fun and playful ways to engaged with your child.

1. Chase Games – These can be done outdoors in just a few minutes, or even inside!  We have a safe zone in our house for chasing games!  They can involve your child chasing you, you chasing your child, playing tag where one person is “it”, etc.  There can be hugs at the end when a person is caught – or a tickle!

2. Hide and Seek – Kids as young as 2 can begin to play this favorite.  Start off by hiding yourself and having them try to find you.  Or hide an item and look for it together.  Give a hug when the person is found – or chase back to a certain spot!

3. The Mommy/Daddy Trap Game – The mommy/daddy trap is a snug hug that is given to your child, while sitting on a couch or bed.  The parent wraps his or her arms and legs around their child, hugging, but also “trapping” them in the hug.  When the parent says a “magic” word the child then tries escape from the hug.  This is done in a playful and silly manner.  My son absolutely loves this game and we end up playing it for over 20 minutes at a time!

4. Tickles – Some kids like tickles and some don’t and it’s important to always respect your child’s wishes for their own body.  Tickles can be a game in themselves, or a reward while playing hide and seek or a chase game.  Kids also usually love to tickle adults – even if they don’t like it themselves!

5. This Little Piggy – I began playing this game with my son when he was an infant and I use it on all the foster children who enter my home.  The traditional form of “This Little Piggy,” but I change the locations of where the little piggy goes….for example, “this little piggy went to the park, this little piggy went to Starbucks, this little piggy went to the swimming pool, this little piggy went to Toys R Us, and this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.”  I am amazed at how many time children will ask for “more, more” when playing this!!  Always a favorite at our house – even with a 9 year old!

6. Dancingto Music – When my son was three he loved to dance and march in place.  He would do this for hours.  It never ceased to generate smiles and laughter!  Create your own special dance – or play some fun music and get up, out of your chair, and dance with your kids.  You will be amazed at how fun this can be!

7. Floor Play - Sometimes doing a simple activity like a jigsaw puzzle, or a stacking game together on the floor can be all a child needs to connect.  Open-ended toys like blocks, cars and trucks, and dolls provide many ways for your child to direct the play and you to follow their lead – something kids love!

8. Exploration Walks Outside –  There’s something about being outside together, in a natural area, that is good for the soul!  Try exploring a new park, a local pond, or even just follow a trail that you haven’t been down before.   My favorite spot in our town is the “greenbelt” where we can hop on at any location, leading to a new set of discoveries.  Your child will pick up on your sense of adventure and exploration and you’ll get some fresh air and sunshine!

9. Imaginative Play – One of the toddler and preschooler’s favorite forms of play. Join in his/her play by being a willing participant (be a firefighter too!), a helping character (become the mechanic when the train breaks), or a subordinate (be the patient when she’s the doctor.)  Remember to follow your child’s lead, ask questions like “Where should we go next?  What should we do next?” and get on his/her level when playing.

10. Slippery Arm – Using lots of lotions, gently hold onto your child’s arm and have them try to pull their arm away from you.  Because of the lotion, the should be able to get away easily.  If it is difficult to get away, use more lotion!  This is a playful and giggle worthy game.  Great for nurturing a child because of the touch that is occurring.  Trade places and let your child grab your arm too!

11. Build a Fort–  This is one of my son’s very favorite activities and ways to connect!  I have pictures of building forts when he was 2 and 3 years old, and he continues at age 9 to love inventing new construction in our home.  It’s a great time to wrap each other up in blankets and have a pillow fight while being creative!

12. Pillow Play – When your kids are old enough to enjoy it, have a good old-fashioned pillow fight!  Perfect physical play with guaranteed giggles!

13. Creating - Make art together or build something together.  Need some inspiration check out Pinterest for new ideas?

14. Mirroring Games – These are guaranteed a laugh, as long as your child doesn’t feel he/she is being mocked. Spontaneously start copying what your child is doing!  Make funny faces and try to imitate each other.  Follow the leader.  Keep in mind, once you begin this game your child may continue far beyond when you end the game!!

15. Nightly Snuggle and Chat – A really nice way to end the day, I do this with my son every night.  After reading our bedtime story, we snuggle for a bit while talking about what happened that day.  It’s great for helping your child feel listened to and in turn to develop listening skills, but most of all it’s really nice bonding time.

Advantages of Paying Privately for Therapy Services

Why should I choose to pay for therapy myself?

There are advantages and drawback both of out-of-pocket private payment and to using insurance and medicaid.  Obviously, the biggest drawback of out-of-pocket private pay is that it is an immediate out-of-pocket expense.  However, there are several advantages of private pay that may make the expense worthwhile.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Clients who pay out of pocket are guaranteed that the only people who know any of the details of therapy are themselves and their therapist.  Aside from normal limits to confidentiality, therapy is completely confidential, without any third party being privy to information exchanged in session.

Service without Hindrances, Pressure or Stigma

Most insurance providers require a mental health diagnosis in order for therapy to be covered.  This means that many issues (such as grief and loss, life stress, or personal growth) are not covered by insurance.  When clients pay out-of-pocket, there is no requirement of a mental health diagnosis for treatment, which means that anyone can seek treatment.  

Freedom in Treatment

Private pay clients have complete control of the duration and style of their treatment.  Private pay clients are able to choose the focus of their therapy, the duration of therapy, and the frequency of therapy, and even the length of individual sessions.

Treatment Efficacy

Research shows that clients who have to pay something for their treatment have more positive outcomes that those who receive free treatment.  Not only do you get what you pay for, but the fact that you are paying out of pocket provides extra motivation and incentive to make the most of therapy. 

Potentially Reduced Service Costs

For some clients, their insurance providers require a co-pay and a large deductible to be met when seeking treatment, with the additional feature that standard rates for service apply.  By not taking insurance, I am free to set my own rates and offer a sliding scale to my clients.  This means that privately paying clients can actually pay less than those who pay with insurance, depending on where they fit in the sliding scale, how long treatment lasts, and the details of an individual's insurance plan.

Finding the Right Therapist 

Having a choice is an important factor when it comes to finding someone you trust with your personal concerns. You may for instance prefer seeing someone who was personally recommended to you. When you use your insurance plan, your options are usually limited to therapists within your insurance provider’s network.