Mental Health Month – May 2015 – May 25th

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Enjoy Memorial Day! Make sure to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.   (This was made without knowing it would be raining all day!!!)  Happy Memorial Day.

Happy Memorial Day!!!

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Memorial Day is more than just a day to hang out with family and friends eating barbeque at the lake. Oh and let’s not forget the spectacular fireworks lightening up the skies all over the USA. Today, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May. On this day, we remember military individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice during active military service. History 101, did you know when Memorial Day originally started (then called Decoration Day) it was specifically to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War? This was done in remembrance of all the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers, who sadly are buried all over the USA. “The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).”  (Joshua Claybourn, www.usmemorialday.org).

I would like to thank all of the armed force individuals past and present (especially my sister) for their amazing, selfless acts to keep this great land of ours safe. Happy Memorial Day!!!

Navigating Supervision Part II

Navigating Supervision Part II

Upon approaching the supervision experience, it may be helpful for supervisor and supervisee to have a discussion about the particular supervision model the supervisor tends to use. This will help the supervisee to understand better the orientation the supervisor is working from and perhaps prevent some conflicts or enable the two to work through conflicts based on this mutual understanding of the underlying framework the supervisor is working from. The following is an outline or synopsis of an article “A Brief Summary of Supervision Models” by Kendra L. Smith, Ph.D., LPC, ACS. She expands on the parallel between the supervision relationship and that of the counselor/client relationship to acknowledge that supervisors have the added requirement of additional training and competency in knowledge and skills. She differentiates between the concepts of supervision being an apprenticeship in that “the concept of master-apprentice evokes a hierarchy of power that favors the master as the “authority,” a dynamic that is not supported in today’s literature on supervision.” The supervision process is more complex than the master-apprentice model in that development takes place when the supervisee reflects on their work with clients and the supervision experience as well. Here is an outline of the supervision models from the article.

Psychotherapy-Based Supervision Models – Often feel like a natural extension of therapy itself.

Psychodynamic Supervision Models – The supervisor’s role is didactic. The focus is on the client versus the supervisee or the supervisory process. This model reduces the chances for conflict between supervisor and supervisee which can reduce the supervisee’s anxiety and enhance learning. There is a supervisee-centered psychodynamic supervision model that focuses on the supervisee’s resistances, anxieties and learning problems. The supervisor in both models is the expert and authority but may provide more of an experiential interaction than a didactic one.  The supervisor-matrix-centered model involves the didactic aspect as well as focusing on the relationship between the supervisor and supervisee.

Cognitive-Behavioral Supervision Model – Makes use of observable cognitions and behaviors of the supervisee’s professional presentation and their reaction to the client. This model includes providing structure for the process with setting measureable goals with feedback from the supervisor.

Person-Centered Supervision Model – Assumes the supervisee has the resources to develop as a counselor. The supervisor acts as a collaborator rather than the expert. Effective learning is thought to depend on the relationship between supervisee and supervisor.

Developmental Supervision Models – Define progressive stages of development. Key task of the supervisor is to identify the supervisee’s current stage of development.

Integrated Development Supervision Model – A highly researched model of supervision. Level 1 clinicians are entry level students experiencing high anxiety and fearful of evaluation. Level 2 clinicians are mid-level with increased confidence but still reactive to rate of success with clients. Level 3 clinicians demonstrate confidence with a good balance between empathy and objectivity.

Ronnestad and Skovholt’s Supervision Model – Based on 25 year case studies of 100 counselors and graduate students. The study identifies 6 stages or phases of development that include the previous 3 stages to range from student to the senior professional. They also identified 14 themes of counselor development that can serve as objectives or goals of the supervision process.

Integrative Supervision Model – Combines theory and techniques from a combination of approaches.

Bernard’s Discrimination Model – Most commonly used researched integrative model with three main objectives being intervention, conceptualization and personalization. The supervisor acts as teacher, counselor and consultant.

Systems Supervision Model – Main precept is the relationship between supervisor and supervisee which aims at a mutual empowerment. Seven dimensions are identified by function and task of supervision, the client, the intern, the supervisor and the institution.

Smith, K.L. (2009). A Brief Summary of Supervision Models.

 

Disconnect to Reconnect

Disconnect to Reconnect

Do you find yourself scrolling constantly updated pinned interests, crushing gummies and stalking individuals via their feed?  If so, you may be addicted to just a few phone apps: Pinterest, Candy Crush and Facebook.  I know I was.  I would find myself hours upon hours numbed out on my phone.  Gosh forbid if I ran out of battery juice too.. I would even play standing up as my phone was charged with the wall outlet.  I needed to break my addiction of playing with my phone apps, so I took the drastic step of going cold turkey.

Yesterday, I removed my Scrabble, Candy Crush, Yahoo and Trivia Crack apps off my phone.  I even temporarily deactivated my personal Facebook account.  Who knows when I plan to activate it, but I decided enough was enough.  I have been on Facebook since 2004… that is 11 years!  I remember when the website was only available for certain colleges/universities… that’s how long I’ve had it.  Within the past 24 hours, my phone has been at its quietest and has kept 65% of its battery life throughout a 13 hour period.  A few times I would swipe my phone apps from page to page and remember I don’t have the app anymore.  I can say right now, at this time, I am experiencing few withdrawals.  If anything, I’m experiencing more peace.

So, why did I decide to disconnect from what has become to be known as life to some?  Well, here’s my last post on Facebook from my personal account to sum it up in a few sentences:

Family and friends,

I have come to realize that I spend too much time on my phone.  I feel as if I have been distracted by time-wasting activities.  I plan to deactivate Facebook, Candy Crush, Scrabble and any other nonsense apps on my phone.  I know to some of you, this action may be absurd.  However, I feel disconnected from true opportunities of achieving peace.  I plan to spend my time more in prayer, being present with my wonderful husband and dogs, enjoying actual books and quiet time.  I love each and every one of you and I look forward to catching up by phone calls or text messages.

Smiles,

Kristy Andrews

My purpose is simple: I am learning to disconnect to reconnect with my soul purpose… being closer to God.  Are you making time to disconnect from distractions to reconnect with God?  If so, how are you doing it?

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Thank goodness there is more than one measure or type of intelligence.  Our standard IQ tests can marginalize the overall picture and worth of a person.    We begin to be shaped by our environment from birth.  It can be difficult to separate how we are influenced genetically versus environment.  It has been shown that we can build on our genetic foundation through discipline and perseverance.  Often times, people become experts and pursue careers in areas that presented as deficits early on in life.

A large part of the human experience involves emotions.  Why is it that we do not include education on understanding and managing emotions as part of preparation for adult life?  We are required to pass a test and demonstrate a basic skill set to drive a car but there is no such requirement for demonstrating emotional mastery to be married or to be a parent.  Pretty much, we carry what we learn about emotions from our family of origin into adulthood and pass the torch onto the next generation.  Sometimes it is only in a time of crisis that a person might seek insight or understanding into their own emotional functioning.

Corporations have caught on to the value of evaluating employees in terms of their emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to perceive and monitor another’s emotions as well as monitor and control their own emotional reaction.  Experts on this topic may disagree whether this ability is learned or a genetic trait.  It is likely a combination of the two.  A person can always increase in their understanding of their own and others emotions.

Increasing your understanding of your own emotions entails paying attention to your thoughts and reactions in life on a daily basis.  It’s kind of a task of getting down to the bottom of things.  Our belief systems and reality are intricately interwoven by our family, society and culture.  If we are able to ask ourselves, where did that thought or reaction originate from, we can gain insight into our emotional responses.

The biological part of our emotional makeup could be represented by what is considered our temperament, sensitivity level, energy level and predisposition to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  Being aware of your temperaments strengths and ways to compensate for the weaknesses can increase in your emotional intelligence.

Communication skills are a large part of emotional intelligence and can play a large role in gaining confidence in one’s ability to read other’s emotions and improve the overall outcome of social interaction.  A person’s sense of mastery of ability and skills in any area is a great predictor of success.

A person can begin increasing their emotional intelligence by learning about basic communication skills and being intentional in practicing them.  Counselors take a course on basic counseling techniques that require them to practice reading body language and minute changes in facial signals.  A lot of what a person communicates is done without words.  Don’t assume you have mastered basic listening skills.  It is an area that is worth any person’s time and attention.  It will enhance all areas of your life to increase in your emotional intelligence.  As you increase in your knowledge and skills in this area, it will serve you well to seek relationships with people who have spent time and attention to improve their emotional intelligence as well.