Warrington, PA 215.491.1119

4 Ways to Beat the New Year’s Blues

Well, it’s January. The sparkle and cheer of the holidays have faded and ahead of us lies another, dare I say it? long year. Whatever your feelings about 2017 and what it holds, you probably have some moments where you wish the new year’s blues would fade away. Here are a couple of ideas to get you through the long winter nights and start 2017 off well.

  1. Rinse and Repeat. Remember where you were the last time you laughed really hard or had a really pleasant time? Grab your phone and call up the people you enjoy the most. Book the tickets. Plan a family fun night. Decide to make 2017 a year of joy.
  2. Be well. Each day, try to do one thing you don’t normally do to care for yourself. Could be as small as drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated, or skipping fast food and making a meal for yourself at home. Maybe cut the late night tv and grab some extra zzz’s. Go for a walk with a friend. In time, these positive choices will become habits.
  3. Enter into your environment. Take 5 minutes each day and listen – what do you hear? Maybe you were only half paying attention to a loved one who was telling you something important. What can you see? Perhaps there is something different about the road you travel every day to work or school and you just noticed it! What do you smell or taste? If nothing, perhaps it’s time to make a favorite meal or baked good. Reach out and give a hug to someone who needs it.
  4. Give the gift of your presence. There is only one you and you only get to live today once. Put down your phone and choose to be there for yourself and those around you. If you or someone else are struggling, take the time to relax, journal, or listen. If it is a time of happiness, celebrate! Embrace the moment for whatever it holds.

Sometimes New Year’s resolutions are too lofty – work out every day, or too specific – travel to 5 new states this year. They can leave us feeling inadequate if we miss a day at the gym or only see four new places. Instead, resolve to make 2017 a year to laugh, care for yourself, notice your surroundings, and be present.

Dr. Lorna Jansen

 

Dr. Lorna Jansen specializes in treating children, adolescents, and families. She helps clients manage stress, deal with relationship issues, and also offers academic coaching.

The Science of Concussion in the Schools

Dr. Stone will be a part of an Inaugural School Concussion Conference titled: The Science of Concussion in the Schools, held by Bucks County IU and Centennial School District.

This conference is on January 24th from 9am-3:15pm at William Tennant High School.

Act 48 Hours or Workshop Hours are available.

To register and for more information, please click on the link below:
http://www.bucksiu.org

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Increasing My Productivity, Reducing My Stress: A quick overview

By Christina Carson-Sacco, Psy.D.

I think most people would say they’d like to be more productive, but also would love to be less stressed. As we are looking at a new year, it’s a good time to think about ways we can do this.

First, I’d like you to think about the roles you play in your life. Is it as a business owner? Parent? Partner? Community activist? Friend? Now, in light of that role, answer this question, “What’s my Mission Statement?” Draft your mission statement and write it down.

  • What do I do?
  • Who do I do it for?
  • How are they better off because of me?
  • What do I want them to feel?

Why do you need a mission statement? It keeps you on track. For example, if you’re thinking of yourself in your role as an activist helping homeless families, your mission statement might be, “I will increase awareness of homelessness in our county and support organizations that are providing shelter for displaced families.” If an opportunity to assist abused animals comes up, while you think it’s a very worthy cause, it does not fit with your mission statement, so you might delegate this task to another person, but not let it dilute your resources or take up your energy. Look at the questions above when examining whether or not to do something to test whether it fits with your mission statement for a particular role. This will keep you focused and help you to say “no” to requests that might distract or detract from your goals.

Next, how do we tackle those pesky to-do lists? Having lists of your tasks is a helpful way to organize and keep track of what needs to get done. Hopefully, you’re crossing tasks off on a daily basis. What many people are challenged by are the tasks that never seem to get done. Let’s take a moment to examine those tasks, by putting them into this chart. This will help you to examine why the task is never completed.

 

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For example, a task might be “organize my financial records.” The obstacles might be “need to get files from work.” You can then choose to either get the files or maybe ask someone at work to pull them together for you. Putting tasks on this chart can help clarify the obstacles, making it easier to decide how to handle them.

Some tasks have bigger obstacles, though. Beware of the “shoulds.” Is there a task that is on your list merely because you feel you should do it? However, you don’t really want to do it; you just think you should. For example, maybe one of your never-completed tasks is “Sign up to coach my child’s soccer team.” You may not really want to do that, but you feel you should because you believe “a good parent coaches their child’s team.” Examining that belief and making a conscious decision will help you to make a choice to either do it or remove it from your list. Be careful; the “shoulds” can be draining. You don’t need to do everything you feel you should do. For example, an incomplete task could be “fix things around the house.” You may believe “it’s frivolous to pay others to do household chores” or “responsible adults take care of these things,” but you never complete these tasks. Seeing them on your list could makes you feel drained or like you’re failing. It may be beneficial to either take some of these tasks off of your list or to hire someone else to do them.

Another other reason some tasks never get done is that we have fear connected to them. Looking at your never-completed to-do items, are any of them incomplete because there is some fear holding you back? For example, one of your tasks might be “go to the gym regularly.” It’s easy to think that you’re not crossing that off your list because you don’t have enough time. However, if you pause to consider a possible fear, maybe the roadblock is really, “I’m afraid that I won’t be very strong and will embarrass myself at the gym.” Identifying and facing these fears head on can help you overcome them.

Third, being productive and reducing your stress means taking good care of yourself. Remember, while some people may boast about how much they are doing, there is no pride in being busy. Being “busy for busy’s sake” can get out of control, feel overwhelming, and at times make you feel powerless over your life. Be conscious of how you’re filling your days and when you can say “no” to tasks. Ask for help when you need it.

Self-care must be on your to-do list. If your friend said they were feeling really stressed out, what advice would you give them? Treat yourself as well as you would your best friend. Doing these things regularly will help you manage your stress:

  • Sleep 8+hours
  • Eat 3+ nutritious meals
  • Hydrate
  • Go outside a little each day
  • Unplug from technology for portions of each day by setting designated work times and space
  • Exercise or just move
  • Avoid too much caffeine, alcohol and other drugs
  • Create a good support system
  • Remember to care for yourself before caring for others; are you at the top of your priority list?

If you are struggling with any of these tasks like focusing, managing your life, overcoming fears, or any of the self-care items, a psychologist can help. While reading this may have added to your to-do list, the goal is to improve how productive you feel while keeping stress in check.

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Dr. Christina Carson-Sacco is a psychologist who has been helping children, teens, adults and families in private practice for 17 years. She specializes in anxiety, depression, parenting, school challenges, relationships, and life transitions. Learn more at www.TheCenterInWarrington.com

8 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

Many believe the holidays to be a time of joy, laughter, and good food. But, so often the reality is that you’re overwhelmed, tired, and extremely on edge. In order to successfully navigate your holiday to-do list, try these 8 steps:

  1. Take a deep breath in and out. Repeat as needed. As stressful circumstances pop up (family conflict, extra bills, bad weather), remember to take a moment for yourself to just breathe deeply. Count in through your nose to 5 and out through your mouth to 5.
  2. Consider your values. What matters most to you this time of year? Getting your shopping done early? Spending time with certain friends or families? Certain religious or spiritual observations or rituals? Whatever it is, be sure to keep your focus on the main things you value.
  3. Consider what must get done versus what “should” get done. Maybe your house does not need to look like a spread from Home and Garden, or your gifts do not need to resemble individual works of art. Figure out which things you are hoping to get to that are really just extra sources of stress, and agree to let them go.
  4. Plan. Look at your calendar. Which weeks are the busiest and when do you have time to address cards or buy gifts or help out in the community? Write down possible days on which to accomplish various activities and what you will do each day to reach your goals. Also, consider delegating some of your tasks to friends and family who can help.
  5. Talk with your loved ones. Maybe your partner’s favorite part of the holidays is watching a movie with you on New Year’s Eve. Maybe you have a fun tradition with a friend or your kids. Prioritize and plan for those things your loved ones hold especially dear this time of year.
  6. Set boundaries as needed. In order to preserve your sanity, you will have to say “no” to certain demands. Perhaps you’ll need to plan to see different friends or family members on different days or weeks. Maybe you usually host a holiday, but a new job or baby is making it difficult to do so. Give yourself the flexibility you need to do what’s best for you.
  7. Practice gratitude. Even in the messy moments of life (wine on the carpet again?), there is always something to be grateful for: food to eat, a place to gather, people with whom to share your life. Share your thankful spirit with those around you.
  8. Remember that nothing is perfect. No holiday meal, family event, or season will be picturesque and devoid of spills, tears, or melted candles. But, in the end, it is how we overcome difficult circumstances and support one other through hard times that truly matters.

Dr. Lorna Jansen

Dr. Lorna Jansen specializes in treating children, adolescents, and families. She helps clients manage stress, deal with relationship issues, and also offers academic coaching.

October is National Bully Prevention Month

In recent years, bullying has become a national concern. It appears that bullying has increased in settings such as school and in our local communities. Bullying can include behaviors such as verbal and cyber threats, physical aggression and excessive teasing.

What we know about bullying is that boys and girls tend to engage in bullying, but each tend to use different forms. For example, boys are more likely to engage physical bullying, while girls are more likely to engage in verbal and cyber threats. Research indicates that there is no one cause for bullying. Some contributing factors can be negative family, school and peer environments. Both bullies and victims can be at greater risk for future emotional difficulties. An additional challenge in combating bullying is that many adults do not recognize or consider bullying to be a serious issue. Additionally, many schools still do not have programs that address bullying.

The US Department of Justice reported that younger students are more likely to be bullied than older students. Bullying appears to be more prevalent between the 5th and 8th grade. Other reports indicate that students with special needs, such as Autism, are especially vulnerable to bullying.

What Can Parents Do?

  •  Parents can investigate whether their school has a preventive bullying program that goes beyond a “zero tolerance approach”. Effective school prevention programs emphasize a positive school climate with involvement and training on bullying for students, parents and faculty. This approach has proven especially effective at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Parents can check their child’s social media activity on a regular basis.
  • Parents can keep the lines of communication open with their child with regular talks about their social and school experiences.
  • Parents can try to be aware of changes in their child’s behavior such as a child who becomes withdrawn, unhappy, has experienced a recent drop in grades, or demonstrates an unwillingness to attend school or go outside.

Jean Ruttenberg, MA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean Ruttenberg, MA

Jean is a well-known and respected specialist in the area of autism, ADHD and emotional disorders.  She assists all age groups and is skilled at solving difficult behavior problems.

DBT Group For Teens Starts Next Week!

Dr. Lovrinic and Dr. Jansen are starting a DBT Group on Thursday, October 20th from 6pm-7pm.  This group will be offered to teens in 9th through 12th grade, and their parents. Parents are free to join the group without a child also attending, as are teens free to join without a parent.

DBT Informed groups provide skill training and opportunity to connect with others. Parents will meet with Dr. Jansen, while teens meet with Dr. Lovrinic.

Teens

  • Dealing with Stress? Talk to other teens about how to deal!
  • Dealing with friendship/relationship drama or stress? We can help with that too!

Parents

  • Trying to figure out the right balance in parenting your teen? We can help.
  • Trying to manage your own emotions when your teen is giving you attitude or making poor choices? We can help!
  • Talk to other parents in a confidential setting about how to deal with today’s teen challenges.

If you are interested in joining this group or have questions, please call our office at 215-491-1119.

Savor the Summer and Survive the School Year

Not ready for the summer to be over? Wishing the first day of school would be delayed indefinitely? Here are some quick tips to help you transition back to school as painlessly as possible.

  1. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Instead of dreading the upcoming school year, spend your time at the beach or the pool, relaxing by yourself or with friends. Read a book, watch your favorite show, or become a tourist in your own town. Determine to make the most of what’s left of summer break.
  2. Carry your love of summer into the school year. Think about why you most enjoy the summer. Perhaps it’s a sport or an activity that you can continue in the fall. Or maybe it’s more of a carefree mindset which allows for new hobbies, and fun explorations. Whenever possible, plan time to continue pursuing your “summer loves” even as the seasons change.
  3. Determine to be different. Maybe the summer—or even last school year—weren’t what you hoped they’d be. What would you change? Perhaps you wished you had spent more time with your friends or tried something new this summer. Maybe last school year was a disaster and you’re hoping that new teachers, classes, and maybe some new friends will make a difference. Focus on what you can control, like your perspective, habits, friends, and activities.
  4. Take a deep breath and relax. You have a whole year to make friends, learn algebra, and decide whether or not you like your English teacher. Prior to the first day of school, all you need to know is what kind of person you’d like to be on the first day. A pencil and notebook may be helpful, too.

These three ideas should help you to embrace the school year, despite its routines and demands. If we can help you transition to the school year or deal with any other challenges you’re currently facing, please call us here at the Center at 215.491.1119. If you would rather email us, please click here.

 

Dr. Lorna Jansen specializes in treating children, adolescents, and families. She helps clients manage stress, deal with relationship issues, and also offers academic coaching.

Parent Group Starting Soon

Questions most frequently raised by parents…
 
• How much responsibility should I expect from my child/young adult?
 
• What consequences are appropriate for his/her age?
 
• What rules should I set up and how should I enforce them?
 
• How do I encourage good sleep and homework habits?
 
• If my child/young adult has a special need, do I adjust my expectations and how do I explain this to my other children?
 
• “Hot Topics” – social media, drugs and alcohol, sexual behavior
 
If you are interested, sign up for a 6 week group of like-minded, concerned parents to address these issues. Hosted by Jean Ruttenberg, parenting and child specialist with expertise working with families and children with special needs.
 
For more information or to sign up, call our office at 215-491-1119

Lego Group is Starting Up Soon!

The Center Lego Club

 

 

At LEGO CLUB, kids will engage in set builds, production of Lego stop-motion movies, and much more.  Your child will develop their problem solving skills, social abilities, and creativity, all while having a great time! The goal of LEGO CLUB is to create fun and interactive experiences for your child.

WHAT IS IT? The LEGO® CLUB is a collaborative, play therapy in which children work together to build LEGO® models. Dr. Lovrinic, Psychologist, facilitates the natural learning of social skills by engaging your child in a creative modality that they love!

Six, 1 – hour sessions, on Thursdays, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning July 14th at The Center.

COST: $150.00 per child for six sessions

WHY DOES IT WORK: LEGO® based therapy focuses on key social experiences such as collaboration, division of labor, joint attention, sharing, turn taking, eye contact, verbal and non-verbal communication, and social problem solving.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? All children are welcome, ages 10-13. Children with social communication challenges, are socially shy/anxious, have trouble understanding verbal and nonverbal communication, and trouble with joint attention. If you love Legos and want to develop your leadership skills in working collaboratively with others, this group is for you. Bring your creativity.

On the first night of the Lego group, a parent session will also be offered. During this time, parents will be given an overview of the group, as well as strategies to encourage appropriate social skills in their children. This session is designed to highlight ways in which the parents can act as “coaches” for their children at home, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the group overall.

Cost: $25 per parent/couple

To sign up your child, please call our office at 215-491-1119! Space is limited!