Helping Your Child Manage Screen Time

Date: February 7th, 2019

Filed under: Kids

With electronics ever-present in our homes, schools, and offices, unplugging can be a challenge, especially for kids. However, learning to manage screen time instead of being managed by a screen is an increasingly important skill to learn. Here are a few ways you can help your child to keep their screen time under control.

Work Together to Set Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are a must, but your child is more likely to stick to the rules if they helped to create them. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, you may want to lay out two or three options for them to choose from, or facilitate an open family discussion to determine appropriate expectations for screen time.

Stick to the Rules

Every family situation is different, but consistency is key. Whether you’ve decided to manage screen time by eliminating electronics from bedrooms or setting a time limit, it’s important that you and your children hold each other accountable to stick to the rules. Yes, that means that when you’re setting expectations, you should set expectations for your own screen time as well. Your kids will be much more willing to follow rules if you do too.

Find Replacements

Nature abhors a vacuum, and kids abhor boredom. Make a plan for creating other activities that can take the place of screen time. If evenings are when most of your screen time takes place, choose a night for family games or an outing. For young children, try a special box of toys, playdough, and other favorites that can replace passive screen time for something more interactive.

Whichever plan you and your children come up with, you can feel good about the fact that you are teaching them important tools for mental health and relationships by helping them to manage their screen time.

Adjusting to Life Post-Grad

Date: June 20th, 2018

Filed under: Tips

Written by Emily Reich, M.S.

Graduating from high school, college, or graduate school is a significant accomplishment that deserves recognition and celebration! However, even positive advancements in life can bring about challenges. The following are some things to consider as you navigate these changes:

  1. Try to be present in each moment. When big things happen we can get caught up by a variety of things and can feel like the experience is just happening to us rather than truly living it. Focus on what is happening in the “now” and connecting your experiences to your emotions.

  2. Comparison is the thief of joy. It is tempting to look at what everyone else is doing and what all their future plans are and compare it to ours, but that can be harmful. Everyone has unique trajectories, plans, and access to those plans. Whether it’s comparing summer vacations on social media or post-grad jobs, internships, or advanced degrees, comparing leads us to looking outward rather than inward. Invest energy into your own plan and find gratitude, even if things are not ideal at the moment.

  3. The job hunt can be exciting, but can also be exhausting and can rattle your confidence. Don’t give up! Apply broadly and be open to where things take you. You could end up in your dream job, in the “stepping stone” job before your dream job, or somewhere else entirely. Try to trust the process.

  4. Changing roles can lead to changes in routine. Life as a student, intern, or employee can look very different from one another and can take some getting used to. Try to find a rhythm after the first few weeks and make time to engage in self-care and spend time with people you care about.

  5. Remember to be kind to yourself and seek support when you need it! Change is hard but it can be easier with help from friends, family, and loved ones.

Tips for Saving Your Relationship

Date: May 31st, 2018

Filed under: Relationships

Healthy relationships go through ups and downs. It's natural to not feel completely perfect with your partner 100% of the time but if your relationship seems to be struggling, couples counseling is an option for recovery. If both partners are invested in working together, there are many approaches you can take to restoring your relationship. In this article recently published by Bustle, Marc Zola, LMFT & LPC, founder of Eugene Therapy, discusses how individual hobbies and activities can help foster relational balance -- along with other meaningful ways to help your relationship. To read what Marc and other couples therapists have to say about healing your relationship, you can read the rest of the article here.

Men and Emotions Series (Part 4)

Date: May 24th, 2018

Filed under: Tips

Managing Emotions: Conclusion

In this final installment about managing emotions, I will summarize what I’ve shared so far and discuss the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as well as how this relationship is related to emotion management.

In the first post, I briefly discussed the impact of gender socialization on emotional expression among men. More specifically, I highlighted messaging, such as “man up,” that promotes the notion that men are expected to suppress their emotions or only express “acceptable” emotional reactions, such as anger. This ultimately contributed to men commonly not knowing how to express emotions that they may be feelings. Next, I discussed the importance of remaining patient with yourself and actively reflecting on your experiences to take note of different feelings as you experience them. In the latest post, I shared several strategies to help manage the emotions that come up for you.

One thing that has been present during all of these posts but not mentioned explicitly is the connection between our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Take for example the first post, in which I explained the impact of socialization. Let’s say that you begin to feel sad. A thought you might have is that feeling said is not an “acceptable” feeling to express. The behavior that follows may be emotional suppression or some expression of anger, because of messaging that anger is more “acceptable” to show. It is not easy to recognize this process as it is happening, as it usually occurs very quickly. By using strategies described in the second post, you can actively work to slow down this process. A strategy for emotion management is to recognize the thoughts (and their roots) that may be contributing to patterns such as emotional suppression. Once we become aware of these thoughts, we can begin to change the actions that may follow. I like to think of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as cues. Once we recognize our patterns, we can use them as cues to engage in strategies like those I introduced during the third post.

As this concludes this series on men, emotions, and emotion management, my hope is that is the only the beginning of your working to understand your own emotional processes. As mentioned throughout these posts, this is an ongoing process. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself, and do not hesitate to reach out to a therapist to help you on this journey of emotion recognition, expression, and management.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Date: April 15th, 2018

Filed under: Trauma

It’s April, which means it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It can feel weird to talk about such a sensitive subject – a subject that affects countless lives. By opening the conversation, we hope to erase the uneasy feeling surrounding the discussion and to open avenues of healing for the people who have been affected. For some, telling their story is therapeutic. For others, hearing those stories reduces the feeling of alienation that comes from experiencing assault. No matter how you heal, remember that others are surviving and healing too. If you need to help or guidance, resources are posted at the bottom of this post. If you are feeling motivated to speak up or otherwise support survivors, we have a few suggestions to get active this April.

Share your story

This is only applicable if you have a story to share and you want to share it. There is no deadline. There is no requirement to share at all. If part of your healing process involves sharing in the hopes of helping others, please do. If you do not wish to share publicly, do not let anyone pressure you into it.

Be supportive

Survivors and allies alike, listening empathetically and validating the emotions of a survivor are some of the best ways to help. Listen without judgment. Help when needed. Be respectful of privacy and do not push for more information than they are willing to share.

Normalize healthy discussions

Discussing sexual assault is difficult! It can be uncomfortable, vulnerable, emotional, challenging… but it can be talked about in healthy ways. The more open you are to having this conversation, the more normal it will feel. To clarify, we aren’t asking you to normalize sexual assault. We are asking you to reduce the stigmas surrounding it by having open conversations, stopping accusative or degrading narratives, and supporting those who are healing.

Share resources

Hotlines. Therapists. Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS). There are many professionals and volunteers who are available and will join your support system towards healing.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Confidential and free. Sexual Assault Support Services: 541-343-7277. Local, confidential, and free.

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