Groups for treating ADD beginning this Fall

LCS is pleased to announce that we will begin offering groups this Fall, beginning this coming September 14th with:

Family Members and Caregivers of those who have ADD:

This group/workshop intends to create a therapeutic environment to address the stressors, needs, questions and concerns for spouses, partners or parents of family members who have been diagnosed with ADD or one of its subtypes.  The group will bust myths and evaluates the truths and untruths about what it is and is not from an empowerment, relational and CBT perspective.   Across the duration of the group, new and enlightening perspective(s)  of ADD  its phenomenal effects,positive and negative on relationships, communication, successes in school, work, and strategies will be explored, shared with format for more to evolve.

Women with ADD:

This group will also endeavor to create a therapeutic environment to address the stressors, needs, questions and concerns for adult women, 21-65 with ADD.  The group will bust myths and evaluates the truths and untruths about what it is and is not from an empowerment, relational and CBT perspective. Across the duration of the group, new and enlightening perspective(s) of ADD its phenomenal effects,positive and negative on relationships, communication, successes in school, work, and useful strategies will be explored, shared with format for more to evolve.  In addition, the group will be encouraged and compelled to look at shifting from the liability models to asset models.ADD Group for Caregivers and Family Members ADD group:workshop for Women 2ADD Caregivers jpeg 2015-09-08 at 8.00.25 PM ADD for Women jpeg 2015-09-08 at 8.03.13 PM

Also coming soon are similar groups for adult males, male middle schoolers, female middle schoolers

 

 

4 Tips to Capture and Keep the First Day of School Magic

                                                                                                                                                Alice “Dee Dee” Scharf, PhD, LMHC, CRC

4 Tips to Capture and Keep the First Day of School Magic

Dr. Dee Dee (contact below)

Summer has blazed by and back-to-school has been bedazzling us. For the last several weeks and the week ahead parents, students, and teachers have been preparing, decorating, registering, orienting, scheduling, finishing out wardrobes, backpacks, tablets with all the acoutriments.

I could almost hear a drumroll in the background with a crescendo. Now the day is here! Poof! It’s major! There is a frenzy in the air that smacks of “I can’t wait to see my friends,” “I hope I get good teachers,” “who have I got classes with,” to “what am I wearing on the first day?”

I love this time of year because it focuses entire communities so well. It really is the epitome of growth and positivity across the board. All sights are set on greater possibilities and outcomes whether academic, social, athletic, musical and even financial (grants and retail industry picks up.)

To keep the crescendo going, here are some tips I’ve been collecting from students, teachers and parents over the summer:

1.  Sleep well and eat well this week. Steer away from processed foods and sugars at all junctures. Good food and good rest fuels us and sustains all the right energies for good moods, less acne, and of course learning.

2.  Chill out and believe! One experienced middle schooler suggests this for everyone, especially parents and teachers. In other words, relax and believe in your child/student and know that he/she “has got this!” Believing in your child and the school you’ve entrusted them to attend and learn from is paramount to their having extended success, so once again, chill and hover at a distance.

3.  Be respectful of time by being ahead of it. In other words don’t cram anything! It starts a vicious cycle of playing “catch-up” that is illusive. Cramming begets more cramming and the evidences from educational research shows that it may help getting a “passing grade” but won’t help on the cumulative finals. Building on a solid foundation means staying current or ahead. Once you do this, then repeat.

4. Make your day great by making someone else’s greater. Paying kindness to someone else with words, actions or gestures will invest in your good fortunes academically, socially, and energetically. Say something kind to the teacher you believe is boring….it’s likely that he or she may find you the same, but removing that “boring” filter can create a more meaningful and productive relationship, that’s always better and less boring.

Last, as Fall comes in and “the first day of school” is on the horizon behind us, keep a calendar or chart and mark the days that you made things happen. That will feel really good and will sustain the magic with at least a smile, hopefully more.

Dr. Dee Dee can be contacted at

Dee Dee Scharf, PhD, LMHC, CRC
LCS Integrative Counseling & Consulting Services, Inc.
4703 NW 53rd Ave, Ste A-2
Gainesville, FL 32653
www.counselinggainesville.org
adscharf@counselinggainesville.org
352-332-6131

 

Be SMART about Financial Resolutions

Finance Money

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, our commitments to newly formed resolutions seem unwavering. Most people who make New Year’s resolutions are determined to meet their goals. Many develop detailed and thoughtful plans to ensure that monthly budgets are followed, weekly exercise is performed or daily nutritious meals are consumed. According to research done by Professor Norcross at the University of Scranton, nearly half of adult Americans make New Year’s resolutions. A week later more than three fourths are still on track with their plans.

As a financial therapist, I am happy to report that one of the top three resolutions is to spend less and save more. Unfortunately, the toasting stops here.  As the year progresses, commitment wanes and after six months, only  40% of the New Year’s resolvers report they are still trying to stick to their New Year’s plans. How did these “best laid plans go awry”?  Were they too broad, vague, ambitious or unrealistic? Not always.

As a certified financial planner, I often work with my clients to develop a plan according to the SMART principles of financial planning. By setting specific steps to follow, we establish measurable objectives that my clients can achieve within a realistic time frame. For most people, that is a lot to think about. Inevitably, even some of the most elegantly and comprehensively designed financial plans are ignored or discarded within a few days or weeks.

As a marriage and family therapist, I understand that there is more to being smart about the financial planning process than these cognitive tasks.  Our emotions play an integral role in the success of our financial plans. Nobel prize winner in Economics, psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that the lion share of all financial decisions are made emotionally, not logically. Were you tempted by the preholiday sales to buy items that you did not need or even want? Have you succumbed to the temptation of  buy one get one free for products you do not use? How do you justify depleting your “rainy day” account when there is not a cloud in the sky?

By exploring your past and present relationship with money, financial therapy helps you move beyond your New Year’s proclamation to spend less and save more. With an understanding of how our emotions affect our financial behavior, we can make changes to align our financial choices with our true passions and values. For example, as a financial therapy client, you may benefit from increased awareness of how your parents, siblings, and extended family members may have influenced your money beliefs and behaviors. Let’s get started.

Take a moment to reflect on the messages you received about money when you were growing up. These money messages may have come from your parents, friends, TV, rock stars, or your great Uncle Albus.  All of them contribute to your relationship with money.  Here is a sampling of statements that may bring forth your memories of money. Complete the following sentences (try not to filter or judge your thoughts; just write down whatever comes to mind).

Parents owe their children …

Financially, I deserve to …

One should never spend money for …

I first understood how much money my parents made when…

One should always spend money for …

Debt is …

When I was little, I was told that money …

You can count on money to …

Never trust money to …

Being rich means …

 

Most people have lots of feelings associated with the money messages they received during their youth.  Since our money beliefs and behaviors continue to evolve as we experience life’s transitions, this exercise is only the beginning.  I suggest that while you develop a plan to accomplish the resolutions you made for 2015, spend some time to be sure that it feels “right” for you.

Jean Theurer is a Certified Financial Planner® and a Registered Marriage and Family Intern at the University of Florida

Personal Finances don’t have to be that Complicated

Finance Money

On the surface, personal finance may seem incomprehensible. There are financial terms to master, a host of theories and models to sift through, and even mathematical techniques to wrestle with!  Ultimately, you are expected to choose from a vast array of potential investments to create a well diversified investment portfolio. What exactly does all this mean?

Is personal finance really that complicated?

Whether you are just starting to learn about managing your money or have been muddling through the process for years, here are some core principles that I teach my clients to incorporate in their lives that may help you make desired changes in your life.

  1. Do not ignore your emotions about money. For some, emotions like fear, anxiety, sadness and anger are elicited by thoughts of budgeting, saving, or investing. You may be fearful of losing your job, house or assets. You may be anxious about making financial decisions, especially if you don’t think you have the proper training. You may be sad and angry if some of your financial goals are put on hold due to illness or divorce. Although these feelings are important to honor, you do not need to be held hostage by them. Rather, use your emotions to help you make decisions. Slow down to acknowledge your feelings, spend some time thinking about your financial options and then reflect on how you feel about these alternative decisions. Now, you may be ready to act.

 

  1. Live within your means. There is really only one equation that you have to remember. Income-Expenses=Savings. When your expenses are greater than your income, you have to resort to loans, credit cards, gifts from Mom and Dad, etc. How do you keep your expenses from wiping out all your income and more? A comprehensive analysis of your “wants” and “needs” is the first step. Undoubtedly, this will bring forth a host of mixed emotions. Some research studies have found that what you think you “want” is often connected to feelings of self esteem and security. In a recently published study, Tim Kasser and his colleagues found that as individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 years old placed more priority to financial success and materialist goals, their mental health deteriorated.  So, reconsidering what you want may not only help you save more. It may make you feel better.

 

  1. Put your money to work. Compound interest helps you make money on the money you have but it isn’t a “get rich quick scheme”. It takes time.   If you invest $10,000 today at 3%, it will be worth $13, 439.16 in 10 years. But if you keep that investment for 20 years, you will end up with $18,061, and in 30 years, you will have $24, 272.62. (For a detailed explanation of the math involved in these calculations, see Investopedia).  Keep in mind that paying down your debt may be your form of savings. After you have accumulated an emergency fund with a balance to meet three to six months of essential living expenses, funnel extra income to pay down high interest debt.

 These three points are not quick fixes, but they are a starting point to improve your feelings about money and sense of confidence in your overall financial health.

 How are you incorporating these core principles into your life?

 

Jean Theurer is a Registered Mental Heath Counselor Intern and CFP®

Navigating the Back-to-School Transition

Transitioning from a relaxed summer schedule to a busy, hectic school schedule can be stressful for parents and their children. There are some children who can ease into a change with no problems and others who have tremendous struggles around the smallest changes. Most children reside in the middle ground between those two extremes.

Heading back to school is the most frequent transition children make in their lifetime. For parents, it may be a welcome transition, but some parents struggle to transition as much as their children. There are teachers to meet, routines to re-establish, backpacks to pack, and school supplies to buy. There are shopping trips for school clothes, after-care decisions, and scheduled physicals. Overall, everyone has a lot on their plates this time of year.

Here are several helpful tips to remember during this time of transition.

First, children need to know that feeling nervous is normal. Adjusting to a new environment, new teacher, and new friends is uncomfortable and overwhelming. Parents can address these worries by reminding their children that, while most things feel uncertain or uncomfortable when you haven’t experienced them before, they are likely to feel better over time.

Second, parents and children both need a schedule that is consistent, reliable, and that works for the family. These kind of routines eliminate stress for everyone involved and create a sense of comfort for children to rely on. Routines can be established around the morning time, after school time, and dinner/bedtime. It can be challenging to implement several routines at once, so try picking one part of the day that feels particularly stressful and implement a routine for that time period.

Third, children need room to express their feelings about transitioning back to school. Children often look to their parents to create an environment where this can happen. Ask your children what worries them. Ask them what they are looking forward to doing, seeing, accomplishing this school year. Ask them if there was anything from last year that could be done the same by their parents. Anything different? Some children may struggle to articulate answers verbally and may benefit more from working out their feelings by playing. Let your children guide you and tell you what they need – verbally or playfully!

Last, remember your resources. Children have parents, teachers, guidance counselors, mental health counselors, and even friends to help them with these transitions. Parents have many of the same resources, but they may not know when to utilize them. Remember parents- you can be your child’s biggest resource by getting to know what your resources are. Teachers are your go-to for questions about academic performance, peer relationships, classroom routines, and any day-to-day questions you have. Guidance counselors are helpful for those moments during the day when your child is a little emotional. They are also there to aid in decisions about exception plans your child may need. Mental health counselors can provide support for your child to sort out what changes in behavior or thoughts at home, along with appropriate expression of emotions. Friends are helpful for advice, opinions, and sharing stories of experience.

The transition of a new school year will happen every year for about 13 years, but it can be done smoothly and without many hiccups. Remembering these tips will help ensure a peaceful, stress-free return to ringing bells, recess, tests, and homework!

 

Kristina Owens, LMHC, RPT

 

 

Photograph courtesy of John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Flickr.

Finding Balance Amidst the Chaos

As a working mother, finding balance is my constant daily struggle. Some days, I am more successful than others. I have certainly had moments as a counselor when I am looking at a client who fights this same battle of “never enough” and it feels very familiar; even ironic. I have come to expect this as a counselor. Those themes that are present in my own life are likely to be prevalent in my counseling relationships as well. Call it awareness. Call it chance. Call it divine intervention. All I know is that it keeps me in a continuous state of self-reflection and humility.
I associate the journey to find balance with the path to enlightenment. Both are more about growth than they are about reaching the end goal. Although the journey is never finished, there are some tools I use to cope with this perpetual state of imbalance that provide both comfort and confidence for me when I am tempted to beat myself up over my inability to maintain balance.

First, I accept that my life will never be balanced.

This could be relieving or discouraging, and it is often both. The word “balance” is quite subjective. What does balance actually look like and how will we know we have reached it? There are too many variables that exist in the universe, and the search for balance becomes just that- an endless and excruciating quest that shifts the focus from wanting to honor and value the various aspects in our lives to valuing balance itself over the important things that led us to seek balance in the first place. If you accepted that your life would never be balanced, how would that change your attitude, perceptions and expectations?

Second, I accept that I don’t want my life to be balanced.

It’s funny how we can idealize something because it sounds great, but when we get it, it isn’t really as wonderful as we thought it would be. Imagine a completely balanced life. For all its advantages, living a balanced life has disadvantages also. It takes away the Human Factor. Sometimes I like working on a project at the last minute or for hours at a time because it invigorates me and it fosters more creativity and ingenuity. Often times, I make a plan for the day that feels balanced, but then a relational need arises, and I choose to pursue the need over the balance. If I lived a completely balanced life, I would probably never write. Because let’s face it- there is always something more productive to do than writing. I would also have to say “No” to relational opportunities if they hindered my plans and shifted the balance in my day too significantly. And I would miss opportunities with my son because I want to be imbalanced in my time and energy when it comes to him. I want him to have A LOT of it. But it comes at a cost. And it’s worth it to me. What are the areas of your life where you want to be imbalanced?

Lastly, I have decided that being intentional is better than being balanced.

According to Webster’s dictionary, the word balanced means arranged in good proportions.

Sounds romantic.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word intentional means done on purpose; deliberate.
That sounds more like a person who is making positive decisions about her time, energy, relationships, goals and life vision.
I don’t think I will ever be arranged in good proportions. I am too passionate and indulgent for that. But I can be more deliberate. Living intentionally is not easy. It involves pain, hard choices and a lot of discomfort. But I have found that when I am aware of my actions and behaviors and how they impact myself, others and the world, I feel more connected and fulfilled. Eventually, I feel more peace.

How would your day-to-day life change if you shifted your lens to being intentional instead of being balanced?

Give it a try.

 

Karin Fields, LMHC

 

 

Photograph courtesy of Pink Sherbert Photography, Flickr.

Finances and Feelings

Finance Money

Number crunching. There is no doubt that managing your finances involves working with numbers. Tallying expenses, projecting income, calculating and comparing rates of return, balancing budgets, and analyzing cash flows are just some of the number crunching steps in the financial management process. However, if you are one of many Americans who reported experiencing anxiety when working with numbers, then managing your finances may be the chore that is perpetually at the bottom of your to-do list. Take heart, math phobics! You are not alone in your anxiety. Studies show that even those who are knowledgeable about financial matters and competent in math-related activities struggle to effectively manage their finances. Researchers have found that the connection between knowledge about finances and financial behavior is not as straightforward as it is often assumed.
 
So if knowledge isn’t the factor, what is?
 
Let’s get more to the heart of the issue. While the concept of budgeting is highly valued and promoted in our society, less than 1/3 of Americans prepare a detailed written or computerized household budget each month. The dollar amounts on a budget are not just numbers. They represent values, traditions, expectations and, sometimes, dreams. To create a balanced budget, number crunching is useful. But, to create a useable budget, feelings about each income and expense category must be considered. The loan from your relative may be smaller and at a lower interest rate than your other debts. However, feelings associated with that loan may lead you to incur higher costing debt in order to pay off your relative’s loan.

Similarly, if your feelings influence your spending (such as during a trip to the mall after a stressful day), then taking steps to reduce your debts may be like using an air freshener in a locker room; only the symptoms are temporarily treated. Being financially healthy may depend more on your feelings about money than your ability to calculate compound interest, differentiate between leasing and buying a car or create a diversified portfolio.

So whether you are a number cruncher or math phobic, take a moment to consider the following steps to getting in touch with your feelings about finances.

Step 1. Recognize your feelings about finances. Being able to identify your underlying feelings is a necessary step to making changes in your financial behavior. Which of the following words capture these feelings? How do these feelings contribute to patterns of behavior that you want to change or continue?
Worry Fear Jealousy Insecurity
Contentment Envy Panic Hope
Frustration Happiness Anger Disappointment

Step 2. Think about the feelings you learned about finances as a child. Was money a source of happiness or a cause of conflict within your family? Focus on your earliest memories of interactions with money. The influence our families have on our feelings about finances can be automatic and subconscious. However, since this finances/feelings connection is learned, you can choose to change it.

Step 3. Share your feelings and early memories about finances with a trusted friend, family member, partner or financial therapist. When you understand the underlying feelings that drive your financial decisions you can become empowered in the decision-making process.

 

Jean Theurer, CFP®, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern