Thoughtful Therapy

  Helping women find freedom and peace

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This blog is not intended as a substitute for therapy sessions with a licensed therapist. If you are looking for help, please contact me at helen@thoughtfultherapydallas.com or 214-736-7438.

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Do You Need a New Doctor?

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

We have all had experiences at the doctor where we felt disappointed: the time felt rushed, we didn't get all our questions answered, the doctor ran a bit late, etc. These issues are usually excusable, but there are some that deserve a deeper look. If any of the following issues resonate with you, you may have good reason to consider finding a new doctor.


Your doctor makes fun of you or belittles you. When you go to the doctor you should be treated with respect. If you feel your doctor is laughing at you (and you haven't made a joke) or is talking condescendingly to you, it may be time to find someone else to take care of your medical needs. If your doctor calls in other staff to look at you or your body in a way that means, "you've never seen anything like this!," that is extremely unprofessional and you should find a new doctor immediately. If your doctor says, "Ewwww!" about something on your body, it's time to move on. I'm not saying he or she would never be grossed out by anything, but it is unspeakably inappropriate for him or her to indicate this. You are not seeing your doctor in order to become a science experiment or to be treated like a freak show. You deserve, and should expect, respect.


Your doctor is offended when you want a second opinion or when you ask questions. A doctor who cannot tolerate this probably has a large and fragile ego, and is more interested in keeping it intact than in giving you quality care. A good doctor knows she doesn't have every answer, and also knows it is important to consult on cases. She would have no problem with answering any questions you have, finding answers for you if she doesn't know them, you getting a second (or third, or fourth) opinion, and might even suggest it herself. She is not insulted by her patients asking for more information because her primary concern is the health of those patients.


Your doctor insists you need expensive special products you can only purchase from him/her. I'm not saying all special products are bad. However, when a doctor recommends a product you can only buy from him, you absolutely must have it, and it is very expensive, it can be worth it to take a step back and evaluate the situation. The product may be exactly what you need. If so, it's okay to invest in it. It's also okay to take time to think about it and buy it at another time. Or, the product could be something you could easily find at the local drug store or do without. Pushing products (special vitamins, creams, cans of compressed air, etc) can be a red flag indicating your doctor has other priorities than your health and best interests.


Your doctor (or their staff) does not return your phone calls/emails. If you can't get in contact with your doctor to make an appointment or to find out the results of tests, that's a problem. We all get busy, but when repeated calls go unanswered or unreturned, it may be time to move on and find someone else. It doesn't have to be a personal thing, and you don't have to feel bad for going to a different provider. You are your own advocate, and if you aren't getting the care you need, it is up to you to make sure you do.


Your doctor minimizes your concerns. This is different than validating that you are worried, but giving you reassurance, citing specific examples of why you may not need to be as concerned as you currently are. If your doctor calls your concerns silly or stupid, and doesn't actually listen to them, or brushes them off, ie, "Oh, you're fine. That's nothing," you are allowed to say something about this. You are also allowed to see a different doctor. It is true that your anxiety may seem unfounded to your doctor (he or she has a depth of knowledge about medicine that the general public doesn't), but even so, you should expect to have your concerns heard.

January 2017 Goal Check-In

Posted on January 10, 2017 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been a week since you set goals for the new year. How is it going so far?


Do you find yourself as excited as you were when you first decided what you wanted to achieve? Or is your interest already starting to wane?


Don't give up! Take it a day at a time and just keep going. Revise your goals as needed, and set yourself up for success.


Remember: set SMART goals.


Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time-bound

Welcome, 2017!

Posted on January 3, 2017 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The new year is here! Welcome, 2017! Many are excited for you to make your entrance. I have heard and read many people say they are glad to see the back of 2016. It was quite a year, both positively and negatively, depending on your perspective and personal experiences.


A fresh, new year is a great time to start on new goals or make progress on old ones.


The SMART system of goal-setting can be a helpful way to increase your success at goal-meeting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.


Specific: Ask yourself questions such as

Who is doing this? (Presumably, you)

What do I want to accomplish?

Where will this happen?

When will it happen?

How will it happen?

Why is it important? (Benefits, purpose, or reason for accomplishment of said goal)


Some of these questions also address the other elements of SMART, which is okay, and just means you are a little ahead of the game.


Measurable: How will you know when you get there? How much or how many is/are required? Setting target dates or small milestones, in addition to a big finish, can give you boosts of satisfaction along the way and help you stay on track.


Attainable: Is it possible for you to achieve this goal? Is this goal about yourself? It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make someone else responsible for meeting your goal. They don't have nearly the attachment to it or control over it that you do.


Realistic: Is this goal something you are willing and able to work for? Your goal should stretch and motivate you, but not overwhelm you. An unrealistic goal sets you up for failure instead of success, and when you don't achieve what you wanted to, your self image takes a hit, often causing you to feel lower than you did before you started. Take care to accurately assess your commitment to your goal.


Time-bound: What is your time frame for accomplishment of this goal? When do you aim to be finished? "Someday" is unlikely to be a strong enough motivator to help you meet your goals. A deadline helps you narrow your focus and adds a sense of urgency to the mix, meaning that you are more likely to reach your goal!


Some sample goals:


Vague: I will get in shape.

SMART: I will join a gym and work out four days a week to lose 10 pounds by April 1st.


Vague: I will increase my business contacts.

SMART: I will attend two networking events per month, follow up with the people I meet there within one week of the event, and continue to build relationships with them by contacting them once a month.


Vague: I'm going to be a better person.

SMART: I will volunteer at the animal shelter for two Saturdays a month, and speak kindly to the people I meet there refraining from making snarky comments that hurt people's feelings.

Five Benefits of Counseling

Posted on August 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

You've had some issues come up for you recently. Maybe they are things you haven't thought about in a long time, or maybe they pop into your mind a lot. But, you're tired of living this way. You're tired of thinking this way. Something has to change. You are thinking about talking to someone. You feel like you have worn your friends out on this stuff already and don't want to be a "Debbie Downer." Or you have kept it all inside because you don't think anyone will understand. This is a time when talking to a counselor may be helpful, but you wonder what the benefits of counseling are.


Below are several benefits of counseling. This is not an exhaustive list.


Confidentiality. When you talk to a counselor, your conversation remains confidential. While there are certain exceptions to this (a main one being threat of suicide), it is rare that a counselor must break confidentiality, and in that case it is for your safety. Behind this closed door you can feel free to share whatever is on your mind, whatever is bothering you. This is a safe place.


No Judgment. Your counselor will listen to you without judging you. I find that clients are often concerned about what I will think of something they have done or something that happened to them. It's safe to share even those things you don't want to tell anyone about. Counselors have heard many, many stories and situations, and are used to surprises from clients. Sometimes it takes a client months to decide they feel safe enough to share, but when they do, they find it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be.


Active Listening. Your counselor is actively listening to what you say. They are paying attention to you and processing what you tell them. This is so they can validate your feelings, or even help you name feelings you weren't sure of or aware of. This also helps your counselor make connections in your story, pointing out patterns and themes in the narrative of your life that can give you insights and raise your awareness. Some clients have told me that a counseling session is the first time they felt like anyone was listening to them.


Non-biased feedback. Your counselor can help you draw conclusions from and make connections in your story. They can help you see another perspective and consider how others involved may have felt in the same situation. They can also offer challenges to your own behavior that help you gain insight into how you might handle things differently next time. Because the counselor is not emotionally involved in your story, they are able to see things through a different lens, not colored by any one person's point of view.


Feel Better. It can feel so good to talk something out. Sometimes just hearing yourself say it out loud is enough to process it. Other times it's nice to have someone else agree with you or challenge you. When you work through the issue you are dealing with, a weight lifts off your shoulders. You begin to understand more about yourself and others. You clean out wounds from the past that are festering and throw off problems that are holding you back.


The point of living life is to move forward. We frequently (constantly?) encounter obstacles that impede our forward momentum, but we still have to go on. Often we may have to stop and tend to wounds before this can happen. How can you run with an infection? You can't. At least, not very well. That's where counseling comes in. Counseling can help clean out the wound so you can go on, go forward, like you are meant to do.


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