Monday, September 1, 2014

School Stress

School is back in session and along with it comes the stress! Between packing lunches, transporting kids back and forth from extra curricular activities and keeping up with their homework, let alone staying on top of your own responsibilities, stress is in the air.  On a positive note, you will get use to the routine once more (just in time for Winter Break!)
Parents are often surprised to hear from their children that they are stressed out.  Kids experience stress just like adults.  Whether young or old, stress is a part of our lives.  Kids have social stress and performance stress, family stress and personal stress.  In some ways their stress can be more profound because of the lack of control and influence they have in their lives.  They don't have as many choices as adults do.  Their choices are limited to what the adults in their lives dole out to them. 

With all the stress that parents have in their daily lives, they may fail to show compassion for their children when they show signs of stress.  "What do they have to be stressed about?" they wonder, "they have it easy compared to adults".  This perspective is often quite demoralizing for kids who are feeling a true response based on their own experience.  Adults have lived on this planet for many years and have built up personal resources and developed useful coping skills. Kids have only a limited range of life experiences from which to pull. It's nearly impossible for them to put themselves in their parents shoes in order to compare how others experience stress.  They only know what it's like being in school and facing the demands that go along with that.  This is their reality. 

Studies show that when parents actively support their children in building coping skills and practice a communication technique called active listening, kids have a greater chance of being successful in overcoming their obstacles. Parents can begin by showing understanding and compassion for their children; even reflecting and sharing stories about their school years.  It is important for kids to feel that they are not alone in what they feel.  Teaching kids guided meditation or breathing and mindfulness techniques are extremely effective. CD's for kids meditation and guided imagery are readily available on you tube and Amazon, and possibly your local library.

Providing healthy meals for your kids loaded with good protein as often as time will allow is imperative.  Without adequate nutrition our bodies and brains can easily spiral downwards with the slightest shove from stress.  Incorporating a B Complex Supplement has been shown to aid our nervous system in retaliating against the effects of stress. 

Our teens need as much sleep as our toddlers, even though they may resist this! Sleep is necessary in order to recover and reboot from the days events.

Encourage your child to get at least 20 min. of physical exercise a day.  It's a wonderful way to work out the cortisol (stress hormone) from the body. 

If you are familiar with these basics and have these elements in place, here are a few other ideas to incorporate.  I had a physician who told me she believed in the powers of fresh air and sunshine to aid in the healing process; you don't hear that too often anymore, but I think she was very wise in spreading this advise.  Allow kids the opportunity to connect to nature by being outside.  Observing the trees, the bugs, the birds, etc. reminds us that we are a part of something greater. The concept of feeling a part of a greater whole is comforting.  There is a constancy and peacefulness in nature that waits for us to tune into it and then shares it's essence with us.
Sometimes your children may need to simply talk out their feelings.  In times like these it's important to listen attentively and not jump into advise giving.  Problem solve with their help, ask for their input on how they see themselves improving on an issue. The more influence they perceive themselves having on their lives, the more effective they feel and the more they will be able to handle stress in present and in the future!

For more information or to make an appointment email

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Listening to your inner child…who said that?

Whether you remember your childhood in great detail or not, your early experiences affect you even as an adult.  And although you may be more focused on the here and now, those formative years are still playing their tune within your psyche; conscious or not.  As adults we imagine ourselves to be just that, adults. We assume we are rational and logical and our reactions are justified. But what about those times when we leave the level grounds of logic. What is happening to you when you come face to face with your unexplained emotions?  Those time when you feel inexplicable sadness, worry or anger.  When someone says something in a particular way and you feel your face get hot and your voice begin to rise of its own accord? Who is speaking through you during those times? Carl Jung assisted his patients in identifying these moments and called this issues, "Complexes".  A complex is as Jungian Analyst, James Hollis concisely defines, "the energy-charged clusters of our history".

These complexes appear throughout your childhood.  You could say they are your "buttons"; when pushed you react. There are several therapies that enlist the inner child for change in behavior;  Narrative Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Depth Psychology, Transactional Analysis and others.  All of these modalities strive to differentiate the wounded inner child from the rest of the personality.  Once it's identified the client and the therapist work together to enhance healing and awareness at the level where the conflict resides.  One of my favorite therapy questions from Dr. Hollis is "to whom/what is this behavior in service to?" When answered "the past", a person can begin to dialogue with the inner child.  This technique is very effective in creating change.

By accessing your inner child you increase your ability to stop overreacting and begin to be able to respond to moments of tension with more self control.  With your new found awareness into your belief system, the plight of wounded-ness begins to heal; sometimes the issue that once was there becomes obsolete.
It is a powerful and enlightening process.

"It is a bewildering thing in human life that the thing that causes the greatest fear is the source of the greatest wisdom" C.G. Jung

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Brief Introduction to Herbal Healing

Have you ever used Aloe Vera Gel on a sunburn, or drank Peppermint Tea for a stomachache?  If so then you have practiced herbal medicine!  Our herbal, plant friends have been helping us for centuries.  There is nothing “new age” about herbs.  Among the earliest compilations of herbal information is from both China and the Sumerians, dating back to 2700 BC.  The list of herbal history continues with the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Europeans, and Native American Indians…in fact every civilization on the planet has had a healing relationship with the plants the people found in their home environment. 

You might think of herbs as our natural helper in healing.  Just like vegetables, herbs are food, and they are packed with nutrients, and other components that promote healing and wellness.  

Illness and its symptoms are a result of our body having lost its homeostasis or equilibrium.  Conditions such as stress, toxins, inappropriate diet, poor sanitation, etc. contribute to weakening immunity, making us susceptible to illness.  Herbs are foods that help to correct the imbalance by aiding the body’s systems.  The noticeable results when taking herbs do vary.  Some people see results quickly, others may need to stay consistent for longer.  Long term benefits take commitment.

As Michael Tierra outlines in his book "The Way of Herbs", traditional herbal preparations are divided into eight methods of therapy that can be chosen, depending on what the desired effect is for the body. Often these methods are combined for effective treatments for what ails us.
 1. Stimulation  2. Tranqualization  3. Blood Purification
 4. Tonification  5. Diuresis  6. Sweating 7. Emesis  8. Purging

Although the study of herbal medicine is quite involved and many traditions vary in how they approach healing the body, anyone can incorporate herbs into their lives.  One simple way to do this is by cooking with more herbs, fresh or dry.  For example ginger is one of the most versatile herbal stimulants, and can be taken as a tea, capsule or eaten in food. It improves digestion, treats colds, and decreases muscle pain (when applies externally). 

When wanting to utilize herbs as medicine, capsules, tinctures, decoctions or strong teas taken daily is the usual protocol; liniments, oils, poultices are used on the skin for absorption. 

One truly wonderful quality about herbs is that they work on the body as a whole and are good for us on many levels of healing.  Marjoram for example is an antispasmodic, diaphoretic, carminative, tonic, expectorant, stimulant and emmenagogue.  It’s even useful for seasickness.  

There are wonderful and soothing herbs people enjoy using for emotional upsets that can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, or depression.  Hops, Chamomile, Valerian, Lemon Balm, Kava Kava and St. John’s Wort are a few to look into if you are suffering from these conditions.

There are some points to consider when using herbs.  Pregnant women should use caution and do their homework when using certain herbs, especially the ones called emmenagogues and those promoting uterine contractions.  Also, negative reviews by the FDA regarding the use of certain herbs exist.   These judgments were based on the presence of a toxic substance that was extracted from the plant and then administered in large quantities to laboratory animals.   The problem with the findings, according to many herbalists, is that this is not an example of how herbal medicine is practiced.  Herbs are ingested as a whole; either the roots, the leaves, flowers, seeds or the entire plant is used;  as a whole chemical composition, the herbs have a different reaction on the body.  Also, herbs should be ingested with awareness and moderation rather than extreme excess.   Tierra, Michael "The Way of Herbs" 

The world of herbs is such a useful and vital resource for our healing.  They provide us with a sense of power over our own healing process and can work in conjunction with western medicine.  Herbal medicine is a beautiful and powerful way to health. With a bit of research and self-education and some creative thinking, anyone can incorporate herbs into their life and reap the rewards.  

If you would like to learn more about how herbalism can help you, call or email Tanya for an appointment.
For more information regarding Tanya’s counseling practice visit her website;

Resources: Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health and Vitality; Rosemary Gladstar
Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost health and Beat Disease; Bharat Aggarwal and Debora Yost. 
Going Natural with Herbs, Integrating herbs into everyday use; Maureen Kernion, M.S.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Year Resolution Success Strategy

It's a new year; time to dust off those resolutions left over from last year, or time to make new ones.  Chances are you have a few goals that were not fulfilled, right? You started off with great expectations and plans, but plans have a way of falling in mid flight.

I have people coming to me wanting change; wanting to improve an area of their life.  Change is not a quick visit to the grocery store.  We don't pick what we need, come home and cook it up.  Change is slow and often deliberate.  It takes a concerted effort to bring about a desired result.  Also, if your goal isn't heart-felt then you won't succeed. You will lose steam, for nothing is fueling your engine.  I believe this is one reason why many resolutions fall flat.

When creating your list of resolutions take the time to day dream first.  This avoids the, "But I can't because"... self talk that bursts the bubble of creative thinking.  There is no harm in imagining something happening.  Let your inner child have some fun in the process.

Then, make a list of goals you have dreamed of.  Next, focus in on the ideas that really create a sparkle of curiosity, interest, desire and or need.  These are the states of being that serve as your fuel.  Finally, zero in on the two or three goals that are most practical and manageable in consideration of available time and finances.  Don't be afraid to make a long term goal if you need to save up money to accomplish your idea.  Let your short term goal be bite size, like putting money away monthly to save up for the big final goal.

The other reason for failure is we bite off more than we can chew.  Start small and get comfortable with stage one first, then increase as needed.  For example do not plan on going to the gym five days a week when you currently aren't even going once a week.  Start with one day and work your way into the routine.  We may be big dreamers, but there is a lot that needs to happen between dreaming and doing.  Don't forget, change is a process.  Let yourself celebrate your small successes while you stay with your process.

Not sure where to begin?  Here is a journaling question to get you started on your resolution! "What change is needed that would bring me more in alignment with the life I desire?"

"I am an unlimited Being; I can create anything I want; my dreams come true".  S. Roman & D. Packer

To make an appointment with Tanya for counseling, email or call; / 404-702-8474