New Counselor Starts in March

Curriculum vitaeStrategies for Success is excited to welcome Regina Robison to the practice starting March 23, 2015. Regina’s strengths as a clinician include being compassionate, non-judgmental, and utilizes a strengths-based approach to care. She believes it is important to look at each individual as a whole, taking into account each person’s spiritual, cultural, and environmental influences to assist clients in overcoming problems and achieve balance and happiness in their lives. Regina also believes that it is essential for people to work through past trauma in order to release residual blame and shame and break free of old patterns that can keep them stuck in maladaptive thinking and behavioral patterns in their current life stage.

Regina’s clinical experience includes over 10 years working with children, adolescents, adults, elderly and clients with disabilities. She also has experience working with individuals and couples, providing treatment for mental health issues and substance abuse concerns as well as with conduct disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief and loss, and relationship conflicts, to name a few. Regina has also led multiple groups on topics that include self-esteem building, anger management, social skill building, substance abuse and conflict resolution, and is excited about the possibility of leading some groups at Strategies for Success.  She has worked from a Multisystemic approach successfully,  with seriously delinquent adolescents, and is very well versed with adolescent and family concerns.
In 2008, Regina received her Master of Arts Degree in Professional Counseling from Ottawa University in Phoenix, and her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2004, Magna Cum Laude.  She currently holds independent Licensure with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health, as a Licensed Professional Counselor.
Regina utilizes various therapeutic approaches to assist clients in achieving their goals including cognitive behavioral therapy, brief solution-focused therapy, existential therapy, insight-oriented modalities and narrative therapy. Regina is a firm believer  in the healing power of the client-therapist relationship. Each treatment plan is created and implemented collaboratively with each client, tailored to maximize positive outcomes and lasting results. To email Regina, please do so at regina.robison@saptherapist.com. To schedule with Regina starting at the end of March in our Chandler location, please call our Main Number: (480) 252-5152 or email us at appointment@saptherapist.com.

8 Tips for Surviving Depression and Anxiety During the Holidays

by , Assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, NYU Medical Center

Article from The Huffington Post

Depressed man

Ah, the holidays! Most people feel a sense of anticipation and joy as we approach the holidays. Time for family gatherings and other fun activities. However, a considerable number of people, including those people in therapy, can feel depressed, frustrated, and anxious thinking about the holidays. These could be people without a family or without a significant network of friends. Or they can be people who have had mixed or negative experiences with friends and family in holidays past. What can they do to make the holidays more enjoyable?

“I don’t think I can stand another holiday,” said John*, my patient, a 54-year-old lawyer who lives in the city. He’s never been married, although he’s had a few short-term relationships. His parents died years ago, and he never was that close with them. He doesn’t have any siblings. His few friends all have commitments for the holidays. He has had depression since his mid-30s and has been off and on anti-depressants with good results. Of course, he has the week of Christmas off, but no idea what to do with himself. Last year he was so depressed in November and December that he considered committing suicide. A close friend of his did commit suicide 10 years ago around the holidays.

John and others like him are at considerable risk during the holiday season. He falls into a vulnerable category of older white men who have a higher risk of committing suicide, although the highest risk is for men over 75.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are commonly reported in the general population, especially during the holidays. People who may attempt suicide complain of hopelessness, rage, and the need to seek revenge. They are more impulsive than the average person. Other behaviors that may be associated with potential suicide include people making arrangements for someone else to care for their dependents, including children, pets, or elders.

John felt a lot of anger and he told me he was starting to drive recklessly. He said he felt trapped with no way out. He was increasing his alcohol use, but he didn’t return to his marijuana smoking, which he’d done in his younger days. Other people who have family and friends might withdraw from them and isolate themselves. John couldn’t isolate himself any further, but he said he felt no sense of purpose in life.

I suggested the following ways for him to get through the holidays. Even if you or your loved ones aren’t exhibiting the type of intense behavior that John is, the following ideas can help lift depression and anxiety:

• Try to schedule a theater or dance performance either the night before or the day of the holiday. In major cities across the United States, many shows are on during Thanksgiving and Christmas. If there is no live theater, go to a movie theater and watch a film. You can do this alone or extend an invitation to a neighbor or business colleague who may be spending the holidays alone.

• Go on a trip out of town. There are many cruises or day trips during this season. John expressed an interest in staying in a country inn upstate where he had Thanksgiving dinner once before. I encouraged this because it linked an image of the holidays with a past memorable experience and could boost the spirits quickly.

• Join a community group such as the YMCA, or take a photography or art class that has planned activities on or just before the holidays. John could take a class photographing trees and turning those pictures into holiday cards or presents.

• Organize a hike into the countryside or a park tour with a group. In New York City and Los Angeles, there are tours every day of the week, including during the major holidays.

• Go to a yoga retreat or a spa resort. Many hotels and spas have special weekend activities and rates at Thanksgiving and Christmastime.

• Plan an intensive exercise routine. John hadn’t exercised for a while and he was putting on weight. He hired a trainer who was free the week of Thanksgiving to work him out because exercise increases certain chemicals in the nervous system that fight depression and anxiety.

• Help others who are less fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen. One of the best ways to forget your own loneliness is to help others at shelters or hospitals. Getting “outside of ourselves” and helping others in need helps take the focus off of our own situation, circumstances, and feelings, and often delivers a significant emotional boost.

• Try an AA meeting if you find yourself drinking too much. For John in particular, I suggested he go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on the holidays, especially if he couldn’t do any of the above. AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) are immediate communities that help people deal with alcohol or drug abuse, which may be covering up negative feelings at this time of year.

Experimenting with a different way of celebrating the holidays this year can lift your spirits and get you out of a funk. For some, major depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are alleviated if they are engaged in healthy activities leading up to and during the holidays.

*Not his real name.

For more by Carol W. Berman, M.D., click here.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Aurora Behavioral Health Care in Tempe

photodune-1283601-recovery-xsby Elizabeth Rahamim, LCSW, SAP

Today I toured Aurora Behavioral Health Care’s Tempe location.  This three year old facility is beautiful and very well designed to meet the inpatient and outpatient needs of adolescents and adults in the East Valley.  Aurora Behavioral is the largest voluntary psychiatric hospital system in the state of Arizona.  There are a variety of behavioral health and chemical dependency services available and each treatment plan is tailored to each patient’s special needs.  I look forward to being able to confidently refer my patients to Aurora if necessary.  I know they will be in good hands.  Additionally, my staff & I are available to provide services to interested patients who have completed inpatient and/or outpatient programs at Aurora.

For more information, please visit:  www.aurorabehavioral.com

The Naked Truth

Woman laying naked in bedby Geneen Roth, www.geneenroth.com

Back in the last century, I weighed almost twice as much as I do now—and I desperately wanted to be thin. So desperately that if a genie had appeared (and I’m not exactly proud of this fact) and offered me one wish, it would have been to wake up thin the next day. World peace could wait. Since I was convinced that being fat was the cause of my suffering, I was also convinced that if I was thin, my problems would disappear, and happiness would be mine.

When I lost weight, my focus changed and I became a serial monogamist in the “If only I had” department. The belief that my suffering would end when I got thin was transferred to “when my book got published” which (after publication) was then transferred to “when I fell in love” which (after marriage) was transferred to “when I live in the right house.” (There were, of course, a few articles of clothing thrown in the mix of I-will-be-happy-when: I get the perfect black boots, the sassy-but-not-too revealing dress, the earrings that were big but not gaudy).

What I didn’t realize was that I had become so entranced with the belief that happiness was in the future that I walked through my life as if I was jet-lagged and living in an airport shopping mall with the same stores, smells, sights as all the other airports I’d visited. Within a few days of arriving at the place or situation I thought was going to fix everything, the landscape of my mind felt exactly the same as it did before. Same thoughts. Same discontent. Even though I’d waited so long to get from “here” to “there,” I always ended up in the same place-“here.”

The possibility of stopping the search, or that there was nothing to fix and nowhere to go didn’t occur to me. (Okay, maybe it did occur to me once or twice during my thirty years of mediation practice, but the truth was that sweetness and quiet and stillness weren’t as compelling as angst, drama and the chatter of discontent). I mean, seriously: “now” just wasn’t sexy or appealing. It didn’t hold promises of splashy parades with cymbals and drums and opera singers thrashing about. The naked now, the one without frills, the one that was always here, just wasn’t as interesting as what could be. What should be. What I wanted to be. I was enthralled, as the Buddhist teacher Choygam Trungpa described it, with the process of “putting make-up on space.”

Finally, and this is going to sound a bit more linear than it actually was or is, love pierced the trance. I realized I wanted something more than I wanted to keep walking through the airports of my mind. I wanted to be here. For the purpling of sunsets and the clanking of dishes. For the soft way my husband’s hand feels in mine. I wanted to breathe when I breathed and eat when I ate. I wanted to live in and through my body, not my mind. And, not only did I realize I wanted that, I knew without a doubt that I already was that. Am that.

It’s not a done deal over here, however. The pull of my thoughts is still strong, but the love for this moment is stronger. The pull of drama still compels me, but the love for showing up where I am is bigger. Nothing can compete with the love of this life blazing in and through me, which, along with the depth of night-sky stillness, also includes outrageous laughter, salted chocolate and occasional swoops of sadness.

Every time I find myself wandering away, I bring myself back to what I love: to this very moment, these exact sensations, this coolness on the surface of my right arm, the sound of a single bird cheeping, the low thrum of the heater. I take, as Eckhart says, one conscious breath and return to where the feast is: here. And when I do—when thoughts drop away and the one I refer to as “I” disappears—what remains is contentment itself. And it is enough.

Copyright 2013 Geneen Roth and Geneen Roth & Associates, Inc.

Read more here:  http://geneenroth.com/the-naked-truth.php

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