Sunday, June 22, 2014




Does this photo reflect how you feel about work?  Do you awake thinking of ways to get out of heading into the job?  Do you feel a sense of dissatisfaction in how you earn a living?

A recent report in the New York Times Sunday Review section by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath offered insight on why so many individuals may be experiencing job dissatisfaction.

Schwartz’s and Porath’s article list personal and structural barriers that create a sense of powerlessness in improving your work life.  They list things like a lack of appreciation from colleagues and management, constant distractions in the workplace, feeling overwhelmed by the workload, imbalance in the distribution of assigned tasks, feeling a sense of guilt over long work hours,  feeling guilty when you need time away from the office, and employees reported feeling like they don’t spend enough quality time with family.

Individuals who have gained success in finding balance between their work life and their personal lives achieve greater job satisfaction.  Here are a few things you may want to incorporate into your daily life that may lead to decreased stress and/or anxiety associated with occupational satisfaction:

Be clear about what your job offers you.

Be honest about what your job requires from you. 

Be certain to make changes where you can regarding structuring your day.  Remember you deserve to have improved functioning and balance in your life.

Ask for what you need from your employer to improve communication and reduce stress.

Ask for what you need from your colleagues to reduce anxiety associated with work responsibilities.

Ask for what you need from your family and friends to help reduce feelings of guilt and stress.

Always look for ways to choose what brings balance to your life and satisfaction.


Posted by Lauren F. White-Johnson, LCPC

New York Times article link

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Communicating with Your Children and Teens

The American Psychological Association has published some very good articles about addressing emotional health concerns with children and adolescents. I will post them here as they contain useful tips.  The first in the series addresses communication tips when talking to children and teens.

As parents and teachers, you are the first line of support for kids and teens. It’s important for you to have an open line of communication with them and build a sense of trust. When your kids and teens are having difficulties, you want them to feel comfortable turning to you for help. 
Just as important, is the ability to identify when your kids are struggling emotionally. Kids and teens tend to internalize their feelings. If something is troubling them, they may not speak up and ask for support. Sometimes, they don’t realize that help is available. So, it’s essential for parents and teachers to be able to detect when something is wrong and how to approach your kids and teens. 
Getting your kids to open up and talk to you can feel like a challenge. The following tips can be helpful in starting a conversation and understanding what’s going on in their lives.

Make them feel safe. 

You want to put kids and teens at ease so they feel comfortable talking to you. It is essential to make it clear why you are talking with them. Kids especially are fearful that they may be in trouble or are being punished if they are pulled aside to talk. Reassure them that this is not the case that you are there to offer support. Parents might consider scheduling a time to talk one-on-one on a regular basis, such as having lunch with your kid or teen weekly or biweekly.

Listen to them. 

Take the time to actively listen to what your kid or teen has to say. Many times, all kids or teens want is someone who will listen to them. Try to understand their perspective before offering suggestions. Sometimes your own anxiety can prompt you to try to fix everything. But in many cases the best help you can offer is to listen attentively. 

Affirm and support their need for help. 

If a kid or teen tells you they’re feeling sad or upset, for example, tell them you’re proud of them for sharing their feelings. Let them know you appreciate the courage it took for them to talk with you and for trusting you to help them. If your kid seems to need  more help than you can provide, consult with an appropriate professional. You may want to start by talking to the school psychologist.

Be genuine. 

Try to avoid speaking from a script. Teens can tell when you’re not being genuine. If you are open, authentic and relaxed, it will help them to be the same. 

Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know. 

As a parent or teacher, it is OK to admit that you don’t have all the answers. However, if a kid or teen asks you something, you should make every effort to find an answer or someone who can help. 

Warning signs of suicide: Suicide is preventable. 

The two most important steps in preventing suicide are recognizing warning signs and getting help. Warning signs may include significant alcohol or drug use, a sudden drop in school performance or talking about death or hurting oneself. If you believe your child or student is in crisis, call 911 immediately and stay with him or her while help is on the way.

Posted by Holly Houston, Ph.D.
Original article can be viewed at

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    The Importance of Balance in Reducing Stress

    Today’s world is a busy world in which there is always more to be done.  More that we can do for others- our friends, our family, our children. And for many, there is always more that we can do at work. Higher productivity, more output.  Many feel pressure to skip their breaks or take a working lunch in order to meet demands placed on them, whether by their supervisor, or in other cases, demands placed on them by themselves.

    However, in doing all of those things, we are often making sacrifices that we are unaware of the long-term effects in that moment.  We sacrifice a healthy lunch to finish one more report. We sacrifice time with our family to stay late at work.  We sacrifice sleep to complete that costume for our children. 

    Now, not all sacrifices can or should be avoided.  However, we should take a closer look at what exactly we are sacrificing and to meet what outcome.  How important is the outcome in the grand scheme of things?  How important are the things that we are giving up?  What is important to you?  Family?  Children?  Career? Health? How do you choose which is most important?  How does that change day to day or even minute to minute? 

    The answers to these questions are not easy.  For many of us, all of those things carry some varying level of importance.  And, further, those things are often inexplicably intertwined. We need to focus on career so that we can provide for our family and children. We need to focus on our health so that we can continue to work, as well as be there with our family and children as long as possible.  It can be hard to separate out.

    So what do we do?  We have to strive to keep some balance.  Balance between the sacrifices we make for others, and balance to make sure that we are also caring for ourselves. If we don’t care for ourselves, we will be unable to continue to carry on caring for others. This means that we will need to set up boundaries for ourselves. We may need to say “no” to others. We may need to take time for ourselves to that we can recharge and recuperate so that we can finish that costume or those three reports that are due. We need to make sure that our needs are also on our list of priorities.  We need to rest, and enjoy ourselves, whether it’s allowing yourself to take that Saturday afternoon nap, or spending quality time enjoying your family, children, or friends. It’s about prioritizing what is important to you, and acting on those priorities in some meaningful way.

    And yes, sometimes we may need to be flexible with our priorities. If there is a project at work that needs to be completed within a designated time frame, we may need to put in a little extra time.  However, we need to also make sure that we are not sacrificing too much, too often so that we lose contact with the other priorities in our life.  

    Karen Rosian, Psy.D.
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist