Rindie Eagle, MA, LPCC
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
From around the web

It’s been seven months since living in our coronavirus reality.  Activities and normal ways of living are modified or all together blocked for many of us as we continue to ride our personal waves of angst, fear, preoccupation, anger, worry, frustration and sadness.  One thing most of us can all relate to is the felt sense of disconnection.  Whether you are generally out and spending time with a social pod or in a high risk group and home a lot, very careful with interactions, most of us have experienced far less contact with loved ones, broader friend groups and larger social experiences than before.  It’s hard to believe we took for granted activities like youth sports, live music venues, large weddings and unbridled travel.  They feel like distant memories for most of us now.
For me, there are many people in my community I ran into regularly who I haven’t seen for months because we have pulled into smaller and tighter groupings.  I recently went to a grocery store I don’t normally and  ran into a baseball dad.  We are more or less on an acquaintance level but we stopped and chatted for many minutes, both of us seeming to be

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

These are unprecedented times and we as a nation are being pulled tightly.  Tensions have been exceedingly high as we waited for election results and it continues since the election was called.  For months I’ve witnessed and engaged in difficult conversations fueled by primal feelings on both sides.  Anger, rage, fear, passion and righteousness have saturated communities across the country.
Let’s all remember we are humans having a wide range of emotional responses and it will all of us, no matter what side, to stay grounded and mindful that people are either ecstatic or deeply disappointed right now.
We are all human and need to allow adequate space for feelings to be processed before reacting in ways that might be more damaging   As much anger that has been whipped up, my hope is that we can all pause, reflect and be compassionate for the overall human experience in this country.
Healing relationships and healing this country hold some similarities; acknowledging pain, avoiding inflaming bad feelings with gloating and self-soothing feelings of hopelessness and despair will all be part of a process to give us a fighting chance for the nation to repair itself.  If we don’t take a healing approach, we are at

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Richard Nicastro, PhD examines a number of reasons clients can feel like they aren’t getting what they need out of therapy.  A lack of personality fit or therapist’s theoretical orientation mismatch for the person are just a few of them.
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There are numerous reasons why clients end therapy. The most obvious is that the clients feel ready to take what they’ve learned from therapy into their lives. Another common reason is that the circumstances of a client’s life have changed and the therapy has become less of a necessity because of these changes. In these instances, there is a natural stepping away from the therapy out of a reduced need for it.
But there are times when clients end therapy because it isn’t working for them for some reason; or more specifically, there was something about a particular therapist/counselor that didn’t work for them. The client might have felt that there wasn’t a good fit between their personality and the therapist’s personality; or that the therapist’s particular way of working (which is guided by a counselor’s theoretical orientation) didn’t resonate for the client.
These situations are unfortunate because, unlike the first scenarios, the clients would have benefited from continuing therapy and weren’t seeking

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Many are undulating through waves of worry and sadness as we experience the effects of COVID-19.  Our lives look very different from how they did 6 months ago.  Dr. Richard Nicastro, PhD looks at the connection between depression and anxiety and the importance of addressing them.  
If you’ve ever experienced depression, you may be one of the many individuals who have also experienced anxiety at the same time. The reverse is also true: many people who have experienced anxiety have also simultaneously suffered from depression. Indeed, research shows that anxiety and depression often occur together.
When depression and anxiety coexist, each can feed the other, which is why for treatment to be effective, it must address both. However, sometimes it’s hard to identify that there are two conditions present.

In my capacity as psychologist/therapist for over twenty years, I’ve worked with many individuals suffering from concurrent depression and anxiety. Although each of their stories is unique, general similarities within the struggles often exist.
While it’s true that no one person can speak for everyone who has experienced depression or anxiety (or any emotional pain, for that matter), it can be helpful for those in pain to know that others understand and that they’re not alone

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

“Gaslighting” is a great word because it so vividly describes the feeling one has when on the receiving end.  It’s as if there is a match repeatedly being struck under you but then blown out to leave you wondering if it was lit in the first place.  With gaslighting, the sudden little fires is the toxic behavior slowly leaving psychological burn marks.   You may even start to stop trusting your own instincts or even what is happening right in front of you.
 

I never said that.  You must have misunderstood me.
 
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, often subtle at first, in which seeds of doubt are intentionally sown in a targeted person or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment.  It’s a form of psychological abuse involving an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information.  Victims of gaslighting often eventually lose touch with truth.  They become compliant and their self esteem whittled down as as they get further emotionally embedded with the abuser.
The goal of the gaslighter is to make the victim(s) question their reality and create a dependence on them.  It often happens in intimate relationships but can also occur

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

For those who feel swamped with bad news.  Rick Hanson, PhD discusses the brain’s negativity bias and the importance of being able to recognize the positive things too.
Why find the good news?
“Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science – and the foundation of healthy relationships, communities, and countries.
But the truth of things is complicated. To simplify, there is the good of things that are enjoyable and helpful, the bad of things that are painful and harmful, and the neutral of things that are neither.
We need to recognize genuinely bad news for our own sake and to take care of others. But we also need to recognize good news: things that are useful, reassuring, inspiring, opportunities, solutions, etc.
The Brain’s Negativity Bias
Unfortunately, we have a brain that generally fixates on bad news and brushes past good news. Over the 600 hundred million year evolution of the nervous system, our ancestors:

Had to avoid two kinds of mistakes: (1) thinking that there’s a tiger in the bushes but actually all is well, or (2) thinking that all is well while actually there is a tiger about to pounce. What’s the cost of the first mistake? Just needless worry. But what’s the potential cost

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

This is a very hard time; our emotional health and physical well-being are being challenged in pandemic life.  We are trying to figure out how to be safe, care for our children and for many, assure even basic survival needs are met like income to pay for food and shelter.
Marriage and long term relationships are also taking the brunt of the stress of COVID-19.  Some relationships have benefitted from the additional time together but many have been pulled tight, especially if there were unresolved issues between the couple before.  Anxiety can strain an already tense relationship.  For many holding things together for themselves and their families, the marriage is not being prioritized.
During such difficult and uncertain times, couples need to feel as secure as possible to weather this storm together.  If your marriage feels disconnected or otherwise in jeopardy, find time to stabilize it as well as possible now, as it is the foundation under which your entire family rests.  One thing we know is things are uncertain, likely for months to come, with health, school impact and other consequences of this situation still unfolding.
Emotional safety and relationship health between the walls of your home are more important than ever,

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

I recently was invited to partner with Samantha Foster, President of the nonprofit organzation, Rethink Mental Health Incorporated.  She was looking for mental health advocates to help support her in her mission to encourage those struggling emotionally to talk about it and reach out for help.  Samantha hopes everyone will “rethink” the stigma associated with having mental health issues. At RethinkStigma.org, you can find COVID-19 support, articles, educational tools like the H.E.A.R.T. social and emotional learning program for schools and more.
With COVID-19, people have more need than maybe ever to process their stress, fear, worries and sadness around the continued losses and change in the way of life.  Sadness can ooze into clinical depression just like angst can morph into a full blown anxiety disorder.  There is nothing fundamentally “wrong” with you if you need help.
Here are a few words from Samantha herself on her journey:
“All my life I have experienced mental health issues in the form of my emotionally abusive upbringing, my previously unmanaged borderline personality disorder, and my battles with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. At the young age of 12 I was misdiagnosed with bipolar which led to 10 years of being prescribed numerous high-dosage medications that

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

We may be in it for the long haul with our unwelcome guest, COVID-19.  No one knows much about anything regarding how this pans out but what we do know if there has been a massive impact of families across the globe as they’ve done their best to adapt to the changes in school, work, finances, social routines, etc.
Kids and Anxiety
The mental health consequences are significant, not only for those managing anxiety, depression and discomfort with uncertainty but for kids who are less equipped to process the pandemic.  They have been pulled from their normal routines and change can already be challenging for children, in particular.  A normal response is anxiety which may be harder to detect or be misread.
Parent Stress and Working from Home / Home Schooling for Kids
A major challenge has been for parents trying to work at home while managing school work for their children.  Parents are wearing more hats than they ever imagined and weren’t trained for, sometimes causing overwhelm and conflict in families.  A clever company is now offering  virtual babysitting services to lighten the load and give parents breathing room to get to their own jobs or time for themselves.  Some children are no

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Elise Hu, NPR correspondent and Millennial (the “loneliest generation”), shares her need for connection during the global pandemic.  In her worry and loneliness she wrote letters to 50 strangers across America. 
A week into California’s stay-at-home order, when our now-familiar mix of anxious, lonely and restless feelings were still brand new, I craved connection. But not the kind available from a screen. Inside my wallet I found 10 stamps leftover from the holidays, and I put out a tweet: “Today I am going to write letters to send through the post … [Direct message] me your snail mail address if you want a random letter. But heads up I only have 10 stamps & they are of Santa.”
On the first day, I wrote to strangers in Arizona, California, Missouri, New York, Texas and Washington. The next day, I wrote to an 11-year-old who was born in Plano, Texas, where I grew up. I wrote to a USPS letter carrier from Minnesota who requested a letter for himself. The 10 stamps ran out quickly, so I restocked. By the time I was finished sending an analog paper letter to anyone who requested one, I’d written 50 letters to addresses in every state

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com