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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finding Love at Your Workplace

February is the month of love, but office romances can make the job workplace an uncomfortable place for fellow employees and employers. Let's look at office romances and the things you need to know before you bring your love life into your workplace setting.

Employers are taking steps to limit or restrict office romances. What are some of the current trends?
• Contracting (Employees are required to sign a formal contract that they will not date other employees within a facility, and stating the employer is free of any liability if a suit or disagreement arises between two employees)
• Employer restrictions (Employers note that there is a conflict of interest if two employees begin to date and insist that one employee must leave the department)
• Providing outside counseling (Employees are referred to outside professionals for assistance establishing boundaries and procedures to maintain appropriate role separations in their work and leisure life.)

What are some of the fears relating to office romances?

• Many employers and co-workers believe that office relationship diverts employees from focusing on work tasks.
• Many employees who date fear that these relationships will endanger to their own careers.
• Often romantic couples are discounted on the ladder of promotions.
• Conflicts in the office are generally more emotionally charged than normal office disagreements, and may tend to separate and polarize employees forced to “take a side” in a romantic battle.

If you can’t resist an office romance- what are some keys to success?

• Be prepared: Realize that co-workers may be hostile and there can be difficulties. Create a plan if things don’t go well in the relationship.
• Be direct: If the attraction is serious, speak directly about your interests and intentions. Make every effort to not allow your personal relationship interfere with your working relationship.
• Maintain appropriate behaviors: Keep romantic gestures away from work. Watch favoritism toward your partner and never bring fights to the office.
• Be professional: Continue to maintain a high level of work performance, and don’t lose sight of your professional responsibilities

Friday, February 4, 2011

How much do you know about women & self esteem?

Self-Esteem & Women

1. The family is a strong force in development of self-esteem

2. Parental approval is crucial in nurturing self esteem

3. There is little correlation between achievement and healthy self esteem

4. Self esteem is an external versus an internal issue

5. Healthy self-esteem can be bolstered by achievements during personal adversity

1. True. Self-esteem is defined, as an appreciation for one’s self, a positive self-attitude, a belief in one’s abilities, trusting one’s decisions, and a belief that one is competent and powerful. The basic element of self-esteem is love and acceptance of self through recognition of strengths and forgiveness for weaknesses. Skills leading to positive self-esteem are gained during the early developmental years. The main sources for skill development during these early years are family, friends, and schools.
2. True. Parents who withdraw or neglect showing approval to their children hamper the development of healthy self-esteem. Adults who have healthy self-esteem have been reinforced by someone who defined them as worthy, capable, and loveable during their early development.
3. False. Achievement and accomplishments which were nurtured or praised lead to the development of positive self-esteem. When we learn that we have worth, or are capable of achieving our goals, our self-esteem escalates.
4. False. Self-esteem is something that develops within and can not be attained merely through the approval of others. Self-esteem is an inside job, and can be built upon at any stage of our life.
5. True. Whenever we face personal adversity, we have the opportunity to learn about our personal strengths and abilities. By focusing on our ability to cope, survive and be resilient, we foster our self-esteem and self-confidence.

Self-esteem can be fostered and enhanced at any age. We have the ability to build skills and create a healthier sense of self-worth and esteem. As women develop a positive regard for their accomplishments, they learn to nurture their worth through praising their successes. We also enhance our self-esteem by taking control of our lives. A sense of control can be achieved through establishing financial self-sufficiency, mastering a project or career, through positive parenting, or through feeling competent to manage daily affairs. Esteem is built through experiences, which reinforce our belief that we are valuable and important. It is enhanced when we feel we are needed, and we have a purpose in life. For many people, self-esteem & confidence are enhanced by living in accordance with personal values and beliefs.

What are some means of increasing your self-esteem?
• Cultivate friendships. When we create healthy relationships with other people, we enhance the feelings that we are likable and worthy.
• Treat yourself kindly. It is impossible to foster healthy self-esteem when we feed our soul and fill our mind with negative self-talk. It is essential that we minimize the focus on failure and maximize positive self-talk and affirmations. Focusing on what you do well, versus what you do poorly. Make note of positive changes you make in your life. Notice your accomplishments and become your own cheerleader.
• Do something every day that makes you feel valuable. Worth is fostered through living each day with purpose. Value can be derived through simple acts of kindness to others as well as through accomplishing tasks, duties, or goals.
• Take risks and face your fears. The best way to increase belief in yourself is to take a risk and learn you can trust yourself. Whenever we face our personal limitations and try to make changes, we build our self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-esteem.
• Use empowering self-statements Research has shown that writing a positive self-statements (affirmations) ten times a day for 21 days will bring about a change. Affirmations are simple to create. They need to be positive, affirming, and state something you would like to create in your life.

How Do you Choose a Therapist?

Choosing a therapist…

If your finances are out of control, or having difficulties with expenses, income or taxes… you would hire a consultant. If you find yourself out of shape, you might also hire a trainer or consultant. Why should your mental health be any different? Think about it…isn’t your mental and emotional well being as important as your physical health or your finances?

But how do you find a good mental health consultant – a mental health professional? If you watch television or listen to the radio, you might believe that anyone could give advice and “fix” your mental health concerns. Obviously, Dr. Laura and other pop counselors make therapy look almost trite and minimize the emotional impact of life changing events. But, then how many of you know Dr. Laura doesn’t have a Ph.D. in psychology? Not in counseling either…. Dr. Laura actually isn’t a licensed psychotherapist, licensed social worker, licensed marriage therapist, or a licensed counselor… her Ph.D. is actually not even in the helping professions. Surprised? Would anyone hire a consultant who actually doesn’t have a degree or license in his or her specialization? Of course not, and that’s why it is important to gather some information and education before you seek a professional counselor.

First of all, it is important that you understand the differences between all the psychobabble of designations within the field of psychology.
• Psychiatrists are physicians (M.D) who have completed a 3-year psychiatric residency program following medical school. They are the only one who can prescribe medications for mental health concerns and generally focus on medication management and assessment.
• Psychologists generally hold a Ph.D. but there are also master’s degree (M.A) level psychologists. Generally psychologist specialize in testing, assessment, and evaluation and many times do individual, couples and family therapy.
• Clinical social workers, Professional counselors, and Marriage and Family therapists generally hold a master’s degree in their respective disciplines, but many are also Ph.D. such as myself. These clinicians generally specialize in counseling and effective treatment options and work in agencies, hospitals, or private practice.

Now, we move to the next interesting area… some people call themselves therapists, or counselors, or clinicians and they are not degreed. Generally, social workers, professional therapists and marriage and family therapists hold a minimum of a master’s degree. This minimum degree is necessary for therapist to be licensed in the State of Illinois. So be careful, make sure that your prospective therapist has an appropriate degree, and is licensed by the State of Illinois (which insures they meet state requirements regarding competence, ethical standards, continuing education, and educational requirements). But additionally, some therapists are also certified in specializations such as addictions. These specializations or certifications indicate expertise in an area of treatment, but are not regulated by the State of Illinois. Generally certified therapists gain their specialization from a group or agency which regulates to make sure they attain continuing education as well as meet ethical standards. Obviously, you want the best consultant for your own well-being… so look for a therapist who is Licensed by the State of Illinois and has certification in areas they report are specialization in their counseling practice.

Think you’ve got it figured out now…. Not quite! There are Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Social Workers--- but that is quite different from Licensed CLINICAL professional counselors and Licensed CLINICAL Social Workers. Actually the term “Clinical” indicates these clinicians hold a minimum of 2 years of supervised experience as well as meeting the requirements of the State of Illinois. These CLINICAL specialists are generally on managed care lists such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Caterpillar, State of Illinois, etc.

Now you are totally confused? The key concept is the importance of asking questions and getting the making sure you are working with someone who actually is trained to help with your concerns.

But what are you looking for in a therapist?
• Therapists who is trained to understand your emotional distress and the process of emotional healing
• Therapist who is nonjudgmental (neutral) and maintains confidentiality and privacy
• Therapist who is willing to provide support for self-expression and not give advice.
• Therapist who provides appropriate and ethical treatment for mental health issues.
• Therapist who assists in breaking destructive patterns, destructive thoughts and actions.
• Therapist who can maintain a sense of realistic hope and options during difficult times.
• Therapist who maintains a professional relationship and suggests referrals to other professionals or area resources when appropriate.
• Therapist who is honest, and treats each client with respect and concern.
• Therapist who is willing to assist with investigation of options in a timely manner.

But where can you find a therapist? Most people find therapists through personal referrals. Most people generally go to someone who has helped a friend, family member, acquaintance or colleague. Your family doctor, primary health care provider or clergy might be an excellence source of referral. Or many people consult the yellow pages under headings such as counselors, psychologists or Physicians-Psychiatry. But a note to the wise… the most important element of choosing a therapist is matching your needs with someone who you feel comfortable with… and who you believe has the expertise to assist in making the changes you desire.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What conversational style do you use?

Conversational styles: Are Men and Women the same?

We all know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but what does that mean in a real “day to day” living arrangement? Generally speaking women are talkers and men are generally “doers.” These differences make for great blending, but they can also create some difficult problems for many couples.

Does gender really break down into talkers and non-talkers?
• It may not be all that simple, but generally women get a boost of oxytocin, the feel good hormone when they speak to others.
• Men get this same boost, but testosterone blunts the effect and talking is generally not as much of a “high” for them
• Women generally are circular talkers- meaning they talk around an issue to give you a “holistic” view of the discussion.
• Men are typically direct talkers and speak quickly and to the point with as few words as necessary
• Of course there are exceptions to these concepts because we are all individuals and unique

Are there some ways to communicate better considering the differences?
• If you are a talker, slow down so the non-talker can absorb your conversation
• If you are a talker, ask questions and get the other person involved
• If you are a non-talker use simple cues to let the talker know that you are listening. Nod your head, say, “I hear you”, or “I think I can see how you felt that way.”
• Set aside talking time as well as time to just relax without conversation

Are there some things that men could do to enhance their conversational relationship with women?
• listen to them and offer no solutions. Women want to be heard and figure out their own solutions
• Learn reflecting skills – make statements that show you understand
• Make eye contact, try a gentle touch or holding a hand when listening
• Understand the importance of “TALKING” in a women’s life

What can women do to enhance their conversational relationships with men?

• Notice and offer appreciation to men. Men value noticing that they are doing things that care for those they love.
• Give lots of compliments with men. Men need to feel appreciated
• Allow men to have free time to sort, analyze, think. Cave time is essential for men and they need quiet time to work through things in their own way.
• Use direct and short conversations so men can “really hear” what you are saying.

Grateful people have more

Grateful People Have More

Did you know that grateful people have more? They have good health, they have a higher happiness quotient and they have a higher rate of self esteem and confidence. So we’ll look at how you can have what they have in a few easy steps.

Tell us more about the research about grateful people.

• Those who frequently feel grateful are those who have larger social connections, and tend to be less depressed, less anxious, sleep more soundly, exercise regularly and tend to resist viral infections
• We also know that children who are taught gratefulness tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, have less headaches and stomach aches
• Children who are gratefulness training at an early age tend to be more satisfied with their lives and tend to have a greater desire to give back to others and their society

What is the key element for fighting our society’s need for materialism and envy?
• Researchers in the Journal of Happiness state that the best way to fight materialism and greed is to teach someone to be grateful and see what they have vs. what is missing.
• There are simple keys that can be done each day to enhance our gratefulness quotient

What are those keys?
• Change your mind. Instead of looking at the five things that bother you during the day, focus on the five things that went well during the day. The change in focus will be life changing
• Focus on blessings. This is not a religion lesson, but just a statement that those who see life filled with blessings vs. crisis are those who are more fulfilled and happy
• Hang with the “right” people. Find people who tend to look at the positives vs. live in criticism, negatives, and gripes. This may mean that you might have to alter some of your friendships, or you could create a new bond with a friend to really work together to change the way in which you look at life
• Look at people in a new way. Focus on what they have brought to your life, vs. what you have given to theirs. When you look at people in this way we tend to see how others enhance our lives in small ways that we might not even notice.
• Being grateful is as simple as thank you. I’m not talking about the standard, just say it thank you—but a heart felt thank you. When we focus on really looking, we can take the time to really feel what others do for us, what we have, and how our life is filled with just what we need.

What happened to the sun? Seasonal Affective Disorder

The snow is falling and the skies are gray and you find yourself down and wanting to just stay in bed. The days seem to pass without seeing a single ray of sunlight. Welcome to the time when many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is believed 10-17% of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which some call winter depression.

Let’s see how much you knows about SAD

• Seasonal affective disorder can only affect you during the winter months?
1. True
2. False

• How is Seasonal Affective Disorder differ from clinical depression?
1. SAD is not like depression at all- it is entirely different set of symptoms
2. SAD is a milder illness and patients are unlikely to experience major depression
3. SAD is just like depression except for the time of the year it occurs

• Tanning beds effectively treat SAD
1. True
2. False

• What deficiency in Vitamin might be linked to SAD?
1. Vitamin A
2. Vitamin B
3. Vitamin C
4. Vitamin D

What are the common characteristics of SAD?

• Depression, cravings for carbohydrates, weight gain, fatigue, loss of energy, and feelings of worthlessness. These symptoms are all common effects due to the loss of sunlight
• Typically, SAD occurs 4 times as many times in women and the average age of onset is 23 years old.
• Additionally, many sufferers notice low self esteem, anxiety, obsessive worry and an inability to feel joy.
What are the typical treatments for SAD?
• Light therapy is the most effective and usually done with a specially made light box composed for 10,000 lux. Patients sit 10-15 minutes a day up to 30-45 minutes to minimize effects
• Counseling to learn techniques to minimize depression, learn techniques to deal with coping
• Most effective is light therapy combined with counseling and if needed the use of antidepressants.