“You want to arm me? Good. Then arm me with a school psychologist at my school who has time to do more than test and sit in meetings about testing. Arm me with enough counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussions with students about their future and not merely frantically adjust student schedules like a Jenga game. Arm me with social workers who can thoughtfully attend to a student's and her family's needs so I. Can. Teach. Arm me with enough school nurses so that they are accessible to every child and can work as a team with me rather than operate their offices as de facto urgent care centers. Arm me with more days on the calendar for teaching and learning and fewer days for standardized testing. Arm me with class sizes that allow my colleagues and I to know both our students and their families well. Arm my colleagues and I with the time it takes to improve together and the time it takes to give great feedback to students about their work and progress. Until you arm me to the hilt with what it will take to meet the needs of an increasingly vulnerable student population, I respectfully request you keep your opinions on schools and our safety to yourself, NRA. Knock it off.”—Mary Cathryn Ricker, President of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers.
What are the components of good counseling?
1. The client feels valued and unconditionally accepted. They can tell that the counselor is for them, and sees them as unique.
2. The counselor is warm and genuine.
3. The counselor creates an environment of safety and trust. Thus, the client can say what is on their mind, without the fear of being criticized or judged.
4. The counselor conveys empathy and understanding. They really seem to grasp what it’s like for the client.
5. The counselor is affirming, supportive and empowering. They help the client grow and change in positive ways.
6. The counseling or therapy is non-pathologizing. (So the person’s not the problem; the problem is the problem!)
7. The counselor works collaboratively with the client. Each person plays a role and contributes to the process.
8. The counselor brings direction and focus to the sessions. He or she maintains control, and can contain powerful emotions.
9. The counselor helps the client grow in insight and knowledge. They help them understand themselves, and their problems, much better.
10. The counselor’s is not afraid of exploring painful feelings, or to go beneath the surface – so the real problem’s addressed.
Challenging your thoughts isn’t something you should do in your head, as this can get messy and confusing. The best way is to write it down. To help you through the process, we suggest using a Thought Diary.
This helps you work through the challenging process step by step, on paper, making everything clearer and more helpful for you. The goal of working through a Thought Diary is to develop healthy and balanced beliefs. Start by thinking of a recent situation when you felt unhappy or distressed. You will need to practice challenging your thoughts many times before the process becomes easier and more automatic. Here are some guidelines on how to complete a Thought Diary:
Guidelines for Completing a Thought Diary
- Identify the ‘A’ or Activating Event. This may include an actual event or situation, a thought, a mental picture or a physical trigger.
- Identify the ‘C’ or Consequences. Ask yourself: “What emotion(s) was I feeling?” There may be a few. Choose the feeling that most closely represents the emotion you actually felt at the time and underline it. Rate the intensity of this emotion between 0 and 100. The higher the number the more intense the emotion. What actions/behaviours did you engage in? What physical sensations did you experience?
- Identify the ‘B’ or the Beliefs. Ask yourself: “What was I thinking? What was I saying to myself? What was going through my head at the time?”
- Identify the original thought. Choose the most distressing thought that is most closely connected to your emotion you underlined in Step 2. Don’t try to challenge all your unhelpful thoughts and beliefs at once. Take them on one by one. Underline your original thought and rate how much you believe this thought, between 0 and 100.
- Identify any unhelpful thinking styles that might be in operation, such as black and white thinking, catastrophizing & irrational thoughts.
- Detective work. Referring to the original thought, ask yourself: “What is the evidence for and against my original thought?”
- Challenge your Thoughts through Disputation. Ask youself questions such as: “How might someone else might view the situation? How else could I view the situation?”
- Develop balanced and helpful thoughts. After looking at all the evidence for and against your original thought, and having considered the disputation questions, replace the original thought with helpful, balanced thought(s).
- Re-rate the intensity of the emotion that you underlined in Step 2, between 0 and 100.
- Re-rate the strength of your original original thought, between 0 and 100.
3 Self-Care Strategies to Transform Your Life
Self-care is a touchy subject. That’s because our society largely views self-care as selfish, slothful and overly indulgent.
Yet, it’s anything but. Taking good care of yourself not only makes your life more fulfilling and contributes to your well-being, but it also extends to others.
In The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Richardson provides a variety of nurturing and empowering activities for readers to try. Below are three of them.1. Discover when, where, why and how you feel deprived.
First, it’s important to figure out where you feel deprived in your life. From there you have a good idea on how best to approach your self-care. Richardson suggests asking yourself these key questions:
- “Where do I feel deprived?
- What do I need more of right now?
- What do I need less of?
- What do I want right now?
- What am I yearning for?
- Who or what is causing me to feel resentful and why?
- What am I starving for?”
Be specific with your responses. As Richardson writes in her book, instead of saying “I feel deprived because I have no time to myself,” you might say, “I feel deprived of solitary, uninterrupted time away from my children and husband, which allows me to do something just for me, such as read a good novel, have lunch with a friend, or take a quiet bath.”2. Find your own rhythm and routine.
Routine isn’t boring. Rather, routine gives our lives stability, security, safety and serenity. And routine is rejuvenating. (Think of uplifting routines like getting enough sleep, participating in physical activities you enjoy and having a date night with your spouse or a girls’ or guys’ day out.)
To develop your own rhythm and routine, Richardson suggests asking yourself this powerful question: “What one routine could I put into place this month that would improve my life the most?”
Once you’ve named the routine, write it down on an index card. Then think of how you’ll schedule it into your life for the next 30 days. After a week of engaging in your new routine, consider if you feel more relaxed and healthier and less overwhelmed.3. Create an “absolute no list.”
Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you do. This list represents the things that you refuse to tolerate in your life. The ultimate goal, Richardson says, is to create a list that “makes you feel safe, protected, taken care of, and free to be your best self.”
She asked her friends what’s on their lists, and they give these great examples:
- Not rushing
- Not using credit cards unless you can pay them off fully at the end of the month
- Not keeping anything that you don’t love or need
- Not answering the phone during dinner
- Not participating in gossip.
According to Richardson, create your own list by “looking for those activities you no longer do, no longer want to do, or would like to give up at some point in the future.”
Also, she says to pay attention to the things that frustrate you. For instance, maybe you’re tired of volunteering for organizations that aren’t very organized, she says. Use that for your list! So you might write the following, according to Richardson: “I no longer volunteer for any organization that doesn’t have a concrete vision, plan and sufficient staffing.”
When creating your list, it also helps to pay attention to your body. When do you typically feel tension, tightness or aching? This might be a hint that this activity needs to go on your list.
Post your list in a visible place, and read through it every day.
Extreme self-care takes practice. At first it might seem awkward to say no to something or someone. At first, you might feel guilty for taking time for yourself. But with practice, it’ll become more natural and automatic. And you’ll notice that you feel a whole lot more fulfilled.
Adapted, clink on source to learn more!