Monthly Archives: June 2014

Parenting a Troubled Teen? – Understanding Co-Dependency

Parenting a Troubled TeenThere are many ways to define co-dependence and codependency among troubled teens. However, the essence of what definitions are getting at is that codependency among troubled teens leads to an inability to have mutually satisfying relationships with others. Trying to help a teen with codependency issues is no easy task. It is important to try not to get overly frustrated or lose hope, and know that there are ways to help.

In order to try to understand the effects of co-dependency among trouble teens let’s look at a fictional example of two different families:

In family one, there’s a mom, dad, older daughter, and a younger son. Mom and Dad are well aware of the fact that their son has been maxing out credit card after credit card on his expensive heroin addiction. Mom and dad let their son get away with maxed out credit cards, late nights of partying, and defiance towards all rules. It might be the case that mom and dad do not want their son to stray any further from their family than he already has, and for that reason they tolerate all his negative behaviors. What they also might be thinking is that by bailing him out of trouble, and giving him another chance it will ultimately lead to their son eradicating those negative behaviors on his own.

What might be difficult for this family to understand is that leniency is having a negative effect on their son’s life. Lashing out and disobedience can be signs of a person reaching out for a more intimate and emotional connection. Troubled teens with codependency issues often are unaware of constructive ways of getting parental attention; therefore they rebel and gain attention any way they can.

Now, let’s look at another example: In this family, Mom and Dad’s stance towards parenting stands a greater chance of being helpful. Instead of putting the relationship between them and their son on the back-burner, they actively try to become involved in what he is doing. They provide their son with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about his life, positive reinforcement, and emphasize the power he has to forge his future. Instead of creating an imbalanced relationship wherein one party has all the power, they have created something much more productive; a son who is able to think for himself, who has positive role models, and who is not afraid to ask for help.

Troubled teens with codependency issues are often in relationships where there is a power imbalance; they let the feelings and actions of another person affect them to the point that they feel like they have lost control of their own lives.

If you struggle with a teenager who is showcasing signs of co-dependence, or better yet, if you would like to avoid going down that path all together, practice good communication. Create relationships based on trust, instead of threats. Talk to your teenagers about the importance of learning self-worth, about how people in relationships should be able to speak without fear and with confidence that they will be heard and appreciated.

If your teenager needs help with issues of codependency, or if you as a parent struggle with the same issues, come to Solutions Treatment Center. Our IOP includes a family therapy component that can start mending a relationship in need of a little TLC.

Understanding Anger

Understanding AngerIn my first job as a mental health counselor, one of my clinical supervisors taught me something that has always stuck with me. He said that “all anger comes from fear or pain.” This was a simple sentence that has had a profound impact on my ability to be present with clients even in their anger and rage.

If you add the word shame to this theory, after 16 years I can honestly say that I have never worked with a client with chronic anger issues for whom this was not true. I have learned how important it is to look at what is underneath the anger and to have compassion for the individual for whatever it was that originally created that condition.

In the book Anger Alcoholism and Addiction, authors Ronald and Patricia Potter-Efron list some of the most common ways that chronic anger can serve someone.

If you think that inappropriate anger might be getting in the way of what you want for yourself, or if you’ve been told that you may have an issue with anger, Solutions: Santa Fe can help.

Our treatment team is highly skilled at helping people find emotional balance, and teaching anger management skills including breathing techniques, mindfulness tools, and uncomplicated cognitive behavioral suggestions (CBT).

We also offer specialized services such as acupuncture and Reiki sessions, both of which have been successful in helping people who are dealing with anger management issues.

Amy Lashway, MA, LPC, NCC

Solutions – we can help you find your way again. Call one of our intake counselors for a free consultation – 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.

Musings on Happiness

Musings on HappinessIn a society where happiness is thought to be something that can be accomplished by an external force or object such as relationships, wealth, or beauty, it is no wonder why we have such trouble being happy and remaining happy in our lives.

There are plenty of people who think, “If only I had more money I would be happy, it would fix all my problems.” Others may think, “If only I was thinner, stronger, or more attractive I would be able to feel good, be able to succeed in life, and be happy.” Many others think, “If only I could find the right person to spend my life with, then I would feel complete and be happy.” Every person has that one thing, that golden ticket, which they believe will make them happy. These external forces may bring us some temporary happiness and a sense of wholeness, but they are not long-term solutions. Without other tools, they will leave us feeling empty and unresolved.

So, the question remains: What do I need to do to be happy? We have all heard advice from other people about what we should do and what really works for them. To truly be happy, and the only thing that holds for each individual,is to look within: Stop looking outside for the answers. Sometimes when we look inside ourselves we do not like what we see and we find that it is easier to blame others for our shortcomings. Instead of blaming others or even being hard on ourselves, try looking at yourself without judgment and take notice of what is going on. Do you find that there are areas in your life that you struggle with constantly? Areas that are in constant repeat, preventing you from living a fulfilling life? If so, maybe it’s time to take a look at these areas and consider how you can fulfill your needs in a healthy and productive manner. The result is a happy life.

Although we do have common needs as people, each person has different struggles, goals, and preferences. As such, the first step is really getting to know yourself and who you really are. This is not easy, as there are so many subtle expectations in society that bombard us and prevent us from realizing our true needs. Once you know who you are, what you need and–equally important–what you do not need, you can begin the journey of happiness and joy.

Some people look inward with tools like meditation, prayer, or therapy. There are also ways to express these inner feelings and needs with art, music, reading, or writing. Once we look inward, and better know what we need, there is opportunity to embark on a journey and live a life that brings us happiness. It is very hard work, it will challenge you. You will have to constantly work toward it and better yourself and see yourself as worthy of the best. When working toward happiness you will need to work on communicating your needs, taking responsibility for your actions, forgiving yourself and others, and experience your emotions fully. We are often so full of so many things that there is no room for happiness, so emptying ourselves of these burdens and weights that we carry around grants us more room for happiness.

Remember, we are human and we make mistakes. We have our sad days, and we have our bad days. There are road blocks and frustrations in everyone’s life. This is inevitable. Once we know more about ourselves, though, we will be more kind to ourselves and to others when something unpleasant comes up. We can allow ourselves to feel sad or disappointed but know in our hearts that there is hope, joy, and happiness at our core.

Perhaps the most exciting part about going through this journey is that we become better at building and maintaining relationships, while simultaneously attracting like-minded people and great opportunities in our lives.