Solutions Treatment Center Blog

Musings and interesting content by Solutions' staff and directors

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.

Anxiety Help Checklist

  • Anxiety Help ChecklistExcessive worry
  • Restlessness, edginess that lasts longer than an hour or so, a few days a week
  • Feeling tired for no reason
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating; sometimes your mind just goes blank
  • Sleep disturbances; it takes a long time to fall asleep, waking up in the night with a racing mind
  • Fearful thoughts that occur frequently
  • Feeling sometimes as though you need something to stop your mind from racing, thus overindulging in too many sweets or other foods.
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs (or regularly take some sort of pill – whether it is over-the-counter or a prescription) to help you get through your day or fall asleep

We can help you if you discover that you are struggling with two of these (or more) on a few days every week.

Solutions Treatment Center offers help with anxiety issues. Call one of our counselors now for a free consultation 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.

The Importance of Clinical Supervision

Good clinical supervision is essential for assuring a therapy practice or treatment center is offering the best clinically driven, ethical, client centered services possible. While most clinicians and licensed therapists are required to obtain a certain number of supervision hours for their private practices, unfortunately, many facilities and treatment centers do no place enough (if any) emphasis on their treatment teams getting good, consistent clinical supervision on an ongoing basis.

Clinical supervision provides a number of benefits for therapists and the staff as a whole:

  • Clinical supervision can help staff to identify and cope with the personal and professional stressors inherent in working in the mental health and addictions field. This is especially true for those who work with people who may be dealing with difficult issues and can be damanding as clients. Clinical supervision provides a safe and confidential place to explore their own personal and emotional reactions or “counter transference” issues that may otherwise get in the way of a healthy therapeutic alliance.
  • Clinical supervision can allow the therapist to reflect on their own history and personal experiences that may otherwise, subconsciously affect the client therapist relationship. They can receive feedback and recommendations from another professional on their approach/style that is separate from management or evaluative considerations.
  • Clinical supervision can be an aspect of the therapist’s professional development, and also help to identify developmental needs as well as professional goals and interests.

Clinical supervison can prevent burn out and increase staff retention. Working with mental health and addiction issues is emotionally taxing and without good boundaries, one can easily burn out and feel like quitting. The support of a good clincial supervisor can make all the difference, build staff morale and improve team work.

Clinical supervision can contribute to meeting requirements of professional bodies and regulatory requirements for continuing professional development (where applicable).

At Solutions Treatment Center we recognize the value of excellent clinical supervision and have reaped the rewards. Liz Cervio has been offering supervision to our therapists, counselors and interns for the past year, and we are happy to offer a training titled:

The Supervisory Relationship~Co-creating a Therapeutic Container

Saturday, May 31st 9am to noon.

For more information see our events tab

Art and Healing

art and healingIt is an accepted notion in many circles that making art serves a healing function, and even, sometimes, that art itself can be an agent of healing. Shamanic art-making, if you will. “Poet Antonin Artaud spent … years in psychiatric wards for his recurrent bouts of insanity. His view — that art first heals the artist and subsequently helps heal others — is an ancient one” (Kay Redfield Jamison, in Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, p. 121).

“In his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche introduced the art of medicine: ‘Here, when the danger to his will is greatest, art approaches as a saving sorceress, expert at healing’” (Shaun McNiff, in Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination, p. 48).

Also from the same book comes the following: “Many artists view art as serious psychological inquiry: William Blake, D. H. Lawrence, Frida Kahlo, Charlotte Salomon, the surrealists. … . Pioneering depth psychologists such as C. G. Jung and Otto Rank realized that the arts are the channels through which the soul speaks… “ (ibid, p. 43).

Dr. Janos Marton, visionary director of The Living Museum, says, “Self-transformation is the objective of all art … (In the Flow, p. 13).

A description of how art might be considered as an object of healing comes from Tom Crockett, in The Artist Inside: A Spiritual Guide to Cultivating Your Creative Self. He says that “The work of a shaman is healing, empowering, enlightening, enchanting. The shaman-as-artist, or dream artist, does this work through images and artifacts. … . When you manifest spirit in material form, you bind your community together and weave yourself inextricably into it” (p. xix).

And Pat Allen, in Art as a Way of Knowing, has this to say about art objects holding energy, capable even of communication. “As you pass by an image, with no real effort, it will begin to speak to you, you will notice things about it” (p. 12).

She goes on to explain:

Remember that the image is the messenger of your soul and never comes to harm you. The misperception of the art school critique is that the image needs to be improved through criticism. The misperception of art therapy is that the image must be analyzed. Both approaches try to overpower the image with intellect. The image needs to be known, seen fully with loving attention and encouraged to speak, treated as you would treat an ambassador from a different world. Then it will develop and reveal itself according to its own logic. (p. 60)

In many indigenous cultures, there can be found examples of art objects considered to be healing objects, although the discussion becomes murky very quickly when we remember that in many of these cultures, the very idea of art as separate from life does not exist. Talismans, amulets, sacred shells and feathers, the ancient Druidic circles of stones — the list is almost endless — with accounts reaching back as far as recorded history. One small example comes from Ethiopia.

Healing art in Ethiopia has its origins in ancient Greek, Islamic, and Jewish mysticism. Abstract in concept and form, with roots in the Old Testament, it predates the New Testament narrative style of drawing. Talismans are not only visual art but also prayer, medicine, and ritual act. They are made by clerics of the Ethiopian Christian Orthodox SYTM Church, who are on their knees as they draw, a humbling constraint. The purpose of talismans is to rid the human body of the demonic spirits that are causing physical or mental problems. … . Recognized as extraordinary works in Ethiopia and by whoever sees them, they are both engaging art and powerful medicine. (Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM, 2004)

Objects and places (not discussed here) have been, and continue to be understood by millions as imbued with sacred spiritual energies. It is only in contemporary Western culture that this idea is considered to be “woo-woo,” pejoratively new-aged, denigrated.

There are many techniques to help guide you deeper into your own knowing, your own universe of subtle energies and transpersonal guidance. This knowledge, these experiences, then become the doorways into shamanic art-making.

Dr. Melanie Harth

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.

Understanding Depression

Depression HelpWhy can’t I just get over how sad I’m feeling?

Frequently those who have suffered from marked periods of sadness have asked themselves this very question. However, answering that question along with understanding the healing process isn’t always so simple. Since we all feel blue or sad at one time or another, it’s normal to feel this way for short periods of time. Yet when one experiences depression, they often encounter feelings of sadness, inadequacy, and worthlessness.  Therefore there is a difference between someone feeling sadness and someone experiencing depression.

What is the difference between sadness and depression?

A major difference between the two are the feelings of sadness– that come and go. Provided that the moments of sadness are brief– we consider it a natural part of the human experience. Whereas when one experiences depression it adversely affects their quality of life and hinders their day-to-day living. Seeing as sadness and depression tend to go hand in hand it makes it difficult to determine whether you or a loved one is depressed or just feeling periodically sad.

To help you identify whether it is depression or sadness we have listed some symptoms of depression to include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Marked changes in appetite
  • Agitation or restlessness

Who experiences depression?

Did you know that one in 10 adults in the U.S. report feeling depressed, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making depression treatment one of the most addressed mental illnesses today? 

Considering some sufferers may be involved in an abusive relationship, others may have financial or legal problems. These unresolved issues from the past can be the cause for depression in the present. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression what can you do to help? 

Whatever the cause of the depression — and no matter how mild or severe — Solutions Treatment Center, in Santa Fe, is here to help.  We offer comprehensive treatment options that include, but are not limited to: one-on-one counseling, life skills coaching, group counseling and process art therapy.

Our highly-experienced clinical team believes in addressing the whole person by getting to the root of underlying pains and past traumas in an effort to heal and rebuild the individual. With the energetic and highly-trained staff at Solutions, depression help is right around the corner — a more productive life awaits you and/or your loved ones.

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.

Understanding Anxiety

Understanding AnxietyAnxiety is a low-level fear response. It can be generalized — we often or even most of the time feel a little bit uneasy, even without a specific reason. We begin to think that feeling anxious is normal. We can get so used to the feeling of generalized anxiety that we don’t remember what it’s like to feel calm and relaxed.

The feeling of anxiety can also be triggered by something specific, such as remembering something unpleasant when we see a color, or smell something that reminds us of that first event. Sometimes a situation, such as taking a test or going someplace new, can trigger an anxious feeling.

Wondering if you suffer from anxiety? Visit our Anxiety Checklist…

Anxiety can range from occasionally feeling worried to experiencing daily panic attacks. It can be connected with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and specific phobias.

The good news? There is a lot of help for anxiety. It is very treatable. We can develop new behaviors, and remember what it’s like to feel calm and relaxed. And it can be a pretty simple process for many people who suffer from anxiety.

We offer anxiety solutions. You can learn to manage anxiety without medication, or learn to use less medication in the cases that are more severe. Use proven, holistic tools such as easy breathing techniques, basic positive psychology skills, and uncomplicated cognitive behavioral suggestions (CBT), you can successfully manage and even overcome anxiety.

We also offer specialized services such as acupuncture and Reiki sessions, both of which have been very successful in helping diminish or minimize the effects of anxiety.

Dr. Melanie Harth

Solutions Treatment Center – an exceptional treatment program at an affordable price. Call us to learn more about anxiety help – free counseling available now – 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.