News | Kay Trotter

By Appointment : Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm & Saturday 8:00 to noon
  Contact : (214) 499-0396

News

How to help after a disaster

Thank you Kathy Gambino, Angleton, TX for this great list of ways we can help those affected by the Hurricane Harvey and the historic flooding.

Hurricane Harvey has brought “500-year” rainfall and flood conditions to the Houston. Areas around Houston have experienced flooding reaching 1,000-year thresholds or more. and South Texas.

disaster relief, hurricane harvey

Hurricane Harvey wreaks historic devastation

Many people are feeling very overwhelmed right now and they aren’t mentally, physically, or even spiritually well due to severe stress, exhaustion and trauma. They may not even know what they actually need or have difficulty communicating their needs.

If you are looking to help anyone in need now, the coming days, weeks or even months, this is GREAT advice:

PRAY and keep praying…it is the single most helpful and impacting thing you can do for your friends and neighbors suffering from a natural disaster like this. Many times people welcome a BRIEF, personal prayer in person, but ask them first. God loves, hears, cares, and moves for his people!

Offer a hug. Sometimes people experiencing a crises need and want a hug, but respect their space and ask them if they need one first. Be willing to offer one, even if you are not a hugger. [ I was offered a hug this week while evacuating my horses, by someone who I knew wasn’t comfortable hugging…and it meant the world to me!] Sometimes, however, people do NOT want to be physically comforted or become emotional in front of others.

Also choose not be offended if the people you are helping, get irritated, upset, angry, or even rude. Exhausted, hurting people may. Love them and keep helping anyway, unless they ask you to not help or stop helping.

BE VERY SPECIFIC in your offer to assist. IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK STRAIGHT AND MAKE DECISIONS WHEN OVERWHELMED AND TRAUMATIZED.

For example, instead of saying “What can I do to help?” Or “Call me if you need anything at all.” try these specific suggestions:

Can I help you prepare your home for the possible/coming flood?

1. Can I come help today until 8pm to get water out of your house?

2. Can I come by with baskets and wash your wet clothing at my house? Be willing to donate your laundry baskets.

3. Can I bring you lunch/dinner at __pm today? How many people? Where would you like it delivered? (They are probably not staying in their flooded home)

4. Would you like to eat dinner at our house at 8pm? We have clean towels if you want to shower here first. We are serving brisket, potatoes, and salad. (They will look forward to specific meals and enjoy having a concrete plan). Don’t be irritated if they are late.

5. Bring an ice chest full of bottled ice, water, Gatorade, tea, lemonade to their flooded home. The Corp of Engineers is handing out free ice and bottled water.[ Not certain about this] Figure out where the closest location is. Go get some every morning and deliver it to them. Give family the location if you have to stop.

6. Set up a folding table in their garage/carport with a sign that reads “Return Tools Here.” (Write your name and phone number in Sharpie on the table if you want it back in a month or so as they won’t remember who brought it. Be willing to consider it a donation, if it gets lost, misplaced, or loaned to someone else in the process.)

7. Set up a table and chairs in a shaded area outside so workers have a place to take a break, eat a meal, etc… a lot of times you can hose off and disinfect a patio table (1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water.) Put ice chest of drinks close by.

8. Order large plastic tubs with tops to store all their belongings – 50 is not too many. If they arrive next week, they will still need them.

9. Offer to drive to Bastrop or Austin to purchase supplies to begin muck out as you can be back in 6 hours. Flat shovels, bleach, spray bottles, light weight cordless electric saw to cut sheet rock, mask, safety goggles, bags of industrial rag packs (can be washed and reused), industrial trash bags, Wheel barrel, disinfectant, 5 gallon buckets, etc…

10. If you are out of town and want to help, mail (double check the appropriate address) gift cards for restaurants, grocery and hardware stores that are nearby.

11. Can I loan you a car for a week (with a full tank of gas and perhaps gas cards to fill up as needed)?

12. Can I call in, refill, and deliver a prescription for you?

13. Can I pick up your kids, take them to my house to play, and then drop them off at the end of the day? Is 8pm a good time? [Offer to keep others’ children, who are helping affected families, so they can give assistance safely and unhindered.]

14. Can we host you and your family for Thanksgiving/Christmas?

15. Can I come help you go through your things and pack up what is salvageable?

If you have read this far down the list, thank you for your compassion. It is truly amazing to watch our country come together and make a life changing difference!!! Do what you can, don’t feel guilty for what you can’t. It is highly probable that many families will need support for weeks or even months. Keep checking and asking. Often, immediate help thins after a few days, due to people having to go back to work, or personal limitations.

NOW GO SHOW SOME LOVE 💝💝💝

Read More

Did you know that blowing bubbles can help you reduce anxiety and stress…and it’s fun.

bubbles, reduce stress and anxiety

It’s true, when you blow bubbles your breathing in and out which is the equivalent of taking deep breath’s. Did you know it only takes 3-deep breaths to change your brain chemistry? Yep it’s true. I like to give clients a bottle of miniature bubbles that they can carry in their pocket, and use any time when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. Blowing bubbles also gives them cover as their friends will not think them strange or weird, just playful.

Read More

Sandtray Therapy can be transformative

Sandtray therapyUsing Sandtray miniatures to create genograms can be a transformative therapy for all clients of all ages.

Sandtray Genograms allows the clinician and client to gain awareness about the effects of family relationships on client’s choices and feelings as well as how family dynamics affect the healing process.

SANDTRAY GENOGRAMS CAN:

  • Facilitate processing of family dynamics.
  • Introduces to clients to a playful, fun activity that will allow increased awareness about the choices and feelings one experiences related to one’s family.
  • Identify & utilize effective therapy prompts to help clients gain awareness.Enhance multicultural sensitivity as the clinician can more clearly see the culture and cultural issues in the client’s miniature selection.

SANDTRAY THERAPY

Is designed to help clients express feelings. Sandtray is a “hands-on,” expressive psychotherapeutic approach that translates personal experience into a concrete, three-dimensional form. Using a tray of sand, water, and miniature figurines, clients create and 3-dimensional scenes in the sand. Clients symbolically express thoughts, feelings and memories in a tangible, vivid, and  highly personalized way. The therapist uses the client’s sandtray scene as a springboard for further elaboration of emotions and their causes. As with all counseling the therapist strives to provide unconditional positive regard, reflection of feelings in a nonjudgmental manner, displayed trust in the client’s capacity to work through issues to increase the client’s ability to cope with anxious feelings.

Read More

Help Children Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Help children reduce anxiety and stress

A common thread in today’s world is anxious children and parents who are pulled in too many directions—stressed out. One way to help children and parents simultaneously reduce anxiety and stress in their lives is through the use of relaxation, and visualization techniques.

Visualization is one of my favorite techniques to help clients achieve a sense of relaxation and well-being. Visualization is a form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. It is a way of focusing your imagination to create calm, peaceful images in your mind; thereby creating an imaginary haven or “safe place” that can be revisited anytime.

I find that adding parents in the process is a powerful. Helping both child and parent both embrace and internalize the power of a mindful way of being. Awareness of this kind can have a virtually immediate effect on health and well-being.

Here is one of my favorite Anxiety Reduction Techniques

In my office markers, colored pencils, crayons and drawing paper is laid out on the coffee table and there is calm, meditative music playing in the background. This sends a non-verbal message to my client that “today is going to be different.” I briefly describe what we will be doing today and get their approval. To alleviate all fears that they may have, I explain that the visualization will tell them anything that they need to do.

To give a little background, visualization uses a script that is read out loud using a sing-song-style of voice. It is designed to put the listener into a relaxed, meditative state where they use their imagination to relax and feel peace. For example, one of the scripts I use is called “Cozy Castle” and it describes a magical cozy castle high in the clouds where dreams come true and we can relax and enjoy peace and comfort.

The combination of calm, meditative music with the slow, sing-song-style of voice has a powerful impact on the listener’s subconscious state. The use of a melodic and sing-song tone also allows information to be processed easier and the meditative music has the ability to quickly shift our mood, affecting our subconscious mind where pesky negative thoughts feed on our fears and fuel the fires of stress.

Before we start, I read a list of visualization scripts to my child and ask them which one they would like to start with (I like to do at least two). I also explain that I have some visualization scripts especially designed to be used at bedtime, which I will send home with them for their parent to read. (For me it’s important that the child be included in the decision process, it also models for the parent how to incorporate visualization scripts at home.)

After they choose the visualization script they want to use, I read the visualization to the child and, at the end of the script, I add the sentences, “When you’re ready to come back, open your eyes and draw your Cozy Castle [if that was the name of visualization used]. When you’re finished, I will ask you to share your drawing with me.”

I like to use visualization because it accesses the emotional world of the child in a non-verbal format, thus allowing the child and counselor/parent to understand the experience of the child. Art also allows the child and counselor/parent to connect through images rather than words alone. Expressive therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. The therapist uses the child’s artistic production as a springboard for further elaboration of the clients emotions and their causes.

After the child and I have processed their drawing, I say, “Let’s go get your parent and together the two of you can do the next visualization together.” Once the parent is with us, I explain what her child and I did in session and share the bedtime visualization scripts that I will be sending home. I then invite the parent to “join us” in a visualization journey. At this point, I again ask the child to choose a visualization script and for everyone to sit back and get comfortable. At the end of the visualization, I again ask the child and their parent to draw their experience.

Parents love this way of being involving in their child’s life journey. It’s powerful because the parent gets to experience first-hand the emotional impact of the session and they also are able to hear how I read the visualization  and understand the importance of reading in a sing-song manner with frequent pauses.

Resources:

Guided Relaxation – free Guided Imagery scripts

The Power of Music To Reduce Stress

Helping children learn how to relax and de-stress

Read More

Parenting Tip

parenting tipParenting Tip

“Let’s spend more time on the floor with our kids. Let’s trade strollers for newborn carriers, and car trips for walks. Let’s spend more time looking into each other’s eyes, and less time staring into our screens. Let’s really get to know each other, and less time staring into our screens. Let’s really get to know each other.” ~ Zero to Five

 

Read More

College Stress: Get the Tools You Need

College Stress

Is your son or daughter home from college, or they stressed-out, burnt-out, over scheduled? Summer is a perfect time to give them the tools they need by developing effective strategies to achieve emotional and academic success with one of our counseling life coaches. College can be an overwhelming time in a student’s life. Our Counseling Life Coaches are dedicated to helping students get the most out of their college experience.

Our Counseling Life Coaches work with students in the following areas in order to support them in maximizing their college experience:

  • Improving effectiveness in and out of the classroom
  • Building life and leadership skills
  • Creating balance and managing stress
  • Boosting self-confidence and developing goals for the future
  • Empower students to set their own goals, take action toward them, and celebrate the progress toward, and completion of, their goals.
  • Apply the lifecoaching tools their personally and academically life.

Call Today 214-499-0396

Not sure of your level of your college stress? Take my Stress Quiz: How Stressed are you.

Here is a quick de-stressor that can be done anywhere at any time to help you relax and calm down when they feel stress.

Read More

You can help prevent suicide

prevent suicideShow You Care: Let the person know you really care. Talk about your feelings and ask about his or hers. Listen carefully to what they have to say.

  • “It sounds like you’re angry (or jealous or something else), and it’s okay to be angry.”
  •  “I’m worried about you, about how you feel.”
  •  ”You mean a lot to me. I want to help.”
  •  ”I’m here, if you need someone to talk to.”

Ask The Question: Talking with people about suicide won’t put the idea in their heads. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way. Get the conversation started.

Challenge their Thinking; It’s also about helping them see that death won’t solve their problem

  • ‘It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to kill yourself.’
  • ‘I care about you, but I can’t give in to you when you act this way, so now I have to call someone here to keep you safe.’
  • ‘How are you going to feel the respect and attention you’re looking for if you are dead? You’ll be gone forever.’
  • ‘Do you really want to go away forever? You’ll leave a big hole of pain in your family and friends, who love you very much.’

Create Time-to-talk: The goal is to keep the person safe long enough to get to a time and place where there can be some good talking.

  • Go for a drive. Take them to a place where they might calm down.
  •  ‘Go for a walk or drive him ‘round the community. Only drop him back home when he’s really tired. But still watch over him.’
  • ‘Take him away from the thing that was making him angry.’
  • ‘Go to a coffee shop.’ (laughter)
  • ‘Or the beach.’ (more laughter)
  •  ‘Go to a place that’s safe for them but doesn’t facilitate their suicide fantasy, or give in to what they’re asking for.’
  • ‘Sometimes the safest place might be the emergency room.’

After they calm down and get some slept, you can make connections, like with family or support workers. Then you can talk about it more.

  • ‘Do something that makes him happy. Just ask them gently. You can listen to them. Get their story.’
  •  ‘Remind them about their family. People they care about. You can ask them, “What are the troubles in your life?”’
  • ‘Ask them simple questions. Get them to think about what they are doing. Like, “How are you feeling when you     say you want to kill yourself?” or “What are the things that make you feel this way?’
  • Help them break it down, so they can see the process of when they do this, identifying emotional     states and suicidal triggers.’
  •  ‘You can help them think about other things they can do when they feel this way again.’

Get Help: Never talk of suicide as a secret.

  • “I know where we can get some help.”
  • ”Let’s talk to someone who can help.”
  • “I can go with you to get some help.”
  • “Let’s call the crisis line, now.”

Sometimes you can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with professional skills such as:

  • Someone the person already has connections with.
  • Trustworthy family member. Someone the young person has respect for Support working together with the family member. “Family is important to provide support. It’s a partnership: support working with family and vice versa.”
  • Someone who can help build coping mechanisms and help them talk about their strengths.
  • Connect with a mental health professional or someone who can follow-up separately with the person making the threat.
  •  Someone who can talk to the whole community about suicide.
  • Anyone SAFE –  “Sometimes, to keep them safe, there might be no one left to call but the police.”

What NOT to say

  • ‘Go for it’
  • ‘Make my day.’
  •  ‘Go ahead.’
  •  ‘I dare you.’
  • ‘Here’s the rope.’
  • Giving them a challenge so they feel they have to prove it, like, ‘You don’t really mean it’ or ‘I don’t believe you.’
  • Saying something dismissive, like, ‘It can’t be that bad’ or ‘You always say that.’
  • Saying something that might make them feel more angry or alone, like, ‘Who’s it going to hurt?’ or ‘No one cares.’

SUMMARY

Do something now: Don’t assume that they will get better without help or that they will seek help on their own.

Acknowledge your reaction: It’s natural to feel panic and shock, but take time to listen and think before you act.

Be there for them: Spend time with the person and express your care and concern.

Ask if they are thinking of suicide: Asking can sometimes be very hard but it shows that you have noticed things, been listening, that you care and that they’re not alone.

Check out their safety: If a person is considering suicide it is important to know how much they have thought about it. Do they have a plan?

Decide what to do: What you decide to do needs to take into account the safety concerns that you have. Don’t agree to keep it a secret.

Take action: The person can get help from a range of professional and supportive people
Ask for a promise: if thoughts of suicide return, it is important for the person to again reach out and tell someone.

Look after yourself: It is difficult and emotionally draining to support someone who is suicidal, especially over an extended period.

FOR IMMEDIATE HELP CALL
2-1-1 – Local Suicide Intervention
800-435-7609 – National Teen Suicide Hotline

 

 

Read More

Signs of self harming behavior

Adolescents often engage in self-harming behaviors alone, parents may not be aware that this problem exists.

Being observant can often uncover early signs of self-injury such as:

  • An abnormal number of cuts/burns on the wrists, arms, legs, hips or stomach
  • Wearing of long sleeves and pants even in warm weather to cover the marks
  • Frequent ‘accidents’ that cause physical injury
  • Evidence that your teenager’s friends are self-mutilating
  • Finding razors or knives in strange locations
  • Your teen locking themselves away for long periods of time in their bedroom or bathroom
  • Reluctance to be part of a social circle or social event

If you suspect a teen you know is struggle with self-harm – reach out to them and let them know that you know and that you’re there for them.

If you, or your child need additional support to manage self-harming behaviors, we can help.
Get to know our therapists and their specialty areas.

Children and teens engaging in self-harming behaviors – Help!

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

 

Read More

Childhood Development Ages 8 to 11

childhood development ages 8-11“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

My childhood development blog series will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, andsocial influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans

Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Late Childhood Development 8-11″

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

Next blog of the Childhood Development series will be  “Early Adolescents ages 11-14”

Download the complete ages 8-18  “Task of Childhood” 

Additional Resource:

Ages and Stages A Parent’s Guide to Normal Childhood Development Written by a fellow play therapist Charles E. Schaefer‘s Ages and Stages this book is great for sorting through what’s normal age appropriate behavior and what’s not.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

Read More