A note from our Executive Director as we transition from Summer to Fall

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With August ending that means Fall is fast approaching.  At this time of year, transitions are happening for so many of us. A lot of that is centered around school either because we are a parent or a student.  With transitions come new stress on our bodies and our minds.  If we don't adjust our own routines to the transition then there is a good chance that we will feel the anxiety, stress, and even sadness that can easily come during this time of year.  

This can be beautiful and tough.  We can all do something a little different, go to bed earlier, create more mindfulness through reflection, adjust our priorities, or even watch the sunset more often.

We hope that you are finding ways to adjust to this transition and in doing so are allowing space for a little self-care.  You are important and you cannot help others until you take care of you.  This fall we look forward to seeing you at our trainings and other community events and if you need support, reach out.  We are here to support our whole community, collegues and clients alike through the fall transition.

Dealing with Grief and Loss by Stacy Shelts

Nothing in life is permanent. Seasons change, leases end, people pass away. With each ending comes a new beginning. Cliche, I know, but it’s true. Coping with the stress of any kind of loss is something everyone goes through, but that looks different in every person’s process.

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Many events can spark grief and mourning:

  • Death of a beloved person or pet
  • Ending of a relationship or friendship
  • Current events
  • Loss of a job

Grief even occurs when going through transitions, such as moving, changing jobs, starting and ending school, etc.  With these new changes comes the end of certain familiar routines, people, and places. Changes in routine can be destabilizing and stressful all on their own, and with the added component of grief, it’s more than just the blues. We’re talking about a major life events here.

The painful aspects of the human experience are exactly that - painful. The emotional pain we feel gets registered in the brain in a similar way to physical pain. It may be invisible to others, but inside, the feelings are very real. The feelings can also shift and change from one day to the next, even from one moment to the next. 

In some cultures, grief is considered an illness that the entire community must come together to heal. They perform sacred grief rituals to shed the negative emotions accumulated by the loss and restore peace to the village. 

Depending on how you’re processing your grief, it is not uncommon to experience:

  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Increased substance use
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Crying spells
  • Feeling numb, heavy or empty

Sometimes, you might think you should be feeling differently. Maybe you aren’t able to cry even though you might like to. Don’t judge yourself for how you’re processing your grief. You’re on your own journey through it. When emotions surface, take it as a sign that what you lost was important to you. Grief is a normal response to a natural human experience.

Other tips on how to deal with grief:

  1. Establish new traditions and routines.
  2. Connect with your body by taking a fitness class, jogging, etc.
  3. Ask a friend for a hug 
  4. Take a walk outside in nature
  5. Talk to a trusted friend or therapist

Grief can be distressing and you shouldn’t go through it alone. Organizations like Whole Connection offer Medicaid and sliding scale counseling services so you can get through those challenging times with the help of a professional. Grief happens to everyone.

A letter from the Executive Director

I wanted to write to you all, after this long summer, to address the evolving situation with our affordable mental health care here in Boulder County.  Recently there have been cuts at Mental Health Partners (MHP), an organization that has played a large role in supporting folks with all types of insurance, including Medicaid.  For so long MHP helped cover a large portion of the mental health care provided in our community, including low income clients, which I am grateful for. There are so many people in our community that are in pain, in desperate situations, or yearning for some kind of help and most of them are not finding the support that they need. Thinking about it, I can feel the sadness of our overall situation. Boulder is no different than many other places, there is not enough help for everyone in need, especially for those who cannot afford it financially.

As the need continues to grow we, outside of MHP, are stepping up to fill the gap as best we can. We at Whole Connection have made it our mission to make sure that all people have access to therapy no matter their financial situation.  We are actively accepting clients for individual and group therapy and for those we are unable to directly help, we are happy to refer folks out to another clinic or provider. We are here as a community resource to continue to provide client-centered service, always giving attention to culture, and trying our best to continue to meet the demands of the growing need in our small community.

We hope our small, but well trained, group practice can continue to service this mission at a time of need.  Thank you all for your ongoing support for our community.

Sincerely,

Phillip Horner, Executive Director

 

How to Find the Therapist for You

Finding a therapist can be incredibly hard. There are so many things we are trying to think about.

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     What do I want from a therapist? Will they understand me? What will help me the most? Do they take my insurance? What do I want from therapy?  

Answering all these questions can feel overwhelming and because of this sometimes we don't get very far or we accept a therapist that does not work well for us.  One of the most important questions to answer is, do I feel seen or cared for by this therapist? Figuring this out prior to meeting can be tough and feel nearly impossible. There are a few ways we can try and figure this out ahead of time.  

  1. Read their profile:  You can get a small taste of what someone is like this way
  2. Talk with them on the phone (most therapists offer a free 15 minute consultation)
  3. Notice how you feel right after you talk or read the therapists profile, this will give you an indication of how you might feel in session with them

    We can read profiles on psychology today, websites, or hear about a therapist through a friend.  All of this can be helpful.  A lot of the times we won't know until we get to meet the therapist and connect with them in person.  It usually is good to give a new therapist a few sessions before making a decision as it will give you a better picture of what it might be like working with them  

     Some therapy organizations try to also help with this dilemma "who is the right therapist for me?" For instance here at Whole Connection, we try our best initially to find a therapist that will best fit a new person.  This way it is more likely you will find a therapist that will work out, rather than continuing the long and seemingly difficult search.

    When it comes down to it the most important piece is feeling you have a place you can be vulnerable and share yourself honestly, in essence, you have a good and strong relationship with your therapist.  There is research that shows the relationship between a therapist and a client accounts for roughly most of the success in therapy.  A therapist who can hold space for the relationship between them and the client, will give the therapy a larger chance for success. 

    To end this short blog we will leave a list of questions that can be useful to ask a potential therapist.

  • How  do you work with the client and therapist relationship?
  • Ask questions that might have come up for you from reading their profile
  • How much will it cost? (having an idea ahead of time what you can spend in a month on therapy will be helpful)
  • What is their availability like? If you want to be seen weekly, its good to know if they can do this.

     Lastly it is understandable that many people cannot afford therapy.  Finding someone that can accept your insurance can be difficult.  Here at Whole Connection we accept Medicaid and know how important it can be to have access to mental health care especially when you cannot afford it.  Looking through you insurance provider will more accurately show you who is in network.  Therapists can write you an invoice so you can bill your own insurance, and it will be important to check with your insurance that they will reimburse.

    Hopefully this article helps you find the right therapist in your search.  If you still are having trouble, reach out to us and we will do our best to help you find someone even if it is not us.