Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The new year is almost one month gone. You managed to avoid the usual family disagreements at most of the holiday get-togethers and maybe even resolved an issue or two. The emotional roller-coaster had more ups than downs and you’re feeling pretty good about the future. So, now what? How do you continue 2014 with the momentum that you had in mind when you made those New Year’s resolutions that (this time) you fully intend to keep?
You might begin by not giving the tasks ahead the power to overwhelm you. After all, regardless of how many good intentions you have, they can only be addressed one at a time. With that in mind, consider setting some priorities and a basic time line for what to do when. If like most of us, you discover that your time frame doesn’t always coincide with the real world, be willing to revise and re-start as you go. If in January it seemed worth doing, it probably still is.
Build your self-confidence by learning from the past. Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” Stronger because we pay attention and commit to not making the same mistakes. Stronger because we learn valuable lessons for our experiences. Stronger because we made it though “that” challenge and now know that we can do “it” again. Learning from the past is not the same as living there. Instead, learning from it allows us to let it go.
Connect. Routinely connect with others that are important to you. We are hard wired to be connected to others--that ability is why we exist. Sure, interaction with some people can be the most difficult part of the day. But connecting with those who are significant to us is a continual reminder that we are worthy to love and to be loved. With those connections we make a contribution to the best of humanity and we feel safe to be ourselves.
Remain optimistic. The most resilient of people are those who nurture their optimism, allowing it to pull them along through the toughest of times. Optimism doesn’t come easily for everyone—it takes intentional practice and, again, is supported by feeling connected.
Dream of a better future. Learn and grow from the past. Be fully connected in the present. See the glass as half full. If speaking to someone in confidence will help, remember your Employee Assistance Program. Call us. 770-834-8327.
Posted by Ken McGowan at 10:35 AM
Friday, December 20, 2013
It has happened a couple of times recently that someone said to me, “I didn’t know you could come to EAP for that”.
Some people think of the EAP as a resource to use if they are “going crazy” and many people don’t ever think of the EAP at all. I thought that people may be interested in some of the reasons people make use of this great benefit that many employers provide to their employees.
Work stress   Difficult boss, difficult coworker, changing responsibilities, needing to vent some anger/frustration in a guaranteed safe and confidential place.
Family stress   Marital or relationship difficulties, parenting issues, bringing their children for counseling, dealing with family drama, elder care issues, holiday stress.
Grief issues   Dealing with the death of a loved one, divorce, child leaving home, death of a pet, losing or leaving a job.
Health issues   Physicians often recommend counseling as an adjunct to other medical care. Conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, hypertension, depression, chronic pain, addiction, infertility, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses have all been shown to be improved and/or better coped with by participating in counseling.
Financial stress   If you feel overwhelmed by debt or other financial issues, having a safe place to bounce ideas around and look at options available can help.
Past trauma   Events from the past can affect our present-day functioning. Counseling can help one to deal with past emotional, physical, and sexual abuse as well as accidents, violence, and other traumatic events.
Career counseling/coaching   Some people come to EAP to get coaching on how to better present themselves, improve their people skills, management skills, or communication skills.
Premarital counseling   Some of the best advice I ever received was to get premarital counseling. Learning some communication skills, ways to strengthen a relationship and talking about some potentially “sticky” issues before they arise can prevent some problems and better prepare a couple for others.
Management consultation   Managers come here to discuss ways to handle situations involving their employees. This is a good place to brainstorm ideas and to learn how others have handled similar situations.
Anger management   Anger can be a tricky emotion that many of us do not handle so well. Some people fly off the handle, but many more just bottle it up inside which can be even more unhealthy. The EAP is a safe place to vent and to learn ways to deal with people and situations that may provoke feelings of frustration and anger.
Impartial sounding board   Sometimes when facing a decision it is helpful to talk to an impartial party. Sometimes family and friends are not the best ones to consult because of their preconceived ideas/opinions and/or because they might bring up these issues in the future.
Confession   Many of us carry around guilt from past events/decisions. Just getting things off your chest can be helpful, freeing and healthy. Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the EAP and the licensed professional counselors at Tanner EAP are bound by HIPAA and their licenses to keep things confidential.
Tobacco cessation   As well as getting help for other addictions such as gambling, pain pills, pornography, stress eating, alcohol, being addicted to an unhealthy relationship, etc.
Spiritual/existential questions   What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? What “should” I do? We don’t have the answers but we enjoy pondering the questions with you.
Management referral   Many times a manager will encourage an employee to make use of the EAP. This is not a punishment or “being sent to the principal’s office”. It usually means that the manager values and cares about the employee and wants them to get some help in dealing with a situation that might be affecting their work.
Feel free to be creative! You can come to the Employee Assistance Program for issues other than those listed above. We are also doing more telephone counseling these days if you just want to chat on the phone. Call us at 770-834-8327 to talk, ask questions, and/or schedule an appointment.
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Tanner EAP!
Director: Ken McGowan, EdD LPC CEAP
Counselors: Betsy Prince, EdS LPC CEAP
and Wes Webster, EdS LPC CEAP
Administrative Assistant: Lisa Rooks
Posted by Wes Webster, EdS LPC CEAP at 10:22 AM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
There was a time when automatic transmissions were usually an option in new cars. Consequently, a new driver typically had to learn to operate all of the essential features of the automobile, learn the state laws that pertained to the rules of the road, remember to select either AM or FM, and, in addition, learn to smoothly “shift gears.” Turning a corner was particularly tricky—right foot off gas, onto brake; left foot push in clutch; right hand on shift knob (column or floor); and SHIFT. Thank goodness we didn’t have to text or make phone calls back then!
When I talk to clients about shifting gears, it usually has nothing to do with driving. More often than not, we’re talking about one facet of work-life balance. How does one transition from a busy day at work to the responsibilities at home and vice-versa? Clearly, how we conduct the business of our family is not the same as taking care of patients or customers. At work, interacting with sometimes difficult others, maintaining an exceptional level of competency and proficiency, and being an appropriate role model for new hires, is sometimes stressful beyond words.
We are told that going home after work or having weekends off or taking vacation time is what helps us balance our lives and maintain good mental health. But unlike newer automobiles, doing so is not always automatic. It’s a learned skill that requires the mindfulness and practice much like driving an older car. When the gears grind or the engine chokes down it likely means we’ve forgotten to do something essential for a healthy marriage, or family, or personal self.
Balance and shifting gears is not easy, but let me offer a few suggestions for when you find yourself grinding and choking:
· Make a point of recalling your earlier practices when life was less complicated and more enjoyable. What were you doing then that may need to be reclaimed now?
· Examine whether your priorities have shifted and does your behavior match what you consider to be most important today?
· Talk about your intentions to someone supportive of and important to you. Words almost always sound different when spoken, than they do when they are only inside our head.
· Plan to make changes. Don’t just think about doing so. Set some goals and time frames that are realistic for accomplishing what you need. Then follow through, one step at a time, allowing for the occasional setback and restart.
· Understand that personal balance and healthy relationships are not automatic. They require you to shift the gears.
· Ask for help if you struggle more with this than you think you should. The EAP is a good choice for confidential assistance.
BRAKE, CLUTCH, SHIFT. STAY BETWEEN THE LINES!
If you need to, call us—we can help. 770.834.8327
Posted by Ken McGowan at 9:32 AM
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Tips for Parenting a Teenager
The teen years involve an intensive period of physical, intellectual, and emotional growth that can be challenging for both teenagers and their parents. Understandably, these years often involve confusion, conflict, and change for many families. It can be tough for parents to successfully navigate their child’s development, though the decisions made during this time have lasting and significant impact.
Adolescence may begin for your child with dramatic behavioral changes, including an emphasis on independence and separation from the views and values of one or both parents. Teenagers are strikingly aware of how they are perceived by others. They tend to seek social inclusion, and their peers’ perceptions strongly influence their decision-making. The approval of peers may matter much more than the approval of their parents.
Teenagers may experiment with their appearance and values, trying on different looks and identities in their attempt to figure out who they are. Individuating from parents constitutes a developmental milestone, and it’s important to remember this. While parents actively try and maintain a secure attachment to their teenage child, the burden is on the teenager to successfully achieve independence.
Here are some proactive steps you can take to help successfully parent your teenager:
1. Talk to your child about puberty.
Address the physical and emotional changes they can expect BEFORE those changes happen. Talking about menstruation, wet dreams, changing emotions, and sexual activity early on is an important part of preparing your teen for the challenges ahead. Ask questions about their experience, offer helpful books and online resources, and perhaps share your own feelings during puberty to help provide support and understanding.
2. Pick your battles.
Your teenager may do shocking things to rebel against your control and influence. Save your energy for the objections that matter, like smoking, drugs and alcohol, sexual safety, and/or permanent changes to their appearance. Respect your child’s sense of privacy in relation to his/her room, texts, emails, and phone calls. Trust your child until that trust is broken, and if/when it is, explain how trust is rebuilt. Be clear about your expectations for academic performance, acceptable behavior, and rules of the house, as well as the consequences for disobedience.
3. Stay informed about your teen’s environment.
The teen years are a time of experimentation, and sometimes that experimentation includes risky behaviors. Discussing uncomfortable subjects like sex, drugs, and alcohol before your child is exposed increases the chances that s/he will act responsibly. Share your family values and your support for the difficulty of making good decisions. Know your child’s friends and their friends’ parents. Regular communication between parents can go a long way toward creating a safe environment for all teens in a peer group. Parents can help each other keep track of kids' activities without making the kids feel that they're being watched.
4. Monitor exposure to TV, internet, and social media.
Stay aware of what your children are exposed to online and on television. Don’t be afraid to set limits on the amount of time they spend involved in these activities, and make sure their time for sleep at night is protected. Locate the television and computer in shared spaces so that you have a better chance of staying informed. If your child has a smartphone and you have reasons for being concerned about where they go or who they talk to online, software is now available for tracking your child’s movement and smartphone activities. Don’t be afraid to take these additional steps in order to keep your child protected.
5. Know the warning signs.
A certain amount of change is normal during the teen years, but extreme changes in personality or behavior may be a sign of real trouble. Warning signs that your child may need professional help include:
· extreme weight gain or loss
· sleep problems
· drastic changes in personality
· sudden change in friends
· failing grades
· repeatedly skipping school
· talk about suicide
· signs of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
· legal problems
If you notice these or other drastic changes in your child, consult your EAP for support and additional resources. Remember the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child!
As challenging as the teenage years may be for you and your family, strive to stay hopeful and positive. This period of time may be very difficult for everyone involved, but it’s also deeply rewarding and your parenting efforts will eventually pay off. Gradually, your teenager will evolve toward a more independent, responsible, and communicative young adult. Part of your job as parent is to keep the longer-term perspective in sight and remind your family that you’ll get through this together!
Posted by Betsy Prince, EdS, LPC at 9:03 AM