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Feeling Alone In A Room Full Of People

Do you ever feel alone in a room full of people? What if that room was your house, the people were your family and you were a child.

Children will adapt in order to mediate their feelings and experience. Some children will act out (misbehavior). Some children will act in (anxiety and depression). Some children will retreat into their own imagination. Some children will become immersed in their schoolwork and perfectionism. Some children will put food or other comfort measures in the empty place.


How could a child feel this way in their own family?

There are a lot of possible reasons a child may feel this way.   Rarely is the cause a “mental health” disorder, however, if not addressed, mental health disorders are almost sure to arise.

What is the “treatment?”

Years ago, I attended a homeschool group with my children at a friend’s house. I kept looking at the Norfolk Island Pine in their living room, and felt like I was watching it die. I made suggestions about how to restore that struggling tree to it’s true beauty. My friend said, “Do you want it?” I brought that tree home, gave it a shower (not kidding), a new pot and fresh soil and set it right in the sun in my living room. I gave it food, water and love. A few months later it was THRIVING!!! This child tree had developed so much in a short time. I offered the tree back to it’s original owner, who declined.

What would happen in a scenario like this, where a tree is failing to thrive, removed from it’s environment to a loving and caring one and then returned to it’s original environment?

While there is a time and a place for child therapy, is it fair to put a child in therapy, try to help them with some insight, give them some tools and send them back into the unwell environment from which they came?

The family environment needs to be the therapy experience, the healing place.

The family should be the place where children learn social skills, executive functioning skills, emotional intelligence, life skills. The family should be the place where children feel, I belong here! These are my people! When I want to share my joy or my sorrow, there they are. When I have a problem, there they are! THESE ARE MY PEOPLE! THEY LOVE ME AND I LOVE THEM!

Join David and Tracy on January 26th at Cape Cod Community College for the 2nd Annual Parenting Resource Fair!

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10 Reasons to Rake Leaves as a Family

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Do you want to prevent your children from giving you a heap of trouble when you ask them to help around the house?  Even better, do you want your children to notice things around the house that need to be done, and just do them?!!!  Start them early!

1. Young children love to help!

Early on, it doesn’t tend to matter if it’s cleaning the toilet, raking leaves or baking, kids want to try too!  I know, it takes longer, but have fun with it!  Give them a rag or a rake and let’s go!  (Be sure you are not exposing them to harsh chemicals via sprays and other cleaners.  Thieves Cleaner is an excellent options and it cleans pretty much everything in your house!)

2. Teaches siblings to work together, either directly or side-by-side!

Again, when you start them early, regardless of the age span, when your expectation is that they treat each other kindly and with respect, more often than not, they will do so, and have fun doing so.  Some say “cousins are first best friends.”  Well, siblings can be first and forever best friends when parents create an atmosphere of playing hard and working hard.

3. Provides an INTRINSIC reward!

Extrinsic rewards are things like, a dollar for doing a good job, or a trip to the toy store to pick out a toy.  The intrinsic rewards are the ones that come from within the child.    Intrinsic rewards are the good feelings that one gets from a job well done, i.e. “I did it!” “My dad gave me some instructions and I added my own ideas to make it an even greater success!” “We all worked together and got a big job done!” Extrinsic rewards will have the parents working hard, always, to convince the child that they will give them a big enough reward in exchange to do a chore, or their homework, or help out in any way.

4. Gets the job done!

Let’s face it, it’s a lot of work and they slow us down a great deal in the beginning learning process, but having a 13 and 18 year old in the house currently, I can tell you that they take a big load off for my husband and I!  When you take the time early and keep at it, you will have productive older children and these older children are even likely to keep coming back after they leave the nest to see if they can lend you a hand.  Sweet, right?!

5. Establishes a routine and expectation!

Children learn over time that we work together as a family and meet the needs of the family together.  Everyone takes part.  So often, parents are running around doing everything while their children are occuppied on their electronic device, you know, the one you GAVE them.  They go from begging the parent to hurrying up so they can do the fun thing the parent promised to do after the work, to not wanting the parent to be ready so they can spend more time on the electronic device.  This is a dangerous precedent that tends to go along with children feeling and behaving in a self-centered, entitled and even helpless manner.

6. Teaches children to feel confident!

Erik Erikson, one of our founding personality theory psychologists talks about this in his 4th stage of development and it happens between the ages of 5 and 12.  He calls it Industry vs. Inferiority.  It has to do with children learning skills, which leads to feeling industrious (competent) and confident in their abilities.  Without it, children tend to feel inferior and doubtful about themselves and their place in their peer group, family group and on their own.  When children feel inferior, they tend to not try.  They tend to lack confidence and experience worry, anxiety, depression.

7. Outdoor chores bring with them all of the healthy and even healing aspects of the outdoors!

Fresh air, the smell of leaves, grass, flowers, the warm feelings on your cheeks in warm weather and the cold cheeks of fall and winter will be sensations that get logged in the emotional center of the brain, forever!  The vitamin D from the sun will also be a great benefit.

8. Teaches Executive Functioning Skills!

The buzz words in my field over the last few years are, “Executive Functioning Disorder.”  “My child has EFD.”  How fair is it to tag a child with a label and even qualify them for medication and special services when we have never taught them or expected them to do things like rake the leaves, wake up to their own alarm clock, get their own backpack ready.  Busy parents are running around like crazy trying to get everything done in short order, while their child gets a few extra winks of sleep, takes a little longer with their breakfast or playing their video game. Teaching children how to organize a task like raking leaves will have value beyond any special ed plan that they school will devise for your child.

9. Gives them a heart for helping!

These are children who notice that the teacher might need help passing out papers or putting chairs up.  They are young people who will notice the lady struggling to her car with her hands full.  They will think to ask if Grandma and Grandpa might need help with their Fall clean-up.

10. Instills a “can-do” attitude!

Your child will be unstoppable when they have skills.  How to organize the leaf raking involves many steps and ask they grow, develop and experience, they will find their own way, and that way may even be better than your way.

You child needs you to be a strong minded parent who has expectations, teaching ability, patience and also a willingness to look at the destructive nature of passive entertainment, extrinsic rewards and laziness.  Your little person is going to be a big person all too soon and it’s easier to raise them up well than to rebuild them later, or even worse, to have them be dependent on you into their 30s.

Note: The boy in the above picture had been working diligently while singing, “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am” and frankly, we needed a break from it, so we told him to take a break.

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Should you exchange money for chores?  Stay tuned for more next week!

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To stay connected, parent to parent and parent to professional, contact Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, below.

 

Do You Choose the Health & Wellness Model or Illness?

image.pngMany of us are looking for growth opportunities for our children.  We want to support their health, wellness and positive emotional development.  We want to assist them with healthy character traits development.

As a therapist for over 25 years, my passion is to work in the wellness framework, even in the most desperate of circumstances.

Managed care, and basically, America as a whole, pushes us to gain an understanding of what is “wrong” by giving a diagnosis and a corresponding medication.

When we could put recess, gym class, music and art back into the curriculum, as it was in the past, we are instead putting “movement stations” in the classrooms. This sends the message that sitting quietly at any given time is unrealistic and/or those who can’t sit quietly have a disorder.

When we could expect young people to put down their electronic devices before dinner and relax their brains from such static for at least 2 hours before bed, we are giving them too much free reign.  Schools adapt to sleepy students by adjusting the school start time.

When we could turn off the despicable content on the TV, we are letting them watch almost whatever they want, and many parents are watching it with them. When the children then act out these behaviors, we call a therapist and speculate about what diagnosis they have.

When we could offer healthy foods, we are instead offering convenient foods.

There are SO many things keeping all of us from health and keeping children from healthy brain, body, soul and mind development.

An essential oil applied to the nape of the neck or bottom of the foot isn’t going to fix this. However, if you are interested in supporting health and wellness and are looking to make positive changes, little by little, step by step, essential oils can be part of this process.

We have so many options to explore before letting our children be labeled with a diagnosis and given a prescription.  Let’s give them healthy tools and options and see what they do with them.

If you would like to:

Enhance focus vs. treat ADHD

Enhance feelings of calm vs. treat anxiety

Improve prosocial behavior vs. treat ODD

Instill hope vs. treat depression

I would like to support you. I bring a full understanding of diagnosing, a license to practice and ability to accept almost all insurances to the table so that treatment options aren’t being overlooked. I am not anti-western medicine. I interact well with local pediatricians, PCPs, psychiatrists, nutritionists and other therapist.

Please visit www.tracylamperti.com and click the “book an appointment” button for your complimentary session, or call or text Tracy at 774-722-5919.

You or your child will NOT be given a diagnosis at this appointment.

 

5 Benefits of Your Brain on Smile

Her warm, sweet smile makes everyone around her smile too! Her warm, sweet smile makes everyone around her smile too!

Whether you want to be happier, more productive, get more customers, cope with chronic illness or pain, give more smiling a chance!  The studies noted below included people with mood disorders, neurological disorders, stress, pain and others.  Since smiling is contagious, we must fill our house with smiling to create an environment where children thrive in skill and confidence!  We must smile at our husband and wife to bring about a more harmonious marriage!  When we feel like we may blow our top, it might be best to step away, smile for a few cycles of 5 seconds and then return to the dilemma.  A great way to force a smile, because the studies below demonstrate that even if the smile is fake it has a positive result on our brain/mood, is to hold a pencil in your teeth.  (http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/1528-3542.2.1.52)

  1.  Smiling repetitively helps to interrupt mood disorders and strengthen the brain’s neural ability to maintain a positive outlook on life.  Buddhism incorporates smiling into their meditations and Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace.”
  2. Smiles are neurologically contagious in every culture, and women and more susceptible than men.
  3. Smiling stimulates brain circuits that enhance social interactions, empathy, and mood.
  4. If you see a picture of a smiling face, you will involuntarily feel happier and more secure.
  5. Listening to “happy” music can stimulate a smile response and improve your mood, especially when you are dealing with a chronic serious disease.

References:

  1.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15788264
  2. (Hanh T. Being Peace. Parallax Press, 1987)
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17537073/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=a+common+neural+basis+for+receptive+and+expressive+communication+of+pleasant+facial+affect
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=what%27s+in+a+smile%2C+intra-operative+observations+of+contralateral+smiles+induced+by+deep+brain+stimulation
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17516821
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=a+functional+mri+study+of+happy+and+sad+affective+states+induced+by+classical+music
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16538499

I Can’t Shake These Feelings

Enjoy the Gifts of Nature!
Enjoy the Gifts of Nature!

Every so often I notice a theme emerging in my psychotherapy practice.  As of recently, the emergent theme has been with women and questions have come up about how essential oils may be of help, since I am always diffusing Young Living Essential Oils * in my office.

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“I am blessed with a great family and great friends, my health is good, my life is generally stable and there are many good things in my life…but I can’t get out from under this depression and (or) anxiety.  Some bad things have happened in my past and I have worked on some of those things, but now, I “should” be happy, but I don’t feel happy.  In fact, I can’t seem to feel joy.”

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Same Old Patterns

Sometimes when we can’t let go of the past or feel like it won’t let go of us it can be related to what is going on the the present. Without being aware, there could be current issues with a parent or a spouse or children, that are triggering old or never let go of thought patterns. It is not necessarily an indication of a negative current relationship with mom or husband, etc., but more an issue of discovery about what is triggering you and learning new ways of tackling it.

We tend to connect with people, who may later become our spouse, that replicate the same emotional patterns as significant early relationships. We also sometimes, inadvertently replicate parent-child dynamics with our own children, even when we made a commitment to not do so.  In this case, the right therapist is often needed to help navigate new patterns, because, in the case of old dynamics being triggered with a spouse, it is quite possible that they also may be repeating patterns from their earlier life.

Now is Different from Then

When there is no need for symptoms, symptoms will cease to exist, UNLESS, we are living in “automatic mode” rather than in awareness. For example, when you were a child and felt like you had no voice, you may have truly HAD NO VOICE.  Children in many instance; 1. don’t have the vocabulary and/or insight to express their experience, and 2. may not have been expected to voice their feelings or experiences.  This may be the case with a “love relationship” in later teen years or early 20s.  In  a controlling, emotionally abusive relationship, you may have felt like you had no voice, and you actually may have had no voice, because your boyfriend couldn’t tolerate you having a voice. This leads to now, you feel like you have no voice.  But when I stop and check it out, or feel it out with your husband, you see that not only you do have a voice, but he wants to hear your voice.

New Associations

When things from the past are being triggered, you don’t have to “white knuckle it” and be consumed by the bad feelings.  Let’s say you made a poor decision, or many poor decisions, or a huge poor decision.  If you in fact know that you have worked on this issue, and even prayed about it, and even believed that the Lord has done a work in you with it, you can remind yourself that you already reconciled that one. Reconciling it doesn’t mean you forgot about it or it was erased from your memory. Thanks be to God if He did remove it from you completely. I believe He can do that! But that’s not the story for most of us. The memory or feeling will resurface and when it does we need to remind ourselves of the victory that we already had over it and give thanks for that! Aromatherapy can have an amazing impact on us, both positive and negative.  A scent can immediately bring back a feeling from the past and all of the emotions that went with that feeling.  However, it can also help build a new experience.  As you are siting in a quiet place, contemplating and giving thanks for what you have already accomplished in this area, you can bring a lovely new scent to the experience and build a new experience, whereby the next time you feel defeated, you can bring out the scent, place a drop on your palms, rub your hands together, cup your hands in front of your face and inhale.

You Are Adored*

Not many people know what I went through in my past. Even though I am a psychotherapist and look like I have it all together, the same thing happens to me and I have to do these things also. We could have a big discussion about Satan here and talk about how Satan wants to bring us down with our past. I don’t think of it that way. I think of it more like, God wants us to love and adore Him and He wants us to receive all of the gifts that He has for us.  Even if you don’t feel that you are adored by someone, know that God Adores you.  I do not believe He wants us to give our attention to a battle with Satan.

A New Therapy Experience

Maybe you have had a positive relationship and made progress with a therapist in the past. Sometimes things have to come together in the right way for this to occur – timing, readiness, circumstances, current relationships, etc. Sometimes we need to do a piece of therapy and then just live.  When we go back at a later time we can do another piece of the work.  Maybe it’s time to interview a couple of therapists or get some referrals from someone you trust.

Taking Care of Me

Are you at a point in your life that you can really take care of yourself – set aside time to plan your menu, carve out a quiet time each day, make time to walk or any other exercise that you like, etc.  Is your “me time” consumed by surfing the web or checking all of your social media feeds?  Can you match the time you spend on these activities with time devoted to “calm” and “peace.”  Can you match digital time, which is “static” in the brain with peaceful activities?  I find it interesting that when I ask a person to spend 7 minutes, twice per day doing an uninterupted focus, such as being in a quite room, without distractions and maybe a recording of a stream or birds, 9x out of 10 they come back and say they didn’t do it.  SEVEN MINUTES!

As for the essential oils*,  you could experiment with a lovely scent in your “me time.”  When you sense a panic attack coming on or are feeling down, I would take the opportunity to place a drop of my favorite oil (or change it up between a couple of nice scents) in my palm and breath deeply. This way, you will “support your feelings of well-being,” and know that you can take steps to care for yourself and have positive results.  I love the oils for associating new emotions to old experiences.

Blessings!

~Tracy

*Disclaimer #1 – In addition to being an LMHC, I personally use essential oils and I am an Independent Distributor of Young Living Essential Oils.  This post is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease or illness and it is not intended to solicit Young Living Essential Oil sales.

*Disclaimer #2 – In addition to being an LMHC, I am a Christian.  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~Romans 10:9.  This post is not intended to make any claim that any person should believe as I believe.

 

Responding to young people who were present at the Orleans Fire

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Tracy Lamperti, Board Certified Expert of Traumatic Stress

 

Hundreds of families/children were present last night at the Orleans Fireworks display and found themselves too close for comfort to the unexpected fire that erupted at the end.  The statistics show that among direct witnesses to even fatal traumatic events such as 9/11 and the marathon bombing, less than half go on to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, possibly as few as 20%.  The event last night certainly pales in comparison to a traumatic event where lives are lost or serious injuries are sustained, however, it is important to recognize that there are needs of those who were present, and that while some thought the event was simply exciting, others experienced the event as acutely stressful.  Following are some tips about how to approach children about this event.

  • Censor, censor, censor!

I was just at the Superette picking up a few things.  EVERYONE was talking about it.  (Well, not everyone.)  Everyone has a commentary.  Some people give an account with great emotion in their voice and strong opinion.  Our children don’t need to hear adults expressing “Big Emotion.”  It is ok to say to your children when you get back into the car, something like, “People can get caught up in the excitement of it all!  Let’s try to remember that everyone got out safe and sound and the emergency personnel did a great job helping everyone stay protected.”  Be careful of your own conversation on the phone and at home with family and friends.  It is important that your children not be witness to the “drama aftermath.”

  • Model calm and containment.

Our children are watching others but the ones with the strongest influence are their parents.  They will mirror your response in more cases than not.

  • Ask, check-in and ask again if your children want to talk about it.

People benefit from being allowed to share their own experience, in their own words, and having loved ones be good listeners.  Some good questions are, “What was it like for you when you realized a fire had started?”  “What were you thinking when I quickly said, let’s get our things and get to the car?”  Try to avoid statements that assign feelings that may not be accurate, such as, “You must have been terrified!”  “How awful for a child to experience something like that.”  Once there have been a few talks about it, let it rest.  Check in with your children about other aspects of their life and look for cues, IF there are any, that your child wants to talk some more about it.  A few weeks later is a good time, such as around the dinner table, to bring it up again, “Has anyone been thinking about the night of the fireworks?”  If so, give turns to talk and listen.

  • Try to avoid strong commentary.

As I might be thinking, “Come on, why didn’t they call it because of the wind!?  What were they thinking!”  “Who’s to blame?” kind of thinking.  Our children don’t need to sort out the blame or feel conflict or dissension, especially if YOU really wanted to pack up the kids and go and your husband said it’s too windy, but you won.

  • Experience safe and healthy fire.

If you have a back yard fire pit, get it going.  Be very safe and talk openly about how you are being safe.  How is the wind?  Is long hair tied back? Is there water within reach?  How do we put it out and make sure it is out?  Are sparks falling on dry grass?  Use the opportunity to talk about fire safety.  Let your children beckon the question, “I think it was too windy to have fireworks that night.”    If you don’t have a fire pit, light a candle at the table for dinner and include some points about safety.

  • Reinforce the fact that the outcome was positive.

Talk about the fire and police departments and what their roles were and the fact that there were no injuries and the fire was extinguished quickly.

  • Trauma/Acute Stress affects the brain on some level.

When people are frightened, they often become unconsciously hyper-aware of certain senses like smell and taste, especially where there is a strong sensation such as the smell of fire/something burning.  Upon smelling the same smell at a later date, the person can be re-triggered to have bad feelings.  They sometimes don’t even realize the two are paired or where the bad feelings are coming from.  It can be helpful to unconsciously re-pair new sensations to the memories of the event.  This can be done by playing calming music softly while the person is talking about the event.  You can also work the aromatherapy angle by introducing a pleasant scent while the person is talking about the event.  You don’t have to explain to your child that you are doing this.  Just do it.  The brain works to create new pathways for the memory.  So put a nice scent in your purse or in the kitchen drawer just in case.

All in all, it is a blessing that all were safe and the only loss appears to be beach grass and equipment use.  I trust that there will be very few significant lasting negative emotional consequences of this event.  Positively, families can use the experience to draw closer together and make it a learning experience for their family and one that will guide your child in safety ways as they grow up and start their own family.  It is a good lesson for understanding the impact of a small spark.

Blessings to all of you for a safe and happy rest of the summer!

Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS

Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant

Introducing Alison Weiner

Introducing Alison Weiner

Please welcome Alison Weiner. Ali will be joining Lamperti Counseling & Consultation for the summer as a Student Intern. In addition to being a high honors Psychology Major, Alison has studied abroad in Italy, raised over $5,000 for breast cancer awareness and worked with inmates in a high security prison. She brings skills of photo-journalism, computer systems, working with special needs, mentoring and children. We are very excited to have her for the summer!

A “WOW” GIVEAWAY”

No question about it…Family Movie Nights bring families together, and popcorn makes it really rock!

Be on the lookout to enter this giveaway.  Entries start early next week and the winner will be chosen mid February!
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Winner gets;
Popper, popcorn, spices, oil, popcorn cups and bowl, three DVDs pictured!

You won’t want to miss this one!

Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist
Consultant