Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year, New Career?

There will be millions of New Year’s resolutions made and broken within the next two weeks. Have you recently been struggling with your job? Do you have a job or a career? Do you love going to work? Are you passionate about your work? For the lucky ones, going to work every day can bring a sense of accomplishment and personal development. If you are currently struggling with what to do next with your job/career, then this blog is for you.

Most people do not realize that therapist can be a great resource for career counseling. Each individual functions on his/her own continuum and evolves emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and professionally. Therapists can help you decipher whether or not your current work conflicts are related to interpersonal struggles, past traumas, or even just a desire to find a more fulfilling career. As we transition through developmental phases we have different financial, emotional and personal needs. A trained professional can help you determine where you are on the life cycle, assess your vocational maturity, provide you with resources to determine what type of training you might need and help you plan action steps to reaching your desired end results.

At Central Florida Mental Health Associates we have a team of dedicated, licensed, trained professional who are eager to assist you in career counseling. If you are interested in a free 15 minute free phone consultation, feel free to give us a call at 386-736-9165.

Jennifer Nadelkov, MA, LMFT

Monday, December 20, 2010

Positive Self Talk for Parents

After hours of meetings, a cranky boss, and lots of traffic, coming home to our children/family should be the best part of our day. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t always work out that way. Your teenager is age appropriately self absorbed and honestly does believe their world will come crashing down if you don’t immediately drive them to the movies. Your three year old does believe he or she has the strength to pour his or her own glass of milk, which you and I both know will end up on the floor. Your significant other does believe his or her funny story from their work day is so important you should sit down, smile and laugh, despite your own exhaustion level. The dog that has obediently waited all day to be walked, will gladly relieve himself on your shoes at its earliest convenience. Life is not always the storybook we imagined it would be. While there are very rewarding days with our families, there are also stressful, exhausting days when we just aren’t really sure how to manage our “home” responsibilities.

There are a ton of articles that will tell you what to say to your children and what not to say to your children. You can also find a ton of research on all the right things to say to let your significant other feel valued and supported. While those are very important tools to have in your tool bag, that is not the intention of this blog. This short blog is a helpful list of things you can tell yourself to get through a stressful evening after a stressful work day to avoid resorting to maladaptive patterns of self destructive behavior.

1. “I matter”
2. “I am an important part of this family”
3. “I can do this”
4. “I am willing to do whatever it takes”
5. “I can handle this”
6. “Its ok if I’m not good at this”
7. “I will not give up”
8. “I’m going to be OK”
9. “I will have a better day tomorrow”
10. “I am capable”
11. “I am valuable”
12. “I am learning and growing”
13. “I can solve any problem”

Repeating these positive statements to yourself may seem a bit silly at first, but I promise you there are countless benefits to taking care of yourself. In your chaotic day to day life, taking a few moments to remind yourself that you matter, are important and have value can make all the difference. The next time you take a phone call and the children have turned dinner time into a food fight, take a brief second and practice some positive self talk. Good luck!

Jennifer Nadelkov, LMFT

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fight Fair

Inevitably, at some point during your relationship with your partner you will have an argument. It is part of life. However, have you ever had the argument that spiraled out of control? Or the argument that lasted two days? A week? Longer? One of the important things to learn, in order to maintain a healthy relationship is how to "fight fair."

Arguments will happen, so accept that. When they do, be sure to have the argument in a respectful way. Be focused on the problem, and don't bring previous problems or events into the argument. Do not try and tackle multiple problems at once, one thing at a time so that you don't overwhelm yourselves.

Make sure that you utilize time outs. Time outs are not just for children, they are for adult use as well. There are two keys to using time outs as adults, the first is that you have to allow your partner to walk away if they ask for a time out, do not follow them down the hall continuing the argument, let them go. However the time out is not open-ended, set a time that you both agree to return to the discussion, say for example 15 minutes, this gives everyone a chance to calm down some. Then you can return to the discussion and try and create a solution for the problem.

Listen to what the other person has to say, and allow them to complete their thought. Regardless of how many times you may have had an argument, and how each time your partner says the same thing, this might be the time they take a different perspective, and have something different to say. And if you cut them off prior to their completing their thought, you are ensuring that you will have the same argument over again. None of us are mind readers, so don't play that role in your argument.

It is also important to try and understand things from your partner's perspective. Not that you have to agree with their perspective, but if you can understand where they are coming from it will help you both in the development of a solution.

And finally, remember to forgive one another.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Paying attention to facts becomes invaluable especially under stress or when we are faced with an important decision. Often times, stress, and vigorous anxiety (i.e., breakup of a relationship, divorce, important business decision) encourages us to feed into irrational thinking, which in turn, only turns up the volume of our stress and anxiety. Paying attention to facts can often inoculate us from experiencing severe levels of anxiety and stress by keeping us rational, logical and from feeding into our negative thinking patterns. *Feel free to leave your comments

Travis McBride, MA, LMHC


Central Florida Mental Health Associates, LLC


Sunday, December 12, 2010

You Are Not Your Illness

Serious mental illness affects approximately 14 million people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And mental illness is the second leading cause of disability in the United States, according to Yet, 2/3 of people who have mental illness do not seek treatment. Some of the reasons people do not seek treatment are due to lack of resources, insurance, and for some people it is the stigma that is connected to mental illness. There are some who believe that mental health disorders are due to not having enough will power, moral failings or weakness - ALL of which are untrue.

Here are a few people throughout history who have dealt with mental illness. You decide whether or not they lacked will power, morally failed or were weak:

Winston Churchhill - depression
Abraham Lincoln - depression
Princess Diana - bulimia
Earl Campbell - panic disorder
John Madden - phobia of flying

The reality is, if you were diagnosed with cancer, you would go to the doctor. Mental health disorders are no different. If you are struggling with a mental health disorder you should go see a therapist, psychiatrist, or your family physician. If your doctor gave you medication for the treatment of the cancer, most likely you would take it, which is no different than a psychiatrist prescribing medication for a mental health disorder. You might have to do some physical therapy as part of the treatment for the cancer, just like you might need to talk with a therapist to help you process what you're dealing with as part of your treatment for a mental health disorder. The bottom line is, regardless of the type of illness that you have, it is important to obtain the proper treatment to help you live your life to the fullest.

Regardless of whether you are dealing with a medical illness or a mental health illness, it is important to remember that you are not your illness. You would not introduce yourself to someone and say "hi, I'm cancer." Neither should you introduce yourself to someone and say "hi, I'm bipolar." Yet when I counsel clients the second statement is very common. It is important to remember that you have cancer, or you have bipolar disorder. If you have an illness, you can seek treatment, and make progress toward overcoming the illness. If you ARE the illness it becomes harder to make change. Remember, at the end of the day it is about your quality of life.

If you feel you might be dealing with a mental health illness, and you would like to seek help, please contact our office.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Setting healthy boundaries

As William Shakespeare put it, “Give a man health and a course to steer, and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not”. I think the “course” that Shakespeare is referring to is the establishment of healthy boundaries. For our own emotional and physical well being, establishing clear boundaries can give us a “course” that we are now in control of and can “steer”. While it is easier to identify our physical boundaries, by posting “No trespassing” signs, it can be more difficult to establish emotional and intellectual boundaries.
Ever had a boss walk into your office without knocking? Ever been afraid to tell a friend that you do not want to take care of their dog while they are out of town for fear they will not like you anymore? Ever feel like you are powerless in the decisions that are made in which you silently suffer the consequences someone else made for you? Ever had your own happiness dependent on someone else’s happiness? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have unhealthy boundaries.
The solution to unhealthy boundaries is not establishing rigid boundaries in which you always say no or completely shut others out emotionally. This could result in loneliness, anxiety and dependency. The key to establishing healthy boundaries is to identify your current level of self esteem and assertiveness. After identifying your (key word here Your) beliefs, morals, and values you can begin assertiveness training and self esteem building. Establishing healthy boundaries can be an empowering experience that allows you to create mutually beneficial relationships with others.
There are countless self help books on assertiveness training and self esteem building. If you have a loved one that has ever struggled with alcohol or substance abuse, you most likely have been faced with how to establish healthy boundaries. If you have a long history of poor boundary setting or believe that you are in a co-dependent relationship, be assured there is help out there. Our office is happy to answer any questions you have regarding boundary setting through a free 15 minute phone consultation at 386-736-9165.

Jennifer Nadelkov, MA, LMFT

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Positively Positive

"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison

I chose this quote this week because it emphasizes the power of perspective and staying positive. Our lives are shaped on a yearly, daily, hourly, even minutely basis by our perspective on things, places, people and situations. By maintaining a positive focus and perspective, it will greatly impact our mental focus, stability and level of overall happiness. For example, if you pulled into a parking lot and got a flat tire what would your thought be? Would it be, oh darn, this is going to cost me money, time and frustration...or would your thought be, well I got the flat at the grocery store, so at least I can shop while waiting for the tow truck...or at least I didn't get a blow out while driving on I-4? While not rainbows and roses, the last two answers are more focused on a positive outcome of what would normally be viewed as a bad situation.

Here are some suggestions to help you stay positive:
1. Make a conscious effort to look at the positive side of all situations.
2. Think, feel and believe that positive thinking will result in positive results.
3. Surround yourself with other positive people.
4. Helping other people can help us by highlighting our strengths, helping us feel useful/needed
and providing us with new perspective.
5. Practice gratitude and thankfulness daily. Even if things seem bad, they could be worse, and
while it may be hard to see that during those bad times, if you can focus on being
grateful/thankful for what you do have, it can help provide hope, optimism and strength.
6. We have all heard the phrase "laughter is the best medicine." Well it's difficult to be laughing
and negative/depressed at the same time. Fill your life with laughter as a natural support for
7. Let go of the negativity in your life in whatever form it comes in, people, things, stress or
8. Practice self-care on a daily basis. Make sure that you are getting enough rest, eating
properly, and exercising regularly.
9. Use relaxation techniques and meditation to keep yourself relaxed and focused.
10. Be aware of the power of words. In counseling we work with our clients on eliminating words
such as can't, won't and hopeless and replacing them with words like can, will, and

By working on our perspective daily, and trying to maintain a more positive focus, we can improve the overall quality of our lives. Stay positive.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tips for reducing holiday stress for children

While the grownups hustle and bustle to prepare for the holidays, children often feel the stress their parents feel. Here are some useful tips on how to reduce the stress children may experience during the holidays:

1. Emphasize the reason for the season: If your family is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, take advantage of this opportunity to slow things down a bit and teach them about the birth. If you celebrate Christmas for nonreligious reasons, explain the reasons you exchange gifts and spend time with family. This is a great time to help children learn about the family’s belief system and traditions from previous generations.
2. Maintain routine: All parents know about the inevitable meltdown that occurs when an eighteen month old is expected to sit on Santa’s lap two hours past their normal nap time. As much as possible try to keep meal and nap times at their normal times.
3. Make children little helpers: Of course it takes twice as long when a six year old wants to help wrap Grandpa’s present. However, in allowing your child to wrap that present he/she is now a part of the gift giving process and feels that they have helped you in some way. Children also love to help in the kitchen. Rinsing vegetables in the strainer, snapping green beans or making cookies are all child friendly activities.
4. Let them know the day’s agenda: Prepare your children for large crowds, long wait times, being at a coworkers home that the child may have never met or even just the fact that there will be three different family members they will visit that day.
5. Start or continue family traditions: Remind your child that last year they placed the star on top of the tree or that your father used to hold you up so that you could place the star. It is never too late to start a family tradition.
6. Bring comfort items: Allow children to bring their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. An unfamiliar home may not be child friendly, keep this in mind and pack toys that the children can play with.
7. Praise positive behavior: While this is a year round task, at the holidays it is very important to praise pro social behavior, use of manners and overall good behavior.
8. Role Model a positive attitude: If Mom or Dad doesn’t want to go Aunt Ruth’s house, the children will not want to go either. Express your joy and gratitude for the time to spend with friends and family and your children are more likely to do the same.
9. DO NOT OVERSCHEDULE: Children tire easily. Too many activities in one day is stressful for the entire family, especially infants and toddlers.

As we are now officially in the holiday season, remember to take time to enjoy the time off of work, the time spent with family and friends and the time to watch your child experience the magic of Christmas.
Jennifer Nadelkov, LMFT