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Building Family Resiliency (Video)

Parent Connection Coach and Educator Ron Huxley, L.M.F.T., is here to help you and your family build resiliency during these stressful times.
Watch the video and learn how to:
1. Gain new perspectives.
2. Teach your children to be problem solversHelp parents become resiliency coaches and avoid power struggles.
3. Eliminate negative game playing to develop loving and cooperative relationships.

Ron Huxley has over 30 years experience helping families heal and serves as a parent coach and educator with Parent Connection of San Luis Obispo County. In his capacity as a parent coach, Ron specializes in working with families who’ve experienced trauma. He believes in taking a strength-based approach that builds on solutions and he creates strategies that fit each family situation in the shortest time necessary.  


Ron Huxley is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist providing trauma-informed therapy for individuals and families. Currently practicing on the Central Coast of California, Ron travels internationally educating parents and professionals on trauma-informed care.

May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Awareness Month (also referred to as “Mental Health Month”) has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.

May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America-organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Each year in mid-March Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year.

Get mental health tools free at FamilyHealer .tv

Now you can have Occupational Therapy at home and improve social skills / self-control

Just because your children are stuck at home doesn’t mean that can’t benefit from occupational therapy or therapeutic movement. Now you can use the Coordikids Home-Based OT program. Watch Your Child’s Social Skills and Self-Control Dramatically Improve!

Best of all it is free during this “Stay-At-Home” order for families! Use the code “ROH” when checking out to get this free offering.

https://www.coordikids.com/schoolathome/

  • Perfect for busy families on a tight budget. (FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME)
  • Works for children of any age. 
  • Video exercises will motivate children to learn the skills.
  • New videos every two weeks for 1 year but available for 3 years.
  • Build on scientific practices and 47 years of combined Occupational Therapy Experience.
  • Creates connections between parents and children. 
  • Boosts confidence at home, school and social situations.
  • Increases emotional regulation (fewer tantrums, outbursts, aggression).
  • FREE expert consultations to customize a program to your child and families needs.
  • Available anytime, anywhere in flexible, fun delivery to your computer. 

PROGRAM DETAILS:

How does Sensory Integration Heal Trauma?

Sensory Integration is a relatively easy way to assist trauma victims towards full recovery.  Researchers have recently begun to learn more about the important link between sensory integration challenges and children who have suffered from trauma. Similar to adults who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), children who experience trauma early in life may be anxious or constantly concerned something bad will happen. Recognizing these children’s understanding of the world is based upon their sensory systems is an important first step in helping them to cope with everyday experiences.

A person deals with trauma using sensory processing and lower brain functions (and not with things such as rational thoughts). Therefore, responses may not be reasonable as they are driven by instinctual reminders. This knowledge can be vastly helpful in guiding treatment for young trauma victims. For example, when talk therapy is used exclusively, not all of the impacted senses are addressed. Consequently, as illustrated in a 2010 study by Kaiser et al., trauma victims show far more improvement when therapy includes sensory integration treatments. Addressing such areas of challenge both alleviate trauma symptoms and assists children in developing strategies to better manage future situations. 

For children who may be struggling to manage sensory inputs, changing the intensity of the input can help immensely. For example, decreasing the volume of a video clip, lowering the level of surrounding activity or minimizing the use fabrics perceived as “itchy” or “clingy”, may help significantly. CoordiKids encourages the development of the sensory motor skills through easy-to-follow exercises that can significantly help trauma victims.

Best of all it is free during this “Stay-At-Home” order for families! Use the code “ROH” when checking out to get this free offering. Click here now: https://www.coordikids.com/schoolathome/

A Dialogue on Mental Health, Faith, and Trauma

I had the honor of talking with John Sparrow, pastor of Equippers Church – Central Coast, on how to manage our mental health during the pandemic. John shares some of his personal journey, dealing with the stressors of life. I respond to his concerns about dealing with uncertainty, how faith helps us through the struggles of life, and some practical tools to heal from trauma. I hope you enjoy it!

Click the image to watch the full video on Facebook.

How do we learn to communicate better?

Struggling to communicate is a common problem in couples and families. Here’s a list of thought-provoking ideas to help you be a better listener and create more intimacy:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself. You can’t control anyone else.
  2. Make plans to talk. Timing helps.
  3. Nagging is usually a way to get someone to talk. It doesn’t work.
  4. Make eye contact.
  5. Start with positives and give compliments liberally.
  6. Ask open-ended questions and/or “Tell me more.”
  7. Good communicators listen more than they talk.
  8. Use storytelling with imagery and metaphors.
  9. Validate others positive points that you can agree with.
  10. Use I-statements. You-statements make people defensive.
  11. Be bold with your needs and wants.
  12. Pray with and for family members.
  13. Start with the most difficult issues first.
  14. Confidentiality is a must for safety and trust.
  15. Manage how you say things, not just what you say.
  16. Listen to what others say, not how they say things.
  17. Take a break or time-out if needed.
  18. Avoid distraction and give your undivided attention.
  19. Make the other person feel special.
  20. Observe non-verbal clues.
  21. Give choices to give more power.
  22. Share your feelings.
  23. Focus on problem-solving only if specifically requested.
  24. Be OK with saying “No.”
  25. Talk about your dreams for yourself and together.
  26. Write what you want to say first.
  27. Delay a response if you need to if overly emotional.
  28. You can disagree without being disrespectful.
  29. Use tentative statements like “In my opinion…If you ask me…From my point of you…Could you consider…”
  30. Speak only positive words or ask in a positive way.

Quarantined and ANGRY! How Anger Affects the Family…

Anger is one of the most commonly reported problems in families today. It surfaces in a variety of forms, including domestic violence, child abuse, marital conflicts, sibling rivalry, and generational tensions. As families are experiencing the isolation and disconnect from normal support services, during COVID-19, they may become angrier and act out their fears and worries on one another.

Why do we direct our anger at people we know and love? Part of the answer is hidden in the dynamics of the family itself. Other answers come from the hectic pace of contemporary family life and our own thinking.

A family is a complex emotional system where every member affects other members. Unless a person takes drastic measures to emotionally cut themselves off from the family or physically moves away; they cannot escape the power of the family over their behavior. It is this complexity and the fact that so much of family dynamics are outside of member’s conscious awareness, that makes change difficult. Consequently, members feel helpless to change anger in the family.

Anger takes place in the family in three ways: It is inherent in family temperament; it carries over from other stressful systems (such as work); it serves a specific function in the family.

Temper, Temper! 

A temperament is defined “as a person’s customary manner of emotional response (Roget’s II, The New Thesaurus).” Everyone knows someone they would describe as having a “temper.” One member or more of the family can be moody, intense, reactive, and dislike change. These people could be said to have a feisty or difficult temperament. They have inherited a biology that reacts in a different manner to stressful life events. Temperament is not something that family members can completely change, but it is something that can be modified or adapted to.

Parents who understand this realize that they have not failed their children. They simply have a child with a different temperament. It also answers the question, for many parents, why they seem to have more discomfort relating to one child over another. The more dissimilar the temperament, between parent and child, the more difficult it is to understand and interact together. On the other hand, family members with similar temperaments may “rub” each other the wrong way. Two members with “tempers” will engage in more frequent arguments and power struggles than would two members with flexible temperaments.

Displaced Anger.

Another way that anger affects families is through displacement of anger from one system (i.e., work) to another system (i.e., home). Parents who had a rough day at work don’t automatically shed their frustrations on the way home. They can bring it home and react to other family members in a hostile and abusive manner. One answer why family members direct their anger at people they know and love is that it is safer to vent with people they know will not abandon them. The boss may fire someone for venting at them or another employee. A teacher may give a student a bad report for acting out at school. But family members usually stick by you, even if you get angry. Unfortunately, chronic venting at loved one’s will result in negative consequences. It breaks down members’ ability to feel safe and trust one another.

Anger is Power

Anger has specific social functions that signal us when there is a need that is unfulfilled or a problem that needs solving. The earliest example of this, in families, is seen in the newborn. When the baby is hungry, hurt, or wet, it cries. If responses to its needs are not immediate, it can become angry. The baby will shake and scream until that need is met.

Anger can be used to control other family members. The most common example of this is a small child throwing a “temper” tantrum. The purpose of the tantrum is to get mom or dad to comply with their wants. Older children and adults also throw tantrums. They use it to get children to comply or spouses to listen or siblings to leave them alone. While anger may be one way to gain control, in the short-term, it always backfires, destroying relationships, in the long-term.

Anger Toolbox.

Families do not have to continue to be victims of their own or other’s anger. They can use some simple tools to manage anger:

  • The first tool to managing anger is to take personal responsibility for it. Even if a member’s anger is due to temperament or an overbearing boss, take responsibility for your reaction and what you do with that anger. The destructive root of family anger is blame. The blame game only has losers, no winners.
  • The second tool is to find safe and healthy ways to vent your anger. Give yourself more time to get home so that you are not so upset from the day at work or school. Or ask family members for a few moments alone when you do get home so that you can detox yourself for the day’s stress. Find alternative outlets for the pressure that builds up through the day. Exercise, sports, and physical activities are good choices. Additionally, meditation, relaxation training, and healthy diets will ensure a much more powerful buffer to stress.
  • Thirdly, be aware of how you talk to yourself. If you find yourself reacting to a situation differently than other family members, you may be causing your own problems. What we say to ourselves about situations and other family members influence our emotions. Get help from a qualified therapist to work on changing how you view difficult problems in your life.
  • And lastly, increase your social support network. The more people you have to turn to in a time of crisis, the more resourceful you will feel. Some of these people may not be your family members. That’s all right. They are safe places to deal with anger so that time at home, with other members, is spent enjoying one another.


References:

Ellis, Albert Anger: How to Live With and Without it. New York: Carol Publishing Group. 1992.
Huxley, Ronald Love & Limits: Achieving a Balance in Parenting. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc. 1998.
McKay, M., Rogers, P.D. & McKay, J. When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within. Oakland: New Harbinger. 1989.
Robins, Shani & Navaco, Raymond W. “Systems Conceptualization and Treatment of Anger.” Journal of Clinical Psychology. (1999). Vol. 55, No. 3, p. 325.

Why Mental Health is SO IMPORTANT during the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is week 2 (or is it week 3) of the COVID-19 “panic-demic” and the mandatory stay at home order for Californians. As I sit and meditate on all that is occuring, focusing my attention on God and his heart for the suffering people, I wonder how this virus will affect the mental health of the nation and the world.

An article in the Atlantic, by science writer Ed Yong, gives a very realistic scenario of this outcome: “After infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. At a moment of profound dread and uncertainty, people are being cut off from soothing human contact. Hugs, handshakes, and other social rituals are now tinged with danger. People with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder are struggling. Elderly people, who are already excluded from much of public life, are being asked to distance themselves even further, deepening their loneliness. Asian people are suffering racist insults, fueled by a president who insists on labeling the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Incidents of domestic violence and child abuse are likely to spike as people are forced to stay in unsafe homes. Children, whose bodies are mostly spared by the virus, may endure mental trauma that stays with them into adulthood.” (Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/)

The news isn’t all gloom and doom fortunately. Crisis can move into productive change too. The article in the Atlantic goes on to assert: “Pandemics can also catalyze social change. People, businesses, and institutions have been remarkably quick to adopt or call for practices that they might once have dragged their heels on, including working from home, conference-calling to accommodate people with disabilities, proper sick leave, and flexible child-care arrangements.”

It isn’t my desire to instill fear by this article. It is a wakeup call to better mental health practices in our country. In fact, my mediation this morning is all about how to reduce fear:

say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”

Isaiah 35:4 (NIV)

In order to manage this fear we need to increase our focus on mental health, reduce stigma, and provide practical tools to help children and adults cope. We need to relax mental health regulations that restrict mental health services and create new models for treatment. In part this has already occurred, with governing agencies allowing therapists to use a variety of online options to provide on-going support and insurance companies, previously resistant to reimbursing telehealth are now willing to pay for services.

Personally, I am working with churches, schools, and non-profit organizations to create anxiety reducing webinars, providing encouraging messages to build family strength, and deal with mental health concerns. It feels like we are all scrambling to respond, and even though clumsy, I feel a connectedness of hearts that warms the cold chill of fear.

Families can use our free membership group, full of resources on parenting, anxiety, and trauma to help them during this time. Just go to http://FamilyHealer.tv