New IOS Mobile App to Schedule Appointments

Our new SimplePractice Client Portal iOS mobile app allows you to manage your care while on the go. This HIPAA-compliant app is now available for download on the App Store.

The SimplePractice Client Portal app combines the client portal’s critical functionality with a mobile app’s convenience. With the app, you can:

  • Manage appointments
  • Join Telehealth sessions directly from the app
  • View invoices
  • Make payments
  • Review shared documents
  • Send Secure Messages
  • Opt to receive push notifications when new messages, invoices, and documents become available
  • Manage multiple profiles
  • Enable a Passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID for quick and secure login

Download it now: App Store

Breaking out of Negative Thoughts and Rumination

Do you ever feel like your mind is racing or your thoughts are stuck in a loop? You might be experiencing what’s called negative thinking or rumination. People who engage in this tend to overthink things, strive for perfection, look at the downside of events and miss the good stuff that happened to them.

Coping with negative thoughts and rumination can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible to overcome, and it’s not something you have to live with forever.

The good news is that you can learn ways to cope with negative thinking and rumination without using medications. Here are some things that might help:

1) Practice mindfulness meditation. This involves focusing on the present moment without judgment, especially when you have negative or repetitive thoughts. You can try this by focusing on your breath, listening to music or nature sounds (like rain or waves), or simply sitting quietly in silence and noticing what’s happening around you (or inside yourself).

2) If you are spiritual, pray! Prayer is a powerful weapon against depression and anxiety. It can be hard to pray when you are overwhelmed by negative thoughts, but if you commit yourself to prayer as a daily routine, it will help keep your mind focused on what matters most.

3) Get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain, making us feel better about ourselves and more optimistic about our lives. So if you’ve been feeling down lately, try getting out for a run instead of staying cooped up inside all day!

4) Eat healthy foods! Eating well helps regulate hormones in our bodies that are responsible for mood swings (like serotonin). So if you’re feeling down, try eating something like strawberries or almonds—they contain nutrients that promote happiness and contentment. Ever heard the expression: “Your mental health is at the end of your fork”? It’s true.

5) Try writing down your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up inside where no one else can see them except for yourself (and even then, only if you want to share them with others. Grammer and punctuation aren’t necessary. The point is to let that negative go.

6) Identify the areas where you were hurt or traumatized. Destructive thought patterns can result from betrayal, abandonment, unfair actions, and traumatic events. We can internalize external actions and believe we are the problem or too broken, leaving us in a vicious loop of negative thoughts and feelings.

7) Work with a professional therapist specializing in trauma-informed practices and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Together, you can get to the unhealthy core beliefs causing so much pain and suffering and find alternative perspectives on your life.

Negative thinking and rumination are exhausting. It ruins your sleep, and it interferes with your day. If you want help finding a way out of this destructive pattern, contact Ron Huxley and set up an appointment to start feeling good immediately! Click here now…

6 Steps Adoptive Parents Need to Learn

When you adopt a child, it’s not uncommon to find yourself parenting a child who has been traumatized. The emotional regulation skills that all children learn in their early years were probably not developed as well as they could have been in the child’s pre-adoption life, and now you’re facing the task of helping your child learn how to manage their emotions.

It’s not always easy, but some strategies can help make this process easier. Here are some tips for dealing with emotionally dysregulated children who were adopted:

1.) Learn about trauma and its effects on developing minds and bodies.

2.) Learn about emotional regulation and how it develops in children.

3.) Identify what emotional regulation looks like for your child—what do they do when they get upset? How do they express anger? Frustration? Sadness? Joy? What helps them calm down when they get upset? What makes them get upset or escalate into inappropriate behaviors? And most importantly: what doesn’t work when they feel overwhelmed by intense emotions?

4.) Since every child is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Learn brain-based parenting skills and methods.

5) Identity the attachment styles for each family member and discover techniques that create greater security.

6) Take care of yourself. Self-care is not a luxury. It is necessary to be more patient and resilient with your dysregulated child.

Take a free course on Trauma-Informed Care in the home, school, and community at TraumaToolbox.com.

If you need specialized help, contact Ron Huxley today by clicking here and scheduling an appointment.

Tackle the Tech: Screen Time Tips

Parents frequently complain about how much time children spend on their screens. It can become a daily battle for technology, reaching addictive proportions for many children and teens. They seem obsessed with social media, snaps, and games. When denied, they tantrums and rage.

Before the pandemic, I used to advise parents to limit screens to a few hours per week. During the pandemic, the screen was the only access to school and social support. Being held “captive” in quarantine opened the apps and social media again, forcing parents to yield to children’s demands. Now, after the pandemic, I have to help parents with new ways to negotiate screen time.

According to the website, Defend Young Minds, here are 9 questions that can help tackle the technology by setting doable boundaries:

Here are 9 questions to help you establish family screen time boundaries:

  1. Mealtime. Are devices allowed when we are together at meals at home or at restaurants?
  2. Being present. Do we allow face-to-face conversations to be interrupted by a phone call or text?
  3. Time limits. How much screen time should we spend each day?
  4. Location. Where can devices be used? We strongly recommend that children’s devices are used only in common areas of the house and never in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  5. Bedtime. Where are devices recharged at night? We recommend that devices be charged in the parent’s room at night or where kids will not have access.
  6. Asking permission. Do I need to ask before I download apps or games? We recommend utilizing parental controls to disable downloads without permission.
  7. House rules. When friends come over, what restrictions apply to their devices? Some families use a cell phone basket on a counter to corral devices during the visit.
  8. Family visits. When and where can we use our devices when visiting friends or family?
  9. Courtesy. When we are in public, what are the rules for using our devices?

Instead of dictating all of the rules, involve children in the discussion so that they take more ownership. Democracy is better than a dictatorship! Be sure to negotiate consequences for not following the guidelines. Will there be a warning? Parents always have the final word but working together as a family team is the secret to screen management.

School Behaviors: What’s behind it?

Use a trauma-informed lens when dealing with school behaviors / Ron Huxley, LMFT

The school is back in full swing, and parents and teachers may be trying to manage misbehaviors. Don’t be too quick to assume that it is all about MOTIVATION and MANIPULATION. I call this the M and M misunderstanding. Take some time to look behind the behavior and answer the problem under the problem for greater school success.

Consult with Ron Huxley today for additional help…

5 Steps to Overcome Perfectionism

We all have moments where we fall into perfectionism. For some of us, this might happen kind of often. For others, it’s reserved for those special occasions where we have a project where we can’t rest until we get it right.

While occasional super-attention-to-detail is okay, it’s when we make perfectionism a way of life that it becomes a problem. Those are the times when we finally need to take charge of our lives and learn to let go.

Try this:

Start at the Core

Why are you so wrapped up in perfectionism? Are you genuinely trying to become a better person somehow, or are you just trying to impress someone else or meet expectations from those around you? Neither of these reasons is very healthy, and both need to be addressed.

Drop the “Should”

The moment you start using this word in a conversation, especially regarding your action, you’re already driving yourself crazy. Remind yourself you don’t need validation from anyone. You’re good just by being you.

Rewrite the Script

What are you telling yourself as you throw yourself into perfectionism? Do you think this is the path to success? Or do you have other unrealistic expectations of the outcome? Here’s where you switch up your self-talk to get out of any negative spaces and unrealistic outcomes.

Drop the Comparisons

Speaking of self-talk, just who are you holding up as role models? Has this, too, become unhealthy, going from “I want to be more like them” to “Why can’t I have everything they do?” Wouldn’t it feel better to celebrate where you are and all the effort you’ve been putting into things?

Show Some Mercy

Perfection never allows for excuses. If you can’t succeed, you’re automatically a failure. By chasing imperfection, you learn the value of self-forgiveness and the ability to let go of your mistakes in favor of embracing the lessons you can learn from them.

You wouldn’t think these steps are all so essential at first glance. After all, is chasing imperfection worthwhile?

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Perfection pulls us away from others and gets us so tangled up inside with worry and stress about getting things right; that we negatively impact our mental and physical health. 

With this in mind, isn’t it time to let go and enjoy life once and for all?

Restart Your Life (Free Course)

Learn how to reboot and restart your life with a new course from Ron Huxley, LMFT, and FamilyHealer.tv. Here’s what you will learn:

6 ways to deal with upheaval at work

Worry only 30 minutes a day

Be more supportive of your friends

Don’t let disagreements ruin your relationships

Defeat perfectionism!

How avoidance actually creates more stress

5 ways to get out of your own way

Create a plan for your family life

>> Click here now to take this course for free <<

What triggers your anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness that may occur as a reaction to stress. It can be characterized by feelings of tension and increased blood pressure in the body, worried thoughts in the mind, and a lack of hopefulness about the future.

Knowing what triggers your anxiety can help you address and accommodate your life through it. Notice I said “through it” and not “around it.” Trying to avoid or go around anxiety causes it to grow in strength. It is like feeding table scraps to the dog and then wonder why they come begging all the time.

A better way of managing anxiety is using the three-step method I am illustrating here… Aware, Address, and Accommodate. I am focusing only on the first step in this article.

On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rate the triggers? Let the range of 0 to 2 be about “calmness,” 3 to 5 about “small amounts of anxiety,” 6 to 8 about “higher levels” of anxiety, and 9 and 10 listed as “extreme” anxiety.

Review each of the trigger situations below and rank them on this scale. It is ok to add trigger areas I didn’t cover.

___ Conflict or drama in my family, friendships, or relationships

___ Being in a large crowd of people

___ Meeting someone new or going to someplace I haven’t been before

___ Having to confront or approach someone

___ Trying to make other people happy

___ Having too much to get done

___ Making plans with other people

___ Being away from my parent/guardian or family members

___ Performing or presenting in front of others

___ Any kind of sudden change

___ Having too much time to think

___ Not knowing what will happen in the future

___ Grades or stress from schoolwork

___ Being away from home/family/loved ones

___ When I or my loved ones travel

___ Getting criticized for something I did wrong

___ Going anywhere or doing certain things by myself

___ Loud noises or raised voices

___ Being around certain people

___ Being in tight spaces or being in wide open spaces

___ Having conversations

___ Being unprepared

It is important to mention that past traumas can create triggers in present situations and relationships. These triggers may be false alarms designed by the body’s hypervigilant warning system. Recognize these alarms as friendly protectors and stop fighting them. When you are in the middle of a trigger, tell yourself that this is just anxiety and it is trying to protect me from harm from the past, and this is different. This feeling of anxiety will go away soon, and joyful feelings will return.

Getting to know your teen

Anyone with a teenager knows how challenging it can be to get them to share deeply. Part of the reason is that teens want to establish their own identity that is separate from you. Communicating on a deep level is connecting, not operating. The truth is that teens need and want both. You can use open questions to create dialogue and depth in your relationship.

Try these simple questions and see what happens:

How would your friends describe you?

What would you take if you were moving and could only take 3 things with you?

What age would you like to be if you could be any age and why?

What was the best day of last week and why?

What is it that you wish I understood better about you or your friends?

If you could be famous what would you like to be known for?

If you could take 3 people on a trip, who would you take and why?

What is something you wish you could change about yourself?

What is one of your or my greatest strengths and/or weaknesses?

What is the hardest thing about school for you?

Do you have a favorite teacher, or coach? What makes them your favorite?

Which feelings are the hardest for your to express? Anger? Sadness? Jealousy?

When asking these questions, don’t give advice or judgment. If you do, you will stop the flow of communication between you and your teen. Let them ask these questions of you or volunteer to answer them first to create more safety and openness. If your teen doesn’t want to answer them, don’t push. What they don’t say can be as informative of what they do say.

How do you feel today?

It’s a simple question. Not really complicated, right? Actually, it can be a tricky question to answer for some people. Many men and women who didn’t grow up with healthy examples of managing emotions or feelings were not valued or punished for expressing them. Anger is often an emotion that is used to cover up unpleasant feelings states, like sadness or fear. Anger has more energy and control but prevents us from knowing what is really underneath.

In couples, one person can be flooded with emotions and can shut down to control them. They might appear unemotional when in fact, they have too many emotions. A good therapist or life coach can help someone learn to be more aware of and address their feelings.

Try this simple exercise to know when you are feeling different types of emotions:

I feel happy when…

I feel sad when…

I feel excited when…

I feel angry when…

I feel safe when…

I feel scared when…

I feel invisible when…

I feel confident when…

Use the answers to these sentences to share with others close to you. Knowing what you feel may help you. Sharing them will help others. Practice noticing what you are feeling throughout the day. It is said that the only people who have no feelings are sociopaths and dead people. As stark a truth as that is, it means you have feelings, and you are able to be aware of, address them, and accommodate feelings in your relationship.