May is Mental Health Awareness Month

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and communities.


Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Month Ron Huxley is highlighting the TraumaToolbox.com- what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.


Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are focusing on different topics that can help process the events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend beyond COVID-19.


We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took the anxiety screening at MHAscreening.org, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.


It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.


A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at MHAscreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing.
Ultimately, during this month of May, Ron Huxley wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible.

Check out the many mental health tools create free at the TraumaToolbox.com.

Mental Health is the Next Pandemic

No one, in my generation, has every experienced a global crisis like the pandemic that kicked off in 2020. The unfortunate consequence of this medical crisis will be a new global crisis that affects our mental health.

As a therapist that specializes in anxiety and trauma I have seen a dramatic increase of both in the lives of children and adults. Individuals who already struggled with these issues have increased in personal distress, substance abuse, and suicidal ideations. Even people, who never had problems with depression, anxiety, or panic are now showing symptoms that damage their jobs, health, and relationships.

Government agencies and mental health clearinghouses have ramped up funding to meet this challenge that is likely to continue for the next fear years. The cost is greater than the monies supplied to treat it. We all pay emotionally and spiritually.

Now is the time to address these issues with information, advocacy, and proven methods that help prevent and stop mental health concerns.

Trouble with Anxious Thoughts?

Do you have racing thoughts and anxiety attacks? It’s hard to focus on anything else when anxiety takes control of your mind. It can ruin sleep, relationships, and your health. All you want to do is calm down and rest. 

Fortunately, there are ways to control anxious thoughts. And it just takes practice to master the techniques. 

Try these tips to control your anxiety: 

  1. Distance yourself from the worrisome thoughts. Learn to look at your anxious thoughts differently.
  • The key is to reshape how you think about things.
  • When you get an anxious thought, immediately identify it as a sign of your worry and not reality. 
  • Labeling your thoughts raises self-awareness and makes it easier to control them. It also gives you something else to focus on instead of a constant worry.
  1. Ask yourself questions. When you get an anxious thought, stop and ask yourself these questions:
  • What is the real reason for this anxious thought? What am I terrified about?
  • Is there a real danger, or is my mind merely playing games with me?
  • Is the negative outcome I imagine likely to happen?
  • How can I stop or change these negative thoughts into something positive? 
  1. View your thoughts as data. Sometimes it’s helpful to view your thoughtss as data and your mind as a data processing center. 
  • You’ll get a lot of data coming in throughout the day. Some of this data can be incorrect and confusing. This is an example of anxious thoughts. 
  • You may also misunderstand the data. This means you allow the anxious thoughts to take over and control you. You let them grow and fester. 
  • As the data processing center, you get to decide how to handle all the information. Remember, you’re in control. This means you can choose to toss out or ignore the incorrect data. 
  • Also, keep in mind that the brain is designed to detect danger and is hypersensitive to it. You may pick up on things that aren’t even real. 
  1. Focus on the present. Many anxious thoughts are focused on either the future or the past. You can break free by focusing on the present.
  • Avoid overthinking about the past or future by interrupting these thoughts. Notice when you’re thinking about the past or future and guide your thoughts back to the present moment. 
  • Sometimes thoughts from the past can make you afraid of the future. Remember that the past doesn’t have to repeat itself. You have the power to change how your future will look. 
  1. Take action. Anxious thoughts often prevent you from taking action. They keep you stuck in fear and worry. Learn to take action even when you’re afraid.
  • Find one thing you can influence positively at that moment and take action.
  • Action can decrease the number of anxious thoughts you have daily. It can show you that there’s nothing to be afraid of, that you’re powerful, and that you can make a positive difference.
  1. Get rid of unhelpful thoughts. Some thoughts may be real, but they aren’t helpful. 
  • Learn to tell helpful and unhelpful thoughts apart. 
  • Then, start to filter out the unhelpful ones. For example, if you know that the odds of making a perfect presentation at work are low, but you still have to do it, this is an unhelpful thought. It doesn’t encourage you to do your best. 

Anxious thoughts don’t have to control your life. You can use these tricks to effectively take control of your mind when you find yourself worrying. If these tips aren’t enough, consider talking to a therapist for additional help.

Need Better Communication? Be BRIEF!

A common complaint of couples and families is poor communication. We have to communicate our needs, wants, and dreams. Trauma and pain can shut communication down or result in explosive words and feelings that damages our relationships. Here is a simple tool to help you build better communication skills. Use the acronym BRIEF to start improving your ability to connect today.

BRIEF Communication

B = Be calm and concise. Request a good time to talk. Don’t discuss more than one thing at a time. “I would like to talk about what happened this morning. When would be good time to talk?”

R = Recognize the other persons situation. See to understand be being understood. For example:

“I realize you were busy trying to get ready for work and worried about your meeting today when…”

I = Use “I Messages.” “You messages” create defensiveness.  I messages create safety that allows you to be heard and known. For example:

“I feel hurt and ashamed when you call me ugly names and slam the door.”

E = Express your wants and needs. Families can develop rules that wants and needs are not allowed. Complete inner lifes can be shut down by angry, abusive parents. For example:

“…and I need you be respectful towards me and not run away when we talk.”

F = Focus on a solution that will benefit both of you. This communication skill is not just for me. It creates a win/win opportunity for both parties. For example:

“I will TRY not to talk to you in the morning when you are on the way out of work or I would like to start seeing a marriage counselor together.”

Need more help building power-full communication skills? Contact Ron Huxley today to set up a session time via telehealth.

Research Proves TeleMental Health Works!

The effects of COVID-19 has resulted in many business and services moving to remote work. This has many benefits and costs for society and this is especially true in the field of mental health.

Traditionally mental health was done face-to-face, in a office with a licensed therapist. At times, it took place in the clients home, when they were unable to come to an office, due to health or lack of transportation. In rare cases therapy took place over the phone when all other options were not possible. Today, all of this has reversed with online options being the first choice and in office being last.

In reality, online options for mental health has been researched for many years, although the application of it was rare. As technology has increased, and federal and state laws have adjusted, we are recognizing as online or TeleMental Health works.

Information from a recent conference on TeleMental Health reveals 4200 articles show the safety and effectiveness of this modality.

Consequently, many clients are finding that the convenience of doing online options outweigh the disadvantages. Some of these advantages include not having to find baby sisters, more flexible appointment times, quicker access to help when needed, reasonable rates for therapy, and better time management.

Supportive research shows TeleMental Health to be effective in addressing a wide variety of mental health issues and concerns, compatible to in-person care, and is creating new models of care through the use of powerful technologies.

New models of therapy maybe be an example of “fighting fire with fire” where TeleMental Health/technology rises to the challenge of increased mental health and substance abuse problems in a world that is locked down and social isolated. According to a report by the Center for Disease Control: “Overall, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) related to the pandemic (26.3%), and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%).”

New models of care should not result in lower standards of care. TeleMental Health must follow the highest standards to deliver personal, confidential, and effective treatment. This involves appropriate informed consent, intake and assessment, progress note documentation, mandatory reporting, and duty to warn/protect.

Ron Huxley is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 30 years of experiences. He uses traditional and non traditional mental health models to provide the highest level of care to individuals and families. He has been the director of community-based mental health, provided direct and online training, and was involved in the early research and delivery models of telemental health with organizations such as the TeleBehavioral Health Institute (TBHI) and works with national institutions, such as the National Center on Adoption and Permanency.

You can schedule an online TeleMental Health appointment with Ron immediately or go take an online course on anxiety and trauma at FamilyHealer.tv

Emotional Mastery: Surfing Unpleasant Emotions

I was watching a TED Talk on YouTube about Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings. Emotional mastery of these feeling states is a timely question as we deal with a Pandemic, teaching children from home, and struggling with the uncertainty of our social, financial future. Knowing how to manage unpleasant emotions is always a key question for our mental health and success in life.

Unpleasant emotions include feelings of shame, guilt, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, fear, and grief, to name a few.

The TED Talk speaker explores how emotional mastery is demonstrated by our ability to move past/through these unpleasant emotions and not be shut down or run from them.

By “move through,” she refers to the neuroscience idea that when an emotional feeling gets triggered, chemicals flood the body, activating bodily sensations that can put into a survival state of fight, flight, and freeze. Interestingly, we experience these unpleasant emotions in our bodies before we cognitively understand them. The body always reacts first, fast, and defensively. If unpleasant feelings come from a traumatic event, we will develop emotional programs that will be set in the body to protect us from other unpleasant feelings or situations. We may make a conscious vow to never “trust people again,” be put “into an embarrassing situation ever again,” or “never take such a risk like that again” to further protect ourselves from such unpleasantness. Emotional programs (from the unconscious body-mind) and cognitive vows (from the conscious thinking-mind) paint us into a corner. Although they protect, they also prevent us from growth and success.

The goal is to “move through” unpleasant emotions and not avoid or dissociate from them. To do this, we have to “surf” the wave of bodily chemical sensations and stand up on the board of our own conscious choices. That unpleasant wave of chemicals only lasts 60-90 seconds. That is less time that a song on the radio, explains the psychologist from the TED Talk. Unpleasant emotions rush and then flush from the body.

It is the fight or flight from unpleasant emotions that make the waves more significant and more threatening than they are, and the vicious cycle of the more chemical reaction and mental obsessions continue.

How do we “move through” emotionally unpleasant feelings? The psychologists claim that the uncomfortable sensations are like a wave of chemicals that go through us like a wave. It lasts only 60-90 seconds and then dissipates. Rush and then flushed by the body.

Different unpleasant emotions have different patterns of waves: Grief has waves after waves. Anger is perhaps a big roaring wave. Sadness is a slow, lingering wave. Shame a sneaky, rip curl of a wave. But all of them come and go. We can get back on the beach and feel stable again. The beach is the place of acceptance in this metaphor.

The speaker’s recommendation is to learn to surf the unpleasant waves, let them rise, and then let them retreat. Stop fighting them, fleeing them, or freezing in the middle of them. With consistent practice, insights into life and your character will develop. The speaker describes how we will be better able to pursue the goals you dreamed about, have courageous conversations, and feel more conformable in your skin. Surfing them won’t take a lifetime. It only takes a moment. The present now where change always starts.

If you would like more information on how to surf the waves of unpleasant emotions, schedule a one-on-one session with Ron here or take a FamilyHealer.tv course at your convenience.

Reflections for Resiliency: I Live A Worry-Free Lifestyle

In order to develop a more resilient sense of self, Ron Huxley has created a new series called “Reflections for Resiliency”. The reflections are free to use for your inner development and self-care. This is a sample of what you will get in a new course on resilience at FamilyHealer.tv, coming Fall 2020.

In this first blog on personal reflections, Ron Huxley provides direction on living a worry-free life. Use them as proclamations over your life and shift the atmosphere of your home and relationships. Use a journal along side each reflection to write our thought own thoughts and feelings. Answer the Self-Reflection Questions at the end to help you apply them to your life.

You can download a PDF version of this reflection : Click Here!

Be sure to share this blog post with your family and friends…


I Live A Worry-Free Life

There is no better way to live than to live a life full of joy, health, peace, and happiness.

I choose to live a worry-free life because I know that anxiety crowds out productivity. I can and do plan for the future, but I realize that the only moment I can control is the present.

I use the creativity and wisdom I have gained from my experiences to make the best plans I can for the future. I realize, however, that even the most carefully laid plans are just ideas – figments of my imagination susceptible to factors outside my control. By acknowledging that I have no control over the future, I free myself from the dead end of worry.

I choose to conserve my mental and emotional energy by keeping my focus on the reality of what is in front of me. I make the most of this moment and trust that I will be able to handle the next when it comes.

When my focus is on this moment, I am alert and able to recognize the people who are invaluable to me. When my focus is on this moment, I am able to take advantage of new opportunities that come my way and create a life that is rich and rewarding.

By letting go of worry, I free myself to use my energy to be productive in the here and now.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Am I wasting time fretting about something that is outside my control? Why?
  2. What do I realistically gain by worrying?
  3. What can I do, today, to help me live a worry-free life?

Is Parent Coaching Right For You?

A parent coach is a professional who helps parents cultivate better relationships with their children. A coach provides insight, education, and direction that is concrete and practical. Although similar to therapy, coaching focuses more on short-term plans than processing emotions or working through past traumas. It doesn’t mean that parent coaching can’t provide this type of processing, but it is not its primary focus. 

Parenting coaches help in a variety of ways: 

  1. Behavioral problems help parents find strength-based ways to address children’s challenges, such as sibling rivalry, defiance, talking back, aggression, running away, meltdowns, and more. 
  2. Parenting self-care, managing adult stressors, and find balance in work, family, and social life. 
  3. Cope with transitions and crises that occur in life and the world. With all of its effects on schooling, work, and isolation, our current pandemic is a common crisis all parents must learn to manage.  
  4. Developmental and emotional concerns in children need expert insight and detailed plans when depression, anxiety, or delays present themselves. 

Any family structure can utilize parent coaching. The traditional family of yesterday is the nontraditional of today. It can include two parents families, divorced parents, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, foster and adoptive parenting, same-sex parents, and multigenerational families. 

Coaches typically have a master’s degree or higher in education or family counseling or completed a parent coaching certification. They should have experience in the specific area of specialty, such as aggressive teenagers or adoption. 

Coaching sessions are usually briefer than traditional therapy with 1 to 5 sessions. Each session has a specific outcome with homework to test “in the field” and then feedback and further revision until a parent feels change is happening. 

Ron Huxley is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 30 years of experience in parenting, family therapy, and specialized clinical issues, such as anxiety and trauma. He has served as the director of several clinical programs that utilized a coaching model. He is the author of the book “Love and Limits: Achieving a Balance in Parenting” and founder of the FamilyHealer.tv online school. You can set up a coaching or therapy appointment with him now. Just click here to schedule a time.

Ron also provides online and in-person training on a variety of parent, anxiety, and trauma-informed issues. Click here for more training information.

What is Anxiety and How to Manage Pandemic Uncertainty

In this first video of five total video series on Building Family Resiliency we talk about how to manage anxiety in a time of uncertainty. Learn powerful tools that will help you and your children find freedom from anxious thoughts. Discover bodily-based strategies that don’t require lecture, rationalization, or complex ideas to bring peace to your life.

Get more free tools at FamilyHealer.tv or schedule a time to talk to Ron today!

Using Telehealth / Online Options for Therapy with Ron Huxley

What is Telehealth?

Through audio and video over the internet, you can meet with your clinician on-the-go from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device (iOS or Android) – it’s your choice!

Telehealth allows us to connect anywhere with secure and convenient appointments that save you time and hassle. There’s no need to deal with traffic when you can schedule and attend your appointments directly from a laptop or mobile device.  

Click here to schedule an online session with Ron Huxley now!

What equipment do I need?

To participate in Telehealth appointments from your home, you will need one of the following devices:

  • Desktop computer with a webcam, speakers, a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM OR
  • Laptop computer with built-in webcam and speakers, a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM OR
  • Tablet device with built-in webcam and speakers, OR
  • Smartphone with at least iOS 10 or Android 7.0
    (Note: To use a smartphone, you must first download Telehealth by SimplePractice – available for iOS or Android in the app store.)
  • You will also need an internet connection that is at least 10mbps. For optimal results, a reliable, high-speed internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 10 mbps will minimize connection issues and provide the best quality.

Note: We recommend using the Pre-call Tool to check your internet connection.

The day of the call

Using a desktop or laptop computer

If you plan to use a desktop or laptop, there is nothing to download prior to your appointment. Here are the steps to join:

  • Approximately 10 minutes before your appointment, you’ll receive an email appointment reminder.
    • Note: If you have already consented to receiving text and/or email reminders, you will continue to receive them for Telehealth appointments as well. For new clients, make sure you have provided your email and or mobile phone number so that I can enable email or text reminders.
  • Click the unique link embedded in the reminder. You may have to copy and paste the link into your web browser if clicking the link does not work. Your video call screen will now open in a new tab.
  • If I have already joined the call, you will see my face on the screen. If I have not, you will see yourself, as shown below.
  • You will also see the Welcome prompt. Click Play test sound to test the your camera and microphone settings.
  • When you are ready, click Join Video Call. This will take you straight into the video call.

Using a smartphone or tablet

If you plan to use a mobile device, here are the steps to join:

  • Download Telehealth by SimplePractice (for iOS or Android) in the app store. Approximately 10 minutes before your appointment, you should receive an email appointment reminder. 
  • Open the reminder email on your device and click the unique link. This will open the Telehealth by SimplePractice app.
  • If I have already joined the call, you will see my face on the screen. If I have not, you will see yourself.
  • When you are ready, click Join Video Call. This will take you straight into the video call.

Note: There may be a slight delay for me to join the appointment if I am finishing with a previous appointment. Please be patient and I will join momentarily.

Tips for success

  • I recommend joining the video appointment a few minutes early to test your settings.
  • If you can connect to the Internet, but are having trouble joining the video, you can use our recommended Pre-call Tool.
  • To use a smartphone to join a video chat, you must first download the Telehealth by SimplePractice app available in the app store for iOS or Android.
  • If you need to cancel or have questions about the appointment, please contact me.

Click here to schedule an online session with Ron Huxley now!