Doc Brown’s Blog 23 October 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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The fall season is here and that means the splendor of Mother Nature surrounds us in a bounty of earthy colors and motifs. Fall is my favorite season as football is back, fall festivals and activities abound, the buzz of school activity is all around, and cooler weather with shorter days begins.   With the shorter days and cold nights also comes SAD ness. Most people suffering from SAD begin to experience symptoms in the early fall that persist until spring. According to the Mayo Clinic here are some of the typical symptoms:

Seasonal affective disorder is a subtype of major depression that comes and goes based on seasons. So symptoms of major depression may be part of SAD, such as:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Feeling hopeless, inadequate, or worthless
  • Having low energy and no rigor
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed (anhedonia)
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight (usually weight gain)
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down or listless. But if you feel down for days and weeks at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor or a therapist. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol or other drugs for comfort or relaxation.

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around your SADness.

 

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20021047

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Doc Brown

 

If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website www.iccounseling.net as well as read my Inner Compass Blog.

 

Dr. Gerald Brown (Doc Brown) is owner of Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting PLLC in Cornelius, NC and Statesville, NC. He is passionate about fatherhood issues, immigrant concerns, and specializes in trauma work. Doc Brown has presented at various conferences and has a multitude of experience training organizations and corporations in diversity and multicultural resilience. He believes in helping individuals, couples, and families find meaning and integrate that meaning with various resiliencies in order to live purposefully and vibrantly. He is married with two daughters ages 14 and 6.

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Doc Brown’s Blog 22 August 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

Teaching Tolerance During Intolerant Times

Tolerance does not mean tolerating intolerance

 

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Intolerance itself is a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit…Gandhi

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

“Look at my African American over here.”

 “Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.” 

 “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.” 

 “I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall.” 

 “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

 “We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”

 “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.”

I am sure I could do more research to find even more degrading and racist commentary. However it is depressing to do so as it is so easy to just Google “Trump racist quotes” and obtain a plethora of information about the president. Many days I feel like I am living in an alternate universe with alternate facts and realities.

How do we as therapists convey an open, genuine, and culturally competent attitude with our clients during such intolerant times? The racist rhetoric that comes from the very top of the country’s power structure needs to be acknowledged as well as the fact that racism is not an alternate fact in the 21st century. I believe it is our duties as multiculturally competent therapists to help our more privileged clients begin reflecting on the myth of a post racial society. We need to speak the truth about this country’s shadow, which many in positions of privilege are able to ignore and walk past each day. I find that having discussions with our clients is the key to awareness and planting seeds of cultural empathy. Secondly, having them read The Invisible Knapsack as well as Helms 1995 White Identity Development can foster healthy and growth inducing discussions. Having them read books like Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson or exploring welcomingschools.org to discover resources for the whole family about the many civil rights struggles of the past and present and asking pointed questions to induce dialogue:

“what is the hardest part of reading about certain people’s struggles?”

“Why is race and culture important to talk about?”

“What is racism?”

“How can differences be good?”

“What does being color blind truly imply?”

“How can volunteering or serving others help with our own prejudices?”

Thirdly always include volunteering in your treatment plans for clients. I have witnessed many clients’ views on others transform simply by volunteering a few hours a month (soup kitchen, retirement home, Guardian Ad Litem, Habitat for Humanity and many others). These clients begin to make connections with others they would have never thought about talking to or finding commonalities with. Lastly, Googling civil rights images will pull up numerous powerful images that can solidify the reality that many disenfranchised groups have experienced. We as therapists can moderate healthy and introspective discussions around one powerful image.

Sadly, we are not a post racial society and the truth of that is more evident with each passing day and each intolerant tweet. However, as therapists we can begin helping our more privileged clients explore their privilege and discover that they too have culture and when they respect and honor their own culture they can do the same with others’ cultures.

For information on excellent resources:

 

http://www.welcomingschools.org/resources/books/

 

https://nationalseedproject.org/images/documents/Knapsack_plus_Notes-Peggy_McIntosh.pdf

 

https://mss.boisestate.edu/tunnel-of-oppression/inside-the-tunnel/helms-white-racial-identity-development-model/

 

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around the culture of intolerance that is being cultivated aimed at preventing you and others from having a more fruitful professional and open, accepting personal life.

Until next time peace, kindness, and love be with you,

 

Doc Brown

If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website www.iccounseling.net as well as read my American Counseling Association blog.

Doc Brown’s Blog 21 July 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

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Importance of Genuine Friendship

                  Many of us have “friends” on social media and if we add all of them up all of a sudden we have hundreds even thousands of friends that we can turn to right? Not so much…true genuine friendship is difficult to find and takes work on both parties to cultivate and maintain. Love among friends requires struggle so that we maintain connection with our true friends. We strive to accept them for who they are as they accept us but not lose ourselves in the process. As you read this I want you to begin to make a mental list of the friends you have that you know will help you move, or visit you in the hospital, or be by your side when the storms of life are raining down. That list of individuals will probably whittle down to less than 5. One of the primary themes in my work with many adult clients and some adolescents is the lack of real connections they have with anyone. Their loneliness only serves to push them towards self-serving attitudes and exploit shallow, parasitic relationships. I find that a common goal that I prescribe for such clients is for them to introduce themselves to 3 people they don’t know each week. For adolescents and kids inviting a friend from school over for a sleep over, dinner, movie, etc. can also be a great way to begin the long process of cultivating a long lasting genuine friendship. For adults looking up grade school friends, neighbors, college roommates, and former teammates on social media may be an excellent way to reconnect with individuals that can inspire “positive nolstalgia.”

Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other’s achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain”

Mister Rogers

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around your lack of genuine connection with others so that you can begin attracting what you want and people you want from life…

You may also want to check my other blog about fatherhood in the 21st century on the American Counselor Association website.

Until next time peace, love, and kindness be with you,

Doc Brown

Doc Brown’s Blog 20 June 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

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The Law of Attraction

Have you ever felt like things keep “raining” down on you? Like you are in the middle of life’s storms without any umbrella or raincoat and the rain just keeps getting heavier and louder? Or are you the person that is able to focus on the “power” and “beauty of the rain as it comes down and reframe it as a life giving force and an opportunity to work with the rain instead of against it?

The Law of Attraction states: I attract to myself, whatever I give my focus, attention, or energy to; whether wanted or unwanted. If you think about being broke, poor, lonely and believe your thoughts guess what? That is exactly what you’ll be. This Law applies to your life and every other person’s life on the planet. Like all laws, it is impartial and impersonal, which means it works when you want it to and when you don’t want it to.

American society and culture can be viewed from an individualistic, self-reliant, and winning ethos. This is a double edged sword because if one believes they cannot compete, constantly lose, or do not believe in themselves then the law of attraction works against them. I am reminded of Glasser’s “quality world” in which he posited that we alone decide who and what we allow into our quality world and we alone decide if we don’t want certain individuals or things in our lives anymore. The power of having a choice eludes many who have filled their quality world with negative energy individuals, parasitic individuals, meaningless things, and no purpose. These individuals begin to believe they “deserve” all the people and things they have (or lack) in life and do not know where to turn for help or guidance.

I would like for you to now think about all the things you have in your life that you want to keep in your life and make a list or keep a journal:

Secondly, make a similar list of the things you don’t want to keep in your life and begin to replace each of those things with thoughts of who or what you do want in your life:

Making a vision board may be an excellent first step in beginning to visualize what you would like to attract to your life. Please read my blog on vision boards for additional guidance.

 

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around your lack of satisfaction with life and aimless direction so that you can begin attracting what you want from life…

References:

http://applying-the-law-of-attraction.com/#ixzz4keFZHR3m

http://wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach

 

You may also want to check my other blog about fatherhood in the 21st century on the American Counselor Association website.

Until next time peace, love, and kindness be with you,

Doc Brown

 

 

 

Doc Brown’s Blog 19 June 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

News, News, and More News= Anxiety, Anxiety, and More Anxiety

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So many of my patients in the recent months have complained of excessive anxiety and nervousness that the anxieties have begun manifesting themselves into worse symptoms such as hypervigilance, moderate to severe anhedonia, and snacking uncontrollably. Hypervigilance is the state of being hyper aware of one’s surroundings. Symptoms may include:

  1. An increased startle reflex—a person may jump in response to sudden noises or surprises.
  2. Dilated pupils, an increased heart rate, and elevated blood pressure.
  3. Obsessive avoidance of perceived threats, along with increased scanning for threats. For example, a person might constantly monitor people around him/her to see if they have guns.
  4. Overestimation of a situation’s threatening nature. For example, the person scanning the environment for guns may think he/she sees people with guns even when they are holding something innocuous such as a pen.

Anhedonia can be defined as is a diminished capacity to experience pleasure. It describes the lack of interest and the withdrawal from all usual pleasant activities. There are two different types of hedonic deficit: physical anhedonia and social anhedonia. Physical anhedonia represents an inability to feel physical pleasures (such as eating, touching and sex). Social anhedonia describes an incapacity to experience interpersonal pleasure (such as being with and talking to others). There are levels of anhedonia (mild, moderate, severe) from which a clinician uses his/her clinical judgment to assess how much anhedonia is impacting a client’s holistic functioning.

Uncontrollable snacking has also been another symptom as many of my patients have gained weight and find that eating to assuage their anxieties has been turned up lately. These three symptoms seem to have a universal culprit with the patients I have been working with to help manage their anxiety.

News. Whether it is an app or 24 hour news channel or the morning news programs too many patients are immersed in news alerts, breaking news announcements, and disturbing/graphic images/videos that saturate and invade their thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and ultimately impact how they act. Their actions lead to them becoming reserved, guarded, distrusting of others, and reduce risk taking in daily life. My prescription for you the reader and anyone you know that loves to watch and listen to news is to stop watching and listening to news. Stop for 2 weeks as a start and notice how much better you will feel I promise you…

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around your news addiction/anxiety symptoms that are preventing you from having a more fruitful professional and personal life.

References:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/hypervigilance

http://www.anhedoniasupport.com/what-is-anhedonia/

You may also want to check my other blog about fatherhood in the 21st century on the American Counselor Association website.

Until next time peace, love, and kindness be with you,

Doc Brown

 

 

 

Doc Brown’s Blog 18 May 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

ADHD-Chalk-Board

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ADHD

According to the National Institute of Mental Health attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

  • Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
  • Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have high potential for harm; or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.

Risk Factors

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD. Like many other illnesses, a number of factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:

  • Genes
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain injuries

ADHD is more common in males than females, and females with ADHD are more likely to have problems primarily with inattention. Other conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and substance abuse, are common in people with ADHD.

While there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. In my experience a combination of medication with counseling seems to be the most effective route in managing ADHD.

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around your ADD/ADHD symptoms that are preventing you from having a more fruitful professional and personal life. Please click on links below to take a simple quiz (one for adults and one for adolescents 12-18 and one for children 6-12) to obtain an initial snapshot of your potential ADD/ADHD diagnosis.

References:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/addquiz.htm

http://www.katkintherapy.com/adolescent_quiz.htm

http://paddallas.com/screening_tools/adhd_screening

You may also want to check my other blog about fatherhood in the 21st century on the American Counselor Association website.

Until next time peace, love, and kindness be with you,

Doc Brown

Doc Brown’s Blog 17 April 2017 For more information please visit www.iccounseling.net

GLBTQ Individuals…Still So Many Miles To Go

ZekeSmithSurvior

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Are you a Survivor watcher? If not you need to Youtube or Google Zeke Smith Survior Outing. The moment was excruciating when during the tribal council Zeke’s fellow tribe member Jeff proclaimed to the world that Zeke was transgender. In that moment the whole world seemed to stop and I remember distinctly feeling an uncomfortable malaise in the pit of my stomach. I observed all the tribemates’ facial reactions of shock, concern, and the gravity of the moment. Jeff Varner had made a game out of someone’s private and personal life. My own reaction is disbelief that Survivor decided to air the exchange however as I have had some days to reflect I do believe they made the right call in airing the organic elements of shock, anger, hurt, betrayal, and disappointment and it was amazing to see the rest of the tribemates lend support and tears to Zeke. In his half baked defense Mr. Varner stated that he represented transgender clients in the NC law firm in which he was employed, which only made the outing more egregious because he claimed to be a champion for their rights and yet did not have the tact to keep something so private private. The following is a statement from GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program:

Nick Adams, Director of GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program, said:

“Zeke Smith, and transgender people like him, are not deceiving anyone by being their authentic selves, and it is dangerous and unacceptable to out a transgender person. It is heartening, however, to see the strong support for Zeke from the other people in his tribe. Moments like this prove that when people from all walks of life get to know a transgender person, they accept us for who we are.”

I believe this episode may have opened up a lot of people’s eyes about the daily struggles of many transgender individuals. I currently work with some in my practice and it is appalling to hear some of the discriminatory speech, actions, and attitudes aimed at them on a daily basis. I hope that this episode of Survivor creates the conditions for people to engage with each other in a more meaningful manner and cultivate more empathy for each other no matter our personal backgrounds.

If you are a member, family member, or supporter of the GLBTQ community and are looking for time to reach out to a professional therapist about how anti GLBTQ societal, cultural, religious, and familial attitudes impede your holistic functioning then please reach out to me or a therapist with experience working with the GLBTQ community. Great resources include EqualityNC, Charlottelgbt.org and Time Out Youth if you are interested in learning more about how these organizations and others like myself and thousands of other mental health professionals are fighting in our own ways to validate members of the GLBTQ community daily.

If after reading this article you identify the need for professional assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 704-492-0713 or gcbrown11@gmail.com and if not me please find a therapist or counselor that you can begin working with to explore and resolve issues around the anti GLBTQ atmosphere here in NC and in many other parts of the country and world.

References:

http://equalitync.org/what/resources/lgbt_organizations/nc/

http://www.lgbtcharlotte.org/

http://www.timeoutyouth.org/youth/resources

You may also want to check my other blog about fatherhood in the 21st century on the American Counselor Association website.

Until next time peace, love, and kindness be with you,

Doc Brown