5 Insider Tips On Finding The Right Therapist For You!

You’ve decided to see a therapist, amazing! Now you just have to pick the right one and that’s the hard part. CBT? DBT? Psychologist vs Psychiatrist? Hypnosis? Sand tray? Dance Therapy? With so many types of therapy and practitioners, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you are dealing with the thing that made you want to go to therapy in the first place! We are here with insider tips to help you make sense of all the conflicting information out there and find the right therapist for you!

5 Insider Tips On How To Find The Right Therapist For You!

Finding a therapist can be anxiety provoking! Deciding that you need a therapist is actually the easiest part. When I was shopping around for my first therapist, I wasn’t sure what to expect, what to ask or even what I needed. I hired the first therapist I met and dove right into whatever it was that was bothering me at the time. As a newcomer to the US and a foreign student, searching for a therapist was even more of an anxiety-provoking task because of the language barrier, but my confusion as to what kind of therapist I should see ended with a therapist who claimed to be an eating disorder therapist. Seven month later, I realized that my therapist wasn’t an expert in eating disorders. She had treated about 10 clients with disordered eating and therefore she considered herself an “expert” in the field. I also realized that after seven months, I was just as sick as when I first came to her, so I started questioning myself. I ended up on the internet searching for a new therapist, and I realized finding the right person was possible — but there was a lot I had to learn.

Hours of research opened my eyes to a whole other world and helped me have a much better understanding of what types of therapists were available to me, what I needed to look for and, most importantly, what questions to ask when interviewing a therapist. Yes, you heard me right…YOU interview your therapist. Here are some of the things I wish I knew before looking for a therapist all those years ago.

Tip #1 ALWAYS Listen to Your Gut Feeling

Don’t be intimidated by therapy. Even if you have never met with a therapist and you are apprehensive about the process, it’s important to trust yourself. While it may be challenging to get a good read on a therapist or even develop a gut feeling simply by talking on the phone, you can do your homework beforehand and research as much as you can about the particular therapist you are interested in meeting with. Start by looking at the therapist’s name, bio and photo — what are your initial feelings? From years of working with people and from serving in the Israeli army, I learned that one can learn a lot from looking into the eyes of another person. When you meet your potential therapist for the first time, pay special attention to how that person makes you feel in the first 30 seconds.

Do you feel a connection? Is there something making you uneasy? You may feel uneasy about the idea of therapy in general, but try to decipher on a human-to-human level, what your reaction is to your potential therapist. If your gut doesn’t feel right, I recommend continuing on with your search.

Tip #2 Do your research on types of therapists

Understanding the various types of therapists and their education is important, but knowing that talk therapy is not the only option is just as important. You might be familiar with psychologists, therapists, social workers, psychotherapists and mental health counselors. You might also wonder what the difference between them is and which one will be the right one for you. This can be very overwhelming for someone who hasn’t studied psychology or ever had an experience with counseling. You might think any psychologist will work for you. Right? Wrong! While they all provide therapy they all have different education and training and each is best suited to work with a different population. Yes there is some overlap, and clearly most licensed professionals in the mental health field can work and help people, but my aim is to empower you to find the BEST fit. Not just any fit. So here is a general overview, so you can at least be familiar with the vocabulary when you start searching.

Psychiatrists: We hear about psychiatrists often. They have medical degrees and therefore can prescribe medicine. Psychiatrists often work alongside another type of therapist who handles the therapy. Some psychiatrists also provide therapy for the clients, as some clients and psychiatrists believe that it is best to keep the treatment at one place. I have worked with some exceptional psychiatrists who also provide therapy, but if you are seeking therapy without prescription management then you will most likely choose a therapist from one of the other categories.

Psychologists: There are doctoral level psychologists (Dr before their name) and masters level psychologists (MA, MS, LGPC, LCPC), but neither can prescribe medicine. An “L” means they have completed license requirements, which often involve state board exams and supervision hours. Psychologists are usually very specialized, and so there are a wide array of options for finding one in a particular area of interest. Psychologists can diagnose and offer counseling. Within the psychology degree, there are also some variations, and some psychologists, such as organizational psychologists, are not clinically trained (and therefore not a good fit if you are seeking mental health therapy).

Mental Health Counselors: Relatively new to the therapy world, mental health counselors are one of the fastest growing professions. These professionals provide counseling to individuals as well as couples and families on a variety of problems regarding their mental health and general well-being. Often, mental health counselors focus on a “wellness model,” choosing to highlight and develop clients’ strengths, rather than focus on illness.

Social Workers: They will have an “SW” in their title and have completed a Masters program in clinical social work. They can diagnose and offer specific therapy, but cannot prescribe medicine. Once an LMSW has completed their hours, they become LCSW which means they are able to work in their own private practice. There are even some variations within the social work world, but I won’t delve into all those details.

Marriage and family therapists :They are designated with either MA, MFT, LMFT, LCMFT and must complete a masters program in marriage and family therapy. They can diagnose and offer counseling, but cannot prescribe medication.

There are also art therapists, dance therapists and several other types of therapists who work with specific populations that express themselves better via other forms of communication. I remember working with a 17-year-old girl with anorexia, and after I realized that she preferred to communicate to me how she felt using drawing, I referred her to an eating disorder therapist who is also an art therapist. While I could have potentially worked with her and helped her, her best form of expression was through art and I knew that there was a therapist who specializes in that specific form of communication.

It’s very important to understand the different types of therapists out there and what their credentials are before making your decision.

Tip # 3 Research the orientation/ approach used by the therapist and be aware of which treatment modality is best to treat your condition.

Therapists use various modalities of treatment when working with clients. The most popular modalities are psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, person centered therapy, internal family system therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and group therapy. Some therapists combine a variety of approaches with clients (“eclectic”) and some are more specific in the modality of treatment they use. As a potential client, it is important to be aware of the different treatment modalities as some are known to work better for different psychological disorders. Also, some modalities of treatment can fit best to different people based on their personality.

For instant, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which is a specific form of cognitive behavior therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, is best known for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. This type of therapy emphasises the psychosocial aspects of treatments. In DBT, the therapist includes homework assignments and the client is an active participate in the treatment. DBT has also been adapted to treat other psychological problems including eating disorders, suicidal and self -injurious behavior in adolescents, substance use and treatment resistant depression.

Psychodynamic therapy, on the other hand, is the oldest form of therapy (think Freud!) and it focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behavior. The goal of this therapy is for the client to be aware and understand the influence of the past on their present behavior as well as to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships.

Furthermore, when seeking a therapist, you might want to think about the length of time and commitment that you are willing to invest in your treatment. CBT for instance will require anywhere from 12-30 sessions in order to see a change in behaviors, and psychodynamic therapy might require the client to remain in therapy for several years. If you are not sure what type of therapy will work best for your problem, I suggest doing some research before meeting your therapist.

Lastly, when calling therapists you can ask for their typical orientation of treatment so you can make a more educated decision. Last year I started working with Max, a 55-year-old who had been seeing the same therapist for 20 years prior to seeing me. One of the first questions that I asked him after he said that he had another therapist was what insight he had gained or what skills he had learned from his work with the other therapist. The only answer that Max gave me was that he enjoyed speaking with another person and wanted to continue sharing his past and present experiences. It’s important to note that Max was seeking therapy because he wanted to create meaningful relationships in his life and learn to be happy. However, 20 years after being in therapy he was still unhappy and without any meaningful relationships. After learning as much as I could about this client, I found that the best treatment for him was cognitive behavioral-mindfulness based therapy.

What this client needed most after gaining insight into his challenges was some concrete solutions that would help him lead a happier more fulfilled life. After he realized that his thoughts affected his emotions and behavior, he gained more control over his life, and using mindfulness techniques, such as learning to be in the present moment without judgment, he was able to find happiness. He is now dating and practicing what he learned.

Even after finding a therapist, it’s important to reflect on how you are progressing from session to session. Just because you enjoy the person you are talking to, it’s important that you are making changes and actually working through the problems that led you to therapy in the first place.

Tip # 4 Make sure your therapist is professional and honest and displays a non-judgmental approach when you relay information.

When I was actively binging and purging 18 years ago, I remember gathering the courage to tell my therapist about it, and her reaction was, “Why can’t you just stop? That is so unhealthy for you.” She went on to remind me of all the medical implications that could result from me doing what I was doing to my body — as if I wasn’t fully aware already. I just remember feeling so judged and humiliated, and as a result, I began to hide other things that I had done that I felt shame over. Of course I would later realize that concealing my problematic behaviors from my therapist was counterproductive, but at the time I didn’t know any better. Most importantly, when it comes to evaluating your therapist’s character, you want to make sure he or she has your best interest at heart, and never makes you feel shame or puts blame on you.

Tip # 5 Shop around and contact/interview at least 3 therapists to find the right price

Unfortunately, therapy can be very expensive, but before you write it off as some kind of luxury, consider what your mental health is really worth. Our well-being and happiness shouldn’t be an after-thought. Think about all of the things you spend money on. If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself and your family, what are you willing to invest in?

While you obviously want to find the best therapist for you who is also priced reasonably, you might be disappointed when you start looking. There are many therapists out there who are excellent and also take insurance or only charge a low fee. However, what I found from years of working with both clients and therapists is that the more experienced therapists who also have a speciality tend to charge higher fees.

As I mentioned earlier, in my early 20s while recovering from an eating disorder, I didn’t have the best luck working with qualified eating disorder therapists. As I progressed with my education and started shopping around for psychologists, I realized the importance of being an educated consumer, but at the same time, I had financial limitations that didn’t allow me to hire therapists who fit my needs at the time. I will say that if you want to invest in yourself, then paying for an excellent therapist can make a huge different in your recovery time and quality.

Finally, let me pose this question: If you knew that you could work with someone for 48 weeks paying $75 a session or work with someone who is more qualified/experienced/a better fit and pay $450 per session, but make the same progress that you would have made in a year, which therapist would you choose to work with?

By automatically going with a lower fee, you could end up doing more harm than good, so it’s important to not jump at the cheapest option available.

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists or dietitians, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Nutritionist Tips

Nutritionist Tips: Your Top Asked Questions Answered by A Licensed Dietitian

 

Two of our expert dietitians, Elle and Dina, answered your most-asked questions about kids and nutrition. We were able to take the most important points from both of their responses and combine their answers. Enjoy!

 

1. What do I do about my child who is a picky eater? How can I get him/her to try new foods and eat more fruits and vegetables?

First of all, it is very normal for a child to question the food with which they are presented! Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Imagine you were in a foreign country and there were only a few foods you knew or felt comfortable with, and everyone was always trying to get you to try these unfamiliar items. It might not be a pleasant experience, right? Eventually, over time, if you saw the food over and over again, it would stop looking so foreign. So, just because your child doesn’t like a particular food doesn’t mean you should stop preparing it.

It can be challenging, but there are many strategies to encourage healthy habits. First, continually introduce your child to the food item. It usually takes at least 10 (and can be up to 20) introductions of a specific food for a child to feel comfortable and more open to try it. So keep giving your child that food item and try it with them! Children typically mimic both of their parents’ eating behaviors. Second, involve your child in the cooking process if possible. Make dinners a creative process that your child can help assemble and build. They will be more likely to eat their “masterpiece.” Third, try to pinpoint which food textures or consistencies your child does not like. If you find your child doesn’t like crunchy vegetables or even hard fruit, then provide your child with that fruit/vegetable repurposed into a texture they enjoy. You can take cauliflower and turnips and mash them into a creamy mashed potatoes consistency, for example. You can take fruit and blend it in a smoothie with skim milk. Lastly, don’t give up! If you feel it’s becoming a serious problem and your child isn’t get the proper nutrition, you can always reach out to a professional for more tips and tricks! Don’t suffer alone.

It is also important to note that giving your child a choice is very important. If the child seems to not be interested in vegetables, it may be because the child feels forced to eat that food. So if you were to give the child the option between two vegetables, they will feel more control over what they are eating. According to the center for Disease Control and Prevention, nine out of 10 children do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables. There was a study done at Texas A&M University that also shows that children are less likely to eat the vegetables on their plate if there are more delicious items on that same plate. So it is important for parents to put foods that are similar choices together, rather than putting pizza or fries next to a bunch of broccoli on the plate.

2. How can I feed my family with different preferences and weights?

Adjusting food preferences for a diverse family can be hard. However, it is important not to ostracize or single out any one family member. Instead, make it a family effort to eat more nutritious options. Place emphasis on making healthier choices for the whole family’s benefit. Instead of making separate meals, try to make the same meal and adjust the portions accordingly on every child’s plate. Instead of encouraging seconds right away, have your overweight child drink water and start a dinner conversation to make dinner time last longer. It takes around 20 minutes for our brain to even register that we ate, so overeating at dinner can be attributed to the length of our dinner.

Keep in mind that restriction just leads to the child wanting to eat more. They will find food elsewhere (school, friends, grandparents, etc.), so restriction just doesn’t work.  Studies have shown that when a parent thinks their child is overweight, that child is more likely to stay overweight or become more overweight than when a parent thinks their child’s weight is not an issue. Why? Because of restriction.  

It is also important to remember that you are not a short order cook! Have one meal that you can offer them if they don’t want dinner (for me it’s a peanut butter sandwich). Don’t change that secondary meal option, ever. You may find that your kids start to try the food that you made for the family more when they are only presented with one alternative option. This way, they won’t go hungry if they don’t like dinner, but they don’t get whatever they want.

It is also important that during meals there are options. If you are eating as a family, try to put a wide variety of foods on the table, both healthy and some less healthy choices. This way the child who may need to focus on eating better will be forced to eat with portion control. If the child is able to see their parents and siblings eating the same thing they are more likely to eat what is on the plate. Making separate meals for each child is unhelpful and may lead to more self-consciousness for that child who is given less. A study done in southern England showed that modeling is the most important influence on a child’s eating habits. Thus if the child is able to continually see a parent eating like them, they will follow those habits.

3. How can I control/ monitor what my child eats when I’m not there? How can I get them to make healthy choices?

The bottom line… you can’t! And that’s okay. We don’t have to control everything. Sometimes, kids need to learn for themselves. What you can do is talk to them about making healthy choices and why healthy choices are important. In these conversations, try to keep weight out of it. You love them no matter how they look.

When you are not around, your grocery shopping purchases will determine what your child eats. Continuously stock your pantry and fridge with more nutrient dense food options, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, popcorn, whole grain chips, and dried fruit. Limit the amount of processed and refined sugar choices. Not only will that limitation help your child make healthy choices in the house when you are not home, but when they are away from the house they will most often gravitate towards foods they are familiar eating.

There is a lot of research on restriction and how it can negatively impact a child’s diet in the future. Leanne Birch and Jennifer Orlet Fisher researched restriction in 2000 and found that girls at 7 years old who were given access to snacks only when they were at school would be more likely to take them than 7-year-old girls who were given the same access at school but were not restricted at home. Another study shows that if restricted at age 5, girls are more likely to eat when they are not hungry from ages 7 to 9. This also resulted in girls at 9 being the heaviest. It is important that parents have planned snack time where the child knows that they are going to be able to have a snack at a certain point in the day. It is also important that children are given dessert every so often, so that they are not restricted from eating sweets.

4. How much should my child be eating and how often? What’s the appropriate serving size?

It depends on your child’s age, gender, weight, and activity level. Keep in mind, children’s stomachs are much smaller than adults when portioning out plates.

I always try to incorporate mindful/intuitive eating. Have them focus on how hungry/full they are before/after eating. Try to eat slowly and enjoy the eating process.

It is important that a child’s growing body is able to eat as their body needs food. When a child is at school, they are usually very active, which will also increase their caloric needs. Typically, children should have three meals a day, plus two to three snacks throughout the day. Since they are still growing it is important that they maintain a steady growth by eating significant meals. Grains are typically portioned to 3 to 5 ounces a day, which could be two slices of bread, cereal, or pasta. Vegetables should be 1 to 1.5 cups a day as well as fruits. It is crucial that children consume 2 to 2.5 cups of milk per day, and that they consume 2 to 4 ounces of protein per day.

5. What does an appropriate breakfast look like for a child and how do I get them to eat before school?

Breakfast really is one of the most important meals of the day! Breakfast should be a complete meal. A complete meal includes a complex carbohydrate and a serving of protein. The best way to encourage breakfast in the morning is to have the whole family eat a quick meal together. Children mimic the eating habits of their parents, so if they see their parents are not eating breakfast, chances are they won’t want to either. However, time is crunched in the morning, so don’t make it a gourmet meal. A quick easy breakfast to eat with the whole family can be low fat greek yogurt mixed with berries, and a low sugar granola sprinkled on top!

Another key to getting in a good breakfast is making sure the child is well rested. Make sure your child has time to fully wake up and start their day stress-free before trying to get them to eat. Most everyone wakes up dehydrated, which can actually make your stomach feel upset.  Try offering a glass of water when they first wake up. Let that settle for a few minutes before offering food.

A good breakfast for a child includes a lot of things — eggs, French toast, waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, bagel, fruit, yogurt, smoothies, etc. While it is hard to push your child to have a breakfast, it is very important that they eat something before they go to school. Studies have shown that if you start with something small in the morning, a child will be more likely to eat it. Do not put a huge plate in front of them because that could overwhelm the child. It is also helpful to have the child drink the meal, like a smoothie. Your child may think it is less food if they are looking at it in a cup, but in reality you could add a lot to a smoothie.

6. What are easy and healthy breakfast, school lunch, dinner, and snack ideas for my children?

Easy grab and go options are ideal for kids and parents! Breakfast can be a nutrition bar and a piece of fruit. Look for low added sugar bars such as the Kid’s RX bar and give them a banana. Make lunch fun but also simple! Lunch can be rice cakes with some nut butter, a low fat string cheese, popcorn, and grape tomatoes. Dinners should be engaging for your child. Try to make dinners fun but easy. Make your own pizzas using a whole wheat pita, low fat shredded mozzarella cheese, and veggies on top. Have your child decorate his pizza and encourage him to make a vegetable face on his pizza. Not only will your child want to try the finished product, but they will be eating their vegetables! Snacks are a great opportunity to sneak in another fruit or vegetable. Try making vegetable faces on a rice cake with hummus as the base, or fruit and vegetable smoothies, or even homemade guacamole!

Some other healthy ideas for children could be whole wheat pancakes with fruit on top for breakfast and apples with cinnamon or a smoothie for a snack. For school lunch, it is important to send something filling such as a sandwich with whole-wheat toast, some protein, and some vegetables as well. It is also important that the child is given sides as a snack so that they can have something sweet as well. An example of a sweet snack could be a cheese stick, some sort of 100 calorie pack snack (of their choice), or a fruit.

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists or dietitians, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Why You Need A Private Yoga Instructor

Namaste all day. But first, yoga. Let’s get down, dog. Yoga is clearly having a moment in pop culture and fashion but it’s so much more than just a cute trend. Yoga has been popular for thousands of years, so what is the key to its staying power? It gives student the chance to learn how to be present, to gain flexibility and strength, and to connect to our breath. The one problem? How do you fit it into your already crammed schedule? Today’s blog post breaks down yoga, what it is and who should do it, and how to find the right instructor for your budget, level, and lifestyle!

Why You Need A Private Yoga Instructor …at least every once in a while!

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and there’s a reason why: it balances the mind, the body, and the spirit. No other physical activity asks us to connect to our breath quite like yoga does. It allows us to welcome an awareness of our body in this fleeting world, and to stop thinking about that soccer practice we have to get Johnny to, or about the bills we have to pay, or about that relationship that’s just beginning, or about our in-laws who just left town… well, it allows us to try to stop thinking about those things at least, which is just as important.

“We know, we know! It’s important,” you say, “but I can’t fit it into my schedule!” Many of us struggle to commit to a weekly yoga class. In our hectic lives, it’s hard to fit it in, which is why we’re lucky that there are many alternative options to get on your mat. More about that below, but first, get rid of all your preconceived notions about what yoga is and read a little bit more about why it might actually be a healthy solution to some of the challenges you face.

What Is Yoga really?

Yoga originated in India, and is thought to be about 5,000 years old. It has morphed its way into American culture, and you can find bits of old and new in different yoga classes. While the Oxford dictionary defines yoga as “A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline…” you shouldn’t be scared away if you don’t think of yourself as a spiritual person or if the idea of meditation freaks you out.Some classes tend to focus on the physical aspect, and some on the mental, but most incorporate both into the practice. The Sanskrit word yuj, which the word yoga comes from, means to yoke or bind, and it’s often thought of as a “union.” You might be more attracted to the physical benefits of yoga, or you might be looking for the mental side of it, but either way, you might be surprised at what you find.

Why Should I Do yoga?

You’ve probably heard about the many benefits of yoga. It keeps you limber. It helps you age well. It aids in blood circulation, posture, digestion, and muscle strength. It’s quite American to stop at just those physical points, but the mental benefits are resounding as well. Yoga asks you to stop. It asks you to breathe. It asks you to turn off your brain. It asks you to **gasp** be present in this chaotic life we lead. And, on top of all of that, it asks you to let go.

If you’re a beginner to yoga, it’s important to note that ANYONE CAN DO YOGA! And everyone is welcome. You don’t need much — just a pair of flexible leggings or shorts, a shirt that isn’t too baggy, and your curiosity. Most studios will have mats to borrow or rent, as well as props you may need in class. It might seem intimidating, but if you look around at a yoga class — everyone there at some point started right where you are now. And they’re still there because yoga feels good for the soul. The truth is, we should all stop looking around the class and turn our attentions back on ourselves. You’re why you’re here. To further yourself. To grow. To move. To breathe.

A lot of people have an image of the ideal “yogi.” People are often intimidated. They think they have to be thin, they think they have to be flexible, they think they have to own expensive workout outfits. The truth is, yoga is great for all body types — and all ages. Don’t let your idea of what yoga is stop you from trying.

So, what next? Where do I start? Well, there are many types of yoga, and there’s surely one that will fit your needs. The hottest yoga instructors in your town are likely right around the corner, you just have to find them. How do you know who the best yoga instructors are for you? You might need a hot yoga instructor (also known as a Bikram yoga instructor), a Hatha yoga instructor, a Vinyasa or power yoga instructor, or a different type of yoga teacher who becomes “the yoga instructor” for you. The best way to start? Try them all. Go to yoga studios, and sample all of the different classes they offer. Stick with the practice, and notice how you feel after each class. Sometimes you’ll find that the classes you’re most opposed to are actually the ones you should be attending more, because there’s something in yourself that needs to be worked through. The only way to find out is to do it.

What Options Do I Have To Find My Yoga Instructor?

Yoga Studios

Look up a yoga studio near you. There are likely many places to choose from, each offering multiple classes a day taught by local yoga instructors. The benefits of practicing in a studio is that you are breathing and moving in a room with many other people who are there for a similar reason. It can create a lovely community.

Online Yoga Classes

If you’re a busy person who is able to hold yourself accountable, having an online yoga instructor is a great option for you. There are many yoga instructor websites, from small solo operations, to large corporations offering hundreds of classes taught by top yoga instructors from around the globe. You can even watch a yoga instructor HD class for added clarity! It’s easy to find popular yoga instructors by searching for top rated yoga videos, which is a good place to start if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

Private Yoga Instructor

For a flexible yoga instructor (yes, flexible in body, but also flexible in schedule), an in home yoga instructor is paramount. You can take the best yoga class of your life, right in your home, and you can choose exactly who will teach it. You may want a female yoga instructor, a male yoga instructor, a yoga instructor who works with pregnant women, one that specializes in couples’ yoga… you get the picture!

Why Should I Have A Personal Yoga Instructor?

Every yogi should take a class with an in home yoga instructor, at least once. When a class is private, you are only pushing yourself, instead of comparing yourself to others in a class around you, which can be much better for preventing injury. The teacher will work with you and your unique body to help you stretch your limits, because their eyes will be on only you. A yoga instructor at home will be dedicated to you, so you can hone your practice and grow from exactly where you are.

Grow – Wherever your practice is now, be it non-existent or advanced, your teacher will work with wherever you are to help push you to greater heights.

Work On Personal Goals – When someone else knows your goals, they will hold you accountable for achieving them. Someone is there asking you the questions you need to answer and setting boundaries and goals for you, so you are more apt to reach them.

Flexible Schedule – Decide what works best for you, whether you’re a busy mom or you only have time for a class during your lunch break, and you can find someone who will come to you for your practice.

Develop a Plan For Your Personal Yoga Routine – Having a personal teacher will help you understand how to practice on your own, so you can fit in your own yoga class whenever you need to.

Overcome Health Concerns – If you have physical injuries or health concerns you want to address, yoga is the perfect place to start. A personal teacher will help you identify what poses are best for you, so you can begin to heal or work with your condition. Many people need help counteracting the effects of sitting in an office all day, carrying a backpack around town, or working themselves too hard during physical activity. Many people need help learning how to meditate and breathe. Whatever it is, there’s something that a yoga teacher can pinpoint and help you conquer, and having a personal teacher makes it easier to address these issues right away. Having a personal teacher is also helpful for those who feel they cannot share their personal health history with a teacher in a large class, either because it feels too personal, or because there is not enough time beforehand when taking a public class. Having one teacher who knows your own history can address the entire class to your needs.

Privacy of Your Own Space – Yoga asks us to move into some pretty uncomfortable positions! Sometimes it’s nice to know that no one is watching you, so you can relax fully into each pose. You can choose for a teacher to come to you at your private home, or for them to find and provide a space for your private lesson in a studio outside your home. Having a yoga home instructor is helpful for flexible scheduling and for the utmost privacy, but sometimes there are unforeseen distractions in the home, and choosing a space outside your familiar space is useful as well. Most teachers provide service for both options.

How To Find a Personal Yoga Instructor Near Me

Search online. Type in “private yoga instructor near me,” “looking for yoga instructor,” “seeking yoga instructor,” “need yoga instructor” — you get the picture! Chances are, there is already a yoga instructor directory for your city that you can look through. In order to weed out a fake yoga instructor or a bad yoga instructor, you’ll want to make sure their credentials are good. Give them a call, and find out who you connect with! Some even take insurance, and some provide free or inexpensive trials so you can make sure you’re choosing the right person.

Ask your yoga studio. Many studios offer private classes with their teachers, and they can lead you in the direction they think will be the best fit for you. This is nice if you find yourself particularly drawn to a certain teacher when taking classes, and you know that you want to take private lessons from them. It’s also helpful if you want a studio to weed out yoga teachers for you, so you don’t have to do as much research.

How To Become A Yoga Instructor

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, anyone can benefit from yoga teacher training. Many people use this as a next step to knowing the practice from the inside out, whether or not they want to teach. It’s a very valuable tool to know how each pose moves from one into the next, what the proper alignment should be, and how to structure a practice from beginning to end. If you’re thinking about yoga instructor education, here are a few tips and ideas.

There are yoga instructors needed around the whole country, especially now that yoga has become so mainstream in American culture. Many people choose to become a freelance yoga instructor, and there are also yoga instructor jobs within larger companies.

Whether you have a yoga instructor resume or not, you can start by taking a teacher training course. A minimum standard for teacher training is a 200-hour program, which can be spread out over the course of a short intensive length of time or up to two years. After this initial 200 hour certification period, there are many options on more intensive courses, but some teachers stop at this level and begin teaching. You may want to get a certification in a particular area, such as specific yoga techniques, aromatherapy, or teaching children’s yoga classes.

If you are interested in creating your own schedule, helping others find more peace in their lives, and finding more balance in your own life, then becoming a yoga teacher is a fantastic career opportunity. It is a difficult road at the beginning, as any career can be, but once you find your niche, it is incredibly rewarding.

Now Go!

Are you looking for a private yoga instructor to teach you? Are you looking into becoming one? The benefits of having a personal yoga instructor are huge, especially if you are interested in furthering your practice. If you’re new to yoga and need to know more about alignment in basic poses, or if you’re a pro and want to know how to get that perfect headstand, taking the next step in hiring someone to help you is ideal.

Now, excuse me while I go jump on my yoga mat! All this talk of flexibility and breath has left me wanting to connect with myself!

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists, dietitians, or instructors, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Finding The Right Family Psychologist

We all know that oft-quoted statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. A marriage and family therapist can help to prevent you from being a part of this frightening statistic. But what does a marriage and family therapist do? Do we need one? If we do, how do I choose the right one? We will answer all these questions, and more, in our “Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Right Family Psychologist”

The Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Right Family Psychologist

Finding the right family psychologist or marriage psychologist can be a very challenging task. In the following guide I will help and empower you with the tools and information that you will need in order to know how to find the best family/couple psychologist for your family.

Questions I’ll answer:

  • What is a Family Psychologist?
  • Do I need Family/Marriage Therapy?
  • Where do I start?
  • What should I look for?
  • What should I expect in therapy?
  • Treatment — what are the different approaches to family therapy?
  • What should I ask a potential family therapist?

What is a Family or Marriage Psychologist?

MFT stands for Marriage and Family Therapy, which is a specific form of psychotherapy that places emphasis on the emotions and actions of all members of the family. It looks at how certain behaviors affect relationships among members of the family, the individuals and the entire family unit. This type of therapy usually includes one-on-one time as well as sessions with all members. MFT can also be referred to as couples therapy, couples counseling, marriage counseling or family therapy.

Do I need Family/Marriage Therapy?

Have you ever wondered about the percentage of marriages that end up in divorce? For a while it was popular opinion that 50% of marriages end in divorce. You’ve probably heard people quote this stat, in fact. The truth is, there are mixed studies on the topic — and it’s definitely a topic that has been widely researched. Many studies today are actually estimating that the rate is dropping. (If you want to read up more on the argument, check out this article from Psychology Today.)

Despite what the actual rate is, the point remains the same: Marriages can be very difficult and many couples find themselves at a breaking point. But many aren’t sure what couples therapy could really do for them. So I talked to one of our LW Wellness consultants, Dr. Ella Lasky, who has her PhD in psychology and specializes in Couples’ Therapy.

Here’s what she had to say:

I love working with couples. About 80% of the couples who’ve consulted with me believe they have improved their relationships. In the process of couples’ therapy, people learn about the patterns they have created with one another and their own contribution to these patterns.

Research has found that if couples wait more than 6 years from the time they become aware of a problem in their relationship to get help, they have a reduced chance of repairing their relationship. It is more difficult for couples who have been in a strained relationship for a long time because the longer they wait the more rigidified their dysfunctional patterns become. The hurts, angers and resentments have time to grow and fester.

When couples wait until they are on the verge of separation, the odds of success are low.  One such couple contacted me recently. They each in fact had retained a divorce lawyer and had several settlement proposals on the table.  They had been unhappy for many years and had been unable to self-correct. I was able to help them to resolve some of their issues so that they could work together as a parenting team for the sake of their children.  They did divorce, but on more amicable terms than when they first began counseling.

Couples’ therapy works best when both partners are motivated to repair the patterns in their relationship that do not work well. When a couple comes into therapy after they have been off track for a shorter period, it is easier to help them understand where and when they got stuck. I work to help the couple understand how they hurt one another and how to build on the patterns that work well in their relationship, to re-establish trust and the feeling that they can rely on one another.   

Warm regards

Ella Lasky, PhD

Adults, Couples,  Financial Psychology

If family or couples therapy is on your mind, I wouldn’t wait. Your well-being is inevitably tied to your closest relationships and a professional can help you work through problems before they become worse. But not any therapist will work, so keep reading for more on what to look for.

Where to start/ Overall Recommendations

As a married woman with three kids, I can attest to the fact that challenges inevitably arise when you have a family. Marriage alone is challenging and when you bring kids into the pictures there are new problems that you must confront together (along with lots of exciting things, of course).

Knowing how to pick the right family psychologist/couple therapist could mean the difference between staying happily married or even staying together at all. Here are a few things I think everyone should look out for when searching for a family psychologist.

Tip # 1

Make sure to do your homework before meeting with a family psychologist.

Deciding to work with a family psychologist is an important first step, but now what? Before you turn to Google or even friend recommendations, know the specific type of family psychologist or therapist that will best suit your needs. Educate yourself about basic family theories and strategies so that you are an informed consumer when shopping around for a good fit. If you know a little bit about different approaches (which you can read about further down), you will be better able to ask questions and make comparisons between potential options.

Tip # 2

Assume that most therapists are not specialized in family therapy.

While this is a big generalization, I have extensive experience working with therapists who claim that they are family therapists, but they have no training in working with families. You need to find a therapist who is best equipped and properly trained to help you and your family.

When seeking a family psychologist it is important to understand the different professionals that can provide you with the support you need. You can read a little more about licensing qualifications below, but a good place to start is with The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Additionally, if the issues that you are dealing with are specific, such as dealing with a child with an eating disorder or drug or alcohol abuse, you want to prioritize that within your search for a family psychologist.

Tip # 3

MAKE SURE that your therapist is a good team player

Working with a family psychologist for an hour or two a week is helpful, but it might also require other providers that will help support you. For example, this week we got a request from a family for a marriage psychologist who could help a couple who is on the verge of divorce. After speaking with the couple for five minutes, it was obvious that they are having challenges with their three boys, who, according to the dad, are out of control. The older son, who is 13, is acting out in school, the 7-year-old has a lot of behavioral issues, and the 5-year-old seems to be learning behaviors from his older brothers. The dad told me he is ready to give up because they had met with three couples therapists and none of their issues had gone away. The truth is, sometimes couples therapy is not enough. Sometimes it’s necessary for the entire family to attend sessions to better treat the family unit as a whole, or for certain members of the family to receive specialized behavioral therapy.

What should I look for in a family psychologist?

First and foremost, you want to look for a licensed therapist, which means he/she will hold a master’s or doctoral degree, have completed a minimum of two years or 30,000 clinical hours of supervised experience, and completed a state licensing exam. This person should be a provider who has a certificate in marriage and family therapy, or who has studied couple and family therapy from a two year program.

What to Expect from Your Marriage/Family Psychologist?

Marriage and Family therapy is typically more short-term focused, but the length of time will vary. On average, it tends to take about six months to one year, with sessions that are usually focused around finding a solution to a specific problem. If you are talking about marriage or couples counseling, most likely the therapist will begin by meeting with you together, followed by one-on-one time. The same goes in family therapy. The first session is designed so that all parties can get informed. This is when you will identify the specific problems/issues you wish to work through and it also gives the therapist time to observe the way in which you interact with your partner and/or members of your family. It’s also a good idea to establish how the sessions will run for the duration of the treatment. Things like who should attend and when, what are the basic guidelines for what can be discussed in/out of sessions and confidentiality between therapists and members of family/couples should all be outlined in the first meeting. Each session that follows should provide clear and active steps toward conflict resolution.

Approaches to Family Therapy

In order to best understand how to find the right family psychologist and educate yourself regarding family therapy, it is important to be aware of the two most popular approaches. First is Family System Therapy based on Murray Bowen, and the second is called Internal Family System (IFS).

There is so much to write about Bowen, but I’ll try to give you a brief overview that will at least give you a basic understanding and get you to start thinking about your options more critically. I find Bowen’s theory so valuable because it’s based on years of research on family patterns, meaning it’a all evidence-based. Bowen’s family system theory holds that individuals are inseparable from their network of relationships. Bowen believed that it was important for therapists to have an awareness of the challenges each member of the family experiences within the unit as a whole in order to normalize human behavior for their clients. While individual therapy addresses the individual and their own psyche, family therapy addresses the structure and how each member affects one other. Take a moment to think about your own family structure (either your current nuclear family or your family growing up). Think about how your experience within your family was different than that of your mother or father or a sibling. How did you family structure affect how you saw the world?

Bowen used something called a genogram, which is a basically an illustration that represents a family’s medical history and interpersonal relationships and can be used to showcase psychological influences, heredity and significant events that may impact a family member’s mental health and well-being. Bowen found it important to talk to each family member individually and construct a family history that extended back at least three generations. He then identified any recurring behavioral or mental health problems across generations. (For example, at first, he thought it took three generations for schizophrenia symptoms to present themselves within a family, but later, he changed his hypothesis to 10 years.)

In addition to the genogram, Bowen’s approach is based off of eight interlocking concepts. I won’t give you too much detail, but you can start to see how the family unit is complex and how it can affect the psyche of each of its members. These are things a family psychologist will address and help you understand even more clearly.

  1. Differentiation of self — this is central to Bowen’s theory and has to do with the individual’s ability to separate him/herself from the group in regards to feelings, responses to problems, etc, while still pursuing their own personal agenda. It’s essentially the ability to maintain an emotional connection to the group while keeping a separate identity.
  2. An emotional triangle — this refers to a three-person relationship, what Bown considered the smallest stable relationship system
  3. The family projection process — how parents impact their own emotional issues onto their kids
  4. The multigenerational transmission process — this has to do with how the levels of differentiation of self between parents and their children evolve over multiple generations
  5. An emotional cutoff — members of the family completely cutting off emotional contact
  6. Sibling position — this theory asserts that people who grow up in the same birth order position in the family (i.e. oldest child, middle child, youngest) will have similar characteristics
  7. The societal emotional process — this refers to how societal organizations (outside the family) are affected by the emotional processes within a family
  8. The nuclear family emotional process — Bowen believes four basic relationship patterns affect the problems that develop within a family: marital conflict, problems or concerns in one person, emotional distance, impairment of one or multiple children

Concept Two: Internal Family System

IFS refers to a concept known as the Internal Family System. It was developed in the 1990s by family therapist Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. He came up with the idea of an undamaged “core self,” which is the essence of who you are, along with three sub-personalities that reside within each person alongside the core self. The sub-personalities are exiles (aka, the wounded and suppressed parts of the self), managers (the protective parts of the self that do the suppressing) and firefighters (which provide distraction when the pain is caused due to suppressed parts being released). Common firefighters are things like alcohol abuse or other forms of addiction, which might be hiding the suppressed pain of the exiles, which could be something like past abuse. The goal of IFS is to heal and better manage these parts so there is more harmony with the core self. IFS is used with individuals, couples and families. It has been proven to help treat symptoms like depression, anxiety and other phobias.

A List Of Questions To Ask A Potential Family Psychologist

  • Where did you get your training? Are you certified?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What is your general approach to working with families/couples?
  • What are your recommendations for how we can the most out of each session?
  • Do you work with other providers/have a network you can make referrals to for more specialized problems should they become evident?

Finding a family psychologist is a detailed process, but the more educated you are, the better success rate you will have. Admitting you need help is not something to be embarrassed about or put off to a future date. Our families are so important, and the investment in the well-being of these relationships should could first and foremost in our lives.

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists or dietitians, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!