7 Ways Therapy is Better than Just Talking with Friends or Family

November 1, 2019

Hello everyone!  Today I wanted to share my recent video which highlights how psychotherapy can be superior to discussing your concerns with friends and family.  Here are some of the specific benefits (be sure to check out the video for all the details):

-Confidentiality

-Objectivity

-Non-judgemental

-It’s all about YOU

-Holding a safe space for deep emotions

-Bringing in experience and training

-Goal-setting and follow-up

“Cyber Bullying: The Inside Job” (for parents, educators, concerned citizens, and professionals)

October 1, 2019
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As a holistic psychotherapist, spiritual counselor, and mother of a “tween” boy, this article gives a unique perspective around cyberbullying, and I hope it is helpful. As far as the “inside job” goes, I would like to touch upon how our children and teens can build resiliency, regain their power, and ultimately lessen the effects of bullying behaviors. No matter what is happening all around us in our lives, there are techniques that increase self-esteem, healthy communication and expression, as well as spiritual connection. Encouraging our youth to take long breaks from devices, surrounding themselves with positive people and activities, pinpointing who to talk to when they are having problems, being appropriately assertive, and having “kindness prevail” in their lives are all crucial in my opinion. So whatever negativity is occurring on the outside, one can still become grounded, centered, at peace, growing and learning from experiences, while focusing on what truly matters in life.

Research shows that cyberbullying is related to lower self-esteem (which also tends to be correlated with depression). Adolescence is a time when identity development is key. This is often linked to the social environment which plays a critical role in shaping how children grow up, and the people they become. Studies concerning bullying and self-esteem consistently have found that victims of bullying tend to have lower self-esteem than non-victims.  The exact reasons for this are not agreed upon and are unclear.  It could be that the experience of being victimized decreases one’s self-esteem, or that those who have low self-esteem are more likely to be targeted as victims.  Regardless, a significant amount of research has linked low self-esteem to poor academic achievement, absenteeism, health concerns, criminal behavior, and other consequences.  The fact that cyberbullying is related to low self-esteem should motivate us to do all we can to address it and subsequently prevent the other undesirable outcomes.

My son is not quite old enough to experience cyberbullying, and honestly, I am dreading the day when it becomes a possibility of entering his world. However, in the rare occurrence of bullying behavior in his current social environment, my plan of action usually is envisioning the best possible outcome for all involved, positive energy prevailing, and beneficial lessons being learned. I continue with thoughts and statements such as “Kindness Rules” and other such interventions, knowing that negative energy will eventually leave however it needs to work itself out. I talk to my boy about the fact that happy kids do not tend to bully others. People that feel good about themselves and their lives, and have positive role models, are usually kind. Although I do encourage him to express his sadness and anger about the bullying behaviors, it is taken a bit further with a deeper approach discussing an understanding from which the bullying behaviors may be originating. In addition, I taught him to imagine a mirror between him and the bully and everything negative just reflecting back and not being absorbed or internalized (mentally giving it back to the bully). When there are mean-spirited comments towards my child, I teach him how to make it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated. We suggest taking breaks from certain groups of kids when necessary, much like taking breaks from the internet, focusing on positive people and activities. Being open and allowing for a peaceful life and getting used to the quiet, with a “knowing” that we all deserve that, is important. If your child or teen seems to keep finding himself or herself in the middle of unnecessary negativity, it can be helpful to continually utilize positive affirmations such as “My life is free from unnecessary drama and I am focused on peace”.

Obviously, people do not always think before speaking or acting, especially our youth. They can say and do things that have the potential to be quite hurtful. Sometimes, unfortunately, it might be intentional, but other times completely unintentional or it is simply due to carelessness, ignorance, or even jealousy. But always remember that our minds can be trained to begin seeing the good in everyone and everything. When we learn more about spirituality, we are guided into positive pure love that comes from the heavens. Perfection is in spiritual realms, and my belief is that prior to our experiences on earth which shape our egos, we are “perfect” spiritual beings. Deep down inside each and every person is a spirit that is pure, good, and full of unconditional love and happiness.

Teaching children and teens the act of self-love is one of the most important activities for overall happiness and health, no matter what is going on in external situations. As many of you know, when you truly love yourself, things in life seem to fall more into place. You are attracted to people and situations that support your highest good, you find fulfilling jobs, you eat nutritious food, you take care of your body, and more easily receive from all positive sources. I have also found that if you treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, then you are not only getting the benefits of self-nurturing, but usually others will notice and often follow in their treatments of you. To increase self-love, there is an activity called “mirror work” inspired by the late Louise Hay. Have the child or teen look in a mirror saying the following: I love you _____ (insert name). Have them then do this every time they pass by a mirror, along with a smile, as it will start increasing the self-love. I say it to myself like I say it to my son! Be kind to yourself when practicing mirror work as it initially tends to reveal negative self-judgements. But keep going and you will start to see past those judgements. Understanding that this type of work is important for healing will encourage youth to continue doing it. Other ways to show self-love are in actual self-nurturing actions and activities. Repeatedly using affirmations such as “I completely love myself unconditionally at all times” is another activity that can create more self-love and increased resilience. Additional daily affirmations include: “I deserve kindness”, “I am strong and powerful”, and “I am equal to everyone else”.

For a bit of fun, children seem to like natural stones and crystals. I know mine does! If you feel a child might benefit from carrying a stone (sometimes also referred to as “worry stones”), go ahead and try that in your interventions. If you are open to it, there are “healing” crystals and stones which tend to be used for specific purposes. One such crystal is Rose Quartz which is used to help increase all types of love, forgiveness, compassion, joy, warmth, and emotional healing. Rose Quartz is actually known as the “Stone of Love” and I have personally found it beneficial during periods sadness or when the heart aches.

Encouraging youth to identify what they are feeling, in a non-judgmental manner, is also essential. One method I can suggest in order to express emotions is journal writing. It is simple: no censorship, no one else being able to read it, just thoughts and feelings flowing onto paper. Encourage them to ask questions such as: If my heart could speak, what would it say? Regular journal writing can be extremely beneficial as identifying and clearing out anger, along with other emotions, leads to increased wellbeing, better relationships, and a more peaceful and fulfilling life. Writing letters to themselves as if sending to a loved one, is another way journaling can help our youth. Be sure they are including ample amounts of self-nurturing positive statements! They can also leave self-love notes and reminders on their dashboard or desk areas, type them into the “notes” section of their devices, and write special reminder words into their calendars! Initially, if they cannot think of something positive about themselves, have them trade with others (write notes for each other to use). This will then become second nature and instilled in their minds in no time!

It is important to mention that assertiveness training is quite effective for certain situations, as well as conditions such as social anxiety, relationship conflicts and concerns, low self-respect, and problems resulting from unexpressed anger (such as depression). Knowing assertiveness techniques is imperative during any type of bullying experience. From my point of view, it would be beneficial if more adults learned the signs and symptoms, not only recognizing when children are being bullied, but also when they are showing bullying behaviors. If you find a child is possibly being too passive, passive-aggressive, or overly aggressive with others, then it is highly likely he or she would benefit from this type of intervention. Working with a counselor or doing some online studying on the subject of assertiveness training will likely help the situation, surrounding relationships, and overall wellbeing.

A few things all parents can be doing now:

  • Providing a safe haven at home, a feeling of warmth and love
  • Teaching and modeling mutual respect, including healthy communication
  • Showing loving behaviors
  • Spending quality time, participating in healthy activities
  • Encouraging positive social supports and authentic connections

With our youth, it is essential to monitor, have open communication, listen, and encourage reaching out to parents (and others that they trust). As adults we also need to be aware, provide options, and speak up for youth when necessary. My sister, and mother of 3, recently gave some great advice. She said as parents, talking to our children before any bullying even happens is key. Make sure it is known that there are always other avenues to take if something seems too much to endure. My perspective is that having potential alternatives and options (examples include moving or home schooling) is essential in order to minimize any extreme thoughts of physical harm to self or others. Generally speaking, I believe additional services, such as increased counseling resources, are definitely needed, but I feel like things are thankfully going in the right direction.

 

Gina L. Spielman, LCSW, CH, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Hypnotist with over 20 years of clinical experience. She is also a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider and Certified in Natural Holistic Remedies. She is the author of multiple books and is a freelance writer. Gina practices in Illinois which includes consultation via videoconference. website: www.ginaspielman.com

Adaptogens for Immune System Balance, Overall Health, and Wellbeing

August 13, 2019
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Anyone else noticing mushroom coffees and other such products showing up everywhere? Certain mushrooms bring some amazing health benefits and it is really starting to catch on! I am not talking about psychedelics (although interestingly those are also being researched for their specific uses). I am referring to medicinal mushrooms which are considered “adaptogens” and have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Indigenous cultures used these special mushrooms in teas, soups, and more. Now some manufacturers are making it easier for us to benefit from this amazing fungus, as adaptogenic mushrooms are currently available in a variety of forms: drinks, powder, capsules, extracts, and whole foods (on a side-note some are higher quality than others).

What does adaptogenic mean? Online searches basically state that an adaptogenic substance (or adaptogen) is a natural non-toxic material (often derived from a plant), used in herbal medicine to help the body adapt to stress and restore normal balanced bodily functioning. Even though Western medicine does not yet officially acknowledge adaptogens, supporters say they effectively improve and maintain health without the potentially harmful side effects of synthetic pharmaceuticals.

Mushrooms are actually one of the most researched superfoods. Studies show that medicinal mushrooms have incredible benefits for the immune system, brain, hormones, energy levels, memory, mood, and more. Therefore, it is definitely worth a look! I will focus here on one specific popular adaptogenic mushroom as I have had personal experience with the powerful effect it can have on health and healing.

Reishi (formally known as Ganoderma lucidum) is like a natural form of Xanax. Called the “queen of mushrooms”, it has powerful adaptogenic effects on the body and mind. Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, reishi has been used for thousands of years for immune health and longevity. It can help in regulating hormones and decreasing cortisol levels, therefore can be perfect for relaxation. It is also beneficial for sleep as it has been shown to enhance both the quality and quantity, promoting deep restorative sleep. Studies are also showing it to be helpful in lowering blood sugar and decreasing excess fat storage. It is used for immune system health, stress relief, decreasing anxiety, obtaining a feeling of balance, and again deepening sleep. I have experienced multiple autoimmune conditions throughout my life (not to mention the fast-approaching menopause) and I have tried countless treatments. Most of the natural and alternative interventions have helped (some much more than others). As far as supplementation goes, reishi is definitely at the top of my list! It somehow knows where my system needs to be tamped down and where it needs to be stepped up. It helps with fighting off invaders while at the same time not over-reacting to everything encountered within the environment (including stress and diet). I feel balanced and energized, also experiencing more restorative sleep. On a side-note, I do not need to take as many other supplements now due to the continual use of reishi~ money-saver!

There are several other types of medicinal mushrooms that are considered adaptogens, each seeming to have their specific strengths as far as for what conditions they are best used. Some examples of these adaptogenic mushrooms are: Lion’s mane, shiitake (can also be used in cooking), turkey tail, and chaga. Herbal adaptogens of the non-mushroom type also exist (examples: panax ginseng, milk thistle, licorice root, and ashwagandha).

As with all supplements, it is usually best to start your dosages “low and slow”. Be sure to always do your research, including consultation with your healthcare provider. Feel free to ask me any questions. I truly love helping people navigate through their holistic healing journeys!

Gina Spielman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Hypnotist with 30 years of healthcare experience. She is also Certified in Natural Holistic Remedies and is a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider. A personal journey with autoimmunity has given first-hand knowledge of her own healing ability. The experience with her own healthcare, and all of the service providers and healers she has learned from over the years, has helped solidify her knowledge of holistic healing. All of that background, along with extensive research, has merged to create the life-changing book “The Blueprint for Vibrant Health: A Guide to Healing the Mind, Body, and Spirit” (Amazon).  Gina practices in Illinois which includes consultation via videoconference. Website: www.ginaspielman.com  

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Get 7 Inspirational Books Free!

July 1, 2019
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*Exciting News*
Some fellow inspirational authors and I are running a book contest – Contact me and/or let’s connect on FB (https://www.facebook.com/gina.hostert) ~ More info is on my page.  7 FREE BOOKS are involved 📚📕📖   My holistic healing publication: “The Blueprint for Vibrant Health: A Guide to Healing the Mind, Body, and Spirit” is in the contest.
Participating inspirational authors: Joan Aubele, Rob Besecker, Emily Assell, Chiara Talluto, Gina Spielman, and Mona Williams.

Thanks everyone and remember: Love yourself, it’s good for your health!

Gina Spielman, LCSW, CH

Professional Review of Holistic Healing Book

March 28, 2019
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Hello everyone!

Here’s a link to a great review of my latest book, which covers all aspects of holistic healing~  https://mswwrites.com/2019/03/28/book-review-the-blueprint-for-vibrant-health

The review is written by a professional social worker/author, and has recently been posted on her educational and inspirational blog.  Enjoy!

Thanks everyone, and as always ~ Love yourself, it’s good for your health!

Gina L Spielman LCSW CH

Grow Your Practice!

March 1, 2019

 

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Hello everyone!  For those of you who are healthcare providers or healers, one of the many ways to grow your practice is to get onto as many lists as possible.  As you open yourself up to opportunities, you will notice that many directories  you are coming across are actually free!  Of course sign up for all of those that fit your business.  As I recommend in my practice-building book, sign up for a few paid listings as well.  You can usually negotiate some kind of deal if there is not already a promotion going on at the time of signing up.  One example is the following opportunity for holistic healers and natural health providers:

Holistic Therapies Directory is currently offering a lifetime listing membership for 375 (regular price is 1250).  They are SEO specialists and one-on-one assistance is provided ~ many benefits to joining.  https://holistictherapiesdirectory.com/join    For this discount, use COUPON CODE: counsellife

Feel free to ask any questions you may have about growing your business!

Thank you, and as always ~ Love yourself, it’s good for your health!

Until next time,

Gina L Spielman, LCSW, CH

Why Choose Online Therapy?

February 14, 2019

Hello everyone!  Today I wanted to talk about the benefits of online therapy and provide a bit of education.  Actually, I have recently run across some potential clients who were not even aware that sessions could be done this way and were grateful to be informed of the option.  There are numerous plusses to doing counseling via videoconference!  Research is also confirming that it can be just as effective as in-person therapy.  

Some of the benefits of online counseling include the following:

  • Sessions can be conducted in the comfort of your own home.  In fact, some of my online clients see me while in their own meditation rooms!  On a related note, meditation before and/or after sessions can make the therapy even more powerful.   
  • There is no traffic to deal with and no time spent trying to get to an office location.
  • Related to traveling to an office is the concern about those living in remote areas or in a location where there is difficulty getting to professionals who specialize in their particular needs.  This problem then usually becomes a non-concern as the only location limits are state lines (due to clinician licenses).
  • For college students, or those who move around within their state multiple times per year, there is continuity of care.
  • The weather typically does not matter, which has been absolutely necessary during this winter we are experiencing here in Illinois!  
  • If there happens to be a contagious illness happening with the client (or therapist) there is no fear about passing that onto the other person. 
  • Childcare issues are non-existent or at least significantly lessened.  If it is determined that a sitter will be needed, it is for a much shorter period due to having no driving time adding to the total.
  • Home bound and handicapped clients can receive professional attention like those who are fortunate enough to be able to get to an office.
  • If there is something at a client’s home that would be helpful in the assessment or treatment (such as specific food choices in the pantry or a closet needing organizing) it can easily be seen via videoconference. 
  • The chances of missing an appointment are much less, due to several of the above factors, plus the online therapy platforms most therapists utilize send multiple appointment reminders to clients typically on the same device as what will be used to enter the session.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about this type of counseling.  The iTherapy online platform is my current secure videoconference provider.  Their system is quite easy to use, and the customer service is excellent including 24/7 technical support!  Appointment request: https://ginaspielman.securevideo.com/Book  

Thank you and as always ~ Love yourself it’s good for your health!  After all it is Valentine’s Day today!

Gina L Spielman LCSW CH

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Kathleen Biel LCPC Retiring

January 24, 2019

Practice Announcement:  Kathleen D. Biel, LCPC, is retiring and leaving the profession of Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.  She will be greatly missed by all of her clients as well as our practice.  We want to thank Kathleen for her many years of professional service and wish her well in her retirement! 

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Thank you, and as always ~ Love yourself it’s good for your health!

Gina L Spielman LCSW CH

 

Today I became a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider!

January 23, 2019

Hello everyone!  I am excited to announce that I just completed a program and passed the test today ~  I am officially a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider!  It was quite a bit to learn and process, but excited to use the knowledge gained.  It also undoubtedly makes me more “credible” with all of the holistic healing writing I have been doing lately.

I encourage all of you to keep working on everything and anything that you are passionate about!  Keep working on your goals and keep learning.  There’s always more to know about everything.

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Thank you, and as always ~ Love yourself it’s good for your health!

Gina L Spielman LCSW CH

“The Blueprint for Vibrant Health: A Guide to Healing the Mind, Body, and Spirit” has been published!

November 26, 2018
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Hello everyone.  Exciting news!  My holistic healing book has finally been published after many years of hard work.  What a great feeling!

This informative book contains everything you will need to know in order to naturally restore emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. This is one of those books that all of us can benefit from reading, especially those who have been diagnosed with a chronic condition and are open to alternative approaches. It shows countless ways to awaken your own innate healing power, which exists inside yourself, in order to overcome illness and unleash vibrant health. What most of the mainstream medical doctors are not telling you is that the human body actually has a tremendous ability to heal itself, especially when mental, physical, and spiritual health all come together. This book addresses how psychological, physical/biological, and spiritual interventions can all unite for true healing and overall long-term health.  If you feel like there is something missing in your treatment plan, this book can help, and it is truly inspirational and uplifting.

Book is available on Amazon (in Kindle and paperback forms)   ~ Feel free to ask any questions!

Thank you, and as always ~ Love yourself it’s good for your health!

-Gina L. Spielman, LCSW, C.H.


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