All posts by Corina Helgestad

FOCUS ON THE PROCESS

FOCUS ON THE PROCESS

No one gets divorced because of the issue – whether it be parenting, finances, or an affair.  They get divorced because of the way they handle (or don’t handle) the issue.

The two partners heading toward divorce, might think that it is the issues they are facing that are driving them toward divorce.  In reality, it is not the issues that matter all that much, it is whether or not they are properly communicating, making necessary changes, and finding the healing necessary to move forward in a healthy relationship – in the midst of their issues and problems.

A couple dealing with those very same issues, and handling them with the proper process (communication, willingness to change, and finding healing) can strengthen their marriage and produce a closer bond after the conflict than before.

It’s not the issue that counts, it’s the process that counts.

Focus on the process.  Learn healthy conflict resolutions skills and your marriage will be “fireproof”.  You’ll be able to make it through the toughest of circumstances with the right skills.  Or stay in your old, unhealthy patterns and the lightest of breezes will blow you off course.  The choice is up to you.

 

What process in your life do you need to amend?

What relationship could benefit from a healthier process?

Why not start now?

Corina Helgestad imageCorina Helgestad is a professional counselor who especially likes working with teen girls in such areas as self-esteem, cutting, suicide, depression, and anxiety. She says this about her work as a counselor, “One of the best aspects of my life is helping others succeed in theirs.” To learn more about Corina, or to set up an appointment click here.

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Psst! Hey, Mom and Dad! I’m about to tell you why I act up sometimes

Psst! Hey, Mom and Dad! I’m about to tell you why I act up sometimes

I know I look small, but I need A LOT of interaction with other people just like you do. And the most important interaction? Interaction with my parents – you. And, well, the truth of it is… negative attention is way easier to get and lasts a lot longer than positive attention does. Positive attention is usually shorter and less predictable. So, I try to get the positive every now and then but it’s hard work and it usually doesn’t pay off, so I just go for what I know I can get.

How do I interact, you ask? Good question! Through eye contact, physical touch, and talking.

If I’m desiring eye contact, physical touch, and an exchange of words…

I know I can probably get all three by acting up.

I know that I can get them for as long as I want by continuing the bad behavior.

I know that, even if you are ignoring me, I can keep getting worse and worse until eventually you have to look at me, touch me, and talk to me.

However……

If I’m desiring eye contact, physical touch, and an exchange of words…

I’m not sure if you’ll notice me quietly occupying myself over here or working hard on this project.

It almost seems like the quieter I am and the better my behavior is, the more I get ignored. I’ve heard you say, “Finally, some peace and quiet around here.” Then you look at your phone for a long time. I hate that!

Even if you say, “Good job on drawing that picture” the positive attention is over in less than 10 seconds and then I’m left trying to figure out how I’m going to get the other 29 min 50 sec of interaction that I need right now.

Mom, Dad, the good news for you is…

You are my favorite person.

I want you to teach me how you do all that cool adult stuff.

We don’t have to do anything super huge. I’d love to do almost anything with you if I can count on my Positive Interaction Bank getting filled in the process.

You can just hold my hand or rub my back for no reason. I love it when you do that.

I love your compliments more than anyone else’s.

I love your hugs and kisses more than anyone else’s.

I need you!

I adore you!

 

Love,

Your Little One

 

Corina Helgestad imageCorina Helgestad is a professional counselor who especially likes working with teen girls in such areas as self-esteem, cutting, suicide, depression, and anxiety. To learn more about Corina, or to set up an appointment click here.

 

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Every Yes is a No!

Every Yes is a No!

I am currently reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst – a very good book so far.  The night before I read chapter nine, I happened to read a blog about how to have a decluttered kitchen.  The next day while reading chapter nine of The Best Yes, I realized that they were both saying the same thing.  We are always saying yes to something and no to something.

I had heard this concept before when it came to time management – we only have 24 hours in each day and everything you say yes to inevitably means that you are saying no to some other thing that you could have done with that time.   I had always understood it in that context.  It even made perfect sense to me in regards to how we spend our money – a yes to the brand new car might mean a no to the freedom to go on that spur-of-the-moment trip.

This concepYEs NOt was very easy to understand in regards to the physical and concrete things in our lives like money and time.  However, after reading that blog and chapter nine, I began to considered just how much this principal impacts our lives in EVERY area, including the less tangible ones like the emotional and spiritual areas of our lives.

Consider this, if I say no to a conversation that could potentially cause conflict, I may be saying yes to misunderstanding and resentment.  If I say yes to procrastination on that project, I am saying no to peace of mind.  If I say no to God’s prompting to take a leap of faith, I am saying yes to the disappointment of not knowing how God had planned to miraculously provide.  If I say yes to hanging on to every item of clothing I ever buy because I might need it someday, I am saying no to the tranquility of a well-organized closet that I will use every day.  There are so many, possibly millions, of applications of this principle in each day of our lives.  When that realization set it, I knew that I could no longer live my life without considering it at every opportunity I could.

When I am real with myself about what each yes means and what, out of necessity, I am saying no to, I believe my life will experience a new-found level of clarity.  It’s time for me to step out of the denial that I can have my cake and eat it too and own the fact that every no is also a yes.  What an exciting thing to learn!  I can’t wait to see how it changes me.  How will it change you?

Corina Helgestad imageCorina Helgestad is a professional counselor who especially likes working with teen girls in such areas as self-esteem, cutting, suicide, depression, and anxiety. To learn more about Corina, or to set up an appointment click here.

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Childhood Anxiety

Childhood Anxiety

Is your child showing signs of anxiety such as worrying, irritability, avoidance, fear, hair pulling, nail biting, or perfectionism?

You may be thinking, “My child has a good life; how could they have anxiety?  It doesn’t make any sense!”

The truth is it doesn’t have to make sense for it to happen.

Your child’s anxiety is not the root of the problem.  It is a symptom of the problem.

So, what IS the problem?

To understand this we must first understand that both emotions and needs drive behavior.

Your child’s anxiety is a sign of a basic emotional need being unmet.

This does not mean that you are doing a bad job at parenting.  It simply means that your child has a need that they don’t know how to get met and has feelings that they haven’t figured out how to handle.

Let’s take a look at what their symptoms are saying…

My Negative Emotion Bucket is overflowing.

I’m feeling out of control, scared, angry, etc and I don’t know what to do about it.

My Positive Emotion Bucket is too empty.

I want to feel loved, safe and capable of handling my circumstances and the emotions attached to them.

How to facilitate meeting that emotional need (Balancing the Buckets)

  • Ensure that every time your child hears something negative, corrective, or scary, they hear at least 5 positive and/or empowering things.

This is not easy to do and takes purposeful effort on your part, but the payoff is well worth it.

For example:

If your child overhears you talking about money concerns, this can produce very uncertain and fearful feelings within them because they have no control over the budget, but it affects their life.

Because of their developmental stage, they may think they did something to cause the situation.  They may begin worrying about the worst-case scenario and feel incredible stress with no way to release those feelings.

The best thing you can do to counteract that is to make sure they hear at least 5 positive statements, at different times, such as; things will be okay, I love you, I’ll take care of you, you didn’t cause this situation, etc.

  • Teach your child how to recognize and vent their feelings by asking “feelings questions”.

Don’t ask, “How was school?”  They’ll probably say, “Fine.” which doesn’t get to their emotions.

Do ask, “Did anything happen at school today that you didn’t like?  What happened?  What were you feeling when that happened?”

Do ask, “What was the best part of your day today?  What did you like about that?  How did you feel when that happened?”

When having “feelings“ discussions with your child, be careful to not suggest that they shouldn’t feel the way that they feel.  Often times we do this because their feelings don’t make sense to us.  But their feelings are real and legitimate.

A productive “feelings discussion” consists of the following:

  1. Allow them to vent their feelings with no judgment.

Ask them to tell you more about it, how often they feel that way, etc.

  1. Then ask them how they want to feel.

Steer clear from asking, “What would make you feel better?  They probably don’t know or else they’d be doing it already.

  1. Problem solve with them as to how they can produce the feeling that they want.

See if they have any ideas.  You may offer some ideas.  Allow them to choose a course of action.

This conversation validates and empowers them which can drastically empty the Negative Feeling Bucket and fill the Positive Feeling Bucket at the same time!

 

Corina Helgestad imageCorina Helgestad is a professional counselor who especially likes working with teen girls in such areas as self-esteem, cutting, suicide, depression, and anxiety. To learn more about Corina, or to set up an appointment click here.

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