Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, CBIT, ERP, CBT-I, Behavior Consultation, and Treatment for Anxiety and Insomnia

Laura Van Schaick-Harman, Psy.D., BC-TMH


Dr. Laura's Meaningful Psychological Services

Online and Office Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Blog

What Behavior or Habit Do You Want To Change?

Posted on September 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (4)

 

Have you ever seen the same thing many times and then one day it looked different to you? I recently decided to head the opposite direction (for example east instead of west) on the route I take for my daily (as long as the weather cooperates) mindful walk. Do you know what I saw? The whole route differently. New plants, backyards, trees, sides of houses, cars, potholes, and light posts. I walked on the very same roads I had walked on hundreds of times and a whole new panorama of interesting things to enjoy was illuminated just by walking the opposite direction. This experienced has inspired me to explore areas in the neighborhood I hadn't yet seen, knowing I would have to turn around once I reached a dead end or a cul de sac on which I did not live - taking the risk of the residents wondering who I was!

 

 

Making behavior changes in our lives is very similar process. We get into a habit and get comfortable (even if it is an unhealthy habit) with our daily routine. It is hard to see things differently. It is hard to see that there could be other roads not taken or routes untravelled. We are afraid to take the risk.

 

 

Change happens when we take the risk. Change happens when we see things differently. Change happens when we are mindful of our environment. Change is hard work. But Change can also be very rewarding!

 

 

Change is within our reach. Though it might be difficult, change is possible. It might be as simple as making a left instead of a right.

 

 

What do you want to change?

 

 

Help Wanted!

 

 

I am working on a brand new behavior change course to help people learn how to change unhealthy habits and behaviors. It is going to be an awesome program to participate in. In order for me to put together a great course, can you take a minute and help me?

 

 

In order to make sure that I address the concerns that most people might have concerning changing unhealthy or disruptive behaviors, I would really appreciate it if you could answer the following brief questions. Please note that your responses are only to help me create a more successful program. I will not be using your names in the course, but may share some of your responses to these questions. I would be happy to get suggestions from anyone else that you know too! Just ask them to email their answers to me. See my email address below.

 

 

Here are the questions:

 

 

What is the biggest hurdle you face when trying to change a behavior?

 

 

What is a behavior you have tried to change in the past but was unsuccessful?

 

 

You can post a comment here or send me an e-mail at [email protected]

 

 

*Please remember that internet communications are not confidential. Please see http://www.meaningfulpsychservices.com/policies-resources for more information.

 

 

If you would like to answer but are not comfortable with posting a comment or sending an e-mail, you can also call me at 631-484-9679.

 

Telepsychology: I'm So Excited For Step 3!

Posted on December 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)


And here we are...Step 3. I am super excited to be writing this month's article. I am feeling full of gratitude, hope, and love as I am developing some new telepsychology programs and expanding current ones in my practice. This is an exciting time to be active as a psychologist, as I am watching the field evolve in front of me and within me. I am striving to embody the new changes while providing effective care. I know my colleagues are as well.

 

There are so many options available to you. From apps and video sessions to virtual reality offices and in-person visits. E-mail, online chat, text messaging, and phone mediums are up for grabs. Which is the right one for you? Goodness of fit is an important factor of the therapeutic relationship, which in turn affects the outcome of treatment. The fit I am speaking of is not only between the client and therapist, but also the method they use to work together as well.


 

Telepsychology services might be a great option for you and they might not. Phone sessions might be really convenient, or they might not. Perhaps information gathering, such as an online educational group (see below), is appropriate for you, but you prefer therapy sessions in-person. Goodness of fit varies from person-to-person, and this is healthy. I am hoping to encourage the community to step out of the comfort zone (after all, with preparation and skills, stepping out can lead to amazing growth), and explore the multitude of treatment and educational options available. Communities no longer need to be inhibited by location, income, anxiety, transportation, distance, or schedules.


 

I wish to communicate some telepsychology options available in my practice. Lets explore if we and any of these options might be a good fit for you.


 

Dr. Laura on Demand App

This is a brand new feature. Download it for free at this website: https://drlauraondemand.appsme.com/app/dr-laura/live-life-meaningfully. The Dr. Laura on Demand app allows you to contact me quickly and conveniently, read and watch meaningful content, articles, and resources, schedule appointments, and access unique discounts on services.


 

Live Meaningfully With Anxiety Room

Opening in early 2015, the Live Meaningfully With Anxiety Room is an online resource to help people dealing with anxiety to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Purchasing access to the Room will allow 24/7 availability of resources for dealing with anxiety, including panic-attack talk-downs, coping skills, the biology of anxiety, beating anxiety, progressive muscle relaxation, and more. Members will be able to log-in any time they feel anxious (as well as any other time they would like) to cope with the unpleasant feeling. Members of the Room will receive a discount on individual therapy services if they would like to continue work on an individual and personal level.


 

Behavior Management Group

Available for parents of children aged 2-12 years, the Behavior Management Group is designed to teach strategies for dealing with problem and difficult behavior effectively, safely, and positively. This is a great option for parents who would like to manage behavior and need ideas, resources, and want to learn what works and what doesn’t. Parents can choose to participate in live workshops, or just listen to them at a later more convenient time. There is a one-time fee for complete 24/7 access to this group.


 

There are more options available, not only in my practice, but in other psychology practices as well. I hope you find a good fit for you.


 

Oh, and if any of these choices are a great fit, and you access any one of them, you will get $10 off your first therapy session should you choose to pursue individual services.

Online Therapy Can Help: Three Reasons Why and Things to Consider

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Online therapy, also known as telehealth, or e-therapy is becoming more and more popular. I am a big fan of these services for several reasons that I wish to share with you. There are also some concerns to watch out for when considering participating in online services.

 

 


Three reasons why I love online therapy services and how they can help:

 

 


Saves You Time and Money

Online therapy services are super convenient, since you can access a variety of providers, services, and resources quickly and easily. You save time commuting to an office, especially if you live or work far away from the provider you would like to work with. You also save commuting costs, such as gas, train fare, or subway fees.


Better Selection of Providers

Are you frustrated with the lack of providers in your area? Are you uncomfortable going to an office setting where you may see a friend, neighbor, or your child's classmate? Have you had trouble finding a provider within a reasonable distance from you? Online therapy services allow you to reach providers who may have offices hundreds of miles away from you or who have offices close by. Many providers will work with clients online now due to financial, insurance, scheduling, commuting, rapport, and specialization reasons. This allows you to choose from a greater pool of providers and to select someone who you feel is the best fit for you. Don't let geography get in the way!


Kids Can Do it Too

Don't underestimate the ability of children to participate in and benefit from online therapy services. In fact, many children and adolescents actually are more savvy with this service than their parents are. Of course, the success of treatment varies from child to child and family to family, but it may be worth trying. I have been able to work with children and adolescents online conveniently and easily.


There are many more reasons why online therapy can help-stay tuned for future posts about this.


And now some things to watch out for:

 

 

When you meet for your session, be present (e.g., you should not be doing dishes, watching TV, checking your cell phone, or surfing the Internet for information unrelated to treatment or the session). Treat the session the same as meeting in person in an office setting. Make sure the provider is present too.

 

 

Make sure the provider is licensed to work with you in your state. Laws vary state to state.

 

 

Ask about the security of the program you will use for sessions. These may include video conferencing, phone, e-mail, text, and online chat.

 

 

Ask about the benefits and risks associated with online therapy services.

In my practice, I offer several choices for people looking into online therapy options. Check out my website at www.meaningfulpsychservices.com for detailed information.

Helpful Strategies for Celebrating with Special Needs

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)


 

Celebrating holidays with family and friends can be challenging. There may be more people, sounds, visual stimuli, and expectations. Many families experience heightened stress around the holidays, especially if you have a child with special needs. Here are some strategies that may be helpful to remember when celebrating during this holiday season.


 

Be Proactive

If you are traveling by train, bus, or airplane, it is important to research certain information prior to your trip. It may be helpful to call ahead and find out wait times, what waiting areas are like, traffic conditions, possible detours, places to sit, places to eat, location of bathroom, when rest stops will be, etc. If you are travelling by car, look ahead for traffic and construction. Waiting is a difficult skill for many individuals with special needs (and for some individuals who do not have special needs too!). Some facilities (such as amusement parks and airports) may offer shorter wait times or early board times with appropriate documentation.


 

Be Prepared

Pack, pack, and pack! Pack even if you are just traveling a short distance or you are not traveling at all. Have reinforcers, toys, books, and snacks available at all times. These can be lifesavers at a holiday gathering. It is also important to bring any behavior plans, coping skills charts, token economies, and communication assistance devices. If you child engages in dangerous behavior (e.g., eloping, unsupervised cooking, fire playing, etc.), make sure to have preventative measures in place in each new setting. Your child will still need support (and maybe a little extra support) when celebrating with family and friends.


 

Explain

Decide in advance how you would like to communicate information about your child and his/her needs to friends and family. Your doctor may have brochures you can share, depending on how detailed you would like to be. It is helpful to let other individuals know what modifications may be made and how your child may respond. Many families find it helpful to work out a plan in advance for responding to challenging behavior, should it occur in the presence of new people or people your child is not with very often.


 

Have Fun

Even though the holiday season can be stressful, remember to “be” (see November’s blog). Have fun with your child. Let them know they are loved and will be safe and you are both prepared to handle challenging situations.


 

Remember, you will never be able to predict everything. Sometimes a monkey wrench is tossed into the situation. Model good coping skills when this happens. Change can be OK and growth may even occur when challenges are experienced.


 

Warm Wishes for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!