Therapy Education

Meet Dr. Spencer Reid

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Dr. Spencer Reid the Dog with a Bowtie
Cuddling isn’t usually part of a counseling session, except when Dr. Spencer Reid is in the room. Dr. Spencer Reid is a four-legged mental health professional. The golden retriever assists Village Therapist and Clinical Supervisor Shauna Erickson-Abou Zahr with her Moorhead, Minnesota-area clients, most of whom are children, adolescents, and young adults. Shauna and Dr. Spencer Reid (named for the “Criminal Minds” character) became a family 3 years ago when he was a puppy. Shauna knew she wanted to implement animal-assisted therapy, and Dr. Spencer Reid was just the dog for that. She had grown [...]

Advice that Clients Say Changed Their Lives

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Three person shapes sharing an advice bubble above their heads
Sometimes in life, we hear just the right piece of advice at just the right moment. In honor of Mental Health Month, celebrated every May, therapists, counselors, and mental health practitioners from The Village Family Service Center shared their favorite mental health tips, mantras, and bits of wisdom that clients have said helped them to change their thinking and move forward. Hopefully these ideas can help you find a different way to think about a situation or to cope better during a difficult time. Remember, with The Village, you don't have to go it alone. Mental Health Tips & Tricks Be [...]

Addressing Conflict through Communication

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Five people communicating with each other, most of them shouting
While we are in many ways still bound to our primal instincts, we’ve evolved as human beings. In times of conflict, we can communicate our complex thoughts and emotions. I believe we owe it to our ancestors to address conflict by communicating. How to Address Conflict It starts with defining the problem. A common mistake is to identify a person as the conflict rather seeing the choices, behaviors, circumstances, or the interactions as the cause of conflict. It’s easy to blame others. Blame distracts from our behaviors and removes our responsibility to make changes. However, habitual deflection [...]

How to Ask for Mental Health Help

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Hand on man's shoulder
We often hear people say, “If you need help, just reach out.” But how can we possibly ask for help when we feel we’re at our worst? Reaching out is a skill we are expected to know, but is often not modeled for us. When you’re in a negative mental space, you might have thoughts of loneliness, insignificance or shame. You may think you’re not feeling “low” enough to ask for help. You might even prepare yourself to ask for help, but then later talk yourself out of it for fear of being judged. You need to know that you are not alone. The truth is that there are many people who love you and want to [...]

When Winter Days Are SAD

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Fall and winter can bring on symptoms of seasonal depression or SAD
The change in seasons can do more than alter the weather, it can also affect our mood. Starting in the fall and into the winter season, the days are shorter and usually less sunny. For some individuals, the change in season can be accompanied by a change in mood, known as seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that typically begins in the fall and lasts through the winter months. As the season progresses, the symptoms of SAD may worsen. Activities you once enjoyed no longer hold the same interest, and you may repeatedly [...]

How to Spot Mental Health Warning Signs in Kids

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Adults need to be on the lookout for mental health warning signs in children
Did you know that 1 in 6 youth from ages 6 to 17 experience mental health issues each year? Children often cannot voice their emotions like adults can, and that is why it is important that adults look out for warning signs of mental illness in kids. Early recognition of childhood mental health issues can prevent suicide, learning challenges, long-term mental health issues, and homelessness. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or mentor of a child, it’s important that you are able to identify possible symptoms of mental health struggles in children. What mental health issues can children face [...]

Signs of Codependency

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Couple's hands tied with metal chain
Try to envision all of the relationships you have in your life – your relationship with your parents, your spouse, your children, or your best friend. Do any stick out to you? Would you classify any or all of these relationships as being fulfilling and mutually beneficial, or would you classify them as one-sided and controlling? If the latter option sounds more familiar, your relationships may have codependency issues. Codependency is a behavior that can be passed down from generation to generation, and it affects a person’s ability to have a healthy and rewarding relationship. To put it [...]

What is Rumination?

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Illustration of many dark thought clouds
Have you ever replayed a train of thought in your head over and over again? No matter what you do, you can’t seem to think about anything else. Rumination is the act or habit of obsessing over negative events or interactions in the past, and it is a stress-magnifier that can have negative effects on a person's mind or body. Rumination can prolong or intensify depression or anxiety, and it can impair your ability to think or process emotions. Ruminating thoughts can interfere with moving forward to more positive thoughts or attitudes. It’s a toxic mindset that encourages pessimism and [...]

8 Dimensions of Wellness

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Girl standing against colorful wall with headphones looking at her phone
Personal well-being isn’t just how physically fit you are, or how you feel right now. Achieving wellness involves making choices that positively affect you in many different areas of life, as physical and mental health interact with each other. Working toward wellness can help you to engage in positive interactions, ward off stress, and reduce the likelihood of becoming ill, according to the University of California Davis. There are actually 8 different dimensions of wellness. Think of it like a wheel. The wedges in your wellness wheel can be of different size and importance, but all of them [...]

Brainspotting Therapy Explained

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Brainspotting graphic depicting two silhouettes back to back, one with a brain outline and one with a fuzzy emotion cloud in their head
The body has an amazing ability to heal itself from trauma. This fairly new type of therapy uses a client's visual field to uncover unprocessed trauma, negative emotions, and pain. Identifying and utilizing “brainspots” can allow us to access deeper emotions and traumatic memories that we maybe didn’t even know we were hiding from ourselves. Digging those experiences out of our body’s memory can help us face them head on and process them the right way. To put it more simply, your brain can tell you how you’re feeling based on where you look. What is Brainspotting? Brainspotting, which was [...]