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Straight From the Shrink

Jenna Behrens is a licensed professional counselor who has been practicing in the mental health field for seven years. She owns Behrens Psychotherapy Services, LLC which has four office locations around the Milwaukee area. She works with children, adolescents, families, and adults on a wide array of issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD, childhood behavioral disorders, adjustment disorders, stress and parenting.

What's a Shrink?

The first time one of my clients called me a "shrink", I cringed. Then, I realized that I've been called worse, much worse. I didn't even know why therapists were called "shrinks" at the time, but as I write this, Google and Wikipedia give me a variety of reasons including therapists helping you "shrink" your problems to being short for  "headshrinker" comparing the process of psychotherapy to primitive tribal practices of shrinking the heads of enemeis or the process of boiling human skulls and causing them to shrink.  I much prefer the first hypothesis.

Don't worry, there will be no head shrinking in this blog nor will it be filled with tons of research study results and psychological mumbo jumbo that no one understands. My goal of this blog is not shrinking, but rather to encourage growth within you, the community and myself while giving my perspective of what's going on in the world, our community, and helpful tips and advice on parenting and life in general.

Human Growth and Development and Drug Education

I recently read an article that was posted on www.MequonNOW.com regarding the Mequon-Thiensville school district updating their human growth and development curriculum (you can find the exact article here: http://www.mequonnow.com/news/mequon-thiensville-schools-to-teach-updated-human-growth-development-curriculum-next-year-b9915517z1-208353721.html) I think it's great that students will be receiving more and new information earlier and there will no longer be only abstinence being taught in older grades.  Research has showed us that the more knowledge and education students receive on contraception and sex education, when age appropriate,  the less likely they are to aquire an STI than those who are taught abstinence only.

This article made me think of a situation I frequently encounter in my therapy practice. There comes a point around 4th or 5th grade that clients come to me with severe anxiety. Now, I expect severe anxiety out of some of my clients, but I know that when schools are teaching human growth and development and drug education, the children I see who otherwise are able to manage their anxiety or don't typically have much at all, come into my office with a million questions and looks of worry and shock on their face. It leads to some pretty interesting and humorous conversations. "My body is doing what?" "What's going to happen?" "I think my Dad is an alcoholic because I see him drink a beer with dinner sometimes." I often recommend my client and parents work together to get the facts especially with drug and alcohol education. Usually, after the client researches alcohol and drug dependence and abuse and what it really means, they come back much more relaxed.

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Lies at the Pool

I went to the community pool a few weekends ago intending on reading a book and relaxing. Instead, I was sucked into working. Well... Working in my mind. I wasn't actually with a client so the other participants weren't aware of who I was or what I do for a living. The pool was extremely crowded and the only empty lounge chair was next to a family of four. Mom, Dad, and 2 daughters around 5 and 7 years old. Let me tell you, when I tell people I'm a psychotherapist, counselor, or shink, they always respond with the same thing "Uh oh! I hope you're not analyzing me." I usually respond with something like "Don't worry. I'm not working." But the longer I am in this field, the more difficult it is for me to not analyze, especially poor parenting.

So, here I am sitting poolside, trying to read, and all I hear are excuses from these parents next to me. Both of the girls asked their parents several times to come swimming and all the parents did was make excuses (lie) to their kids. Probably about 20 different variations of "I can't" or "I will in 5 minutes" came out of the parent's mouths. At one point, one of the daughters asked her Dad "Can you stop playing with your phone and come play with me?" At which point I laughed out loud. I'm pretty sure the Dad didn't appreciate that, but geez. It was getting a ridiculous. Each time one parent would come up with an excuse, the other parent would look at them with, what seemed to be, pride as if this was a fun game they agreed upon.

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