Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WELCOME NICKI!

We would like to introduce Nicki Phillips, a counseling student joining
Esprit for the 2017-2018 school year. She is currently accepting new
clients for a reduced cost out-of-pocket.
 
She is a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in
clinical mental health counseling.
 
She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant
personality. Nicki believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and
compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships
with clients.
 
Nicki has experience working with anxiety, self-esteem, stress
management, body image, sexual assault, depression, life transitions,
and emotion regulation/impulse control. She often uses relaxation and
grounding techniques, cognitive restructuring, coping skills, and
artistic expression in her work with clients. She particularly enjoys
working with adolescents and young adults, and has also worked with
children (ages 6 and up) and adults.
 
Outside of work, Nicki loves spending time with her friends, her family,
and her dog, Freya. Her favorite self-care activities are knitting,
reading, walking, and traveling.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Warning Signs That Your Child or Teen May Have Anxiety

Does your child or teen experience irritability, angry outbursts, unexplained physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, stomachaches), difficulty paying attention, frequent worry, school or social activity avoidance, repetitive behaviors (e.g., counting objects, hair pulling, nail biting, hand washing), or generally feel overwhelmed?
Everyone has anxiety. It can even be motivating. However, frequent or more intense symptoms negatively impact children’s well-being. Further, anxious children tend to be people pleasers who worry about being judged; they may therefore minimize or hide their concerns. But, like a beach ball held underwater, anxious feelings often force their way up more strongly, if pushed down or ignored, than if they had been appropriately dealt with or managed.
Situational anxiety is normal, but when it interferes with daily activities or prevents your child from enjoying life (e.g., being active, completing schoolwork) it’s time to act. Left untreated, childhood anxiety can lead to poorer school achievement, missing out on social experiences, and increased risk for depression and substance abuse. A mental health provider can help your child develop a toolbox full of effective coping skills that will not only enable them to enjoy life more now, but become independent adults who can manage the daily stressors of post-high school education, a job, and relationships.
Anxiety may be linked to a specific stressful event and may relieve itself at some point. Some people, however, may be biologically predisposed to anxiety. In either case, a mental health counselor can help.
A more comprehensive list of anxiety symptoms and disorders appears below. If your child suffers from symptoms on this list or you suspect they have anxiety, seek an assessment from a mental health provider who can best determine whether the anxiety is normal, develop an effective treatment plan, and provide additional resources or referrals.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Frequent or extreme worry in several life areas (e.g., family/friend relationships, world events, natural disasters, school or sport performance, well-being/safety of self or others)
  • Perfectionism
  • Constant need for approval or reassurance to feel comforted
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
Panic Disorder:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Choking sensation
  • Stomachache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling things are surreal
  • Tingling
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Worry about recurring panic attacks
Social Anxiety
  • Fears social situations (e.g., parties, outings, family get togethers)
  • Performance fears (e.g., school presentations, class participation, recitals, sporting events)
  • Avoids talking in groups
  • Expresses concerns/embarrassment about being negatively judged
  • Discomfort initiating social interaction (e.g., inviting friends to do things, making phone calls)
  • Avoids eye contact
Separation Anxiety
  • Fearful/nervous when away from home or separated from caregiver
  • Headaches or stomachaches when thinking of or actually separated (often on school days)
  • Refuses to leave caregiver or home
  • Fears being alone
  • Nightmares about separation
  • Bed wetting
  • Worries that something bad may happen when or if separated from caregiver
  • Difficulty sleeping without caregiver present
  • Repeated pleading or temper tantrums
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)\

    Obsessions
  • Repetitive or frequent unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions)
  • Upset if unable to repeatedly perform rituals and/or routines (compulsions)
  • Constant irrational worry about dirt, germs, or contamination
  • Fears harm or danger to a loved one or self
  • Over-focus on religious rules or rituals
  • Hears intrusive words or sounds
  • Constant worry about losing something valuable
  • Excessive need for symmetry, order, specific arrangement of objects or tasks
    Compulsions
  • Hoarding or saving unnecessary items
  • Ritualistic counting (e.g., of steps, ceiling tiles) or behaviors
  • Checking and re-checking (e.g., on homework, checking if light left on or door was locked)
  • Repetitive verbalization (e.g., prayer, activity, phrase, name, song)
  • Need to engage in activity or task until it is “just right”
PTSD·         
  • Intense fear and anxiety
  • Emotionally numb
  • Easily irritated or angered
  • Emotionally triggered by anything (e.g., a smell, sound, person) related to a traumatic event
  • Avoids places, people, or activities associated with a traumatic event (e.g., accident, abuse)
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
  • Feels detached from others
  • Jumpy or exaggerated startle response
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Reliving or re-creating a traumatic event through play
Other anxiety indicators can include:
  • Phobias or irrational fears of specific situations or objects (e.g., spiders, open spaces)
  • Refusing to speak in situations where talking is expected or necessary in daily life
  • Persistent skin picking or scratching
  • Pulling out hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes (trichotillomania)

Kathy Glick is a licensed mental health therapist, who recently joined Esprit Counseling, and is currently accepting new clients. Viewing the client as the most important person in the room, Kathy provides a caring presence, helping clients find hope. Building on clients’ strengths, Kathy helps them discover their own resilience, to better achieve their goals and dreams. Using evidence based therapies (including CBT, EMDR, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, and Family Systems), Kathy individually tailors her approach and has consistently rated as highly effective in helping clients reduce symptoms.  Kathy has worked extensively with trauma (e.g., sexual abuse), life adjustment (e.g., grief, divorce, illness), PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, bi-polar disorder, mood disorders, grief, co-dependency, relationship difficulties, and anger issues. She treats adults, adolescents, and children (10 and up), individually, in couples, or as families.  Kathy holds a Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors, and is Licensed in Wisconsin. Outside of work, Kathy loves spending time with family, friends, her children, and her dog, Miguel. She enjoys traveling, yoga, walking, biking, cooking, and reading.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June is LGBTQA+ Pride Month

June is LGBTQA+ Pride Month!
In honor of this, we at Esprit wants to share some of the great resources for both members of the LGBTQA+ community and their allies right here in the Fox Valley. Below is a list of resources and a short description of each from their websites.

Valued Families promotes family equality for Fox Valley LGBT parents and their children by providing social networking, education, community outreach, and advocacy to increase recognition and respect for LGBT families in our community.

LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project: https://www.facebook.com/FoxoAVP/
The Fox Valley & Oshkosh Anti-Violence Project (FoxO AVP) was created to improve the safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals who may be experiencing violence or be at risk for all forms of violence (including hate crimes, suicide, intimate partner violence and sexual assault).

The FoxO AVP will work to meet the immediate safety needs of the underserved LGBTQ community and provide long-term solutions by developing supportive infrastructures at the 4 collaborating domestic violence and sexual assault agencies, law enforcement, health care professionals, schools & universities, as well as in the LGBTQ community itself.

Rainbow Alliance for Youth- Safe Group in Neenah/Menasha: https://www.diverseandresilient.org/work/cultivating-leaders/rainbow-alliance-youth/
The Rainbow Alliance for Youth (RAY) focuses on building capacity, nurturing leadership, and strengthening collaborations to develop comprehensive programs addressing the needs of LGBT youth in Wisconsin and throughout the country.  By integrating LGBT youth programs into mainstream community efforts about prevention, youth, and social justice issues, RAY can focus on LGBT youth as leaders and resources to their community, maximizing their development and risk prevention as well as enhancing communities.

The LGBT Partnership is an ongoing leadership development and support group for youth ages 14-18 who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied. Spectrum is a social and educational group for adults 18 and older who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning or allied. T-Force is a transgender social group for adults 18 and over.

UW Oshkosh also does some community SAFE trainings.  You can request a training here:  https://www.uwosh.edu/lgbtqcenter/safe-training
  Participants  take part in a three hour interactive workshop designed to introduce you to LGBTQ+ terms, culture, some of the challenges that many LGBTQ+ people encounter in their lives, and how to be an effective ally both in and out of the classroom. 
SAFE training prepares you to become an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.  We address the ever changing terminology in the community, the messages that are generated in society about LGBTQ+ lives, the coming out process, and other skills necessary to being a successful ally.  Learning goals for this training include:
·         Be sensitive to various identities of our students, faculty, and staff.
·         Understand the challenges of being asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, questioning in a predominately heterosexual and cisgender society.
·         Confront acephobia, biphobia, homophobia, and transphobia in all its guises through educational means.
·         Provide support to LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.
·         Promote and acknowledge safe places for LGBTQ+ individuals.
·         Increase awareness of self-defined LGBTQ+ allies.

Fox Valley Pride Out Loudhttp://www.foxvalleyrprideoutloud.org/
           
The Fox Valley is known for offering great opportunities in education, enterntainment and culture.  Having a Pridefest is a wonderful way to show that the Fox Valley is an accepting and safe place for everyone in our community.  Our event will include a potluck picnic, live music, booths, and vendors during the day and a drag show in the evening.  It is a chance to spend the day with people who understand and offer support for the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community.  Fox Valley Pride Outloud was created to celebrate the whole LGBTQ community no matter how they identify themselves, and show that the Fox Valley is an inclusive place for everyone.  

Nicki Phillips is an counseling student at Esprit and a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in clinical mental health counseling. She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant personality. She believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships with clients. She sees clients who are uninsured, underinsured, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket for a reduced cost. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, and has also worked with children (ages 6 and up) and adults. She has immediate openings for new clients! Please schedule online at espritcounseling.com. She can also be reached via email at nicki@espritcounseling.com or by phone at (920) 383-1287.






Saturday, June 3, 2017

Making Sense of Consent





What is consent?
Consent is the most important part of any sexual encounter. The laws about consent can be confusing, but some basic facts can help you make the experience positive for all parties involved. At its core, consent is an agreement by all parties to engage in a given sexual activity. There are many different ways to give consent, and verbal consent tends to be the best way to respect your partner(s) boundaries and avoid misunderstandings.

How does it really work?
Consent needs to be given for every individual sexual activity, every time. Just because someone gives consent for something once, doesn’t mean it’s always okay. Also, consent for one type of sexual activity does not translate to consent for all activity. Consent should be requested and received before proceeding with any sexual activity at any time. It’s all about communication and respect, and you can change your mind at any time.

What does it look like?
Positive (or affirmative) consent is the best way to make sure you and your partner(s) are on the same page. This involves getting a clear “yes” to questions like, “is this okay?” or, “can we try ____?” It is not the absence of a “no” or the assumption that someone is okay with something based on what they are wearing or how they look. It is also not getting a “yes” based on fear or intimidation. The most important part of consent is that it is freely given.

What about legally?
Legal consent laws and definitions vary by state. In Wisconsin, “consent” means words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact. “Freely given consent” means the consent was given of the person’s own free will, without being induced by fraud, coercion, violence, or threat of violence.

A person cannot consent to sexual contact or sexual intercourse in circumstances where: (a) the person suffers from a mental illness or defect which impairs capacity to appraise personal conduct; or (b) the person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act. (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 940.225(4)).

In Wisconsin, the age of consent is 18 years of age. (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 948.01(1). Wis. Stat. Ann. § 948.09). Anyone under 18 years of age is incapable of providing consent for sexual activity, regardless of the age of their partner(s). Other groups of people who are incapable of providing consent are: a person suffering from a “mental illness or defect,” a person who is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to participate, a person who is unconscious, a person who is under the influence of an intoxicant to a degree which renders that person incapable of freely giving consent (if the defendant has actual knowledge that the person is incapable of giving consent and the defendant has the purpose to have sexual contact or sexual intercourse with the person while the person is incapable of giving consent). (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 940.225(4)). There are also several types of relationships that impact a person’s ability to freely give consent, including: (a) a therapist-patient relationship; (b) an employee of an adult family home, community-based residential facility, an in-patient health care facility, or a state treatment facility who has sexual conduct with a patient or resident of the facility; (c) an employee of a child welfare agency, foster home, or shelter or a direct care or treatment services hospital or home health agency who has sexual conduct with a client at the facility; (d) a correction officer or prison volunteer who has sexual contact or sex with an inmate (unless the person was sexually assaulted by the inmate); (e) a probation or parole officer who has intercourse or sexual contact with the individual on parole or probation who’s supervised by him or her or a subordinate. (Wis. Stat. Ann. §§ 940.22; 940.225).

That’s a lot to remember.
There are a lot of factors in obtaining consent, so approach every sexual situation with respect for your partner(s) and their boundaries regardless of how long you have been sexually active with them. Here’s a video comparing sexual consent to making tea. It’s an easy way to remember some of the different aspects of consent.

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, you’re not alone. To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

Nicki Phillips is an intern at Esprit and a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in clinical mental health counseling. She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant personality. She believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships with clients. She sees clients who are uninsured, underinsured, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket for a reduced cost. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and young adults. She is seeing new clients beginning June 1, 2017. To schedule an appointment with Nicki, please go to www.espritcounseling.com

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Meet Kathy Glick

Kathy Glick, mental health therapist, recently joined Esprit Counseling and is currently accepting new clients. Viewing the client as the most important person in the room, Kathy provides a caring presence, helping clients find hope. Building on clients’ strengths, Kathy helps them discover their own resilience, to better achieve their goals and dreams.
Using evidence based therapies (including CBT, EMDR, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, and Family Systems), Kathy individually tailors her approach and has consistently rated as highly effective in helping clients reduce symptoms. 
Kathy has worked extensively with trauma (e.g., sexual abuse), life adjustment (e.g., grief, divorce, illness), PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, bi-polar disorder, mood disorders, grief, co-dependency, relationship difficulties, and anger issues. She treats adults, adolescents, and children (10 and up), individually, in couples, or as families.  
Kathy holds a Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors, and is Licensed in Wisconsin. 

Outside of work, Kathy loves spending time with family, friends, and her dog, Miguel. She enjoys traveling, yoga, walking, biking, cooking, and reading.

Kathy Glick, MSE, LPC, NCC
Phone:  920 521 7133

Fax:  920 521 7134

Talking about Mental Health



     May is mental health awareness month and I think this is a good time to talk about the language surrounding mental health.  It is no surprise that there is much stigma around mental health.  There are many reasons for this but the one I want to discuss today has to do with language.

     A few months ago, my 16 year old son was talking to me about the mental health unit they were learning about in class.  When talking about famous people with mental health issues, he used the phrase “that guy is bipolar”.  As a mom, I felt uncomfortable with this but as a therapist, I feel the need to protect my clients.

     Often times, when I meet with new clients they refer to themselves in derogatory ways such as “crazy” or “nuts” or “bipolar”.  What is actually wrong with saying these things?  These are statements that continue the shame cycle.

     As a therapist, I am not immune to the use of this language either.  Do you remember when Tom Cruise seemed to be acting different?  There was video footage of him jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch during the show?  I made a comment in my office, among my peers, that he was “probably bipolar”.  Later, one of my dear friends (who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for many years), gently approached me and told me that what I had said was insensitive.  You know what?  She was absolutely right!  It was insensitive to my friend who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder but it was also very presumptive of me to even suggest that Tom Cruise had this disorder based on a small video clip.  Here I was, a therapist, who would never intentionally shame someone, using shaming language.  I will be forever grateful to my friend for being brave enough to tell me how this impacted her.  It was the start of a shift in how I viewed mental illness and language. 
For example, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, we don’t typically hear someone say “I’m cancer”.  We certainly wouldn’t say to someone “You are cancer”. 

There are likely 2 reasons for this. 
·         We remember that there is much more to the person than just cancer.  That person may have family, other interests and passions, and a whole lifetime of experiences.  
·         Second, cancer is seen as something someone “gets”, usually through no fault of their own.  We don’t shame someone when they get cancer, instead, we rally around that individual and family and do everything we can to lift them up. 

     But when someone is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or depression or any other mental health illness, we tend to see it very differently.  We wonder what the person did to cause it.  (By the way, we do this in the hopes that we can prevent it happening to us).  And we tend to shame the heck out of it, which then gets transferred to the person who has the mental illness.

     When I meet with clients who refer to themselves as “bipolar” or “crazy”, I gently challenge their language.  They are encouraged to say “I have bipolar” rather than “I’m bipolar”.  It suggests that the only thing this person is, is an illness.  There is so much more to an individual than their mental health.  That individual, too, has hopes and dreams, passions and interests, relationships and a whole lifetime of experiences.

     Language is an issue too when people say someone is “crazy” or “have you taken your crazy pills today”.  It is insensitive and doesn’t address the whole issue.

     So, I challenge you to be aware of your language towards other and also yourself.  Perhaps we can make the world a bit more compassionate together.

Jennifer Olkowski  is a state certified Licensed Professional Counselor and Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor who has worked in a variety of behavioral settings, including inpatient, outpatient and private practice.  Jennifer enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults with a variety of mental health issues from everyday adjustment concerns to mild and significant anxiety concerns to mood disorders.  She is especially passionate and skilled in working with the anxiety spectrum disorders.  Jennifer has received specific training in Exposure and Response Prevention, the gold standard of treatment in anxiety disorders.  She is particularly passionate about bringing mindfulness and commitment to values in everyday life utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  Her focus is encouraging present moment awareness, more compassion for the self and helping clients identify what truly matters to them.  Jennifer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from UW Oshkosh and Masters of Science in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska.  As a parent herself, Jennifer recognizes the challenges in raising children who are healthy and resilient to the many ups and downs of life.  When Jennifer is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and being in the outdoors.  


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Parenting with Choices and Logical Consequences


Raising kids is hard work. Of course there are wonderful moments of parenting that remind you of all the beauty in having children but in between those there can be some really tough moments. Here are a few tips to help navigate the challenges of managing difficult behaviors in your children.
When dealing with a difficult behavior or defiance start with offering choices instead of moving right to consequences. The choices that you offer the child will both have desirable results but will give the child a sense of autonomy. For example if your child is refusing to go to bed you may offer the choices, “Would you like to read a book or listen to quiet music when you get in bed?” You could also offer, “Would you like mom or dad to read you a story once you get in bed?” If your child is refusing to do their homework you may offer the choices, “would you like to do your homework at the kitchen table or in your room?” You may also try, “Would you like to listen to music on the radio or with your headphones while you do your homework?” There are endless choices that you can offer but regardless of what they choose the end result will be positive. This can help to reduce power struggles as it allows the child to feel they have some choice in the situation.
If after offering choices a child is still not able to follow through with completing a task or discontinuing a certain behavior you can put in a place a logical consequence. A logical consequence is one that is connected to undesirable behavior. For example if a child is using hurtful words towards another person they could be asked to say or write 5 nice things about that person. At times when a child may hurt another person they are then asked to do a kind act for that person as a logical consequence. For teens a typical issue may be coming home late, so a logical consequence would be earlier curfew the next time they are out. These consequences are directly connected to the behavior and help the child make the connection between their behavior and the consequence while also encouraging positive behavior. This is a different approach than taking something away such as a toy or screen time as those would be unrelated to these behaviors. Also, with young children the consequence should very closely follow the behavior. If too much time passes between the behavior and consequence young children may fail to make the connection to their behavior.
A different type of consequence is the natural consequence. These consequences occur naturally as a result of the child’s behavior. For example, if a teen refuses to pick their clothes up to be washed and then they don’t have the clean clothes they want to wear for school that is a natural consequence for their choices. Natural consequences can be a helpful tool to help parents not engage in power struggles. In this example not engaging in the power struggle of getting your teen to clean their clothes up in their room because as a result they may not have certain clothes clean when they want to wear them. This will be a way for the teen to recognize the power and responsibility they have in their own lives and reduce arguments with parents.
In all of these scenarios the most important piece is consistency and follow through. If you deem a certain behavior unacceptable then you must be consistent with that and give a consequence each time that behavior occurs. The same goes for follow through, if you tell a child there will be a consequence for a particular behavior then you must follow through when that behavior occurs. Without consistency and follow through behavior change will not occur.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to highlight the positives in your children. They will make mistakes from time to time but help them to understand this does not make them a “bad kid”. Help them to separate their choices from who they are. Making a poor choice does not make them a bad kid. Recognize when they do things well and reward positive behavior. You are their greatest support and their biggest fan, your approval and love is often their most desired reward. 


Kaitlyn Gitter is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Esprit Counseling and Consulting in Neenah, WI. Kaitlyn believes that human connection and growth are the keys to emotional wellness. She is dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable, and peaceful experience to explore your life story.  Kaitlyn works with children, adolescents, families, and couples and has a special interest in working with individuals who have an eating disorder.  To schedule an appointment with Kaitlyn now, please go to www.espritcounseling.com