Author Archive

8 Ways to Help Calm an Anxious Child

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

It can be hard to witness a child who is dealing with chronic anxiety; and, unfortunately, recent statistics indicate that the number of children experiencing anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms is on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 4.4 million of children in the U.S. had a diagnosed anxiety disorder in 2012, which was an increase from previous years. While anxiety might show up differently in every child, there are similar ways that parents and caregivers can respond to help ease the symptoms. By utilizing the strategies below, the goal is not to “fix” the source of stress, rather show children healthier, alternative behaviors to cope with anxiety.

● Hug and empathize: The most important thing a parent can do for an anxious child is to be present, patient, and empathetic. Use your bond to create a safe space for your child to share what is worrying them and offer appropriate support and reassurance.
● Validate: Often, well-intended and loving caregivers may engage in conversations that can feel dismissive to a child’s worry and anxiety. Instead of the common phrases below, try an alternative instead:

Instead of: Don’t worry. Try: Can you tell me more about what is worrying you? Instead of: There is nothing to be afraid of. Try: I am here to help you. Instead of: Just stop thinking about it. Try: Let’s try taking a deep breath together.

● Embrace your mistakes: The most powerful influence in a young child’s life is their parent or caregiver. By demonstrating and normalizing that mistakes are not only acceptable but to be expected, this can set the precedent that mistakes are not always something to fear.
● Deep breathing
-Rainbow Breathing: Teach your child to “breathe the rainbow” by taking deep breaths and thinking about their favorite thing that matches each color.
-Balloon Breathing: Teach your child to take slow, deep breaths and imagine they are inflating and deflating a balloon. They can try this with their eyes closed and picture the image of a balloon.
● Worry Box: This strategy is particularly helpful for children who have sleep disturbances due to excessive worry or anxiety. Have your child decorate a “worry box” however they would like. At the end of each day, your child can write their worry/worries of the day, share them with you, and place them in the box. Offer to hold the worries for them while they sleep and take the box out of their room for the night.
● Grounding: Anxiety is often rooted in fear of the future, and this technique can help to anchor a child in the present moment. There are many different types of grounding techniques, all with the purpose to help calm a child in crisis. One way to achieve this is to engage the senses by asking your child to do the following:
■ Name 5 things they can see.
■ Name 4 things they can feel.
■ Name 3 things they can hear.
■ Name 2 things they can smell.
■ Name 1 thing they can taste.
● Relaxation Toolbox: Fill a box with relaxing toys or activities chosen by your child. This can include coloring book, relaxing music, puzzles, tactile tools (fidget spinners, play-doh, etc.). Keep this in a relaxing space in your home for your child to use when needed.
● Create a character: Help your child create a character that represents their anxiety (i.e. the green, furry, worry monster). When they are feeling anxious, they can talk directly to this character in order to regain control over their thoughts.

If you’d like to learn more about managing and understanding anxiety in children, teenagers or adults please contact Jennifer Bartlett, LPC-Intern at jbartlett@antholgycw.com.

Decluttering… For Your Health!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
Jennifer Bartlett – LPC Intern

Most often, when we hear the word “decluttering” we tend to envision the scary, forgotten about corners in our home filled with bad gifts, decades old clothing, or old instruction manuals that we just know we will dearly need one day. On a day when we are feeling particularly brave, we may muster up the strength to clean out and categorize these forgotten items, only to find ourselves back in the same predicament in a matter of weeks. So if decluttering is a goal that continues to be important, why is it so hard to maintain?

I believe that in order to begin this process, we must replace the word “declutter” with the word “simplify.” By working toward a simplified space, rather than a space with less clutter, we are beginning to work toward a longer term, more sustainable lifestyle change. Strategically taking inventory of our possessions, time, relationships etc., can have real benefits for our mental health and overall well-being. Additionally, by shifting our focus to simplification, the action changes from focusing on what you’d like to rid yourself to identifying what you truly want to keep in your life. This process can often become a very personal journey and carry varying meanings to different people. However, below are a few ways in which simplifying your space can benefit your overall wellness:

Decluttering can reduce stress and anxiety.

Excess clutter in your life, whether relational, physical, financial or digital, can result in unnecessary stress and be an extreme energy drain. By taking an intentional inventory of how you are allocating your resources (either emotional or physical) in each area of your life, you can choose to exert your energy on specific areas that you have determined to be most important. This can help reduce stress with the comfort of knowing that you are wisely stewarding precious resources.

Boost self confidence

A crowded physical space can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt or shame. By simplifying your external environment and keeping only those items that make you feel your best, you can experience a sense of personal achievement and create a more rejuvenating and relaxing environment.

Improve concentration and focus

By eliminating the excess “noise” in our physical spaces, we allow ourselves the opportunity to focus more on the things that matter. When we are not distracted by growing stacks of papers or advertisements in our inbox, concentrating on single tasks becomes easier and we begin to develop a greater sense of mental clarity.

Makes more room for things that truly matter

When we are bogged down by the physical or emotional clutter in our lives, there is limited capacity for what we are truly seeking. By working to reduce the amount of unnecessary obligations, toxic relationships, and superfluous possessions etc., we begin to create opportunity for the things that truly bring us joy and purpose.

For more tips and specific strategies to start your journey to a simpler life, please reach out to Jennifer Bartlett, LPC-Intern at jbartlett@anthologycw.com.   Additionally, please plan to attend our new “Coffee + Connection” series addressing this very issue – see details below!

“Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Life in the New Year”
January 16 OR 19: 10am
Tout Suite (2001 Commerce St)
RSVP by emailing me.

Introducing Jennifer Bartlett – LPC Intern

Monday, October 29th, 2018

My name is Jennifer Bartlett, and I am excited to return to Anthology Counseling and Wellness! I am an Alabama native but have called Houston home for several years. I received my Bachelors of Science in Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and relocated to Houston after joining Teach for America. My career began as a middle school science teacher, where I worked in both the Alief and Houston Independent School Districts. While teaching I was given the opportunity to work closely with students and families in a variety of capacities, which ignited a passion for counseling. I then transitioned into a role with an education non-profit that provided high-quality apprenticeships and enrichment to middle school students during after-school hours. This experience highlighted the importance of connection and genuine relationships and demonstrated the powerful change that can take place when an individual is given the space and tools to work toward personal and community goals.

This work furthered my interest in the mental health field and motivated me to complete a Master’s of Education in Counseling at the University of St. Thomas. During graduate training, I worked with both adolescents and adults in community, residential and private practice settings, including completing a five-month practicum at Anthology Counseling and Wellness. Upon graduation, I moved to New York City where I gained experience at a residential facility in East Harlem, aimed at supporting adults who have a history of homelessness and a mental illness diagnosis. I worked directly with individuals diagnosed with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, survivors of trauma and individuals living with chronic illnesses, among other issues, and was able to work collaboratively with clients and a network of community providers to support individuals in maintaining mental and emotional stability, accessing needed resources, navigating tumultuous relationships and working towards goals of personal advancement.

I am passionate about women’s issues – both in out and of the mental health field – and am especially interested in working with young adult and millennial women attempting to navigate the unique social pressures and challenges associated with this life stage. I am also eager to partner with clients on issues such as finding balance in your personal and professional life, establishing boundaries within relationships, developing healthy self-care practices and identity development, among other areas. My collection of experiences plus post-graduate training in integrative trauma care, trauma informed practices and years of working directly with adults who have experienced a variety of traumas (including sexual abuse, medical trauma, domestic violence, etc.) have given me a passion for working with victims of such trauma, and I am committed to helping those affected by trauma to feel empowered and begin to heal. I also have a strong appreciation and interest in the mind-body connection and plan to continue to deepen my knowledge of holistic treatment modalities. I also have post-graduate training in the areas of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, multicultural issues and practices within counseling, integrative trauma treatment, working with justice-involved clients and mental health first aid, among others topics.

I am available for daytime, evening and limited weekend appointments upon request. I will also offer sliding scale appointments on a case by case basis.

About Anthology

We are a group of professionals dedicated to promoting health and healing in the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. We believe that healing occurs more effectively and more efficiently when each facet of a person is addressed.