First Day of Therapy?

When you come in for your first appointment, you may have concerns about what Johanna is thinking or you may have questions about what to expect.  In Johanna’s most recent Huffington Post blog (found here), she outlines a few thoughts that she would like you to know when you first walk in the door.  Please feel free to read this and share with others, whether you are a current client, potential client, or supporter of counseling.

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Perspectives Monthly Journal Exercise – April

Journaling can be a therapeutic exercise.  In therapy, Johanna may encourage you to journal or keep a diary in a specific way, to raise awareness of specific activities, thoughts, or feelings.  This monthly journal exercise is in no way individually prescribed, but meant to offer food for thought that may be useful for anyone.

April’s monthly journal exercise:

Spring is coming!  As we head towards a change in the seasons, what are you looking forward to?  Take five minutes to write down your thoughts on this time of transition in the natural world, and what aspects of the coming season you may feel grateful for.  If you start to feel stuck, spend a few minutes outside – even if it’s walking up and down the block to breathe in the fresh air of a new season.  Write down what you notice, using your five senses, if you need help getting started.

 

Perspectives Monthly Journal Exercise – March

Journaling can be a therapeutic exercise.  In therapy, Johanna may encourage you to journal or keep a diary in a specific way, to raise awareness of specific activities, thoughts, or feelings.  This monthly journal exercise is in no way individually prescribed, but meant to offer food for thought that may be useful for anyone.

March’s monthly journal exercise:

What would you say if no one could hear you?  Write a paragraph or two of the thoughts you would share if you knew there could be no consequences.

What would you say if everyone could hear you?  Write a paragraph or two of the thoughts you would share if you knew everyone would truly listen to your words.

Finally, compare the two sets of writing.  How are they the same, and how are they different?  How do they compare to the things you actually say (either in interpersonal interactions or via social media)?  Write down your thoughts on the exercise to process this activity.

Perspectives Monthly Journal Exercise – January

Journaling can be a therapeutic exercise.  In therapy, Johanna may encourage you to journal or keep a diary in a specific way, to raise awareness of specific activities, thoughts, or feelings.  This monthly journal exercise is in no way individually prescribed, but meant to offer food for thought that may be useful for anyone.

January’s monthly journal exercise:

It’s a brand new year.  What are your hopes for the coming year?  Take five minutes to free-write without stopping (unless your hand hurts, or you find yourself in emotionally distress, in which case you should engage in another form of self-care).  Consider what you are looking forward to about 2016, as well as what you might be worrying about.  Write it all down without pausing.  This is not meant to be a polished piece of writing or a list of New Year’s resolutions, but rather an exploration of your hopes and fears as we move into a new year.

Perspectives Monthly Journal Exercise – November

Journaling can be a therapeutic exercise.  In therapy, Johanna may encourage you to journal or keep a diary in a specific way, to raise awareness of specific activities, thoughts, or feelings.  This monthly journal exercise is in no way individually prescribed, but meant to offer food for thought that may be useful for anyone.

November’s monthly journal exercise:

The holidays are coming.  What do the holidays mean for you?  Take five minutes to free-write without stopping (unless your hand hurts, or you find yourself in emotionally distress, in which case you should engage in another form of self-care).  If the holidays are a difficult time of year for you, use this time to write down the things that will help you to get through them.  This is not meant to be a polished piece of writing but rather an exploration of your thoughts on the holidays and your own coping skills.

September’s Mindfulness Exercise

Mindfulness is something that everyone can incorporate into daily life.  Mindfulness involves observing and accepting the things around and within us, without judgment.  In therapy, Johanna may involve mindfulness skills to build awareness of various issues and to develop coping strategies.  Johanna is also running a six-week mindfulness group.  If you are interested in the next group cycle for mindfulness, please call the office.  The exercise below is not individualized to your needs as it may be in therapy, but is rather intended as a general exercise that you may find useful.

September’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Today, when you are going through your daily routine (either at the start or end of your day, or while engaging in a mundane chore such as washing dishes) I want you to bring your full attention to the task at hand.  Oftentimes we act on “autopilot” and wander away in our minds from the activities we are doing.  Today while doing a chore, try to notice every aspect of the chore.  What are you doing, how are you doing it, how do you feel physically and emotionally, what thoughts are going through your mind, and what is happening around you?  You may be surprised how many things you can notice while brushing your teeth.  Try to notice without judging as good or bad.

 

NOTE: This is not intended to replace therapy.  Please contact Johanna at (585)406-3012 if you are interested in individual or group therapy.