Sour Warheads are now TikTok viral! See our Blog on the science below.
If you’ve crossed over into the mental health TikTok algorithm, you may have recently heard that panic attacks may be halted or cured by Sour Warheads. ERC wanted to explain what’s up with that! Below are our thoughts.
A disclaimer: Sour Warheads are not a substitute for a mental health professional or skills that are empirically studied for the reduction of anxiousness or panic attack symptoms. If you are experiencing anxiety symptoms or panic attack symptoms and you don’t have a therapist, we suggest you consider seeking one out.
Sour Warheads and similar candies might offer more than just a pucker-worthy experience. While there isn't direct evidence linking them to benefits for the central nervous system, the intense sourness triggers neural responses that could temporarily improve mood, alertness, and potentially enhance cognitive function. Enjoy in moderation for a tangy treat that might give your brain a little boost!
The Expanded Version:
In the realm of candy, few treats manage to toe the line between pleasure and pain quite like sour candies. And among these, Sour Warheads stand out as a flavorful assault on the taste buds. However, beyond their tangy exterior and puckering effect, emerging studies suggest that these mouth-puckering candies might have an unexpected positive impact on the central nervous system.
For years, sour candies like Warheads have been known for their intense sourness, attributed to the presence of acids, particularly citric acid and malic acid. When these acids come in contact with taste receptors on the tongue, they trigger a reaction that sends signals racing through the nervous system. This swift response, although causing momentary discomfort, can actually have some fascinating and beneficial effects.
Research has highlighted that the intense sensation caused by sour candies activates the salivary glands and stimulates the production of saliva. This increased saliva production is not just beneficial for oral health by aiding in the breakdown of food particles and maintaining a healthy pH balance in the mouth. It also triggers certain neural pathways that can potentially lead to an enhanced cognitive response.
Moreover, the experience of sourness triggers a series of physiological reactions, causing the body to release endorphins. These neurotransmitters act as natural pain relievers and mood enhancers, leading to a temporary sense of euphoria and well-being. The activation of these neural pathways can contribute to improved mood and increased alertness.
Interestingly, the intense sensory experience brought about by sour candies might also play a role in improving focus and attention. The heightened stimulation of taste receptors and the subsequent neural response could potentially enhance cognitive function, albeit temporarily. Some studies suggest that this sensory overload may improve mental acuity and concentration for a short duration following the consumption of sour candies.
However, while these potential benefits are intriguing, moderation is key. Consuming excessive amounts of sour candies can have adverse effects, such as eroding tooth enamel due to their acidic nature or causing irritation in the mouth. It's crucial to enjoy such treats in moderation to reap the potential benefits without risking negative consequences.
In conclusion, the surprising impact of sour candies like Warheads on the central nervous system goes beyond their initial puckering taste. While more research is needed to fully understand the extent of their effects, the stimulating experience of these candies might offer temporary benefits to cognitive function and mood. So, the next time you reach for a Sour Warhead, savor the tangy sensation—it might just give your brain a temporary boost!
In a world where compassion and support can make all the difference, ERC is proud to announce its first-annual initiative to give back to the community. From now until March 15, 2024, we are accepting donations in support of The Road Home, a local shelter dedicated to providing refuge, resources, and hope to those experiencing shelter insecurity.
At ERC, we understand the profound impact of a helping hand during challenging times. Our commitment to mental health and well-being extends beyond our counseling services; it's ingrained in our values to actively contribute to the welfare of our community.
The Road Home holds a special place in our hearts due to its tireless efforts in offering vital assistance to individuals and families facing housing instability. Through their comprehensive programs, they not only provide shelter but also facilitate pathways to independence by offering education, job training, and supportive services.
How can you be part of this meaningful cause? It's simple. We are welcoming donations which will directly support The Road Home in their mission. Your contribution can make an immediate difference in providing warmth and resources to those in need.
Whether it's clothing, blankets, or everyday essentials, every little bit counts and contributes to creating a brighter future for members of our community experiencing shelter insecurity. Urgent need items to consider donating:
Empowering Relief Counseling firmly believes that collective action can bring about significant change. By joining hands and hearts in this endeavor, we can offer hope and comfort to those who need it most.
To contribute, please drop off your donations at our office during business hours. Your generosity will make a profound impact on the lives of individuals experiencing shelter insecurity.
Let's work together to make a positive difference and extend a compassionate hand to those on The Road Home. Thank you for being a part of this journey towards a more caring and supportive community.
Amanda Gonzalez, MSW, LCSW
Together, let's create a community where everyone feels valued and supported, regardless of their circumstances. Join us in making a difference today!
“New Year, New You? A Guide to Finding the Right Therapist” offers a comprehensive roadmap for individuals seeking mental health support.
It emphasizes understanding personal needs and exploring diverse therapy approaches.
The guide suggests ways to find potential therapists, assess compatibility, and take the crucial first step by interviewing therapists. If you’re needing therapy and feeling ready to find a therapist:
1. Ask for a recommendation from your friends, family members, or doctor – especially if you like your doctor.
2. Search Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapistsbased via insurance or other preferences.
It encourages openness to the therapeutic process, emphasizing patience and communication.
Ultimately, the guide reassures that finding the right therapist is an investment in mental well-being, urging individuals to trust the journey toward healing and growth.
Here at ERC, we know that finding the right fit therapist while holding momentum to do so is quite a task! Our Co-Founder, Amanda calls it “navigating the sea of therapists” hoping to find just one fish, but there is hope!
In today's bustling world, recognizing the importance of mental health is a significant step towards overall well-being. Seeking therapy signifies proactive self-care and a pursuit of personal growth. Here is a comprehensive list of pieces to consider:
Recognizing the Need and Readiness for Therapy
Acknowledging the necessity of therapy is an initial but profound step. Whether dealing with stress, anxiety, trauma, relationship challenges, or aspiring for personal development, therapy offers invaluable support. However, readiness is equally crucial; feeling prepared to address concerns is vital in this journey.
Understanding Therapeutic Approaches
Therapeutic modalities, from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to psychodynamic therapy and mindfulness-based practices, come in diverse forms, each with unique philosophies. Researching these approaches aligns your needs with the right therapist who specializes in your preferred methodology.
Where to Begin Your Search
Assessing Compatibility: The Essential Factors
Initiating the Journey: Taking the First Step
Once you've identified potential therapists, scheduling an initial session or phone consultation serves as an interview. This opportunity enables you to ask pertinent questions about their approach and experience, aiding in your decision-making process.
Embracing the Therapeutic Process
Therapy is a commitment to self-growth and healing. Allow yourself the time to build trust and rapport with your therapist. Open communication about progress and concerns fosters a collaborative environment conducive to personal development.
Conclusion: Investing in Mental Wellness
Finding the right therapist is an investment in your emotional and mental well-being. Remember, the journey may involve self-reflection, research, and some trial and error. It's okay to explore different therapists until you discover the perfect fit that resonates with you.
Seeking therapy is an empowering step towards personal growth and healing. Trust your intuition, maintain an open mind, and embrace the journey towards finding the therapist who aligns with your aspirations for a more fulfilling life.
Your quest for the right therapist is a significant milestone in your mental health journey. Patience and an open mind are your allies as you navigate this path. Rest assured, the perfect therapist, ready to support your journey to healing and growth, is out there waiting for you.
I was recently asked to complete what is called an “occupation interview” by a community student; we’ll call her “A.” To my understanding, A, was meant to find a professional in a field of interest and interview them by asking specific questions assigned by her teacher. After the completion of the (emailed) interview and a couple of permissions being granted, I was able to publish what I am now calling “a significant experience.”
1. If you are able to say so, what is your personal background? Include name, age, position in your company, how long you've been working there, etc.
My name is Amanda Gonzalez. I am in my late 30s and I am Co-Founder, Administrator, Community Marketing Specialist, and a Mental Health Specialist (therapist) with Empowering Relief Counseling, PLLC, “ERC.” My business partner and I began ERC in 2017, so I have been working here since May of 2017.
2. What is your job description? Please provide details on the day-to-day responsibilities, as well as your overall responsibilities in the field.
Technically, I am a therapist first, but because of the nature of co-founding the business, I am also an administrator and community marketing specialist. My day-to-day responsibilities list is very long, so I will offer you categorical information, instead. As a therapist, I see clients, document that time, answer phone calls, respond to emails, and meet with my team for various reasons. As an administrator and community marketing specialist, I create and update policies and procedures to support our team, clients, and community. I am constantly following market trends to make sure we have an optimized experience with Google. I also manage the day-to-day concerns that arise within the practice or the building within which we work.
3. What education did you receive prior to getting this job, including degrees and other certificates? What education was required for you to get the job?
I received an undergraduate degree in Sociology with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Certificates in Diversity and Criminology and Corrections, a graduate degree in Social Work, and a Women’s Health Certificate. For the 2014-2015 year, I also received the College of Social Work MSW Faculty Award for Promise in Social Work, which is a great honor. After that, I completed a licensing exam and 4,000 hours of supervised work; lastly, I applied for full licensure so I could see clients without supervision. To uphold my licensure, I am required to complete 40 continuing education hours every two years as part of a reapplication for continued licensure.
In order to get this job, I would have had to have undergraduate and graduate degrees from an accredited institution (college), proof of a passed licensing exam, proof of 4,000 hours of supervised work, and proof of full licensure from the State of Utah.
4. How do you get to your position from entry-level positions?
To get to my position from entry-level positions, you need time to complete the requirements, a willing supervisor at a W-2 based agency, money to invest in your licensure and continuing education requirements, and a willingness to understand and achieve all the inner workings of running a business.
5. What do you perceive the outlook of your industry to be in the future?
Due to the pandemic, we have already seen a significant rise in the need for mental health support. It may not be my perception, but it is certainly my hope that in the future, mental health and wellness will become as normalized and expected as physical health and wellness. My colleagues and I have discussed an additional hope: a way to be licensed across state lines – something to the effect of ‘a universal license’ to practice in the United States, or even internationally.
6. What are the pros and cons to your job?
The pros for me are in having a flexible schedule so I can be with my family, utilizing my leadership skills, working with people, the community relationships I have built, engaging in social justice and anti-racism work, using evidence-based research, referring to myself as a social scientist, consistently practicing creativity, and learning more and more as I age into the field.
The main cons to my job are the incessant amounts of documentation, the constant emails and phone calls, the occasional challenges of crises, and the (seemingly) forced relationship we maintain with insurance companies. I also don’t like renting office spaces; I’d really like to own a building.
7. What traits should a person have in order to be a good fit for your line of work?
In order to be a good fit for [this field], you have to be willing to leave your original self at the door and be open to growth, change, and daily challenges. It would benefit you if you were open to receiving therapy yourself (in a continued way), loved working with people, building relationships, and liked science.
Traits that might be helpful in being a good fit as a social worker or therapist are respectability, approachability, warmth, open-mindedness, kindness, intelligence, tenacity, coachability, and humility.
After potentially experiencing the hardest work of my 20-year career and living through a pandemic (with no clear end in sight), I found myself to be functioning, rather than mindfully considering what I had (and have) been doing since March of 2020. As a result, I was taken aback by my responses to the interview questions. Often, my colleagues and I joke about the rarity of feeling surprised when one has worked in the field of therapy for a while, so being taken aback was a significant moment. In that moment, I realized that I was revisiting the reason why I started working in this field in the first place. It humbled me to be reminded and thoughtful of what has transpired in my professional life since I entered the field of social services in 2000. I simultaneously recalled that I stepped into this field because I was fascinated by the human experience; I still am, to this day… In re-reading my response to the interview, I was reminded of what it took for me to get here; I also felt the welling up of a great respect for my colleagues and the practitioners in the world today.
Despite my years of training and the collective years of training of others, we were not prepared for what began in March of 2020 and we are learning “best practices” as we go. This may be the first time in the history of our field that we are learning how to treat in real time. Unfortunately, the uncertainty and burnout remain real, with feelings of consistent fear on the surface and typical coping strategies being impacted by a literal risk of becoming ill. I recently read a frame of a New York Times post on Instagram that summed my current feelings up nearly perfectly, “Usually therapists don’t experience the same concerns and traumas as their patients at the same exact time. But during the pandemic, everyone has been struggling to stay afloat (Cadmona Hall, [M]arriage and [F]amily [T]herapist).” That’s it. We, as practitioners, are experiencing the same concerns and traumas as our clients in real time and simultaneously.
Looking back about 20 years, I recall it felt like this field somehow chose me. In the early days of my college career, I was certain that I was going to be a vocal performer and that I might step into studying psychology for fun. In my first sociology class, which was meant to fill a general education requirement, I was assigned an opportunity to do an internship with the Salt Lake Metropolitan Jail within which I tutored male inmates through their GED programs. Even though I wasn’t confident in some of the subjects, I taught Math, English, and History. The inmates with whom I worked were polite, kind, and grateful that they got time to work on their education and I felt like I was making an important community impact, possibly for the first time in my life.
When the semester was over, I continued with Salt Lake Metropolitan Jail (SLC Metro) and retook the sociology class so I could do a second internship. I applied for The KidStar Program at UNI (The University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute), now HMHI (The Huntsman Mental Health Institute), got accepted, and spent the semester working with children experiencing mental health crises and significant behavioral problems. This was my first time being inside of The University of Utah’s “5 West,” without being in the family room. I remember feeling nervous – possibly excited – upon my arrival to KidStar each time and I had an epiphany that I may have somehow been built for this field. At the semester’s end, I did not return to KidStar, but it was suggested to me that I apply for Odyssey House’s Children’s Services (CS) for an actual paid job working in a therapeutic daycare with children whose parents were experiencing residential recovery programming which assists those suffering from a substance abuse disorder.
I had no idea what working in residential recovery programming would feel like, but I knew I loved kids and I was beginning to accept that I was built for this field. To commit to the idea of a job fully, I stopped volunteering for SLC Metro, which was a bittersweet moment in my life. I interviewed, got the job, and then spent 2 ½ years working at CS.
After that 2 ½ years, I amicably left CS to pursue a different school schedule, work in adaptive aquatics with youth who experienced varying ability issues, and coach swim stroke development to pre-Olympic youth athletes. During this time, I took a pause on attending traditional college and went to massage school. My hope was to be educated in body movement, pathology, and treating sports injuries. Incidentally, massage school informed every part of working adaptively in the water and made me a much better swim coach. Going to massage school and working in the water was a dreamy time in my life, but as I neared the graduation of massage school, my scheduling options decreased significantly; I knew I wanted to graduate from massage school and then complete my undergraduate degree (even at a part-time pace), so I committed and returned to CS at the tail-end of my undergraduate career.
Despite starting my college career with a major in vocal performance, I wound up graduating with a degree in sociology, a BA in Spanish, and dual-certificate foci in Diversity and Criminology and Corrections. After graduation, CS promoted me quickly and hoped that I would stick around if I decided to pursue a master’s degree in social work. It turned out that I needed more time to devote to graduate school than CS could offer me with my new position, so I left amicably, again.
For the first time since I was very young, I decided not to work in some capacity and solely focus on graduate school. Thank goodness I had privileges lined up that allowed me to do this because that first year I basically had an unpaid full-time job of reading textbooks. Throughout my graduate program experience, I interned at The Road Home with Family Services, as a Spanish-speaking case manager, The Healing Group, as a therapist focusing on maternal mental health, and The University of Utah’s ER, as a trauma social worker. Those two years were a whirlwind, but allowed me to learn social work in high-risk, high-stress situations as well as in typical private practice pace. I also learned the value of my experience as an intersectional human and practitioner; I became an often-tokenized voice of representation.
From that point, I decided that it would be imperative for me to work where anti-racism and social justice lead. To find that place, I cycled through three employers between 2014 and 2016 and then wound-up building Empowering Relief Counseling, “ERC,” with Jacob Jacquez, MSW, LCSW, in 2017.
In 2017, I obviously did not know that I would be sharing a group practice with 6 other hand-selected practitioners and that all of us would endure years of a pandemic as of December 2021. However, without this team, there is no possible way that I would have continued in this field. Treating humans is both a privilege and a challenge - moment to moment - and learning as a we go is a skill that takes a specific kind of adaptability, one that I haven’t experienced in my life.
In response to this specific kind of adaptability, ERC changed its slogan to “we’re here when you need us” during the early throes of the pandemic. We wanted the community to see us as a resource, even if we couldn’t immediately treat new clients due to the sudden and growing influx of need for services. The irony? I don’t think people realized that this slogan change also meant that we were literally there and at times, “struggling to stay afloat,” too. The significant experience of “experiencing the same concerns and traumas as their patients at the same exact time” is one that I will never forget and is likely to inform my skill-set and treatment style for years to come.
Thank you to A* for reminding me of why I started, the unusual experience of what I am living with now and offering hope for what the future holds. I feel forever grateful.
Thoughts from Your Practitioner, Sam Golden, LMFT, CMHC
Note: I found it very difficult to select an image for this blog, as I wanted to make sure I was not an advocate for diet culture. I also didn't want people who saw this image to feel under-represented or invisible, so I decided to choose an image that spoke of motivation, instead of what you "should" look like.
5. Make it fun. If we look at this like a chore, we’re not going to stay motivated (this is why my friend and I were so reluctant to start). Make this journey fun. Picture Quarantine-15 as an enemy you must vanquish, and every time you make baby steps, you’re giving it the middle finger, or stabbing it in the gut. Find challenges you can do with friends (virtually or in person), or through your fitness watches if you have one. Research foods that are in season, and find a dish you can make with them. Find a new trail you can explore with beautiful views, start exercising in your favorite way (swimming, tennis, hiking, walking, dancing, etc), go to farmer’s markets when they’re not crowded, have zoom meetings with friends and family about different meals you’ve made. Personally, I prefer competition, so I’ve connected with my partner and sister on a fitness app, and try to get more badges and steps than them so I can talk smack later (this almost always backfires on me, but it’s fun and I do it anyway). Having a fitness buddy isn’t always about accountability, it’s about connection and acceptance.
6. Find health apps that speak to you.These apps help create some accountability, and can track your progress to increase your motivation! MyFitnessPal can help track your calories, and recommend recipes that are helpful. My family has had great success with Noom, which you have to pay for, but can be a good investment in your mental and physical health. It helps you track your meals, but also instructs you on good food to eat, and helps you change your relationship with food. You can also explore fitness apps and step count apps that are free to use that help you connect with your friends! Find what makes sense to you, otherwise you won’t use it.
7. Moderation. Telling yourself you can’t ever have something again is a great way to have more of it than you planned. So, if I want that gummy blue shark, I am definitely going to have it, but I will look at the serving size, and allocate that amount to myself either right away, or throughout the day. Mindful eating is a great way to savor what you have instead of feeling like you got shorted. Take time to enjoy the amount you have, feel it on your tongue, take small bites, and know that there is plenty left for the next day. When we know that we can get something anytime, we are less likely to go into “starvation” mode and eat all of it in one go.
8. Limit shame through sharing. Shame is like Devil Snare, or Demogorgons in the Upside down. It likes the dark and damp. It likes to be hidden in your mind so it can whisper deprecating thoughts in your ear. Shine a light on it by sharing it with others and watch it shrivel into dust! Remember, you are going to fall, slip, and tumble your way through this. So will everybody else! Find someone you trust to share your “failings” with, who will say “oh my gosh, same!” and then lift you up. Shame limits us, and leads to decreased motivation and self-esteem. You are not going to be able to bully yourself into lasting change. Take a breath, and remember that even if you did one shift or pivot today, you still made progress because something is better than nothing. Even if you did nothing productive that day, share it, have compassion for it, and start moving again tomorrow. “I love you, I’m sorry, I forgive you, Thank you”.
Don’t shame yourself. Don’t shame others.
Thoughts from Your Practitioner, Sam Golden, LMFT, CMHC
Note: I found it very difficult to select an image for this blog, as I wanted to make sure I was not an advocate for diet culture. I also didn't want people who saw this image to feel under-represented or invisible, so I decided to choose an image that spoke of motivation, instead of what you "should" look like.
Last week, I was on a zoom call with my former college roommate, catching up after 3 years since we last had a get-together. We are terrible at keeping in touch, and frequently work on opposite schedules and on opposite sides of the country. We were on the call for hours until, like teenagers at a sleepover, we could no longer keep our eyes open. We talked about our new apartments, what life has been like since we last saw each other 3 years ago…and our struggle with the ‘quarantine 15’. We were both able to talk directly about our shame around gaining weight during the pandemic, as well as our reluctance to do something about it. We laughed about “getting to it later, after the holidays, definitely” but after that conversation, I weirdly felt more motivated to do something about it. Likely because I had talked with someone, and instead of shaming each other, we normalized, and acknowledged the struggle together.
This pandemic has turned everyone’s life upside down, and has created a lot of stress and uncertainty. In the beginning, some people just tried to cope and tread water, while others took this as an opportunity to catch up on activities and projects, they never felt they had time for when they were working full-time. I was definitely in that realm where I took the time to read the pile of books that had been staring at me for years, bake bread, cross-stitch and garden. I actually found myself overwhelmed with the number of projects I could do with this time, which lead me to be in a constant battle with myself over feeling guilty for not taking full advantage of my time, and actually enjoying the projects I was engaging in. I wanted to take the time to walk and enjoy the weather, but the one time I went to the park it was completely packed, so I decided I was going to literally “stay at home” hence the weight gain! I had been to this place before when I had gained 10lbs, got on MyFitnessPal, and took it off…and here we go again. The endless yo-yo of weight. I always know when this time comes because my pants magically start becoming uncomfortable one day, and it made me channel my inner Regina George, “These sweatpants are the only thing that fits me right now”. I become so annoyed and reluctant to buy a whole new wardrobe that I begin the process of working to remove the weight that I’ve gained. Health in general has been a long process for me, because it felt like I was being told what to do with my life, and I could rebel against it and do what I want. It took a long time to learn how to let go of the tight hold I had on unhealthy habits, be kind to myself, be vulnerable, and listen to what I was telling my clients. I want to be clear, this is not about body image, or me shaming you into having this goal. If you share this goal, great! If you don’t, that’s wonderful too. We are all different, beautiful, wonderful humans, and body weight will not change that. So, if this does happen to be your goal, here’s what I’ve learned, and am still learning:
8 Tips for fighting off the Quarantine-15
1. Change your relationship with food. We have heard this time and time again that “comfort food” leads to unhealthy eating habits. That’s probably why we have a hard time breaking them; someone is telling us not to do it! When we talk about binge-eating, or over-eating, it often stems from people in our past telling us we couldn’t have a particular food, or it was limited in some capacity. As adults, we can buy our own food and give the middle finger to that person while we gorge on it. For me, it used to be Dr. Pepper. Soda was very limited in my household, which meant as soon as I got a job, I was drinking about 4-5 cans a day on a good day! It took a long time to realize that these people in my head that I was giving the middle finger to couldn’t see me, and didn’t care that I was doing that to myself. I eventually realized that no one is going to keep it from me, it’s not in short supply, and I am in control of my own intake. Now I drink mostly tea and water, and only reach for my emergency Dr.Pepper when I’m yawning a lot while working. The same goes for candy, donuts, and any other sugary surprise I could get my hands on. It’s realizing the power that you can have some of this food always, and savoring the little bit that you give yourself is a lot more enjoyable than eating your whole supply.
2. Self-compassion. To the previous point, if we do end up eating our entire supply, we end up repeating the pattern if we shame ourselves for doing it. Self-compassion is the antidote to shame. As Brenè Brown says, guilt and shame are very different. Guilt means that you did a bad thing, but you are not a bad person, so you change your behavior. Shame means you did a bad thing, and that means you are a bad person, so why would you change? Self-compassion can come in many different forms, but sometimes telling ourselves “it’s okay” can be the simplest. We don’t even have to wait until the next day to do this. Challenge yourself to act differently during the next opportunity instead of the next day. This can increase compliance! A technique that can also help is saying the following things to yourself in the mirror at the end of each day: “I love you, I’m sorry, I forgive you, thank you”. It’s going to sound ridiculous and silly at first, but pay attention to which one of those words speaks the most to you at the end of the night, and reflect on that. Also remember, this is a pandemic, you’re allowed to be struggling and depressed. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if you were the only one struggling! Normalize the struggle, and look for growth, not perfection.
3. Baby steps. Change is not linear, and oftentimes it helps to make small changes over time instead of trying to completely re-route your life. Find a healthy recipe, get excited about it, and make it once during the week. Make a small decision to eat at home instead of eating out. Choose nuts over Halloween candy, put hummus on your toast instead of butter. Celebrate the wins instead of shaming yourself over the losses. Not only will this increase overall happiness, but it will increase motivation to continue to make small changes to eventually get to your goal. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.
4. Pivot. As I mentioned in the first tip, our relationship with food is important. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry, or is there an underlying emotion/need I’m trying to fill here”? When we acknowledge the power it has over us, (yes, it does have power), we can take better control of that power, and pivot to something more beneficial. For example, when I’ve been thinking about that blue gummy shark all day, I’ll pivot to carrots and hummus, or I’ll get out of the kitchen all together, and go outside to get the mail, or go for a walk. Because it’s getting cold outside, I’ve transitioned to walking around my house while reading. To me, this rationalizes to my brain that I’m not wasting time, and I set my timer on my phone for 45 min, and pace around the house, sometimes up and down the stairs to get my heart rate up. I would recommend getting all the stuff off of the floor before doing this, and practice going up and down the stairs so you don’t injure yourself. You can also pivot to other things that give you comfort: make some tea, play with your fur babies if you have them, play with your human babies, read, journal, write in your planner, zoom with a friend, stretch. Basically, do those things that you tell yourself you don’t have time to do.
Hit the FIND OUT MORE button to check out resources for Part I.
As a social worker, I have faced many challenges, yet these current times have been some of the hardest I have faced in my professional career! My work is mainly done face-to-face with the person in the same room. So. . . how do I make that happen when a pandemic strikes?
Telehealth is how I make this happen.
However, it comes with a cost…
An Open Letter
I realize this was forced situation on both of us when we were suddenly faced with a worldwide pandemic. I am pretty sure we all thought that we would be happily “back to normal” by now and back in the office (not that I know what normal is on a good day). However, as time goes on and this virus continues to take human lives, I am once again faced with another dilemma.
How do I safely return to face-to-face work with you, my wonderful clients? Do I stay with telehealth, which has so many struggles, especially when working with children?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
With much thought and sleeplessness, I have chosen to stay with telehealth. For many of you this is probably not the answer you were hoping for. Below are the reasons why I have chosen to stay with telehealth. I do hope when you are finished reading my reasoning, you will have a better understanding of why I continue to make this decision.
· First: I am just trying to wrap my head around the idea of how to socially distance safely in my office and manage the deep cleaning that is needed in between each session without taking precious minutes away from our time together.
· Secondly: There are the surfaces - so many surfaces - and items that need to be cleaned and disinfected, which would lead to me pretty much emptying out my office and creating a very sterile space. At least in your own home you can reach for a soft blanket for comfort; in my sterilized office I could only offer you a soft tissue and then make very sure it makes it in the trash before you leave.
· Thirdly: Once I can figure all that out, then there is paperwork needed to make your session happen. I would have to have you sign a form stating that you are aware of the risks of COVID-19 and are still willing to enter the space. I’d also be required to create a contact log “in case you get the virus.” I’d also be required to take your temperature and then ask you questions about your current health. On top of all of this I would need to require you to wear a mask. No, a face shield is not enough protection; a mask would still be required.
· Finally: Once all of this is done and we are able to meet face-to-face, the anxiety would set in for me. Yes, I said anxiety!
Anxiety, Worry, and Wondering:
Did I do the right thing by seeing you face-to-face in my office?
Did I do the right thing by possibly exposing us to this virus?
Then the worry of “the dreaded phone call” would come in… You know, the one where one of you states that you have tested positive for the virus? Now, not only do I need to get tested, but the rest of my clients need to be contacted and I would get to report my contact log to the appropriate authorities.
Next, there are the anxieties of waiting for the test results:
How sick will you get?
Did I possibly give this virus to my other clients?
Will you have access to testing?
What if you might not be able to get tested?
What if I give this virus to my own family (whom I have tried hard to protect for the last four months)?
What if everything I have worked so hard for could possibly be gone or significantly changed because I got sick?
So Much to Think About
It is with this worry and a heavy heart that I have decided that telehealth is the safest way I can continue to be there for you, my family, my friends, and myself for now.
Do I miss seeing each and every one of you? Yes, yes I do. I miss laughing together and crying together. I miss handing you a box of tissues to dry your tears or a chocolate candy because “it has been one of those days” (For those of you I have not shared chocolate with, I do need to change that when we do meet again!).
In the meantime, I will look forward to talking through our electronics and doing what I can to make sure both of us live to see the day we can meet face-to-face again. Take care of you,
Pictured: Brenda offering a piece of chocolate
Jacob Lopez - forever more referred to as Jacob L. (we have two Jacobs on staff now cause Jacobs are THE best) - is one of ERC’s newest staff members! He joins ERC as an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor (ACMHC) who graduated from Antioch University, New England. Read on to get to know Jacob L. a bit better!
Question 1: How did you decide on this career path?
Jacob: I decided on this career path due to some challenges in my youth, starting at the age of eight. I was sitting in a therapy session with my Mom at the time, and I remember just staring at the therapist saying in my head that I would like to do this one day. Then I slowly just followed the career path to becoming a therapist. I took all the psychology and sociology classes in high school and continued to get my bachelor's in psychology and then my master's in clinical mental health.
Question 2: What experience do you bring to ERC?
Jacob L.: I bring my positive attitude and outlook to ERC, as well as my educational background in mental health, and my general experience in healthcare work.
Question 3: What makes you excited about joining the ERC team?
Jacob L.: One of the main things that I have noticed is that ERC is close, like a family, which makes me excited to work on this team. I am also happy to learn from everyone; they each have something unique to offer.
Question 4: Who is your ideal client?
Jacob L.: My ideal client is an individual who is ready and willing to come to therapy and put forth the work.
Question 5: How can your clients benefit from therapy with you?
Jacob L.: Clients can gain a better understanding of themselves, their goals, and their values through working with me. Clients can also develop skills to improve relationships.
Jacob L. has a relaxed therapy style and is dedicated to helping his clients become the healthiest of themselves. He is ready to use his skills to help you overcome any obstacle you face. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Jacob L., please call our Administrative Assistant, Karen, at 385.800.3272