From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Emotional Support Animals

Maesk Group Counseling provides Emotional Support Animal (ESA) evaluations.  It is well documented through research that pets provide benefit to people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia and many other conditions.  Having an ESA prescription letter allows you to have your pet in no-pets housing, and allows you to travel with your pet in the cabin on airlines at no additional cost.

There are other details/benefits.  Feel free to contact the office to schedule your consultation.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Counseling for Children

Child counseling can be extremely successful if you support your child throughout the counseling process. Family counseling also works wonders if everyone bands together and supports each other through the changes that are being made. Follow these tips to support your child and family in therapy:

1. Be there to listen and offer caring support, without judgment, to your child during the time in child therapy

2. Meet with the child’s counselor to make sure personalities are a match for you and your child.

3. Be open and talk frequently with your child. Make sure discussions are age appropriate; early school aged children need brief, simple discussions or explanations, upper elementary age children may ask more detailed questions and may need help figuring out reality from fiction.

4. Don’t pressure the child to talk to you about what happened in the child counseling session, your child may tell you in his/her own time in his/her own way.

5. Keep the lines of communication open with the child’s counselor and the child. Showing your child that you trust the child’s counselor helps build trust.

6. Try not to rush change. Remember trust is built over time; it’s not any different in child and family counseling. Allow time for your child to learn to trust his/her counselor. If you become intimidated by the child-counselor relationship, bring it up to the counselor (there’s nothing to be embarrassed about).

7. Patience is extremely important throughout the child and family counseling process. Children often don’t know how to express their emotions and fears like an adult would, therefore may have some temporary behavior changes throughout the process.

8. Be a good role model, show the child you are willing to take care of yourself and if you need counseling, seek it.

9. Make time to discuss your child’s worries, fears, and even accomplishments. Be sure to turn off any distractions (phones, TV, video games, etc.) so your child knows how important the time with your child is to you.

10. Most importantly, enjoy favorite activities with your child alone and with the entire family.

If you have any questions, throughout the process, speak up. Maesk Group Counseling is here to help!

 

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Assessing Your Healing

Assessing Your Healing: Signs of Progress in Therapy

Do you know that you can focus on various areas in your life to see if you are feeling better in specific ways? This is a fun, informal quiz to use for this purpose. Rate your improvement from 1 to 4, with 4 being the most improved. Leave it blank if it doesn’t apply to you. Take the results to your therapist for discussion.

LIFE ISSUES*:

__Self Esteem

__Ability to reach Life Goals

__Personal Safety

__Your work or career

__Level of happiness

__Intelligence

__Use of your talents

__Sense of Humor

__Ability to care for others

__Personal self-care/Attractiveness

__Ability to make friends

__Relationships (friends)

__Relationships (family)

__Getting along with coworkers

__Taking time for you

__Treating yourself well

__Putting your needs first

__Taking care of your body

__Not getting overly tired

__Taking care of yourself when ill

__Eating well

__Sleeping enough

__Exercising regularly

__Appropriate alcohol use (or none at all)

Track your progress on a regular basis. Therapy is all about improving your life and making it the best it can be!

(Adapted from It’s My Life Now by M. Dugan)

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Emotional Support Animal Evaluation

An Emotional Support Animal (E.S.A.) can help with a variety of psychological issues, and can provide a source of comfort and grounding.  Most typically, though not always, Emotional Support Animals are dogs or cats.

Registering your pet as an Emotional Support Animal on a website will NOT afford you any protections.  In order to be qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you must be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional.

There are two main benefits of having an Emotional Support Animal.  The first is that under The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, you are allowed to have the animal fly with you in the airplane’s cabin.  The pet must be able to fit on your lap or under the seat in front of you.  The airline is also prohibited from charging you extra for your Emotional Support Animal.

The second is that under The Fair Housing Act of 1988, those who have an Emotional Support Animal can still qualify for housing, primarily an apartment or condo, that has a “no pets” rule. This extends to all types of limits imposed on housing, such as housing that sets a “certain size” or “breed-specific” types of limits.

Maesk Group Counseling can provide you with an Emotional Support Animal Prescription Letter for either air travel, housing or both.  The process is simple and straightforward.

First, you simply call or email Maesk Group Counseling to schedule an evaluation.  In some cases, evaluations can be done by phone or video conference as long as your primary residence is within the state of Florida.

Second, you will meet with Doug Maesk, LMHC, either in person or via the alternate methods just described, who will conduct a thorough diagnostic assessment.  This is designed to assess your symptoms, gather history,  and determine if you meet the criteria for a mental or emotional disability recognized by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) Examples of a qualifying disability are depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, etc.  The assessment will also determine if an Emotional Support Animal helps to mitigate your symptoms.  

Finally, you will be presented with a Prescription Letter for your Emotional Support Animal which you can present to an airline or homeowner’s association/condo board.

Get started today - and bring your pet in with you!  Call Maesk Group Counseling at 954-353-4680 to schedule your Emotional Support Animal Evaluation.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Holiday Stress

When the Holidays Aren’t So Merry—Making it Through the Season

“What’s wrong with me?” my patient (fictional) asked, shredding the tissue in her hands as she wept on my couch. “Shouldn’t this be a happy time of year? Why can’t I feel Christmassy and jolly?”

And she is not alone. When you think of all of the people who are grieving and/or going through their first holiday season after divorce, widowhood, or the loss of a loved one, you realize that the memories can make the holidays more painful than happy at this time of year. Add to that the additional stress the season brings in the form of activities, shopping, and school events—well, you can see the problem. It’s like adding that last too-much drop of water to an already overflowing bucket.

What to do? If you are experiencing loss this time of year, your goal is this: to make it through. This is not the time to fill your chore list with handmade gifts (or gifts at all—who’s going to blame you this year?) or high stress dinners. If ever there was a time in your life to put you (and your children, if any) first, this is it. Exercise your “say-no” muscle with a firm and assertive smile and pass on committees, obligations, and entertaining. The people who might judge you—and believe me, there are fewer than you imagine—are simply not worth a second thought.

When the memories and tears come, allow them. What we resist, grows stronger, so don’t fight the feelings that arise. Tears actually expel cortisol, a stress hormone that is damaging to the body and needs to come out in order for you to be healthy.

Ask your friends and family for what you need this year, specifically. Do you need help making decisions? You probably have at least one friend who would love to help you. Do you need people to just listen to your grief without advising you? Tell them that you really just need an ear, not a response, from them.

These are just a few ideas; you know best what helps you stay strong. Just remember that you WILL make it through. Rest, heal, and wait for better days.

From Maesk Group Counseling - Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Evaluations

Maesk Group Counseling provides Emotional Support Animal (ESA) evaluations.  It is well documented through research that pets provide benefit to people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia and many other conditions.  Having an ESA prescription letter allows you to have your pet in no-pets housing, and allows you to travel with your pet in the cabin on airlines at no additional cost.

There are other details/benefits.  Feel free to contact the office to schedule your consultation, and receive your ESA prescription letter today.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Disaster Counseling

As I write this, Fort Lauderdale and South Florida are in the process of recovery from the damage, both physical and psychological, that Hurricane Irma inflicted on our state.  Here at Maesk Counseling, we were prepared, but still were without power or phones until yesterday.  Thankfully, damage was minimal and no one here was hurt.  We are grateful.

When disaster strikes, one of the most important immediate tasks is to restore a sense of normalcy and routine.  Going back to work and reestablishing your daily rituals (going to the gym, walking, church - whatever is important to you) will help you feel a sense of control.  This is important as disasters rob us of control over our lives and our surroundings.  Also try to get back into a healthy sleep cycle, with regular bedtime and wake up.

If you are a patient here, know that we are open again regular hours, and are reaching out to all patients to set appointments.  If you need help or are thinking of starting counseling, please contact us.  We offer same day appointments.  We are committed to serve the community, and are here for you.  

 

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Anxious Depression

From Psychcentral:

Experiencing Anxious Depression

By LaRae LaBouff 
 

Depression is a part of bipolar disorder. It is, in fact, one of the poles. The question of experiencing depression is not “if” but “when.” Depression on its own is a horrible experience, but sometimes other problems pile on. More than half of people with bipolar disorder also have some form of anxiety disorder. These can include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety. When anxiety occurs during a depressive episode of bipolar disorder it is called depression “with anxious distress.” Distress is exactly the term to describe how it feels.

When I experience anxiety, I communicate how I am feeling by comparing my mood to a pot of water. When I am feeling fine, the water is ambient temperature. The more anxiety I feel, the hotter the water becomes. Lately I’ve been sitting at a simmer with occasional panic attacks that put me into a rolling boil. This is in addition to the depressive symptoms I feel like depressed mood, loss of interest, weight gain, fatigue and feelings of hopelessness. It’s a debilitating combination.

In order to be qualified as an episode with anxious distress, you have to experience at least two of the following: 

  • Feeling keyed up or tense.
  • Feeling unusually restless. 
  • Difficulty concentrating because of worry. 
  • Fear that something awful may happen. 
  • Feeling that you might lose control yourself.

If you experience two of these symptoms, the anxious distress is considered mild. Three symptoms is moderate and four or more is moderate to severe. If physical restlessness is involved, it’s considered severe.

Having bipolar disorder with anxiety can lead to extra complications with the disorder. People who have episodes with anxious distress typically have longer episodes, don’t respond to treatment as well and have a higher suicide risk. 

Experiencing severe anxiety mingled with depression is incredibly distressing.  On the one hand my brain is telling me that all I can do is to go to bed and not do anything. On the other hand my anxiety is telling me how horrible I am for ignoring other responsibilities. The two sensations fight each other and leave me frozen, not knowing what part of my brain I should listen to. The anxiety is usually louder than the depression, but that doesn’t mean I succeed at getting out of bed. It just means I end up having a panic attack while I’m there.

I’m continuing to talk to my therapist and psychiatrist about my situation. My therapist gave me a list of ways to combat distress and my psychiatrist gave me additional medication to manage the anxiety acutely. In the meantime, I hope this is a short phase and that I will reach a level of normality soon.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Counseling for Children

Child counseling can be extremely successful if you support your child throughout the counseling process. Family counseling also works wonders if everyone bands together and supports each other through the changes that are being made. Follow these tips to support your child and family in therapy:

1. Be there to listen and offer caring support, without judgment, to your child during the time in child therapy

2. Meet with the child’s counselor to make sure personalities are a match for you and your child.

3. Be open and talk frequently with your child. Make sure discussions are age appropriate; early school aged children need brief, simple discussions or explanations, upper elementary age children may ask more detailed questions and may need help figuring out reality from fiction.

4. Don’t pressure the child to talk to you about what happened in the child counseling session, your child may tell you in his/her own time in his/her own way.

5. Keep the lines of communication open with the child’s counselor and the child. Showing your child that you trust the child’s counselor helps build trust.

6. Try not to rush change. Remember trust is built over time; it’s not any different in child and family counseling. Allow time for your child to learn to trust his/her counselor. If you become intimidated by the child-counselor relationship, bring it up to the counselor (there’s nothing to be embarrassed about).

7. Patience is extremely important throughout the child and family counseling process. Children often don’t know how to express their emotions and fears like an adult would, therefore may have some temporary behavior changes throughout the process.

8. Be a good role model, show the child you are willing to take care of yourself and if you need counseling, seek it.

9. Make time to discuss your child’s worries, fears, and even accomplishments. Be sure to turn off any distractions (phones, TV, video games, etc.) so your child knows how important the time with your child is to you.

10. Most importantly, enjoy favorite activities with your child alone and with the entire family.

If you have any questions, throughout the process, speak up. Maesk Group Counseling is here to help!