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Healthy Communities

This past Tuesday, I was asked to attend an event hosted by the Lafayette County Health Department. This MAPP meeting (Mobilizing Action through Planning and Partnerships) was a humbling experience. Several members of the community were involved and ready to put their brains together to ask, “How do we give this community better healthcare than we already do?” Together, in three groups, we used our best communication skills, along with our thinking caps, to collaborate effectively to achieve this goal. We were asked to vote on how well the local public health system is working. For instance one of the questions reads “At what level does the local public health system connect or link people to organizations that can provide personal health services they may need?” After each question, the panel was asked to vote on how well we thought the local public health system was working based on the question. We all gave our input and offered some ideas on what could make it better and more effective. It was clear to me that the Lafayette County Health Department had a large task on their hands and they have been working on this idea for a few years. It showed. They were very well organized and adequately equipped to make this day as successful as they could. This event encompassed a group of very intelligent people working in the healthcare field. I was thrilled to see such a great turnout. For this many people to gather in one room with a very important common goal means we truly have people in this county who are looking out for the well-being and safety of those living in our communities, and THAT is humbling.

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Adult Counseling Intake

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Tom Corporon, MS, LPC

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Tom Corporon has embarked upon a career as a Licensed Professional Counselor after 31 years in education as a teacher, counselor and administrator. He joined The Center for Counseling and Training in January 2015. He recently completed all of the requirements to become fully licensed as a therapist.

Tom is trained in multiple areas including marriage and family, depression, anxiety, child and adult abuse, as well as trauma. His specialty is marriage and family counseling. Tom enjoys working with couples, families, and individuals 13 and up.

Tom has been married for 38 years to Melanie. They have two grown sons as well as two dogs and a cat.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

This is a writing and poem by one of my 17 year old clients.  She and her parents gave us permission to print this for everyone to see.  The writer wants everyone to know that learning to love your body is a process.  I am very proud of this young woman and who she’s becoming! ~Becky


‘In society today, our image of beauty has become unobtainable. With media portraying the standard as being thigh gaps, protruding hip bones, and tiny waists, what message are we sending to our women? That the only way to be beautiful is through being skinny? Well, I beg to differ, and this poem does too. “Mirror, Mirror” by yours truly.

 
By the age of 10 I was eating out of measuring cups and knew all the tips and tricks to calculating calories when I should have been learning how to love myself. My scale was a fortune teller because it told whether or not that day I would hunch over and shrink myself from the world. Mirrors were car wrecks that I couldn’t bring myself to look at. Changing rooms were torture chambers lined reflections of everything I hated. My stretch marks were the track marks of my fingernails trying to scrape away the imperfections.  I hated myself.
 
But a lot has changed since then thankfully. Part of the reason I’m doing this today is because I never had anyone to tell me this 7 years ago. Media and society has conditioned women to shrink. Shrink their bodies, their ideas, their power. It’s normal to hear young girls say, I’m so ugly, but when a girl thinks she’s beautiful it’s kind of out of the ordinary. And I think that’s really sad. And for so/ long I fell into this self loathing cobweb trap of I’m ugly. You do not have to tell yourself or anyone that you’re ugly. You do not have to believe someone that says you’re ugly or you’re fat or you need to lose weight. Your body image is yours and no one can decide that for you. And the people who tell you these things, are just forcing their own insecurities on you. Prove them wrong. The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence. Don’t hunch over, don’t shrink down. Own it.
 
I’ve decided I’m tired of seeing these “how to get a bikini body” tabloids. Guess how you get a bikini body? You buy a bikini, and you put it on. Bam. Tabloids do not get to regulate what is normal or not. Wear what makes you comfortable: cover up, flaunt it, do what ever makes you feel good. Confidence is not a bad thing. If wearing make up makes you feel great, do it! What people think doesn’t matter. It’s what you think that matters.
 
A few days ago, someone asked me what I would change in the world if I could. I think I would change how much beauty means to us versus who we are as people. I mean, what if instead of the normal compliment being on your looks or you clothes it was something like, “I think you are a warm, thoughtful, funny person and I’d like to get to know you more.” I would rather someone tell me something positive about my personality than my body any day of the week. We judge people so quickly based on their appearance alone before they say a word to us. Which, this is pretty normal since we see someone before we speak to them, but it’s important to try to see someone as they are without seeing just their physical appearance.
 
I’ve learned a lot of things since I was ten.
I’ve learned to listen, and I’ve learned to ignore.
I’ve learned that chunky can be beautiful too.
I’ve learned that one size fits all is crap.
I’ve learned to see beauty in all shapes.
I’ve learned I am my own worst critic.
I’ve learned that red velvet cake is a gift from god and therefore not consuming it at large quantites is blasphemy.
I’ve learned that not everything looks good on every body shape.
I’ve learned that looks are definitely not the most important thing.
I’ve learned to accept short skirts were made for short small girls.
I’ve learned I cannot rock short skirts. Especially when you can see my underwear.
I’ve learned imperfections are beautiful.
I’ve learned the saying beauty is on the inside is not just a stupid saying.
I’ve learned that for me, it take work and a lot of positive thinking for good body image upkeep.
I’ve learned to surround myself with people who accept me.
I’ve learned to follow their example.
 
I’ve learned that in your body is a good place to be, because at the end of the day it’s the only place to be. If you stop and think about it, our bodies are pretty amazing. All the crazy functions your body does every day just to keep you alive. Your body is this intricate machine, and the least you can do is find beauty in that. Your body is the only thing that’s been through it all with you. It was there when you fell off the swing, it was there when you hiked through the woods for hours, and it was there when you had your heart broken and you ate that gallon of ice cream. Your body probably resents you a little for that one though. Your body is what carries you through the day, it is your vessel for this crazy thing we call life. And whether you like it or not, you are stuck with it till the end. So why not love your differences? If everyone looked the same, we’d be pretty boring. Someone loves your differences. This is a call to all of those who have ever doubted the awesomeness their body. Own your thunder thighs! Rock that face of freckle constellations! Claim that flat butt! Flaunt those curves! Be your individuality! Love your body. Because we will not subscribe to the idea of photoshopped skinny perfection.’
 

Back to School Part Two- Separation Anxiety and Young Children

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In Part 1 of our back to school series, we offered some suggestions for helping your child/teen transition back to school if they are anxious.  Many of the ideas we discussed can also help young children, but here are some additional suggestions to help your young child if he/she is having a difficult time separating from you:

  • Read books about going to school and separation anxiety ahead of time, and talk with your child about how the characters are feeling and how they cope with their worry. Some of my favorites that are good for preschool and kindergarten aged children are The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes.
  • When you attend back to school night with your child, take pictures of your child’s teachers, the playground, the classroom, etc. so they can look through them ahead of time again.
  • Young children sometimes find it helpful to bring a security object from home when they are anxious about separating from their parents/caregivers. This can be a favorite toy, family picture, etc., and often children feel better just having it in their backpack with them at school so they can get it when they feel like they need it.
  • When it’s time to say goodbye, don’t linger, but don’t sneak out of the door either. Say goodbye to your child, assure them you will come back, and then leave the classroom even if they are upset. Continuing to stay often makes children more upset in the long run, and teachers who work with young children have lots of practice in comforting them. Often creating a special ritual for saying goodbye can help with this transition- a special handshake, giving 2 hugs and a kiss, or whatever you and your child create together.

Overall, what is going to help your child (and your) anxiety the most is seeing that they can stay at school without you, you will always come back to get them, and they can have fun while they are there!

Look for part three of our back to school blog series next week- tips for helping your child be assertive and deal with bullying from Jessi Johnson, LPC.

 

Learning New Things

Being a graduate intern at the Center for Counseling and Training has opened my eyes to many new experiences. For example, working with domestic violence offenders is something that I have never done before. So far, I enjoy the batterers’ intervention program and am looking forward to leaning more about it.

In very little time with The Center for Counseling and Training, I have seen growth in some of the members that belong to the group. At first, I thought I might feel out of place. To my surprise, I do enjoy the group and I enjoy even more watching the members interact and apply information they hear about with other members that are working toward a common goal. The men in the program have accepted me as part of their group process. Topics we discuss include trust, respect, and parenting.  I believe that one of the reasons these groups are so effective is because everyone involved usually has a lot in common because they are there for similar reasons,  feel supported by one another and by the professionals who facilitate the program.

The therapists at TCCT use the Duluth Model in sessions which has been around for over 30 years and strives to end domestic violence. If you are interested in learning more about The Duluth Model, you can visit their website at http://theduluthmodel.org/index.htm

Back to School Part One- Help Your Child Cope with School Anxiety

 

 

 

Over the next few weeks, we will be bringing you a blog series with some back to school tips for a great start to the school year!

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Back to school time can be an exciting time for children and their parents, but if your child/teen struggles with anxiety it can be a stressful time as well. Here are some tips for helping your child start off the school year on a positive note:

  • Talk with your child ahead of time about what specifically they are worried about. Often knowing more about what to expect reduces anxiety, so help your child/teen write a list of questions they have about the upcoming school year (“what will my schedule be?,” “what do I do if I get lost in the hallway?”, etc.). Then help them find the answers to those questions. If your child is older or a teenager, help them figure out how they will find the answers to those questions- doing this on their own will help them feel empowered.
  • Attend open house/ back to school night with your child so they can meet their teachers and see their classroom ahead of time. Encourage your child to use this night to find the answers to some of the questions they have about school.
  • If your child is worrying about a specific situation happening (“what if someone teases me?” “what if my teacher is mean?”), help them problem solve what they would do in these situations. Focus on helping your child figure out how to handle problems themselves- NOT you doing it for them.
  • Encourage your child to use positive self-talk when they are worrying, like saying to themselves “I can do this,” or “Everyone makes mistakes; I will try again.”
  • Avoid giving your child “mental health days” or letting them stay home from school because they are anxious about going. They will enjoy the day they get to stay home, but that will not help their anxiety in the long run, it just teaches them to avoid situations that make them anxious. Going to school, seeing that it can be fun, and dealing with challenging situations are what will ultimately help your child worry less.

 

Coming next week- additional tips for supporting young children as they get ready to start school or daycare.

 

Warm & Comfortable Counseling Setting

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The Center for Counseling & Training offers a warm & comfortable setting for our clients.

I started the Center for Counseling & Training in 2008 because I saw a need in rural Missouri that was not being filled.  First, I just did groups for domestic violence offenders.  That grew into seeing a few individual counseling clients.  About a year later, a friend of mine asked if she could join my practice.  Practice??!! I have a practice?  I sure did and it was growing quickly.  Since then we have built a thriving practice that includes several therapists who see people ages 3 years old and up.

We have been told over and over again since moving to this location how “cozy” and “homey” our office is.  With several fireplaces and warm, inviting colors, our office seems to automatically put people at ease.  Our clinical team works closely with one another to ensure the best care for each client we serve.  This is reflected in the relationships we have with our numerous referral sources who trust us to care for their clients as well.

It feels good to make a difference in the community and I think we have and continue to do so.  I invite you to come by and meet us  and see what you think about our office if you haven’t already.

 

What is Play Therapy?

Play is an essential part of development in childhood.

As children grow, they use play to practice new skills, communicate with others, and relieve stress.

Play therapy uses what we know about how children use play to help clients process trauma, express their feelings, and practice coping skills. Play therapy lets children be active and engaged in the therapy process in a safe and accepting environment. When children are not able to express how they feel through words, they can use puppets, art, toys, and sand tray.

Play therapy also helps children begin to develop the words to tell us how they are feeling. Research suggests that play therapy is effective in helping a variety of issues (see Association for Play Therapy for more information).

Registered Play Therapists are mental health professionals who have completed additional training and supervision in play therapy and how to use play to help clients meet their therapy goals.

Vicki Knipmeyer and Amy Dobson at The Center for Counseling and Training both have specialized training in play therapy.