What To Do If Your Teen Is Cutting? Part ll



96776343_4efe3075ff_zEditor’s Note: In this post Dylan Broggio, LCSW, responds to questions many readers had about what to do if they know someone they love is cutting or if they are struggling with cutting themselves. 

Dylan Broggio, LCSW is a psychotherapist with Explore What’s Next. She specializes in work with adolescents, adults and families. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with Dylan call her at 734.474.6987 or email at dylan.broggio@gmail.com.

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Firstly, thank you all so much for the great comments, questions and support you have offered on my post “What To Do If Your Teen Is Cutting”. This article really struck a chord with our readers, so I thought I would answer some of the questions that have come up in this important conversation.

Question: “I just found out my child is cutting, how can I talk to them about their cutting without upsetting them and causing more cutting?”

Answer: Parents, if there aren’t open bleeding wounds that need a trip to the hospital you can give yourself time to get to a calm(er) place (that may mean enough time to call your pediatrician, do some internet reading and speak to a counselor). Speak calmly and start by letting them know you love them and are concerned about them. As the teens who commented on our blog reiterated: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to what they have to say. Best case scenario, you could have consultation appointments made with a few specialists, and allow your child to choose who they feel comfortable with.

Question: ”How can counseling help if what I really need is to talk to my parents?”

Answer: Great question! One of the best things about counseling is that you can tailor it to your needs! If what you really need is to talk with your parent(s), by all means you and your therapist can bring them into session and do some family therapy. Most often, family therapy in addition to individual therapy is an integral part of the healing process for a child or teen.

Question: “I don’t want therapy.”

Answer: Yup, I always laugh out loud and am horrified when I see how therapy is portrayed in movies and TV shows- you’ve seen it, laying on a couch with the therapist incessantly nodding saying “uh huh, uh huh”. Please! SO not the case! Therapy these days involves no lying on couches. It’s casual, comfortable, nonjudgemental and supportive. Find someone you’re comfortable with and give it a try, it WORKS!

Question: “Help, my adult child is cutting, what can I do?”

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5 Ways To Deal With Anxiety Over The Heartbleed Bug



3bO_Hxp4_400x400By now you have probably heard about the Heartbleed Bug that has the Internet community shorting out its circuits. With headlines, tweets and posts with titles like “Why Heartbleed Is the Ultimate Web Nightmare” its a wonder any of us got any sleep last night. That Heartbleed logo alone is enough to kick up my flight/fight response!

So what can we do to get a grip, calm our bodies down and take action to do what we can to address the problem?

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What To Do If Your Teen Is Cutting – Revisited



Editor’s Note: This article was written by Dylan Broggio, LCSW, EWN psychotherapist, quite a few years ago. “What To Do If Your Teen Is Cutting” is one of the most viewed articles on the Explore What’s Next blog. We knew this topic was important; what surprised us were the comments by readers who found recognition, validation and hope in Dylan’s article.

In the next week EWN will revisit the subject of cutting, first by presenting the original article once again. Then, in the next few days, EWN will post a new article by Dylan where she addresses the most pertinent comments to the first post. A few days after that you will see another new article by Kate Maleski, LCSW, Group Leader of the “Girls Take Charge” group, this time directed to teens.

If you find this series helpful in any way please leave a comment (the comment button to the right, just below  the title line) and share it with anyone you know who may be struggling with this issue.

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6a00d83527e90e69e20134854de051970c-320piFinding out that someone you love is cutting themselves is very painful, shocking, information to hear. Being armed with information and a game plan can make all the difference in getting your loved one help. What is cutting? Cutting is when someone purposefully injures themselves, but is not trying to committing suicide. Essentially, cutting is a way to deal with pain. Teens and young adults report they cut in order to cope with or relieve emotional pain, or to “feel something” when all they feel is numb. Marks or cuts are typically kept well hidden so that they can continue this way of coping with their emotions.

14% of teens report engaging in self injurious behavior

64% of those teens are girls. (Ross and Heath, 2002)

If you suspect your teen is cutting here are some warning signs:

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The Shooting at Fort Hood & Mental Illness: “Please God, Not Again!”



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Photo courtesy of Steven V

As soon as I saw the “Breaking News” my heart sank. Another shooting. Another gunman. More dead, injured, traumatized.

Then I brace myself for those two little words that always accompany these disastrous gun-related events: “mental illness.”

In a story on NPR, reporter Melissa Block spoke with Counselor Annie Powers, a military veteran herself,  who specializes in treating PTSD. Ms. Powers sees military patients at the Adult, Child and Family Counseling Center in Killeen, Texas, the town where Fort Hood is located.

Ms. Block reports, “All the patients [Annie Powers] talked to since the shooting have been talking about it.”

Ms. Powers states, “I can see where they might be concerned about, oh great, everybody thinks that if you have PTSD, anger, anxiety and depression issues that you’re crazy! There’s a lot of people who are afraid to come get the help. They don’t want it on their military record. They don’t want to go on medication because somebody might know, ‘I couldn’t handle it. I wasn’t strong enough.’ I have to explain to them that PTSD is not about strength.”

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5 Ways to Make a Decision Despite Anxiety



?There are so many reasons why we get anxious that sometimes I get anxious trying to decide what part of being anxious I should write about. How nuts is that?!

Doing the very thing you are afraid of is what reduces anxiety. Somebody said that. Probably Eleanor Roosevelt because she said everything cool, but I digress…

Everyday we are faced with decisions from the seemingly mundane, “Do I get out of bed today?,” (seemingly, because for some that is a major decision, no joke) to the life changers, “Do I take that job? Start a company? Have a baby? Move to a new city?”

Those of us who tend toward anxiety too often find ourselves going around in circles, towards a decision then backing off, only to go towards it again and backing off once more, like a toddler who can’t decide if it wants independence more than it wants to be with mommy.

Why do we get anxious about making decisions and what can we do about it?

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5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Couples Therapy



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This is a True Story.

A couple walked into a therapist’s office. (OK. It was my office…)

“If you would only stop doing what you’re doing we’d be fine!” yelled one.

“If you would only stop telling me what to do we’d be fine!” growled the other.

“Time out!” said the therapist (me), using the universal ‘T’ hand gesture.

The couple, united in intent at last, stared at me, shocked, as if a monkey had suddenly jumped on my head.

I gently continue, “Couples Therapy is not about having the same fight you have at home here in this office. Just because there’s a third party witnessing it, that won’t make the fight, or your relationship, any better. Let me explain what it takes to be in couples therapy. Then you can decide if you want to continue.”

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The Buzz on ‘Bossy’ and that other ‘B’ Word!



When was that Moment of Truth for you? When you realized there are certain words in our culture used almost exclusively to keep us down. Words like ‘Bossy!’

For me it was when someone I love and trust called me that other word that starts with a ‘B.’

Many, many years ago when I was in graduate school, I took a road trip with my brother. We were driving from Kansas where my parents lived, back to the East Coast. We are only a year apart in age, pretty opinionated and, shall we say, vocal. Being cooped up in a car for over 12 hours can be a dangerous environment for siblings who don’t always see eye to eye no matter how much you love them.

I have no idea what the topic was we were talking so heatedly about. All I remember is we were arguing about something passionately when he said, “Why are you always such a b*#ch!”

Whoa! Talk about conversation stopper!

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5 Ways to Break Out of Winter Into Spring!



5970115488_583f929819Editor’s Note: Today we lost an hour! That would be totally  unacceptable except that going into Daylight Savings mode is a sign that Spring and Summer are just around the corner despite the crazy weather. After this endless winter, especially for those of us in the Deep North, I can really use Kate’s post on how to break out of those bad winter habits!

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This morning I woke up to chirping of the birds and I thought “we are almost there.” The past week I have really been noticing the days seem longer which has showed me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. This winter has really left me feeling sluggish and I am ready to make some changes. Here are a few ways that have worked for me!

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Social Anxiety: When It’s ME against the world…



Anxious teen

Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by EWN psychotherapist Kate Maleski, LCSW-R

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Picture this… A high school freshman trying out for the softball team. She is anxious, surrounded by new faces, new school and longing to be accepted. If only she could make the team maybe starting a new school wouldn’t be so scary. She would already be “a part” of something.

At the end of tryouts names are posted and this girl’s name was not on the list.

That girl was me.

Teens can often feel alone in a very BIG world which can be the cause of social anxiety. In grade school and high school I remember feeling like I was fighting to survive.

Hoping I don’t blush. Sweating, feeling nauseous, worried that I would have to carry on a conversation and no words would come out or even worse, the wrong words! Sometimes I thought: How am I ever going to live through this day, let alone the rest of the year!

EVERYONE HAS SOCIAL ANXIETY! OK not everyone, but a LOT of people have social anxiety! Different people just show it differently.

Here are some tips to help decrease your anxiety:

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Stand Like Wonder Woman! Body Language & the Power of Faking It ‘Til You Make It



“Sit up straight!” “Do not hunch over!” “Shoulders back!”

No, this wasn’t bootcamp. It was my childhood.

My father was a posture Nazi. His constant vigilance at the dinner table was a literal pain in the neck. People would compliment my parents on my posture and inwardly I’d roll my eyes, “You have no idea.”

Now I’m grateful. My spine is grateful, My internal organs are grateful. And today I learned that my self-esteem can be grateful, too!

While I was walking on the treadmill doing my morning mile, I watched the first episode of Life Hacks, a collection of TED talks, on Netflix. A client, who knows my love for Netflix, suggested this series as an alternative to Sherlock episodes.

Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, shares how her research supports the idea that our body language can make a difference in whether we feel powerful or the opposite, small and unworthy. Stand up tall with your hands on your hips for two full minutes and, even though you may not be feeling it totally, it will be easier to act as if you own the room.

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