nonverbal communication

Nonverbal Communication Skills

Don’t underestimate the power of your nonverbal communication skills

Pretty much everyone has heard of the saying “read between the lines”. Well, the same can be true for communication as well. Nonverbal communication is reading body language such as facial expressions, hand gestures, touch, and movement. It can even include the tone of someone’s verbal communication.

Why Nonverbal communication is important

First impressions are largely made within seven seconds of meeting someone. That’s a short span of time. So a lot of it comes down to reading body language. We as people transmit so much information about ourselves through nonverbal communication and we don’t even realize it. The way we walk, for example, can give off cues as to how confident a person is. A person moving their feet a lot can show they are anxious about something.

Another reason why nonverbal communication is important is that it helps counselors and healthcare providers in building a good rapport with their patients. When this happens then the patient is more willing to open up about feelings or behaviors they otherwise would not have.

Types of Nonverbal skills

There are 9 types of nonverbal communication.

  • Kinesics
  • Haptics
  • Proxemics
  • Territory
  • Environment
  • Paralinguistic’s
  • Chronemics
  • Attractiveness
  • Olfactics

Kinesics is all about how we move our body, head, hands, and arms. This type of nonverbal communication also includes the facial expressions we make.

Haptics is the physical contact or touch that we have with others. A handshake when meeting someone is a form of this. Our haptics can characterize the relationship we have with someone.

Proxemics is all about space and distance. How people use the space around them can show the level of discomfort someone is feeling.

Territory gives you a sense of a person’s power. People who open up their bodies and take up space portray having power.

Environment is about the objects we surround ourselves with to give off a certain impression.

Paralinguistic’s analyzes how someone is speaking. This involves listening to the pitch, tone, volume, tempo, and articulation.

Chronemics is how a person uses their time. This includes the punctuality of a person or their willingness to wait for something or someone.

Attractiveness isn’t just about the physical appeal. Maintaining a good level of eye contact, having a lively face, and open gestures are also part of our attractiveness.

Olfactics is how we assess smells.

Take Away

Our body language is a crucial part of our communication with others. It helps us to deliver clear messages and create a good impression on others. We use it to show our feelings about things and people. So do not underestimate the power of your nonverbal communication.

If you feel like you need help with your verbal or nonverbal communication, please reach out to our team.
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How to Prepare for Adoption 

How to Prepare for Adoption 

Every prospective parent has to undergo a pre-adoption evaluation known as ‘home study’, before they can be approved for adoption. A home study operates as a record that lists aspects of your life such as your health and financial information, family history, parenting plan and personal background. It also consists of undergoing a series of interviews, a psychological test and home visits from a social worker. Naturally, prospective parents view the home study process as being nerve racking. Fortunately, we compiled a list of tips to consider to ensure that you can prepare adequately for adoption.

1) Prepare Your Home 

During your home study, a social worker will evaluate your residence to determine if it’s a safe environment for a child to live in. Therefore, most experts suggest that prospective parents should declutter and clean their homes. In fact, consider the possibility of hiring a professional cleaning contractor such as a maid. Social workers will go through each room, but they usually spend less than 10 minutes looking at the safety features of each room. Additionally, ensure that: 

  • Swimming pools are fenced and covered.
  • Weapons are stored in a locked gun safety box.
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in the main living areas of the building.
  • Use short window drape cords.
  • Household cleaners and pesticide should be stored in cupboards with child proof locks.

2) Treat Your Social Worker Like A Friend 

One of the things that can help to alleviate the stresses that are associated with the pre-adoption evaluation process is to think of the social worker as a guest, as opposed to an authority figure. Meaning, conversations should have a friendly tone and similarly to a guest, you should offer them tea or coffee. The point of doing this, isn’t to gain favors per se, but to make them feel comfortable. After all, the point of a pre-adoption evaluation is to determine if you can provide a safe and comfortable environment for the child. 

adoption3) Prepare For Your Interviews 

To a certain extent, your interview is akin to a secondary psychological test. Your assigned social worker will conduct an interview to evaluate your intentions, your history and suitability. Some of the general topics you’ll have to discuss include: 

  • Finances
  • Health history
  • Reason as to why you want to adopt
  • Relationship/Marriage history
  • Stress management techniques
  • How you plan to discipline a child

It helps to become aware of the topics you’ll be discussing so that you can provide an accurate, well thought out answer.

4) Gather Necessary Documents Beforehand

The last thing you should do is to rush through the paperwork you’ll be given. This can be tempting as you’ll be given an abundance of paperwork to fill out, as well as to submit multiple documents. But, by becoming aware of the type of paperwork you’ll be filing out, you can get the necessary documents together to expedite the process of filling them out. To prepare for adoption, some of the type of paperwork you’ll be completing includes: 

  • Personal references
  • Employer references
  • Financial statements
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage license
  • Adoption education requirements
  • Background checks
  • Health statements

 

If you need assistance with an adoption evaluation. contact us here. 

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preparing for a psychological evaluation

Preparing for a Psychological Evaluation

Prepare for a Psychological Exam 

If you just found out you need to go for a psychological evaluation for social security, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. With an increase of psychiatric disabilities and people unable to work as a result of these disabilities, it’s important to understand how these psychological evaluations work in the disability application process. The application process for SSI and SSDI is quite similar. The only difference is if you don’t have a lot of work history or work credits you will need to apply for SSI, a need-based program. If you have worked for many years, you may have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, but the process is still the same. If social security doesn’t have enough medical history for you, they will send you to an evaluation with a professional. 

A psychological evaluation, also known as a mental consultative test is with a professional examiner to better understand your condition. Social security will send you to one of these exams in the event there is not enough history in the claimant’s medical records. The exam is completed by an independent doctor that has no affiliation with the Social Security Administration to ensure there are no bias opinions in the exam. During the psychological exam, there are several texts the examiner will complete to include:

• Memory test

• Mood

• Depression

• Language skills

• Awareness 

• Counting 

• Who the current president is

• Talk about your childhood 

During the exam, the evaluator will watch you from the moment you pull into the parking lot. Once you get into the building, the examiner will take you into the room and note how you walk and act. If you allege you have a personality or mood disorder such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the mental health examiner will discuss your symptoms and how you deal with them each day. If you allege other mental health issues such as panic attacks, anxiety, or depression, the examiner will talk about these symptoms, how you get out of the home, deal with family and the public. The doctor will also discuss your work history, medical history, medication history, establish identity to confirm who you are and typical daily activities.

preparing for a psychological evaluationYou can prepare for the psychological evaluation by thinking and writing down some of your symptoms and how long they have lasted. Identifying what triggers your symptoms and what you do to decrease your symptoms. The night before the exam, have a good dinner and good night’s sleep as this will help you the following day. 

At the completion of the exam, the doctor you saw will need to write a report to the social security examiner about their findings and opinions about your disability within ten days. This will allow the disability examiner the opportunity to make a decision on your case. Mental consultative exams usually have enough evidence and strongly considered by the medical examiner when deciding a case. If you do not attend the mental health exam, there is a possibility your claim could be denied. 

If you need an exam, contact our office. 

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spring hope

Spring can Give us New Hope 

Spring can give us new Hope 

Spring brings us back to nature, calms our tired bodies, lifts up our spirits and fills up our sail with warm winds. Spring and hope are entangled in the soul. Mind, and body, during spring, nature combine with psychology and biology to sparkle the basic wants which inspire hope: mastery, attachment, spirituality and survival. Seasons can go with the reward of hope which greets us during the spring.

Descriptions of hope in the spring season

Here are some examples of hope in metaphors

A Healing property

Hope is flaunted as the best medicine. The hope of a patient is a secret weapon to the doctor. Hopeful patients are believed to be the secret weapon to whichever prescription they are given for their disease. Hopeful feelings have a true and quantifiable impact on health. Just like spring, hope is a powerful helper in maintaining health as well as recovering from diseases. People who were more optimistic were not as much likely to ignore doses of medicine and were rated as more dedicated to maintaining their health.

A bridge

Spring offers a bridge from the desolate winter darkness to the dazzling warmness of summer. Hope is equated to a bridge which can transport a person from darkness to light, from enslavement to liberty, and from wickedness to salvation. The curative potential of spring is indisputable, from the reduction of Seasonal Affective Disorder to the rise in Vitamin D production. 

Light and Heat

Spring comes with additional light and heat also, at times it comes after a dark and cold day. The increased light results in a lot of indirect and direct effects, which helps in elevating our mood and bring about hope. Increased exercises, as well as the bodily related but psychologically different activities of farming and gardening, are some of the indirect outcomes of spring on elevating our mood.

A havenspring

Hope can as well refer to as safe harbor or refuge. The Oxford English Dictionary had the original meaning of hope “a secluded island in the center of a desert”. Therefore, the very least we can do in this life is to discover what our hopes are. Additionally, the most we can do is to stay in that hope. Don’t admire hope from far; live just inside it.

Mind descriptions

Metaphors can disclose the interior structure of personal feelings. For instance, when we talk about “high hopes”, we try to reveal something regarding the phenomenology of experiencing hope, which is “cheerful”, “inspiring”, even “energizing.”

The world awakens during the spring season. Having been still, grey, and frosty throughout the winter season, there are new noises, things to see, flavors, and smells all coming from the natural world.  There comes a call to action, commitment and motivation to a fresh beginning in each of us. It is very simple to relate the spring day feelings to the positive features of hope.

 

If you find yourself needing help in this season, contact us. 

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motivate yourself

How to Motivate Yourself Again

Tips for Self-Motivation

If you can psych yourself up, there is no need of visiting a therapist. However, dealing with emotional hurdles is quite challenging, and this can interfere with how things are done, meaning it is harder to motivate yourself. Frustrations come through procrastinations because they distract you from the real things to tarnish the motivation. Therefore, you can have certain motivational boosters that will keep you moving. Regardless of whatever efforts, habits, and passion you portray, without showing good spirit for the job, things might still not work well for you. The article herein describes some ideas to get you motivated.

Deconstruct the Fears

Fear is the condition that triggers procrastination, and you would like to get things done on time. Therefore, try to eliminate anxieties and fears because they deviate your attention to the real issues. Fear might come from unknown things, and so you need to gather sufficient confidence to counter them. This way, you can handle all the scenarios to ensure you stand strong even in situations where you do not know everything. When exploring a given project, you can research properly in advance to cover the challenging issues, and this will motivate you to see out the operation.

Find a Partner

At times of stumbling, you need someone to push you and tell you that you can make it. They fight laziness and help to tackle serious issues by giving ideas to get you motivated always. It does not have to be a wife or husband; it can be friends or other individuals you look up to. Out of respect, you should always listen to them, and your work will never stall because they are on you reminding you of the target. These people will never let you quit, instead, they will hasten you to achieve the dreams no matter the prevailing conditions.

you got thisBuild on Success

No matter the challenges a business experiences, it has some success factors that can be carried forward, therefore, always start small. Therefore, you should be optimistic and be happy with the proceedings and take away whatever pleases you. Any win, no matter the magnitude should be appreciated and you will be motivated to go for more wins. Always start small because these things will trigger bigger success, and so celebrations should become a part of your operations. Looking back to see the minor achievements will motivate you later. Make a checklist of the things you want to do for success to come by, and for sure you will be motivated by the goal ahead.

Mind about the Small Challenges

Failure should not be tolerated under whatever circumstances because it can leave you feeling down. Therefore, you should not assume the minor issues because they can build up to become outrageous and uncontrollable. Handle everything head-on as soon as it happens because it might erupt to become a bigger challenge that interferes with your motivation levels.

 

If you need more help, contact us

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understanding forensic psychology

Understanding Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology and Psychological Assessments

Due to the proliferation of crime TV shows, there has been an increased interest in understanding Forensic Psychology. Profiling criminals and capturing them by the end of a 1-hour program can be satisfying, but it is an unrealistic portrayal of law enforcement and psychologists, specifically forensic psychologists. Forensic psychology combines psychology and the law in which psychology is applied to issues regarding the law and legal system. Individuals working in this field may not be licensed “forensic psychologists,” but school psychologists, clinical psychologists, or counselors whose psychological expertise is utilized in legal cases. These experts may assist in the following ways.

  • Child custody evaluations
  • Consult with law enforcement
  • Testimony as an expert witness
  • Psychological services to inmates

One hallmark of forensic psychology is the use of tests and assessments to diagnose, provide a recommendation, or give a hypothesis about an individual’s behavior, personality, and skills. A psychological assessment can include a battery of tests to provide a full picture of a person’s behavior, traits, and capabilities. The four components of psychological assessments include norm-referenced tests, observations, interviews, and informal assessments.

Norm-references Tests
Norm-referenced tests are psychological tests standardized on a norm group that allows individualized scores to be ranked according to a scale. These tests can assess intelligence, academic achievement, motor skills, and adaptive behavior. Norm-referenced tests provide information about an individual’s level of functioning in a relatively short period of time.

Observations
Observations are best in the individual’s natural settings, such as at home, in the community, and at school. This allows the psychologist to determine how the person behaves across settings and provides a clearer picture of their overall functioning. This particular method can be instrumental in providing treatment recommendations and determining competency.

understanding forensic psychologyInterviews
Interviews are more fluid and less structured than standardized testing. Respondents can share background information, such as childhood history and work experience. This allows the individual to tell their story in their own words and share information that may not organically appear in more structured testing.

Informal Assessments
Informal assessments may include projective tests, language samples, and drawings from children. While these tests need to be cautiously evaluated, as they are not scientifically validated as norm-reference tests, they may shed light and be a supplement to the overall battery of tests.

While criminal TV shows may not accurately portray the field of understanding forensic psychology, they have highlighted the importance of experts in this field and their assistance in legal matters. When psychology and the law interacts, experts can use their clinical skills to assess and evaluate individuals to improve their diagnoses, recommendations, and evaluations.

 

If you need a Forensic Psychologist, we are here for you. 

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ptsd navigate the silent scream

PTSD, Known as the Silent Scream

What is PTSD? Is it a Complex Disorder?

Why is PTSD referred to as a silent scream? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is basically an anxiety disorder related to the stress that people undergo after experiencing some form of trauma. It develops after a person experiences some form of trauma that causes intense mental and emotional symptoms, often unseen, PTSD is a silent scream. Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, social withdrawal, and insomnia. Some common causes of trauma include natural disasters, war, accidents, and violence. It’s different how it affects men and women, and a qualified professional will be able to help navigate this silent scream.

As previously mentioned, many people who have post-traumatic stress disorder have developed negative coping skills that make them avoid thinking about painful memories and stressing over the fears they feel. The avoidance process prevents victims from dealing with their emotions. When people with PTSD learn how to deal with their emotions, their coping skills improve. As a result, their PTSD improves, as well. IF you are looking for help determining how it affects men and women, a professional will be able to assist.

So how do you know if you are experiencing post-traumatic disorder? If you experience persistent and exaggerated flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and stress after a traumatic event, then you may have PTSD. There are two forms of PTSD, acute and chronic. In the acute form, victims are often able to deal with their fears in the spur of the moment; however, victims’ symptoms become so intense that they interfere with their lives in the chronic form.

How is post-traumatic stress disorder treated? The treatment for PTSD depends on its severity. For minor trauma, the treatment ranges from conventional medications (antidepressants, tranquilizers) to psychotherapy. Severe trauma requires medical intervention and mental health treatment.

ptsd navigate the silent screamWhat are the symptoms of PTSD?

The most common symptoms of PTSD silent scream include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, and increased anxiety. Some sufferers develop physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches, and nausea. Some develop psychological symptoms such as irritability, depression, and even years of self-destructive behavior.

Navigating the Silent Scream

If you suspect that you suffer from complex PTSD, your first step should probably be to go to your doctor and get a complete physical and mental health evaluation. If you do not feel that this level of professional help is necessary, then consider seeking support through local support groups, like the Trauma Recovery Team or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). These groups can provide you with the emotional and practical support you need to feel better and begin to work on your road to recovery from your disorder. If all else fails, then consider seeking an alternative healing method, such as psychotherapy, to treat your symptoms and reduce your stress level.

 

For urgent matters in the Indianapolis area, please contact us.

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winter blues

Overcoming the Winter Blues

Overcoming the Winter Blues

When days become shorter, cloudier, and colder, the “winter blues” set in for many people. This condition is known as seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.).

What is S.A.D.? It is a form of depression that usually begins in fall and lasts through winter. Less commonly, symptoms may begin in spring and last through summer.

It affects about 10 million Americans (80 percent of whom are women), with another 10 to 20 percent experiencing milder episodes. The age of onset is typically between ages 18 and 30.

What are the Causes?

The precise answer to the question “What is S.A.D.?” is unknown, but experts believe that winter S.A.D. is related to reduced sun exposure, creating:

  • Lower Vitamin D levels and internal body-clock disruption
  • Reduced serotonin, a natural mood-elevating brain chemical
  • Increased melatonin, a natural sleep-cycle elevating brain chemical

What are the Symptoms of the Winter Blues?

The following indicators might begin mildly but increase in intensity as winter progresses:

  • Depression throughout most of the day
  • Reduced energy, fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleeping too much
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in appetite, especially craving sweet or starchy foods
  • Feelings of hopelessness or sadness
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Irritability
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Feelings of heaviness in limbs
  • Suicidal thoughts

winter bluesWho is at Risk?

Anyone can experience winter blues, also known as S.A.D., but it is most common in:

  • Women
  • Those with (or having family members with) other mental health issues
  • Those living far from the equator

What Treatments are Available?

Self-care is highly useful for the prevention and treatment of S.A.D. Try doing these things: 

  • Engage in physical activity. This improves physical fitness, sleep patterns, and raises endorphin and serotonin levels for increased self-esteem.
  • Spend time outdoors. Sunlight elevates Vitamin D levels. But, even if it is cloudy, get outside! Natural daylight is still helpful.
  • Maintain an awareness of mood and energy level. Try to approach the cold weather positively. A good attitude makes a big difference.   

Beyond self-care, treatment options include:

  • Light therapy. Broad-band light therapy engages artificial light as an alternative to natural sunlight. This involves the use of a light-box or visor for a designated period of time each day.
  • Psychotherapy. Speaking with a licensed professional is a proven effective method of treatment.
  • Medication. Your mental health provider can make recommendations including traditional antidepressants prescribed for similar diagnoses.

If left untreated, seasonal affective disorder can lead to problems at school or work, substance abuse, eating disorders, or other issues affecting quality of life.

You are not alone, and help is at your fingertips.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms or suicidal thoughts, contact a medical professional immediately.

Contact us to see how we can help.

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Violence Risk Assessments

How to Use Violence Risk Assessments

How to Use Violence Risk Assessments

Several tests help those struggling with mental health issues and help determine risk factors. In some circumstances, as a result of psychological problems, an individual could become violent. This is a hazard to mental health professionals, but it could also impact the community. To help psychologists identify an individual’s risk factors or if they might be capable of harming someone else, the violence risk assessment was created.

Administering these Assessments

To perform a proper violence risk assessment, a psychologist would first compile key information about an individual’s past behavior health during psychological evaluations. Has this individual previously struggled with mental health issues, been in trouble with law enforcement, or witnessed making threats? This information is important when gauging whether this individual is capable of violence.

In addition to their history, a psychologist will examine the individual’s current state.

Warning Signs

  1. Anxiety

  2. Confusion

  3. Making threatening statements

  4. Destructive toward property

With these steps in mind, mental health professionals not only seek to protect bystanders but the patient as well. It’s important to find the best treatment course and the most beneficial one for the patient. The violence risk assessment doesn’t seek to place blame or shame on an individual. A psychologist can’t fully understand all facets of the situation. There could be mitigating factors, such as environmental effects that have shaped the current behavior health.

Violence Risk AssessmentsWhen to Use Violence Risk Assessments

In many situations, violence risk assessments are an effective tool. Human resource departments can utilize questioners developed by psychologists to identify warning signs for employees in the workplace. These can be part of the hiring process or the exit interview.

Also, individuals released from prison or mental health facilities undergo these assessments during psychological evaluations. New prisoners or psychiatric patients also benefit from these assessments to determine the proper accommodations. For example, someone at high risk for violence would be ill-suited for minimal security or little supervision.

These tools help in situations of domestic and family abuse. When there are threats of violence, mental health professionals must verify the other family members are not at risk.

Again, these assessments provide mental health professionals with the right information to make the most informed decisions. Violence Risk Assessments are a valuable tool in psychiatric care and a great preventative measure. If psychologists make informed adjustments to care early on, it may save the lives of those involved.

 

If you need our services, we are here for you. 

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Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric Surgery

Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric Surgery

Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a type of surgery that is performed on individuals who are obese and whose Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds the healthy level. There are many reasons who an individual may reach obesity, some of which include hereditary factors, natural body type, psychological problems leading to overeating and chronic stress. When performing bariatric surgery, the practitioner will often complete a psychological evaluation for the patient prior to the operation. This is because before treating the issue of obesity it is necessary to evaluate the underlying psychological factors contributing to the issue of obesity itself.

Causes of Obesity

For some, the state of obesity is simply caused by hereditary factors or the individual’s natural body type. These individuals may find it necessary to have repeat procedures in order to draw out the fat from the body. Still, others may be obese because they have an underlying psychological issue, such as food addiction or impulsive eating, or the lack of getting any exercise.

Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric SurgeryWeight Loss Surgery

There are various different types of weight loss surgery that can be performed in order to decrease the amount of fat weight that one holds in one’s body. One of these procedures is the Gastric Sleeve procedure. This involves removing up to 85% of the stomach in order to decrease the sensation of hunger. This can result in losing up to 70% of body weight within two years. There is also a procedure called the Gastric Bypass. This results in up to 60 – 80% of body fat lost in under two years and helps to cure Type 1 Diabetes. It reduces the size of your stomach organ and also reduces the absorption of the food you eat.

Another type of bariatric surgery is Hiatal Hernia Repair. Sometimes the cause of obesity is actually a hernia. The hiatus is the passageway between the esophagus and the stomach. In the case of a Hiatal hernia, this stomach bulges up into the chest through the hiatus. These types of procedures are often free of cost when performed in addition to standard weight-loss surgeries, as they help to ensure the health of the patient.

There are many different reasons why the individual may experience increases in weight, including hereditary factors and lifestyle choices. Individuals may gain weight because it is within their ancestry, they are naturally heavy, they are eating to treat mental health ailments or they are practicing impulsive eating. Whatever the reason may be for gaining weight, there are psychological evaluations that can aid in diagnosis. Many bariatric surgeries exist in order to drop weight including the Gastric Sleeve, the Gastric Bypass, and the Hiatal Hernia Repair. These procedures can help restore the individual to full health.

We can help with your psychological evaluation in preparation for this surgery.  Give us a call or click today.

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