Back to School Tips for Your Mental Health

Autumn can feel like the unofficial “new year” because it marks the beginning, or return, of school. Whether you’re a parent of school-aged children/teens, or a college student starting the semester, this time of the year can feel pretty overwhelming. Even if you’re used to the cycle there’s always something new — a new school, classes, people, teachers, and stressors. 

As mental health providers, we often see an increase in anxiety and depression around this time because of these changes and challenges. Luckily, there are ways to alleviate this and mitigate the effects it may have on our mental health and wellbeing. We’ve taken the time to put together a list of three things you and your family can do to start the new school year off right.

 

Create a Routine – Adapting to rising demands and unexpected circumstances is difficult for everyone. Oftentimes our emotional and intellectual energy can be quickly depleted from tackling new experiences. This is only amplified if done in a short period of time, like the first week back to school. During this time our bodies and brains are working hard to intake new information and adapt on the fly. Individually we may have a different level of tolerance around how long it takes before we feel depleted, but ultimately we all need a chance to slow down and rest.

Structure, habits, and routine can offer safety and predictability in the face of change. It’s unrealistic to expect we can control or anticipate everything that may come up, but establishing a routine around what we can control will help us preserve our energy for the unexpected challenges. One idea is to create a routine with your mornings and evenings, this way you and/or your family know what to expect outside the school hours. Another might be to create small breaks in the day for a chance to recharge.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear lays out a simple, usable guide for creating habits, such as the ones mentioned above. He says, “Success is the product of daily habits — not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” Small changes to our routines, not lofty goals, is how we make real differences in our lives. If you’re looking for additional resources on this topic check out the book, which we’ve linked here.

 

Prioritize Sleep – The amount and quality of our sleep is vitally important in every aspect of our lives. Regardless of our age, getting good sleep helps our bodies and brains function at their best. Moreover, many studies have shown a link between sleep and school performance. So, letting yourself or your family get some extra sleep can be a big help. But what more can we do to prioritize sleep?

One of the best ways to improve our “sleep hygiene,” which is the term used for our bedtime habits, is with repetition. For example, sleep researcher Matthew Walker suggests going to bed and waking up at the same time, even on weekends. Predictability and repetition is an important piece of our body’s natural cycle. Sticking to a sleep pattern may be difficult at first, but will become easier over time.

Other factors in sleep hygiene include nighttime routines, such as brushing our teeth, that help signal our brain it’s time for bed. It is also recommended that if you’re having trouble falling asleep that you actually get out of bed and do something else. This helps keep the association between the bed and actual sleep intact. Matthew Walker has great resources on this topic, which we highly encourage you to look into for more help on prioritizing sleep. See his TED Talk video below and his book titled Why We Sleep.

Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker


See your Therapist – Similar to having a check-up with your medical provider, meeting with your therapist can help start the school year off on the right foot. They can help you practice healthy coping skills and provide positive support with your habits. Most importantly though, therapy can be a safe space for you to openly explore your thoughts and feelings. Here at Therapy Transformed, we prioritize creating this kind of environment and relationship with our clients. We want to help you embrace brave change from within. Reach out to get started with us!

 

In conclusion, it’s the small things that help the most, including preventative care with our mental health. Of course, it’s important to remember that stress and challenges are part of life no matter what. Even when we have healthy routines, habits, sleep, etc. we will still encounter hard days and stressful times. When we practice accepting the inevitable ebb and flow of life we might find it easier to weather the storms, and embrace the calm too.

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy FAQ

Have you wondered what ketamine treatments are and how they can be helpful? We answer our most common questions here. If you need more information, reach out to us! We’d love to talk to you more about this innovative and promising new treatment.

 

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a type of anesthesia and has been approved for use on humans since the 1970’s. It was first used in the Vietnam War with injured soldiers. Ketamine does not decompress your lungs or your breathing so it is safe to be used in multiple different settings.

 

Why try ketamine instead of antidepressants and typical psychiatric medication? 

Ketamine is a catalyst to allow your body and mind to heal. Research is identifying that individuals who have taken antidepressants for multiple years have stopped receiving any benefit from them due to:

  1. a) the lack of neuroplasticity in the brain
  2. b) placebo effect
  3. c) the plateau effect of medication 
  4. d) serotonin overload

Ketamine creates neuroplasticity in the brain, allowing the serotonin to decompress and dopamine to regenerate. 80% of research studies’ data collection has identified that individuals who have done the standard treatment (6 Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions within 4-6 weeks) within a 2 year period have not needed antidepressants and have only needed 6 to 12 month “tune-up” Ketamine sessions.

 

What is ketamine assisted psychotherapy?

In short we call this KAP! It’s exactly what it sounds like – a therapy session 

alongside your Ketamine treatment. You go to your ketamine appointment and have a therapist meet with you during the ketamine session. This type of therapy has been researched and approved by the FDA and John Hopkins specifically for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic Depression. In addition, research has also found KAP provides significant benefit for chronic and debilitating anxiety, substance abuse, and negative thought cognitions that impact daily life.

 

Why do KAP in addition to just doing ketamine?

KAP is the new standard of practice.  It aligns with ethical and liability standards of care in the medical and therapeutic realms. Ketamine alone, without Psychotherapy, can still have a significant benefit. However, research is showing that Ketamine has longer lasting impacts when trauma, anxiety, depression, and negative narratives are processed concurrently with therapy.  And overall, research shows that clients have a better experience through the process.

 

How do I know if KAP and ketamine are for me?

Talk to your therapist, your medical provider and the doctor who you’d be considering to administer your Ketamine sessions. If you don’t have a therapist or provider but have been struggling with trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse or just feel stuck in your thought patterns – consult with a therapist or psychiatrist.

 

What does it feel like when you have ketamine?

Ketamine is a psychedelic, meaning it has dissociative properties when administered. What that means for you is that when you are in a controlled psychedelic or “another” conscious state, your mind is able to create and regenerate itself. With the analgesic component, your body is very relaxed. You are in a safe and comfortable clinic setting with medical observation of your vitals. Many describe feelings of being outside of their body. Being outside of your body is a way for your ego to detach emotions from memories. When ketamine wears off, you may have a small amount of tingling in your arms and feet and within a few minutes you are ready to walk and leave the clinic. 

 

Is ketamine for everyone? 

No treatment is for everyone.  Please consult with a therapist and a psychiatrist to determine if KAP and Ketamine are right for you. Currently, Ketamine has been researched on adults.  There is a lack of research on adolescents and children. There may be certain conditions that Ketamine is not best suited for – please refer to your physician or psychiatrist if you have concerns about any medical condition.

 

Will my insurance pay for it? 

Insurance does not cover the standard method of  ketamine treatment at this time:  IV (Intravenous) or IM (intramuscular)  At Therapy Transformed, we partner with a psychiatrist who is a ketamine provider and can offer a financial package for KAP, giving you an affordable option. There are also specific programs that can provide funding up front and low monthly payments. You can ask your provider to talk more about these third party companies to get more information.

 

What can I expect to feel after ketamine and overall, what will I get out of it?

Everyone is different, because all of us have different minds and bodies. We hope that after 3 sessions each client starts to see significant changes in mood and that after 6 sessions, there is even more progress. We also know that ketamine is not for everyone but allowing yourself to try a journey to another conscious state may provide the catalyst that your mind needs for healing. 

April Stress Awareness Tips

Tips for Surviving Spring

Spring can be a joyous time for some and for others it can bring on more unwanted stress. Our therapists have put together some tips to help you enjoy your spring and minimize the amount of stress you feel this month. 

Eat your meals outside

 If you have a hard time finding time or space to get outside, eat your meals outside. I love eating lunch outside, it helps to break up my work day and gives me a boost during the day. If you can’t do that, just open your front door. It’s still cool enough to not heat up your house, but not so cold that it will bring down your house temp.

Plant something 

Touching dirt, earth, mud can ground you to the earth and decrease the anxieties that come with spring.

Free up your to-do list 

Minimize – your clutter, your schedule, your commitments. What do you truly value – time with family and loved ones? Building your career? Freedom to relax? To be outdoors? Are you putting energy into those things: if not – what are the barriers? What would an ideal day look like – what’s one step you can take today to start creating that?

Start to notice if you are putting pressure on yourself to ‘make the most’ of spring or summer. I often get anxious knowing I want to savor the summer and enjoy it to the max. That pressure actually makes me feel more agitated than excited. When you start to feel like you have to fill up your calendar and check off all your bucket list items, try to come back to non-judgement and enjoy whatever moment you are in. 

Schedule time to do something fun or pleasurable. Often, waiting for the time to present itself will not happen. Don’t wait for burnout, be preventative.

Practice grounding yourself

Practice grounding yourself in the moment. What do you see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Connect w your five senses, narrate in your head how you would describe what you’re experiencing w your senses. 

Do it when you’re taking a walk or while you’re doing the dishes, try it when you’re anxious. This uses the same part of your brain that anxious thoughts occupy. So if you increase mindfulness, it will be harder for your anxiety to compete for your focus. If those thoughts start intruding, just acknowledge it and come back to describing.  It’s a helpful way to put you back in the driver seat of your thoughts.  It is also a way to enrichen a neutral moment and increase vibrancy in your everyday life.

 

Be intentional

Pause – what do you hope to get out of going on social media right now? For which reason are you working out? What need is that food fulfilling? How much time do you want to spend playing that video game?  How much overtime do you want to put into your job? Does it align with what you want to get out of your day/week/year? 

Identify the need you’re trying to fulfill with it – is there a better way to meet that need? Identify why you’re choosing it and your life starts to feel more empowered and in-control.

Being intentional is a good way to make sure that how you spend your time aligns with what you want out of your life.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and stressed try talking to someone. A trained therapist can help you work through your thoughts, feelings and emotions to allow more of the feelings and sensations that we need like connection, happiness, and a sense of control.  

First Group Therapy Series: Faith Transitions Support Group

This is an ideal group for those who are experiencing a change in their religious and spiritual identities.

Changes in our religious beliefs can be all-encompassing. It often affects our self-identity, sense of belonging, social support, emotional wellbeing, and existential safety. Additionally, it’s difficult to know who we can turn to when our ideas and beliefs begin to shift. This combination of effects can leave us feeling lonely and confused.

“Many individuals are born into belief systems in their families and religious communities, and it is in these early groups where they are steeped in messages that affect their ideas about themselves and the world.” (Alyson M. Stone, 2013)

The reality is you are not the only one experiencing these struggles. Many of us, wherever we are on the religious spectrum, have confronted the physical, emotional, and spiritual obstacles associated with embracing new or changing beliefs. Yet, your story is also unique and valuable. You deserve a place where you can share your story and find connections with others.

The benefit of a support group is that it offers us a chance to do this. It will be a group where you can speak openly, bravely, and safely. Engaging in this is an important step in your overall journey and healing. Additionally, we will focus on listening to each other in order to better inform our perspectives and share about the ways we’ve found to move forward.

Whatever your religious faith background is in, the purpose of this group is to openly discuss our experiences, doubts, frustrations, fears, traumas, grief, etc. Our goal is to create a safe environment to discuss our evolving beliefs and find support from those who are experiencing the same transition. We ask that you come with an attitude of respect, vulnerability, and cooperation.

Group Details

  • This is a closed group (i.e. others cannot join the group once it has begun) and will consist of 5-8 members. The therapist leading this group is Stefan Chase, CSW (see the About page on our website for his bio).
  • Currently, this group will be meeting on Monday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. It will be held every week at the same time for a 6-week period. At the conclusion of the 6 weeks, group members may discuss whether or not they would like to extend the group therapy for another 6-week period.
  • Meetings will be held virtually via Google Meet. A strong internet connection is ideal in order to facilitate a smooth experience. Additionally, you must have a private location from which to participate to ensure confidentiality for all group members.
  • This group costs $180 for the 6-week period, which is due prior to the first meeting.
  • A brief 15-minute call with the therapist is required prior to the first meeting in order to meet one another and answer any questions. If you are interested in joining please contact Stefan Chase via email: stefan@therapytransformed.com 

Citation:

Alyson M. Stone. (2013). Thou Shalt Not: Treating Religious Trauma and Spiritual Harm With Combined Therapy. Group, 37(4), 323-337. doi:10.13186/group.37.4.0323

First Group Therapy Series: Personal Growth and Processing Group

We are very excited to announce our very first group therapy series that will be led by our therapist Stefan Chase. This is an ideal group for those struggling with anxiety, self-confidence, relationship dynamics, and personal authenticity. Keep reading for more information about how this group could help you or someone you know.

Katie: I’ve been feeling pretty anxious about school lately. I’ve picked a major, but I’m just not sure it’s the right one for me. But I’m sick of switching and I just want to graduate already.

Hannah: I know how you feel, I changed majors eight times before deciding. There’s a lot of pressure to “have it all figured out.”

Katie: Exactly, I’m only 22, how am I supposed to know what I want to do for the rest of my life??

James: You should take one of those career choice tests that help you see what you’re good at and would like to do.

Katie: I’ve taken three different ones already and each one said something different! I’m sick of it!

Group: *Silence* …

Therapist: What’s everyone feeling right now?

Katie: I feel like me talking about my problem just shut everyone down… 

Hannah: No, you didn’t shut us down, we want to be here for you.

Zach: Yeah, it’s okay Katie, I think we’re all feeling for you.

Therapist: James, what are you feeling?

James: *Hesitation* … Well, honestly I feel kind of rejected. I made a suggestion and Katie did shut me down.

Therapist: Could you tell that directly to Katie?

James: Oh, sure… Katie, I was just trying to help. I’ve been in your shoes too, picking a major in college is hard and I personally found those career tests to be really helpful.

Katie: I get that, but there isn’t any advice that’s going to make me feel better. I just want to know that my problems matter.

Therapist: And James’ comment made you think that they don’t matter.

Katie: Exactly. Like, I should just be able to fix it and then everything will be fine. So I think I’d be better off just not talking about it. I’m bringing everyone else down with me.

Therapist: Who feels like Katie is bringing them down with her?

Group: *Heads shake*

Zach: You aren’t bringing anyone down, I think we just don’t know exactly what would help you. But we want to help!

Katie: Thanks. I did appreciate what you and Hannah said.

Therapist: But James’ comment not so much.

Katie: Right…

James: I realize what I said may have come across as dismissive of your feelings. That’s not what I meant to do.

Therapist: Katie, could you tell James, and the rest of us, what would help you feel validated.

Katie: *Thinking* … Yeah, I guess I just want to know that my problem, even as dumb as it might be, is still important. I have a hard time feeling like what I’m going through matters because other people have way worse things going on. Struggling to pick my major is such a “first world problem” you know?

James: Your problems definitely matter! It’s not a competition, at least I don’t see it that way. You’re struggling and we want to be here for you. I’d like to hear more about it if you want to keep sharing.

Hannah: I totally agree, we all have problems that are important. That includes yours!

Group: *Heads nod*

Katie: Thanks, I appreciate you all saying that. I know you all care, it’s just hard for me to actually believe it, you know?

Therapist: That’s a pretty common struggle. I know I’ve had to deal with that before. Can anyone else relate?

(A fictional transcript of a process group.)

 

Inevitably we all experience challenges in our relationships, whether it be with friends, family, co-workers, etc. Often it’s difficult to gain an accurate perspective of ourselves, our behavior, attitudes, communication style, etc. We may believe we are coming across one way, but in fact are seen and heard very differently than we were expecting by others. This can lead to doubt and uncertainty about ourselves, even becoming the catalyst for disconnection, inauthenticity, and emotional distress.

The antidote to this problem is (1) openly receiving honest feedback about ourselves, (2) recognizing and accepting responsibility for what we can control, and (3) changing our behavior to align with our values and beliefs (i.e. embrace authenticity). 

Admittedly, this is a difficult thing to do, especially when the many factors of complex relationships are at play. For one or more reasons, going about doing this might be extremely difficult or impractical. For example, the relationship has been historically unsafe for you to be vulnerable with them. Maybe the relationship has an imbalance of power, such as with a boss, co-worker, or parent. Perhaps you struggle to be honest for fear of rejection or retaliation. And although this might only be with one aspect of your relationships (past or present), those experiences can often leave us doubtful or afraid with other relationships in our life. They can unintentionally influence how we think, act, and feel about other connections, including with ourselves.

Group therapy offers a solution. The purpose of this group is to create a space where we can practice implementing the antidote. The group is an honest, limited-consequence environment for you to practice being open, flexible, and willing to change. This is the unifying factor between all of us in this group; we want to grow and improve. For that to happen we each must be willing to bravely embrace vulnerability and genuineness. The most important thing is to show up and be yourself. 

This group acts as a safe place where we can gain honest connection, learn about ourselves, and discover how to create more meaningful relationships in other areas of our lives. We hope you’ll bring an attitude of respect, genuineness, vulnerability, and a desire to grow.

Group Details

Stefan Chase, CSW
  • This is a closed group (i.e. others cannot join the group once it has begun) and will consist of 5-8 members. The therapist leading this group is Stefan Chase, CSW (see the About page on our website for his bio).
  • Currently, this group will be meeting on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. It will be held every week at the same time for a 6-week period. At the conclusion of the 6 weeks, group members may discuss whether or not they would like to extend the group therapy for another 6-week period.
  • Meetings will be held virtually via Google Meet. A strong internet connection is ideal in order to facilitate a smooth experience. Additionally, you must have a private location from which to participate to ensure confidentiality for all group members.
  • This group costs $180 for the 6-week period, which is due prior to the first meeting.
  • A brief 15-minute call with the therapist is required prior to the first meeting in order to meet one another and answer any questions. If you are interested in joining please contact Stefan Chase via email: stefan@therapytransformed.com 
  • You can download a printable flyer with this information here.

Community Partner Feature: Soul Revive Yoga

Soul Revive Yoga
Trauma Informed Yoga with Andrea Steele
soulreviveyoga@gmail.com
(801) 815-4518
Website Coming Soon

Hi I’m Andrea! The owner of Soul Revive Yoga and Wellness. Our mission is to provide
accessible yoga and wellness practices for everybody and any body. Truly a space of diversity
and inclusion, where we acknowledge and celebrate our differences. A place where vulnerability
is welcomed and embraced through connection and community by supporting one another in
our struggles and successes. We enact mindfulness and yoga to develop a sense of self-
awareness, self-compassion and self acceptance. These wellness practices will help us
cultivate our infinite power within. We are dedicated and committed to providing equitable yoga
and wellness for marginalized groups who have been impacted and underrepresented because
of economic, political, cultural, and social issues.

Our vision is to bring together a diverse group of souls to renew mind, body and soul. We
believe as you learn to embody these wellness practices, you will be empowered to transform
and heal, restoring you back to your truest nature. Your healing will aid in our collective healing.
I am Certified through Yoga Alliance as a Yoga Teacher. My training consists of 200 hours of
yoga philosophy, anatomy and alignment. I have additional training in Trauma Informed and
Trauma Sensitive Yoga. 20 hours of Trauma Informed Training with Yoga Behind Bars and 20
hours of Foundational Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training through the Center for
Trauma and Embodiment at Justice Resource Institute. Both YBB and TCTSY trainings are
centered around learning about Race and social justice issues to gain a greater perspective and
understanding of those most impacted by trauma.

I have experienced trauma myself. Practicing yoga and mindfulness has been intricate in my
own healing and renew mind, body and soul. As a yoga and mindfulness teacher, I am here to
hold space for you by guiding you through exploring what it feels like to be fully present in your
body and learning to honor what you need in the present moment.

 

Community Partners

At Therapy Transformed, we believe in building a community of supporters to help us on our own personal journey. As business owners and members of our local community it is important that we support other businesses whose mission aligns with our own to support mental health and wellness and “brave change from within.” We are excited to highlight a few of these businesses here.

Life Tree Psychiatry
www.lifetreeut.com
Dr. Josh Hooton and his team at Life Tree Psychiatry provide an innovative approach to Ketamine Therapy and are one of the leading providers in Utah for using Ketamine Induction Therapy to treat clients with persistent depression and anxiety issues. Along with Ketamine therapy, Dr. Hooton provides psychiatric services for a variety of concerns and behaviors.

Promptly Journals
www.promptlyjournals.com
“We believe in the power of writing to bring healing, peace, clarity, and connection to our lives. At Promptly, we create prompted journals to help you record the memories that make you who you are, and journals that help you better connect with yourself and the people in your life. The best way to honor your unique stories and relationships is to write down the details. We’re here to help.”

 

Ascendant Tracker
www.ascendanttracker.com
Through their innovative mobile app and provider platform, Ascendant Tracker aims to help you and your therapist achieve a better awareness of your mental health.

 

Soul Revive Yoga
Trauma Informed Yoga with Andrea Steele
soulreviveyoga@gmail.com
Website Coming Soon