Friday, June 15, 2018

Social Media... Our National Obsession

The other day while on a walk my wife, we were engaged in a conversation and ended up on the topic of social media.  In particular, we were talking about our children and their use of social media.  As we all know technology, digital media, and social media are all very prevalent parts of the day to day lives of most teenagers.  And while there are obvious benefits that come from technology and social media (e.g., entertainment, education, information, communication, etc.), there are also many pitfalls and traps that teens can fall into through their use of those technologies.  There are increasing studies and research that have begun to show and highlight the dangers that can come for teens from overuse of and overinvolvement in social media (e.g., depression, anxiety, insecurities, social comparison, etc.).  It is important for parents to take an active, assertive role in the monitoring of and boundaries around their children's use of social media. The following is a link to an interesting article on our national obsession with social media, as well as some food for thought with how involved we should be with our children's use of that technology.
Social Media... Our National Obsession

Mont Criddle, LMFT

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Basic Principle of RESPECT



The Basic Principle of RESPECT

Each individual has their own experience in life.  As we go about our lives, it is key to connect with others and strive to do the best we can in order to achieve the goals that we have.  The decisions we make and the things that we do affect those around us.  When we work to build relationships the principle of respect comes into play.  As I have counseled individuals, couples, and families over the years, this principle of respect is commonly struggled with when things are going poorly in relationships.  It is often important to bring this to light and have the simple discussion of what respect is.  I like to talk about respect by sharing my experience of teaching Martial Arts to kids.  I have always found that basic principles such as respect can be incorporated and reinforced with the Martial Arts.  I remember teaching classes of children and simply putting the definition of respect as “treating others they way they want to be treated.”  As we look at individuals we recognize that they are all different and don’t like to be treated the same.  

People also don’t always want to be treated the way we would want to be treated.  Therefore, we would treat them the way that they would want to be treated.  This might take a little work to get to openly communicate and get to know another person in order to see what respect means to them.  I would often ask the students if they liked being treated good or bad.  Of course the answer was that they liked to be treated good.  I would tell them that most people are similar in that they want to be treated good also.  However there may be some small things that a person sees as respectful that are simple for another to say or do to fulfill this need.  We can also reinforce respect as an individual does those things that we like or that are good for us.  Again this goes back to basic communication and remembering that others can’t read our minds.  It is important for us to let others know what we do or don’t appreciate.

And of course it is essential to remember that it is important to give respect in order to be respected.  A lot of individuals that I have worked with think opposite and demand to be respected, even though they are not being respectful to others.  Over the years as I have build relationships with people in different settings, I have applied this principle of showing respect.  Without fail when both people involved want to enhance the relationship, this method works. 
Here are some guidelines that will increase respect for others.

I want to end this with a few great quotes about respect:

                  




Jeffrey Openshaw LMFT

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Cleaning

I’ve been reading a book lately by Fumio Sasaki called Goodbye, Things.  In the book the author discusses how he used to be constantly stressed and was struggling with always comparing himself to other people.  As the book progresses the author talks about how he overcame much of that through taking a hard look at the quality of his relationships and where his priorities were. He realized that he was addicted to his phone, was consumed by buying new things, and was not spending quality time with those in his life.  By simplifying his life through spending less time on electronics, having less of a focus on purchasing the “latest and greatest” thing and through putting more of his energy into having meaningful interactions with people, the author felt that he has found more genuine happiness in his life. 

While reading that book I started to think about how some of these principles apply directly with what we are doing with the adolescents at LRA. They are being put into an environment that limits their access to things that could be causing them to be comparing themselves to others or causing them unhealthy stress. The kids no longer have access to phones or social media while they are here. Some of the teens have to relearn how to have real face to face communication with their friends instead of just having friendships online.  Social media is a means by which adolescents have been seen to compare their lives to the lives of others. During their time at LRA they do not have that distraction and instead have to focus on their own lives and what direction they are headed.  Social media, cell phones, and other things of that nature are now a normal part of life in our society. We don’t expect that the teens at LRA will never again use those things again when they leave here - that would be unrealistic. However, while they are here we try to educate them on how harmful those things can be if they are not used in moderation and how much more they can get out of their relationships with people if they give people more real attention.  Often the teens I work with have told me that they enjoy not being connected constantly to electronics and that they feel better when they are able to focus more on what really matters to them and what they are working towards.  

I have sometimes found myself being almost envious of how the teens here are in a situation where they don’t have electronics and have fewer things to distract them from more meaningful things in life. However, I realized that the teens at LRA look to us, their therapists, staff, and parents, as role-models and that my constant connection to distractions in my life or comparing myself to others is actually by my own doing. I think in order to be positive and healthy role models for them we should take a look at our own lives and see where we need to work on these issues. Are we constantly comparing ourselves to others? Are we ourselves addicted to our phones, electronics, or social media?  Do we need to simplify our lives to refocus our priorities on meaningful relationships and activities? I definitely do and so this spring I’m going to do a little “spring cleaning” and figure out where I can simplify things in my life so that I can be less distracted and more purposeful with my time and refocus my priorities. I encourage you to do the same! 

Kristjana Green, LCSW

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Logan River Academy Achieves Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission


Logan River Academy is proud to announce that we have earned the Behavioral Health Care Accreditation and Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission. The accreditation process consisted of a rigorous 3-day onsite survey conducted in February of 2018.

“Since our inception in 2000, Logan River Academy has strived to provide the highest and most ethical level of care possible to the students and families we serve. This accreditation is further evidence that we are doing just that,” said Larry Carter, Founder and Executive Director of Logan River Academy. “We look forward to implementing the Joint Commission’s recommendations and raising the bar even further for ourselves.”

“Joint Commission accreditation provides behavioral health care organizations with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas related to the care of individuals and their families,” said Julia Finken, RN, BSN, MBA, CSSBB, CPHQ, Executive Director, Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Logan River Academy for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.”

This accreditation will assist us in all areas of service we provide. From clinical, to residential, to adventure learning, as well as our academics. If you are working with a student who you feel may be a good fit for Logan River Academy, please contact us at 435-755-8400 or information@loganriver.com.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March



The month of March is an exciting time of year, in my opinion.  Here in Utah we start to see the first signs of springtime. After a long winter of snow and cold weather, those subtle signs of spring are a welcome sight. March is also a great time of year because of March Madness, the college basketball playoff tournament. This is a time when people from all over the country get excited about their teams and hoping their team will win. Most March Madness tournaments produce some exciting games with buzzer beating finishes. The full range of human emotion can be seen during these fiercely competed contests.

Life is an amazing experience. It is open ended and unique for all of us. Each day brings new opportunities, challenges, and things to get excited about. One small thing we can all do to improve our happiness is to find joy and contentment in the small things of life such as a spring bud on a tree or an exciting basketball game. What are the small things in life that get you excited?

Many of us go through life with our heads down, feeling sad about missed opportunities from the past or worrying about the future. One key to finding contentment in life is to learn to enjoy the moment. There are subtle beauties in the moment that we often miss because of our focus on the past or the future.

One therapy model we love at Logan River Academy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT focuses on mindfulness and learning to live in the present. ACT helps us learn to accept thoughts and feelings rather than push them away or distract ourselves. This model teaches us to make room for difficult emotions and to learn to observe them rather than get hooked or fused to them. As we lessen our resistance, thoughts tend to be less troublesome and move on more quickly.

One part of ACT I am personally working on is learning to connect in the present. I am trying to focus more on what is going on around me such as sounds, textures, and movements. I am trying to drive a little slower, eat in a more relaxed and slow paced fashion, and enjoy each conversation. Learning to connect and live in the Here-and-Now is crucial to contentment. Many of us go through life thinking life will be better after we make this much money, or have this relationship, or go on this vacation. When we live this way we miss out on the many joys right in front of us.

As we learn to appreciate each moment of each day, the hope is that contentment can settle upon us. ACT acknowledges that pain is inevitable and part of all of our lives. How we respond to pain is our choice. If we respond poorly, suffering is sure to come. If we make room for pain and handle it well, suffering may not have to be part of the equation. Let’s all try to enjoy the present and recognize the small, subtle nuances of life that can bring great levels of contentment!

If you are interested in learning more about ACT, please consider reading The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. I am currently reading this book and enjoying it very much. 

 
Matt Erickson, LCSW

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Why playing is good for kids….and adults!



Why playing is good for kids….and adults!

I came across this article from KSL.com (https://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=46191068&nid=157&title=why-adults-should-play-too) and realized how important play is for all of us, in a world where we all need time for our own self-care to help our own sanity:



The science behind play
The evolutionary importance of play can be demonstrated in the brains and behaviors of rats and primates, said Dr. Sergio Pellis, neuroscientist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
In his experiments, he denied rats the opportunity to engage in play by fighting and wrestling.
Those rats developed deficiencies in their brains' pre-frontal cortex. This is the area responsible for executive functions, such as making judgment calls and emotional regulation.
"If you're an adult male rat put in another cage of a rat you don't know, the resident rat will see you as an intruder and beat you up," Pellis said.
If you're a normal rat, you'll find any place to hide — a platform, perhaps — and stay there, he said.
"If you're a play-deficient rat, you'll get beaten up and shortly thereafter move again and attract even more attention," he said. "You're not figuring out the appropriate thing to do in this situation."
Similar research with monkeys led to the same results, said Pellis, co-author of "The Playful Brain: Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience."
While this type of experiment cannot be replicated in juvenile humans for ethical reasons, social science studies have shown kids who engage in more play end up with higher social skills a few years down the line, Pellis said, predicting more research in the next decade on adult human brains at play.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Views From Our Changing Seasons




My last blog post told the story of our trip to the Grizzly Ridge Yurt in the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah. Back when the ground was buried deeply in white, the trees were bare, and the scenery was often obstructed by falling snow or dense cloud cover. Now only one season away from that same beautiful scene, I want to share the photos and a few stories from our spring and summer excursions and the first few weeks of fall.
Almost every mountain range in the western US was full of snow through April and May, many well into June. While this certainly makes for nice photos, it also makes for muddy, wet shoes on a hike. 




Speaking of wet shoes, running rivers after a historic winter season will leave you soaked head to toe, often with 50ᵒ F water. Many of our trails had dried out by the time July rolled around, though we were able to still find a patch here and there at the highest elevations. Another benefit to the summer season is dry rock and warm belays.






I am slightly biased about winter being the best season, but after the warm months of summer provide never-ending light and jacket-free recreation I find it difficult to yield to the changing of the leaves. Fortunately fall brings gorgeous sunsets, long shadows and a color palette too exquisite to comprehend.