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Meghan Shapiro
06/Jan/2021

 

Chrysalis has been lucky to have Ed Cochard as a part of our clinical team for 4 years. Recently our luck grew when he decided to expand his schedule to include more hours. I interviewed him briefly to learn more about him as a therapist. The following is what I learned:

In therapy sessions, you can expect Ed to be easy going. He tries to keep treatment accessible by providing a light environment. Things can get heavy sometimes in therapy and, when appropriate, Ed is quick to add humor to the session to provide some perspective and reprieve.

Validation and collaboration are very important to Ed and he will meet you where you are.  You will not have the experience of being told what to do, though he may provide nudges if needed. Ed will tell you the truth. One of his strengths as a therapist is that he enjoys building relationships and finds rapport building comes naturally (I can confirm. He is super easy to talk to.)

To conclude the interview, I asked him some difficult and very important questions: Cats or Dogs? Though he had both growing up, he prefers dogs. Oceans or Lakes? “Definitely oceans,” he said with confidence, having lived by both.

Thank you, Ed for your service to the Chrysalis Community!


Meghan Shapiro
23/Nov/2020

Gratitude.

This time of year, we are reminded to think about the things for which we are thankful. Our family has a Turkey on the Table who comes out in the beginning of November. When we sit down as a family, we write something we are thankful for on the feathers. There are no requirements and no judgement. If my kid wants to write that she is thankful for her electronic devices, we all take time to thank our phones, computers, pods and pads. Honestly, they do a lot for us that we take for granted. It’s a great tradition, supports a good cause, and I’m sure the feathers will be treasured reminders as the years go by.

It is a lovely time of year. But what about Gratitude as a practice? We practice yoga to make our bodies more flexible. How does the practice of Gratitude change things?

Why do we need to practice gratitude?

In Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu writes “He who knows he has enough is rich.” Why do we have such a hard time realizing we have enough? Well the answer has been hypothesized to be biological and evolutionary. Generally speaking, it is not the things that are going well in our lives that serve as threats and our minds are wired to identify threats. We are much less likely to pay close attention to the kind neighbor who delivers vegetables from her garden than we are to the people driving at high speed throughout the neighborhood. One is a threat to health and safety while the other is not. We naturally pay more attention to threats and sometimes this is beneficial. It can also leave us feeling anxious, on edge, and wary.  What if we paid more attention to the kindness of our neighbor?

What will change if I start a gratitude practice?

Daily gratitude practice retrains our brain to identify the good. Simply put, practitioners of daily gratitude have found that when they hold themselves accountable to identify one thing for which they are grateful at the end of each day, it changes their thoughts and focus throughout the day. They find that they start looking for positive things and focusing less on the negative. They feel less anxious, sleep better, and enjoy better relationships with friends and family. There is so much power in recognizing our ability to choose our focus especially in situations over which we have little control.

Gratitude in the real world…

When our neighborhood was redistricted and we learned the school our daughters would be attending had lower ratings on test scores, I felt frustrated. My daughter quickly pointed out that perhaps the reason for the lower scores was that the curriculum was less focused on testing and more on exploration. What a beautiful example of shifting focus in a situation over which we have no control. Her observation not only made me feel immediately better about the school, but also made me feel proud of my daughter for her awareness that exploration is an academic value we hold and her ability to find a silver lining. Gratitude has a domino effect.

How do you do it?

How does one practice gratitude? Gratitude practice can take many shapes and forms. Some people keep a gratitude journal in which they record one thing for which they are grateful each day. Families can make it a practice at the dinner table each night. Some families have a requirement that each family member text things they feel grateful for during the day. Again, to compare gratitude to yoga, there is no right way to practice. Do what feels right to you and your mind.

If you are interested in learning more about gratitude, I recommend the book, The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan. It is a personal account of a year of looking on the bright side. It is informed by research and conversations with professionals.

In closing, thank you for taking the time to read this blog. As a mental health professional, it feels good to have a venue to write about the things I think about every day.

Namaste.


Meghan Shapiro
29/Sep/2020

Meet the Therapist

Lauren Francis, MA, LPA recently graduated from Appalachian State University and earned licensure as a Psychological Associate. I had the privilege of interviewing her for the blog. When the interview was over, I didn’t want to stop talking to her. Read below to learn a little more about Lauren…

What do you like best about being a therapist?

I like collaborating with people and having the opportunity to help people in their journey. I have the education but consider people to be the expert on themselves.  I also appreciate the opportunity to learn from my clients and broaden my awareness of different perspectives on life.

What was your favorite class in graduate school and why?

It’s a tie.

I liked Diagnosis and Psychopathology because it gets into the nitty gritty of things – knowing the questions to ask and things to look for.

I also liked Foundations of Ethics and Psychotherapy because it was an introduction to therapy and I got to learn about the basics of therapy. It also helped me begin to develop as a therapist.

What do you think your strengths are as a therapist?

The ability to be non-judgemental. I have known a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life. I value the ability those relationships have given me to take different perspectives and more fully understand varied life circumstances.

I am able to see the individual and use my empathy to focus on their strengths rather than just the problem. I endeavor to help others build on their natural strengths and to empower them to make change and solve problems.

I am very aware that therapy is not one size fits all. I work within a framework of evidenced based practice and tailor treatment to match my clients’ individual needs.

What would you tell a friend who was going to their first therapy session.

Keep an open mind. Therapy is designed to help you reach your goals. Remember these three things:

  1. It’s important to be honest and willing – we are not mind readers.
  2. Going to therapy doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Everybody can benefit from therapy in some way.
  3. Take advantage of the unbiased perspective a therapist can give. It’s such a unique relationship – it can provide a perspective that no one else in your life can really give.

 

 


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