Counseling & Therapy Newsletter August 2020

Counseling & Therapy Newsletter August 2020

Aug 07, 2020

Mental Health, Family Counseling, newsletter, School-Based Mental Health

August 2020 

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Hello and welcome to FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy’s Monthly Newsletter!

In each issue we will address a different topic surrounding mental health, highlight a treatment perspective from the field, as well as showcase a few of our own clinicians. Our hope is that this newsletter helps to raise awareness, begins conversations around tough topics, and instills hope.



As a result of COVID-19 the majority of FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy sessions are being done using tele-health video calls. Limited in-person sessions for specialized therapies available for current and new clients. To set-up an appointment please call 651-439-4840 or visit Click here to see COVID-19 updates.



 Back to School Tough Decisions

August always has a buzz about it. We all are trying to cram in those last summer activities; stores bustle with shoppers buying school supplies; and sports/clubs begin meeting to prep for the new year. There is excitement and anticipation in the air.  But, this year is different, and promises to be like nothing we have seen before. As parents, we are feeling stress and anxiety as we try and answer the questions: Do we send our kids to school? Do we keep them home? Do we juggle a hybrid option? What if I send my kid(s) and they get sick? What if I don’t send my kid(s) and they get further behind in their studies? How am I supposed to work with the school schedule in flux? How do we all keep our sanity?

These are tough questions, and it is overwhelming. You are not alone. Every student, parent, teacher, and school staff person is feeling the same way as the school year approaches. There seems to be so much pressure to get schools open, yet how are we going to do this safely and productively? How are you going to make the best decision for your family?

The FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy team urges you to take on these challenges one step at a time. You don’t have to make every decision at once, and looking at the bigger picture can be overwhelming. Start by gathering information on your specific district and building. Understand the facts and requirements, then think about/discuss with trusted others how do you really feel about sending your kid(s), or ourselves, back into the building. Trust your gut. No matter what decision you make –which feels best for the moment-- you are brave and strong to carry out that decision.  

When it comes to other people’s decisions, be mindful. Each family is faced with these tough decisions, and you don’t know all the deciding factors for different families. Maybe there is an underlying health condition. Maybe there are older family members for whom they care. Maybe there is fear and anxiety, or even anger  No matter what the reason for a family’s decision, it is their choice and what works for them. Honor it and understand that there is no one-size-fits-all option.

If you or your family are struggling with these decisions, or the emotions that come along with this difficult situation, FamilyMeans is here to help. Our clinical staff can provide individual, couple, or family therapy sessions to help you work through life’s challenges such as this. 





Treatment Perspective: Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, is an evidence-based treatment modality originally designed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Over the years, with much research, this modality has been found to be helpful for many more disorders such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance use, and binge-eating disorder.

DBT is rooted in cognitive-behavioral therapy; helping to change negative thought patterns and emotions into more helpful ones. DBT focuses on clients learning and using these new skills and changing behaviors. The ultimate goal with DBT is to obtain a ‘life worth living’ that is defined by the client.

DBT treatment is broken down into 4 main modules of focus.

Mindfulness-clients learn how to be mindful, what acceptance and change are, and a variety of mindfulness skills to be present in their lives.

Distress tolerance-clients learn what distress tolerance is; they can handle difficult and intense emotions.

Emotion regulation-clients then take those difficult or intense emotions and learn strategies to help regulate these emotions when they are felt.

Interpersonal effectiveness-clients work, though the relationship with their therapist, family and group members, how to interact with others effectively to gain what they need from the relationship.

Therapists who provide DBT treatment have gone through extensive training and consultation in order to provide this modality. Complete DBT treatment should include all of the following components: individual therapy, group therapy, phone coaching with a therapist, and the therapist is part of a consultation team specific to DBT. However, skills within DBT are widely useful and helpful on their own as well, and many therapists utilize some of the skills within their regular therapy techniques.


FamilyMeans Clinician Spotlight


 Trina Bak
Trina Bak, Clinical Intern

Trina Bak is in her second year as a social work intern with FamilyMeans.  Trina is currently working on finishing her master’s degree in social work through Tulane University. She is passionate about helping and providing resources for the most vulnerable people in the community, and anyone who is seeking support to improve their quality of life. What Trina enjoys the most about working as a mental health practitioner at FamilyMeans is having the ability to connect with people one on one and address their concerns on a holistic level.  Trina often refers to DBT mindfulness techniques to teach clients of all ages healthy coping skills as they move through stressful situations and events in their lives.  Trina finds this to be especially useful as we are all navigating the new stresses brought on by COVID-19 and constant uncertainty in our daily routines. 


Jennifer Miles, Clinical Intern

Jennifer Miles is a clinical intern with FamilyMeans. Jennifer comes to FamilyMeans with a lot of experience. Jennifer has had two previous careers, each of which has prepared her for the next. These past experiences have enriched her empathy and motivation to serve the wider community. Jennifer is excited and honored to be learning from such caring and knowledgeable professionals at FamilyMeans. Jennifer can’t wait to be living a life which supports people and groups in finding peace, contentment and an end to suffering. 



Mem Walk Invite


Join our Center for Grief & Loss staff for our virtual Memorial Walk for Hope & Healing.

Sign-up to receive an email to this virtual event on September 26th. The event will begin with a short video program to remember loved ones lost, reflect, and share hopes for the future. Then guests will be encouraged to independently participate in a short walk and activity of remembrance.

 Learn More & Sign-Up



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