May 14th

Accelerated Therapy

By Tessa Gittleman, LAMFT

If your car were stalling repeatedly, would you assume it could be fixed in weekly, 45-minute intervals? Probably not. Attempting to solve your car problems this way would only allow you to address superficial issues. Sure, it might drive nicely for a while, but a part of you would be anticipating when the next stall would occur. You might start to feel resentment for all the time wasted on tune-ups, feel your frustration spill over, and fear that this is as good as it gets. At this point: you could keep doing what you are doing, trade in the car, or accept that the more parts that are interwoven into the problem, the more time you will need to effectively address it.

For couples and families, therapy can feel the same way; you never quite get enough time to deal with the underlying issues at play for each individual, or the relationship. We can see it, we can name it, but we just can’t get there in the time allotted. When the traditional approach doesn’t work for you, and going on a therapy retreat isn’t your ideal use of vacation days, what do you do?

The Accelerated Model is our answer to that frustrating problem. With sessions lasting at least three hours, we can:

  • Wear out defense mechanisms that prevent meaningful exchanges to occur (such as: blocking, denial, intellectualization, and isolation).
  • Identify, name, and break down unhelpful patterns of behavior.
  • Work through difficult conflicts with the support, safety, and guidance of a professional.
  • Analyze, assess, and foster awareness of contributing factors and solutions.
  • Practice positive interpersonal exchanges.
  • Move past problem-saturated stories that have kept you stuck in the past.

While you have probably never heard of this approach, it is not exactly new to the field. Also known as: Marathon Sessions, Intensive Sessions, or Double Sessions, these extended-time models were more used commonly in the 1960’s and 70’s by family therapy pioneers like: James Framo, Carl Whitaker, and Salvador Minuchin (Reiter, 2010; Weigel, 2002). These models fell out of fashion when managed care companies shifted reimbursement practices, limiting the duration of a reimbursable session to 45-minutes (Reiter, 2010).  Without consumers, providers stopped offering the service, and without providers, graduate programs stopped relevant research and trainings, all but eradicating extended time models from the field.

Kari Lyn Wampler, MA, LMFT, and Tessa Gittleman, MA, LAMFT, have had the training and practice it takes to successfully manage these extended-sessions. Families and couples who have tried the Accelerated Therapy Model report feeling more confident in their relationship, a reduction of overall stress, a sense of resolution, and more harmony.  This model is especially helpful for families and couples struggling with:

  •        Acute crisis
  •        Stage of life issues
  •        Family transitions
  •        Coping with grief or loss
  •        Reemergence of old problems
  •        Reoccurring stressors
  •        Communication issues

However, this approach is not right for everyone. While the format allows us to navigate through difficult subjects quickly and intensely, it is not covered by insurance. Additionally, there are certain risks involved, such as: the amplification of the problem, discomfort, or exposure of secrets. For these reasons, we do not recommend this service if there is active: addiction, violence, untreated mental health problems, or an undisclosed affair.

If you would like to learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call The Calli Institute at 763-255-2125 and ask to speak with an intake specialist.

 

 

May 9th

Honoring all Moms

By Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW

Just as we know eventually, spring will arrive; we know that the second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day in America. You might wonder how this day got started except by the card, candy, and flower companies. It started with humbler and less commercial origins.

Julia Ward Howe sponsored Mother’s Day around 1870 to encourage women to embrace pacifism and disarmament. The holiday didn’t take hold until 1907.

Anna Jarvis wanted to improve health conditions in Grafton, West Virginia, where she lived. She celebrated the life of her mother by organizing a private celebration. This celebration of her mother launched “Mother’s Day Work Clubs in the effort for health issues to be more widely recognized. President Wilson signed a law on May 8, 1914 “designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day”.

In your life, you probably knew women who were maternal figures, either by choice or blood.  You may have children of your own or were maternal figures to other people’s children. You may have had to learn how to be a mother to yourself and others. You might be male and have had to provide nurturing to your family or friends.

Just as Julia Ward Howe and Ann Jarvis wanted to bring awareness to social issues they thought were important at the time, we can bring our own unique lens to Mother’s Day. We can campaign for our own comfort and those of others we love.

How will you celebrate the “Moms” in your life, past or present?

Happy Mother’s Day

May 2nd

The Key to Healthy Communication

By Jacqueline Abeling MA, LMFT

The following is a condensed version of the first post in a series on couple’s communication I’ve been working on that synthesizes many of the concepts I present to couples and families who have trouble communicating. For the full post, check out my blog at www.jacquelineabeling.com.

One of the most common complaints I hear from couples is: “We need better communication.” Clear and accurate communication is the cornerstone of healthy relationships be it with your partner, your children, your family, your co-workers…or whoever! And I almost always start with a lesson on emotional needs…so here goes!

Ever wonder how conversations with your partner can sometimes end in absolute disaster in a matter of minutes? You know the kind, you’re talking about what to make for dinner and, all of the sudden, they storm off in a rage and you’re left standing there not knowing what the heck just happened.

Psychologically speaking, these seemingly bizarre reactions are the result of an emotional need that was not met at the time of that interaction. In layman’s terms, your partner caught a case of uncomfortable feels and did whatever it took to try to right it.

WHAT ARE EMOTIONAL NEEDS

You ever hear the phrase, ‘You’re pushing my buttons!’? Emotional needs are those buttons at their deepest level and are often informed by our past experiences. In my experience, I found our emotional needs tend to fall into four categories — significance, competence, acceptance, and security. When emotional needs are unmet, we tend to get anxious and we try whatever we can to get those needs met.

A good example of this would be a toddler’s temper tantrum. They need something — whether a physical need or a want/desire— they can’t have, and they do whatever it takes to get it. Think: throwing themselves down in the middle of the grocery store aisle and screaming bloody murder. Yeah, well we have our own adult versions of that too.

Let’s take a look at each emotional need in a little more detail.

We all want to feel important, especially in the eyes of those closest to us. So, how horrible is it when you feel completely invisible or excluded by those most important in our lives? Not good, and we often try to do things to get them to notice us when we’re feeling this way, some of those things being more healthy than others.

Ever have someone say they felt like you weren’t listening to what they had to say and there was a huge blowup over the whole thing? In other words, their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, and by extension, they as a person felt insignificant and unimportant to you in that moment (or it may have been building for a while and this was just the cherry on top) and you didn’t see that before the blowup. The blowup was the way they decided, likely unconsciously, to show you how they were feeling. In children, this may be a tantrum; in adolescents, slamming their bedroom door. You get the gist.

You ever have that friend or family member who is so critical of your every move? Like you just can’t do anything right? What about when your partner does it? What about when you do it to your kids? It’s frustrating as all get out, right?

Constant and incessant questioning or second guessing your judgment often get interpreted as a “not good enough” message and makes us feel incredible small. Most of us don’t like that feeling — go figure! — and do whatever it takes to make it go away. We might ignore the criticizer, lash out to make them go away, or put our effort into overdrive with perfectionistic tendencies. However we respond, we’re trying to get the icky, “not good enough” feelings to go away.


If relationships are to be healthy, we have to feel like we’re accepted and loved by others, especially by our significant others or parents. But sometimes we can interpret their behaviors as being dismissive or rejecting. This often shows up in the bedroom with couples or keeping important matters from parents with children and adolescents.

Think about it this way: if you feel like what you say or do is going to be dismissed, rejected, or even used against you, why on Earth would you open your mouth? We can get into these stalemates in relationships when we’re not feeling accepted, which actually tends to reinforce the pattern, thus the feeling too. It’s like the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Without feeling accepted in our relationships, we choose not to open ourselves up for rejection, so eventually we just stop trying.

Finally, the need for safety and security, I will argue, is probably the most hardwired need of the four. I mean, think about it, we cannot truly thrive if we’re constantly in fear for our life. Now, I’m not saying you fear your partner will physically harm you or you will harm your children (although that is sadly the case in some families and I’m not discounting that at all here), but we need to feel support and stability if we’re going to let our guard down, right?

The need for security can be triggered in many different ways. Of course, there is the need for physical safety and we can probably all guess that people don’t do very well in dangerous living environments like war-torn areas, rough neighborhoods, or neglectful homes. But the need for emotional security — the ability to feel genuinely supported and encouraged — is also necessary to thrive.

So, those are our basic emotional needs that drive our behavior in relationships with others. We all feel the need for significance, competence, acceptance, and security at one time or another in our relationships, but our relationships are also the place in which our emotional needs can get neglected as well…quite the Catch-22. So what can we do?

ADDRESSING EMOTIONAL NEEDS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Alright, so now you know what emotional needs are, but how do you take all of this lovely information and actually use it in your relationships? I firmly believe that knowledge is power, but what we do with it is even more powerful. So, let’s put this stuff into practice.

  1. Recognize your primary emotional need(s)

Do some soul searching and try to identify your one or two primary emotional needs that get triggered most often. Help your child do this when they’re upset. You might ask yourself, “What am I feeling when I get upset with my partner?” (HINT: It’s not anger.) Anger is a secondary emotion and gets triggered by feelings of being hurt, disappointed, confused, etc. Think about it this way, do you want to hash it out with someone who is angry? Or hurt? I’ll bet it’s easier to have compassion for and listen to someone who is hurting rather than someone who is angry, so really dig deep.

The next time that need gets triggered (and you know it will), name it and work through it with that person. Own the emotion because it’s yours, not something they did to you. Nobody makes you feel this way, you’re experiencing emotions because of things going on internally. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to know how you’re feeling and don’t assume that as a parent you know what your child is going through. In time, that understanding will develop, but no one will ever know unless you tell them. This is just as much an exercise in trust as it is communication.

  1. Give them a break

Do you actively seek to hurt your partner or children on a daily basis? Of course not! More often we’re just doing our thing and our intentions get interpreted the wrong way. It’s more than likely they are not intentionally trying to hurt you, just as you’re likely not trying to hurt them. But that’s the nature of relationships…we end up unintentionally hurting each other.  So try to give each other a break when these types of interactions arise and remind yourself that you love each other and are not trying to hurt each other.

  1. Stay curious

One of my many mantras in life is: “Everybody’s got to be doing something.” In other words, just because someone’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t makes sense to them. We do the things we do because they make sense to us at the time, whether is appears logical to others or not.

So, when you have no idea why your partner or child is doing what they’re doing or acting a certain way, stay curious about what is going on, don’t get defensive. All too often we take other people’s behavior personally and wonder what the heck we did to warrant such treatment. Guess what? This song isn’t always about you. Instead of taking their behavior personally, remind yourself that they are struggling at the moment and probably need help or some quiet time to process. Use this opportunity to lean in and let them know you’re there to support, not start a fight.

So there it is, folks! The basic building blocks of good communication starts with understanding your emotional needs, communicating them, giving each other a break, and staying curious about each other. More to come in future posts, so stay tuned!

Apr 13th

Mood and Food

By Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW

 

You can probably imagine a wonderful meal you have had, or are going to have. The anticipation of a perfectly grilled piece of meat, or fish, the sweetness of the first strawberries of the season, the taste and mouth feel of a wonderful piece of chocolate can lift your spirits.  There is a link between certain foods and mood, not just connected with memory. A new field of psychiatry has emerged to examine the role of nutrition in mood disorders.

Western medicine is now dealing with the negative effects of the western diet. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety are being seen in growing numbers, not just in adults.  The modern diet of fast foods overly processed and additive-laden foods and sugary drinks are being linked to growing health problems in adults and children.  Medical and psychiatric providers are asking patients more questions about their diet and lifestyle patterns than before.

Nutritional Psychiatry is a relatively new field that studies the connection between nutrition and mood. Since 2007, this field has studied diet quality across different age groups, cultures, and countries. There is evidence that dietary food patterns can contribute to depression, both in adults and children.

 

A study published in American Journal of Psychiatry, studied the effects of 3 diets in Australia women. (Association of western and traditional diets with depression and anxiety in women. Am J Psychiatry 2009; 66:1090-1098)

The three diets examined were traditional, western, and modern. The traditional diet consisted of mainly vegetables, fruit, beef, lamb, fish, and whole grains. Western diets included more processed meats, chips, pizza, hamburgers, white bread, sugar flavored drinks and beer. The modern diet included fruits, salads, fish, tofu, beans, nuts, yogurt, and red wine. Evidence from the study concluded that the traditional or modern diets were positively correlated with fewer incidences of depression and anxiety.

Another study published 2009, in Spain (Arch Gen Psychiatry 2009;66-1090-1098)  reported that the Mediterranean diet pattern was helpful in reducing the risk of developing depression and also reversed some of the depressive symptoms when people incorporated this diet plan into their lives. The Mediterranean is a plan that recommends moderate red meat consumption, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil as the primary source of fat and plant based foods.

The role of diet during a child’s early life has also been studied for links to depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems, The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, October 2013, Volume 52, published a study linking poor diet during pregnancy and the first five years of age were predictors of depression, anxiety and behavioral problems in children and adolescents.

What does this mean today?  The knowledge that essentially, We are what we eat can play a part in understanding our moods and behaviors, not just our spreading waistline or “sugar fog”. As our lives become more hurried, meal preparation and eating good quality food becomes less of a priority or more difficult because of time factors and economics. Simple behaviors can make a difference. Change doesn’t have to be fast. Some ideas for a healthier nutritional pattern:

  • Avoid sugary drinks, which contain empty calories and can impact tooth enamel. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to remain hydrated.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is needed to fuel your brain and body. Skipping meals can lead to fatigue and “brain fog”. A healthy breakfast can be simple, fruit, a piece of cheese, whole grains of some sort.
  • Avoid high fat, refined and sugary foods that have little nutritional value. Incorporate fruits, leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and unsaturated fats.
  • Find creativity and humor in discovering different foods and ways to think about meals.
  • Remember- You don’t have to do it all at once.

Feb 27th

Quiet Agony: Chronic Pain & Mental Health

By Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW

Quiet Agony: Chronic Pain & Mental Health - Calli Institute

Remember some physical pain you have had in the past. Hitting your funny bone, a sprain, headache, stomachache, or even a broken bone. There might have been some initial intense pain; choice swear words, a certain amount of time to heal, possibly some accommodation as a bandage, sling, limited driving, food restrictions, or movement restrictions etc. Except for the obvious bandage etc, there is no clear visual that you have been hurt. You recover from that experience, and your life resumes.
 

Imagine this.

 
Now imagine that the previous pain experience doesn’t lessen or go away, but lasts for weeks, maybe months, or longer. Consider how the length of time would add to the experience and how it would impact your life. There might be some discomfort, some difficulty in completing things you could normally do easily. There might be certain activities you are not able to do at all for some time. You might have to alter your physical or social activity.
 

Imagine this.

 
Chronic pain is described as any pain lasting more than three months. The pain can progress to the point that the pain persists long after the original injuries heal.

According to the 2012 Survey National Health Interview Survey, 25.3 million adults in the United States have suffered some from pain that lasted over three months. The study found that 17.6 percent of American adults suffer from severe levels of pain. That translates to millions of adults who are dealing with chronic pain.

Chronic pain doesn’t exist without some collateral damage and other co-occurring issues. Those suffering from chronic pain usually report depression and anxiety.

Psychiatry Investigation 2015 Jan; Pain and Depression: A Neurobiological Perspective of Their Relationship explores the neurobiological relationship between chronic pain and depression, as well as explaining the neurological factors with both pain and depression.

Clinical symptoms that often appear with chronic pain are changes in sleep, appetite, mood, and energy. Sleep deprivation and inadequate nutrition over time will have long-term effects that can be an additional source of medical and clinical attention.

The Institute for Chronic Pain (ICP) wrote an article that was within a series on chronic pain. It described the interaction between chronic pain and anxiety. Understanding Chronic Pain: Complications and Anxiety Complications (Understanding-chronic-pain/complications)

Anxiety is an adaptive response that alerts our system of possible danger. Pain is also a warning sign that signals the need to protect and guard against further injury. The flight, fight, or avoidance responses can then become chronic themselves. Pain becomes a focus of attention and decisions are then based on how much pain a person feels. The cost to self-esteem, personal and work relationships can be huge.

Pain management programs usually include cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressant medications, relaxation exercises, and some form of mild physical exercise. I want awareness for the person behind chronic pain.

I had hip surgery over three years ago. I don’t remember the pain connected with it and had resumed my life. I am now dealing with rotator cuff surgery and am reminded of the lessons I learned then. Daily activities like dressing, bathing, planning for groceries, taking care of my dog, and transportation are tasks I did not have to think about before. My sleep is compromised, and my attention is more often on the pain in my arm. I have to ask for help, which is difficult for me.

I am lucky; for there will be an end to this chapter, and I will resume most normal activities. I respect the daily struggle of those who will have to manage their pain long after mine has subsided.

I am now a regular Lyft passenger, because I am not driving. One of my drivers and I were talking about the issue of chronic pain as his wife struggles with long-term pain connected with a driving accident. He talked about what he witnesses with her struggle to dress, bathe, and get out of the house. “I see her quiet agony.”
 

For all those struggling with quiet agony, we need to see you more.

 

Feb 20th

The Reverse Bucket List

By Tessa Gittleman, LAMFT

Calli Institute - The Reverse Bucket ListDerived from the phrase, “to kick the bucket,” bucket lists are essentially a compilation of things to do, try, or see before you die. If you have never made one before, imagine creating a list of New Year’s resolutions that you try to hold yourself to accomplishing over a lifetime. If you love animals, maybe you want to ride an elephant? If you are a traveler, maybe you want to take your motorcycle across the country, or sail around the world? The list can be as long or feasible as you want, which is perhaps why so many people find bucket lists problematic.

Like New Year’s resolutions, my bucket list is intended for my ideal or best self. When I feel good, capable, and have the resources, it inspires me to take initiative to do things I otherwise can’t or won’t do for myself. When I am my every-day self or feeling even slightly below average, the list becomes more evidence of what I “should’ve” or “could’ve” done, and a glaring reminder of how much I have left to do. It becomes a pressure or burden in my life instead of a reminder of good things to come.

If you read parenting websites, Fast Company, or lifestyle blogs, you might have seen a new way of bucket-listing become increasingly popular over the last few years—The Reverse Bucket List.  What’s the difference? Instead of writing down a list of things you hope to one day achieve, you write down a list of things you have already accomplished. The exercise forces us to revisit positive, meaningful, and proud moments from the past, reminds us of the progress we have already made, and gives us a gentle reminder of what we are capable of.

When I first tried it, I could feel myself resisting the experience. It felt unnatural to be both humble and bragging at the same time. With every positive memory came a reminder of what I had yet to do, or something I had lost along the way. I realized coming up with as many positive memories as I had bucket list goals was going to be impossible. I had been building one list all of my life, and the other for about two months.

With a little more practice, I found a system that worked better for me. I set a specific amount of time aside each month, and I shoot for 5-10 items list-worthy in that time. I include moments that are big, such as graduating or a first job, and moments that are small, such as bringing an extra coffee to someone having a bad week. I have found that I have more gratitude, positivity, and patience for myself.

If you’re still skeptical, you don’t have to take my word for it. In a 2015 study from The Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers verified that “grateful recounting,” or the practice of remembering good things from one’s life, make positive memories easier for us to access. Over time, the continued practice is shown to enhance well-being and promote satisfaction. With results like those, you can think of your reverse bucket list as an investment in accomplishing your actual bucket list!

 

Feb 8th

Many Families

By Tessa Gittleman, LAMFT

Calli Institute Family of the YearAnd the award for family of the year goes to…

Football season has been the prime time focus for many Minnesotans, regardless of their interest in sports, thanks to this year’s Super Bowl. So much so, in fact, that many have forgotten we are in the middle of another big season for TV consumption, and I am not referring to winter…

Awards season kicked off with the Golden Globes, most recently celebrated the SAG awards, and will end in March with the Academy Awards. While I have historically not had much interest in either football or awards season, for me, 2018 was more personal. With football, the investment is perhaps more obvious. I wanted to cheer on the home team that could go down in history books as the first to have home-field advantage in a Super Bowl.

With the awards shows, I wasn’t necessarily pulled in because of the #metoo movement, or because of the first all-female presenters night (though both are historically significant in their own right). Instead, I found myself invested in the stories being awarded, and what these stories have meant to the individuals and families I see or talk to every day. Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed movies and TV shows. As a child roughly thirty years ago, “Growing Pains” or “Family Ties” helped shape my ideas of family, or at least what family was supposed to be.

Even though my family never fit the script exactly, it made me feel better to watch shows as I got older that reflected more complicated family dynamics. When my parent’s divorced in the nineties, I had “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The First Wives Club” to watch. As I went to high school, “The L Word” and “Queer as Folk” depicted families I had never seen… When I went away to college, people gathered together to watch “Modern Family” and “Parenthood,” processing similar experiences we had in our own lives.

Today, I can watch any show and see families where disabilities, chronic health, and socioeconomic status are as multifaceted as orientation, color, and gender identity. I can watch families brought together by choice (“Transparent”), necessity (Marvel’s “Runaways”), and accident (“Catastrophe”). These shows are winning awards, becoming lenses through which to see the world and references for pop culture.

As parents, most of us grew up in an environment where it was easier to talk about anyone else’s family besides our own. We never learned to talk openly about mental health, LGBTQIA, or non-traditional families. Our kids, however, have grown up in a different world, where traditional models of family, love, or communication are not standard, and entertainment can only bridge the gap so much.

Have young kids and want to get a jump-start on the hard talks? Scroll down to some reading suggestions at the bottom of this blog. Need a bit more support? Through individual and/or family therapy, our team acts as a translator, mediator, and mirror between family members. We help you to bridge gaps between family members, align expectations, and establish what the right kind of normal is for your family.

Reading list:

LGBTQIA
– “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell
– “Heather has Two Mommies” by Leslea Newman
– “King and King” by Linda de Haan, Stern Nijland
– “Who Are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity” by Brook Pessin-Whedbee
– “My Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis

Adoption
– “The Day We Met You” by Phoebe Koehler
– “Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis
– “I Love You All The Same” by Donna Keith, Allson Edgson
– “Over The Moon: An Adoption Tale” by Karen Katz

Divorce/Step-Parent
– “Why Do Families Change?: Our First Talk About Separation and Divorce” by Jillian Roberts
– “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel
– “Daddy’s Getting Married” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
– “My Mom’s Wedding” by Eve Bunting
– “Dinosaurs Divorce” by Marc Brown, Laurene Krasny Brown

Modern Families
– “Who’s in a Family?” by Robert Skutch
– “Love Is a Family” by Roma Downey
– “All Families are Special” by Norma Simon
– “The Family with Many Colors” by Emma Louise, William Thomas
– “Who’s in My Family?: All about Our Families” by Robie H. Harris
– “My Rainbow Family” by K. R. Vance
– “All Kinds of Families!” by Mary Ann Hoberman
– “A Family Is a Family Is a Family” by Sara O’Leary

 

Jan 16th

Are you SAD?

By The Calli Institute

SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder by Calli Institute Been thinking about warmer climates lately? Planning a trip to the beach for spring break? You’re not alone. Minnesota is known for its harsh winters and this one has been especially hard. One of the reasons for your desire to head south may have to do with the body’s natural yearning for daylight to brighten your mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as the “winter blues,” is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year and usually resolves with the next change of season. SAD is seen more often in northern latitudes and occurs more frequently in women than in men. The exact cause of SAD is not known, but it has been linked to genetics, age, and your body’s natural chemical makeup. The most common factors associated with SAD include:

Your biological clock or circadian rhythm: As the days get shorter in the fall and winter, exposure to sunlight is reduced and may disrupt your internal clock
Melatonin levels: The change in season can disrupt natural levels of this hormone which can lead to changes in sleep patterns and mood.
Serotonin levels: Serotonin is another chemical in the brain that affects mood. Decreased sunlight can cause serotonin levels to drop leading to the experience of SAD.
 

Common Symptoms Include:

 
• Depressed mood
• Anxiety
• Loss of energy
• Social withdrawal
• Oversleeping
• Loss of interest in usual activities
• Increased cravings for carbohydrates
• Weight gain
• Difficulty concentrating

Treatment for SAD ranges from natural remedies to prescription medication and psychotherapy. Light therapy or phototherapy is one natural option. Light therapy involves the use of a light box which produces a high-intensity light that mimics outdoor light and appears to change melatonin and serotonin levels in the brain. Use of a light box needs to be individually tailored depending on the severity of one’s symptoms and other factors that should be addressed with your healthcare provider before starting this treatment. Although light therapy is generally considered safe, it can pose dangers for those with retinal disorders or in those taking medications that can cause sensitivity to light.

Other natural therapies include the use of certain herbal supplements. Although you do not need a prescription for these substances, it is still important to consult your healthcare provider before using them, especially if you are already taking other medications. In some cases, you and your healthcare provider may decide to use an antidepressant. Psychotherapy is also an effective treatment option. Although SAD is thought to be related to biochemical changes, your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect your mood. Psychotherapy can help you identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors and significantly improve your overall state of health.
 

Conquering the “Winter Blues”

 
Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open your blinds, add skylights, sit closer to bright windows in your home and office.
Get outside. Take a long walk or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun, even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps relieve stress and anxiety which can increase your symptoms of SAD. Being more fit also improves self-esteem which can boost your mood.
Socialize. Make time to connect with people you enjoy being around. They can offer support and a shoulder to cry on or a joke to laugh at.
Take a trip. If possible, take a vacation in a warm sunny location.

Dec 28th

A Better Recipe for a Better Year

By Tessa Gittleman, LAMFT

Recipe for a better youI don’t know about you, but in my experience with cooking, I’ve historically found that the seemingly easiest recipes are the ones easiest to mess up. Having grown up in the restaurant industry, I learned that this experience was not unique to me, or industry specific. Go to any part of the world, meet with all the best culinary minds, and you will undoubtedly find a chef who practiced making the most basic of dishes (ie: scrambled eggs, pasta, rice) for months before their instructor let them move on, and who still employs the same tactics with their students.

So, a few years back when I stumbled upon a recipe for the Quintessential Recipe of A Year, listed at the bottom of this post, and saw that it was for beginners, I decided to give it a test run. I thought, “I know these ingredients” and “I can do this!” Fast forward roughly 30 attempts, and it turns out, no matter how much practice one has, a year is still a pretty easy thing to mess up. It can be almost like a holiday cookie you’ve made a million times, but still doesn’t look as good as your mom’s, or never turns out how you expected it to.

When I consider that the recipe calls for miscellaneous ingredients to essentially be stewed over a 12-month period, attempting to control for unknown variables, and then physically watch over it the whole time, I realized it was an impossible task. I felt defeated each year, like Sisyphus, unable to distinguish between progress and perfection. Hind-site is always 20/20, after all, and now I am just grateful I didn’t burn down anything letting so much simmer for so long.

The thing that the Quintessential Recipe of a Year has helped me to digest is that: there is no one perfect way for a year to turn out. There are just common elements or ingredients, organized in similar and different ways, we can tailor until it suits us best. For example, while you might prefer ginger-molasses cookies over sugar cookies, both require flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. If someone hadn’t taken the time to master a sugar cookie, or had stopped innovating cookies altogether, a ginger-molasses cookie might never have come along. For 2018, what I hope this recipe gives you is the knowledge that: regardless of your ingredients or the instructions listed on the sheet, there is no one-way to have a great year. You get to keep changing the recipe for success until it fits the way you want it to, for as long as you want it to.

Quintessential Recipe of a Year

Author Unknown
Take 12 whole months.
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy.
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
Cut each month into 28, 30 or 31 different parts,
but don’t make up the whole batch at once.

Prepare one day at a time with these ingredients:
Mix well into each day one part each of faith, patience, courage, and work.
Also add to each day one part of hope, faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer, one part meditation, and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits, a sprinkle of fun,
a pinch of play and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy, garnish with a smile and serve with quietness, unselfishness, and cheerfulness. You’re bound to have a happy new year.

Dec 22nd

Happy Holidays!

By The Calli Institute

May your holidays be filled with love, happiness, and peace.

Calli Institute-Wishing You a Happy Holidays

11334 86th Ave North Maple Grove, MN 55369

Ph: 763.255.2125 | Fax: 763.255.2126