Take a Mental Detour

Take a Mental Detour

Self-help gurus, sports coaches, and the media tell us that we should minimize our setbacks, overcome adversity, and quickly bounce back from failure. That should we miss our mark, make a mistake, say the wrong thing, wear the wrong clothes, or show up to the wrong meeting – all things quite possible – we should not waste any time getting right back on track. These mishaps should be reframed, filed away, overcome, or – whatever self-help lingo we may want to insert here – moved past. Even catastrophic events – the kind that shatter our very fundamental beliefs and assumptions about ourselves, the world, and everything we know – should be quickly overcome. Our resilience depends on it, or so we are told.

However, even when we do recognize a setback for what it is, trying something new is often not our first response. Rather, many of us simply do more of the same. We redouble our efforts, put in more time, and invest more energy. The tendency to avoid changing strategy can be partly accounted for by what behavioral economists call “sunk costs.” Sunk costs account for all of the time, energy, and money we have already devoted to the task.

Perhaps we have spent several years trying to start a business. Maybe we have invested several years of schooling and have considerable student loan debt only to be faced with the harsh reality that we cannot secure a job in our field. Situations like this play to the natural tendency to “get out what we have put in.” Which means staying the course. We may also exhibit “loss aversion,” which is the desire to avoid any further losses. Once we know we have already suffered a significant loss, we hesitate to try anything new—for fear of losing more than we already have. Yet adapting, as we know, depends on being willing to alter the strategy without any guarantee of success. In short, we are going to have to be willing to take a measured risk, or several, until we find what works.

We are also going to have to be open to new experiences, because they offer the chance to discover something that we didn’t realize we enjoyed. To help your client do this, you are going to have your client do what I call “taking a mental detour.”

Take a Mental Detour

To begin, you will instruct your client to recall five happy memories from his/her childhood. These can be anything from family vacations, summer pastimes, hobbies, playing sports, or time with friends. Next, you will ask your client to elaborate the memories with as much detail as he/she can remember. Your client should write who was there, what he/she was doing, and where he/she was, describing each component of the memory as completely as possible.

When your client is finished, he/she should have five experiences that include some sort of activity, in a specific place, with or without others. For most people, these memories will usually involve some sort of shared experience that revolved around a mutually held goal. Common themes are things like organizing a party with friends, playing on sports teams, building something with others, or taking a class. However, there are no right or wrong answers. The goal is simply for your client to recall five activities that he/she used to enjoy and found himself/herself immersed in.

Next, you will instruct your client to try each of these activities again. For example, if one of your client’s memories is playing on a softball team as a kid, you will instruct your client to find an adult softball league and give it a try. Or if your client recalls enjoying building forts in the living room with a sibling or friend, you will instruct him/her to build something again with somebody he/she enjoys spending time with. The experience may not match exactly what your client described in his/her recollection; however, the general theme should be the same. Similarly, you should remind your client not to worry if he/she feels that his/her skills are not what they used to be. The point is not for your client to measure his/her success at remembering how to do things from the past; the goal is to become comfortable with trying new things, and perhaps to find something he/she enjoys doing again.

Setbacks, in many ways, are like roadblocks. And adapting depends on the ability to try something new, to be willing to take a detour—even through unfamiliar territory. Yet detours also offer the chance for your client to see things differently, remember a road he/she might’ve traveled before, and perhaps rediscover something he/she loves. Taking a mental detour, just like a physical one, encourages your client to be open to changing course—to navigate around the roadblock (in whatever form it takes)—for the chance of finding something better.

Course excerpt from:

Leveraging AdversityLeveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth.

While clients can seek the help of a psychotherapist for numerous reasons, one thing that all clients face is adversity. Whether in their own lives, or within the training program itself, adversity and setbacks are inevitable. And how clients handle adversity often colors not just their ability to move past it, but also their success in therapy. Packed with the most recent data on post-traumatic growth, behavioral economics, and evolutionary psychology, this course begins with a look at just what setbacks are and how they affect us. Clinicians are then introduced to the concept of “leveraging adversity,” that is, using it to make critical reconsiderations, align values with behavior, and face challenges with a growth mindset. The course then addresses the five core strengths of leveraging adversity – gratitude, openness, personal strength (growth mindset), connection, and belief – and provides numerous exercises and skills for clinicians to use with clients. Included are 25 separate handouts clinicians can give to clients to cement core concepts from the course. Course #61-03 | 2018 | 92 pages | 35 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Let’s Talk About Happiness

Happiness

Happiness, we can say, is elusive. The more we chase it, the more it seems to evade us. There are entire industries centered around procuring it, a society seemingly adept at supplying it (instantly), and yet, we still don’t seem to be happy enough.

But this is also why clinicians should be talking about happiness.

Several things change when we are happier. Our physical health improves (Deiner et al., 2017). We become more generous (Soyong et al., 2017). And, most interestingly, one thing that happiness doesn’t change (or isn’t changed by) is how much money we make. In a survey of 1,519 people, Paul Piff of the University of Irvine along with Jake Moskowitz asked participants a series of questions about their household income, and their tendency to experience several distinct emotions that are considered to make up the core of happiness: awe, amusement, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love, and pride. While people at the higher end of the socioeconomic spectrum experienced emotions that focused more on themselves and their accomplishments, those on the lower end, were more likely to experience emotions that focused on others, such as compassion and love (Piff & Moskowitz, 2017)

Concludes Piff, “These findings indicate that wealth is not unequivocally associated with happiness” (Piff, 2017).

Piff’s research uncovers just one of the many myths associated with happiness. Happiness, it turns out, is also not linked to fame, popularity, or even the decisions to marry and have children.

However, what happiness does do is improve how we function on a variety of levels. Not just do we feel better when we are happier, cognitive function, memory, creativity, problem solving, and social and emotional awareness are all enhanced by positive emotions. And all of this matters when we are facing the kinds of problems that might cause us to seek professional help. In fact, one study found that through adopting a more realistic approach to life and allowing for a broad range of emotions – one that includes anger, frustration, and sadness – people’s happiness levels improved (Tamir, et al., 2017).

Instead of trying to sidestep the many emotions that seem to contradict happiness, and looking for happiness in the externals – the new car, job, house, or partner – we’d be better off embracing all of our emotions including the idea that happiness isn’t about just putting on rose colored glasses. Happiness, rather, doesn’t ignore the problems we face. Instead, it helps us solve them and give us the necessary boost of energy to do so. It may not be that elusive after all.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Finding Happiness: Positive Interventions in TherapyFinding Happiness: Positive Interventions in Therapy is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that explores the concept of happiness, from common myths to the overriding factors that directly increase our feelings of contentment. We will start with a discussion on why you, the clinician, need to know about happiness and how this information can help in your work with clients. We will then uncover mistakes we make when trying to attain happiness and look carefully at the actions we take and the beliefs that do not just obfuscate our happiness efforts, but often leave us less happy. Next, we will explore the ways in which our mindset influences our feelings of happiness and the many ways we can fundamentally change our levels of well-being, not just immediately, but for many years to come. The final section of this course contains exercises you can use with clients to cultivate and sustain a lifelong habit of happiness. Course #40-45 | 2018 | 57 pages | 25 posttest questions

Leveraging AdversityLeveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth. While clients can seek the help of a psychotherapist for numerous reasons, one thing that all clients face is adversity. Whether in their own lives, or within the training program itself, adversity and setbacks are inevitable. And how clients handle adversity often colors not just their ability to move past it, but also their success in therapy. Packed with the most recent data on post-traumatic growth, behavioral economics, and evolutionary psychology, this course begins with a look at just what setbacks are and how they affect us. Clinicians are then introduced to the concept of “leveraging adversity,” that is, using it to make critical reconsiderations, align values with behavior, and face challenges with a growth mindset. The course then addresses the five core strengths of leveraging adversity – gratitude, openness, personal strength (growth mindset), connection, and belief – and provides numerous exercises and skills for clinicians to use with clients. Included are 25 separate handouts clinicians can give to clients to cement core concepts from the course. Course #61-03 | 2018 | 92 pages | 35 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Growth Mindset & Leveraging Adversity

Growth Mindset

When a client seeks the help of a clinician, there are always obvious needs: to improve relationships, reduce stress, boost mood, make decisions, etc. Yet these goals – or problems – often mask the larger psychological issues at hand. And while clinicians can present a host of valuable information and techniques to help overcome the client’s immediate problems, they may also miss a valuable opportunity. Because at the root of almost every person seeking some form of self-help is a person facing adversity. The act of seeking help, in itself, is an act of admission that the adversity a person faces is too much to bear. The fact that the client is not at the desired place in life may be further testament to the fact that the adversity in his/her life has also been too much to bear.

Adversity is also what we find at the root of almost every client who returns to regressive behavior. Things are going just fine, until, life throws a curveball, and suddenly, the client returns to exactly where she/he started – and doesn’t want to be. The problem is the client’s attitude toward adversity.

Feeling like adversity is a bad thing – something to be avoided, minimalized, or quickly overcome – is not a small problem, as evidenced by escalating rates of depression, anxiety, subjective accounts of stress, and obesity – which many would argue is an outgrowth of depression. What all of these conditions have in common, is that some form of adversity lies at the center. While depressed clients may complain about isolation, self-doubt, and a pervasive feeling of inadequacy, an obese person may complain about shame, embarrassment, lack of time, and lack of energy. All of these things are forms of adversity.

What should then form the foundation of helping clients achieve any goals – in therapy or otherwise – is a way to help them learn to face adversity. Perhaps what is truly needed is not just a way to face adversity, but a way to leverage adversity to propel growth. Research on what is called a “growth mindset” – which is the belief that intelligence and ability are not fixed and that improvements are dependent on effort (i.e. the harder you work, the better you get) – demonstrates that those with a growth mindset tend to work harder after challenges than those who believe that intelligence and ability are fixed.

This course will provide a methodology for clinicians to teach their clients to transcend their adversities, using them to do more than simply bounce back – but to spring forward. Combining positive psychology and strength-based approaches, this course explains a solution to a relevant and pressing problem: the avoidance of adversity. Clients respond more favorably to therapeutic methods that focus on their strengths, and help them to propel growth. Strength-based approaches, not surprisingly, also show better retention outcomes.

Course excerpt from Leveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards

Leveraging AdversityLeveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth. While clients can seek the help of a psychotherapist for numerous reasons, one thing that all clients face is adversity. Whether in their own lives, or within the training program itself, adversity and setbacks are inevitable. And how clients handle adversity often colors not just their ability to move past it, but also their success in therapy. Packed with the most recent data on post-traumatic growth, behavioral economics, and evolutionary psychology, this course begins with a look at just what setbacks are and how they affect us. Clinicians are then introduced to the concept of “leveraging adversity,” that is, using it to make critical reconsiderations, align values with behavior, and face challenges with a growth mindset. The course then addresses the five core strengths of leveraging adversity – gratitude, openness, personal strength (growth mindset), connection, and belief – and provides numerous exercises and skills for clinicians to use with clients. Included are 25 separate handouts clinicians can give to clients to cement core concepts from the course. Course #61-03 | 2018 | 92 pages | 35 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

 

What It Means To Leverage Adversity

adversity

Today there is no shortage of adversity. In fact, recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health reports that six out of ten women and five out of ten men will face one or more major crises in their lifetime. And when they do, there will be plenty of resources – from self-help books to websites, podcasts, and “coaches” – to help them quickly move past it. Yet, the question remains, is moving past adversity quickly really the best approach?

Self-help gurus, sports coaches, and the media tell us that we should minimize our setbacks, overcome adversity, and quickly bounce back from failure. That should we miss our mark, make a mistake, say the wrong thing, wear the wrong clothes, or show up to the wrong meeting – all things quite possible – we should not waste any time getting right back on track. These mishaps should be reframed, filed away, overcome, or – whatever self-help lingo we may want to insert here – moved past. Even catastrophic events – the kind that shatter our very fundamental beliefs and assumptions about ourselves, the world, and everything we know – should be quickly overcome. Our resilience depends on it, or so we are told.

Yet for all of this talk about bouncing back from our setbacks, are we shortchanging ourselves? Is there something we can learn from adversity, struggle, or strife? Is it possible that struggling with what ails, confuses, derails, and even shatters us offers us something? In searching for new meaning in the aftermath of trauma, can we also find a way to cope that goes much further than providing us protection – known as resilience – against further setbacks? Maybe in the struggle, and not necessarily the victory, there is something to be learned, strength to be gained, skills to be perfected, and confidence to be reinforced. Should the victory come too quickly, perhaps we also become too focused on simply getting past the struggle and miss the opportunity that the good fight offers us. We may also place value on the very thing that causes us to lose focus. Perhaps in concentrating too intently on the victory, we are forgetting the journey.

Because the journey is not the victory and, in fact, may be nothing like victory. Instead, the journey may be rife with misses, failures, setbacks, disappointments, and defeats. It may also include tremendous joy, exultation, and reverie. The journey, like anything else, will include both highs and lows, and sometimes one will come right after the other. The hope is that for all of life’s challenges and moments of glory, there will also be growth.

Click here to learn more.

Course excerpt from Leveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards, a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth.

While clients can seek the help of a psychotherapist for numerous reasons, one thing that all clients face is adversity. Whether in their own lives, or within the training program itself, adversity and setbacks are inevitable. And how clients handle adversity often colors not just their ability to move past it, but also their success in therapy. Packed with the most recent data on post-traumatic growth, behavioral economics, and evolutionary psychology, this course begins with a look at just what setbacks are and how they affect us. Clinicians are then introduced to the concept of “leveraging adversity,” that is, using it to make critical reconsiderations, align values with behavior, and face challenges with a growth mindset. The course then addresses the five core strengths of leveraging adversity – gratitude, openness, personal strength (growth mindset), connection, and belief – and provides numerous exercises and skills for clinicians to use with clients. Included are 25 separate handouts clinicians can give to clients to cement core concepts from the course. Course #61-03 | 2018 | 92 pages | 35 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Leveraging Adversity – New CE Course

New Online CE Course @pdresources.org

Leveraging AdversityLeveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards is a new 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth.

While clients can seek the help of a psychotherapist for numerous reasons, one thing that all clients face is adversity. Whether in their own lives, or within the training program itself, adversity and setbacks are inevitable. And how clients handle adversity often colors not just their ability to move past it, but also their success in therapy. Packed with the most recent data on post-traumatic growth, behavioral economics, and evolutionary psychology, this course begins with a look at just what setbacks are and how they affect us. Clinicians are then introduced to the concept of “leveraging adversity,” that is, using it to make critical reconsiderations, align values with behavior, and face challenges with a growth mindset. The course then addresses the five core strengths of leveraging adversity – gratitude, openness, personal strength (growth mindset), connection, and belief – and provides numerous exercises and skills for clinicians to use with clients. Included are 25 separate handouts clinicians can give to clients to cement core concepts from the course. Course #61-03 | 2018 | 92 pages | 35 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.
Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).