Hough Counseling and Assessments PLLC

675 E. Big Beaver, Suite 101
Troy, Michigan 48083

(248) 528-0157


Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

What is Good with You?

Posted on: November 5th, 2019

There are moments in time when we have to be mindful as to what is good in our lives. Difficult times can be distracting. Moments of strife can cloud your judgment and shift your focus so that the only thing you see is the difficult time. I often ask my patients this question, “What’s good with you?” This question seems to catch some patients off guard, but it is a simple one. Difficult moments can seem unending and overwhelming. Focusing on one good thing in life can remind us that there is good in the midst of chaos. Taking a moment to laugh with your loved one. Seeing the beauty in the change of the seasons. Feeling the warmth of the sun. Playing your favorite music in the middle of a traffic jam. These are all examples of finding the good. Sometimes the good is not obvious. We have to intentionally seek it out.

Finding the good is a mindfulness strategy that can help change your focus, relieve tension, and diminish anxious thoughts. No matter the circumstance there is always good to be found. Take a moment and ask yourself, “What is good with you?”

Author

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

I AM My Bully

Posted on: September 12th, 2019

Have you ever taken a moment to identify your thoughts? Our thoughts can run as loops in brain. They can color our perspective and our level of optimism and confidence. I see many patients who have difficulty seeing the best in themselves. A common question I ask is what’s good about you? All too often patients struggle with finding maybe one or two things to say. But if I ask that same patient what they don’t like about themselves they can provide a list ranging from their physical attributes to some perceived personality flaw. These beliefs are identified as negative cognitions. Their origins can often be traced back to past experiences. Maybe a parent of caregiver would say things like, “You are so stupid.” or “You will never be any good, just like your father.” Maybe a childhood bully in school made fun of you because of the awkward stages of childhood we all experience. Whatever the case, being aware of whether we have accepted a negative and false belief about ourselves is the first step in develop a better self image. What do you do once you have identified the negative beliefs you have held? • Decide to address them as lies. Look at the source of the lie. If the source was an abusive parent or a mean kid the odds are their assessment of you was based on their own dysfunction not the truth of who you are. • Begin to acknowledge and accept the good in you. While none of us are perfect we all have unique talents and qualities that make us use special. Begin to embrace the greatness that is in you. • Separate yourself from negativity. Do not allow people in your space who will reinforce negative beliefs. Surround yourself with people who can encourage and inspire you.

If you want to change the way you feel about yourself, first you have to change the way you think about yourself.” Gavin Bird

Author, Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

The Challenge of New

Posted on: August 7th, 2019

I have come to the revelation after 49 years old living that nothing ever remains the same. There is comfort in the familiar. Life, however, is more of a series of transitions. This time of year, we are preparing our children for the new school year. For the youngest the transition will be from the comfort of home to going to a new place without a parent. The older kids will transition to a higher grade with greater expectations. High school graduates will transition to college, military, or the workforce. When we are kids, we tend to prepare ourselves for these inevitable transitions but somewhere along the way as adults we start to become creatures of habit. We begin to resist the inevitability of transition. Great peace can be found in embracing life’s transitions. I am challenging myself and I challenge the reader to look forward to change with excitement and great expectation. I am sure at one time or another you were once that kid experiencing the nervous excitement of the first day of school. When you experience the inevitable transition remember that kid you once were.

Author Alicia Lurry MA LPC

Stop to Smell the Roses

Posted on: July 2nd, 2019

Life can be a mixture of highs and lows. It has been my experience that the only thing we can predict as we continue on life’s journey is that life is unpredictable. How then do we maintain balance as we are often knocked off balance? Taking time to slow down and recognize the little joys in life can help regain a since of calm in the midst of chaotic situations. The following are 3 practical suggestions to help restore calm: • Practice mindfulness strategies of sensing the environment. Find a place of quiet. Begin to focus on your breath. Go outside feel the warmth of the sun or the coolness of the wind. • Do what you love. We spend much of our time doing what we “have to” do. Plan time to do thing you want to do. Doing what you love serves as a healthy distraction. It takes us out of our present circumstance and allows for relief from stress. • Laugh out loud. There is a scripture that says Laughter does good like medicine. Whether its spending time with friends or family, watching a funny movie, or going to see a comedy show, take time to laugh. Laughter reminds us that life can be funny. It isn’t always so serious. We knew this as kids but we often forget this as adults. It’s ok to be goofy. Finding joy in the midst of difficulty is not easy but it is necessary for resilience and success.

Author Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC CRC

Self Check

Posted on: June 17th, 2019

If you are a busy person who cares for others and balances multiple responsibilities, this blog is for you. For the past few months I have had much more responsibility than usual. My husband underwent a serious medical procedure that required him to be hospitalized for nearly a month followed up by inpatient rehab. My husband was absent from our home for a little over 6 weeks. Once he came home, he was very limited in what he could do. We as a family had to adjust rather suddenly to our new normal. I found myself struggling to meet his needs, reassure our children and meet their needs, and manage my own emotions. I found myself repeating frequently I’m ok. Telling myself you’re ok as a personal reassurance that I could persevere. I consider myself a strong person. I have come through some difficult patches in life. I always manage to push through. I found myself in therapy sessions telling clients who struggle with anxiety, depression and feeling overwhelmed to practice self-care. The hypocrisy of my advice was stunning. I began to realize that my pushing through and self- motivating affirmations of you’re ok were not helping me see the root of my issue. My root issue was that I was not ok. I needed support. I needed to be honest with myself and take a moment to ask for help and get what I needed. I needed to admit that I am human and sometimes I cannot handle everything. I needed to ask my friends and family for help when I was overwhelmed. I needed to seek therapeutic support to help put my experiences in perspective. I needed to be real with myself and do a sincere self-check. My husband is improving and has grown more independent. He is assuming his previous responsibilities and life is slowly coming back to normal. This experience has opened my eyes to the importance of honest self -awareness. If you find yourself struggling to hold on it may be time for a self-check.

Author Alicia Lurry MA CRC LPC

Where Has All the Kindness Gone?

Posted on: May 7th, 2019

Where Has all the Kindness Gone? Looking at our present political and social climate I find myself asking where has the spirit of compromise, kindness and civility gone. In my nearly 49 years of living I can say I remember a time when our leaders addressed conflict with the idea of compromise as a means for resolution. Is compromise considered to be an obsolete concept? As a therapist I meet with individuals, couples and families. Conflict within these relationships usually has much to do with lack of effective communication and an unwillingness to compromise. I often ask client’s what they consider to be a barrier to compromise. The following are some common responses: 1. I don’t think I’m wrong. They need to change. 2. If I compromise the other person will take advantage. 3. If I compromise, I will appear vulnerable and weak. Without compromise there is no movement. Think of driving down the road and two cars come to an intersection with flashing red lights. Without the ability to compromise there will surely be a crash and potentially substantial damage. Think of our relationships as those intersecting cars each wanting to go their own way, but needed to compromise and proceed with caution. Compromise is an essential part to any healthy relationship. If each person compromises, then inevitably everyone gets a bit of what they want.

Author Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

Breaking Free of Negative Cognitions

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019

There is a saying that sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. I believe this saying is very accurate. There are messages we feed ourselves daily, sometimes it seems as if these messages are on a loop in our minds. These messages can be positive, encouraging, and motivating or they can be hurtful, self sabotaging, and destructive. It is important to recognize the power of our thoughts and beliefs and how they shape our actions and behaviors. These messages can come from past experiences. They can come from previous trauma. They can come from our parents or caregivers in early childhood. What messages are you giving yourself? Have you taken them as truth? Have you patterned your life according to them? Here are some helpful practices in breaking the hold of negative cognitions: 1. Identify the source. It is easy to assume your belief came from you. Often however, we find that negative beliefs begin in childhood, when someone says something hurtful about you and because you lacked the ability as a child to believe otherwise, you took it as truth. As an adult it is now time to reframe that message and put it in proper context in order to change your perspective. 2. Check the evidence. We often hold certain negative beliefs without real evidence to support the belief. These patterns appear in some common cognitive distortions such as jumping to conclusions, mind reading, interpreting the thoughts or beliefs of others without adequate evidence of support, or fortune telling, expecting the worst possible result without adequate evidence to support the assumption. 3. Seek support. Negative thought patterns thrive in isolation. If you are struggling with this common challenge please seek the help of a qualified therapist. There are times when the support of the objective point of view is necessary in order to unpack what is years of negative beliefs. Negative beliefs are learned. Positive beliefs can also be learned. The work begins is recognizing the need for change.

Author, Alicia M. Lurry LPC

The New Normal

Posted on: March 11th, 2019

There are moments in life when your world is turned up-side-down. These are the moments when what you thought was a constant, what you often take for granted, or what you just don’t notice changes in an instant. These are the moments in which you feel the wind has been knocked out of you. The moments when it is hard to catch your breath. These are the moments when you move frantically to hold it together for fear of falling apart. What do you do in those moments? How does one adjust? After the initial shock of the moment you began the process of adjusting to the new normal. The new normal is identified by the ability to continue on and be resilient in the face of a difficult situation. The new normal reminds us that life must go on. It reminds us that life has its ups and downs and that change for the positive can happen. The new normal is a place of hope. It allows us to know that we can move forward. If you are struggling with a challenge in this moment, know that you are resilient. Remember to have hope in the midst of despair. Know that you will arrive at a new normal a little wiser and stronger than before.

Author,

Alicia M. Lurry LPC

Changing From Within

Posted on: February 8th, 2019

Remember the classic song by Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror?” One line of that song has always stuck with me. “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.” Michael Jackson. There are many moments in my life when I am frustrated by situations, circumstances, and honestly often other people. I wish I could say in those moments of distress I begin to look inward, but my blogs come from a place of honesty so I will just say the following is my desired response and the response I hope others will take. Here are a few points I think may be helpful:

• Practice introspection. Pay attention to what you can control and what you cannot. You will usually find the one and only thing you have control over is your response to a situation.

• Practice acceptance. This acceptance can come in the form of forgiveness and being non-judgmental. Give others room for imperfection. Also forgive yourself for not being perfect.

• Be the change you want to see. Understand you have the power to change your environment. Instead of complaining get moving. You have no idea the impact you can make.

I occasionally think of the lyrics of that classic song. It serves as a good reality check for me. It also serves as an empowering motivator. I have the ability to make change. You have this power as well.

Author, Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

Happy New Day!

Posted on: January 5th, 2019

A new year brings hopes for the future, reflections of the past, and a resolve to change the things we deem unsatisfactory. Resolutions are great and full of good intentions, but all too often when we are not consistent in our goals or when our goals appear too big to reach, we give up in frustration. I often tell my patients who struggle with feeling anxious and overwhelmed that it is important to focus on one part of a task at a time. There are times when the big picture view can prove to be overwhelming. Sometimes it helps to narrow the view so that our goals can be attainable. This year instead of focusing on the new year, I propose we steer our focus to have a happy new day. Each day is filled with new beginnings, a fresh opportunity to make a change. I encourage the reader to find joy and redemption in each new day. Wishing you a Happy New Day and a great 2019! One day at a time.

Author Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC CRC