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How to Handle Grief

Posted on September 19, 2020 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (161)

How to Effectively Handle Grief



Grief is the overwhelming mental and emotional pain we experience over the loss of someone. Grief is unwelcomed yet unavoidable. We cannot control how and when we feel grief or even what causes it. But what we can control is how we handle it. Don't get me wrong, handling grief if no easy feat. But handling our grief is an important aspect of getting some form of closure and moving forward with our lives. If we fail to resolve our grief it can lead to other emotional and even physical problems.


What are some healthy ways to effectively handle grief?

Well, let's start by acknowledging that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and how each person experiences grief is different. With that said there are healthy ways and habits to assist with the grieving process.


1. Develop healthy rituals to help yourself through the grieving process. It can as simple as talking to someone or joining a grief support group or talking to a grief counselor. Another healthy ritual is to find ways to express your pain through creative expressions such as painting, singing, or writing a journal.

2. Give yourself time to grieve. Don't pretend you are not feeling grief and that you need to be ok after a set period of time. Grief has no timeline.

3. Take care of yourself. Grieving can cause you to forget to take care of yourself and you start forgetting to eat or sleep.

4. Accept that your life has changed and may never be the same. You cannot undo what was done. Your only option is to accept it and gradually work through the pain.

5. Seek support from people who you trust to create a safe space of trust. Talk to someone who will listen and not judge how you are feeling.

6. Forgive yourself. If for some reason you are feeling guilt over a loved one's passing due to hurtful things said or done right before their passing. Know that this was not your fault and you can still apologize to them in your heart.

7. Create a living amendment. If you have regrets following your loved one's passing for example you spent too much time working and not enough time with them. You can make a promise that as long as you live you will never let something like that happen again and spend more time with the family you have. This will intern allow you to go through the grieving process knowing you can make amends for your actions in some other way.



Final Thoughts

Everyone grieves in different ways and in their own time. The only thing that is certain is that you must find healthy processes to cope with your loss to prevent further emotional pain. Only then you will start to heal.



A Therapist's Thoughts on Anxiety.

Posted on August 20, 2019 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (57)

What's the number one thing that I personally see that brings people into professional counseling? Anxiety and panic attacks. We are people burnt out, over-worked, inundated with news-feeds and the opinions and "highlight reels" of others. Social anxiety (fear of being judged) is unfortunately more and more common with teenagers. Teenagers are afraid to be themselves, worrying and becoming anxious about starting conversations, going into stores and talking to a clerk, or making a phone call.

If you are struggling with anxiety, I just wanted to say a few things. 1)You're not alone. Anxiety is brutal and it feels like an unwanted intruder that comes and visits daily. 2) Put light on your fears and worries. There is some relief and freedom that comes in just speaking them out loud to someone that cares. If you don't have someone caring and compassionate in your life- then please don't hesitate to reach out to me. 3) Don't accept that this is "just the way I am," or that "I've just always been an anxious person." There's things you can do to alleviate that anxiety! I've been there myself, and now I get to help people overcome their own anxiety and fears. I help develop a treatment plan to effectively cope with anxiety so that it doesn't have power over you anymore.
Lastly, if you are someone who is in relationship of any kind with someone who is struggling with anxiety- it is not helpful for that person to be told, "Just stop worrying." Trust me, they have probably tried, and if anyone wants to just stop worrying it's them. While tough love and challenging their irrational beliefs has its place and importance, it is first important to hear that person's heart and to meet them where they're at currently. Validating someone's feelings doesn't mean you agree with them, it just shows that you've heard them and reaffirms to them that you are by their side as they work through the things that are causing them to worry and fear.
Just a few thoughts, many more I could share on this silent, often hidden struggle that is taking over so many.

Christina Milazzo, Licensed Mental Health Counselor 

Do I Control ANYTHING?! By Laurie Wren, LCSW

Posted on May 15, 2018 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (97)



Sometimes it feels like life is spinning out of control, and it’s all beyond your reach.

Is that your reality though? Is there something you can control?


1. Your thoughts

2. Your words

3. Your responses

4. Your choices

5. Whether or not you take care of yourself

6. What you say to yourself (“Stupid, lame, sick, awesome, brilliant, trying…”)

It’s normal to seek a degree of control when your life is going through a chaotic, or stormy, time. The part where you get tripped up is when you try to control other people or outcomes. You may influence them, but you don’t control them. When you acknowledge that, you can focus on things you can control, and then you’ll see action!


How to Test Your Anxious Thoughts

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (643)

“How we see it is how it will be.” (Anonymous)

We most often suffer more from what we FEAR than what actually HAPPENS, so it’s important for you to learn how to evaluate what you are thinking. Things always look less fearful when we face them head on vs. running or distracting ourselves into TV, alcohol, food, or work.

Spend some time asking yourself these questions:*

1. What is the situation that I’m stressed or worried about?


3. How much do I believe that thought? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage

4. How does that thought MAKE ME FEEL? (assign a feeling)

5. How STRONG is that feeling? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage

6. What makes me think the thought is true?

7. What makes me think the thought is NOT true or not COMPLETELY true?

8.  What’s another way to look at this situation?

9.  What’s the worst that could happen?

10. Could I still live through that?

11.  What’s the BEST that could happen?

12.  What will PROBABLY happen?

13.  What WILL happen if I keep telling myself the same thought?

14. What COULD happen if I changed or challenged my thinking?

15. What would I tell my friend _________________ if this happened to him/her?

16. What should I do now?

17. How much do I believe that negative thought now? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage

 18. How strong is my negative FEELING now? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage.

Remember: you are not alone! I am here for you to evaluate and explore these fears and help you learn new ways of thinking and seeing your life.,

Laurie Wren

*from the work of J.S. Beck 

The Pressure of Being a Teen Girl

Posted on September 4, 2016 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (2356)

It was placed on my heart to put together a curriculum for teen girls, so that teen girls would have a safe, judgment-free zone to go each week to discuss the many challenges and pressures that come with being female. Us older ladies know a thing or two about the unique challenges that come with being a woman, but what about the challenges of being an adolescent female in this day and age? I have counseled numerous teen girls and they each talk about one common challenge: "PRESSURE." Pressure to fit in, to be popular, to be thin, to have skinny thighs, to have a clear complexion, to get good grades, to be wanted and desired by the opposite sex, to please their parents, or to figure out what exactly they want to do with the rest of their lives. Are you feeling pressured just reading about all the pressure? Before I get to the encouraging and exciting news about our upcoming teen girls group at Reveille Counseling Ministry, I thought I would share some staggering statistics on today's teen girls.

Brace yourselves, it's disheartening... The statistics show that:

- 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.

-81% of 10-year-old girls in the U.S. are afraid of being fat.

-6 out of 10 girls opt out of important activities because they’re worried about the way they look. (And these are HEALTHY, productive activities such as: social events, attending school, joining extracurricular activities)

 -92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest.

 -74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone. (Girls Inc, The Supergirl Dilemma)

-98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way. (National Report on Self Esteem)

 -1 in 4 girls today fall into a clinical diagnosis – depression, eating disorders, cutting, and other mental/emotional disorders. On top of these, many more report being constantly anxious, sleep deprived, and under significant pressure. (The Triple Bind, Steven Hinshaw)

That last statitstic is so important to read again. One in four girls fall into a clinicial diagnosis of depression, cutting, eating disorders, anxiety, etc. When you look around and think that one out of four girls are likely secretly battling one of these issues, it can serve as a call to action!

THIS is why I am starting a group for teen girls. It's a space for young women to glean some wisdom from someone who is a little older, wiser, but who has also lived in the same mean-girl, comparison-driven world as them. It's a group for young women to find (or redirect) where they place their self-worth, to build their confidence, to be content and fulfilled with who God created them to be, to learn about healthy dating relationships, so that one day they can be prepared for a healthy marital relationship in their future.

#LoveYourSELFie is a confidential group for girls ages 14-19 starting October 13th, and will last for 4 weeks. It's going to be life-giving, wisdom filled, validating, and encouraging. My hope is that your young daughter, niece, or friend would grow into wise, confident, discerning, young woman. This group will be a tool to help them with just that.

Christina Milazzo, MA. RMHCI

Registration needed to reserve your seat.

386-243-7356 or [email protected]



Change Your Approach to Stress by Reframing Your Thoughts

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (94)

A helpful tip when feeling anxious is to challenge your thinking. Often, our thoughts affect how we feel and contribute to anxiety symptoms.


Three questions are helpful in challenging your thinking:


1. Where is the evidence for this belief?

2. Is there any other way of looking at the situation?

3. Is the situation as bad as it seems?


Join us for our 6 week Anxiety Group beginning August 3rd to learn additional ways you can manage your anxiety.

Christina Milazzo, RMHCI

[email protected]

How to Handle Divorce: Ten Quick Tips

Posted on April 8, 2016 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (458)

1. Protect the children. Children have a deep psychological need to think well of BOTH parents. Avoid letting them hear you put down or say bad things about the other parent, regardless of how justified you feel in saying these things.


2. Depend on the experts. Well- meaning friends and family will give you legal and psychological advice; that’s not a good source. Thank them for their concern and move on.


3. Avoid other drastic life changes. Make your life as stable as possible right now. Try to keep sleeping and eating on a schedule. See your doctor and/or counselor immediately if these are disrupted for more than 3 weeks or so-depression and anxiety may take hold if basic needs are ignored.

4. Take a Divorce Parenting class as soon as possible. When I taught this class, the comment I heard most often was, “why didn’t someone tell me to take this sooner?” You will find help and support there. Ask your attorney for more information.

5. Maintain professionalism at work. It is natural for your focus to be disrupted, but strictly limit the amount of time you spend on email or conversation about your divorce.


6. Lay it down sometimes. Take a break and play with your kids. Go see a funny movie. Let your mind rest. If the worries persist, promise yourself you will go back to worrying about the issues later that day, then return to the fun.


7. Limit contact with your ex-spouse. You are not obligated to endure any conversations that your attorney does not require of you. Make your contact brief and limited only to necessary details of custody issues.


8. Observe your breathing. Under stress, our breathing often becomes shallow. This leads our muscles to tense up and puts the whole body on constant alert. Put a sticker or an object around your workplace and use it as a reminder to breathe deeply.

9. Stand up for yourself. It’s time to say “I need, I feel” or “no, I can’t do that.” Maybe this is new behavior for you. A counselor who has been specifically trained in this can teach you how to detach and communicate in a civil manner that protects the dignity and rights of both parties.


10. Finally, remember: this WILL pass. You are currently experiencing one of the hardest life experiences there is. Keep your focus firmly on the hope of a peaceful outcome and take care of yourself in the meantime.

  By Laurie Wren, LCSW, Founder & Director of Reveille Counseling


Four Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More

Posted on December 2, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (104)

1. Choose one holiday activity that’s the most important to you this year. Then ask each family member (Immediate family ONLY) to do the same. This year choose to do just those activities. Can’t narrow it down to one? Ok, then chose one thing to opt out of this year. (Yes, you really can say no to that awkward party.)


2. Do something for someone else…use your imagination. This could mean leaving a potted plant by someone’s doorstep, feeding the homeless, or just smiling at people as you hold the door open for them. Actually a smile and even an ounce of calm can be contagious.


3. Schedule yourself some unscheduled time each week. It never falls in our laps. We have to be purposeful to find it. Do not fill it up with odds and ends or those errands you didn’t have time to run. Guard it as your time to rejuvenate and refresh. By doing this you will enjoy life more, as well as have more to give to the ones you care about.


4. Decide what it is that you are celebrating. Then celebrate that with purpose!


Getting the Most out of Therapy

Posted on June 24, 2015 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (138)

 Here are some suggestions for making your therapeutic experience the best possible:

1) Be totally honest. Believe me, I've heard every story. The human condition contains basic elements that exist in all problems presented, and you're not going to shock me, nor am I going to disapprove of you!

2) Be open to new ways of thinking. Although you are free to examine, use, or discard any suggestions I  may make, remember that behavior change is required for growth. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."

3) Understand the difference in professional therapy and "talking to a friend." A minimum of five1/2 years of college, two of them in human behavior, is required to legally practice as a counselor. We are also required to get several thousand hours of internship experience and supervision before being licensed.

4) Expect some resistance from family or friends. Change, even good change, can be threatening, and comes with a price. Your relationships will change because your world changes when YOU change. There will be people in your life who resist this, who want you to "stay in your box." It is indeed necessary to rock the boat for things to ultimately improve.

5) Do your homework. The true change of the therapy experience only takes place outside of the office, as you test the new ideas I give you and report the results back to me.

6) Journal, journal, and journal some more. The research is compelling: journaling continues the therapeutic progress outside of the session, releases tension, and moves you forward faster. Bullet-point journaling works well too.

7) Attend as regularly and as often as possible. It's also smart to come in occasionally after therapy has ended if you sense a downturn in mood or thinking.

8) Be patient with yourself. It took you a lifetime to develop these thinking patterns; it will take more than a session or two to change them!

9) Make notes after the session. Ideally, schedule enough free time after your therapy to go somewhere and process what came up.

10) Take responsibility for the session. Notice during the week what bothers you, excites you, what insights come up in your journaling that need to be explored further. Bring this information to session.




Keys for Less Stressful Communication

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (666)

1. Use a calm voice

2. Be direct and respectful

3. Avoid sarcasm

4. Use “I need” rather than “you should”

5. Ask for clarification if you need to

6. Take deep breaths

7. Call a time out if needed

8. Don’t assume they “just know”

9. Don’t use “you never” or “you always”

10. Take your problems to a licensed therapist if you find yourselves in the same arguments over and over, if names are being called, or there is any hint of violence.