Medicare

The really interesting part of Medicare and psychotherapy is that Medicare allows so many seniors to do something they may never would have done before. With Medicare there is an opportunity for the first time to go to psychotherapy without burdening the budget. And when on a fixed budget with what can be big life transitions that is pretty awesome! Not every psychologist takes Medicare. Why? There's the dreaded insurance paperwork for both Medicare and the supplement and they don't pay out as much as private pays.
I began my second internship in a practice that worked with seniors and Medicare and have always kept Medicare a portion of my practice because it's a really insightful age group I enjoy working with.

It is an age of introspection. There can be loss or losses- illness. There can be old guilt. There can be difficulty accepting not reaching a goal. There can be a re-evaluating of one's life knowing there are only so many life's boxes left and realizing you can decide how you want to live filling them. There may be relationships you want to change. Maybe you have thoughts on a new career you've wanted to explore. Maybe you are alone and want to find out how to build relationships without work.

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Being a parent can bring guilt. Being an adult child can bring unresolved feelings. Being both at the same time and feeling sandwiched can be overwhelming. Retirement sounds wonderful and can be but after working many years it does have an effect on our identity. Maybe I've been sad, angry, depressed anxious for a long time and I want to do something about it now. We are fortunate to have Medicare at this time in our lives to be able to go to psychotherapy and work through many of the questions and issues and fears that come up at this very interesting time in our lives.

Sports and Emotional Triggers

Triggers help you and triggers hurt you. An emotional trigger Is a reaction that produces a greater emotion than what is called for in a specific event. The problem is when we are being triggered we often do not understand that this reaction is a trigger about something else. We are triggered by many things. You know you are in trouble when that "trigger" happens over and over again- when there is a pattern that keeps you stuck in overreacting or even finally quitting.

A trigger doesn't have to be bad. It can motivate you to kick it up a notch, get excited, push you harder. BUT when old voices are the triggers that say " you loser" " you can't do it", then you can become overwhelmed and even defeated.

But those are OLD voices /OLD experiences. We often even put that old voice onto a present person and blame that person. Maybe that present person even acts or resembles the old mean person.  BUT HE\SHE IS NOT THAT PERSON.

It was in the past.

When you notice the trigger reaction ' when you recognize it and feel it in your body' the key is to become aware that "this is something old " and there are things you need to do. Shake yourself physically, get the mind and body working together, take a breath and release the tension and most importantly CLEAR YOUR MIND OF OTHERS. STAY IN THE PRESENT. IT's just you and your goal. You are in the ZONE... NO ONE ELSE IS THERE.

Often we are not even aware of what old experiences or voices are being triggered. That's because we have filed them away because we didn't want to look at the pain or helplessness we felt. So at some point, it is so important to do some honest soul searching about what we haven't faced from our past.  It is that discovery of the truth of our experience that can truly set us free.

For me, it was years later after I had lost what I hoped was to be my career but it doesn't have to take that long if we can admit what has truly stopped us/wounded us.

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When I was a girl I played the junior tennis circuit. Because of my athletic ability, a lot of eyes were on me to perform. The competition was fierce. However, I was sensitive and had not a built up the resilience to deal with this pressure and the "every girl for herself" mentally no matter the cost. And I had triggers, hurtful triggers that I did not know about let alone how to get past. Every player became a foe/ a person out to take something from me. It had become personal due to my particular trigger. I will never forget one match in particular. I had been training hard and was playing well. I was up 6-2 5-2 against the number one player. I had been right behind her for a long time. I was about to win this. Suddenly the score was called and I felt the old familiar feeling creeping in.  I looked at my coach in the bleachers and saw that he knew what was happening. There was such utter disappointment on his face. It was unbearable. I lost that set and the next. My head was not in the game. There was some trigger some inner voice I did not understand that had taken over and I felt I could not do it.

Like many times I would fold right at the crucial point that would have set me apart and move me forward. I spoke to my parents about many things but I never spoke to them about this repetition feeling that was triggered. In sports you are expected to move on, just study your opponent and practice harder. I ended up feeling sick and extremely anxious just thinking about going to a tournament. Finally, I quit- feeling like a loser and a  disappointment. It took me years to process what "was wrong with me". I understand so much more about myself today and though I am sad for that young me  I feel very passionate about helping others to work on, talk about, and process the inner struggles that keep them from succeeding at what they love to do.

I keep a plaque in my office as a reminder that says:

IT'S HARD TO FIGHT AN ENEMY THAT HAS OUTPOSTS IN YOUR HEAD

Senior Blog

Following World War II there were more babies born than ever before. This “boom” in births happened between 1946-1964. The projection has been that when these boomers become seniors they would pose an economic threat. As retirees they would no longer be producing and therefore drain the system especially healthcare Less producers, more dependents.At the same

At the same time research is telling us that we are living longer than ever before. Does extended years of retirement mean more of a drain? Let's look at that. The way we think about aging has typically been thought of as time to slow down.retire, “the Golden Years” and by the way are your affairs in order? This large generation of boomers more than any generation before has the opportunity to change the way we think about aging.

Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying,”If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”. We have a chance to redefine retirement and think about what we want these bonus years to look like. This is exciting for not only current seniors but for all following generations.

Our attitude has a profound effect on our physical, mental and emotional health. This new mindset enables this age group that is currently living the bonus years right now to take advantage of this mindset. There is new research everyday informing us of ways to better manage already existing conditions and ways to be proactive and stay healthy longer. If health insurance companies are on board and offering preventative care options then we need to be in the mindset to take advantage of them. Mental health ( you knew it was coming) can be crucial at this time. There is a correlation between how we approach this time of life to patterns of thinking we have established through the years. Physical, mental and emotional health are all connected.It's one system. As a psychologist I have seen the enormous impact the emotional has on us physically and mentally. In the beginning it can be difficult. That is why the name of this website is COURAGE TO BEGIN. We live in a time where we can have some say in living healthier offering an opportunity for: reflecting on our life and perhaps making a change, defining what we feel is important and personally meaningful, discovering unknown passions and talents, pursuing a second career? This is a good time to be this age. If we can make this shift to a new way to think about aging we will be passing on a gift to generations that follow.

I will be sharing current articles and research that I think are valuable. My goal is to sift through the latest research and find what speaks to living a healthier happier life.

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health.Harvard.edu is a subscription newsletter that provides informative reports and studies.The email series “Blood Pressure and your Brain” issue #7 in a series on blood pressure ends with an Italian study that says NEVER TOO LATE. Controlling blood pressure can reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction.

Speaking of NEVER TOO LATE.  The following two painting were done by my grandfather who began taking lessons when he was "SIXTY" and became a very talented artist after retirement!

Young Adult Blog

I will be adding information that young adults are finding useful as I hear about it. For now here are a few things I hope you find useful.

APPS:

  • Mindshift (free app for help managing anxiety)
  • Headspace ( 10 free 10-minute meditations)
  • Digit (free app)

WEBSITES:

BLOGS: Broke Millennial

BOOKS:

  • Aspiring Adults Adrift by Richard Arium and Josipa Roska

Open by Andre Agassi

LINKS

All Is Lost

While I was working on this website I watched the movie All is Lost .written and  directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Robert Redford.  The movie has almost no dialog. Its focus is on one man (unnamed man which I shall call Redford) who sails  off on a lone voyage and becomes lost at sea.  Redford is very resilient, methodically focused on the task at hand,  taking each crisis in stride  almost to the feeling of detachment..Standard for most sailors is to carry a location devise. Also  when taking on water first  to notify  authorities   then to attempt to handle the emergency.   My  impression is that he has become  defined by his self reliance and  reaching out for help has become a risk that no longer registers as an option.

What begins is a series of crises that Redford attends to until he finally runs out of options and must abandon ship.   He was not able  to overcome  the final crisis,.. There is nothing else he alone can do.  He has  thrown up  his last  flair.   On his face we can see his acceptance of "all is lost".

As Redford sinks downward. into the sea,  a boat appears.  It is  a person with a search light. A hand reaches down into the water toward Redford.  Redford swims up toward the surface and clasps the outstretched hand. Fade to White.  .In an interview with 'Television Without Pity', Chandor explained Fade To White:

There are 21 frames of white right at the last moment that I put in there and that's a little unusual because it lights up the theater in a weird way.  But in my mind, it was a way of cementing the end of the film and locking it in your mind, so it's your film,  I'm handing it over.  Hopefully , you’re learning something about yourself and starting to think about that.

Reportedly audiences are divided into two camps as to the ending of the movie.

One camp believes Redford dies  and the  extended  hand is that of a spiritual being guiding him into the beyond. . The fade to white represents  the afterlife.

The other camp believes Redford reaches out clasps the hand and is saved by the person in the boat.

That whatever pain/hurt/regret that caused Redford to decide to  go it alone allowed  room for the acceptance  of. help. He did reach up, trust an other and  an other was there. He was not alone.  All is not lost.

I think many of us can relate to this part of Redford that wants to go it alone. Its an experience we all have had. Children can express this very honestly: "You have hurt me. I don’t need you. I will do it by myself." The parent sees the hurt and reaches out to repair.  But what if this hurt and disappointed happens too much? What if there is no attempt to repair? That is the feeling I had watching Redford. It did not feel like watching a man at peace, enjoying time alone or dealing with a not yet repaired disappointment.   Watching him felt tragic.  That he was stuck alone in a place of protecting from hurt and disappointment.  He was hurt beyond  trying  to contact help. This movie was a good illustration of what happens when hurt becomes cemented. in us. and blocks the possibility of connecting when one is hurting and  in need. .   In the end it took a life and death crisis for Redford to turn toward an other.  He chose to be saved.  I believe this represents a life changing moment.   A life time of isolation and self- sufficiency broke open to a moment of acceptance of need for an other.    Fade to white.

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