By Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S –
You wouldn’t say “It’s just cancer” and expect someone to get over it, would you? A friend shared with us a sign that says just that in an airport and it has stuck. Why do we expect friends and family to “get over” what life brings them if it relates to an emotion or a mental health situation, yet with medical conditions we are accepting, compassionate, and eager to help?
Mental health is alive and impacts everything we do. More people lack self care with their mental health needs than their physical needs. Every aspect of life relates back to mental health, yet we chose to ignore it and identify a huge fault in those that seek help or dwell on it. We tell them to move on and get over it. What if we could change our view of getting over it to getting through it?
When asked who would benefit from mental health services, my answer is always “who wouldn’t?” Who among us doesn’t have a bad day, bad relationship, trouble communicating, difficulty accepting life or a diagnosis, and even more so, those who are diagnosed (and those who love them) accepting a mental health diagnosis.
Our society is quick to say someone is “suffering” from a traumatic situation, yet judgment comes when that person seeks help. There are mental health professionals for every walk of life and every situation that arises. What is mental health? By dictionary definition, it reads something like: a psychological state of meeting life’s demands. What is it to you? It could be the loss of a relationship or the loss of a loved one to death. It could be a life changing event such as loss of your job, your house, or empty nesting. It could be surviving a trauma—
something you define as a trauma, even if others were not impacted. It could be realizing you don’t think or process the same way as others. There are so many ways to define mental health because for each of us, it is our own.
Finding coping strategies, improving communication, defining relationships, or having a safe person to share with can all improve our mental health. Laying on a couch talking to a doctor is not the only way to make this happen. Many mental health professionals have a variety of degrees and experiences.
At our practice we believe in expressive modalities of processing. Sometimes we need to go back to our original language of play and symbolically work through a struggle we are experiencing. Art supplies may give an outlet of creating the picture of a dichotomy of what is and what is desired. The safety and security of animals in therapy often gives confidence, self awareness, and empathetic listening.
There are many times when life brings us situations where words are hard to come by. Expressive means of processing give our brain a safe outlet. Writing a list or a letter, drawing pictures, going to the beach and getting our feet and hands in the sand, and so much more can help us refocus on self care and bring awareness back to our mental health needs.
When you start to feel physical symptoms, be sure to rule out that a mental health need isn’t the underlying cause. Headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, and so much more can be attributed to unaddressed mental health needs.
Being the seed of hope for yourself and those around you to take care of their mental health needs makes you an advocate for change and awareness.
Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida (#SW8379), and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor through the Association for Play Therapy. Tara also specializes in Play Therapy with children 2 -18 years old, as well as incorporates pet-assisted play therapy into some of her clinical work utilizing her two dogs Abbey and Bode.
Tara has worked in a variety of therapeutic roles including foster care, non-profit family counseling, non-profit individual counseling, elementary school based counseling programs, adolescent drug prevention/intervention, behavioral therapy with autism, domestic violence counseling, and supervised visitation, in addition to her private practice.
Tara’s counseling approach is client centered in that each session is unique to meet the client’s needs and utilizes tools that are most effective for the client such as play, music, pets, and art. More often with the younger children, non-directive and directive modalities of play therapy are utilized. Cognitive-behavioral approaches and family system approaches are also utilized.
Learn more on our website at www.deltafamilycounseling.com
Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S