Newsletter #1 – Welcome! – October 2019

Welcome to Treebrook Counseling’s Newsletter!
I’ve started a newsletter and I’m excited to share it with you! I hope you will find value and entertainment in the content. If you do, please share with friends and family members who may also enjoy!
My name is Kristi Baumbach and I am the owner of Treebrook Counseling in Lockhart, Texas. In this newsletter I will address a wide variety of topics including parenting, coping skills, emotional intelligence, communication skills, recovering from traumatic events, dealing with anxiety, depression, other mental health concerns, increasing intimacy and connection in relationships, and much, much more! Much of the content will be original and I will also share articles from other sources that may be of interest to you. I hope that you will find something in each newsletter that will help you live your best life!
Please feel free to let me know if there are topics that you’d like to see addressed in this and I will do my best to accommodate! Feedback is always welcome and I look forward to hearing from you!
Emotions….Why are they so hard?
One of the most important emotional tools you can have in your tool box is the ability to recognize and name your feelings. Sounds simple, right? Not really! Feelings are not something to fear or be embarrassed about. We are created to experience ALL emotions and if we listen to them we can recognize the important needs being communicated.
Explore the chart below (feel free to download it and print it out) and notice just how many words our amazing language has to describe our emotions. Over the next weeks, when facing a challenging situation, take a few deep, slow breathes, and look at this chart. See if you can identify the emotions (many times there is more than one!) you are feeling and ask yourself “what need might this emotion be trying to highlight?”
For example, many times when people identify they are bored, if they explore further, they may notice they are feeling lonely as well. If one is feeling lonely, what is the need trying to be expressed? Maybe connection with a friend or family member? To meet that need, you could go into the same room as a family member and start a conversation, ask for a hug, just be in the same space as them, or call a friend for coffee or a chat. We are created and designed to be in relationships with other people and feeling disconnected can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, emptiness, abandonment, and loneliness. The antidote is connection with another person. It may take courage to reach out and ask for that connection but the results will be worth it!
Questions and Ramblings….
My middle school child has been experimenting with vaping and I just found out. I’m freaked out and don’t know how to handle this! What did I do wrong? What do I do now?
First, take a deep breath! Adolescence is a time of confusion, peer pressure, and lots of mistakes! Vaping is very serious and needs to be addressed, of course. However, your child is not in immediate danger this minute so you have time to gather your thoughts and decide your best course of action. This may be the first big mistake your child has thrown at you but I promise you it won’t be the last! Yelling, lecturing, and punishing will only serve to drive a wedge between you and your child which means they won’t be listening to a thing you have to say! In order for them to truly HEAR you, you need to be calm and pulled together. Imagine you are an anchor and they are a boat on rough, stormy seas. If you, as the anchor, can hold strong, stay calm, and think clearly, you can help them safely navigate this storm (and others that haven’t even arrived yet).
How do I do this? you may be asking yourself and that is a valid question. Correction of behaviors NEVER happens unless you first have connection. So, how do you stay (or get) connected to this child in the middle of a crisis? Be curious, listen, ask open ended questions (no yes/no questions), validate their experiences, do LESS talking and give them space to share their experience, use a calm, nurturing tone, provide supportive physical touch (a hug, hand on their knee or shoulder), give soft eye contact, and most importantly remember you love this child and their behavior hasn’t changed that fact.
Questions to try:
  • What was it like to try vaping?
  • Then what happened?
  • How were you feeling?
  • What was that like?
  • Say more about that.
  • That sounds hard, confusing, scary, etc.
  • So what I hear you saying is….
  • It makes sense you……
  • What are our family values?
  • What do you think should happen now?
Above all, remember that you want to be able to have these tough conversations (and many, many more) with your child because growing up is extremely difficult. They do still need your guidance and they want to listen to you but they cannot do that if you don’t listen to them FIRST! Their brains still have much growing and maturing to do over the next decade and you are an invaluable part of helping to shape that growth.
Parenting is the hardest gig on the planet! Stay connected to your child, no matter what, and you’ll both get through it!
Email me your questions about mental health, parenting, and relationships and I’ll do my best to provide some helpful insights, resources, and ideas!