The Foundry: Finding Zen when a child is in treatment
Family members address and navigate seemingly endless stormy waters once their child enters treatment. Having a child in treatment is demanding of our time and resources, and most of all, it’s emotionally exhausting.
Our worry and anxiety fluctuates throughout the process, and we often find ourselves in a constant state of internal “fight or flight” response that keeps us prepared to take action when dealing with a crisis or a threat. It is a constant state that keeps us striving to take control of the fear or worry.
The challenge of taking control of a situation this way is that it really only works if we are in physical danger. When dealing with anxiety, perceived or real, our version of taking control becomes more of a problem — an emotionally exhausting problem.
There is no doubt our fear is real, especially when our family member’s needs must be met through more intensive interventions. However, our tendency to allow our thoughts to create and exacerbate anxiety, which keeps us in this state of automatic response, constantly reacting to our perceived fears using ineffective tools to take control. Following are useful ways to find your Zen and enjoy long-term success in managing anxiety as you engage in this journey with your family:
• Find control within ourselves to decrease the need to control the situation
• Change negative beliefs
• Cultivate new approaches to thinking
• Increase awareness of thoughts and storylines we follow that always increase anxiety
• Learn to stop replaying the past and rehearsing a dissatisfying future
• Decrease self –judgment and blame
• Distinguish between urgency and Importance when it comes to situations that need addressed
• Increase self-awareness and identify patterns that are impacting our success as parents
• Change Language to change behavior to increase self-awareness
• Learn to decrease expectations and truly allow for acceptance
Jen Murphy, M.Ed., LPC is the family director at The Foundry, providing services specifically for Foundry family members to provide support and guidance throughout their family member’s treatment process. In our work with families, we continually honor the family’s therapeutic process and creatively support the unique needs of each individual family. Murphy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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