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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Halloween Poem

By: Allison Sutton, Program Coordinator for Pine Grove's Evaluation Center

It's Halloween and the moon is bright, See what can't be seen on any other night.

Now is the time for goblins and bats, Halloween spirits and lots of black cats. Skeletons, ghosts, and grueling ghouls, with grinning goblins fighting duels.

Zombies are rising from their tombs, and witches are flying on magic brooms. With all the weird-happenings and witches brew, These are the things Pine Grove wishes for you:

May you remember the life you regained, When you accepted the things you could not change. May the tricks that you play or have to do, Be a trick to help gain a sponsor or two. And may the only spirit you chance to see, Be the spirit of strength, hope, and recovery.

We remind you with this little rhyme That life gets better "one day at a time." No matter your recovery routine. Pine Grove wishes you a safe and Happy Halloween!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Life is like Basketball

By Issac Boose, M.Ed, LPC-S, LMFT, ICAADC

I like basketball and I enjoy watching skilled players who play the game well. For me, there are versatile players who can adjust and make appropriate changes in the middle of a play. I especially like watching players, who can anticipate a pass and cut it off, or the player who can rack up points for their team when they are truly needed. Additionally, I admire the players who are able to make accurate free throws throughout the game. I must admit the free throws are not truly exciting for me until the last few minutes of a close game because that is when they count the most. From my perspective, watching a competitive basketball game is much like watching the good things in life unfold before my very eyes.

How awesome would your life be if when you find yourself in a sticky situation you were able to assess how the situation could turn out in a split second and make suitable adjustments as quickly as a basketball player in the middle of play? Imagine the self-confidence in knowing that when you are faced with a problem, you are able to automatically review all of your past experiences and choose the best solution for solving that particular problem. It would be like the basketball player who has so much experience playing the game; they instinctively know what to do next. In life, we sometimes find ourselves repeating the same unhelpful patterns as if we have not gained insight from the past.

What I suggest is for people to pay close attention to how they successfully solved problems in the past and to continue to apply those same principles to future situations. Before you know it, you have a wealth of useful information to draw from. Also, practice your free throws and solve the small problems when they arise. Solving the small problems is just like racking up extra points, in case your life gets complicated later on.

Issac L. Boose is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He presently works as the director of Pine Grove Next Step and has been a part of the Next Step team since December 2004. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland European Division and a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Mississippi. He is an active member of the Mississippi Association of Addiction Professional. His experience in the counseling profession includes working with school-aged children as a school based counselor, counseling senior citizens in a hospital setting, community mental health counseling and residential alcohol and drug counseling. While working within these settings he has provided couples, family, group and individual therapy.

Visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com or call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673) for more information.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting Started

by Dr. Tony Calabrese and Patricia Calabrese, PMH-NP

A Pine Grove Psychiatrist once said, “A health problem left untreated usually gets worse.” We all know this intuitively, which is why we typically seek help. In some cases we may choose to ignore a set of symptoms for a while, but when our lives become so negatively impacted we typically seek help. And when we do seek help, more often than not, we find some relief. So why ignore the problem? Why choose to do nothing?

One reason is shame. More often than not this occurs when there is a mental health problem. Some believe that mental health is a matter of will power that if the person would only think right, get their act together, or try harder the situation would improve. Frequently mental illness has no noticeable wound or bandage. We can see behaviors, the interpersonal interactions with others and the corresponding social impact. But these are things that most people feel they can control, so why can’t everyone?

Waking up and getting dressed in the morning is a chore for someone who is depressed, navigating a social gathering is difficult for people with anxiety, and getting through a school day is hard for students when they are distracted. A lack of will power has nothing to do with it.

Apply the same rationale to a “medical” problem. We would never tell someone with a medical issue to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, why then do we do this with an emotional illness? You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg, cancer, or arthritis that it can be controlled with will power. You would encourage them to seek immediate treatment. The same encouragement should be given to someone with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness because as we all know that any health problem left untreated typically gets worse.

Dr. Tony Calabrese is the Director of Psychology and Outpatient Services at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services. He also serves as the Chief Psychologist for the pre-doctoral Psychology internship training program. Patricia Calabrese is a licensed Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and she currently treats children and adolescents at Pine Grove Outpatient Services. She has a professional interest in ADHD and parenting education.

Visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com or call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673) for more information.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Peace Within Peace Without

by Dr. Tony Calabrese and Patricia Calabrese, PMH-NP

Mental Health is intricately linked to physical health, it is vital and we all strive to achieve it. However, for some people attaining positive mental health is a daily struggle. Take a level, for example, like the ones used by carpenters and notice its sensitivity to movement. The little bubble in the center of the instrument moves to the right and left with just the slightest touch.

We want to attain mental health that feels like a nice warm bath, or the sounds of classical music being played on a piano. It’s a peaceful state of mind, making us feel confident and happy.

When there is a disturbance in the level and the bubble moves off center, the equilibrium is gone, much like our inner tranquility. The disturbance may be represented by a snide comment, stormy weather, or upsetting news. When this happens, the goal is to recapture that peaceful state despite the circumstances.

Carpenters often say a steady hand produces a level shelf. Everyone should continually develop a steady hand, so the journey we call life doesn't disturb our inner bubble.

Dr. Tony Calabrese is the Director of Psychology and Outpatient Services at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services. He also serves as the Chief Psychologist for the pre-doctoral Psychology internship training program. Patricia Calabrese is a licensed Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and she currently treats children and adolescents at Pine Grove Outpatient Services. She has a professional interest in ADHD and parenting education.

Visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com or call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673) for more information.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Ted Crawford, M.S., LMFT

June is National PTSD Awareness month. Everyone has some amount of trauma in their past that hasn’t been fully processed (“digested”). Even though the actual events are over, numerous people still have instances when the high-charged emotions connected to those experiences seem to “revisit” them. If you’re one of these, know that after any overwhelming incident, there can be some emotional energy that continues to hang around. If it’s bad enough and goes on for a while, it’s called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Either way, it’s part of a normal reaction to an abnormal amount of stress. In other words, you’re not going crazy.

PTSD is a condition in which the trauma sufferer is triggered to “re-experience” the event in some way (intrusive thoughts, feelings, body sensations, images, nightmares, etc.). The fear of being triggered naturally causes the person to avoid people, places or situations that they would rather not have to avoid. They may also experience emotional “shut-down”/numbness mixed with intervals of heightened senses, feeling “on edge,” being increasingly irritable and having difficulty sleeping and concentrating.

So why do some suffer these symptoms more than others, even after going through same/similar events? First, know that there’s a multitude of factors influencing how an individual experiences a certain crisis. These factors determine how easy/difficult it is to make sense of that event in the moment. The more we understand about what’s happening and why, the quicker we can put our “fight and flight” energy to use to get safe (and have a gripping story to tell later). Any leftover energy is processed and released as we talk about it and allow ourselves to feel the associated emotions. If we do this enough, the story is de-stimulated to the point where it actually begins to bore the story-teller… and when it comes to getting over trauma, “boring” is what you want. This would be an example of processing a traumatic event according to the ideal pre-wired neurological plan. Other crisis situations, however, leave us with a story that’s so over-stimulating that it feels too difficult to talk (or even think) about. This is because, for numerous possible reasons, the experience overwhelmed our ability to comprehend it in that moment, therefore leaving us feeling helpless or “frozen” to some degree. An immobilized mind and body leaves the survival energy with no “discharge instructions.” Trapped inside, this energy prompts the survival portion of the brain to continue sensing a danger that no longer exists, particularly when triggered by something we associate with the event. You can imagine how all of this could interfere with a person’s ability to come to terms with something!

Now you know that post-traumatic symptoms aren’t really caused by the traumatic event itself, rather, they’re the result of not allowing ourselves to feel and express the emotions associated with the event. Emotions are meant to be released after they’ve run their course, and although they can be disturbing, they can’t hurt you unless you keep them bottled up. When an alarming emotion is sparked, it’s an opportunity to discharge the energy it carries. When enough of this energy is liberated, the information is stored in our long-term memory, where it rests (instead of banging around in our bodies, wreaking havoc). This is a requirement for us to fully heal. So talk about the event and how you experienced it. Cry, shout, shake (yes, when you can do it safely, let yourself fall apart a little)! Although our symptoms generally fade over time when we do this, it’s often wise to use professional help to move things along when needed. Many counselors are trained to work with this particular issue, and can help you through the process toward a full recovery.

At Pine Grove Outpatient Services, we understand the changes that life can bring for both adults and children. Pine Grove Outpatient Services is designed to help meet mental health needs by offering outpatient assessment/evaluation, medication management, and individual, family, and specialized therapy services. Highly skilled and experienced psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists are available to help you cope with life's changes.

Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Mississippi is known as one of the nation's most comprehensive treatment campuses. Since 1984 Pine Grove has offered a continuum of addiction services ranging from outpatient to inpatient and residential treatment for adults, children, and senior adults suffering from psychiatric and addictive diseases. Specialized services include the treatment of addictions, co-occurring eating disorders, sexual addiction, and professionals struggling with interpersonal difficulties. The Pine Grove Mission is to be a leader in healing and changing lives by providing the highest quality behavioral health services.

Visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com or call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673) for more information.

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