Hurricane Prep Tips & Links

LPB Professional Photo

Living in Florida my entire life, I’m used to watching the weather and I’m also used to keeping emergency supplies on hand year -round. Since we’re in nearing the height of Hurricane season, I’d like to share some hurricane preparation tips with you.

First, please know Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC and The Bravo Counseling Goup, LLC, will NEVER charge a late cancellation fee for someone who cannot get to the office for a scheduled appointment safely due to weather or weather-related concerns, i.e. flooding, downed power lines and so on. (Please see The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC’s “Severe Weather Policy” https://laurapeddiebravolmhc.com/2015/08/27/the-bravo-counseling-group-llc-severe-weather-policy/https://laurapeddiebravolmhc.com/2015/08/27/the-bravo-counseling-group-llc-severe-weather-policy/ for more details.) Your safety is my priority!

Here are some basic hurricane tips I’ve learned over the years:

  1. We usually have advanced warning of potentially severe weather. Decide now if you choose to stay or go somewhere else to ride out the storm. Note: if you live in an already flood-prone area, you may want to seriously consider leaving ahead of the storm.
  2. Arrange for someone (i.e. friend or family member) outside of the storm impact area to be your communication liaison to the rest of your loved ones. That person can keep everyone informed as to how you are doing.
  3. Make sure you have enough prescription or non-prescription medication, and enough water and food to last for — at the minimum — three days (for each person in your household).  Note: After Hurricane Charley, it took seven days to restore power to my family’s home.
  4. Have extra cash on hand. I rarely carry cash anymore, but think about all of the electronic ways we pay for things. If there’s no power, we will need cash to purchase gasoline, groceries, water, etc.
  5. Pets – please remember your pets and stock on on their food, medications, and water.
  6. If you have a yard, please pick up items that strong winds can turn them into projectiles. If you have a pool, you can sink your lawn furniture, etc., in the pool (so it doesn’t go flying through your or your neighbor’s windows).
  7. Have a battery powered radio so you can listen to weather alerts, i,e. tornado warnings. Many of us rely on our smart phones for everything but it’s a good idea to have an old fashioned AM/FM radio on hand (with extra batteries!)

Here are links to Hurricane planning resources:

Ready.Gov:  www.ready.gov/Hurricanes

FEMA: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/98105

The Weather Channel Hurricane Central, Storm Safety Tips: https://weather.com/storms/hurricane-central 

Local news resources for Central Florida:

Local Channel 2/WESH: http://www.wesh.com/

Local Channel 6/WKMG: https://www.clickorlando.com/

Local Channel 9 news/WFTV: http://www.wftv.com/

Local Channel 35 news/Fox Orlando: http://www.fox35orlando.com/

Local Radio Station Z88.3 FM 88.3: http://zradio.org/about/eas/

If you have any questions regarding whether or not it is safe to travel to a scheduled appointment, please never hesitate to contact your counselor or The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC at 407-222-6239. Your safety is the top priority!

About the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor and the owner of The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC. The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC provides outpatient counseling to individuals, couples, and families in the Central Florida area. For any questions or to set up a complimentary phone call about counseling services, please call 407-222-6239. Your call will be returned as quickly as possible. Please note: commenting or messaging on any social media platform, i.e. a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on, is not confidential. To ensure your confidentiality, please call 407-222-6939. Thank you!

No Need to Drink & Drive: AAA & Budweiser Continue To Offer The Tow-To-Go Program

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC

For upcoming holidays, (most major holidays), AAA and Budweiser continue to partner with each other to offer the Tow-To-Go program. If you or a loved one are unable to drive, you can call for the Tow-To-Go program and obtain a FREE tow to your destination. There’s no need to drink and drive!

Upcoming Holidays for 2019:

St. Patrick’s Day March 17, Cinco De Mayo May 5, Memorial Day May 27, Independence Day, July 4th, Labor Day, September 2nd, Halloween, October 31, Thanksgiving, November 28th, and Christmas through New Year’s Eve, December 20th through January 2, 2020.

To access the program in Florida, please call: call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246 To learn more, you can click on the following link to go to AAA’s website:

AAA Safety Link

May you and yours enjoy a year of safe holidays!

LPB Portrait (best) 11-2017
Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is the owner of The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC in Winter Park, FL.

5 Tips For How To Handle Being Alone During The Holidays

IMG_4891Whether through choice, death, or simply logistics, some find themselves alone during the holidays. While quite a few feel depressed due to this circumstance, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some suggestions to not just survive the holiday season, but to thrive!

1.) Volunteer. There are so many wonderful organizations that are in desperate need of volunteers. Volunteers can volunteer with babies, children, teens, adults or older adults or animals. If someone doesn’t want to volunteer face to face with strangers, there are plenty of behind the scenes ways to volunteer, i.e. administrative tasks. Here is just a short list of organizations to chose from: Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities, Animal Shelters, Homeless Shelters, Political causes, and so much more. In Orlando, there are literally hundreds of charities that could use more volunteers. Volunteering and giving of ourselves is the best way to feel better. Additionally, new relationships will be created, and suddenly, one might find a social calendar teeming with new friends and activities.

2.) Ask. Most of us (not all, but most) have extended family that we could chose to be with during holidays. If your extended family doesn’t invite you to join them, (because they likely assume you already have plans), why not ask if you can join them? They will most likely say “yes” and perhaps apologize for not thinking to ask themselves.

3.) Remain active. Exercise/movement is especially important during the holiday season. We need sunlight, and getting outside to take a walk, go for a run, or a bike ride can help us feel better.

4.) Faith. Faith is huge. As a Christian, I could fill my entire calendar with my  church’s activities alone.  Some people don’t have a church, and there are various reasons for that. Churches are made up of fallible human beings (to borrow from Dr. Albert Ellis.) If you didn’t have a positive experience at one, you can try a different one. There are seeker friendly churches, churches that go more into depth, and “high” churches. Is your family from another country? There are Greek churches, Romanian churches, etc. What a great way to connect to your heritage and create some new relationships. If you live in a metropolitan area like Orlando, FL, every denomination represented. There are even churches which meet on our beaches! It can be fun to visit every single denomination, learn their differences, and discover where you feel comfortable. Faith – believing in something greater than ourselves – can be incredibly powerful, healing, and fill us with Joy because we believe we are never alone.

5.) Grief. If you find yourself alone due to loss of a loved one, and find yourself grieving, it’s important to talk about it. Holding it in, ignoring it, and hoping it will subside may make those feelings worse. Call your local Hospice and find out what groups they offer for grieving family members. Hospice typically runs many groups for children and adults who are grieving. They also tend to be free of charge.

Of course each of these can be expounded upon and take hours to discuss. These tips are meant to stimulate thought and give some quick ideas as to how to potentially fill up your holiday season, brighten it, and thrive this year.

This article may be reproduced as long as the author’s name and contact information are kept in tact.

LPB Professional PhotoAbout the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (2001) and Nationally Certified Counselor (1999.) Mrs. Peddie-Bravo is the founder and owner of The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC. For more information or to arrange a brief complimentary appointment, please call 407-222-6239. http://www.TheBravoCounselingGroup.com

 

Fall 2014 Office Hours

Maple leaves Fall

 

Greetings! Now that school is back in session, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC’s office hours are changing too.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 407-222-6239.

Client hours (hours during which clients will be scheduled)

Monday: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm

Tuesday: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm

Thursday: 12 noon – 9:00 pm

Office hours

Monday: 8:00 – 5:00 pm

Tuesday: 8:00 – 5:00 pm

Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00 pm

Thursday: 12noon- 10:00 pm

Friday: 8:00 am – 12 noon*

(*please note: any contact -phone calls/emails/texts – received after 12 noon on Fridays will be returned the following Monday.)

Again, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC, owner of The Bravo Counseling Group LLC at 407-222-6239

Summer Office Hours

awesome roses 5-17-14

Summer Office Hours

Between June 1st and August 14th Client Appointments will be scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. (Please note: The July 4th Holiday will be on a Friday this year and it  will not affect The Bravo Counseling Group’s regular office hours.)  It is generally easier to schedule appointments during the summer, however, in order to ensure your preference of day and time, please call in advance to schedule.  To schedule an appointment,  schedule a complimentary phone call, or to ask a question, please call 407-222-6239. Please know that we offer free  phone consultations in order to do our best to make sure you and your counselor are a good fit and answer any questions you may have.  We do provide Pro-Bono services year round, however, those Pro-Bono appointments are currently full. If we are unable to assist you for some reason, we are happy to help connect you with other resources.

5 Tips for New Moms of Multiples

twin babies Google images 5 Tips for Moms with Multiples

Having a baby changes your life. Having more than one baby can lead you to feel as if your life has been turned upside down and inside out! Here are five tips for new parents with multiples:

1.) Re-think your idea of “clean”  Before having twins, I could clean my entire three bedroom two bath home in eight hours or less. I could be ready for company quickly and easily. After having twins, I felt frustrated that I could no longer have my house clean (the way I wanted it to be) in less than a day. I also had to re-think what “clean” meant to me. Did I want to run myself ragged? My twins didn’t sleep much until they were five months old. Did I want to waste a precious potential hour’s sleep by cleaning? Or ought I rest instead? (Hint: choose rest!). As long as the home is sanitary, sleep and rest are more important. When we are sleep deprived, we can feel more easily frustrated, irritated and have less patience. When we welcome our children into our lives, we want to give them the very best. Giving them well rested parents who are patient, kind and loving trumps a spotless home any day.

2.) Support

What is support? It means having family, friends, or professional assistance so you can connect with other people who love and care about you and your family. It means support so that you could arrange a run to the grocery store by yourself, (if you enjoy that),or  being able to have an appointment for yourself without having to have your multiples with you. Of course we love our children, and at the same time, we also need others to talk with and lend us a helping hand from time to time. What if you need to see your doctor?  It can be quite challenging managing your own appointment while you have your infant multiples with you (will your multiple stroller even fit in the tiny examining room?)  It’s important to have a list of folks you feel comfortable calling so that you and your spouse can have a regular date night. Some families swap babysitting with each other, i.e. I’ll watch your kids this Friday so you can go out, and you’ll watch mine on Saturday so I can go out.  A local multiples club is also a great support. In Orlando, we have The Greater Orlando Mothers of Twins and Triplets Club (GOMOTT), www.GOMOTT.org  There is a national organization for parents of multiples also called the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club,  www.nomotc.org. If there is no multiples club is in your area, you could either start one or connect to others through internet based meetings.

3.) Date Night

After you have children, it’s easy to switch the focus from your spouse to your children. Dads especially can be prone to feeling shoved aside when children arrive. It’s important to continue to put your marriage first. Working on your marriage, regularly, is invaluable. Regular date nights are important. They don’t have to be expensive – it’s not about what you spend. It’s about taking the time to talk together and reconnect with each other. A weekly date night would be ideal, even if it’s just a long walk around your block.

4.) Let go of your “should’s”

As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, I spend much time with my clients examining their self-talk. We frequently tell ourselves “I should…” and then a list follows. Just as I had to re-think my personal definition of “clean,”, I also had to re-think how many things I could accomplish in a day. With multiples, I went from being able to accomplish quite a bit in a day to just a few things each day, in addition to taking care of my family. When I feel tempted to pile on more than I can possibly do, then feel bad about not getting everything accomplished, I remind myself that my children are only little for a short while. When they are teens,  I’ll have plenty of time to run my errands the way I prefer to do them. For now, I’ll focus on being present with my family, and enjoy the blessings of each day. I don’t want to waste my precious energy worrying about what I “should” do.

5.) Take good care of yourself

You work hard to teach your children their ABC’s, to eat healthy foods, to count, to use the potty on their own, and so much more. When you don’t rest, don’t eat, don’t sit down, and so on, you are teaching your children how to care for themselves (or how to not care for themselves.) When you go-go-go, remember that your children are watching you run yourself down. They are learning that this is normal and expected of them. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is teaching them how to care for themselves, by taking care of you. Setting a positive and healthy model of someone who believes she is important enough to get the sleep she needs, important enough to take the time to consume nourishing food, important enough to  take time to get some exercise, all work together to set up a positive model of health and confidence for our children to follow.

 

You may freely distribute this blog as long as you leave the Author’s name and contact information intact.

About the Author:

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor practicing in Winter Park, Florida. She is the Mother of Boy/Girl Twins and “Twingle.” Laura works with a variety of issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Domestic Violence, PTSD, Personality Disorders, Eating Disorders, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and Chronic Medical Issues. Laura provides Individual, Couples and Family Counseling. To schedule a free consultation, please call The Bravo Counseling Group at 407-222-6239.

LPB Professional Photo

 

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC and Email

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The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC and Email

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC takes your privacy seriously. As you likely know, emails are not a secure form of communication. Emails are, however, extremely convenient. While The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC would like to make your counseling experience as convenient to you as possible, in order to protect your confidentiality, we have created some restrictions on how we send and receive information.

Regarding email: Our email address will be changing from LauraPeddieBravoLMHC@gmail.com to Laura@TheBravoCounselingGroup.com. This change will occur in order to utilize a business email account with a HIPAA business partner agreement with the email provider, which is Gmail/Google. (If you would like to read more about HIPAA, you may visit this website: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/).

If you desire to schedule and reschedule appointments via email (or text message), you are welcome to do so. We simply require a release of information form in order to be able to provide this for you. Remember, you control your information including if and how it can be shared. Emails or texts which simply schedule appointments do not require encryption, but they can be encrypted if you would like.

If you love the convenience of email, and if you do not mind if your emails are not 100% confidential, you remain able to send private information to The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC, however, you will need to fill out a special release of information form for this. According to The Person Centered Tech, http://www.personcenteredtech.com/, clients are able to choose to disregard HIPAA if that is their choice. The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC, however, cannot disregard HIPAA (and HITECH) changes, without a release of information and documenting the client’s wishes. That means you may email your confidential information to The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC, but, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC cannot respond in kind. The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC must use encryption when sending emails which contain confidential information.

Using encryption is fairly simply. If you use Gmail, for example, you would need to open your Gmail email account in Google Chrome. Google Chrome provides free encryption. Additionally, your counselor will have to ask you a question which only you would know the answer to. It is also recommend to make this question and answer tricky, for example: “What is your favoriate color?” and your answer may be the city you were born, i.e. “Orlando.” Before sending confidential emails back and forth, you and your counselor will work out some questions and answers that only you would know. Likewise, if you want to encrypt your confidential information before sending to your counselor, you and s/he will need to work out a question and answer so that s/he will be able to unlock your email.

In sum, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC wishes to provide you the most convenient counseling process possible, along with doing the utmost to protect your confidentiality.

If you have any questions about The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC and email, please do not hesitate to contact us at 407-222-6239.

Three Tips for Dealing With The Boston Tragedy

Driving hoambulenceme with my child in the back seat, I learned something terrible had happened in Boston. I choose not to tune into local new stations due to graphic content, but I did pull my car over and checked the news on my Iphone. What I read was horrifying; critical wounds, dismemberment, and death in an instant after two bombs exploded in a heavily crowded area near the end of the Boston Marathon.

What does one do in the face of such horror?

First of all, if you find yourself deeply upset by this event, do not turn on the news coverage today. You already know what happened; and right now, no one knows any more. The details will come out eventually, but be patient and stop seeking news, and, by all means, do not look at the photos. They will only upset you more.

Secondly, know that while there was great horror and tragedy, there were also great heroics. Many people rushed towards the chaos to help victims. People who were spectators became engaged, ripping off their own clothing to make tourniquets for the wounded. In the midst of unthinkable pain and agony there was also amazing love, kindness, compassion, and bravery – things which we are so thankful for in our fellow Americans.

Third, hug your loved ones. Forget the worries of the day, the bad traffic, the parking ticket, the late fee, the spilled drink, or stain on the new carpet. It all pales in light of today’s tragedy. Let’s focus on our loved ones, hold them tight, and be thankful we are together.

There are many more ways to deal with trauma, and for more information, contact your counselor, spiritual adviser, the Red Cross, NAMI, or your local physician.

Resources:

http://www.NAMI.org

The Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/find-help/disaster-recovery/recovering-emotionally

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp

Colorado Shootings and Trauma; Tips to Cope With Tragedy

Upon wakening today, many of us saw the horrific news that at least 12 people, and perhaps as many as 50 others were wounded while watching the latest “Batman” movie.  According to multiple news reports, the movie had only been playing for about 20 minutes, when a gas-masked gunman threw some sort of smoke grenade, and then began shooting innocent people. What can we do in the face of such horror? Here are a few tips for dealing with trauma and tragedy, once the immediate danger has cleared.

1. When in a safe place, relax: Relaxing doesn’t mean having a drink or some other mind altering substance. Relaxing means either being with people if that relaxes you, or going to a quiet place and allowing the shock and emotions to bubble up to the surface. Using a substance to “relax” will only complicate and delay dealing with the trauma.

2. Talk about it: It doesn’t matter if your loved ones have heard the story 20 times, it is important to talk about it until you have talked about it enough for you, though you may look for more than one person to share the experience with. Friends, support groups, and/or faith based groups can be some good options. Holding it in can make a person’s trauma reactions worse.

3. Express yourself: Express yourself in an appropriate manner, however you like. Maybe you’ll need to write about your experience in a blog, article, or journal. Maybe you will create art which represents your experience or your reactions to it. However you choose to express yourself, it is important, like talking about it, to allow your expressions to come out of you.

4. Exercise: Physical exercise can be immensely helpful and people may experience relief from exercise. Exercise can literally work stress hormones out from the body. Reduction in stress hormones can help a person feel more relaxed and calm. Someone may want to exercise multiple times in one day in order to keep the stress hormone at bay. (Note: Please visit your doctor first if you are not used to vigorous exercise.)

5. Handle trauma at your own pace: Everyone is different. There are people who will experience trauma and appear “fine” immediately afterwards. Others will be mildly affected. There will also be those who are tremendously impacted. It is important not to compare your response to trauma with another person. We are each unique people with different ways of responding and coping. Comparing your trauma reactions to someone else may make you feel worse.

When working with clients who have experienced trauma, I like to suggest to them to act as if they have the flu; get plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquids, and cut yourself some slack when you just are not up to doing your usual routine. We give each other grace when we are sick, and I would encourage those who are dealing with tragedy and trauma to give themselves grace. Healing will come, and it will take some time. If someone’s reaction to trauma is beyond these tips, please consider seeing a professional for assistance. There are medical doctors and counselors who are trained in how to help people suffering from intense traumatic reactions. Some additional resources are listed below.

United States Department for Veterans Affairs: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/treatment-ptsd.asp

National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/helping-children-and-adolescents-cope-with-violence-and-disasters-rescue-workers/what-is-trauma.shtml

National Alliance for Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/

About the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor for over ten years. She has worked extensively with victims of physical and sexual abuse, victims of crime, and more.  You may schedule a free 15 minute complimentary call by phoning 407-222-6239.

You can also connect with Laura via Facebook and Twitter @LPBShrink

All or portions of this article may be reprinted as long as the author’s name and contact information remain intact.

The End of the Space Shuttle Program – Five Tips To Cope With Grief

Many of us are saddened that today, July 21st, 2011, marks the end of the NASA Space Shuttle program. Atlantis landed safely this morning, and this particular shuttle will remain in Florida.  People’s lives are significantly affected by the end of the shuttle program. The Orlando Sentinel, (www.Orlandosentinel.com), estimated that approximately 9,000  people who worked with the space shuttle will be losing their jobs. Combined with the grief of the loss of the shuttle program, and faced with a new career move, the stress and sadness could be overwhelming. Not only the employees are affected, but the surrounding communities will lose income and may be forced to close. People in the state of Florida, and beyond, are sad this program is over. Many of us who live in Florida may have taken for granted seeing the shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center and deeply regret never going to see one live.

The following is a list of symptoms people typically experience when faced with significant loss or intense stress. This list is not exhaustive, and if your symptom is distressing and is not listed, please seek additional suggestions:

  • sadness
  • irritability or anger
  • easily distracted or unable to concentrate
  • insomnia
  • isolating
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • suicidal thoughts

If you or a loved one is currently experiencing one or more of those symptoms, here are some tips to cope:

  • Acknowledge how you feel; ignoring or stuffing emotions may make you feel worse
  • Talk about how you feel with trusted relative or friend
  • Take extra good care of yourself, i.e. three nutritious meals per day, set aside time for sleep, exercise
  • Do your best to focus on the positive
  • Make an effort to incorporate humor into your life
  • Seek professional counsel for suicidal thoughts

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, even passive ones, please seek assistance from a professional. You may turn to your primary care physician, a Mental Health Counselor, psychiatrist, or support group. You can find providers on your insurance panel by calling your insurance company. If you do no have insurance and cannot afford professional services, there are many resources available to you through charitable organizations. If you need help with additional resources, please do not hesitate to phone a professional counselor or social worker for potential referrals.

For more information about the future of our country’s space program, there’s the Kennedy Space Center and NASA. If you can’t visit The Kennedy Space Center, http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/, you may want to check out the NASA website, www.NASA.gov and read “What’s Next for NASA?” While we are sad about the ending of the Space Shuttle Era, there are exciting plans already made and being made to continue our exploration of space.

About the Author:

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a licensed and nationally certified counselor. Laura grew up in Orlando, FL, and works with children, adolescents and adults for a variety of mental health issues including grief, anxiety and depression. Laura operates from an overall Wellness perspective, and practices an eclectic style of counseling with a focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT). Laura believes positive change is possible in all who seek it, and she enjoys the privilege to work with all who walk through her door.