The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC’s Holiday Hours

Maple leaves Fall

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC will be closed from Tuesday, November 25th through Sunday, November 30th, 2014 due to Thanksgiving vacation. The office will reopen Monday, December 1st at 8:00 am. If you have any questions, please call Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC at 407-222-6239.

Please note The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC is not a provider of crisis services. It is an outpatient counseling private practice. If needed, there is a 24 hour 7 days a week service through the Life Line telephone number and website:1-800-273-8255  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  , in case of urgency, and 911 in case of a life threatening emergency. Life Line provides a live person to talk, or chat with via computer,  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

New client appointments will be scheduled on or after 12/1/14.

Again, if you have any questions, please call Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC before Tuesday, 11/25/14. All communication received on or after 11/25/14 will be returned on Monday 12/1/14. Thank you!

Welcome to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Now What?

 

Question Mark

As a parent of a child on the Autistic Spectrum, I’ve had numerous conversations that started something like this:

Me: “Oh, you have a child on the Autistic spectrum too?”

Acquaintance: “Yes, what have you tried to help your child?”

Me: “I’ve tried Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Hippotherapy, Therapuetic Riding, Digital Auditory Aerobics, iLs,” and so on. “What have you tried?”

Receiving a diagnosis of “Autism” isn’t like being diagnosed with a broken arm, for example. If someone has a broken arm, we know exactly how to treat it. With Autism, it’s a completely different story. We don’t really know what, if anything, will help. We do know that recent research indicates that early intervention with children on the Autism Spectrum can yield incredibly positive results.

You may be thinking “Ok, but exactly which interventions?”

That’s the tricky part.

We don’t know exactly which therapies to recommend. Some therapies have emerged as helpful, largely in part to documented research that proves positive results. Occupational Therapy is routinely recommended and has been proven to help those on the Autism Spectrum. Speech Therapy also has been documented to helpful, if it’s needed. ABA therapy has also been shown to be a solid, helpful therapy. Play Therapy can be helpful too. But there are other therapeutic approaches, and they can be very expensive. My fellow parents traveling the ASD journey know how many thousands we have spent “trying” therapies.

There is a saying in the Autism community “If you’ve met a child with Autism, you’ve met ONE child with Autism,” meaning, each child with Autism is affected differently. Occupational Therapy on horseback, called Hippotherapy, may have worked wonders with my child, but your child may not obtain the same result. That’s the reason most of us say we’ve “tried” this and that therapy.

Here’s a list of every therapy I know about that my friends and I have tried with our ASD children, and I’m sure there’s plenty I’m missing:

Occupational Therapy http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/benefits-of-occupational-therapy-for-autism

Applied Behavioral Therapy (ABA) http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

Speech Therapy http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/benefits-speech-therapy-autism

Hippotherapy http://www.freedomride.com/programs/hippotherapy.html

Therapuetic Riding http://www.freedomride.com/programs/therapeuticriding.html

Play Therapy http://www.a4pt.org/?page=WhyPlayTherapy

Learn To Learn http://www.learntolearn.com/

Vision Therapy http://visualhealthlearning.com/

Social Skills Group http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/community-connections/social-skills-and-autism

Digital Auditory Aerobics http://holistichealthchicago.com/ait.html

iLs http://www.integratedlistening.com/autism/

Gluten/Casein Free Diets (GFC) http://www.autismspeaks.org/node/112986

Chelation http://www.generationrescue.org/recovery/biomedical-treatment/treatments-to-explore/

Hypobaric Chamber http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AutismNews/story?id=7070353

Fast 4Word https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T6QpYUtVt0

Music Therapy http://www.joyfulmusictherapy.net/about-us.php

Marital Arts (with an instructor who is an expert with both martial arts and ASD) For example: http://www.dragonflyasd.org/

Luminosity http://autismsd.com/lumosity-and-autism/

The Salt Room http://www.saltroomorlando.com/about-salt-therapy.html

And more (i.e. therapeutic swimming, therapeutic gymnastics, etc.)

So, how do you know what will be best for your child? What I recommend is connecting with other parents who are a bit further down the road than you. Talk with them, listen to their experiences, ask questions and take notes. Support for the parents and caregivers of ASD children is critical. Some places to obtain parental/caregiver support: 1. Parent Support Groups through your child’s school, 2. parent support groups through local chapters of Autism groups, i.e. Greater Orlando Autism Society in Orlando, Florida, 3. Parent Support through local therapy clinics, and 4. If no face to face parent groups are available, try online support through Autism Speaks, CARD (Center for Autism Research and Development), Autism Support Network, etc.

I encourage you to maintain high expectations for your child, and be patient with him or her as (s)he develops at his or her own pace.

Let me leave you with hope and positive quote from Dr. Temple Grandin (if you don’t know who she is, look her up. Her books, website and public appearances about Autism are incredibly helpful.)

“The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things.”

Dr. Temple Grandin

 

About The Author:

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Laura is the parent of three amazing children, one who has ASD. She  has extensive experience with the Autism community in Orlando, FL  as both a parent and professional. You are welcome to distribute this article as long as you keep the author’s information intact. For more information, or to schedule a complimentary phone call, please phone Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC at (407) 222-6239.

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

Women, Depression and Heart Attack

royalty free image woman having heart attackAccording to the morning news, I learned of an alarming new trend concerning middle aged women.  A new study released today (http://www.webmd.com/women/news/20140618/depression-doubles-odds-of-heart-attack-for-younger-women-study) revealed increased risk for heart attacks and heart disease in middle aged women who also have depression. “Young and middle-aged women with depression are more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease as their mentally healthy peers, new research suggests.” The article also said “The study also found that women younger than 55 are more likely than men or older women to become depressed.” While the relationship between depression and heart disease or heart attack isn’t understood, I have been aware for years that there is a connection between our body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes the way to prevent disease, or heal disease,  is to increase our  mental and spiritual health.

Many of us, and I must admit I am guilty of the same thing, will only take time to slow down and rest when we are physically ill. Once we get to the point of illness, then we (hopefully!) stop and pay attention. I encourage everyone to become more  aware of how we are doing before the point of illness. For example, if we are beginning to feel tired, run down, overwhelmed, those are important signs to stop, assess the situation and perhaps make changes. When we feel trapped, insist there is no other way or nothing else we can do, and keep going on, trudging through each day, we invite physical illness.

What are the symptoms of depression?  Symptoms of depression may include, but are not limited to: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, ambivalence, lack of energy, lack of motivation, withdrawal from people and things the person used to enjoy, irritability, anger, sleeping too much or too little, and may include thoughts of suicide. If you or a loved one have symptoms of depression, please seek help.   You can turn to a mental health professional, medical doctor, pastor, or speak with a hotline 24/7. Here are just a few resources which may be helpful:

Life Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

NAMI: http://www.NAMI.org http://www.nami.org/

NIMH: http://www.NIMH.org http://www.nami.org/

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/

{Note: This article may be freely distributed as long as the author’s information remains intact.}

LPB Professional Photo

About the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She founded The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC located in Winter Park, Florida. Laura operates from a Wellness perspective, incorporating mind-body and spirit into her counseling. For a free 15 minute consultation, please call 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.

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC Christmas & New Year’s Hours

new year

Greetings! May each of you enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

While I’ve spoken with many, this is a reminder that The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC will be open Monday, 12/23/13, and then closed for vacation 12/24/13 through 1/5/14. Appointments are already filling up for the second week of January, 1/6/14, and if you would like to schedule, please feel free to leave a message on the office phone: 407-222-6239 and your call will be returned on Monday, 1/6/14.

As a reminder, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC is not a provider of crisis services. If you are in crisis, please call 911.  If you feel you are not in “crisis” but strongly desire someone to talk to, you may call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Here is their website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Merry Christmas!

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC

Owner

Amy Winehouse and 5 Tips To Help A Loved One Struggling With Addiction

  While it may not have been a shock, many people are saddened by the news that singer Amy Winehouse has died, seemingly as a result of a lethal combination of alcohol and drugs. Many hoped that she would be able to beat her addictions and return to singing and performing. It’s no secret that Winehouse has struggled with addictions to drugs and alcohol over the years. Her inebriated behavior led to the canceling of many performances and appearances. Her death leads us to think of our loved ones who may be struggling with addiction, and ask ourselves “How do we help them?”

If you believe a  loved one has an addiction, read these five tips which may help you in your dealings with him or her:

  1. 1. Support: It’s important to be supportive of the person. Love the person, not the behavior. If your loved one feels judged, s/he may not turn to you for guidance about the help needed.

2. Know local resources: Become familiar with your local resources. For example, learn where and which local hospital deals well with addictions, and other community resources like detox programs and counseling services. If you know about these ahead of time, when your loved one is ready, you’ll be able to help guide him or her to a good and reputable resource.

3. Patience: It’s difficult to watch someone you love make bad choices over and over again. They may be damaging their health, finances, relationships and reputation, and they don’t see how bad it is or don’t care. As long as they and you are physically safe, you may have to sit by, watching the repetition of negative choices until he or she is ready to make a change. We cannot force someone to want to change, and that is where the need for patience comes in.

4. Boundaries: Having good boundaries with the addict is very important. While we cannot force someone to choose sobriety or to get help, we also do not have to contribute to that person’s poor choices. For example, if your loved one is an alcoholic, don’t go out to a bar with him.  That’s called “enabling” and isn’t helpful.

5. Involuntary Treatment: If your loved one loses the ability to care for him or her self, it is possible to involuntarily commit him or her to treatment. In Florida, there are two state laws which may be helpful to know about: The Baker Act and The Marchman Act. The Baker Act allows a person to be involuntarily sent (involuntary civil commitment) to inpatient treatment if that person cannot take care of him or herself, or is a danger to himself or someone else. The Marchman Act is specifically for substance abusers. You can click here to learn more about The Marchman Act: http://www.marchmanacthelp.com/

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can be draining and stressful. These tips are very general. Your  loved one may be your spouse, and his or her choices directly impact you and possibly your children. Your loved one may be your best friend. Your loved one may be a parent. There are many services available if you would like more information and ask questions. Some professional Counselors offer complimentary phone calls where you can learn about that counselor and if that counselor’s services would be right for you or your loved one. And lastly, don’t forget to take extra good care of yourself while dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction. It is easier to show love, support and patience when you are well rested.

Additional resources:

    • Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous www.aa.org

About the Author:

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a licensed and nationally certified counselor who has worked with substance abuse issues since 1997. Laura also works with children, adolescents and adults who deal with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, and more. If you would like to schedule a free 15 minute phone call with Laura, please call 407-248-0030.