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  • What is therapy all about?
    Individual therapy is a chance to explore your past experiences, current patterns, emotions, and behaviors and how they affect your life with a trained, objective person. This can mean exploring and identifying symptoms of anxiety (excessive worry, runaway thoughts, tension in the body), how those symptoms may be impacting your success in a relationship, and what can be done to make changes. This can mean engaging in EMDR to reduce distress experienced from past traumas in order to stay present at your kid's band concert. This can also mean managing negative automatic responses so you can stay present and fully hear what your supervisor is asking of you.
  • Why therapy when I can just talk with my friends or family?
    Therapy is not here to replace family and/or friends! I'm so glad you have those resources and supports. And, choosing to work with a therapist can be another support. Therapists are trained, credentialed (by state boards), mental health professionals who have strong ethics and boundaries. This mean they are present to hold your story, your individual needs, and respond and coach based on evidenced based practices. Therapists are objective folks with whom you can explore and practice tough topics. A therapist priorities you, or you and your relation in couples/relational services, your needs and there's no need for guilt "taking up time".
  • What can I expect at my first individual session?
    The first therapy session is often called an intake. It's where the therapist will ask about or confirm already provided information about your history, experience with symptoms, and your goals for therapy. They may reiterate policies around payments, scheduling, and communication as well as provide details around the pros/cons of therapy. It's also a time for you to ask your therapist questions: How do you plan to utilize EMDR in my care? Can my dog come to sessions? What do you think about birds? Can my partner join sessions sometimes as they just do not get the stresses of my job?
  • Why might couple therapy be something to try?
    Couple Therapy, or couples' therapy, also can be referred to as relational therapy, is there to address concerns that exist within and between individuals in a relationship. There may be ineffective communication happening or a loss of connection. Perhaps one individual is struggling with substance use or chronic symptoms of some kind and the unit needs support navigating help and recovery. There may be sexual or intimacy concerns to be addressed in a dedicated space. Goals in couple therapy tend to be to increase effective communication, increase intimacy and connection, gain and maintain mutual understanding of expectations/role/responsibilities within a family unit, or, sometimes, the goal is to effectively, and kindly end the relationship.
  • What should I/we expect in the first couple therapy session?
    Expect the first session to last 55-90 minutes. I will ask both parties to tell me more about themselves as well as what brings you all to therapy. I will ask each of you your views of the relationship, how you met, past big events, and what you hope to gain from this time. This can be a somewhat uncomfortable time as I'm asking some vulnerable questions and I am likely a stranger to you. This first session does not require the details of everything, just your willingness to be present. And, know we will not solve any major concerns at this initial meeting. It's an information gathering space and a time to start planning. Know relational/couples therapy is not always recommended. This initial session may also explore alternative supports and resources if needed.
  • As a first responder, what are some other resources for me?
    Here are some supports and resources for folks within Minnesota and Wisconsin: -988: National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Call or text 988. You have the option to "press 1" to be connected with the Veteran's line as well as "press 3" to be connected with staff trained in supporting LGBTIQA+ folks. -Safe Call Now: is a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. https://www.safecallnowusa.org/ or call 1.206.459.3020 -MnFire: providing tools for MN's firefighters to protect their health. https://mnfireinitiative.com/ -Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin. https://pffwcf.org/fire-fighter-support/ An intersting book to look into, if reading is your thing, Good Cop, Good Cop: A Get Healthy, Stay Healthy Guide for Law Enforcement by Brian Casey.
  • What are books you recommend for someone exploring their own mental health and wellness?
    So excited you asked! The Chemistry of Joy , by Dr. Henry Emmons, M.D., offers explanation and anecdotes related to symptoms of depression, as well as interventions of diet, exercise and mindfulness to find some relief. The Chemistry of Calm, is much the same as the above book, but looking at anxiety. Come As You Are, by Dr. Emily Nagoski, PhD in health behavior. This is a wonderful sexual health and wellbeing book geared towards folks who identify as female. And, there is a chapter in here about the stress cycle everyone could benefit from reading. Laziness Does Not Exist, by Dr. Devon Price. This book shines a light on the myth of laziness and our cultures emphasis on hustle over wellbeing. Like many of these other books, it's filled with relatable anecdotes as well as action steps of folks are encouraged to do different. My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (a Minnesota mental health provider and resident!). This book is for all folks looking to navigate racial trauma held in their bodies. It's filled with body based exercises to explore and practice as well as narratives for those of use who identify with privileged populations as well as those who do not. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk. This is one for my fellow helpers. This books offers lots of validating anecdotes to the field as well as tools to care for yourself. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. Wonderful, practical guide to understanding our kid's brain and supporting their development. This book has a variety of ways to share its information, through narratives, summaries, and comic book style depictions. Here's a link to my ever growing list using bookshop.org
  • I'm a helper and don't know if I'm past my capacity. Help?
    Here is a wonderful tool to get an idea of your level of burnout, secondary trauma, or vicarious trauma. Once complete, the group provides a summary with tools to use immediately for your situation. It's free. https://proqol.org/proqol-measure or, click the link below.
  • Why are you only an out of network provider?
    SturdyBird is private pay only. I am choosing to not contract directly with insurances for many reasons, reasons which I continue to examine. I am choosing to focus my professional time and energy into the direct care and services for you, the client. Working within insurance panels often results in excessive paperwork for the client and the counselor as well as inconsistent reimbursement schedules resulting in financial instability. I do offer a "pay what you can" model for a set number of clients and any one time. Here is a helpful guide around Out of Network Benefits. Also, here are questions you could your insurance provider if you are seeking to use out of network benefits: Do I have out-of-network benefits for outpatient mental health services (provided via telehealth if applicable)? What is my yearly deductible? Has it been met? How many sessions per year does my plan cover? How much does my insurance plan reimburse for an out-of-network provider for CPT codes 90791 (intake session) 90834 (individual 50 minute session) and 90847 (relational session)? Do I need prior authorization? Do I need approval from my primary care provider? How do I submit claim forms for reimbursement and how is reimbursement provided to me?
  • What's a SuperBill?
    A Superbill is a detailed invoice of the services provided. This typically includes your individual details (name, DOB, diagnosis), date/time/location of services, and codes unique to the type of service provided. If you are utilizing out of network benefits or HSA or Flex funds, these detailed invoices are needed. Here another resource to review: Why You Might Get A SuperBill for Therapy
  • What are other options for care if insurance and out of pocket services are not in the cards for me?
    Here are some other free and reduced cost care options: Free counseling services in Minnesota: https://walkin.org/ Free and/or low cost counseling: https://www.opencounseling.com/
  • Is that a Kingfisher in your logo?
    Sure is! It's a Belted Kingfisher to be specific. They are observant, sassy, brave creatures with fantastic "hair". Learn more here!
  • Are birds and mental health and wellness connected?
    Heck yeah they are. Here's a recent article by the Washington Post, noting, "Recent research also suggests that listening to recordings of their songs, even through headphones, can alleviate negative emotions." Why birds and their songs are good for our mental health. Here's another good one from Audubon: Birding With Benefits: How Nature Improves Our Mental Mindsets
  • Why should I go for a walk today?
    According to Molly McDonough, the associate editor of Harvard Medicine magazine, a walk, especially in the woods or where you view green, growing things, can reduce brain ruminations or negative thought cycles. It can activate your parasympathetic system, allowing your other, possibly overworked, systems to rest. In other words, it can help reduce burnout. Here's their article if you'd like to read more: A Walk in the Woods May Boost Mental Health . *this is bird related because you will almost definitely hear the sounds of nature (birds) while you are viewing sights of nature.
  • So, what are some books involving mental health and birds?
    H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald, is a wonderful non-fiction book. It explores the author's journey through grief, alongside her connection with and care for another creature. I think it's a wonderful narrative around the grief process, noting there is no "right" way to go about it. Check it out:

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