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Love, Process, and Letting Go: What I Learned as My Daughter Made Valentines

“It will take one hundred years!” I said a bit (okay, a lot) immaturely to my 5 year-old daughter mimicking her usual phrase. She wanted to trace, cut out, decorate, and write names on 19 homemade heart-shaped valentines for her nursery school classmates. Wanting to avoid the time, imagined tears of frustration (hers and mine!), and perceived stress, I proposed I at least cut them out. I pictured hearts made with nice smooth scissor edges. That proposal was shot down. I hung out cleaning the kitchen instead, until it was painfully obvious I was not needed at all. Sometime later that afternoon, I was proven totally wrong. Those 19 valentines were done. My heart felt so full seeing them on the table after watching her plug away undaunted by the task at hand. These pieces of paper, which I doubt     . . . read more

Is Striving Keeping You from Thriving?

Do you hold yourself to high standards? Do you value quality work and good follow through from others? Do you expect the same of yourself? I can relate. I spent much of my life through early adulthood gripping white knuckled to these values. What were supposed to be the glory days of college carried a lot of extraneous stress and pressure to perform well academically at the expense of enjoying the experience as a whole. I found that there is a cost to the pursuit of perfection. Holding yourself to the highest standards all the time creates a great amount of stress and anxiety. Perfectionism can quickly lead to self criticism and difficulties in accepting and valuing yourself just for being you. It can also lead to difficulties in relationships. Ever notice that you hold those you care most about to exceptionally high standards as     . . . read more

You are Poised, Hard-working, and Ready to Help Others. But Could You Also Be Depressed?

There is a highly treatable, common illness that is too often ignored by the most capable among us. Symptoms may include sadness, numbness, irritability, fatigue, low energy, dis-interest or difficulty engaging in activities or with other people, feeling like a failure, lack of hope, skepticism, difficulty finding self-worth, trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much, no appetite, or eating too much, thoughts about death, dying, perhaps even about killing yourself. This illness is depression and it is no joke. Yes, it is a real thing. And it is NOT you. Depression can be sneaky. It creeps in slowly. The symptoms can start at low levels. It’s lurking just below the surface for awhile until it becomes your new norm. At first it seems relatively manageable. Depression may be related to difficult life events that would carry an expectable amount of distress     . . . read more

Emotional Health: Are You Proactive or Reactive?

We mostly accept that it’s good practice to go for a yearly physical. It’s helpful to talk with the doctor about what’s going well and where we may be off track. They take our blood pressure and run some basic blood tests so that we get a sense of how we are doing. We do this to stay well, not because we are already sick. We know that prevention is better than intervention. However, that logic is only extended to our physical health. When it comes to our emotional wellbeing, far too many people wait until they are in a serious downward spiral, and only then decide that therapy might be helpful. That’s not the best approach. It’s time to think of therapy as prevention as much as an intervention. When should you come to therapy? The moment when you notice you are negatively     . . . read more

New Approaches Welcomes Leah Ottow, LCSW

Big news: We are pleased to welcome Leah Ottow, LCSW to New Approaches! Kind, compassionate, insightful, and intelligent, Leah is an excellent therapist and we are thrilled to have her on board. Some words from Leah: My style is collaborative and based on the belief that a trusting relationship is the foundation for therapeutic growth and change.  My approach is integrative and includes elements of humanistic, cognitive, family systems, and mind-body theories, with treatment tailored to a client’s individual needs. Areas of interest include anxiety, relationships, perfectionism, identity, depression, mindfulness, trauma, stress management, loneliness, pregnancy/post-partum. . I’ve worked with adults, adolescents and children in Southern and Mid-Coast Maine since 2007.  A Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Maine, I hold a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College. She joins Hannah Curtis, LCSW     . . . read more

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