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The Exhausted Teacher’s Guide to a Rejuvenating Summer Break

When you are a teacher at the end of the school year, it can be hard to put one foot in front of the other. You so badly want to be DONE already, but you still feel that pressure to pull off incredibly engaging and meaningful year-end activities. It’s no wonder that burn out is common this time of year. I totally get it. I, too, was a teacher before becoming a therapist. I remember the burnout, the exhaustion, and the PRESSURE. I am grateful for my colleagues who would remind me that teachers pack a full year of work into 9 months! We are understandably exhausted by the end of it. It makes total sense. You deserve a real break this summer, a time to fully recharge. I find that if you use this time to address sources of     . . . 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

When You Feel Powerless

Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to react when these gut-wrenching feelings strike. The following are some of my thoughts, that are on the surface quite simple, but take an     . . . read more

My Work/Life Teeter-Totter

I came home to a mountain of dishes tonight. Okay, a small hill. I wasn’t shocked, because I left them there, saying, “One good thing about it still being cold is we don’t have to worry about bugs!” The dishes were congregating in and around the sink not because I’m lazy, but because something else was more important the evening before. In this case, it was going to the gym and then, with what little time I had left, relaxing with my husband. So, they sat until the next day until I got home from work because the house and family time was the priority then. This is how my life is: an ever-present tension between things that are important to me. A clean house, a healthy body, connecting with my husband, positive attention to my daughter, bills that are     . . . read more

Your Time, Your Priorities

It’s a very simple truth: how you spend your minutes, hours, days, and weeks is how you spend your life. As I was avoiding writing today, I decided to get lost in the internet, then eat something even though I wasn’t hungry, and finally ask myself, what am I doing? How much time do we lose not really knowing what we are doing? Time spent without intention seems to get away from us rapidly and with little joy or satisfaction. At least it does for me. I caught myself, eventually, and remembered something important: time is a resource with which I can accomplish things that are central to my life priorities. Your life priorities are not things you say to look good. They are how you actually live. If, for example, your health is important, that will be reflected in     . . . read more

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