Going with the FLOW: The concept of adaptability can be helpful in building resilience for kids and teens. The art of flexible thinking supports one’s ability to navigate challenges and change as well as may increase tolerance for stress.
Invite clients to think about a current situation that feels challenging or a change they are going through, then walk through the acronym:
F – Focus on the positives – what is still going well about me or my situation and/or what strengths do I have to cope with this?
L – Live in the moment – what can I do to be present and calm?
Adding coping strategies around mindfulness and regulating emotions would be useful here too!
O – Open the mind to alternatives – what can I do to take care of myself when things change or feel challenging?
W – Welcome communication – how can I communicate my needs?
Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was (tailor based on treatment plan). The therapist engaged the client in an exercise on flexible thinking to build adaptability and resilience. The client responded to the activity by (fill in the blank).
Couples strategy of the week:
Update your Love Map: Over the course of a month, year, less or more, one’s love map can evolve. Stressful events can especially change our view of self and the world, changing our map. Re-exploring partners’ Love Maps and cultivating emotional closeness is important for couples in building resilience to bounce back from challenges together.
The concept of a Love Map was developed by Dr. Gottman; he describes these maps as the part of our brain where important details about our partners is stored (e.g., likes, dreams, values, coping styles, etc.).
Begin this strategy by instructing couples to first ask their partner about how stress has changed the way they feel about life, work, relationships, security, and the future.
Then engage in the Gottman Love Map Exercise by each one asking:
Who are your partner’s two closest friends?
What are one of your partner’s hobbies?
What stresses your partner most right now?
What is your partner’s fondest unrealized dream?
What is one of your partner’s greatest fears?
What is your partner’s favorite way to spend an evening?
What is one of your partner’s favorite ways to be soothed?
What is your partner’s ideal job?
What medical concerns does your partner worry about?
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist helped the couple explore and cultivate emotional connection through creating/updating their love maps. The couple was (engaged/receptive/disengaged/etc) while exploring this topic, and they (were able/struggled/somewhat able) to recognize how knowing more about each other strengthens their relationship resilience.
Adult strategy of the week:
Adaptability Plan: Creating a plan on how to adapt can help one feel more capable to embrace and bounce back from changes and/or challenges. When recognizing how one has navigated these in the past, a greater sense of ability may arise.
Invite the client to reflect on their Four S’s of resilience:
Supportive people – who has supported you in developing new, more helpful perspectives?
Strategies– what are approaches that work for you navigate difficult thoughts and feelings?
Sagacity– what are words of wisdom and/or insights that may have been or could be helpful (most effective when they are believable!)?
Solution-seeking – What are solutions that you have found helpful (e.g. Making a plan, finding use information, asking questions, etc.)?
Then, come up with a plan of how the client can incorporate the Four S’s going forward – who are their supportive people, what strategies can they practice/use, which phrases may be empowering, and what are other solutions they want to explore?
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist supported the client in building awareness on their ability to adapt and embrace changes/challenges. The client reported that was (helpful/not helpful/painful/etc), as well as developed an adaptability plan, identifying supports, strategies, sagacity, and solutions for future changes/challenges.
Mindfulness/Meditation of the week:
Openness to Change:A component of becoming more adaptable is being open to change. Embracing curiosity, wonder, and an appreciation for change can foster the perspective of learning, growth, and beauty that can arise from change.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led Ct. in a meditation activity to build Ct.’s sense of adaptability through acceptance and embracing change. Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the mindfulness activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
Change is something that happens all around us.
Day to night. The changes in seasons. However sometimes we might find changes within our life stressful.
This meditation focuses on the lotus flower, as this flower has to change and overcome its environment to become something beautiful.
If nature can adapt to change, maybe that is something we can embrace and be open to change when it is upon us.
So find a comfortable position to relax in, sitting or laying the choice is yours.
Adjust your shoulders, adjust your hips.
Allow your body to become comfortable.
Slowly become aware of your breath.
Allow your eyelids to soften and jaw to relax.
Now imagine you are laying on the soft grass outside.
The gentleness of the grass against your skin.
The sun shining down onto your skin, slowly warming your body.
How you see the blue sky and the soft clouds gently moving, without a care in the world.
Then you begin to listen.
To the pleasant bird song, to the gentle flowing of water.
You then imagine you sit yourself up.
To ground your hips and legs to the earth.
To observe your surroundings from a different point of view.
To look at the grass around you, the different shades of green.
To see a small waterfall, that cascades down into a lake.
The contrast from the flow of water at the waterfall to the stillness of the water at the edge of the lake.
You take a moment to look at the waterfall, how the water gently glistens in the sunlight.
The water forever moving.
How the ripples from the waterfall appear intense and consistent at the base of the waterfall.
You watch as the ripples expand.
Changing to bigger and calmer the further they get from the waterfall.
Until they gently disappear effortlessly into the water.
That is when you first see them.
The lotus flowers, around the edge of the lake, gently nestled in the muddier water at the edge.
You almost didn’t see them, so well hidden within the murkiness of the water at the edge.
Such a contrast to the water flowing from the waterfall.
The stillness at the edge of the lake, you notice every delicate ripple created by the dragon flies as they effortlessly glide from flower to flower.
Your eye gaze settles on one lotus flower in particular.
The size of the flower.
The color of the flower.
The size of the lily pad gently holding it above the water.
You look at every petal.
The shapes of the petals, how they all perfectly fit. How beautiful the flower is.
You begin to notice your breath has become slower, deeper.
You observe how something so beautiful could come from the murkiness of the water around it.
You allow your focus to be the lotus flower.
Everything else gently melts away, leaving you with the lotus flower.
You gently pick the flower up from the water, holding the flower in your hands.
Truly looking at the lotus flower.
You breathe in, pause and feel the stillness of yourself and the lotus flower, then breathe out.
You and the lotus flower have become one.
As you breathe in the lotus flower opens it petals wider, showing you more of its beauty and simplicity.
As you breath out the lotus flower begins to close, you watch as it folds in on itself, protecting itself with its dark green outer petals.
You observe how different the lotus flower looks closed, the dark green of the petals, how it appears that color to protect itself within the murkiness of the water.
Then you breathe in and it opens once more, you watch as the flower opens, revealing vibrant color and changing in front of your eyes.
You continue to breathe and observe the flower changing in front of you from full bloom to bud.
How it gently changes with your breath.
Your breath holds the potential for you to mindfully and slowly open yourself up to change.
Like the lotus flower, when things seem dark or unpleasant, breathe in and allow yourself to open like the lotus flower, look inward to find the beauty and light whenever things seem dark.
You slowly return the lotus flower to the lake, watching it naturally fall back into its surroundings.
You breathe and continue to think of the lotus flower, how it changed itself for the better. To be something so delicate and beautiful within the darkness.
Allow your breath to anchor you to right now.
To how deeply you breathe.
To allow yourself to breathe as deeply as you can, feel the chest rise on the in breath.
The openness of your body on the in breath.
The openness to the possibility of change.
How you will adapt like the lotus flower, slowly, internally, before opening yourself up to change when you are ready.
Take one more deep breath in and open yourself up fully like the lotus flower, as you breathe out, allow yourself to close like the lotus flower.
To slowly bring you inward.
To become aware of how your body rests.
Allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm.
Our wellness experts will be happy to take care of you. You can CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment now or call (612)223-8898.
We’re united by our commitment to providing effective, relevant, and innovative mental health support at all stages of your journey. Click Here to find out more about who we are, where we come from, and how we live out CARE’s mission every day.