Kid strategy of the week:

The Rabbit Listened: This is a powerful story about a child feeling supported by the rabbit, who just listened to them. Watch the video with your client, and then talk to them about what they need when they are upset, scared, or sad. Do they want someone to help them fix it, to make them laugh, to just listen? Who are the people in their life that provide them with what they need when they are upset?

Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was to (tailor based on tx plan). The therapist and Ct listened to the book “The Rabbit Listened” together and processed different forms of support that the Ct needs. The Ct identified that (fixing things, listening, laughing, validating mad feelings, etc) feels good to them, and they identified people in their life who provide this support for them.

Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was to (tailor based on tx plan). The therapist and Ct listened to the book “The Rabbit Listened” together and processed different forms of support that the Ct needs. The Ct identified that (fixing things, listening, laughing, validating mad feelings, etc) feels good to them, and they identified people in their life who provide this support for them.

Couples strategy of the week:

The Softened Start-Up: Criticism is an attack on your partner’s character or personality, often starting with “you always” or “you never.” Or you can be more direct with criticism: “You are so lazy,” or, “That’s just like you, finding any excuse not to spend time with me.”

Fortunately, it’s reversible. The antidote to Criticism is what we call The Softened Start-Up. To soften your start-up means to approach a conversation with how you’re feeling about the situation, not your perception of your partner’s flaws or behavior. There’s a difference between complaints and criticism. A complaint addresses a specific instance or action and acknowledges how it made you feel.

A good formula to remember is: “I feel [your feeling]”

  • hurt

  • abandoned

  • attacked

  • left out

  • Etc.

“About [the specific behavior, not a pattern of behavior]”

  • “when I’m not invited to virtual happy hours with your friends,”

  • “when you don’t read the articles I send you,”

  • “when we don’t have dinner together.”

“And I need [state the positive need].”

  • “to know what your preferred evening schedule looks like and how I can be a part of it,”

  • “to feel like you’re interested in the things I care about,”

  • “to spend some quality time together this week.”

Practice softening your start-up. You can even practice together with your partner, giving advice to an imaginary couple who struggles with criticism. For example, how would you soften “You always leave dirty dishes in the sink”?

You can also apply this formula to positive things—”I feel cared for when you check in to see how my day is going!”

Source: The Gottman Institute

Sample Progress Note : The focus of this session was (tailor to couple’s treatment plan). The therapist provided psycho-education about Gottman’s Softening Start-Up Technique and helped the couple explore ways that they could provide feedback to each other in a healthy way. The couple was able (somewhat able/struggled) to identify more healthy patterns of communication.

Adult strategy of the week:

Feelings and Needs: Often when we experience strong emotions, it is an indication that there is an underlying unmet need. Go through the list below (3rd page) with your client and have them highlight or write down all of the needs they are experiencing right now and the emotions or behaviors they have when they experience those needs. Look for patterns and brainstorm together healthy ways to meet those needs

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3S0sxUlc_iIb3U1WEhXZENDQy0xblFIaldOY0wwdnNLcWVR/view

Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was to (tailor to ct.’s treatment plan). The therapist provided psycho-education and helped ct. explore current unmet needs. Ct. was able (somewhat able/struggled) to identify current unmet needs, and they stated that the exploration was (helpful/not helpful/etc.)

Mindfulness/Meditation of the week:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive Muscle Relaxation is an effective way to release pent-up stress and tension that the body is holding, perhaps without you even realizing that it’s there:

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Progressive_Muscle_Relaxation.pdf

Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was to (tailor based on tx plan). The therapist led the client in a guided mindfulness activity (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). The client stated that they found this activity to be (helpful/thought-provoking/boring/calming)