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An ongoing series of informational entries 

about us and mental health issues

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Tips for Returning to Work After a Relapse

Julie Morris- Life and Career Coach


May 24, 2021

Heading back to your professional life is a natural step in the addiction recovery process. In fact, work can be beneficial to sobriety as it creates purpose, connects people to a social network, and contributes to one’s sense of identity.

That being said, work can come with myriad stressors (a problematic boss, unruly co-workers, etc.) that promote addictive coping mechanisms such as alcohol consumption and drug use. Returning to work after a relapse can be particularly difficult and may require you to take a few steps to manage workplace stress.

Ask for Help

Relapse recovery is a complex process that often requires help from addiction experts. If you have been in contact with an addiction treatment professional, consider continuing this relationship even if you feel equipped to cope on your own. If you have not yet worked with a professional, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to be connected to an addiction professional in your area. From counselling to outpatient programs, there are resources available to help get you back on track after a relapse. 

Working with the mental health professionals at Creative Counseling and Studio during stressful situations can reduce your likelihood of another relapse.

In addition to professional help, try surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family members. At the same time, avoid individuals who encourage addictive behaviours. No matter who you choose to be in your support network, ensure these individuals want to see you succeed on the sobriety path.

When you decide to begin looking for work, find people (or mentors) who will help you get ready for the workplace. This could include anything from polishing your resume to picking out suitable attire for interviews. Also, look up common interview questions online and ask your friends or loved ones to help you practice. Although it may have been a while since you’ve interviewed for a position, you’ll soon feel your old self-confidence returning if you take some time to practice before the big day.

Forgiving Yourself

For years, addiction has been associated with low self-esteem and self-confidence. Not only can this make an individual more prone to substance abuse, but it can also make it difficult to remain in recovery. After a relapse, you may feel guilt and shame. While it may be impossible to eradicate these feelings, accepting them and moving forward is incredibly beneficial to overall mental health. Forgiveness is the process of acknowledging your value as a person and not letting past actions determine who you are. This process involves letting go of past missteps as well providing yourself with the tools to succeed in sobriety. Forgiving yourself after a relapse is an essential part of preventing future transgressions.

Create and Adjust Sobriety Strategy

As you return to work, it's important to prepare for how you will handle work-related stress. This is especially pertinent if your relapse was tied to your work life. Because there is a strong correlation between work stress and drug/alcohol abuse, you'll want to have a plan in place to ward off another relapse. Creating a sobriety strategy involves developing effective, healthy coping mechanisms during times of stress. For example, if you feel the need to drink after a stressful day, you need to have a process in place to help mitigate these feelings. Maybe this involves calling your addiction sponsor or a close family or friend.

Alternatively, many people find it helpful to adopt healthy hobbies to replace their former addictive behaviors. After a relapse, it is necessary to adjust your sobriety strategy. For example, if a particular co-worker encouraged you to have a drink after a stressful day, you may need to develop a strategy to avoid similar encounters. Making needed changes to your sobriety strategy can ensure that your coping mechanisms stay relevant and effective.

For many of us, our homes can be a source of stress which makes relapse more likely. By creating a less stressful environment at home through cleaning, decluttering, and opening your windows, you can create positive energy and prevent negative thoughts.

Returning to work after a relapse can be difficult. For many, workplace stress can make it more difficult to stick to the recovery path. Because of this, it is necessary to develop healthy coping mechanisms in response to stress. Whether it’s talking to a professional, reminding yourself of your personal worth, or adjusting your sobriety strategy, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of another relapse. 

holidays, covid-19, 2020

What is Art Therapy? 

Jane Polinski

December 11, 2020

Hi mental health warriors!

I want to start off with the basics… so let’s talk about what art therapy really is!

As not only a first time blogger, but a recent college graduate, and a newly professional therapist, it’s difficult even for me to explain what art therapy is in eloquent words! Let’s learn together about what therapy is and why it isn’t as scary as it sounds! When you think of the word ‘therapy’, what do you think? Let’s debunk some common myths about therapy together!

Do you imagine yourself lying on a couch while a person in a big fancy chair scribbles down notes and only occasionally nods? In reality, therapy is so much more fun and interactive than that, especially here at Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC. Therapy is about learning about yourself so that you can grow as a human. Therapy can be used for everything from helping to treat a mental illness, to wanting to have an unbiased opinion to bounce your problems off of. Admittedly, therapy is uncomfortable sometimes, because growth is hard! But we are here to help you through it. Yasmin Tucker and myself are striving to create a safe and exciting environment to help you talk, heal, and gain new skills so that you can be the best version of yourself!

Have you ever heard that people who go to therapy are ‘weak’ or ‘crazy’? WRONG! Did you know that 1 in 5 people in America will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime? Depression is the leading cause of illness in the USA today, yet more than 66% of people suffering from depression don’t seek treatment. Seeking out help and working on yourself shows just how strong you really are! We have ideas and activities that we think you could benefit from and we are here to help you!

Another myth: You have to have a mental illness to go to therapy. While depression and anxiety currently affect more than half of the US population, we at Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC believe that anyone and everyone can benefit from therapy! Therapy should be a part of your health routine just like going to the dentist (speaking of, have you gone for your annual check up this year?)! Therapy can help you to improve your understanding of yourself, and this can help you to better identify emotions, improve your communication, and lead to better self esteem. Speaking for myself, therapy definitely helped me to become a better version of myself and I’m so grateful for that every day. Now I want to share these skills and successful feelings with you!

Still think you can’t have fun while in therapy? Think again! Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC makes therapy as fun as possible while helping you to work through life’s stresses. Art therapy is all about improving self esteem, promoting self-awareness and insight, and creating emotional resilience. These skills help us to create the confidence and space to deal with our trauma, resolve conflicts, and foster change. How do we do that through art? We use different mediums to create communication that focuses on therapeutic change! Art therapy is about letting your creative self shine through kinesthetic symbolism while allowing dialogue to lead you through your own unique experience. The visual dynamics of art therapy helps you to explain where words might otherwise fail to capture what you are trying to say!

Do you feel like you better understand art therapy now? How does it sound to you? I, for one, am very excited to be able to combine creativity and therapy! If you are excited about the idea of this, call or email us today to start your art therapy journey!

Until next time!

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Navigating the Holidays and COVID-19: Part Deux  

Jane Polinski

November 11, 2020

Hi mental health warriors!

I’ll be honest, I’m currently struggling with the holiday blues (or maybe just blues in general), how about you? I want to talk this month about how to navigate the holidays and how to take care of yourself during such a busy time of the year. This year looks completely different with a pandemic on our hands! And this adds a whole new layer of feelings. 

How do you usually spend the holidays? Do you visit family that lives far away, or do you eat a huge feast and watch football on the flat screen, or what about Black Friday shopping with your mom? What are your holidays going to look like this year? How do you feel about it?Personally, this year, I won’t be able to do a lot of the things I wanted to do for the holidays. And you know how that makes me feel? DISAPPOINTED. There, I said it! It’s okay to feel disappointed with the holidays (and a lot of things) this year! You have the right to have feelings like these, too. Between not being able to walk the stage for my master’s degree that I worked so hard for and not being able to celebrate afterwards, generally not feeling in the holiday spirit, and not even knowing if I’ll be able to see my family any time soon, it’s DISAPPOINTING!

The holidays are a time to be thankful and to give to others. How many of you feel the pressure to give, give, give to others? But… How often do we stop during these few months to give to ourselves? Be honest! The holidays can be taxing on everyone in different ways. Whether you feel stretched too thin, you feel like you’re not doing enough, or maybe you’re feeling lonely. This very long year hasn’t helped one bit, and a usually joyous (if not stressful) time of the year is rapidly changing! So, how do we break free of these feelings? I have some tips that can help!

First, allow yourself to feel. What does this mean? The holidays are a time to give thanks and to be joyous, right? So if you’re not feeling those things, what does that mean? Do you ever feel guilty about not being in the holiday spirit? I encourage you to sit with those feelings. This year may be disappointing or anxiety-provoking to a lot of you, and that is completely understandable and valid. Even if you are able to do what you want for the holidays, you may still be feeling the holiday blues! This year has been difficult for a lot of people and it’s okay to acknowledge that and sit with your feelings. Allow yourself the space to feel exhausted, disappointed, lonely, maybe even angry. Right now, it’s like this. Sit in whatever this is to you.

Second, and I will preach this until I’m blue in the face… SELF. CARE. Self care looks different to each person, and if you follow us on Instagram, you could copy your very own self care template to use and fill out for yourself (hint, hint). Self care is about taking care of yourself. Self explanatory, right? Yet it’s harder to do than we think! This is really important at all times, but especially around the holidays when we are constantly told to give to others. We cannot pour from an empty cup, so therefore, make sure to give to yourself too! Whether it’s a relaxing bubble bath, reading a good book, playing a round of golf, or getting your favorite take out, do something for yourself when you’re done reading this awesome blog! Self care is also the simple things like taking your medications, attending your appointments and not over spending to impress others. Taking time for ourselves is important for productivity, a positive attitude, and a clear and focused mind.

Third, when you’re done acknowledging all of the feelings you’re having about the holidays (or in general), and while you’re practicing your self care, let’s shift your mindset. We talk about being thankful during the holidays, but what about being grateful? What’s the difference? Thankful is the feeling, grateful is the action. Think outside the box this year about how many things you are thankful for. You can be thankful for everything from the place you live in all the way down to your favorite mug that you’re sipping out of right now. You can be thankful for your family, friends, colleagues, furry companions, etc. Write these down and think of all of the different things you are thankful for (check our Instagram for my fun thankful/grateful activity!). 

Next, think of all of the things you want to express gratefulness for and write those down too! For example, one of the things I am thankful for is my brain. I am thankful to have a body and a brain and to be alive. However, I am grateful for the opportunity I had to go to college, learn great things, and become a therapist and I have made sure to express that to my professors. See the difference? Show (the grateful part) someone that you’re thankful for them through a card, a phone call, or a hug! Or think about all of the things you have to be thankful for even in this difficult time, and express gratuity about it, even if it’s only to yourself.

This activity, and many others that you can learn about at Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC, can help you identify and process all of the emotions that you’re feeling, but then turn those emotions into something positive and productive. It’s about taking the situation that you have and making the most of it! It sounds a lot easier than it is, but practice makes perfect! A growth mindset helps us to remain mindful of ourselves and our current circumstances, and to figure out ways to problem solve and move forward in our lives. This 2020 holiday season (and hopefully the pandemic along with it) is a blip in our timeline. Right now, it can feel heavy, lonely, and stressful, but it always seems impossible until it’s done, right? It won’t be like this forever, but we can start improving ourselves and our outlook today.

Until next time my fellow mental health warriors, keep on keeping on!

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Navigating the Holidays and COVID-19

Yasmin Tucker 

November 11, 2020

The holiday season is filled with sweet smells, festive sights and most importantly family. With the changes in our ability to gather due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we will have to get creative on how we connect with our loved ones this holiday season.

First, acknowledge the pain. Notice the thoughts in your mind, the physiological sensations and the feelings you experience when apart from loved ones. Give this phenomena light and allow the process to take its course. As you mindfully notice your feelings, give the feelings a place to be. Whether it's in a magical treasure chest in your mind or a thick undiscovered jungle willing to be traversed. Allow those feelings to nourish something else outside of you.

Second, reframe your perspective. Imagine that feelings are like the holiday buffet at your favorite restaurant. Instead of scooping a hefty portion of contempt toward the pandemic, try curiosity and acceptance. Think of this holiday season as an opportunity to connect in a non-traditional way. In spite of the isolation in 2020, our online connections have expanded our access to and ability to maintain important relationships.

Thirdly, get creative! Here are three fun festive ideas on navigating being away

from family this holiday season.

1. Make a physical greeting card. Mail it to your loved one and encourage them to do the same. Inside of the card, place a small holiday paper craft that you all can complete together via video conference. Make a date of it and experience the magic of opening the gift together in real time.

2. Host a movie marathon. Login to your favorite streaming platform and watch a movie at the same time as your loved one. Create a routine of being together, with your favorite snack at the same time. Laugh, cry and be with one another in a new intimate way.

3. Create synchronous video self-portraits. Open your video-conference, grab a sketchbook and pencil and get to drawing. Notice the lines, shapes and forms of your loved ones face as you create your work of art. Turn on some holiday jams and enter a creative flow state in a re-imaged way.

Hi Mental Health Warriors! 

Jane Polinski

October, 30 2020

Hi mental health warriors!

My name is Jane Polinski and I am so excited to be Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC’s newest addition! Let’s get to know each other!

I recently graduated (still have to wait until December for the ceremony) from my university with my master’s degree in social work. Yay! I am so so so excited to finally join the professional therapy world. However, I’m not new to working with people; I have worked in various social work settings for the last 5 years, including in hospitals, schools, and prisons! This profession is what I was born to do because I love helping others!

I have known I wanted to help people in therapy since I was 12 years old when I saw my very own therapist. She is an awesome lady and we still keep in touch to this day! My therapist helped me navigate difficult times and gave me a sense of hope and motivation. Here I am today, graduating with my master’s degree and ready to practice therapy! I really want to help people understand that therapy isn’t as scary as it seems (maybe this will be my next blog post!) and that mental health matters!

I am a person who loves to learn and therapy is all about that! Even as a professional, I am constantly learning new things about myself and improving myself through skill building. I’ll bet none of us therapists were born knowing things like distress tolerance, emotional regulation, or interpersonal effectiveness! We had to learn how to be an expert at these things, just like you can! We genuinely want to work with you on creating a better version of yourself! This can seem like a daunting task, doesn’t it? However, as we know, practice makes perfect. Skills like communication or mindfulness have to be practiced so much that they become second nature, just like riding a bike! Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC can help you to practice and become mental health experts!

Let’s start by talking about what our company is about so you can have a better understanding of how awesome we are. Yasmin created this company from the ground up - she is one of the few licensed art therapists in Omaha! Yasmin has a passion for colors and helping people, so art therapy is a perfect fit! Yasmin combines creativity and therapy; this provides a safe space to explain your thoughts and emotions in more than words. Yasmin recently added Jillian and myself to her awesome team, and we are ready to create some amazing art with you!

Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC is completely remote, which helps us to be able to be flexible to fit your schedule. Doing therapy from the comfort of your own home is a new concept and we are confident that it will work for you! Making time for yourself is so important, but yet we all get caught up in taking care of others (me included!). Do something for you!

When you’re ready to take the leap and start practicing fun new skills, give us a call at 402-401-4445 to set up a free consultation! We would love to see you!

art therapist, omaha, black therapist

Be Still..

Yasmin Tucker

April 19, 2020

As I sit here thinking about what I should write about (my first blog EEEEK!), the thought that keeps racing across my mind is “stick to what you know.” You are established-ish, don’t change a thing! Maybe you are a little bored (okay a lot bored), but things are going great! You are healthy, all of your loved ones are healthy; what do you have to complain about?

Or maybe this discontentment is more complex than the binary of ‘change or do not change.’ Maybe this ambivalent feeling is a global stillness we are all experiencing related to not knowing what is next with COVID-19. The last time I remember being still in my daily living was middle school, more than 16 years ago.

That was a time in my life were the only goal was how to navigate good grades and fitting in. I was not consumed with the next step or benchmark. Over the past five weeks, I have had the opportunity to be still and learn how much of the English language my four-year-old son knows; and his new drive toward independence. Cherishing every nursing session with my 10-month-old as I know these days will come to an end soon. Creating a whole new level of connection with my partner while we both work at home. Noticing that I need quiet time more than I would like to admit.

All the while, my artist identity has not had much space, despite it being the life blood that keeps my body together. So, for my very first blog post, I am going to practice being still. Being with myself and the present moment. No pressure to perform, create, organize, etc.

Although freight-training my goals (spirituality, art, family, business, health- not in that order) is my shtick, I am going to try to simply chill and be. Not worry about COVID-19, or anything else for that matter. If you can relate to this and have been missing out on stillness, try this with me.

Steps to Stillness (at least the steps I am going to try):

- Turn off all your devices.

- Find somewhere comfortable to be.

- Hold something important to you (blanket, toy, etc).

- Look around your environment and see what you can see.

- Try not to judge your wondering mind, it is what it is.

Let me know how it goes, eh? Well wishes, stay safe and be still for a change.

COVID-19 Changes

Yasmin Tucker

February 14, 2020

In this Featured Member series, AATA celebrates the work of our members. During the coronavirus epidemic, we are inviting members to share their experiences about how their professional and personal lives have changed.

What has changed (or remained the same) in your job during the COVID-19 global crisis?

The global crisis has impacted my private practice in many ways. In a typical week, I hold 15-20 individual, family and couples’ sessions. Following the national recommendation to shelter in place, I am providing a few less sessions from home via two telehealth platforms. In addition to this, I am facilitating an eating disorder art therapy group with four or more...

Click here to read more: https://arttherapy.org/featured-member-yasmin-tucker/