Blog Posts by Linda Peterman, Licensed Mental Health Counselor


    Are you stressed and anxious about the holidays? Read these tips for making better use of your time, reducing your stress, and making your season merry. Here's how to have a fun, relaxing, and healthy holiday season.

    ASSIGN TASKS TO OTHERS: Many hands make light work.

    BUDGET FOR GIFTS, PARTIES: Financial stress after the holidays is not worth it.
    COOK IN ADVANCE: Prepare foods ahead of time and freeze them.
    DECOMPRESS: Sit down and read, play a game, take a nap.
    E-CARDS: They are easy, fun and the wave of the future.
    FOCUS ON FUN: If it isn't enjoyable, ask yourself why you are doing it.
    GROCERY SHOP WITH A LIST: A time saver and a money saver.
    HEALTHY EATING: Take care of your body and fuel it efficiently.
    IMPROVE SLEEP HABITS: You will feel better with proper sleep.
    JOURNAL: A proven stress reliever.
    KEEP IT SIMPLE: The simplest things can be the most beautiful.
    LAUGH: Another proven stress reliever and so much fun!

  • Advice At a Baby Shower

    I went to a baby shower this weekend for a co-worker. Most of the guests were just beginning the experience of parenting. Many of the mom's wanted my advice since I seemed to have survived 18 years and my "baby boy" was preparing to leave for college this summer. As I listened to the other women talk, I realized once again how fast it all went. It seemed like just yesterday I had my baby shower. These years that I kept watch over my baby in the nest and watched him grow, learn, change and finally take off have been very precious.

    During this baby shower, all of the guests were asked to say a wish or a prayer for the baby and one for the new parents. As we went around the room, the advice was varied from "I wish for the baby to be healthy" to "I pray for the baby to know God" to "I wish for the baby to be a macho man" to "I pray for the baby to be happy and have a good life". Wishes for the parents were just as varied from "I hope you continue to make time for yourselves" to "be

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    As we begin a new year, it is appropriate to reflect on the past year as we begin to prepare for the next year. It is important to set goals for the new year but it is equally important to see what went right and what went wrong during the past year.

    Here is a new process for tackling this task:

    Begin to think: In order to contemplate this past year, you may need to use photographs, calendars, PDAs, or journals to help jog your memory. Gather these items, and review them to help you remember your past year. You can make notes or do whatever works for you in keeping these things in perspective.

    Make a List: Start by listing the good things that happened this past year. Write down inspiring stories or moments and list accomplishments, goals, important events, and life-changing decisions. You can enlist the help of someone who knows you well and has shared parts of your life.

    make a list of the things that didn't turn out the way you wanted. These would be

  • Avoiding Holiday Stress

    Do the holidays cause you needless amounts of stress? Do you procrastinate and put off shopping, planning parties and dinners, baking, decorating, wrapping, addressing cards, etc.? Are you already exhausted from thinking about, planning, and getting ready for the holidays? Do you sometimes feel that you are the only one doing the work and everyone else is reaping the rewards?

    If you are trying to make the holidays perfect, you are setting yourself up for a letdown as well as physical and mental exhaustion resulting from striving towards unrealistic goals. This is one sure way to cause you stress and anxiety, not to mention feelings of being unappreciated, disappointed, or having failed. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:

    Do I really want to do this or am I trying to please others? Am I sharing the work and planning with my family members? Does my family really enjoy this? Would we miss it? Is this done out of habit, free will, or is it simply a burden? Are my

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    In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I would write about our Creepy Coworkers and how some of them can haunt us at work and in our dreams. They're creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky but if you know these creatures and their habits, you can work with them.

    They will suck the life (and happiness) out of you if you get too close. They can find the negative in anything. Their complaining brings everyone down and stirs up problems. The vampires gossip and cause negativity throughout the organization. To combat this, counter their negative arguments with positives and help them to take action against the negatives in the environment. The vampires won't stay around long---they don't like a "sunny" disposition.

    Witches: They can disguise themselves as a "good witch" but they are only after something for themselves. They don't care who they hurt and they won't hesitate to cast a spell on you in order to get what they want. Don't think you will be indoctrinated into

  • Teen Dating Violence Safety Plan


    The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that among female victims of intimate partner violence, a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend victimized 94% of those between the ages of 16-19. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to discuss safety planning with their teen before they begin to date.

    This is a follow-up to my two previous blogs on Teen Dating Violence
    (Oct. 14 & Oct 18). Please read these blogs on how to talk to your teen about this issue, how to recognize warning signs, and how to help them get out of an abusive/controlling relationship.

    Following are questions to ask your teen to think about and have an answer to regardless if they are in a controlling/abusive relationship now or not.

    1. If you have an argument on a date and feel unsafe, whom do you call? What do you do if left in an unsafe place?
    2. If you have an argument at school, who could help you? Where are you safe at school? What teacher/counselor do
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  • Teen Dating Violence Warning Signs


    57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually or verbally abusive in a dating relationship. 33% of teens have witnessed such an event. However, 81% of parents surveyed believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don't know if it's an issue.

    This is a follow-up to my blog from Thursday, October 14 on Teen Dating Violence. In my last post, I encouraged parents to talk to their teens about abusive/controlling relationships. 54% of parents surveyed admit they've not spoken to their child about dating violence. Following is a list of warning signs of an abusive partner and a potentially dangerous relationship.

    • Usually begins with signs of jealousy and possessiveness (accuses victim or flirting and/or cheating eventually)
    • Pressures victim for quick relationship
    • Limits or controls who the victim sees or talks to and where they go (suspicious/paranoid)
    • Constant
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  • Is Your Teen In An Abusive Relationship?

    Females ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group, according to the Bureau of Justice. In addition, about one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship. Parents need to be aware of this growing epidemic and teach their children about abusive, controlling relationships; how to recognize one and how to get out of one.

    Abusive relationships between teens look very similar to adult abusive relationships. The intent is the same-- to use intimidation, threats, manipulation and other forms of abuse in order to cause fear and gain power and control over one's partner.

    Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse and most teens (83%) report they would rather tell a peer than an adult. Therefore, parents need to keep the lines of communication open at all costs. They also need to be watching, listening, and paying

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  • User Post: Why Are Perfectionists Unhappy?

    I will not argue the fact that perfectionists can be widely successful. However, I also know the hidden, inside secret turmoil that many perfectionists go through on a daily basis that causes them anxiety, stress, discomfort and problems with their relationships.

    Here are some of the common traits of perfectionists that will lead to problems:

    • All or nothing thinking or everything is either black or white, right or wrong
    • Unrealistic Goals
    • Expectations (for self and others) are unreasonable or unrealistic
    • Magnify the importance of small errors
    • Catastrophizing
    • Focus on the negative
    • Thinking in absolutes: shoulds, musts, oughts
    • Believing achievement and accomplishments measure one's worth
    • Impatience
    • Easily frustrated
    • Thinks "my way is the right way"

    What do you do to change these perfectionistic thoughts? Here are some solutions:

    • Find the good in situations or people
    • Make realistic goals
    • Have reasonable expectations
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  • Sex and Intimacy -- Which Comes First?

    It seems common to hear women complain about a lack of intimacy in their relationship. Many men complain that there is a lack of sex in their relationship.
    Isn't is the same thing? No, it isn't.

    What most women are looking for is a deeper connection to their partner. They want to feel emotionally intimate with him first and foremost. Then, sexual intimacy comes more naturally, more often, and with more enthusiasm.

    Emotional intimacy is a willingness to self-disclose; to share feelings, wants, needs, desires, fantasies and our inner most thoughts. It is being "in the moment" with one another. Being willing to share these things involves taking risks. The risks are being rejected, criticized, dismissed, laughed at, ignored, or told we are wrong, not good enough, or even stupid. Many of us are afraid of true emotional intimacy.

    However, if we have a partner who will not criticize, ignore, or basically reject our self-disclosures, we can feel safe enough to open up and share on an

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