Posts Tagged ‘Patricia o’laughlin’

Managing Your Perfectionism During the Holidays


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Heightened emotions make the holidays a challenging time. A range of intense feelings occur at once, joy and happiness can simultaneously exist with sadness and frustration. Having multiple feeling states is not always easy; it increases stress and self-hurting defenses. One hurtful defense often experienced during the holidays is perfectionism. Perfectionism is the motivation to have things done “the best”, not “the best way possible”, but “the best”. This makes perfectionism a goal that is impossible to meet, setting us up for hard thoughts down the road like failure. So here are 5 things you can do to tackle your perfectionism during the holiday.

1. Recognize its happening. Like with anything, insight is an important part of feeling free. You first have to see it in yourself before you can take action.
2. Remember that stress and perfectionism are linked. The more stress you have the more perfect things will have to be.
3. Watch for the growing list, as the perfectionism grows so does the “to do” list. All of a sudden you don’t just need wrapping paper, but you need an exact color, and bows, and a specific type of gift tag. These details will increase your anxiety.
4. Force yourself to stop. When in the store and you feel like your house absolutely needs this or your dinner table absolutely needs that, stop yourself. Take a deep breath; ask yourself what is motivating you in that moment. The need for perfectionism is probably connected to something deeper.
5. Walk away. When you feel that need for more because things aren’t just right, walk away and take a break. Leave the store, go sit in the car, go read a book, take a nap. Allow yourself a break so you can think about it later, reassess the situation, and make an informed decision.

Anxiety can feel like it’s taking over, doing these things can help you slow yourself down so you don’t feed it. Managing your perfectionism during the holidays will help you be present more in the moment and enjoy yourself more. Don’t let it slip by on you, do these things so you can relax, enjoy yourself, and have the memories of holidays past.


Articles Featuring Patricia O’Laughlin


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Please find articles where I am featured below and coming soon, an interview done with Time Magazine on women deciding not have children at all. I’m hoping this one will be particularly helpful to couples and women as the wrestle with this subject, it can be quite difficult.

Articles Featuring Patricia O'Laughlin

Patricia O’Laughlin interviewed by Parent USA City: When You’re the New Stepparent of a Teenager

Rejection is a normal parent of being a stepparent to a teenager. In this new article learn what behaviors to expect as a stepparent and how to manage the challenge of parenting in a blended family.

 

Articles Featuring Patricia O'Laughlin

Patricia O’Laughlin interviewed by the Today Show: Broadcasting Your Pregnancy on YouTube: Is it TMI?

In the digital age, there is always a way to share your thoughts and feelings instantly. In this article I discuss the benefits of new moms finding support online, and when the sharing might go a little too far.

 

Articles Featuring Patricia O'Laughlin

SheKnows.com talks to Patricia O’Laughlin: Keeping Sex Interesting While Trying to Concieve

Sex while trying to conceive can become unromantic when ovulation schedules and temperature readings get in the way of spontaneity in the sack. In this article I give tips on how to keep things exciting and fun while trying for a baby.

 

Articles Featuring Patricia O'Laughlin

Patricia O’Laughlin gives tips to BabyCenter.com: 10 Smart Ways to Prepare for Your Baby’s Birth

Making sure the nursery is prepped and painted is one thing, but here are a few tips I think every expectant new mom should know. From finding veteran moms who will
share their honest experiences to getting some help lined up for after the baby is born, these things will make your first few months with a new baby much easier.

Articles Featuring Patricia O'Laughlin

Pregnancy Magazine talks to Patricia O’Laughlin: New-Daddy Doldrums

New studies show that fathers can experience the blues after their child’s birth just like mothers. In this article, I talk about how to support your spouse if he is having trouble after the baby is born.

 

Articles Featuring Patricia O'Laughlin

Care.com interviews Patricia O’Laughlin: Creating the Perfect Mother’s Day

It can be difficult to juggle your own needs with that of other family members. This article talks about ways mothers can stay focused on themselves and honor the requests of loved ones on holidays like Mother’s Day.

 


The Good Men Project Article: “Six Things Couples Can Do to Make Room for the Emotional Man”


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The Good Men Project

I am pleased to announce one of my articles was posted on The Good Men Project today. As stated on their website their mission is to “….foster [ing] a national discussion centered around modern manhood and the question, ‘What does it mean to be a good man’?”. You can see my article “6 Things Couples Can Do to Make Room for the Emotional Man” at The Good Men Project.

 


Want To Limit Life Regrets? Consider Therapy


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Want To Limit Regrets? Consider Therapy

The other day I ran across an post from the Arise India Forum titled “Nurse Reveals the Top 5 Regrets People Make On Their Deathbed”. Typically for an article of this nature I would post a link on my Facebook page rather highlight it in my blog. But its connection to therapy is so potent that I want to discuss it in more detail.

A palliative care nurse, who has been tracking people’s regrets while they are dying, found that the following five things are most people’s regret on their deathbed:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

The connection between these points and the work I do in my Silver Lake/Los Feliz psychotherapy office is striking. Living for others, unresolved relationships, working too much, and not expressing feelings not only cause anxiety and depression, but also make life feel less full and rewarding.

These themes are common. It is not clear whether this attitude towards life is a push from a larger societal message or from individual/family values, but in any case most people live life consistently doing at least one of the above mentioned regrets.

Therapy can help limit life regrets. Unfortunately a stigma attached to therapy and the values of independence most Americans hold dear turn most away from therapy. However, if someone were to entertain and commit to therapy, if they were to understand that needing help actually met more independence, they might find that life becomes fuller.

I know therapy can support someone in making the deeper change necessary to shift behaviors that can cause regret. One just has to try to it.


An Interview with Roxanne Vise: Making Art, Being a Mom, and Linking Creativity With Parenting


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An Interview with Roxanne Vise: Making Art, Being a Mom, and Linking Creativity With Parenting

 

I recently had the pleasure of discovering and interviewing artist Roxanne Vise. Not only is her artwork inspiring, but her blog Creative Tempo gets the creative juices flowing.  In her interview below she talks about making art, being a mom, and creative parenting. As a psychotherapist and art therapist with a private practice in Silver Lake, I’ve seen art increase the bond between parents and their children, as well as help parents manage the high demands of parenthood. The amazing thing about art is that it’s a powerful thing, and is accessible to everyone.

Can you talk a little bit about what types of art you enjoy doing?

Yes, I’d love to!  I’ve tried most forms of art over the years: plaster, iron sculptures, wax and wood carvings, pottery, ink washes, different forms of paint.  I’ve even made my own media.  I’m constantly evolving and find myself gravitating to a media which suits the moment and the art I want to create.

I could go on about all that, but right now I love encaustic and acrylic paints.  They’re fast, unexpected, full of texture and full of possibilities.  When my time is limited or I’m on the go, I sketch with graphite or do ink or watercolor.  Those are great too, more meditative.

Is blogging a form of art? How does blogging impact your creative expression? 

I feel that it IS a form of art. Especially now, with my new blog, Creative Tempo where I’m writing about the meaning in creativity, about layers of an artist’s journey, my journey and rediscovering primitive exercises that get to the core of all that and writing about it to encourage other artists. Blogging offers another form of expression and for me helps my creativity to not be bound up in one media.

Discipline is another area where blogging has impacted my art.  The discipline of showing up, expressing thoughts on creativity, engaging and then taking my own writing to heart – it’s really a big circle for me, I get back much more than I give.  And this huge desire I have to help other artists – blogging has given me the platform to do that.

When I first started blogging in 2006, It was like a controlled explosion!  Back then, I just had my new baby and loving it.  When he was about six months old, I craved getting back into the studio, but my old ways of creating – marathon days just painting and flowing – I knew weren’t possible.  Also, encaustic can potentially cause harmful fumes and I did not want him exposed to that for even a short time.

To feed my creativity and also be a full-time mom, I began a blog.  After that initial explosion calmed down, I found my writing turning toward art, talking about my latest piece or whatever, but I had no mission or discipline, it was only for me.  That first blog, Artist + Mom planted the seed for many things.

If I picked one thing where blogging has impacted my creative expression it is that I find my self thinking about my work in an extended way more than I did before.  My art is outside of myself in an new way, not just on new platform (blogging), but reaching for deeper meaning, by writing about it.

How has your art changed since becoming a mom?

I started sketching again.  Ways of creating that I can do in slices of time or can easily interrupt – mini moments instead of marathon sessions – and I work smaller.

Are there parts of yourself as an artist that are in direct conflict with your role as a parent and how do you negotiate that?

My urge to create is often so strong so strong that I’m compelled to drop everything and do it.  One of the lessons I’ve learned and practice is to adapt with each moment and allow creativity to flow from whatever I’m doing – play and creativity acre closely related and feed each other.

How does being creative help you cope with the demands of being a parent?

Thinking creativity helps me to see the possibilities in a moment.  Whether it’s a situation or a task.  When I use a creative approach it helps make a demanding thing not so hard and often even fun.  For example, in a battle for control and instead making the lightest shift in perspective or making it all a game and suddenly everyone is laughing and being goofy and working together.

Does art help you build awareness of the difficulties of being a parent? The enjoyments?

Art builds awareness to everything.  But, what art/creativity really does for my parenting is that it allows me to be aware of the possibilities more than the difficulties.  It helps that I’ve always had a huge sense of wonder about life and am naturally observant.  But, even if someone is not, creating cultivates that.

Observing and having a sense of wonder about the impossibilities of life, about parenting about the birth of a child gives me the belief that anything is possible.  Cultivating this sense wonder creates the effect that the little inconveniences are really new opportunities to observe differently.

Does art help you express some of the emotion that you experience as a parent, both negative and positive?

I don’t ‘take out’ a strong emotion onto a painting – if that’s what you mean.  For me, it’s like a shedding when I begin to create.  I have a ritual or ceremony that I use to get into that creative space where only wonder, love, meaning and truth exist.  Any lower emotions are left at the gate so-to-speak and purified through the process.  If I get into this zone enough – it’s intoxicating!  So, I’d say the process of art transforms.

How has art helped create a bond between you and your children?

Kid’s are so cool – so naturally creative!  It’s only when they start to get taught society’s rules they enter a time of conditioning and all that creativity gets bottled up and they lose it or hide somewhere.

As an artist-parent, it’s like common ground between us.  A place where we can get messy, laugh and connect.  It doesn’t matter if we are painting, squishing mud or putting on an elaborate theater show – it’s such a gift.

There is such joy in my son’s eyes when we are playing wildly together – me just being there – showing that he matters, that his play is important.  It is so powerful to see that, to feel that.

I feel that having children is an opportunity for a parent to find their inner child and begin again.

Are there some easy projects you could recommend to people who feel uncomfortable making art with their children?

Even regular play things, like Play-Doh, sidewalk chalk, throwing a sheet over the furniture to make a tent – it’s all creative. The extra difference is when a parent get’s in the action – squish the dough, squash your parent-size body into the tent – that’s what’s important.

But, if a parent wants to try something more artistic there are lots of ways to begin.  Depending on the age of the kids – little ones can paint with a paintbrush and just a cup of water on the sidewalk.  Tear up colored paper then glue it onto a larger sheet as a collage. A really easy and fun one is to take popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and googly eyes from a craft store – start about 3/4 of the way from the bottom of the stick and wrap the pipe cleaner tightly around the stick all the way to the top and either cut or tuck in the end.  Glue the eyes to the top and you have an instant little puppet – so easy for little ones to help with!  Before you know it, you have a whole family of them and they can travel everywhere with you.

Projects for older kids that I love are a creating a silhouette show (draw or trace a shape onto dark poster paper, then cut it out, tape it to a yardstick, hang a sheet, shut out the lights and let the show begin!).  Fabric painting (tear or cut strips of fabric then pick out shapes and make a fabric painting (animals, landscapes, trucks – anything!) by gluing them to a board.

How do you participate when the kids are making art?

Sometimes we do art side by side.  I’m working on a painting and my son is painting too.  Often, I’m simply the assistant, “Hand me that sponge, Mom.” he says.

Some parents have not done art in many years and feel like they cannot because they are not creative. Is there any advice you could give a parent in this situation?

My strong belief is that each person is creative.  Creativity is a human need, the spark of life.  There are different forms of creativity and many levels of development, experience and blocks – but, everyone is.  Sometimes just redefining what the word ‘creativity’ means can make a big difference.

If a parent really wants to be creative, they often already know what their blocks are: fear, judgements, time-management, procrastination, too powerful (need for a masterpiece), too difficult, whatever.  They come up against them every time they think about creativity or attempt art.

If a person chooses to be ‘not creative’ – that is certainly a choice, whether made consciously or not.  For those: If not for you, then for the sake of your children.  Without being melodramatic – at the very least, allow yourself to play.

For those who truly want to create, but are stuck in some way: Grab your life, your chance and don’t let anything block your way!  Use those blocks, traumas and experiences as tools to get it out there! Don’t beat yourself up because of wasted time or any other scoldings – just begin.  Start where you are and GO!

I find that those will the most fear of art are often the best artists when they move past the threshold of creating.  The choice to begin and keep going makes all the difference.

Here’s an inside secret….Some artists even joke about and say things like, “Thank goodness there are so many people too scared to be an artist – or there would be too much competition!”


Considerations When Drafting a Will


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Considerations When Drafting a Will

This isn’t an easy blog post. Considering what a parents death could mean to a young child is painful, and a subject most people would rather avoid. However it is important that parents make a plan so if a parent (or two) were to pass away the child’s physical and emotional needs are met. While there are many things to consider, I am going to list two that will directly impact your will and child’s emotional needs.

ONE: If there is a need to transfer primary responsibility to someone else, who will be the best caretaker for your child? Here are two things to consider when drafting a will and things to question about a possible caregiver:

1. Their age and current state of health. Sometimes an older individual who is healthy will be a great caregiver, but other people might not feel up to taking on the responsibility later in life. The same can be true for a younger person.

2. Their financial means. If you have concerns about their ability to meet your child’s financial needs then consider a change to your life insurance policy.

3. What kind of experience your family member/friend has with children. Maybe they are inexperienced, but have demonstrated the kindness and ability to play that your child will need to grow.

4. If they already have children and how this could impact your child. For some children moving into a household where they now have brothers or sisters may be too overwhelming, but for others it might be helpful.

TIP: Don’t worry about hurting your family members feelings by not picking them or going outside of the family to choose your child’s guardian. What is important is your child’s health. There are ways for family members to take an active role in a child’s life besides having the primary responsibilities.

TWO: Another thing to keep in mind is what steps you can you take now to help your child grieve. A child will need to be supported in their grieving process if they are to have relationships and trust people in their future. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Have a discussion about burial plans with your partner. Do you both want the same thing? Do want to be buried or cremated? Do you want to be buried where you currently live or somewhere else? Do you want your ashes saved or scattered?

2. Consider how your burial choice will affect your child’s need to connect to you after you pass. Traditionally people go to grave sites or memorials to remember their loved ones and to feel the connection they once knew. Your child will need this experience, especially when they are in the process of understanding you are gone and are saying goodbye.

3. If you decide to be buried in a location away from your child or to have your ashes scattered, make a plan so your child will have some place special they can go to remember you. Maybe a tree is planted in a certain area, or maybe there is an alter dedicated to you.

4. Speak to your partner or decided caregiver and write down the plan in your will to help ensure it is followed. When someone dies things can get chaotic, creating this structure now will help your child in the future.

TIP: When your child is old enough and starts asking questions about death, it is important to reassure your child that if anything should happen to you that there is a plan.


Patricia O’Laughlin interviewed by about.com on Teen Dating


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Patricia O'Laughlin interviewed by about.com on Teen Dating

In this about.com video, “Is my Teen Ready to Date”, I talking about teen dating and give three signs that mean your teen could be ready to date.  Click on the picture above to view at about.com.


Attunement


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Adolescence Risky Behaviors


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Setting Limits With Your Teenager


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Patricia O’Laughlin, licensed therapist and Art Therapist, providing EMDR and therapy to individuals, couples, teens, and adults. Silver Lake/Los Feliz, Los Angeles. therapy@patriciaolaughlin.com or (323)761-2221.