Caring for ALL people... regardless of their ability to pay.
Be Afraid, be very, very afraid!  
It's that time of year again to be afraid!  I'm not talking about the election cycle, I'm talking about Halloween!  Be afraid! Boo!   
According Panksepp's research, fear is a raw emotional state that is present at birth and shaped by our lived experiences.  Our perception of the present moment and how we think about the future is dependent on past experiences that have shaped our biological system.  Repeated experiences of fear can imprint on the brain as states of mind, thus becoming phobias.  Think of it this way:  fear is the body's alarm system for danger.  Take a fire for example.  Fire is good: it warms us, cooks our food, and gives us light.  But, we know instinctively when we get to close there is some inherent danger to fire.  If we touch it, it burns and we can get seriously hurt.  Also, it can grow quickly out of control and even cause death and destruction.  So, in the future we keep a safe distance.  If you have a child who is constantly reminded that fire is dangerous, they can develop and unhealthy fear of fire.  Now, take that same child and expose them to a house fire or a wildfire where everyone was safe, but it was dangerous nonetheless.   The past, coupled with the present experience shapes their anticipation of the future.  They may be susceptible to panic attacks when they hear about a fire, smell smoke, or see fires on TV.  Fear of fire has become a "characteristic trait" or phobia and impacting their day to day life.
Again, it's Halloween season, so it's the time of year to "dose" our fear with all the decorations, and spooky stories.  Dosing our experiences allow us to gain mastery over our fear of __________ (insert whatever you are afraid of here) in a way that gives us confidence and helps us develop a new view of the future.  In EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy it is called "dual awareness". Dual awareness is the ability for a client to re-experience a negative event while staying grounded in the present moment.  Once again, I'll take Halloween as an example.  A child might say to themselves, "I remember how scared I was last Halloween when I saw ___________ (insert scary decoration here).  This year I know I am safe because my parents and friends are here to protect me."  Because of the dual awareness processing, next year the child might even think that same decoration is silly.  Now, they have reshaped how they will think about Halloween in the future.  Parents can help their children master fear by providing appropriate scaffolding.  Keep a watchful eye on distress signals from your child.  When things appear too scary and stressful, connect with them to provide comfort and a compassionate response.  Name calling, minimizing, or neglecting to connect to your child during these critical moment can add reaffirm their negative state of mind.  
If you would like to know what good scaffolding looks like in the Bible, the Lord tells Isaiah "...Do not fear, for I am always with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your god.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10.  

Tracy Kristoff, MA, MFT, RPT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

STRONGER; 5K Update

Thank you to everyone that participated in our Virtual 5K, STRONGER;

We had 50 participants and $1,000 was raised to go toward our Crisis Care Fund and General Fund

Several of our therapists wrote blogs about suicide awareness and the importance of physical exercise. Our STRONGER; Blog is still available to read on our website.  


T-shirts are available for purchase for $10.  E-mail Laura - laura@lcsfl.com - if you are interested in purchasing one. 
What are you thankful for?

We are thankful for you and the work you do!

In our main office, we are collecting cards with things people are grateful for and we would like to include you, too!

E-mail laura@lcsfl.com with things that you are thankful for.  We will be using these during Thanksgiving for our #GivingTuesday campaign.

Thank you for your partnership in ministry!
Lutheran Counseling Services is a not for profit 501c3.  Our service to our community is possible because of the donations of our donors and partners.  Thank you!

If you are interested in supporting LCS, please click here.
LCS in the Community

- Rick Armstrong and Megan Miessler were at the FL-GA Educators Conference September 28-30. They were available for "conversation and consultation".  Each of them also led two workshops there. 
- Scott Gress led two workshops at the FL-GA Educators Conference as well and was available for leadership coaching.  
- Rick Armstrong and Megan Miessler went to Baton Rouge, LA to work with staff, parents and students at Trinity Lutheran Church and School who were affected by the recent flooding there. 

Lutheran Counseling Services | (407) 644-4692 |  office@lcsfl.com | lcsfl.com
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