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The Sanctuary Counseling Blog:

A Resource for Seekers

Welcome to the Sanctuary Counseling blog. We hope that you will find the topics discussed here helpful in your own personal journey of self discovery and growth. Please subscribe to receive email notifications when new articles post, and click here to share your feedback and article ideas. Check back often, as we update frequently. Our blog most often focuses on the following topics:
  • Anxiety
  • Body image
  • Depression
  • Gender identity
  • Grief and loss
  • LGBTQ living
  • Parenting
  • Phobias
  • Relationships
  • Self nurturing

Can You Actually Connect With Your Kids Through Video Games?

Sooooo your teens are probably playing a lot of video games. Do you feel like you don’t understand the appeal? Is your kid obsessed with some games and you don’t know how to connect? Kids find and share meaning through play, and those languages remain important even as we get older. I play a lot of video games myself, and I often times find myself playing interpreter for parents as a therapist to translate. Here are the kinds of language I notice that are used by kids to explain how they play.

Start with the outsides of things. If there’s obvious characters that your kid interacts with, ask them about why they like that character. If they start talking about their personality, how they behave, and how they relate to other characters, your kid connects with a style of “projective play”. They really love getting into stories and pretending to be a character. These games can include elements of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. Your child might spend a lot of time thinking about people.

If your kid talks about the mechanics of the game more than the character (“They jump higher! They do more damage! They have the most powerful move in the game!!”), then your kid might also like the style of “competitive play”. This is usually a game that has a very obvious way to win or lose and usually very clear boundaries within the game. War shooters, sports games, and fighting games tend to have their own spectator audience online, so you might find your teen spending time looking up strategies and watching matches not unlike more traditional sports. Ask them if there are other people who play the game really well that they know about. Your child might really connect with a “coach” mentality in this sense, and might get stuck when switching between competitive mode and people mode.

If your kid talks about the environment (“Check out this cool castle I built!” “Here’s my house where I keep my one million pet monsters!” “My friends and I built this fortress!”), then your child might enjoy the style of “expressive play”. Your child wants you to explore what they’ve made to learn more about them or their friends group. Absolutely let them be your tour guide to their world. Ask them how they would live or move in that space (or who/what would live there).

These styles can pair well together and are not single note flavors. There’s no truly wrong way to play a game, but above all else I encourage every parent to talk to their children about what their kids are looking for in their play experience. Take note of HOW your child talks about how they feel before and after they finish a game.

What kinds of conversations do you hear happening? I’d love to hear them!

The Psychological Effects of Falling Back This Weekend

It’s here! This weekend ends Daylight Saving Time (DST), and we “fall back” to standard time this Sunday, November 6th, at 2 a.m. So that means you’ll have an extra hour of sleep or an extra hour of whatever fun-filled adventure you have planned (of course only if you’re in an area that observes DST, some places don’t).

Now I know it’s nice that we all “gain an hour” in the fall, but DST can have negative effects on us. So what does DST this time of year do to you and me?

It takes most of us about a week to adjust to the DST change. The body tracks day-to-day behavioral and physiological events with light-dark cycles. This is known to as the circadian clock. The Monday after the time change, your circadian clock gets off track so it needs to reset itself, which takes days.

Sleep patterns are also thrown off track with the time change. Quality sleep and enough sleep are both important for mental and physical health. Troubled sleep is linked to depression, memory and learning deficiencies, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and it weakens the body’s ability to fight infections.

As fall moves into winter, do you ever feel like the extra darkness and colder weather is affecting your mood? You’re probably nodding your head – I know it effects me. Getting enough sunlight is very important and this time change takes an hour of daylight from the afternoon, so that’s less time we can spend outside running, playing, exercising… whatever you like to do.

The “sunshine vitamin” (vitamin D) can protect against many things, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Not only that, sunlight helps with depression.

Psychologically, shorter days with less sunshine combined with winter can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a condition that typically starts later in the fall and continues through the winter with symptoms of unhappiness, low energy, loss of interest in work, reduced sex drive, and weight gain so make sure you:

* Eat healthy
* Drink enough water
* Avoid, or at least cut back on, drinks with caffeine
* Increase your exposure to bright light
* Increase your physical activity during the day
* Increase Vitamin D intake: The two best ways to get the Vitamin D are to get adequate sun exposure (15 to 30 minutes per day) & take vitamin D supplements

That’s probably more information than you really wanted to know about Daylight Saving Time. Anyway, there you have it. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep this Sunday night!


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