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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Been a while...

The summer had me moving states and changing jobs so I haven't blogged at all. Most of the books I've been reading have no counseling basis though This is Where I Leave You touched on every malady of the human existence.  What has everyone been reading?  Any recommendations?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Helping Children Deal with Alcoholic Parents

This is a tough one. For older people there is Al-Anon, but what is there for the little ones? As counselors and educators, we have to be there for our kids. Often times we are the only support or "parent" they have. This book is heartbreaking but such a good teacher. The characters are little bears and their dad drinks too much. This book addresses what alcoholism is in kid friendly terms. It talks about how families are affected by it. It includes signs of alcoholism and talks about mood swings, blackouts, embarrassing behavior, different roles that family members play, statistics and shares how little kids can get help. To answer my earlier question, there is Alateen and Al-A-Tot for kids under 12.

Helping Kids Overcome Prejudice and Discrimination

Oh, this book would have helped me so much earlier this year! If only I looked at my bookshelves more closely! I read so much that I forget what resources I have sometimes. Does that ever happen to you? This book goes over the definitions of issues, opinions, prejudice and discrimination. It talks about the different types of prejudice: physical, mental, sexual, age, racial, national, religious, political, social and economic. Joy Berry puts a name to every type of prejudice with great definitions and illustrations. What a great book to easily teach and break things down into concepts kids can understand!

Helping Kids Deal with Grief

There are many books out there about grief but rarely does one describe it in such elementary and user friendly terms for the kids.  This book is an excellent resource for all counselors who are helping children deal with the death of a pet, parent, grandparent, etc.  There are reproducible activity pages scattered throughout the book but the verbage is what is most impressive.  Here is an excerpt:
"The body of the snowman melts back into the water from which he came just as the leaves turn back into the dirt from which the tree grew.  When we die, our bodies also slowly crumble and become
part of the soil from which new plants grow...This doesn't hurt even a little bit because the person no longer lives in the body."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Testing, testing and more testing!

It's that time of year where state testing is going on and on.  The teachers are tired and the kids are tired.  Everyone is ready for the year to be finished.  But before I fully go into summer break mode, let me tell you about how I prepare my students for tests.  I use the wonderful book, I Didn't Know I Could Be the Child Left Behind This book doesn't just prepare kids for tests; it also prepares the for study skills and teaches them behaviors needed to succeed in the classroom. It teaches about good work habits, listening skills, organization, etc. through stories, songs and fun activities. I highly recommend it for your counseling library. I use it with grades 3-5.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Science Fiction or a Metaphor for Depression?

I recently finished The Wall . This novel was written in the 1960s by a German author, Marlen Haushofer. Said to be her greatest work, this book explores the isolation one woman faces when she is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world by a wall. Her struggles to survive are documented well. This book is beautifully written. Reading it, I myself felt claustrophobic. I could empathize with the narrator, who is never named. I worried with her and loved with her. I wonder if the author did not name her purposefully so that the reader could picture themselves as that character. Also a stunning portrayal of feminism, this book paints a picture of the strength of the female spirit. All this being said, the book has been described by some as a metaphor for depression. Is it just some supernatural occurrence or is it psychological? The reader wonders why this happened, why the narrator doesn't try harder to escape her circumstances, why she accepts things as they are, etc. Several times she ponders whether or not to commit suicide. Her situation is oppressive, hopeless and she is cut off from the outside world. I think the author captured the lonely and daily despair that is depression. She made strong generalizations about society, also characteristic of someone with these feelings. Some of the most interesting quotes are below with my thoughts on each.

Have you experienced depression? What do you think about the quotes? Please share your thoughts in the comments. If you want to learn more about depression or are seeking help about it, please consider reading these books: The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy , Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Depression may seem endless, but it can be temporary. Read your way to wellness and seek out additional help if you need it!


"Sometimes, long before the wall existed, I wished I was dead, so that I could finally cast off my burden. I always kept quiet a bout this heavy load; a man wouldn't have understood, and the women felt exactly the same way as I did. And so we preferred to chat about clothes, friends and the theatre and laugh, keeping our secret, consuming worry in our eyes. Each of us knew about it, and that's why we never discussed it. That was the price we paid for our ability to love."

My thoughts- How profoundly observant of human nature. Is this true? Has everyone felt this way?

"I was very sorry for them, not because they were dead, but because they had all found so little joy in life."

My thoughts- That's a pretty ambitious and omniscient statement, lacking any evidence.

"I often look forward to a time when there won't be anything left to grow attached to. I'm tired of everything being taken away from me."

My thoughts- Personal and social responsibilities to others are tough, filled with a combination of both love and resentment.

"Loving and looking after another creature is a very troublesome business, and much harder than killing and destruction. It takes twenty years to bring up a child, and ten seconds to kill it."

My thoughts- So very true and sad this is.