Autism at Work ©

“It is estimated that up to 85% of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) do not hold full time employment (“Asperger’s on the Job” Rudy Simone). This is not because they can’t do the job; most exhibit above average intelligence. Simply put, the most common reason cited by employers and managers is that they struggle with being “socially acceptable” in the workplace.” (from: http://managing-aspergers-at-work.com/).

A high percentage of very bright people with Asperger’s are not succeeding at post high school life due to less structure and a lack of understanding of the complexities of social relationships. With high levels of critical thinking and executive functioning students/employees can be very productive. However, lacking certain social skills they can find themselves in situations they don’t comprehend and may be at risk for redeployment or job loss.

Though there are an increasing number of services for children with autism there are few supports for adults diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s. There is a paucity of supports for students/employees with Asperger’s and so I decided to offer my expertise in order to improve quality of life through counselling, consulting, and training.

In accordance with employment equity policies, specifically for people with disabilities, I would like to highlight my services for employees and management. Many people with Asperger’s are drawn to careers in the sciences, such as engineering, IT, drafting, and accounting, to name a few, because it correlates with their strengths and learning styles yet many have challenges in the workplace when they don’t understand the culture and ‘hidden social curriculum’.

By designing a specific plan of action and coaching, the employee can learn strategies for success, and colleagues and management can appreciate the strengths and skills the employee with Asperger’s brings to the workplace.

Increasing education about the syndrome and aiding staff in understanding the autism culture, I am able to raise awareness and provide strategies to support the needs of students/employees with Asperger’s. It is imperative to foster strategies for management to retain employees who can elevate a company in such areas as research, development, and innovation, and for post secondary institutions to provide appropriate services for students with autism.

 

For a personal conversation about your company’s needs, please e-mail:

contact@anewleafcounselling.com

or phone: 905-788-9891

 

Visit: http://www.anewleafcounselling.com

What is Cognitive Therapy?

Often clients are referred to my office to for Cognitive Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral (CBT).  Once they arrive at my office it is not uncommon for these clients to ask what CBT is. Having said that I thought it would be appropriate to write this blog to help educate clients.

Cognitive Therapy was pioneered by Dr Aaron T. Beck in the 1950’s and is the most widely used form of psychotherapy to date.  Cognitive Therapy can be used for a number of problems such as; depression, anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, eating disorders, stress, just to name a few.

What is Cognitive Therapy?  Well “cognitive” means the way we think or our thought process.  This includes our perception of how we view events in our lives and our historical experiences. It also includes our worldly knowledge, how we understand the world around us.

How is this model applied?  Typically the therapist and client would explore the client’s thoughts and beliefs attached to the mood, physical experiences, behaviors (hence the B in CBT), and historical experiences or events in our lives.  So what are the nuts and bolts of this concept? Cognitive therapy would suggest that our perception of a particular experience or event has a profound affect on our emotional, physiological and behavioral response to that event.  An example of this might be, you are waiting in the Doctor’s office.  Your appointment was at 10 a.m. but it is now 11 a.m.  Now you have a choice. If you believe that the Doctor is really busy this day and working hard to see patients you might grab a magazine read a few articles and wait until your name is called. However if you think the Doctor’s office overbooked and that this has put you out, you may complain, get agitated, angered, and fidgety and feel you mood changing.  Cognitive therapy helps clients challenge their way of thinking and subsequently changing their reaction to the thought or event thus improving mood.

Parenting Young Children

We learn our jobs as parents as we go along, unfortunately children are not born with manuals, each child is unique.  What works with one doesn’t always work with the next.  We as parents quickly realize that love isn’t all that is needed.  We need patience, endurance and creativity and sometimes these qualities are in short supply.Caring for small children is tiring!  Caring for older children is less physically draining but more worrisome because they spend more time outside the home.  Being a parent can put a strain on being a couple, with less time to connect and enjoy each other’s company.

Have a realistic attitude and remember that there are no perfect children and no perfect parents, everyone makes mistakes.  Expecting to have the perfect family can get in the way of enjoying the one you have been blessed with.  Accept your children for who they are and remember that children that are loved, encouraged and allowed to grow up at their own pace will develop good self-esteem and confidence.

Sometimes in parenting we can do all the “right” things and still get poor results, we need to step back and realize that we tried our best and it is alright.  To lower stress that can build in parenthood you should make time for yourself regularly to enjoy your own activities.  Don’t feel bad asking for help, talking about your worries is the best stress reducer.  Set aside time to spend with the children, time for you and your spouse and time for yourself alone.

Laugh together, be appreciative of each other and give compliments often.  Parents and children need to spend one on one time together, you could read a bedtime story, play a game or take a walk together.  Talk over family problems in a warm, relaxed atmosphere.  Focus on solutions instead of blame.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Enjoy your children, they don’t stay little for long.

Separation “Are we doing the right thing?”

When the decision to separate is finally made, each of you will be profoundly affected.  Studies show that both groups (the leaver and the left) undergo roughly the same amount of emotional turmoil.  The leaver experiences guilt and self-blame where as the left experiences hurt and anger.  The length of the relationship doesn’t seem to affect the depth of mourning.

The four major emotional stages of separation and divorce are: 1. Separation Shock  2. The Roller Coaster  3. Identity Work  4. The Re-centred self.  These stages are similar to the stages of grief experienced by widows and widowers.  Mourning the loss of a marriage is a lot like mourning a death.  Following a divorce there will be times when you fees very much alone. Remember that many people have felt the same way and survived.

The effects of divorce take four points of view 1. some only focus their attention on their ex’s         faults  2. some blame themselves entirely, even if they aren’t the leaver  3.  some try to put the whole thing out of their mind  4.  the more healthy reaction is to try to figure out what went wrong so you can part with as little conflict as possible.

Just like any grief the healing process takes time but it is possible to come out at the end whole and happy.

Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA)

Adult children of alcoholics often rely on the same coping skills that helped them survive through tough situations when they were younger.  As adults those skills can cause problems in their relationships.  ACOA’s may have addictions to substances or behaviours such as alcohol, drugs, eating, work or gambling themselves or they tend to find people that they can “save” such as alcoholics and substance abusers. They often criticize themselves and continuously seek approval of others and may lose some of their identity in the process.  ACOA’s often have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and have guilt feelings for standing up for themselves instead of giving in.  The Adult Child of an Alcoholic usually has a dependent personality that is afraid of abandonment and will do “anything” to keep a relationship, they are frightened by angry people and confrontation.  It is hard for them to trust others.  It is helpful for the ACOA to work on their addictive behaviours first and then they can begin to see their other problems more clearly.  They can learn to feel hope, trust and healthy love again.

Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink.  A mental compulsion is a thought processwhich you have no control over.The vast majority of problem drinkers are people with families and jobs.  They may be dependent drinkers, binge drinkers or people who just drink too much on a regular basis.

It is estimated that for every problem drinker there are 3 or 4 other people affected directly and many more indirectly.  Those problems affect the family, relationships, routines and damage the quality of individual life experiences and opportunities.

The cost of alcoholism is outrageous.  A recent study estimates that the annual economic costs of alcohol and other drug abuse in Canada may be as high as $24.6 billion.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease, it starts with the mental compulsion that is stopped by having a drink and soon one is not enough, then maybe four is not enough to stop the compulsion and it continues until the individual can only stop the compulsion by passing out.

The progression of the disease is so subtle and has  usually taken place over an extended period of time that even the alcoholic themselves have failed to notice when alcohol took over their lives.

For those that have realized that alcohol is a problem there is help but for those that haven’t realized sometimes intervention is the only way.

Gambling “Will I ever get out of the hole?”

As with other addictions, the first step is admitting there is a problem.When is it a problem?
Can you answer yes to any of these questions?

Have you gambled more often or higher stakes to win back your lost money?
Does gambling cause you to have sleep difficulties?
Have you ever lost time from work or school to gamble?
Lying, borrowing or criminal activity to finance gambling?
Spending long or increasing amounts of time in gambling venues?
Gambling to escape the daily pressures of life?
Has gambling ever caused your home life to be unhappy?
Have you ever gambled until you lost your last dollar?
Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
Constantly thinking about or preparing for gambling?
Neglecting family, nutrition, or general well-being?

For most people, gambling is simply a form of recreation, something fun to do occasionally but for others it can be a devastating and life-threatening addiction.

A very serious effect of problem gambling is what is called “the loss of hope”.  Compared to other addictive disorders, the rate of attempted suicide is highest among compulsive gamblers.

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