Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nighttime Ponderings

So, I can't sleep.  I was falling asleep when I was soaking in the candlelit bubble bath.  Once I got to bed, my mind came alive.  What is this unique individual's mind pondering at 10:24pm?  Psychoeducational Handouts.  You read that right (or perhaps stumbled a little).  What are psychoeducational handouts?

I am working on my Masters in Counseling.  I have two classes this semester with the same professor who asks us to create these (if we want to) for an "easy money" grade.  psychoeducational handouts are tools used by counselors to help clients think in a way that could be difficult and even harmful if done incorrectly and insensitively.  Last semester for my Ethics class I made a therapeutic metaphor to use with children.  This semester I have "Grief, Loss, & Trauma (GLT)" and "Child and Adolescent Development and Counseling (CADC)"  as the two classes I'm choosing to do this assignment for.  My late night brain decided that it wanted to be creative and come up with some BRILLIANT psychoeducational handouts.

For GLT I decided to do something that could help either a child or an adult deal with grief from the death of a loved one.  I haven't put mine together yet, but here is my idea.  I decided to focus on my grandfather.  First, I will introduce him to my class as I would if he were alive.  I would then relate my first memory of him and some of the little things that endeared him to me.  I haven't wracked my brain long enough to come up with my first memory, but I will share things like how he folded his cloth and how particular he was when he dusted the furniture, watching him make cinnamon rolls, visiting the ranch where he was known as "Wishbone Wally", the cook, helping him make tortillas in the kitchen with the avocado green refrigerator and matching stove.  I remember when his favorite radio station came on and he was trying to teach me how to dance, I was 12.  The conversation we had about faith when Mother Teresa died.  I will share the one regret I have, not saying I love you enough, or spending enough time with him during Christmas vacation of 1998.  I will share how Husband took me to his (and nana's) graves so he could "meet" them and thank them for their impact in my life.  I will share the time I went to his grave to sit in the grass and talk to him as if he were here to listen to me today and how a butterfly came and landed next to me at the exact moment I was wishing he were listening.  For the next step in this assignment I will share something that I plan to do every year to remember the impact he had on my life, an impact so great that almost 14 years later he is still number one on the top of my "Heroes" list.  I can't think of anything honorable enough as of yet, but it has to be more than observing a birthday.

As I lay in bed thinking about all this, I felt healing come to my heart, as I need every so often when thinking of the loss.  I realized that remembering all my positive memories and sharing them with others is one way that I have dealt with my grief over and over again.  Thinking of him made me think of other (less important) things that inspire me.  This led to the creation of my psychoeducational handout for CADC.

For this one, I am going to use my own "inspiration" version of Bronfenbrenner's bioecological systems theory chart.  Instead of listen regular things that go in each category I am going to focus only on things that inspire me.  In the macrosystem you'll find people like Gandhi, MLK Jr., Buddhism, Hinduism, philosophers, Jesus, etc.  In the exosystem I am going to list other things/people that inspire me, and so on, down to my individual self.  The thing that will make this unique, is that I am going to make it a collage.  It will have pictures of family and friends, I'll cut out things from magazines that inspire me, like nature, butterflies, books, music, and what-not.

When I was first going to bed my mind was overwhelmed with negativity.  I couldn't sleep, and allowed my mind to drift.  These exercises, thinking of all the positive things that make me focus on why I live, why I love life, and why I choose to do what I do, gave me peace.  If this budding counselor can find peace in things like this, maybe others can too.  Maybe you can use my ideas to help you find peace in the midst of loss and grief.  Maybe you need a reminder as to why life is beautiful.  Take a moment and think of the things that inspire you.  Think of all the beautiful memories of the one you lost and relish in those moments of happiness and lock them away in your heart, stuffing out negativity.  May all that is good and beautiful in this world suddenly hit you and give you new reason to be alive.  May you realize how amazing and beautiful you are.

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