Episode 03 – Interview with Stephanie Dalfonzo

Episode 03:

On this episode of Pride Connections, Melissa DaSilva sits down to talk with special guest Stephanie Dalfonzo! For over 20 years, Stephanie has been at the forefront of the Healing Arts from being a Yoga Teacher, a Hypnotist and being a life coach.

Throughout the episode you learn more about Stephanie, and she offers up her knowledge about how to naturally handle stress, she teaches Melissa a Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) called Tapping, and she talks about being the mother of two LGBTQ children.

This is definitely an inspiring episode you won’t want to miss!

Where to Find Stephanie Dalfonzo:

Website 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Awesome Resources to Check Out:

What is Tapping?

A Month of Self Love from Stephanie Dalfonzo

Sign up for Pride Connections Resources!

Stay connected with Pride Connections:

Website

Email: melissa@prideconnections.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on GooglePlay

Subscribe on Stitcher

RSS Podcast Feed

Podcast Launch Party June 25th 2017

Pride Connections will be holding a Launch Party at The Village in Providence RI.  This is in celebration of the new LGBTQ podcast that will be working to connect and inspire others.   We will be having raffles to raise money for Project Fearless and celebrating with cake and friends.  If you are in the Providence area and would like to join us, please come by 373 Richmond St, Providence RI 02903.

Episode 02 – From Melissa DaSilva

Episode 02:


Host of Pride ConnectionsWelcome to the second introductory episode of the Pride Connections podcast! On this episode of Pride Connections, hear from host Melissa DaSilva herself as she talks about the wonderful journey that Pride Connections is about to take, and you are invited along for the ride!

 

 

Awesome Resources to Check Out:

Sign up for Pride Connections Resources!

Stay connected with Pride Connections:

Website
Email: melissa@prideconnections.com
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on GooglePlay
Subscribe on Stitcher
RSS Podcast Feed

Episode 01 – The Introduction

Episode 01:


Host of Pride ConnectionsWelcome to the introductory episode of the Pride Connections podcast! On this very first episode of Pride Connections, hear from host Melissa DaSilva talking about her background as a therapist working with members of the LGBTQQI community, how the community inspires her, and what Pride Connections is all about!

 

 

Awesome Resources to Check Out:

 

Sign up for Pride Connections Resources!

Stay connected with Pride Connections:

Website
Email: melissa@prideconnections.com
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on GooglePlay
Subscribe on Stitcher
RSS Podcast Feed

General Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety, What’s the Difference?

We all get anxious at some point in our lives, but many deal with symptoms of anxiety on a daily basis. There is a difference between being an anxious person and just getting anxious around others. There are ways to address these issues and make particular situations more tolerable. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is when people become anxious about any issue, large or small. Some examples include fears of the health and well-being of self or others, life transitions, projects for work or school. People who struggle with social anxiety tend to become anxious when having to interact with others individually or in a group. This can include giving speeches to a room full of people or a romantic date with someone new. Both disorders can create psychological and physical stress. Someone with GAD can also have social anxiety. Individuals with either one of these disorders or both tend to have avoidance behavior; catastrophic thinking, increased heart rate, and shallow breathing when faced with an anxiety-provoking events or thoughts.

Breathe

People can use several different tools when preparing for social situations if they tend to get anxious. One of the most important tools is to learn how to breathe properly. When your breath is shallow, your mind and body go into survival mode and prepare to freeze, run or fight. Slowing down the breath and breathing with the diaphragm and not in the upper chest triggers your mind to slow down, which tells the heart to slow. Once the heart slows down, the nausea, shaking, and sweating will decrease as well. So learning how to breathe before the event is vital.

Scripts

Another tool that is useful is to create some scripted topics that you can go to when you need to interact with someone, one on one or in a group. One of the easiest topics to engage someone in talking about is themselves. Ask them what they think about the event you are at. You can ask them what they do for hobbies or work. You can ask them how they ended up at this event. Ask follow up questions so that the person knows that you are listening to them.

Dry Run

If the social event is being held at a place you have never been to, going there beforehand can be helpful. Practicing speeches with others before a public speaking engagement can help you to feel more at ease with discussing the topic. Doing these dry runs can make people feel more in control since they know what to expect.

Shift the focus

One of the ways I was able to overcome my social anxiety was by getting my dog certified as a therapy dog. This allowed him to go any place with me without any questions being asked. I found that taking the attention off me and putting it on my dog in social settings, made me feel at ease. It also gave me a great topic to talk to others about when they would come over to pet him.
Have a mantra. This is a phase you develop before the event for you to use if you become anxious during the social interaction. One of my favorites is, “you got this.” This needs to be practiced before the event so that it becomes very natural and easy to fall back on when you become anxious.

Sleep

Lastly, get a good night sleep before the social event. The more sleep-deprived you are, the more difficult it can be to think clearly and be able to roll with the punches.

Coping with anxiety in the moment

There are ways to cope with social anxiety at the moment if the anxiety is feeling like it’s taking over. The first thing to do is step away and take some good breaths. Focus on the mantra you created beforehand. Remember, you will not die from this event despite what your body is telling you. Nobody has ever really died from embarrassment.

It’s not about you

Remind yourself that not everyone thinks about you as much as you do. It may sound mean, but when you think about it, it’s true. Nobody else reruns what you said, how you said it, what you wore, how you looked or what you did more than yourself. Give yourself a break and remember that what you see as huge issues will not even be seen by most. Why? Because they are thinking about themselves.

Fake it until you make it.

You may feel like you are going to vomit, pee in your pants, and pass out all at once, but you need to keep a smile on your face. Don’t let others see that you want to crawl in a hole. That throws them off and makes you feel uncomfortable. If you pretend to be enjoying yourself, your brain will be tricked into believing the same. Soon enough, you will find that you can keep all your fluids to yourself.

Find that awkward buddy

Find that other awkward person in the room and become best buds with them. You know you can spot your social awkward soul mate, you are kindred spirits. Rescue them while rescuing yourself. Ask them about themselves and let them know that you feel odd in these types of settings. Odds are, they will agree with you.

Activities to Practice

Some activities that may help people with social anxiety could include a regular meditation practice and daily exercise. Both of these activities are suitable for most cures in life. Everyone should do them even if they don’t have anxiety. It just makes you a better person to be around. There are other ways to deal with social anxiety. Trying activities that you are interested in as a hobby, but go to them with a buddy first. After a few sessions, try going solo.

Small talk

Try to practice making small talk with people you don’t know on a regular basis. This can be done with a cashier while checking out in a store, with your barber or hairdresser and co-workers. You can smile and say good morning to people you pass on the streets. Go to a park with your dog or child. This will give you access to new people and a topic that every person at the park wants to discuss, their dog or child.

Go Alone

Practice going out to the movies or eating alone. This will feel scary and uncomfortable at first, but it gives you the opportunity to work through the fear and anxiety without others knowing. You remind yourself that nobody is looking at you in a theater, and if you bring a book to read while eating alone, people see you as confident and comfortable being with yourself. My favorite mantra for this would be, “who cares what they think of me. I will probably never see them again.”

Generally, anxiety and Social anxiety can be difficult to live with. Some find that the symptoms are more difficult to deal with at different times in their lives. Anxiety is manageable. Try to implement some of these tips and release yourself from the chains of anxiety.

How to Choose the right Therapist

It is important to feel a connect to your therapist. You should feel that you need to see a person just because they happen to have a time slot open for you or because they happen to take your insurance. Therapy is an intimate process. You share some of your deepest feeling and experiences with this person. Not all therapist are the right fit for everyone. It’s ok to let them know that you don’t think you’re the right fit. We won’t be hurt. We want the process to benefit you, not be something you dread going to each week. Here are some tips for finding the best therapist for you.

1. Do some self reflections

Take a moment with yourself and ask what would I like help with? Do you find that your are sad a lot or unmotivated? You may need some help with depression. Or are you finding that being a new parent not as joyful as you assumed it would be? You may need some help with postpartum issues. What you need help with there is someone out there that can help you with it.

2. Do some research.

An easy way to find a therapist is to look it up online. Search for therapist in your area specializing in all topics, religions and cultures. If the therapist has a website with these topics, they will probably come up. Many times they will have information about themselves and how they do therapy. Another goo resource is psychology today. This site will filter out the therapist that specialize in your needs. Many times a Psychology Today ad will be the first website to come up in a Google search. Psychology Today will also provide you with a background on the therapists, their specialty and what insurance they take, if they take any.

3. Not all therapist are the same.

We all have different letters after our names to identify what are credentials are.

LICSW: Licensed Independent Social Worker. It indicates that the therapist has at least 2 years post graduate work under their belt, and have passed the appropriate state testing for their license. Most health insurance with reimburse for LICSWs.
LMFT: A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is a mental health practitioner educated and trained to help with relationship difficulties. LMFTs provide psycho-therapeutic services to individuals, couples, families and groups wherein interpersonal relationships are examined for the purpose of achieving more adequate, satisfying, and productive marriage and family adjustments.
Psychologist: Psychologists have a doctoral degree in an area of psychology, the study of the mind and human behavior. They’re not medical doctors. A psychologist can have a PhD in philosophy or a PsyD in clinical or counseling psychology. Typically, they do 1-2 years of internship. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are also trained in giving psychological tests (like IQ tests or personality tests).
Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MDs) who graduate from medical school, have a year of medical internship, and have 3 years of residency in the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists have a stronger sense of biology and neurochemistry, and use this knowledge when treating mental health concerns. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication.
Life Coach: Life coaches partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. There are no requirements or degrees needed to be considered a life coach. Some can choose to go through specific training to be certified through an accredited agency.

4. Not all therapists take insurance

Depending on the state the therapist works in, depends n if they are legally required to take insurance. Psst… here is a secret, Not all Insurance companies pay therapists the same amount. Some make it very difficult for the therapist to get paid at all. You may see your therapist for a 45-50 minute session a week, but your therapist can easily be spending 1 hour on the phone a week trying to get answers for why they aren’t getting reimbursed for the session they spent with you. Therapist enjoy working for their clients, not sitting on hold to get a simple answer from the insurance company.

To avoid this and to be able to provide better services to clients, some therapist have turned to taking out-of-network benefits. This allows the therapist to get paid what they are worth and allow them to just focus on you, their clients. Another secret is, Insurance companies are much more helpful to their members than their providers (therapists). If you call them, you are less likely to spend 50% less time on hold than a provider.

Everyone could use a therapist at one time or another in their life. A un-biases person that is your sounding board and champion. To listen to your fears and dreams without judgement. It’s important to find the right one that deserves to listen to your story. Next time you are in the market for a therapist, follow these tips, and enjoy the therapeutic process.

8 Tips for Parents whose Children are coming out as LGBTQ

When children come out to parents as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) they can feel overwhelmed by feelings and questions. They may feel alone or at fault for the things your child is telling you. Sometimes concerns about what others will think about you or your family. It’s amazing that all these thoughts and feelings will come all at once and in an instant. It can be difficult to be fully present for your child when these are consuming your mind.

Here are 7 tips that can be helpful:

1. Take a Breath

This may sound like a silly tip, but it can be one of the most important tips. Taking slow and deep breaths through the nose sends signals to the brain that you are not in danger and that you can be calm for this moment. Breathing deep will ground you and your thoughts and allows you to be present for a conversation with your child.

2. Listen

When your child finally feels comfortable with coming out to you as LGBTQ, it is something they have probably rehearsed over and over in their minds for possibly years. Listen to what they are saying. Give them the space to speak and share what they know may be upsetting to you. Be present and truly listen to the words that are coming out, don’t be rehearsing your response to their coming out in your mind while they are sharing. While listening you may be able to hear their pain, fear, sadness, anxiety and even happiness. Just listening can be one of the most important things you can do for you child at this time.

3. Love

You may be having your own feelings of pain, fear, sadness, anger and sadness at this time. This is very natural and expected. The moment that your child is coming out is not the time to express these. The one feeling that you need to express to your child is your unconditional love. You need to remind them that you love them no matter how they identify or who they love.

4. Ask questions

It’s ok to ask questions, they just need to be respectful questions. It’s natural to have so many questions for your child because some of this may be very new to you. Be prepared to have many of your questions answered with “I don’t Know”. Even though your child identifies as LGBTQ, it doesn’t mean that they will know all the answers to your questions. Being LGBTQ isn’t a black and white issue. One important question you may want to ask would be,

“What can I do to help you in your coming out process?”

This lets your child know that you support them and that you want this process to continue to be about them.

5. Educate Yourself

There are questions that your child may not be able to answer for you or questions that you may not feel ready to ask yet. Terminology, etiquette, and scientific information are always changing. A term that you may have used to reference a transgender 15 years ago may be offensive now. It’s good to be on top this type of information. Some great websites, blogs, books and seminars are available to help you stay educated on these topics. Educating yourself is another way to show your child that you support them and their identity.

6.You didn’t Make a Mistake

Identifying as LGBTQ doesn’t have anything to do with something you did or didn’t do to your child. It’s not because of the way your child was raised or something that could have happened during the pregnancy. It’s also not a choice, so it not occurring out of spite or attention seeking. Being LGBT is something that needs to be accepted as another part of human nature.

7. It’s not about You

When your child comes out to you, one of your initial reactions may be “What will our friends and family think about me having a LGBTQ child?” or “What will our church think about this?” As a parent, your job has always been to be supportive of your child. They should not be just an extension of your reputation. Your religious beliefs and morals may conflict with the actions of accepting a LGBTQ child. The fact may be that you may have to choose between having a child that you love to stay in your life or your religious beliefs. Hopefully, this isn’t a difficult choose for you.

8. Don’t Isolate

After learning about your child’s identity, it can be confusing and you can feel alone. Especially if you are one of the first people that your child has come out to and has requested that you don’t tell others until your child is ready. The good thing is that you are not alone. There are support groups and therapists that can be extremely helpful. They are everywhere, finding your local PFLAG chapter can help you locate support groups. Meeting with a therapist will give you the opportunity to express all your thoughts and feelings without judgment. You can say things to your therapist that should be said to most other people in your life, and it’s ok. When looking for a therapist, inquire about being LGBT friendly. This way you know where they stand and they can be helpful.

You are not alone in this journey as a parent as a newly coming out child. There is so much support and information available now for parents than there has ever been. Your hope and dreams for your child may now change, and there may be a feeling or grief about this. It’s ok. If you find that you are interested in a LGBTQ friendly Therapist, East Coast Mental Wellness can help you. We have a lot of experience working with families and individuals of the LGBT Community. Give us a call to set up an appointment.