Therapy Education

How To Build a Sensory Bin

sensory bin with colorful toys
Everyone gets stressed and overwhelmed. One way to regulate big feelings is to use sensory interventions to help calm your body and mind and process your thoughts. If you use sensory approaches to help control your emotions, you can make a sensory bin whenever you feel anxious. Keeping all of your favorite sensory toys in one spot makes it easier to deal with emotions when you're feeling overwhelmed. Here are four steps to get your sensory bin started: 1. Identify your primary sense Everyone has senses that are more sensitive than others. Think about which of your senses are most perceptive to [...]

Sensory Tools and Toys

sensory intervention items
Using sensory interventions can help regulate your body when you're in a stressful or overwhelming situation. By utilizing one of your senses, your mind and body can focus on a specific stimulus, which will ground you and calm your thoughts. Sensory tools and toys can help with this. How do sensory interventions work? The first step to successful sensory intervention is to assess which of your senses is most perceptive to stimulation. Once you choose between touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell, you can focus on that sense as a grounding exercise. Stimulate the primary sense you've chosen any [...]

Sensory Interventions

a large head with circles inside representing the five senses
Everyone gets stressed out. Kids and adults alike can have trouble regulating their emotions when they are in an overwhelming environment. This is called dysregulation, which happens when the body's threat response is triggered. Sensory interventions can help! Sensory Interventions When you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, your body goes into a threat response mode, where you feel like you can't control your emotions or process your thoughts. This is where sensory interventions come in. A sensory intervention is something you can use to distract yourself from a stressor. It could be [...]

Trauma-Sensitive Meditation

a graphic depicting a woman meditating on top of a ball of stress or trauma
Many people are affected by trauma at some point in their life. Symptoms of trauma can include anxiety, confusion, agitation, dissociation, and more. Luckily, there are treatments for issues caused by trauma. There are also many ways to alleviate symptoms. Yoga and trauma-sensitive meditation can help calm and ease anxieties that result from traumatic experiences. Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Trauma-sensitive yoga is a great way to help manage and decrease symptoms that arise from trauma. This type of yoga focuses on getting out of your body's stress response and entering into a relaxation response [...]

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga

person sitting on blue yoga mat in cross-legged position on wooden floor with plant and yoga blocks next to them
Just about everyone experiences trauma. Trauma can be anything that brings large amounts of distress emotionally and/or physically that can last long after the traumatic experience. Something that is traumatic to one person may not seem traumatic to another, so people might minimize their own traumatic experiences, but all trauma and all experiences are valid. No matter what kind of trauma someone has gone through, there are a variety of treatments and therapy models that can help. These might include EMDR or Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Trauma-sensitive yoga can be [...]

Plant Therapy

three plants sitting on a coffee table in front of a comfy couch with blankets and a pillow with cacti on it
What is plant therapy? Plant therapy, or horticulture therapy, is the inclusion of plants into counseling sessions to aid in mental and physical healing. Humans have an ancient connection to plants, and many studies have suggested that they have a calming effect on us. What are the benefits of plant therapy? There are too many benefits to count when using plants in therapy. Horticulture therapy can improve the functioning of many different kinds of people, including individuals with mental, physical, terminal, and social issues. Some specific benefits of plant therapy may include: Stress [...]

12 Fun Ways to Regulate Big Emotions

Playful regulation blog header image
Little bodies can be stressed with big emotions. Frustration, anger, and anxiety can bubble up quickly and be hard to rein in without the right tools. Learning how to regulate these feelings can be fun! Lots of regulation strategies for kids can actually look just like play. Children can experience a variety of mental health issues, including: Anxiety and Depression Attachment Disorder ADHD/ADD Autism Spectrum Disorders Early Childhood Mental Health Issues Behavior Issues Childhood Trauma Sensory Processing Disorders/Difficulties And More Many Village counselors are specially trained to [...]

Meet Dr. Spencer Reid

Dr. Spencer Reid the Dog with a Bowtie
Cuddling isn’t usually part of a counseling session, except when Dr. Spencer Reid is in the room. Dr. Spencer Reid is a four-legged mental health professional. The golden retriever assists Village Therapist and Clinical Supervisor Shauna Erickson-Abou Zahr with her Moorhead, Minnesota-area clients, most of whom are children, adolescents, and young adults. Shauna and Dr. Spencer Reid (named for the “Criminal Minds” character) became a family 6 years ago when he was a puppy. Shauna knew she wanted to implement animal-assisted therapy, and Dr. Spencer Reid was just the dog for that. She had grown [...]

Advice that Clients Say Changed Their Lives

Three person shapes sharing an advice bubble above their heads
Sometimes in life, we hear just the right piece of advice at just the right moment. In honor of Mental Health Month, celebrated every May, therapists, counselors, and mental health practitioners from The Village Family Service Center shared their favorite mental health tips, mantras, and bits of wisdom that clients have said helped them to change their thinking and move forward. Hopefully these ideas can help you find a different way to think about a situation or to cope better during a difficult time. Remember, with The Village, you don't have to go it alone. Mental Health Tips & Tricks Be [...]

Addressing Conflict through Communication

Five people communicating with each other, most of them shouting
While we are in many ways still bound to our primal instincts, we’ve evolved as human beings. In times of conflict, we can communicate our complex thoughts and emotions. I believe we owe it to our ancestors to address conflict by communicating. How to Address Conflict It starts with defining the problem. A common mistake is to identify a person as the conflict rather seeing the choices, behaviors, circumstances, or the interactions as the cause of conflict. It’s easy to blame others. Blame distracts from our behaviors and removes our responsibility to make changes. However, habitual deflection [...]