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Epic Wellness Clinic

We provide psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families

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Emotional Support Animal Letter

Therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. Such pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs) or comfort animals. In order to have your animal qualify as an emotional support animal you must receive a letter from a licensed mental health professional prescribing the need for the emotional support animal. Unlike a service animal an emotional support animal is not a service working animal but a pet that has been prescribed by a licensed mental health counselor or medical doctor. The pet is prescribed to bring comfort and help minimize the patient’s emotional/psychological disability. ESAs provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias; however, they do not have the special training required to perform tasks to assist people with disabilities. Although some states have laws that define emotional support animals, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws that protect the use of service animals. If you have an emotional disorder, you can legally qualify for an ESA. To do so, you must be certified as having a psychological disorder by a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, or other duly licensed or certified mental-health professional. This certification should be in the form of a formal, appropriately prescription letter, which should include the date and the mental health professional’s letterhead, including his or her license type, date of license, license number, and the state that issued the license. Some airline personnel and property managers of apartments require this letter in order to bring your ESA with you. What Disorders Qualify You To Be an ESA Owner? To help you to determine if you qualify to own an ESA, here is a list of some of the disorders stipulated in the previously mentioned DSM-5: • Anxiety disorders • Fear/Phobias • Panic Disorder • Stress • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder • Depression • Attention deficit disorder (ADD) • Bipolar disorder • Substance-related disorders (e.g., alcohol and drugs) • Cognitive disorders Animals can qualify as ESAs as long as they do not cause disturbances or undue hardship to the establishments. Although they are not service animals, ESAs do have certain rights in terms of housing and air travel. The Fair Housing Act includes ESAs in its definition of assistance animals. Under the act, people cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Therefore, rules such as no pets, species bans, pet-size limitations, and payments of pet deposits do not apply to people who own ESAs. The Air Carrier Access Act allows service animals and ESAs to accompany their handlers in the cabins of aircrafts. However, an airline might require documentation stating that the person has a disability and the reason that the animal must travel with him or her. If you intend to travel with an ESA, contact the airline ahead of time to ensure that you provide the appropriate paperwork. Service animals only include dogs, but ESAs include any common domestic animal, for example, dogs, cats, and ferrets. To qualify, the animal must be reasonably well behaved by typical pet standards, such as being toilet trained, and cannot be a nuisance or danger to others. ESAs perform a critical role in the lives of people with disabilities. It is important to realize that attempting to take advantage of the ESA category so that your dog, for example, can fly with you or live in no-pet housing is an abuse of the system and makes it harder for people with legitimate needs. On the other hand, if you have an emotional disturbance that limits you in at least one area of your life—and you believe that a dog or other pet would provide you with mental-health benefits, see a licensed mental-health professional about obtaining a prescription for an ESA. Here at Epic Wellness Clinic in Miami Beach, Florida, our therapists can evaluate and write an Emotional Service Animal Letter for you. Please call to find out more about this process. There’s a lot of mixed information and scams out there. Unfortunately, there are people who claim to register your pet as a support animal but you’re left with the hassle, stress, and embarrassment of a false letter. Some websites make you dig up proof of a disability or doctors notes. Others provide a fake cheap un-refundable letter that can’t be used because it’s not professionally-approved or from an official organization. They’ll also try to tell you that you need stuff you don’t, like badges and starter kit. So don’t be fooled… We make it easy to complete the process legitimately.

How does CBD oil work for Anxiety:

Early research shows promising signs that a product made from cannabis known as cannabidiol (CBD) oil may help relieve anxiety. CBD is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in marijuana and hemp plants.

CBD oil is thought to work with a brain receptor called CB1. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond.

The exact way CBD affects CB1 is not fully understood. However, it’s thought that it alters serotonin signals. Serotonin is one of your body’s chemicals and plays a role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are common in depression. Not having enough serotonin can also cause anxiety in some people.

Several studies point to the potential benefits of CBD for anxiety. For generalized anxiety, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animal studies. Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioral signs of anxiety. Their physiological symptoms of anxiety, like increased heart rate, also improved.

Studies have also shown some benefits for other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD may also help treat anxiety-induced insomnia.

CBD is generally considered safe. However, some people who take CBD may experience side effects, including:

  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • sleeping difficulties
  • mood changes
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • fatigue

You shouldn’t stop taking any medications you’re already using without talking to your doctor first. Using CBD oil may help your anxiety, but you could also experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking your prescription medications. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • irritability
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • fogginess

If you are experiencing anxiety or depression you should seek professional help. Here at Epic Wellness Clinic in Miami Beach, Fl we have therapists and medical professionals who can help.

How to Improve Communication with Your Partner

Open and honest communication is important for a healthy relationship but “We do not communicate well,” is a common complaint among couples that attend counseling.

All couples DO communicate to an extent, of course, but the challenge is how to communicate effectively and without harming the relationship over the long term. It is possible to speak without feeling we have really been ‘heard’ or ‘acknowledged’, meaning that couples can often feel that their partner does not actually listen to them properly.

So, how do we improve communication for a happier and healthier relationship?

One of the most important changes to make is to improve our listening skills.

Deep, positive relationships can only be developed by listening to each other (Weger, Castle, & Emmett, 2010). So, if there is no communication in your relationship, you both need to ask whether you are truly listening to what your partner is saying. Have you already made up your mind before considering their opinion? Or are you just waiting for your turn to speak?

Here are the most common listening mistakes:

  • Daydreaming or thinking of something else (even something as simple as your list of groceries) while another person is speaking
  • Thinking of what to say next before your partner has finished
  • Judging what the other person is saying
  • Listening with a specific goal/outcome already in mind

Active listening is so much more than not talking. It is an art that requires a genuine interest in the other person. In other words, you always need to be curious about your partner in order to understand them, even if their perspective does not always match your own.

Active listening requires:

  • Nonverbal involvement (show them you are paying attention)
  • Be aware of your body language, not just your own thoughts
  • Not being judgmental
  • Tolerating silence
  • Being Mindful and Present with the other person.

The following exercise can help to revive communication in a relationship: Person A gets ten minutes to talk about their day, while Person B is listening actively and with a genuine interest. Person B is allowed to ask clarifying questions but should not interrupt Person A. If there is a silence, that’s fine. Relax.

After Person A’s ten minutes are up (all of the allotted time needs to be used) then Person B gets to talk for ten minutes as well, with the same listening rules then applying to Person A. You will find that ten minutes is a very long time to listen, but you will also be amazed at how much you learn about each other. Carrying out this exercise adds value to the quality of your relationship and your communication.

Most couples wait too long before they ask for the help they desperately need. Our couples therapists in Miami Beach, Florida specialize in helping couples navigate communication challenges and create a fulfilling, passionate relationship. Call us today!

Tips for Reducing Insomnia without Medication

If you have insomnia, healthy sleep habits help. These guidelines are recommended for everyone, but they are especially important for people who can’t fall asleep or stay asleep on a regular basis otherwise known as, insomnia.

  1. Create a sleep schedule. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm (otherwise known as your body’s internal clock). This can be hard if you’re tired and want to sleep in on the weekends, but for many people it helps to set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day.  Eventually, you might even be able to wake up without your alarm!
  2. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. A power nap may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short powernaps may help. If you must nap, no longer than 20 minutes or you may disrupt your sleep cycle making it difficult to fall asleep in the evening.
  3. Exercise, but not close to bedtime. Exercising can help regulate your body and make you sleep better, but working out too close to bedtime can energize you and make it harder to settle into sleep.
  4. Fix your bedroom. Make sure you have a clean, comfortable, quiet, and dark sleep space. Use a sound machine or a fan to block noise from inside or outside the house, and install darkening blinds for streetlights and morning light. Only use your bed for sleeping. This will help program your brain to associate your bed with feelings of sleepiness.
  5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol and cigarettes can disrupt sleep, and eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort that can make it hard to sleep. Also, caffeine stays in your system for longer than you might think!
  6. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or meditating. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of blue light emitted from the screens of these devices is causes alertness. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed. There is a night-time setting on some phones which switches the phone from blue to red light which is easier on the eyes and does not disrupt brain signals.

Following these tips is a good first step. If you have questions or if you adjust your sleep habits and still have insomnia, talk to a professional. In many cases, another form of treatment is necessary for someone with insomnia to get a full night sleep.

Sometimes people with insomnia might be experiencing a combination of other issues. Anxiety, depression, and stress are common causes of insomnia. If you think you might be struggling with any of these issues it is recommended you speak with a psychologist or therapist. Epic Wellness Clinic in Miami Beach, FL has licensed psychologists and therapists who are trained in these areas and happy to help.

 

A Guide to Finding a Good Therapist

While there are a lot of therapists offering psychotherapy, finding someone you like may require some effort, especially if it is your first time being in therapy. The most important and first issue you should consider is finding out if the therapist is licensed. Each state has their own licensure requirements for therapists, psychologists, psychotherapists, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and social workers to protect patients/ clients. It is your right to ask your therapist about his/her qualifications and it is essential for you to know that you will be receiving a treatment from someone who is qualified to provide in your state.

Before you start therapy, review your reason for seeking therapy. Some people may not be able to identify this concretely and they may make general statements such as  ”I want to be happy” or “I want to get rid of this anxiety/depression”.

Struggling to identify your specific needs and goals can make finding a therapist overwhelming or burdensome.  You can always ask your therapist to help you identify the problem and determine your goals. The aim of the first session should be to set goals for both the therapist and the client. If you do not determine your goals, it becomes difficult to decide if the therapy is working or not.

For example, if your goal is to improve your social relationships, you may specify it as  “Be involved in social gatherings more often, meet at least 1 friend during this week”. These small goals are the ones that create change and a good therapist only encourages his/her client to make small changes in the beginning.

Adherence to ethical rules is essential, but being ethical does not automatically make one a good psychologist, psychotherapist, marriage and family therapist, or a mental health counselor/professional. Also, not every good therapist is good for everyone.

As we always say at Epic Wellness Clinic, the best therapist in the world is the one you can connect to the most. the therapeutic relationship is the key to the best outcome. It is very important for you as the client to evaluate your therapy session and your psychotherapist according to your personal experience, goals, and needs.

At the end of your 1st session, here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to decide if you found the right therapist:

  1. Was my therapist supportive and attentive?
  2. Was she/he able to understand my problem and helped me define my goals?
  3. Was I comfortable and open with my therapist?
  4. Did I feel understood by my therapist?
  5. Was my session effective/useful?

At our Miami Beach clinic, all therapists are licensed by the department of health in the state of Florida. If you are unsure of your goals or needs or if you do not know what you want to change, therapists at Epic Wellness Clinic are here to help.Taking the first step and starting therapy is not only the bravest thing but also one of the healthiest choices you can ever make to deal with your emotional problems. As Epic team we wish you the best of luck finding “the therapist” for yourself.

The Real Cost of Divorce to a Child

There is nothing more difficult than being separated from the one you love. If a child has been separated from someone they love by divorce, it is natural for them to miss that person, to question why they’ve been separated, or to feel hurt and angry.  How do you, as a parent, navigate this emotional terrain, not only for yourself, but for your child?

Some helpful tips:

    • Children need to know what is happening and how they will be affected by your separation. This includes specific details about how much time they will be spending with each person they love.
    • Children should never be asked who they want to live with, or to take sides in one parent’s anger toward the other. This presents a loyalty dilemma that will only confuse and upset them.
    • Children need to hear age-appropriate reasons for your divorce. They do not need to hear about your anger or your blame.
    • Children will be hurt and angry after a divorce, so be patient with them. Dealing with separation is usually a much newer idea for them than it is for you.
    • Children will question. Be prepared for various forms of questioning. Sometimes simply acknowledging your child’s sadness, anger, frustration, and other emotions may go a long way toward helping them accept the many changes in their lives. Acknowledging their feelings without passing judgement or making light of it (“I see you are upset,” instead of “Don’t be upset, silly.”) or (“I know this is hard for you,” instead of “You’ll get over it.”) will help a child accept change.
    • Children need to be able to love and admire both parents. When one parent is constantly put down by the other, regardless of how valid the criticism may be, the child—who is part of the criticized parent—feels put down as well.
    • Children need to feel empowered to make some decisions. After all, they believe that they did not have an input in this decision, but their lives are affected the most by your divorce.

Navigating the emotional terrain of divorce is difficult, but not impossible. There is help out there for you and for your children.

Epic Wellness Clinic in Miami Beach has licensed psychotherapists and counselors with extensive experience working with families. Remember both of you are, and always will be, their parents, so this journey will still have to be taken together.

6 Tips for Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a technique that helps you gain control over your eating habits.  It has been shown to help with weight loss, reduce binge eating and help you feel better.

Mindful eating consists of being aware of your mind and body while eating. Eating slowly is one of the best ways to start mindful eating. Many people tend eat quickly and serve themselves more because they still feel hungry.

Eating slowly gives your brain ample time to process that you are full. Research shows it takes 20 minutes for your brain to process fullness.  Additionally, eating slowly allows you to be more satisfied when you finish eating because you acknowledged and enjoyed each bite.

Tips on how to slow down:

  1. Change something in your eating environment: Changing aspects of your eating environment (such as using a cloth napkin instead of a paper one) will serve as a reminder to eat slowly. Every time you remember the reasons why you have a cloth napkin rather than a paper one, it will remind you to eat slowly.
  1. Set a timer to beep every one to three minutes: The beep will remind you to put down your utensils and wait 10 to 30 seconds before picking them up again.
  1. Pay attention to your body: When you eat, be mindful of how you feel when you’re beginning to feel full and be conscious of that feeling when eating so you know when to stop, even if there is still food left. Distractions are big obstacles when tackling mindful eating because it is very easy to get distracted while eating, especially when eating alone. Eating with distractions can greatly diminish your satisfaction after you finish your food.
  1. Eat in a relaxed atmosphere: The lower your stress, easier it is to pay attention to the food you’re eating. Every person is different but what works for most people is eating in a quiet and calm environment.
  1. Focus intently on your food: Truly appreciate and relish in the food you’re eating. Be mindful of the textures and flavors of the food you’re eating.
  1. Train yourself to eat without distractions: Avoid putting yourself in situations that can serve as a distraction. For example, refrain from reading, watching TV, or being on your phone when eating so you can be mindful of the food only.

If slowing down your eating is a challenge for you, try reminding yourself to put down your utensils several times during the meal as well as waiting 10 to 30 seconds before continuing.

Take it step by step and if you feel that you’re eating too quickly or mindlessly, try and catch yourself so you can get better for the next meal!

Working with a therapist and formulating a plan for change can be extremely helpful in succeeding with mindfulness practices.

If you think that you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder (including binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, etc), don’t hesitate to get help. Eating disorders can lead to serious issues. It is always advised to seek the advice of a professional for potential medical and mental health disorders.

For more information, advice, and resources on mindful eating, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia contact, and compulsive eating, contact Epic Wellness Clinic to be connected with a licensed therapist who is ready to help. Epic Wellness Clinic is located in Miami Beach however they also provide online and phone counseling.  A good therapist can help you become stronger and more self-aware. So call today!

(786) 376-0773