By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

If you or a loved one are affected by any mental health, addiction or eating disorder issue then I encourage you to use HALT as an easy-to-remember tool for staying healthy.
HALT is an acronym that stands for:

It’s wise to avoid getting too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired because when we do, any underlying issues (such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, eating disorder, etc.) can be negatively impacted.

HUNGRY–have you seen those Snickers commercials where Marcia of The Brady Bunch turns into Machete because she’s too hungry (hangry)? It is both funny and true!

While I’m not recommending a candy bar, I do recommend that you keep healthy snacks with you throughout the day such as almonds, protein bars, or fruit. When your blood sugar drops your brain stops working at an optimal level and that means a bad decision or bad mood could easily happen. Keep your mind and body fueled for peak performance!

ANGRY–I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “When angry count to ten before you speak, if very angry count to one hundred.” Great advice here! Give it a try when you get angry.

Four Square Breathing is another great tool to use when you feel angry. It can help you calm down and regain focus so you do not make any bad choices. Here is a link to easily learn how to do four square breathing.

LONELY–Human beings need healthy community, healthy companionship. There is a great body of research proving that isolation has numerous negative side effects even causing cancer.

There is a very wise quote which says, “Two are better than one…” (Ecc 4:9). This is so true!

If you find yourself isolating–reach out to a friend, family member, or neighbor. Or join a club, group or activity that connects you to others.

If you know of someone that is isolating, reach out to they. They may need you more than you know.

TIRED–Being tired is bad for our health and can lead us to make bad decisions. Have you ever said anything that you didn’t really mean because you were too tired? Or have you ever failed to have a peak performance because you were too tired?

Research clearly shows that we need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be at our best. I encourage you to have some discipline with this–turn off the TV and put down the phone or iPad early enough for you to get a good night’s rest. Don’t sleep with your phone right by your head–the light interferes with your sleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try the following:

  • Be sure to limit caffeine during the day–especially later in the day.
  • Try relaxation and visualization exercises to help induce sleep.
  • Use a sound machine or app to create a calm, soothing environment.

So give HALT a try. If you apply the concept on a daily basis you just might find yourself having a much healthier and happier life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

In my last blog post entitled “10 Facts About Opioids” I shared that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic and discussed important facts about opioids such as heroin, vicodin, etc.

This post will follow up on our look at opioids with a discussion of treatment options for opioid abuse and addiction.

Treating Opioid Overdose
Currently there are some very effective drugs for opioid overdose. If someone overdoses on opioids and is barely breathing and close to death, an opioid antagonist such as naloxone, can be administered. This can provide immediate relief because it blocks the opioids from binding to the receptors in the brain.

Thankfully, more and more first responders, as well as citizens, have been trained in the use of naloxone and this has led to saving many lives.

Treating Opioid Addiction 
The first step to treating opioid addiction is detoxification (detox). Detox is extremely challenging because opioid users experience such intense withdrawal symptoms when they quit taking the drug.

I have seen this first hand numerous times while helping addicts get clean. I even once had an individual do their entire detox in my home without medication as they had no other treatment options. It can get messy and ugly!

Users encounter severe withdrawal symptoms that mirror the opposite effects of the drug. Instead of feeling euphoric, the user is extremely depressed. Instead of pain relief, users experience many aches and pains. Instead of constipation, users have diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms.

It is common to treat opioid addiction by administering a slower, longer acting opioid, such as methadone instead. Methadone maintenance is the most common treatment for heroin addiction and it has had significant success. One study showed that 80 percent of people who stick with a methadone maintenance program for one year end up abstinent from heroin for one to three years afterwards. By contrast, only 12 percent of people who drop out of methadone maintenance stay abstinent that long.

Other opioids are also regularly used in the treatment of heroin addiction. In fact, heroin itself is used in the treatment of heroin addiction in a number of countries. The idea is to give users a lower, but stable, prescription dose of heroin without all the risks associated with obtaining and using heroin on the street. Not surprisingly, heroin addicts are more likely to stick with a heroin maintenance program compared with a methadone maintenance program, and perhaps as a result, they’re less likely to use illegal drugs.

Other opioid drugs are frequently used in treating opioid addiction. Of course, this is very controversial as this is simply substituting one addiction for another.

Another common approach to treatment is to remove any reward associated with relapse. This is done by having the patient take an opioid antagonist such as naltrexone which blocks the rewarding effects of the opioids. This treatment works well with individuals highly motivated to quit who continue taking the naltrexone, but a problem arises when an individual gets very strong cravings and stops using the naltrexone.

In addition to pharmacological treatments, it can be most helpful if opioid addicts also receive cognitive behavioral therapy where they are trained to recognize and avoid their triggers for drug use.

It is also very helpful for the addict to receive counseling and coaching to move forward with a healthier life, and to be in a healthy supportive community which may include 12 step groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Lifelines.

Finding freedom from opioid addiction is very difficult, but it can be done with effective treatment, as well as healthy community and support in the life of the addict. If you have a loved one struggling with an opioid addiction, do not give up on them. Do all you can to get them into treatment, perhaps even an intervention, as it just may save their life!

For more information or to take the first step in getting a loved one help call 949-303-8264 or email randy@carepossible.org.

Websites: www.carepossible.org and www.randymoraitis.com

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic. The most commonly abused opioids are:

  • Hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin)
  • Oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin)
  • Oxymorphone (e.g., Opana)
  • Methadone (especially when prescribed for pain)

Frequently, when an individual no longer has access to prescription opioids, they turn to heroin which is both affordable and easy to acquire.

Presented here, with the goal of increasing awareness, are some basic facts about opioids.

1. Opium is the latex secreted from the seedpod of an opium poppy. Raw opium contains about 10 percent morphine and about 2 percent codeine. These are the opiate drugs, which just means that they’re natural products of the opium poppy. A number of other drugs, including heroin, are not contained in opium itself but are made from natural opiates or have very similar effects. These are sometimes called opioids.

2. The opiate drug morphine is among the most effective painkillers available today. Codeine has similar effects but is weaker than morphine. It’s often used to treat minor pain and as a cough suppressant. Of course, opium and drugs derived from opium are also often used recreationally, because they can produce a dreamlike, euphoric state.

3. People have known about those effects for a very long time. In fact, there’s evidence that the Sumerians knew about the psychoactive properties of the opium poppy plant as early as 3400 B.C. The Ancient Egyptians used opium medicinally. In the 1700s and 1800s, a mixture of alcohol and opium called laudanum became very popular and was widely used as a pain reliever, as a sleep aid, and to treat a variety of ailments. In the mid-1800s opium trade became a big business and even led to two wars, known as the opium wars, between the British and the Chinese.

4. In 1804, a German pharmacist isolated a pure alkaloid from opium and gave it the name morphine, after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Morphine was more potent than opium or laudanum, and it became an invaluable tool to doctors in the treatment of pain. Morphine was administered to injured soldiers during the American Civil War.

5. In 1898, Bayer pharmaceutical company began selling a synthesized opioid that was one-and-a-half to two times more powerful than morphine, and it was marketed as a nonaddictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant—heroin. Bayer sold heroin for more than 10 years before its harmful effects were recognized and it was removed from the market. Heroin is now recognized to be among the most addictive drugs in the world.

6. Opioids are narcotic analgesics, which reduce pain without eliminating sensation. They’re distinguished from anesthetics, which reduce all sensation and often produce unconsciousness. Opioids also produce a dreamlike, euphoric state, which is what makes them attractive to recreational drug users, at least initially.

7. At higher doses, opioids produce a rush of euphoria. But the nauseating effects can become more severe, and some people also experience anxiety and restlessness. The most dangerous effect is a significant suppression of breathing. In fact, in an opioid overdose breathing can be suppressed enough to lead to death.

8. About 45 people in the United States die every day from overdosing on a prescription painkiller—that’s more than the number of overdose deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.

9. Similar to other drugs, opioids overstimulate the brain’s reward circuit and trigger a large release of dopamine. The brain interprets that dopamine as a reward prediction error, or an indication that taking the drug was better than expected. That reward prediction error in turn backs up to environmental cues that are associated with drug taking, so when the user encounters those cues in the future, he or she experiences a very strong craving to use the drug.

10. There are some very effective treatments for opioid overdose. If a drug user overdoses on opioids, is barely breathing, and is close to death, if someone administers an opioid antagonist drug, such as naloxone, the drug user will recover almost immediately, because the opioid will be blocked from binding to the opioid receptors.
If you have any prescription opioids in your home, be sure to keep them stored securely so any guests or visitors to your home will not be able to access them as these meds are frequently stolen.
In my next blog post we will look at treatment for opioid addiction. Special thanks to Professor Thad Polk of the University of Michigan for contributions to this blog.

If you or a loved one are affected by an opioid addiction, please contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264 to discuss options for healing.

You can visit my websites at www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Newsweek Magazine once said about coaches that “They’re part therapist, part consultant–and they sure know how to succeed in business”. While there is truth to this statement, many important differences do exist between coaching and therapy.

Here are the Top Ten Differences Between Life Coaching and Therapy:

1. Coaching is about achievement; therapy is about healing.

If you want to set and achieve goals to move you forward in life, then you need a coach. If you have past hurts that you have not yet processed through, then you need a therapist.

2. Coaching is about action; therapy is about understanding

I recently had a client say that she got more out of one coaching session than months spent with a therapist and a psychologist. This may be due to the fact that I assessed her current situation, then gave her specific action steps to move her towards healthier behaviors, and held her accountable to take the action steps.

3. Coaching is about transformation; therapy is about change.

A good coach seeks to guide the client through a transformation in one or more areas of life including career, relationships, emotional wellness, finances, addiction recovery, spiritual life, and physical health and wellness.

4. Coaching is about momentum; therapy is about safety.

Every coaching session should result in specific action steps to move the client closer towards their goals. A momentum is then developed that keeps the client progressing towards the results they seek.

5. Coaching is about intuition; therapy is about feelings.

A coach is more interested in your behavioral choices than your feelings. A good coach will sense how to inspire and motivate you to be the best version of you.

6. Coaching is about joy; therapy is about happiness.

Joy is internal and may derive from one’s beliefs and accomplishments. Happiness is external, future oriented, and can rely on outside situations, events, or people. Coaches often find that their clients have profound joy from their new way of thinking and the goals they have accomplished.

7. Coaching is about performance, therapy is about progress.

The coaching relationship is typically much shorter than the therapy relationship and during this time the coach seeks to motivate peak performance from the client.

Often the coach’s job is to guide their client to a win. For example, I recently coached the director of a large organization through the termination of a toxic employee. The client said hiring a coach was “the best money the organization ever spent”. The client was guided through performing a difficult task the best way possible. The client had a peak performance, and now the entire organization is performing better.

8. Coaching is about synchronicity; therapy is about timing.

In the initial coaching sessions an assessment is performed on various aspects of the client’s life to not only assess current satisfaction levels, but also look for patterns. Later coaching sessions may assess the client’s values, past experiences, and talents or gifting to determine whether there is a common thread or possible synchronicity.

9. Coaching is about attraction; therapy is about protection.

Coaching leads clients into new ways of thinking and behaving that result in the achievement of goals and success.

Some individuals are not quite ready for coaching. They may need to seek treatment from a therapist to build a strong and healthy foundation where they can protect themselves emotionally before working with a coach.

10. Coaching is about creating; therapy is about resolving.

Coaching is about creating a new and exciting future through setting and achieving goals. I often tell clients, “your dream job doesn’t exist–you have to create it!” Coaching looks to the future, often through the coach asking the client a series of thought provoking questions.

Therapy is about resolving–trauma, conflict, past hurts, etc. Therapy is excellent for resolving issues from one’s past.

Hopefully this sheds some light on some of the differences between Life Coaching and Therapy. Both are great tools to help individuals, families, and organizations be healthier, happier lives and more successful.

For more information on coaching, or a referral to a great therapist, please email randy@randymoraitis.com. You can also visit my websites www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

What’s your superpower? No, really, what is it? Your first thought may be that you don’t have one–that real people don’t have superpowers!

But I encourage you to give the idea of a superpower a little more thought.

My theory is that many of us have superpowers without even realizing it.

But probably not the kind of superpower you think. I’m not talking about the ability to fly, super human strength, or x-ray vision. Although having those powers would be fun!

I am talking about superpowers that can enable us to accomplish impressive feats that, on first glance, may not seem like a superpower at all.

You see, there is great power in overcoming adversity. And there are many examples of folks who have overcome adversity and used that experience as a superpower to achieve success.

For example, did you know that Richard Branson, the billionaire founder and chairman of The Virgin Group, credits dyslexia for his success. Branson says he used dyslexia to his advantage and learned to delegate tasks to others so he could focus on the big picture.

Brandon’s not alone. Tom Cruise, Jay Leno, and Cher, just to name a few others, also had dyslexia. These superstars have all overcome their learning disability and have been empowered by the experience.

Another example of someone tapping into their superpower is renowned psychiatrist Paul Meier, MD. Dr. Meier was diagnosed with ADHD. But he never let that stop him from achieving his goals. On the contrary, Dr. Meier actually credits much of his success to his ADHD as he claims to have leveraged the ADHD to increase his accomplishments–which are many (co-founder of clinics, author of numerous books, multiple masters degrees in addition to his medical degree).

How about you? What have you overcome?

  • Addiction
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Learning Disability

If you have overcome any of the above, then I truly believe that you have a superpower! Perhaps your have the superpower of compassion, or focus, or patience, or tenacity.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to have a superpower. In my roles working with those impacted by mental health and addiction issues I encounter folks with amazing superpowers everyday. True everyday heroes!

I encourage you–take a moment right now to look inside and tap into your superpower–your inner-superhero. Then consider how you may use it for your success, and like a true superhero–for helping others.

About Randy Moraitis: I am a pastor, counselor, lifecoach, interventionist and consultant living in Orange County. I am also the president of the nonprofit foundation CarePossible which provides mental health and addiction care to low income and military families. My wife Kim and I have a blended family of five and have the superpowers to prove it! Contact me at randy@carepossible.org. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

We use our phones and hand held devices for so many things! So why not mental health and wellness? Here are 5 great apps that offer help for a variety of afflictions and issues. Check them out, give them a try, and please share so we can all spread good mental health together!

1. Stop, Breathe & Think–This is a great, free app that has a 5 star rating and is a Webby Award Winner. I love this app and use it myself for relaxation and meditation. I also have many of my counseling and coaching clients use this app with great success.

The app is a simple tool to guide one through a variety of basic mindfulness meditations. Users can also check in with how they’re feeling and even notify their counselor or friend once a meditation has been completed.

 

2. Balanced–This is another free, 5 star rated app. Balanced helps users stay focused and motivated on their priorities. This app allows users to set a variety of goals each week, and helps one feel rewarded, in control, and focused on what to do next for success.

I personally use this app to remind me of weekly goals such as watching a TED Talk, meditating, and being thankful.

 

3. Mindshift–This app is specifically designed for those struggling with anxiety. Although not as highly rated as the above apps, my experience is that counselors love what this app does for their clients as a tool for managing and working through anxiety. The app includes a section on situations that trigger anxiety and how to have healing, as well as some great “chill out” tools and Twitter-worthy inspirational quotes.

 

4. PTSD Coach–This is a great app that was developed by the Department of Veteran Affairs National Center for PTSD. Although originally intended for use by vets with PTSD, a quick read through the reviews shows that many civilians have been helped by this app as well.

I am passionate about serving our military, treating PTSD, and preventing military suicide, so naturally I am a big fan of this app and hope readers of this blog will share so all our military families learn about PTSD Coach.

 

5. Optimism–This is a 4 star rated app that helps users with self-tracking as a tool for coping with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD. The app allows users to create a custom wellness plan and is particularly useful when the user is working with a mental health professional.

Give these apps a try if you could use some support and coaching right at your fingertips. And if you know of a great app that you recommend, please share in the comments section.

And please help spread good mental health by sharing this blog post. Thank you!

Feel free to email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or call me at 949-303-8264 for more info about this topic or my counseling, coaching or intervention services. Find me on the web at www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)
Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

It’s so hard to be your best when you’re stressed! Hard to focus, hard to see the big picture, and really hard to be productive. Productivity isn’t just about time management and work–it’s also about having fun, time with family and time to pursue your dreams.

Here are 5 Easy Tips To Be Happier and More Productive that I often share with my clients.

1. The “Top 3 Priorities” Rule: Throw out to-do lists that are miles long! They will just create anxiety and leave you feeling like a failure when you fail to cross everything off the list. Instead, make a list everyday of your Top 3 Priorities–the 3 most important things for you to accomplish that day. The 3 things that move you closer to your work or life goals. Then make sure you do those three things!

Side note–it’s also wise to have a list of your Top 3 Priorities for life in general!

2. Be 10 Minutes Early for All Meetings: Make it a habit to plan on arriving 10 minutes early for all of your meetings or appointments. If you encounter a delay, you will still be on time. If you arrive early use the extra time wisely–pray, meditate, send a note to a friend or loved one, or even write your Top 3 Priorities for the next day!

3. Delegate: One of my favorite sayings is “Only do what only you can do!“. Find one task at home or work that you can delegate to someone else. You don’t have to do everything yourself! Sometimes when we fail to delegate, we rob others of the opportunity to serve, grow or learn.

4. Take a 5 Minute Fun Break When Feeling Stressed: If you find yourself on the verge of getting stressed out, then take 5 minutes to do something fun like play with your pet, watch a funny video on Youtube (only 5 minutes! Be careful–Youtube is where time goes to die!), go for a walk, or do some deep breathing. The point is that your mind-shift will get you back on track and give you a productivity boost.

5. Manage Your Transitions: When you have short gaps of time between meetings and tasks avoid distractions that have no payoff. Instead of wasting time on social media, keep a list of 15 minute or less “filler tasks” (like online banking, returning emails, etc.) and get something done instead!

Challenge: pick one of the above and implement it tomorrow!

You do not have to do all 5 tips right away, but doing at least some of the tips will lead to increased happiness and productivity. You may also find that it’s easier for you to leave your work at work and enjoy more of your home life!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Email me at randy@randymoraitis.com to share your thoughts or for info on counseling or coaching. Find me on the web at www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)
Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Do you have a family member in recovery from addiction? Maybe drugs, maybe alcohol, maybe both? If so, then you know all about the pain, the stress, and the fears that are part of your family culture.

I also know all about the pain, stress and fears–you see I write this post not only as a counselor who deals with families affected by addiction on a daily basis, but also as a person whose family has been impacted by addiction for several generations.

There are a lot of metaphors used to describe what it’s like to have a family member who is an addict:
it’s like living in the eye of a storm.
it’s like always having to walk on eggshells.

While the sayings give a glimpse into what it’s like to have an addict in the family, they really don’t express the depth of the pain and anguish that family members–parents, children, siblings–go through when their loved one is afflicted by addiction.

Here are 5 tips to help families to move in the direction of healing.

But first, a very important question: Are you a family with someone in recovery, or are you a family in recovery? 

Families who see themselves as simply having someone in recovery are much less likely to have healing than families who see themselves as a family in recovery.

Addiction is a family disease. It’s not just the problem of the addict, it’s the whole family’s problem! The best possible scenario is when the whole family works on getting healthier. Be a family in recovery!

5 Tips for Families in Recovery

These tips are designed to give families a big picture outlook on what to expect on the recovery journey and how to best move the family from unhealthy to healthy.

1. Be Aware–the members of the addicts family will still have about the same level of stress and anxiety during the first 4-12 months of their loved one’s sobriety. They may still be dealing with financial or legal fallout from when the addict was using. Or they may be expecting a relapse and dreading every phone call.

2. Be Awarethings might actually get worse during the first 4-12 months of the loved one’s sobriety. They may discover serious health issues or have to serve jail time. Family members may be frustrated with huge bills from treatment.

3. Be Aware–intense family or marriage therapy is counterproductive during the first 4-12 months. Instead focus on getting the family structure back in place, work on individual issues, and work on parenting and family operations.

4. Be Aware–during the first 4-12 months abandonment may be added to the family experience. Either the addict feels abandoned by the family, or the family feels abandoned by the addict. An addict working a healthy recovery program will often go to many meetings and start hanging out with a new crowd. This may make their family feel abandoned at first. It’s OK. Let go and focus on your personal growth and healing.

5. Be wise–I highly recommend all family members get connected with appropriate groups such as Al-Anon, CoDa, Lifelines, AA, NA or other support group. This will help bring healing to all the individual members of the family and help prevent the family from falling back into old, unhealthy patterns.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Comment below or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Visit my website www.randymoraitis.com for info on counseling or coaching, and our nonprofit foundation CarePossible at www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)

Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Are you in a role where you care for others? If so, you may experience burn out, compassion fatigue, or even vicarious trauma (if you haven’t already!). I believe that if you are a caregiver, then you must have a self-care plan in place to prevent or repair burn out, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma!

The goal of this blog post is to raise awareness of the need for self-care, and to encourage everyone, especially caregivers, to have an effective self-care plan in place.

Caregivers are so important to society and take many forms:

  • Counselors/Therapists/Psychologists
  • Physicians/Nurses
  • First Responders–police, fire, paramedics, EMT’s
  • Social Workers
  • Pastors/Ministry Workers

If you are in one of the above roles, then a good self-care plan is vital to your long term health, your future success, and your personal relationships.
Compassion Fatigue is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is a common occurrence in most of the roles listed above. Compassion fatigue is also known as secondary traumatic stress. Ask yourself if you may have some compassion fatigue.

Vicarious Trauma is defined as “a transformation in the helper’s inner sense of identity and existence that results from utilizing controlled empathy when listening to clients’ trauma-content narratives. In other words, Vicarious Trauma is what happens to your neurological (or cognitive), physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health when you listen to traumatic stories day after day or respond to traumatic situations while having to control your reaction.” (Vicarious Trauma Institute http://www.vicarioustrauma.com/). Ask yourself if you may have experienced vicarious trauma.

Start Self-Care Now!

One of the most important aspects of an effective self-care plan is consistency. Below are suggestions for self-care. Whichever options you choose–be consistent and put these activities on your calendar to ensure they happen!

Self-Care Activities:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Prayer
  • Exercise/Fitness Activities
  • Martial Arts
  • Counseling
  • Support Groups
  • Church
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Nutrition

I recommend choosing at least two to three items from the above list. As someone who has been a caregiver for many years and has heard and experienced many traumatic experiences, I have done all of the above, over time, to help me stay healthy.

Additionally, caregivers must have a healthy support network of several friends, and/or mentors, that can be counted on for conversation and support when needed.

Finally, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all the caregivers out there! You are loved, appreciated, and worthy of good care!

I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on this topic. You can comment below or contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264. Visit my website www.randymoraitis.com for info on counseling or coaching, and our nonprofit foundation at www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy, he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families and individuals affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

teen showing dad her homework

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

As the father of a blended family of five kids ranging in age from 16-32 I know first hand how challenging it can be to connect with your teen. You want to be close to them, but how do you do it without attitude, rejection or rebuff?

They’re busy–you’re busy. Another day goes by and you didn’t really connect. What’s the solution? How can a parent be intentional about connecting with their teen in a meaningful way?

I suggest you give this a try the next time you and your teen are home and they are in their room working on homework (or whatever they do in there!). Take your newspaper, or iPad or whatever you were going to read in your home office or family room.

Instead of sitting there alone, disconnected from your teen, take your reading material with you and go knock on your teen’s door.

When they answer, ask if you can come in. Then come in, have a seat and start reading your iPad or whatever you brought. Just hang out. When your teen asks what you want, say “nothing, I just wanted to be around you”.

And be sincere–don’t have an ulterior motive to find out who she’s dating or some such info. Be real. Be present. Just hang out. After awhile some great conversations may come out of it. And even if they don’t–hey, at least you got to spend some time hanging out with your teen!

If your teen happens to tell you to get lost–that they don’t want you in their room. Don’t make a big deal about it–but do try again the next day, and the next. Your teen is worth the effort.

I would love to hear your teen parenting tips. You can comment below or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Visit my website www.randymoraitis.com for more info on counseling or coaching, and our nonprofit foundation at www.carepossible.org.