Hilber Psychological Services
Therapy for Children, Teens, & Adults in San Diego
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Hilber Psychological Services

San Diego Therapists | Child Therapist | Couples Counseling | ADHD | Anxiety | Parenting | Behaviors | Relationships | Marriage and Family Therapists | Psychologists | Professional Clinical Counselors

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The Five Love Languages of Children, Part 8: Acts of Service

For the past few entries, I have been discussing the five love languages of children based on the book of the same name by authors Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. In previous entries, we have reviewed and discussed the first four love languages including physical touch (part 1 and part 2), words of affirmation (part 1 and part 2), quality time (part 1 and part 2), and gifts.Today, we will be discussing the last of the five love languages of children, Acts of Service.

An act of service is a parent’s ability to help a child with a specific task. This ranges from changing a baby’s diaper, to making a toddler’s bed, to helping an elementary-aged child fix his bike, to quizzing an adolescent on an upcoming test.

During acts of service, it is not a parent’s job to please a child, but rather to do what is best for the child. This may not satisfy the child in the moment, however, these skills will serve to help the child become a mature and independent adult.

Acts of service

For example, a child may want to eat ice cream after every meal. A parent can provide the child with this request, however, this may not be the best option for the child’s overall health. As such, giving the child ice cream every now and then may not be the child’s ultimate wish but it will help the child in his or her future.

Parents can view acts of service as a means to helping a child until that child is ready to learn the behavior on his or her own.

A father may show an act of service by cleaning his 2 year old daughter’s room - this is developmentally appropriate. However, if that father continues to clean his daughter’s room until she is 16 years old, he may be hindering his daughter’s ability to know how to clean and take care of her own individual needs. This may become a problem when she is ready to live on her own. As such, it would be more appropriate for the father to begin to teach his daughter how to clean her room and continue to help her until she is ready to clean her room on her own.

In this scenario, the father first models the behavior, then helps his daughter learn the behavior, and finally, allows the daughter to do the behavior on her own. That’s what this love language is all about - it is to help children emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others by helping one another.

Be sure to visit us again next week to learn tips and tricks to parent a child whose love language is acts of service.

As a parent, if you feel learning about the 5 love languages has been helpful, seeking individual therapy can be a great way to take these topics and learn about them in relation to you and your family. There are many different types of therapy outside of individual therapy, including couples therapy and family therapy, that can help you and your family create, maintain, and/or strengthen connections. For more information on therapy, visit FAQ at Hilber Psychological Services. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Have you been accused of being passive-aggressive? Have you told someone else that they're being passive-aggressive? We hear these terms quite frequently. Some of the time they are often right on the mark and other times this term just does not fit. What is Passive-Aggressive Behavior?

Passive-aggressive behavior is indirectly being aggressive to get what you want or don't want, while still appearing like you're easy-going and trying to please others. Using passive-aggressive statements is seen as a way to resist and still appear like you're complying. Passive-aggressive behavior can also be defined as a "deliberate and masked way to express covert feelings of anger" as stated by Whitson in Passive Aggressive Diaries. Many times people may want to appear likable, easy-going and happy, yet they are actually angry or resistant. These people may believe that they're not allowed to have or show their feeling.

What can I do instead? 

As the term states, this is a combination of two extremes: Passive behavior and aggressive behavior. Passive behavior and communication tends to be wishy-washy, indirect, and hints at the point we want to make. Aggressive behavior is typically attacking, mean, and hurting someone else to get what we want. Neither extreme helps you achieve what you want to accomplish.

Instead of passive-aggressive behavior, we can be assertive. Assertiveness is being firm but friendly and using our words to mean exactly what we want to say. To be assertive, you can state the exact message you want to get across without hiding your emotions or being hurtful. For example, instead of saying, "Fine, whatever. I don't want to finish this anyways." You could say, "Can we stay for 10 more minutes? I just want to finish this first." By using this assertive statement, the other person is unlikely to feel bad, hurt, or angry, and you get to finish your task. Being assertive still means you both "win" and you still get to have your feelings and be friendly.

You can also talk to a professional to help guide you through these behaviors and be more assertive. This can help you feel better about yourself and increase the connection in relationships.

To discuss this and other behaviors in detail, contact us at Hilber Psychological Services.

How do you start therapy? What is it like?
Deep breathing

Ever wondered how to start therapy? How does it work? What is it like behind the closed doors? What happens in the beginning? Every therapist is different in their personality, orientation and type of therapy, and style of conversation in therapy. To be brief, there are a few types or orientations to psychotherapy that include humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, behavioral, psychodynamic, and psychoanalytic. Some therapists focus on one type and others may integrate a few of these. Some therapists may ask more questions and others may allow space for clients to fill. Hilber Psychological Services therapists provide therapy mostly from a Cognitive-Behavioral therapy orientation or CBT. Since all personalities and office procedures are different, this will give you a good idea of what it's like to start your work together with us at Hilber Psychological Services.

Before the Appointment Before setting up an appointment at Hilber Psychological Services, there will be a short conversation via phone or email to verify important details. These details include whether there are custody issues and if both parents are supportive of treatment and your insurance carrier if you choose to use your insurance plan.

After you have discussed these details, an appointment is set up. If you consent to an email, you will receive a confirmation email with the office address, your appointment time, and the paperwork for you to fill out in the privacy of your own home. You may bring that paperwork with you to the first appointment.

First Appointment or "Intake" At the first session, there will be a brief review of the paperwork you signed. The rest of the session is then focused on getting to know you and your situation. This is the time to bring up your concerns and presenting issues you want help with, as well as any questions you may have for us. At the end of the first session you may make a follow up appointment if you felt like the appointment and therapist was a good fit with you.

Second Appointment For adults and teens, typically the second appointment is to get to know each other better, talk about any topics that you feel are important but haven't mentioned yet, and move forward to discuss the steps recommended and continue with your treatment.

For children, the second appointment is about meeting the child, getting to know each other, discussing emotions and "wild card" coping skills of deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Typically the last part of the session is saved for playing a game to build the relationship, reward the child for working so hard, and practice the skills they have just learned. Finally, during the last few minutes, the parent is brought into the room and given a brief overview of the topics discussed and skills introduced.

Now you are ready for the following appointments. These are more dependent on the situations and individuals, but you may find that you are comfortable in session.

For detailed questions, please contact us via Hilber Psychological Services or at drhilber@hilberpsychsandiego.com to set up an appointment. For more common questions about therapy, see FAQ at HPS.

How to minimize your "Shoulds"

Too many "shoulds" equals too much guilt. If you've been following Hilber Psychological Services, you already read the post about "Too Much Guilt" and you already know that "shoulds" are thinking mistakes or cognitive distortions and they move us further away from our happiness.  There's a place and time for guilt, but making our daily choices each day typically does not require excess guilt. We want to feel more empowered and "in control" of our decisions, feelings, actions, and our lives in general. So, you know that you need to limit your "Should" statements, but how do you actually decrease your "should" statements?

The first step is to be aware of statements that include "shoulds." The next step is to empower your decision making and take control of your choices. This is an easy activity you can do to minimize your use of "Should" statements.

Counseling

You make millions of choices everyday. These range from minute choices to larger, life-changing decisions. These include what time you're going to wake up, whether you get out of bed at the first alarm or snooze it, how long you shower, if you shower in the morning, what you eat for breakfast, and if you sit down at the table to eat. We haven't even left the house yet. This means that you also have millions of choices to practice being aware, and accepting each choice you make. You have also had experience with these choices so accepting these small choices will probably be easy for you to practice with.

Each time you make a decision, even a small choice such as what shirt you wear, you can state, "this is my choice, I accept this," or "I choose this decision," or even "this is mine to make, I accept it." Or any variation thereof. The important part is to tell yourself that the choice is yours (awareness) and to accept that it's yours to make.

Now I know you cannot possibly do this for each and every decision you make or you may not make it out of the house in time, but try to do it as many times as possible. You can say this in your head or out loud for others to hear.

By the end of the week, note how often you're able to make a decision without shoulds or guilt and how empowered you feel. Can you imagine how good it will feel if you choose and accept your bigger decisions?

For more information, contact us at Hilber Psychological Services.