Asya Mourraille

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Initial Interventions Answer and Rationale

Posted by Asya Mourraille

December 7, 2017 at 6:13 PM

Yesterday we explored the topic of initial interventions, including a free MFT practice question! Did you get it right? Check out the answer and rationale below to find out!

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Question:

Karl, a 46-year-old retail store manager, comes to therapy at the suggestion of his best friend. During the initial assessment, Karl tells the therapist that he is happily married to his wife Nicole and they have two children together: Nina, 9 and Taylor, 16. The reason Karl is seeking help is due to his ongoing frustration with his son. “He never listens to me or my wife. All he wants to do is hang out with his friends, be on his phone, and stay locked up in his room,” Karl states. “At this point, we are ready to pull our hair out. Nothing we do works,” he adds while requesting new techniques to help deal with Taylor. What initial intervention should the therapist consider in this case?

A. Normalize Taylor’s behavior as part of a normal adolescent stage of development

B. Invite Karl’s wife and son to come to therapy since both of them are such a large part of his presenting complaint

C. Acknowledge Karl’s struggle and comment on how frustrating youngsters can be

D. Suggest that Karl come up with a short list of activities that his son enjoys and invite his son to participate in them

The best answer is C.

  • (A) sounds very tempting, doesn’t it? After all, there is a good amount of normalizing that we do as therapists and Taylor seems to be exhibiting normal adolescent behavior. It is a good answer indeed, yet picking it would mean that we miss our client’s feelings entirely. Our client is telling us how frustrated he is with his son. Telling him that his son is being a typical teenager might make our client feel a bit bad, which is not clinically sound.
  • (B) is also very tempting. It makes a lot of sense to invite his wife into the room with him, since it is the two of them that are having trouble dealing with their son. Inviting Taylor also makes sense, since the whole issue is about him. Wouldn’t we want to include him in treatment? Perhaps yes, but not quite yet. This is a step that might come in the middle phase of treatment, but it is not suited for an initial intervention, since again, we miss the client that is sitting right in front of us.
  • (C) is the answer that finally meets our client where he is. It is clear that he is very frustrated with his teenage son, and that is exactly where we are going to connect with him. Such connection will allow us to build rapport and to help the client feel understood and not judged. Bingo! That is a great place to start. It is out of that connection that the future interventions will flow.
  • (D) is putting the cart before the horse. Here we miss the client’s personal feelings and rush into making suggestions. You know how the security message on the airplanes encourages us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, and only then help those dependent on us? Connecting with Karl would be putting that oxygen mask on the father first. And that, in turn, will help him take better care of his family. Once Karl’s feelings are attended to, he and the therapist can come up with solutions together.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the topic and how you would approach an initial intervention question? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Or have you already passed the exam and need to complete your continuing education requirements? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need!

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

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Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, MFT Exam Prep

FREE Practice Question: Initial Interventions

Posted by Asya Mourraille

December 6, 2017 at 3:25 PM

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This week our free MFT practice question focuses on the topic of initial interventions. FYI: the exam looooves this topic. You are guaranteed to see a good number of questions asking you about the very next thing the therapist is going to do in the case presented. So what do you have to think of here?

Well, the first thing is of course going to be safety. If the client is dealing with any sort of medical or substance abuse or crisis issue, you are going to pick an answer that addresses that issue first. And what if there is no crisis described in the stem? Well, then you are going to have to put your clinical hat on and meet the client where they are. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? It actually can be tougher than you think. Let’s put this knowledge to use and take a look at this week’s free practice question.

Question:

Karl, a 46-year-old retail store manager, comes to therapy at the suggestion of his best friend. During the initial assessment, Karl tells the therapist that he is happily married to his wife Nicole and they have two children together: Nina, 9 and Taylor, 16. The reason Karl is seeking help is due to his ongoing frustration with his son. “He never listens to me or my wife. All he wants to do is hang out with his friends, be on his phone, and stay locked up in his room,” Karl states. “At this point, we are ready to pull our hair out. Nothing we do works,” he adds while requesting new techniques to help deal with Taylor. What initial intervention should the therapist consider in this case?

A. Normalize Taylor’s behavior as part of a normal adolescent stage of development

B. Invite Karl’s wife and son to come to therapy since both of them are such a large part of his presenting complaint

C. Acknowledge Karl’s struggle and comment on how frustrating youngsters can be

D. Suggest that Karl come up with a short list of activities that his son enjoys and invite his son to participate in them

So, what do you think? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

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Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, MFT Exam Prep

Loving Kindness Meditation

Posted by Asya Mourraille

October 20, 2017 at 8:06 AM

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Welcome to our Loving Kindness Meditation blog. My name is Asya Mourraille, LMFT 51838. Many of you would agree that our communities have been hurting quite a bit recently. Between the divisive politics our country has witnessed, destructive hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, deadly earthquakes in Mexico, unprecedented fires in California, and tragic mass shootings, our hearts have been rather heavy lately.

Of course, we need to pay attention to what is going on around us. Of course, we need to lend a helping hand where we can. We need to speak up against the injustices, act to prevent future destruction, and do what we can to help our communities heal. Yet, I feel it is also important to counterbalance all the anxiety, heaviness and anger with kindness. Otherwise, negativity multiplies and leads to more destruction.

Plus, we are in the healing profession. People come to us seeking tools in helping them find ways to restore their hearts, homes and communities. We are the greatest therapeutic tool we have and must take care of ourselves. The impact of the pain we have all been living through is, by and large, a dysregulated nervous system, and it is our job to help our clients calm down and regain clarity. And for that we ought to find our inner balance first. We should calibrate the tool that is our body and soul, so we are able to help other do the same.

Thus, with this blog I want to invite you to meditate on all the goodness that exists in this world, for there is plenty. The very fact that we are alive today speaks of love our mothers have given us. Their bodies have hosted us, nourished us, enveloped us with warmth and protection. They went through months of discomfort that culminated in childbirth, often while being supported by their partners, families and friends, all so that we can get the food, shelter and love that we need to survive.

In addition to our friends and family, we receive enormous love from people we have never even met. All of the people who build roads that keep us safe, work in hospitals that help us when we are ill, teach in schools that we attend to gain knowledge, grow the food we eat, and make the clothes we wear, they all give us their love and support. The list of ways in which we are all interconnected goes on and on forever. Simply think of generations of people who developed the language we use to so quickly and easily speak to and understand each other. All of those who contribute to our well-being in both direct and indirect ways deserve our gratitude and regard.

So please join me here as we sit to cultivate loving kindness towards all beings. We will first start by wishing happiness to ourselves. We will then move on to wishing well to our friends and family. Then to a neutral person. And then to someone we find hard to love. We will complete the meditation by extending our love to all living beings. To listen to the guided meditation, click HERE.

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Topics: Exam Prep, Self Care

Welcome to Meditation

Posted by Asya Mourraille

July 25, 2017 at 6:10 PM

Greetings. My name is Asya Mourraille, LMFT 51838 and I am absolutely thrilled to introduce our meditation blog series. Incorporating a consistent meditation practice has been a passion of mine for over 10 years now and I am incredibly excited to share it with all of you in this way.

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You may be asking yourself, “what does meditation have to do with test prep?” That is a wonderful question. When Amanda Rowan first set out to create this comprehensive test prep, anxiety reduction was one of the key components of her plan. She wanted to make sure that the program she built was clearly organized and easy to follow. She divided the program into 10 steps that flowed one after another and contained all the information one needed to know to pass the test. If you have taken her program, you know that she emphasizes regular exercise as part of test preparation. For many, that is a wonderful anxiety reduction tool. Yet even with exercise and a clear plan in mind, many of us still feel anxious as there is so much riding on these exams. This is where meditation can help. There have been a number of studies demonstrating that regular meditation practice can be a powerful coping mechanism that helps reduce stress and anxiety. So why not giving it a shot?

Moreover, bringing mindfulness and a quality of presence into the exam with you can actually help you pass the test. One of the key success strategies for any test, but particularly for the clinical exams, is to connect with the question stem. What is this client bringing to you? What are they struggling with? Often times the correct answer lies in addressing exactly what the client just said or did. In order to do so, you have to let go of the question stem of all the previous questions answered so far. And you cannot think of all the questions that await you. You simply need to drop in to what this one client is presenting in this one question. That is the exact skill meditation teaches us- to be here now. To let go of the past and not get lost in what is to come. Now can you see how relevant it is for you to practice these skills?

So please join me here as we take a few minutes to simply sit and breathe. I will include an audio of a guided meditation with each blog and you can come back and listen to it any time. The TDC team will introduce you to some of our favorite meditations and we will talk about the specifics of incorporating meditation into your daily living.

For now, have a seat, make yourself comfortable and let us begin with a simple calming practice.

 

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