Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What is an LPC?

LPC stands for Licensed Professional Counselor. An LPC has a Master's degree in Psychology, Counseling, or the Social Services, etc. In order to practice counseling in the state of Arizona, a license is required by the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. In order to obtain a license, one must complete the their degree, pass an exam, and complete years of supervised clinical hours. An LPC is not a doctor and does not prescribe medicine. Research shows that the best treatment for a mental health condition is complete with a psychiatrist and therapy. An LPC performs the therapy. If you are interested in counseling with Kimberly Kino, please email

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Good Night's Sleep

Sleep has been shown in various research experiments to change the brain, lower stress hormones and enhance cognitive functioning. In my practice I believe sleep has a profound impact on stress, anxiety and mood shifts. I person with a good night's sleep, 7-8 hrs on average, has a significant improvement in mood and a decrease in symptoms. This individual can be an entirely different person with sleep.

Some tips on improving sleep cycles and assuring a well rested night:

Consistency: go to bed the same time every night. A routine (wash up, get dressed, lock the doors, etc.) can also improve rest.

Meditation: Allow your brain to slow down through meditation while lying in bed. Lay flat on your back, relaxing arms and legs to the sides of the body. Breathe, inhale and exhale, and focus the mind to the breath.

Environment: Be aware of how your environment effects your ability to relax. Are the colors to bright in the room? Is it dark? Is there a clock ticking? Is there a lot of clutter? Your senses are key indicators of stress. If something is pulling your attention at night? Be sure to clear it during the day to assure that you can rest at night.

Journal: Log your sleep patterns and schedule to improve your awareness on how sleep does improve the quality of your life. This can motivate you to make sure sleep is a top priority to your wellness and good health.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Do I Know When to Leave/Stay in a Relationship?

I'm finding a common question in counseling: "How do I know when to leave/stay in a relationship?"

A great tool used is to visualize two buckets. One bucket is filled with "what I am getting from this relationship." As human beings, if we are not getting something, our motivation to stay diminishes. It is not selfish, it is normal and healthy to be in a relationship to fill our individual needs. It is very helpful for one to know, "What do I need in a relationship?" Some common needs include: companionship, intimacy, support, shared values, friendship etc. Knowing what you need can allow you to ask for it when you aren't getting it.  Sometimes if our partners don't know this, it is our job to tell them.

The second bucket is filled with: "What am am I giving to this relationship." We can gage our "relationship readiness" with asking ourselves, "what am I willing and ready to give right now." A healthy start, ideally, is when a person is ready to fill up another person's bucket because they are wanting to give. Try listing things that you are capable and wanting to give. Some common examples include: affection, time, support, consideration, authenticity, a sense-of-humor, fun, etc.

Write down or list the two, weigh them, and see which one has more. An idea, even, and healthy partnership is about 50/50. If you are in a relationship and close to that, you are in one that many people describe as "happy/successful"! Congratulations!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Signs of Dysfunction

Many times we are looking for a healthy relationship but many times we do not know what that entails. The following are some behaviors to avoid:

Estrangement: (to alienate) Silence and avoidance of a problem in a relationship is huge red flag. Someone that refuses to communicate is using silence to gain control. This is an immature defense and very difficult to have in a relationship. The key to good health in a relationship is interaction, not silence. Estrangement is unhealthy in a relationship.

Control: (the power or influence to direct one's behavior) Using power in a relationship leads to negative emotional brewing. One person trying to control another's thoughts, behaviors or feelings leads to emotional turmoil. Anger, frustration, sadness, and loss can only cook for so long until the pot overflows. Controlling relationships are the one's to avoid.

Pessimism: (negative attitude) Seeing the glass half empty is not a happy attitude. Most people enjoy being around optimism and people that see the world in a positive light. Pessimism can transform a good relationship into a very negative one. This energy feeds and multiplies and can destroy a healthy relationship. Beware of a negative attitude.

Using Dreams In Therapy

The use of dreams in therapy is a useful tool. While you are in therapy, establish a "Dream Journal." Keep a notepad next to your bed. As routine, write down what you remember about your dream upon awaking each morning. Write down what you recall factually as well as how you felt in the dream. Reflecting upon the various stages of consciousness can provide more depth and insight in therapy.

The use of dreams while in therapy can:

Increase progress exponentially.
Improve insight.
Capture meaning and goals.
Open creativity.
Explore depth and roots of behavior/thoughts/feelings.

Bring in your Dream Journal to your therapist and allow him or her to assist you in using your dreams as an additional aid toward growth and healing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How Do I Know if I am Depressed?

The mask of depression is grey. It is not black or white and can be very difficult to see. Sometimes the individual feels "ok" or blames him or herself for not, "sucking it up" or doing the right actions or behaviors in life. Since judgement and insight is usually impaired in depression sufferers, they have difficulty really seeing when to get help or if they truly are depressed. The following are some symptoms and signs for families, friends, or individuals.

Some signs and symptoms of depression:

Energy decline: they feel exhausted, have difficulty maintaining the activities they were once able to do
Low self worth and low self esteem: they don't feel worthy or deserving of relationships or fun.
Loss of pleasure or satisfaction in activities/hobbies that were once enjoyable.
Sad or low mood
Crying spells
Sleeping problems: sleeping more or less than usual, having difficulty staying asleep.
Irritability/Anger: Person may be described as "snappy" or easily agitated. This is a common symptom that many people do not expect to exist with depression.

 If you think someone is suffering, it is best to seek help through professions in the field of psychiatry/counseling. Because we can not see inside the brain, it is better to trust seeking help than not.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Facts About Exercise and the Benefits for Mental Health

While counseling sessions include talking and sitting, a lot of the magic occurs outside the therapy room. Treating exercise as a "prescription" is often an essential benefit for mental health. Individuals that have a scheduled calendar fitting in exercise generally feel better mentally. A free and natural prescription!

Why exercise for mental health? Exercise "feels" good mentally and physically. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. That feeling known as a "runner's high" comes from the endorphins that interact with the receptors in your brain that actually reduce pain. The brain reacts to this feeling and sees life in a more positive and energetic light. This is similar to the effects of a pain killer and can decrease the perception of pain.

Research shows that exercise improves self-esteem, decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, improves sleep, and diminishes stress. Exercise can be just as effective as an anti-depressant when treating depression and anxiety and has no side effects!

Exercise can be fun and a way of life. Some examples include: Dancing, Golf, Housework, Team or League Sports, Tennis, Swimming, Walking, Biking, Gardening, Yoga, and Jogging.

The socialization during exercise is also beneficial. Activities or sports allow time with other people, another added support for good mental health.

The combination of counseling and exercise can intensify the therapy experience. The mind and body are working together, a perfect harmony for happiness. :)