Are You Isolating Yourself?

on Wednesday, 13 December 2017.

Are You Isolating Yourself?

Isolation can be described as distancing yourself from others. Isolation, in psychology, does not refer to distancing yourself in the physical sense – that is solitude. Rather, isolation refers to being separated from others in the social or emotional sense.

Social isolation is when a person lacks social relationships. A person chooses to distance themselves, socially, from others, which leads to an absence of friends and acquaintances and little contact with other people. Though spending some time away from other people can be a positive thing, especially if you are an introvert, spending too much time by yourself can have negative consequences, such as depression and low self-esteem.

People who suffer from social isolation often suffer from emotional isolation, as well. Emotional isolation refers to when a person does not have a close partner with whom they can confide and share their feelings with. Emotionally isolated people do not express their feelings or emotions, and they have issues communicating with other people. They often feel numb and as if no one understands them.

To overcome social or emotional isolation, you need to discover what is the root cause of the isolation. A person may choose to isolate themselves due to trust issues, past abuse, mental illnesses, major life changes or bad experiences in previous social or emotional relationships.

Therapy can help a person overcome their social or emotional isolation. A therapist can help you to understand why you suffer from social or emotional isolation and how you can overcome it. In therapy, you will learn how to handle the fear or apprehension you experience when connecting with other people, and you will learn social skills that will help you to form social and emotional relationships. A therapist will even serve as a person with whom you can socially and emotionally connect with.

Stress Over the Holidays

on Monday, 04 December 2017.

Stress Over the Holidays

Though the holidays are often associated with relaxation, leisure and joy, they also can be a cause of stress. Holiday stress is a very real thing and with the winter holidays now approaching, you may already be feeling the tension.

Why do the holidays cause so much stress in people’s lives? The answer may lie in the fact that people often have higher expectations for the holidays than they do for other times of the year. People expect the holidays to be joyous occasions filled with activities and family time.

The holidays often require careful planning, which is another source of stress, and people often feel pressure to buy expensive gifts, which can cause stress over money.

If you are concerned that the upcoming holiday season will be stressful for you, there are steps you can take to prevent stress.

First, understand if your holiday expectations are even realistic. If you set unreasonably high expectations for yourself for the holiday season and you, more than likely, fall short of them, you will end up feeling disappointment and despair. Evaluate your expectations and make sure that they are reasonable. And if you fall short, don’t despair; take joy in the expectations that you did meet.

When planning for the holidays, you can avoid stress by setting a spending limit (and sticking to it), creating to-do lists, sharing the responsibilities with other people and not taking on too many tasks.

But, it’s not just the planning that causes stress; the events and festivities of the holidays also can be sources of stress. During the holidays, remember to leave time for yourself and take reprieves from the group activities. Too much time with others can overwhelm you and cause you to forget about your own needs.

The holidays can be a fun time, so make sure you are taking the necessary steps to enjoy them to the fullest. Take care of yourself and look forward to the positive aspects of the season and the opportunity to connect with others.  

Trust Issues

on Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

Trust Issues

Trust issues can be defined as difficulties a person has with trusting others. This person may also experience difficulty determining when to trust others and how much to trust others. Though it is normal to hesitate before determining whether to trust someone, it is not normal to have extensive trust issues where a person will never trust anyone under any circumstances.

Having trust issues prevents a person from experiencing healthy relationships or intimacy. The issues lead to them experiencing stress, anxiety, suspicion and fear because they are constantly worrying about people in their lives betraying them.

You may have trust issues if you don’t have any friendships; you are lonely or depressed; you are always suspicious of friends and family members; you seem to always be in dramatic, quarrelsome relationships; or other people view you as untrusting, unforgiving or difficult to please.

People often develop trust issues if they have been betrayed, embarrassed or taken advantage of in the past. These experiences make it difficult for that person to trust again. Childhood abuse, bullying and distressing life experiences, such as the death of a loved one, have also been linked to trust issues.

If you have trust issues, a good way to overcome them is to get a “trust partner,” according to Mike Bundrant of A trust partner is usually a therapist or life coach who has experience dealing with trust issues. With this partner, you can learn how and when to trust. You also will learn to take emotional risks, which is what extending trust is all about. “Trusting” with a trust partner helps prepare you for real-life situations where you have to decide when and to whom to extend trust.

Therapy also can help you to determine the underlying causes behind your trust issues and how you can work to overcome these issues. Group therapy is also an option where you complete trust exercises in a group setting. Whatever therapy method you choose, you need to be prepared and willing to work hard in order to leave your trust issues behind. 


Managing your Temper

on Monday, 09 October 2017.

Managing your Temper

Anger, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is “an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.” Feeling anger from time to time is completely normal. In fact, it can actually be healthy to feel anger because it helps you to express negative emotions.

But, too much anger can have negative consequences. Whenever you feel angry, your blood pressure increases, and when you are constantly feeling angry, your blood pressure constantly increases. High blood pressure can lead to health and mental issues, and it prevents you from thinking clearly. Excessive anger also has the potential to negatively impact your career and the relationships in your life

If your temper constantly flares because of minor inconveniences, or your anger escalates uncontrollably, then you need to practice ways to better manage your temper. Managing your temper does not mean repressing your feelings of anger. Instead, it concerns understanding why you feel angry and learning how to express those feelings of anger in healthier, non-destructive ways.

First, understanding your anger involves looking at your childhood. Anger issues in adulthood are often the result of learning poor anger practices as a child. If you had parents with temper issues, you also are likely to have them because you never learned how to healthily express anger. Anger issues also can result from depression, trauma and long-term stress.

Also, understand that anger may not be the true emotion when you feel angry. Some people with temper issues often feel anger to disguise other feelings such as insecurity, embarrassment or hurt. This is often the result of learning to repress emotions as a child.

Once you understand the reasons for your temper issues, you can begin working on ways to better control you anger. First, when you become angry, remain calm. Remaining calm will help you to think more clearly in response to what is angering you, and it will help you to react in a less destructive manner. Also, think before you say something. When angry, you may say something that you will come to regret. It is better to cool off and be in a calmer state of mind before you speak.  

When you are angered, you also may find it helpful to step back from what is causing the reaction. For example, if you are angry because your computer is not working properly, take a break from working on it. Go for a walk, exercise or find another way to relax; just find a way to keep your mind off what is angering you for a period of time.

But if all else fails and you still have trouble managing your temper, see a therapist. Therapists can help you discover the reasons behind your uncontrollable anger and give you personalized ways to manage it. 


Feeling Stressed or Overwhelmed?

on Monday, 02 October 2017.

Feeling Stressed or Overwhelmed?

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors. School, work and other responsibilities, as well as dramatic events in your life – such as the death of a loved one – can all trigger stress.

Many people in Gainesville and the surrounding area experienced these feelings when Irma hit us.

When you experience too much stress in your life, you may begin to feel overwhelmed. And being overwhelmed can cause you to feel anxious, angry or irritated. You may even lash out or experience a panic attack.

Long-term stress can produce negative effects on your body including headaches, high-blood pressure, a weakened immune system, back and shoulder pain and digestive issues. Long-term stress also has been linked to depression and drug and alcohol problems.

Stress and feelings of being overwhelmed also negatively impact your mind. You can’t think or work properly when you feel stressed or overwhelmed, and you lose the ability to appreciate life.

Experiencing stress and feeling overwhelmed once in a while is completely normal. But, too much is problematic, and you need to take steps to reduce them. First, ask yourself what is actually causing the stress and feelings. Diagnosing the root will go a long way toward helping you to reduce and eliminate them.

Once you have the cause, you can then determine the best ways to reduce or eliminate the stress or overwhelming feelings. Unfortunately, some factors are outside your control. If a demanding teacher is the root of your stress, you cannot really control that teacher’s behavior. Instead, you have to determine what you can control. You can always control your reaction to any situation. 

If you find that school or work is the source of your stress, one of the main steps you can take is to practice better time management. Often, your time management skills are really to blame for the stress you feel. You may also find that taking part in activities or hobbies that you love will reduce the stress you feel from work or school. Taking part in extracurricular activities prevents you from always focusing on the stress of school or work.

Lastly, living a healthy lifestyle is a huge part of reducing stress. When you are not living a healthy life – which includes getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a balanced diet – you leave yourself more vulnerable to stress. You need to ensure that your body is well cared for so stress and feelings of being overwhelmed don’t cause you too much difficulty or pain. 


ITM Group is looking for a qualified therapist

on Monday, 25 September 2017.

The ITM Group is a for-profit provider of behavioral health services based out of North Central Florida. We have more than thirty years of providing specialized treatment for court-ordered individuals in the community, as well as, at locked facilities, and overlay programs. The program is currently looking to hire qualified full or part-time clinicians in the Gainesville and North Central Florida regions. We presently offer sexual offender treatment in more than 15 separate locations and are seeking experienced sex offender therapists in several locations to fill anticipated vacancies.

Position Description:

The primary responsibilities will include providing group counseling, individual sessions, and various forensic assessments for assigned clientele. The position will also be responsible for treatment plan development, consultation with referring agencies, and the timely submission of required reports (assessments, monthly progress reports, terminations, etc.)

All clinical staff members are expected to attend semi-annual staff meetings and participate in routine monitoring opportunities, including ongoing clinical oversight.

Minimum qualifications:

2 years of relevant experience with either juvenile or adult sex offender population

Master’s Degree or higher in Behavioral Health field

Florida Department of Health License will be required, but license eligible applicants can be considered pending anticipated licensing in Florida

Be a clinical member of ATSA or meet the requirements for a clinical associate member

Excellent verbal and written skills

Ability to work independently or in a group setting (team player)

Strong work ethic and organizational skills

Commitment to performing quality services as a clinician and as requested in the community (trainings)

Flexibility with work hours – generally between 10:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.


The ITM Group has typically provided services under 1099 subcontractor agreements, but has several options for employee positions for some locations dependent upon the opportunity/desire for involvement by the individual. The employee status has provisions for health care assistance, paid vacation, and holidays.


For serious consideration:

Please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications and experience to the individual listed below. Additionally, if you would include your resume, date of possible availability, and at least two letters of reference.   


Send information to Brandi Smith –

How to Practice Self-Care

on Tuesday, 29 August 2017.

How to Practice Self-Care

Self-care refers to the practices a person consistently takes part in to maintain good health and well-being. A person’s health and well-being can be threatened by the daily strains and challenges they encounter, and self-care is a way to alleviate the stress caused by these strains and challenges.

Self-care also helps to maintain relationships – which you may neglect due to other duties –and create a balance between your work or school life and personal life. It can help you refocus your priorities and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed from too many activities.

You can practice self-care in different ways. Exercise and healthy eating are key parts of self-care because they help keep your body strong and healthy. You may be neglecting your body’s health due to work or school, but you truly need a healthy body to feel good and effectively fulfill your responsibilities.

Relaxation is another key part of self-care. With work and school, you may feel that you never get the time to relax. You might even feel as though relaxation is a waste of time –time that could be spent at work or at school. But, relaxation is not laziness. Relaxation allows you to step away from your work and “recharge,” so your mind is not overwhelmed the next time you complete your activities. It’s similar to exercising – you cannot just exercise for hours without a break. The body needs time to recharge from an exercise session so that it is rested and not overwhelmed for the next one.

Lastly, practice time-management skills. Often, stresses in your life are caused by poor time management. We take on too many tasks or we spend too much time on one activity. Ways to improve your time-management skills include making a schedule (and sticking to it), creating lists of tasks that need to be completed, and avoiding procrastination. You also need to know when you have too much on your plate; avoid taking on too many tasks.

Self-care is a vital part of living a happy and healthy life, and it should not be neglected. Work/school may be an important aspect in your life, but you should not neglect the other areas of your life because they are just as important. If you ever feel overwhelmed or stressed, turn to self-care. Your body and mind will thank you. 

Is Jealousy Causing Issues in your Life?

on Tuesday, 22 August 2017.

Is Jealousy Causing Issues in your Life?

Jealousy is an emotion that has a wide range of definitions. Defined by Dr. Helen Fisher, it is an emotion that consists of possessiveness, suspicion, rage and humiliation. And defined by Dr. Robert L. Leahy, jealousy is “angry agitated worry.” Jealousy can be defined in many ways, but it always involves “a third party seen as a rival,” according to Psychology Today.

Whereas envy is wanting what someone else has, jealousy is triggered when you see someone threatening a relationship you have with a significant person in your life.

Jealousy is a negative emotion because it can cause problems in relationships as well as create stress and anger in your own life.

If jealousy is really causing problems in your life and in your relationships, there are ways for you to overcome it. First, recognize when you are feeling jealous, and try to think about your jealous feelings in a calm manner. Ask yourself if you are overreacting. Could you be misinterpreting a situation that is (unjustifiably) making you jealous?

You also can try to build up more confidence. Low self-esteem has been connected to jealous feelings. When you are more confident in yourself, you are not as worried about the actions of others that could trigger jealousy.

Other ways to overcome jealousy include avoiding circumstances that could bring on jealous suspicions. For example, if you have jealous feelings concerning your significant other, it would be best to avoid excessively checking their whereabouts/activities throughout the day. Doing so just increases suspicions and jealousy.

Lastly, communicate. If you are feeling jealous, communicate with the person who you are having jealous feelings over. You may be able to help them understand your feelings, and the two of you could work out a solution.

Jealousy does not feel good, and there is no good reason why a person should choose to allow it to control their life or cause problems. You can choose to be willing to take the necessary steps to break free of jealousy and live a more satisfying and happier life. 

Dealing with Rejection and Criticism

on Tuesday, 08 August 2017.

Dealing with Rejection and Criticism

Experiencing hurt feelings after rejection or criticism is normal. But, if you respond too strongly to rejection or criticism – which could mean experiencing anxiety, shame, anger or strong defensiveness – then you may need to understand why you respond so strongly and what you can do to prevent it.

People who are oversensitive to criticism or rejection may have developed the oversensitivity from childhood experiences. Children who had trouble getting along with others; who did not receive praise for their accomplishments; or whose parents had overly high expectations, gave overly strong criticism or who shielded them from every little critique are more likely to develop oversensitivity issues.


When receiving criticism, there are steps you can take to process it in a healthy manner. Be calm, request clarity if you do not understand and, no matter what, thank the person for his/her feedback. Above all, do not just react to the criticism out of anger or shame. Instead, assess the criticism to understand if it even has value. If you determine that the criticism has no value to you or your goals, then you should easily move on from it. 

Other ways to deal with criticism include understanding that the criticism may hurt in the short term, but it hasn’t ruined or broken you. You will recover from it. You also can learn to think more positively about criticism in that you understand that criticism can help you develop into a better person or professional. You should begin to see criticism as something you can learn from.


When dealing with rejection, you need to understand and confront the emotions you are feeling – whether it is shame, anger, sadness or disappointment – instead of suppressing them. Suppressing your emotions will only cause you to feel pain over the rejection longer. Also, understand that rejection is a sign that you are taking risks in your life. Never experiencing rejection means that you are living life on the “safe” side rather than trying to experience new or more exciting things.


After a rejection, treat yourself well. Do not get down on yourself and feel as though something is wrong with you. Instead, treat yourself kindly. Give yourself messages of support like a good friend would. And above all, just like with criticism, learn from rejection.

But, if none of these methods work and you still have serious problems coping with criticism and rejection, then seeing a therapist can help. Therapists can help you understand why you have trouble dealing with criticism and rejection and find personalized ways to help you cope better.


Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse as a Parent

on Tuesday, 01 August 2017.

Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse as a Parent

Ten percent of children will be sexually abused before they turn 18. As a parent, this statistic can be very scary, and it should be. Studies show that children who have been sexually abused are more likely to experience rape, develop drug and alcohol problems or suffer from mental health issues, such as low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness or suicidal thoughts.

As a parent, you have a big responsibility in preventing your child from being a victim of sexual abuse. There are steps you can take in order to decrease the possibility of childhood sexual abuse.


First, understand that strangers often do not cause childhood sexual abuse. Ninety percent of victims know their abuser. In these cases, the abusers can be people like family members, friends, teachers, coaches or babysitters.


Second, decrease isolated, one-on-one meetings between your child and other people. More than 80 percent of childhood sexual abuse cases happen in these types of situations. Try to schedule group activities, or make sure that one-on-one meetings occur in areas that can be observed by adults. Stop by unannounced when your child is alone with another person. And always ask the adult what your child will be doing with them before the meeting/activities occur.


After a meeting between your child and another person, ask your child what went on. Notice if he or she is hesitant to talk about what happened, or if the child does not want to hang out with that person anymore. Be aware if your child suddenly becomes depressed, angry, withdrawn or rebellious.


Lastly, you need to talk with your child about sexual abuse. Explain to them what it is, that it is never okay, and to speak to a trusted adult if it occurs.


Childhood sexual abuse is probably one of your worst nightmares as a parent, but you can work to make it less likely for your child. If your child comes to you to report an incident of sexual abuse, remain calm, listen to your child and report the incident to authorities.


If you are looking for information about how to prevent childhood sexual abuse, attend our free and fun child and caregiver workshop: Super Hero Safety Camp on Sunday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Click here to learn more and you can go to this site to register.



Super Hero Safety Workshop

on Tuesday, 18 July 2017.

Super Hero Safety Workshop

Keeping children safe from physical and sexual abuse is a daunting challenge. While parents and caregivers obviously have a critical role in protecting children, the children themselves have a role as well.

But there has to be a balance between what children need to know and how you present information to them.

As part of that effort, The ITM Group is presenting Super Hero Safety Workshop on Sunday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at our office (1208 NW Sixth Street).

The goal of this workshop is to present appropriate tools and techniques for children under 7 years old and their parents. The presentation to children will allow them to learn though games and activities. Parents will be presented with tools and concepts focused on how to keep their children safe at home and in the community.

Some of the topics on the agenda will be:

  •          The myths of stranger-danger
  •          Choosing safe adults
  •          Avoiding tricks
  •          Introduction to online safety
  •          And more

This event is free and open to the entire community. You can register your child by going to Parents and caregivers do not need to register.


To learn more about Super Hero Safety Workshop, click here.

What To Do When You Have Been Sexually Abused

on Thursday, 06 July 2017.

What To Do When You Have Been Sexually Abused

Sexual abuse, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is unwelcome sexual activity under threats, force or taking advantage of the victim who does not have the power to resist or consent. Victims of sexual abuse often know their perpetrator. Sexual abuse can have many negative effects on the victim including anxiety, fear, poor self-esteem and post-traumatic stress disorder; children who have been sexually abused can continue to experience these psychological effects into adulthood.

If you have been sexually abused and feel that you are in danger, the most important step to take is to contact emergency services (911 in Fla.). You also can talk to family members, friends, therapists and social workers about the abuse, and you may find it helpful to visit a medical center. If you are living with the perpetrator, it is important to get away from him/her, and that could mean staying with friends or family members or even at a shelter or refuge center.

Following the abuse, you may experience feelings of shock, isolation, guilt, vulnerability, distrust and anger. You may feel as though you have lost control over your life or have trouble concentrating, sleeping or eating.

To cope with the abuse, you may find that writing about it and your feelings can help to reduce stress. You also can talk to a therapist or counselor, who can help you understand and work with the feelings you are experiencing.  And group therapy gives you the opportunity to talk about your experience with other people who have suffered from similar experiences.

If you are a victim of sexual abuse, remember that it is not your fault and that it is not okay what happened to you. Always remember that there are people and resources that can help you. Trust yourself, and do not be afraid to reach out to the appropriate people following an incident of sexual abuse. 

Preventing your Teen from Developing Body-Image Issues

on Monday, 05 June 2017.

Preventing your Teen from Developing Body-Image Issues

Children as young as 6 years old are concerned about their body image, according to studies done by the National Eating Disorder Association.  These concerns increase once children go through the teenage years. Negative body image, defined as feeling unhappy with the way you look can lead to depression, eating disorders and feelings of isolation in your teen.

As a parent, you can have a huge influence on how your teen processes and feels about his or her body image. Your teen is watching your habits and behavior, and if you are constantly speaking negatively about your own body, your teen notices and can apply those negative feelings to their body.

One of the best things to do as a parent to promote positive body image in your teen is to be positive. Don’t make critical remarks about your own body or your teenager’s body. Instead, point out to your teen what makes their body beautiful or special, such as their eyes or their smile.

And you also can point out the many other features, besides their physical appearance, that make your teen special. Compliment your teen’s athletic talent or high grades in school. Praise their kindness or leadership traits. Your teen will learn that there are other important qualities to be proud of besides just their physical appearance.

It is important to explain to your teen that the images they see of celebrities in the media are not fair indications of what people actually look like. Teens will look at images of celebrities in the media to compare their own bodies to without realizing that those celebrities often have personal trainers, makeup artists and plastic surgeons at their disposal, and their images are usually heavily photoshopped and airbrushed in magazines and on social media.

Lastly, you can use your influence to establish healthy life habits in your teen. Instead of fussing over your teen’s weight, promote a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious and regular meals as well as exercise.  Teens will feel good about themselves if they are taking care of their bodies.

The teenage years can be a difficult time for your child if he or she feels negatively about their body. But, as a parent, you can prevent this by taking an active role in promoting positive body image in your teen. Doing so will help your child in the long run toward feeling good and confident about themselves and living a happy life. 

Recognizing signs of child abuse

on Thursday, 18 May 2017.

Recognizing signs of child abuse

Signs that a child may be facing abuse or neglect at home can become clear to those who come in contact with the child, if they know what to look for.

Physical signs of abuse such as cuts, burns or bruises are often covered up as accidents, sports injuries or products of rowdy playtime. It is not uncommon for a child to lie when being questioned about their injuries or try to cover up the actions of their abuser. This can be out of fear or confusion, as their abuser is often a loved one or their primary caregiver. 

It is crucial to be on the lookout for behavioral warning signs if you think a child might be being abused, either physically or verbally. Children who appear to be excessively nervous, fearful, shy or wary of physical contact may be being mistreated by an adult in their life. 

It is also common for an abused or neglected child to revert back to old behaviors from a younger stage in their life. This might include sucking on their thumb or becoming attached to a toy or stuffed animal. A child who is abused in the home may begin to suffer in school and struggle to maintain social relationships and friendships. 

A child suffering from emotional abuse may display some physical indications that they are in distress. This can include hair loss, weight loss or the development of a stutter or other speech impediment. 

Many people are hesitant to step in when they believe a child is being mistreated. They think it is none of their business and that it’s wrong to interfere in the personal life of another family. But it is everyone’s responsibility to report the possible abuse of a child. Whether you’re a teacher, tutor, babysitter or the parent of a classmate, if you have reason to believe a child is being verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually abused, report it to the Florida Department of Children and Families immediately.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

on Thursday, 11 May 2017.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year, health organizations across the country recognize May as Mental Health Awareness month. This month is dedicated to providing aid and support to those dealing with mental illness, as well as providing information and education to every American. It is important to learn about mental health so that society can stop stigmatizing those who are mentally ill and begin to help understand them.

What is mental health? The dictionary defines mental health as a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. For many people, their mental health is affected by things like stress, anxiety, nerves, paranoia or fear. However, some people have diagnosed mental illnesses.

Commonly known mental illnesses include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder. These disorders are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. They are not personality traits or a way in which an individual chooses to behave. It is important to understand that depression goes beyond typical sadness and cannot be overcome as easily. People with mental health issues must work to live with them on a daily basis. 

Though some conditions are more severe than others, one in five Americans each year will experience some type of mental health issue. Some conditions can be managed through doctor prescribed medications, but it also helps to seek guidance through therapy. If someone close to you is struggling with a mental illness, it may be beneficial for you to speak with a professional together.

Understanding mental health is the key to removing the negative stigma that often causes many individuals not to seek the help they need. It is something that many people struggle with and if we can start to facilitate dialogue and education about mental health, we can start to improve the ways in which we treat it. 

For more information on mental health and what you can do during the month of May, please visit

<<  1 2 3 4 [56  >>  

Location Map


Follow Us