Monday, December 31, 2007

Growth, Change & Emotional Health

As an old year ends and a new year rolls in, this is a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions. Many people do not realize how important this age old tradition is in establishing and maintaining sound emotional well being.

One important trait that all healthy living things share in common is that they continue to grow. Another word for growth is change. When we fail to take the opportunity to grow in either our personal or professional lives we are susceptible to feeling all kinds of emotional distress least of which is state of boredom or stagnation.

So, use the New Year as a catalyst to identify an area of your life you would like to improve upon and put into action a plan to make growth promoting changes.

Here are some tips to help make your healthy intentions come to fruition:
**Make sure your goal is behavioral in nature.
**Be specific (how, when, where, how much, how often, etc.)
**Small change is better than no change
**Make sure that your goal is beneficial for you
**Remember that change is often difficult and uncomfortable.
**Have realistic expectations and be patient with yourself.
**Write your goal down.
**Share your goal with family and friends
**Monitor your progress.
**Strive for progress not perfection.

Have a safe New Years!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy New Year




Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tools to Manage "Holiday Blues"

Holiday time is traditionally perceived as a time of joy and festivity. For many however, the holidays bring about what is commonly referred to as the “Holiday Blues”. Holiday Blues can range from mild sadness and just feeling stressed to symptoms of severe anxiety and/or depression.
For many, holiday time can magnify difficulties that have been present all year long but become intensified due to the pressures of trying to promote the holiday spirit. Family/relationship issues, grief and loss, financial strain, and time constraints are common sources of increased emotional distress. Unrealistic expectations and difficulties setting healthy boundaries increase the potential of feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season.
Here are some tips to help you manage the most common triggers of holiday distress:
Unrealistic Expectations:
* Don’t expect perfection of yourself or others. Driving yourself to exhaustion will not create a happy holiday for you or your loved ones.
* Simplify family traditions that may be too much work or that are not conducive to an already hectic lifestyle.
* Prioritize invitations and do not feel compelled to attend every holiday event.

Family Issues:
* Set differences aside
* Accept family members and friends as they are, not who you wish them to be.
* Avoid using holiday gatherings as a time to resolve old and recent grievances.
* Be supportive of others who may be feeling negatively. Remember they may be experiencing the same holiday stress that you are.

Financial Strain:
* Before you go shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts or other holiday expenses.
* Stick to your budget.
* Remember that you can not truly buy happiness, love or acceptance.
* Explore ways to express holiday cheer that do not cost lots of money.
* Find ways to share expenses with others especially in regards to gift giving and event planning.

The most important thing to remember during this time of year is to be true and good to yourself. This means setting boundaries with others and making time to care for yourself. Focus on making this holiday season as joyful as possible. If you don’t feel merry for whatever reason, share your feelings with loved ones and let them know what you need from them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Assertive Communication

“I” vs. “U” Statements

As discussed in an older post, I vs. U statements are the cornerstone to communicating ASSERTIVELY.

Definition: Using the pronoun “I” to take responsibility and to promote cooperation and understanding when making statements to others. This is in contrast to using the pronoun “you” when addressing another person.

Benefits of Using “I” vs. “U”:
· Allows you to take 100% responsibility and ownership of ideas and feelings
· Promotes cooperation and understanding.
· Less threatening

Negatives associated with using “YOU” statements:
· Sounds accusatory
· Sounds judgmental
· Sounds threatening

Guidelines for formulating “I” statements are:

· Communicate Assertively
Being assertive means that you express your thoughts, feelings and
ideas in a direct, open, honest, and sincere manner.

· Begin Your Statements with “I”:
Get in the habit of taking responsibility and ownership for your
statements by consciously beginning your statements with the
pronoun “I”.

Check out the older post on I vs U for extra tips.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Assertive Communication

There are many communication skills that assist all of us in communicating assertively. One of these skills is Limit Setting.

Limit setting is:
Defining the parameters of a job, relationship, or situation, so that each person knows what to expect from one another.

Benefits of LIMIT SETTING:
· Allows you to clarify expectations
· Helps to avoid misunderstandings
· Helps to prevent unnecessary conflicts

Guidelines for using LIMIT-SETTING:
1. Communicate assertively by letting others know what you will or will not do regarding a job, task, responsibility, or relationship

2. Clarify responsibilities, establish agreements, and set specific dates, times, and expectations for how a task is to be completed.

Check in for more tools and skills. PTC

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Enhancing Communication (Part 2)

What is your communication style?

1.Aggressive-Domineering, forceful, disrespects others

Do you speak up for your thoughts, feelings, and wishes, while trampling on the on others’ people’s needs in the process?
Do you humiliate others with sarcasm or put-downs?
Do you verbally attack people when you don’t get your way?
Do you move with an superiority and strength- to intimidate others?

2. Passive-Hesitant, insecure, withdrawn, disrespects self

Are you indirect with your thoughts, feelings, and desires?
Do you withhold your thoughts, feelings, and desires?
Do you hesitate to speak up? Using disclaimers when you do “This is probably not right, but……..
Do you put your needs down in favor of others’ needs?
Do you find it difficult to make requests?
Do you find it difficult to say “NO” to the requests of others?
Do you speak in soft, wavering voice…or feel at a loss for words?

3.Assertive- Direct, firm, honest, win-win, respects self and others

Do you stand up for your thoughts feelings and wishes, while respecting the others feelings in the process?
Do you deal with criticism directly without defensiveness or hostility?
Do you listen attentively, letting others know you have heard them?
Do you respond to people with a balance of listening and talking?
Are you open to compromise without giving up your own rights and dignity?
Do you make request and say “no” in a confident manner?

Figure out who you are in the here and now ______________?

Keep your eyes out for the next enhance your life's toolbox.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Maintaining Exercise Motivation

1. Start with realistic expectations.

2. Identify barriers to your motivation (Example: I am tired if I come home first)

3. Create a reasonable plan for each barrier. (Example: I bring my workout clothes with me to work and go straight to my karate class after work.)

4. Schedule your workouts in your calendar/day-timer.

5. Keep a journal.

6. Use positive affirmations for health and wellness.(Example: I feel healthy; I enjoy my karate class; I feel more alive when I exercise)

7. If time does not permit a full workout do half your workout that day.

8. Make it fun. Do exercise that you enjoy. Try group exercise like marshal arts, yoga, pilates. The group pushes you to go on.....

9. Get a buddy.

10. If you are working on your recovery from an eating disorder or health problem, please consult you doctor, nutritionist, and/or your therapist for a healthy exercise plan.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Love & Money

Surveys indicate that up to 75 percent of married couples identify money as the primary cause of marital conflict. It is important to realize that lots of money does not guarantee relationship bliss nor does lack of wealth doom a couple to a lifetime of hostility.

Severe financial battles are more often a symptom of overall relationship problems as opposed to the cause of them. Money becomes the focal point of so many couples’ battles because relationship strife tends to stem from struggles for power and control. Money is the universal symbol of power in modern society.

There are three common, yet unhealthy behavior patterns that demonstrate the role of money as “power”. First is power spending. Power spenders spend money to prove that they can. The power spender often feels as if their partner is trying to control them and they spend in order to prove their autonomy. Revenge Spending is another unhealthy pattern. The revenge spender spends money to “get back at” their partner for a real or imagined betrayal. The third unhealthy tendency is for one member of a couple to assume all responsibility for financial issues within a family. This is often due to a person’s need to feel “all powerful” and to have greater control or dominance over their partner.

Tips for not letting money tear you and your partner apart include:
1. Understand and respect you and your partner’s individual views of money.
2. Comprehend how your fiscal behaviors impact your partner.
3. Find ways to share fiscal responsibilities and decision making.
4. Know your motives for spending and making certain financial decisions.
5. When faced with financial stressors look for ways to support each other and solve problems together.

Jeff Jabick, LMHC , PTC

Friday, September 7, 2007

Women- A Tool For Balancing Your Life

Managing multiple tasks, continually balancing priorities and maintaining healthy relationships is a challenge for even the most capable person. Doing this requires skills, tools, and tricks that most people have not mastered or do not know exist. Here is a self-assessment tool to assist in creating better balance your life.

Write the number 24 (this is 24 hours a day) and start subtracting each part of your day. Start with the areas where you utilize the most hours. See the example:
-----------------------------------24-hour day

SLEEP--------------------------- 7
WORK--------------------------- 8
FAMILY TIME-------------------3
--------------------------------- ____
------------------------------------ 0

0 time left for wellness activities/household chores/friends/other activities

This example validates what many women are currently feeling. After using this assessment tool, this woman identified commute time as one area that can be changed. After changing her work hours (non-rush hour), she increased her available hours. With this additional two hours, she incorporated exercise, light mediation, and household chores into her daily life.

Witness your specific juggling act. Is your health poor? Finding no “me time”? No energy for significant others? This self-assessment tool can help to identify where your time and energy is spent and what in your life is being neglected (exercise, eating well, food shopping, journaling, friendships, relationships, and any wellness activity).

Friday, August 31, 2007

Women's Workshop

For those of you that are interested in attending we have a few more seats for discounts (954) 741-1099.

The Comprenhensive Version of The Women's Power Building Seminar is just in one week on Sepember 7, 2007 in Plantation, Florida.

We have free raffle gifts, free give-aways for all that attend, coffee, tea, water, snacks, information, education, and insight. Seating is limited...So register now. Call our office at (954)741-1099 to enroll. We accept checks, visa and master card.

For more information on the seminar topics and objectives check our website at:

Women's Power Building Workshop (The Comprehensive Approach)
Date: Friday, September 7, 2007
Time: 9:00am-2:30pm (8:30am- Check in )
11:30-12:30 Lunch Break (on your own)
Place: Holiday Inn Express
1701 N. University Dr., Plantation, FL

Cost: $125 per person (call for discounts)

Increase your personal power by learning tools to:

*Reduce your stress
*Identify & let go of emotional clutter
*Set limits with yourself and others
*Take care of yourself in healthy ways-
Presenters: Amanda Osher,LMHC & Lisa Friedman,LCSW

Hope to see you there. Amanda & Lisa

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Self-Esteem- An individual’s sense of his or her value or worth. The extent to which an individual appreciates, prizes, or likes himself or herself.

Having a healthy sense of self allows one to enjoy a greater quality of life. A healthy self-esteem allows a person to take measured risks, which allows them the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

What is High Self- Esteem?
It is a very important aspect of your life. If you have a high level, you will be confident, happy and sure of yourself. You would be highly motivated and have the right attitude to succeed.

Self- esteem is therefore crucial to you and is a cornerstone of a positive attitude towards living.

Tips for improving self-esteem:

  • Use visualization to achieve your dreams and increase your self- esteem!
  • Develop and work at achieving your goals. If you do this, your confidence will increase and you will feel positive.
  • Be aware of and make a conscience effort to change negative/self sabotaging self-talk.
  • Identify and embrace your feelings; even those you do not like.
  • Be aware of how you compare yourself to others.
  • Clarify your values and make decisions that are in alignment with these values.
  • Identify your strengths.
  • Focus on your strength.
  • Make a point to learn something new everyday.
  • Make an effort to start your day on a positive note.
    Make a list of accomplishments and put them in a file labeled successes.
  • Learn to reframe perceived failures and don’t be afraid to “fail” in the future.
  • Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and generally take good care of yourself.
  • Cultivate a social life and associate with people who help promote your overall well-being.
  • Utilize positive affirmations and/or meditations on a daily basis.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Congratulate yourself as often as possible. PTC

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tools & Tips for Shiftworkers

The primary reason that shiftwork can be detrimental to ones health is that by nature, human beings are geared towards functioning during daytime hours. Our biological functioning is regulated by an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. This clock is tells the body when to sleep and when to wake up. Sunlight and darkness regulate this clock. Under normal conditions, darkness triggers the body to steadily go into “sleep mode”. As the body prepares for sleep blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and temperature drop while digestion and normal cognitive functioning slows.

Common health hazards associated w/ shiftwork include:

Gastrointestinal problems- Shiftworkers tend to be eating at a time when digestion is slowing. Shiftworkers tend to have access to less healthy meals and rely on snacks that are high in fat content. Shiftworkers often rely heavily on coffee which increases risk of ulcers.

Cardiovascular problems – Altered eating patterns, disrupted sleep patterns can lead to cardiovascular disease by increasing stress and blood pressure.

Sleep and stress related disorders – The shiftworker attempts to sleep when the body is naturally programmed to wake up. This decreases sleep quality and quantity. During specific stages of sleep necessary physical and psychological repair takes place. Disrupted sleep patterns prevents healthy restoration to occur possibly leading to increased risk of physical and/or emotional breakdown.

Drug and alcohol abuse- Shiftworkers often become dependent on drugs and/or alcohol in an attempt to either help stay awake or help to get to sleep. Most commonly abused substances include caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol and over the counter sleep medications.

Family and social issues- Shiftworkers usually have less time to spend with family and friends. They are at work or trying to sleep when regular social activities are scheduled. Fatigue may also impact shiftworker’s ability to spend quality leisure time with others. Single parents also have to deal with difficulties finding appropriate child care.

Tips for minimizing the impact of Shiftwork include:
1. Get to sleep as soon as possible upon returning home after work
2. Avoid caffeine at least one hour prior to going to bed
3.Beware of using alcohol or other drugs as a means of falling asleep or enhancing energy
4. Learn relaxation techniques and utilize them as part of a set bedtime routine
5. In the room where you sleep eliminate as much light and noise as possible; keep the room as cool as possible.
6.Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast no matter what time you wake up. This meal should be high in protein.
7.Avoid eating fried food especially late at night.
8.Discuss with family and friends the impact shiftwork is having on both you and them.
9.Let family and friends know how they can be supportive.
10.Try to eat at least one meal together with family.
11. Schedule times that you can spend with family and friends.
12.Engage in some exercise routine at least 3 times per week.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Enhance Communication (Part 1)

“I” vs. “YOU” Statements

Definition: Using the pronoun “I” to take responsibility and to promote cooperation and understanding when making statements to others. This is in contrast to using the pronoun “you” when addressing another person.

Benefits of Using “I” vs. “YOU”:
· Allows you to take 100% responsibility and ownership of ideas and feelings
· Promotes cooperation and understanding.
· Less threatening

Negatives associated with using “YOU” statements:
· Sounds accusatory
· Sounds judgmental
· Sounds threatening

Write down this sentence: I feel ____________ (place in your feeling word) when you __________________(behavior that you want to discuss), I would prefer you to ________________(the behavior you would prefer). Practice writing your thoughts get used to using "I" statements.

Example: I feel sad and lonely when you forget to call for my birthday, I would prefer a phone call or card on or before my birthday.
Professional Toolbox Consultants

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Women's Power Building Seminar (Discount Special)

For those of you that are interested in attending The Comprenhensive Version of The Women's Power Building Seminar on Sepember 7, 2007 in Plantation, Florida ; we are having special discounts. Enroll in August and you have two specials to choose from: Buy one seat for $125 and bring someone free or $69 dollars for one person.

We have several free raffle gifts, free give-aways for all that attend, coffee, tea, water, snacks, and information, education, and insight. Seating is limited to 55...So register now. Call our office at (954)741-1099 to enroll. We accept checks, visa and master card. For more information on the seminar topics and objectives check our website at:

Women's Power Building Workshop (The Comprehensive Approach)Friday, September 7, 2007
Time: 9:00am-2:30pm8:30am
Check in & Beverages 11:30-12:30
Lunch Break (on your own)
Place: Holiday Inn Express
1701 N. University Dr., Plantation, FL
Cost: $125 per person (call for discounts)

Increase your personal power by learning tools to:
*Reduce your stress
*Identify & let go of emotional clutter
*Set limits with yourself and others
*Take care of yourself in healthy ways

Presenters: Amanda Osher,LMHC & Lisa Friedman,LCSW

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bullying: Tips for Parents

Bullying is defined as ongoing behaviors that are nasty, unpleasant, teasing, belittling or intimidating towards another person. Bullying behaviors can be physical, verbal, or in the form of excluding another from participating in certain activities. Vandalizing and/or taking of another person’s property is another common form bullying.
Warning signs that your child might be the victim of bullying:
• Sudden fear or reluctance to go to school
• Lost lunch money or possessions with hard to believe explanations
• Spending more time alone
• Falling grades
• Spending less time doing activities you know they used to enjoy
• Changes in sleeping or eating habits
• Physical complaints
• Looking or acting sad
• Torn clothing at the end of school day
• Unexplained cuts or bruises upon returning home from school

Tips for parents:
• Let your child know you suspect something is wrong
• Encourage your child to talk
• Validate your child’s decision to confide in you and assure them that they are not to blame
• Share your child’s complaints with school officials.
• Work with school officials in protecting your child from possible retaliation and establishing a plan for any future bullying incidents.
• Help your child identify effective coping behaviors

Jeffrey Jabick, LMHC, Professional Toolbox Consultant

Friday, July 27, 2007

Effective Communication

Ways to Avoid Conflicts:
Do’s and Don’ts


  • Show that you are interested.
  • Make eye contact with the other person in a way they seem comfortable with.
  • Repeat what was said in your own words.
  • Ask if that was meant.
  • Remain patient.
  • If the other person is having a hard time communicating, encourage them by asking them to repeat with a phrase, like, “Help me, I am having a hard time understanding….”
  • Assume you have something to learn from everybody you come into contact with.

  • Do something else when someone is speaking to you.
  • Guess, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Give advice, unless the person asks for it.
  • Interrupt
  • Criticize
  • Rehearse your answer mentally, while the other person is still talking.
  • Tune someone out, just because you think you are not going to agree with them. Professional Toolbox Consultants

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Women's Workshops

Hi, everyone. We are down to 6 weeks before the first Women's Power Building Workshop. We cannot wait to begin this innovative set of workshops. These are a compilation of workshops we have created and presented to small & large groups/companies in the past. We have put together these set of workshops to assist women in the South Florida community to receive these tools and skills to master life. Please let us know if there are additional ways to enhance the workshops. Check out our Professional Toolbox website (Women's seminar section) for times, topics, costs, place, and how to enroll. PTC

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tips for Personal Growth

Engaging in behaviors and activities that promote growth or change in our personal or professional lives is the best way to enhance an overall sense of emotional well being. The following are some tips on how to make some healthy changes in your life:

* Identify an area of your life you would like to improve.
* Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t.
* Identify specific behaviors that will promote the changes you would like to make.
*Write down your goal on a piece of paper and look at it regularly.
*Tell others what you want to do in order to obtain help and support.
*Utilize positive affirmations to overcome growth inhibiting beliefs.
*Realize that change is often challenging or uncomfortable but always possible

Remember that progress in a new direction is more important than perfection.

Jeffrey Jabick, LMHC, Professional Toolbox Consultant

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Breathing Technique

Here's a great breathing technique to decrease stress and increase relaxation.
1. Inhale slowly through your nose as you count to 5 (silently in your head)
2. Hold your inhalation for the count of 3 (silently)
3. Exhale out your mouth for the count of 5
4. Silently in your head say “Relax now!"
5. Repeat 10 times
6. Enjoy

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stress Management Tips

Common Stress Management Tips

1. Utilize a good emotional support system
2. Exercise regularly. Activities, which are aerobic in nature, are best for reducing stress.
3. Getting adequate sleep. It is recommended that the average person get between 6-9 hours of sleep per night.
4. Establish and maintain a healthy nutrition. Healthy Nutrition tips include; eat foods that are low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables; cut back on caffeine and sugar; drink plenty of water; avoid skipping meals whenever possible, especially breakfast.
5. Take time to relax and/or meditate
6. Utilize positive self-talk (example: affirmation: I am relaxed). Write one that fits you.
7. Journaling thoughts and feelings
8. Reward yourself
9. Practice assertiveness, especially when it comes to asking for help or saying “NO”
10. Look for reasons to laugh or smile

Newest Project


We at Professional Toolbox Consultants (PTC) are starting a new adventure. We are branching out to a new service. We have created Women's Power Building Seminars in Plantation, Florida. We are routinely asked to provide individuals & organizations with the tools and skills to decrease stress, learn to deal with emotional clutter in their life, learn assertiveness/communication skills, and tools to care for themselves. So after many years of practice as private practice psychotherapists and consultants in the community, we decided to start our newest endeavor by creating workshops solely for women. These workshops have a variety of topics, times, dates, and prices to assist women in building their toolbox of skills to master their personal and professional lives. To see specific information on the workshops, visit our website at Lisa Friedman, LCSW (PTC)