About Taylor Garcia MA, LPC-Intern

Taylor is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern under the supervision of Julie Summers MA, LPC-S. Taylor enjoys working with adolescent and young adult women suffering with depression, anxiety, trauma history, and family of origin difficulties. She also has experience with parent coaching and family counseling.

Teens and Technology

My body becomes alert with anticipation as I reach for my iPhone. “Is it an Instagram like? A Facebook comment? A Snap? A text?” My mind wonders with excitement and hope as the home button reads my fingerprint. Light appears on the screen and I’m given access to a virtual reality. To my dissapointment it is only the notification for high pollen alert on my weather app.

Have you felt this way too? I realize I have been conditioned by my Smartphone! When it rings, I come running. There has been a lot of talk about the potential dangers of excessive electronic use for teens and children. A colleague of mine sent me a wonderful article written by Jean M. Twenge entitled “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” I found The Atlantic article to be quite balanced in its view of electronics and the upcoming generation despite its scandalous title. The author ends the article with a caution stating “Significant effects on both mental health and sleep time appear after two or more hours a day on electronic devices. The average teen spends about two and a half hours a day on electronic devices. Some mild boundary-setting could keep kids from falling into harmful habits.”

Many parents know boundaries are necessary when giving children access to electronics. However, many are unsure of the best way to do it. I have listed out 6 principles to keep in mind when setting limits on electronics for your teen.

1. Use clear, concise communication. Long lectures do nothing for the parent-teen relationship and more times than not your teen has tuned you out, leaving you both feeling exacerbated.

2. Set up a family contract, see your teen as a contributing member to this contract and be open to their feedback.

3. Be consistent in implementing the agreed upon contract.

4. Model your own self-control in using electronics, this will be most impactful for your teen. Show them how you set limits for yourself, that will mean more to them than what you say.

5. If you have monitoring systems on their devices, this should be communicated to your teen from day one. Let them know from the beginning what your expectations are and how you will be monitoring them. Emphasize that the monitoring system is for their safety, not for a lack of trust in them. Being transparent and creating open lines of communication is essential during the teenage years.

6. Let them know you love them for who they are, no matter what.

Try being mindful of these six principles when setting limits with your teen. Remind yourself that you are only human, and raising a teenager is hard. If you would like more assistance in creating open communication with your teen, try family counseling at Heritage Behavioral Health Consultants.



The Pitfalls of Perfectionism

Inadequacy. Striving. Shame. Worth. Measurement. Anxiety. Criticism. Comparison.

I am betting you do not want to read that string of words again…yikes! I notice sensations in my body just as I read those words. There is a sinking feeling in my stomach and heaviness on my shoulders. Unfortunately most of us are all too familiar with those words and their heavy meanings. Most often they are a result, or variable in the equation of perfectionism.

According to Merriam-Webster, perfectionism is “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.” Unacceptable. Let that sink in. A perfectionist is someone who lives by this disposition and holds himself (and sometimes others) to this impossible standard. We (yes, I include myself in this) will not accept anything less than perfect. We do not place this standard on others or ourselves because we enjoy being critical or mean or controlling, but because we often feel it is the necessary thing or the expected thing to do. It is a philosophy that resides deep within us, sometimes so much so that we don’t even recognize it. Much to our dissatisfaction though, nothing in our life is perfect. So what are we left with? We are left with a constant state of dissatisfaction and striving. It is exhausting!

The antidote to perfectionism is a change in our philosophy about how we define success, and more importantly, how we define our intrinsic worth as human beings.  It is possible that many of us may have grown up in churches or religious communities that emphasized the “fallen condition and sinfulness of humanity”.   While it is true all humans have their own set of strengths and shortcomings, it is equally and maybe more profoundly true that humans are Divinely inspired and uniquely created. Our desire for perfection and harmonious relationships resides deep within us.  Our desires and strivings are not intrinsically bad and often times they come from a good place. However, we sometimes get confused and use our desires and goals as the measuring sticks for our worth, which leads to shame and dissatisfaction…and the cycle continues.

Acceptable. Content. Worthy. Valuable. Satisfied. Peace. Hope.

There is hope. We can learn to break the cycles of perfectionism by developing new ways of seeing ourselves and defining success differently. It is so important that we cultivate safe relationships that welcome vulnerability. When we are honest with each other about our shortcomings and our fear of failure, then we are leaving no room for shame to take hold. This work is not easy and many times a therapeutic environment is a recommended safe haven for perfectionists, strivers, and fellow strugglers. It is a place where discovery and new learning can begin.

Written by: Taylor Garcia M.A., LPC-Intern

Under the Supervision of Julie Summers M.A., LPC-S