Sandy Richter provides therapy for children, adolescents, and adults who are experiencing life stressors, stage of life changes, or who have complex behavioral health issues. She works hard to be an affirming therapist and to be inclusive of individuals with developmental or gender identity issues. She utilizes affirming practice techniques, compassion therapy techniques, psychoeducation, trauma-informed care for adults, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for children and adolescents, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy techniques for all ages.
Featuring Sandy Richter, LCSW, Therapist, Dakota Family Services
Host Tim Unsinn:
Welcome to Mind Your Mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services, an outpatient behavioral health clinic, located in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo, North Dakota. In this podcast, I will talk with our experts about understanding and nurturing our mental health and wellness. I'm your host, Tim Unsinn. Join me each episode as we explore the intricacies of our minds, decrease the stigma of mental illness, learn practical tips for managing our mental health and wellbeing, and recognize when it's time to ask for help. Join me now to Mind Your Mind.
Welcome to this episode of Mind Your Mind. Our guest is Sandy Richter. Sandy is a therapist in Minot. Sandy, it is great to have you on Mind Your Mind. Our topic is coping exercises. However, before we get to that awesome topic, there's a question I ask all of our guests, and that is, why do you do what you do?
I just love helping people in general. I'm just very passionate about anyone that is struggling with mental health, life changes. Sometimes we all just need a little helping hand.
Thanks, Sandy that's great. So our topic is coping exercises, and it seems like we've got a few things to cover, a few bases, if you will, to cover on this topic. First, deep breathing for children.
So a lot of people don't know that children do not automatically know how to calm and self-regulate. So deep breathing exercises are things that you can teach your children, and they learn through having fun. So oftentimes we call it animal breathing. When we're teaching them how to breathe like an animal, they get to select an animal of their choice. So if they are selecting perhaps a lion, we're teaching them to take a deep breath in through their nose, hold it. We will count to three or four, and then we will have them exhale with a big loud roar. And we'll practice that several times. And they are having fun and they are also learning a very important skill to help regulate their emotions.
And it seems like kids have wide and varied emotions, but maybe not, like you say, know how to deal with that.
Yeah, and so there's very creative ways, maybe if they're not interested in roaring like animals. Blowing bubbles, taking a deep breath in through your nose, and then encouraging them to make that bubble as big as possible and blowing out really slow to grow that bubble. And so another way that you could teach them is pinwheel breathing, or you could also call it cupcake breathing. You just take a deep breath in through your nose and then you were blowing either a pinwheel or you were blowing out like a candle.
So of all the, all the fun deep breathing exercises for kids, which, which of those is the most favorite?
It depends on the child, really. Some of them really get into playing animals. Some of them just really enjoy blowing the bubbles.
I can just see the lion one. I can just see that being a hit, you know, breathing and then roaring out and, and not get in trouble for it. I love that one.
And believe it or not, with the Jurassic Park movies that have just been coming out recently, dinosaur breathing is another really popular one. It's done the same way as an animal. But in that particular one we combine putting your hands out in front of you and then opening your hands, your palms, apart as you breathe in, and then snapping them down as they are exhaling and roaring.
Love that one too. Fun, fun stuff. Okay. So deep breathing for kids. What about deep breathing for adolescence and adults?
Yeah, so with them, they really understand the process pretty easily. So we have what we call square or box breathing, and that is where you can either trace a square or imagine a square. You breathe in counting to four on one side. On the second side, you're holding counting to four. On the bottom of the box you are exhaling counting to four. And the last side is really just a rest of four. And then you can complete that box several times until you start to feel yourself calm.
What about word breathing?
Yeah. Word breathing is another very simple type of breathing. They can pick a word of their choice. This type of breathing, word breathing, is common. It comes from what we call an illness management and recovery model. And an example would be, you could use the word calm. You would breathe in through your nose, quietly spelling the word in your mind, c a l m, and then as you breathe out, you are going to exhale that word out as long as possible.
I love that one too. These are all fun. These are all really, really good. Our guest on Mind Your Mind is Sandy Richter. Sandy is a therapist on our Minot campus, and our topic is coping exercises: breathing, and movement. We've talked about breathing. Now let's talk about movement exercises for children and adolescents.
So with children just giving them a way to exert that energy that comes maybe with anxiety and where they're having trouble regulating emotions. Plus also, if you distract them and get them doing something, then they start to let their worried thoughts, they let them go. We do animal walking, pretending we're an animal and, you know, walking like an elephant walking like a crab. Different things like that just to get movement. Remember when we were children and we were in kindergarten, perhaps first grade, and we played hokey pokey. Getting those, you know, muscles moving, that is really a favorite one. It's helpful when kids can't sit still. Maybe they have some adhd, maybe they just are moving a lot because they're very anxious. So we will dance and play and do hokey pokey.
Lot of fun, fun ones for the kids. How about movement exercises for adolescents and adults? And as, as I kind of look at that, I'm thinking I'm jealous of the kids ones.
You know, really any kind of movement that you can do to exert that energy that you're feeling internally, can be therapeutic. Teenagers, you know, shooting hoops. Or just going for a walk and talk, you know, as part of a therapy session. Or if you're a parent, you know, walking and hit the mall with your teenager that might want to shop and pick up maybe an item at one of their favorite novelty stores. Dancing is another really popular one. I encourage clients all the time to put some music on at home and just move. Others like yoga, some other kinds of mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, that just kind of helps give them some movement, as well as centering.
Seems like the key is just movement.
I guess that's why it's a movement exercise, right?
And sitting is not a movement. All right. Awesome. Thank you, Sandy. I appreciate you being on Mind Your Mind. Before we wrap up and finish, I do have a final question for you, and that is, what do you do personally to mind your mind?
When I'm at work and the day is busy and things like that, I'm very mindful just to take a few minutes for myself to breathe between appointments. I will also just get up and take a short little walk down the hallway and walk back before I go out to see the next person that is coming to visit with me. When I'm at home, I'm another one. I like movement and our daily tasks can be movement as well, but I also make sure that I have time to spend with quality time with family and doing things that I enjoy, like baking or I like to relax with a hot bath or read a good book.
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for your time and your talent and thank you for joining us on Mind Your Mind. Thank you.
Thank you for joining us for Mind Your Mind a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services. For more information, links to additional resources, contact information, and much more, go to dakotafamilyservices.org.
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