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GPS Counseling, LLC



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Dreams Fullfilled Beyond Adversity

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 1:02 PM Comments comments (258)

Dreams Fulfilled Beyond Adversity
The following is a true story . . .
In the 3 grade, a young boy’s teacher told his parents that their son was not “just a slow reader,” but that he had a reading disorder. It was at that moment that the mother understood why her son would sit for hours in tears trying to learn ten vocabulary words.  The parents hired a reading specialist who worked with him and taught him some tools to improve his reading ability. Even with these helpful tools, the specialist told the parents that he would never be able to go to a four-year university because it would be too difficult and too fast paced for him. 
However, this young boy was full of life, youthfulness, and his innocence did not know defeat.
His mother and father did not accept this “disorder” prognosis as defeat.  They continued to inspire, encourage, and instill confidence that he could accomplish anything he set his heart and mind to.  The day came when he decided he wanted to go to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.  His reading “disorder” was his adversity, but he made the choice to not let it defeat him.  He believed in himself and had a dream in his heart.  Not only did he achieve a degree in civil engineering, but he also went on to obtain an MBA from Rice University, where he graduated with honors.  Life gave him adversity, but he had a dream.  He did not allow this adversity to defeat him.  Although he was faced with challenges along the way, he was determined, driven, and successful by taking one step at a time.  He did not allow adversity to win.
The story I write about is that of my oldest son. I am his mother!  I tell you this story to inspire you to fulfill your dreams and be the person that encourages others to fulfill their dreams. 
2017 is a year of rebirth towards our new desires and those desires that we think are lost . . . a new dream, a new hope, a new beginning.
Adversity works against our dreams.  The definition of adversity is misfortune, trouble, difficulty, hardship, distress, disaster, tribulation, and trauma.  Adversity attempts to prevent our desires, hopes, and dreams from being fulfilled. 
Do we welcome adversity?  Of course not.  Sometimes the negative aspects of adversity can be utilized to drive us towards our dreams.  Inspiration of a dream is beautiful and prevents us from living a dull, mundane life. Physical endeavors and boundaries would not be improved; challenges and intellectual accomplishments would not be met. Life would be systematic with little change and growth in human expansion physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  It is our dreams and visions that drive us to live life to the fullest.
What are your dreams for 2017?
A few basic steps to begin fulfilling both new and old dreams:
  1. Write down what you would like to accomplish.
  2. Tell your ideas to someone you trust and respect.  Someone who will both encourage and speak truth.
  3. Begin building a time-line.  Update it often.
  4. Write a positive statement to yourself and read it whenever you have negative thoughts.  A statement that refutes thoughts of fear and hopelessness.
  5.   When adversity comes, recognize it.
Let go of what is already behind you.
The day is before you.
Go after your dreams.
He is a good good Father.

Grandparents as Positive Role Models

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (25)

I’m writing this article not only from a psychological perspective, but also as a personal perspective. I am grandmother to four grandchildren and five step-grandchildren, all unique and special. I can honestly say the changing of the guard (going from parenting to grandparenting) takes on a new perspective which is rewarding, fun and interactive, and sometimes challenging trying to provide the needed support and relief for parents.  I thought it would be interesting to ask my husband what his thoughts are concerning the influence of a grandparent as a positive role model in today’s society. Jokingly his response was something like “Grandparent’s role is to help their grandchildren create new mischief and have fun doing it!” This approach is an actual psychological style of grandparenting. If you’re that kind of grandparent, you are what is called the “fun-seeking” grandparent.  The fun grandparent only wants to make sure grandchildren have fun! Reinforcing parental structure and teachable moments is not top priority with fun-seeking style of grandparenting. Although my husband was joking, this is a common approach today. By the way, my husband thought that idea was funny and he is definitely a fun grandparent, however he is very much a grandparent who interacts, encourages, and is an extension of family structure reinforcing what parents want and will allow children to do when they visit. When grandparents keep a balance between being the fun grandparent and the formal grandparent, they are an extension of the parental structure. These two approaches combined enhance greater emotional support and cohesiveness for the family. The “formal approach” or style is showing strong interest in their grandchildren, leave parenting to grandchildren’s parents and are careful not to give uninvited advice.
Key to being a grandparent who reinforces the structure of the family unit is communication with parents, and mutual respect. Parents should initiate the communication with grandparents letting them know what their expectations are while grandchildren are in the care of their grandparent. The expectation of a grandparent is then out in the open and grandparents can openly say what they are comfortable doing or not doing. This initial open communication with respect is a way to avoid possible future misunderstandings on expectations.   
Grandparents are observed and watched by little ones making the influence tremendous and rewarding in life of a grandparent. Grandparents teach just by spending time with their grandchildren, not ever having to verbally teach anything. Grandparents influence the way grandchildren view the world around them, so much so there are times children want to grow up to be more like their grandparent than anyone else.
Grandparents wear many “hats” in the family when it comes to relationships with grandchildren and their own children. Grandparents can provide support emotionally or physically for grandchildren and children. In today’s society both parents typically work and the ability to rely upon a grandparent for help in caring for physical needs and emotional needs of grandchildren is such a stress release for the parents, at the same time rewarding for the grandparent.  
Studies have shown grandparents that see their grandchildren frequently and interact with their lives seem happier with life in their older age and have less depression. They feel needed, wanted and a part of the family unit. One of the strong benefits of being an interactive and available grandparent is building relationship with grandchildren who someday may need to talk with a loving, listening grandparent as opposed to talking with a parent. When those special moments occur, the years of interaction as grandparent will pay off. How important is it in today’s society to have someone who you know loves you and wants the best for you give you sound advice who has wisdom beyond your youth? I would say extremely valuable. To all the parents, make time for grandchildren to know their grandparents. Grandparents, don’t be too busy or unavailable. This is your legacy and grandchildren need your input. Their parents need your support. Connection and cohesive loving, warm family environments promote secure children who then turn around and give the security and safe environment to their children. For those who are less fortunate to have grandparents, or grandparents who for whatever reason cannot help, there are plenty of elderly who would love to take on a supportive grandparenting role. They probably need the family as much as you would need them!
By Georgia Smith-Lyle, MA, LPC-S
GPS Counseling

Emotional Breathrough Using Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 12:59 PM Comments comments (153)

Emotional Breakthrough using Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
Horses were domesticated about 5,000 years ago. That’s a long time. They have been used in all areas of life from travel, ranch and farm work to leisure and sporting events. Much has been learned about these majestic animals. They are a “herd” animal as opposed to a “pack” animal like dogs or coyotes. Because they are a herd animal, they have a basic instinct to protect the other horses in the group and they travel in their group. When they are threatened by a predator or detect harm, they will surround and defend the horse(s) that are in danger. They also will draw the attention away from the herd to themselves in order to protect the others. From these basic caring instincts of staying together to defend at all cost, we know horses feel deeply and have a strong sense of their surroundings. They are more aware of their surroundings than humans and can see and hear in all directions. Their ears can move front, side, and to the back of them for acute hearing. Their eyes are positioned on the side of their face so they can see all around them. Their noses are large and nostrils large so they can detect smells from far away. The physic of a horse and the way they interact in their surroundings tells us they are extremely sensitive to everything and anyone around them. This is why they have gained popularity in being used for healing of trauma and other emotional issues in the world of psychotherapy – Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). Horses feel the emotions of people and some horses absorb the same emotion. They have an intuitive sense about them that is stronger than most humans. They remember expressions on the face of people. They are highly sensitive to the touch of a human. Many horses will observe the emotion of a person who interacts with them. Emotions such as rejection, betrayal, fear, anxiety, depression, grief, joy, gladness, peace are examples of what they feel. Equine therapy is also useful for trauma (with our war veterans or those who have suffered abuse and grief) and working through extreme fear. Leadership and team building for businesses or groups is also another way a horse is used today. This kind of use of horses is called Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and many times a licensed therapist is present along with the EAL coach to help the process when emotions surface that need professional attention.
I have used my horses for equine psychotherapy in conjunction with traditional therapy for last two years at my ranch in Petty, Texas. I have experienced first hand the emotional healing and breakthrough that comes through these majestic, sensitive animals. I have worked with a family of a single parent, and person with high anxiety, and another person who experienced extreme grief for years from the loss of a loved one. These are only a few examples. All situations came away with success and healing from the experience they had with my horses. There are many places in surrounding areas that provide equine psychotherapy. My husband and I work together providing Equine Assisted Learning for groups and businesses as well. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is also extremely useful with special needs children and has proven successful.
I hope you have found this article insightful and helpful. Even though horses are majestic and usually much larger than us, we don’t need to be afraid of them. We do need to have a respect for their large bodies and be aware of healthy boundaries when working with them and wear the proper shoes. Working with horses will also give you an increased awareness for the environment around you. Spending time with a horse or a group of horses will help you overcome your fears and encourage confidence. This happens when you realize the horse is there to help you in whatever emotion you may be feeling. Spending time with this incredible animal will teach you more than what this article can convey in just a few words!
Written by:
Georgia Smith-Lyle, LPC-S

Building Trust with Your Child

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 12:56 PM Comments comments (5)

Open Communication with Your Child – Ages 5 to 13
Trust and dependence upon the parent or caregiver begin the moment a child is born!  As your child grows, consistency with positive parenting skills will set the tone for a closely connected relationship between child and parent. By the time your child reaches school age (5 or 6 years old) they will have hopefully formed a relationship with you based on trust. Children’s psychosocial development from the ages of five to thirteen begins with more self-awareness, awareness of others and the world around them. They become more inquisitive and adventurous. Their increased self-awareness will highlight their gifts, talents and challenges. Encouragement and confidence are very important because comparison of themselves to others will increase. They will listen to conversations others their age (or older) will have and be inquisitive. Some things other children talk about they will be familiar with, while other things they will not understand. The world around them is enlarging and so is the knowledge and awareness of several topics. Below is a list of true questions they may be having but have not yet verbalized to you.
*Mommy, am I pretty?
*Daddy, am I strong?
*Am I smart?
*Am I fat?
*Am I stupid?
*Why does ______not like me?
*My teacher likes _______ more than me.
*I’m not very smart like ______.
*Where did I come from?
*I heard ________talking about sex. What does “sex” mean?
*Why was I born a girl?
*Why was I born a boy?
*Someone likes me. Can I have a boyfriend?
*I think _________is pretty and funny. Can she be my girlfriend?
*Why do _______’s parents not live together?
*Will you and daddy/mommy ever get a divorce?
Do you think they will come to you and talk about what they are thinking or will another child be their first go to person?  Another child will be someone they talk to first sometimes, however if you have built a positive encouraging relationship with them then they will come to you frequently first. If your child believes they will disappoint or anger you, they will probably not be willing to communicate with you unless you have shown disappointment or anger expressed correctly. (Expressing your anger in the right way is important, i.e. without yelling or criticizing.) Set the stage early for a healthy foundation of trust by being open to listen, validating their feelings, never making them feel unimportant or unintelligent, encourage instead of criticize. No matter what your opinion may be as a parent, still be willing to listen. They will trust your leadership and love for them far more if they feel safe to express their thoughts. You can still say your thoughts and be the parent without demeaning or getting angry where they are afraid to communicate with you. The positive foundation you set when they are younger will carry you and them through the “rocky” teenage years with less tension and more respect and understanding.
Let me end with this short example. A friend of mine has a little girl who is about eight or nine years old. Last year her daughter told her that a girlfriend liked a little boy. Not thinking much about it and teasingly mom commented, “well you better not go a get yourself a boyfriend” or something to that affect. Mom was teasing her daughter and although she may not want her to have a boyfriend at that young age, mom knows that little crushes do happen and she is alright with that. However, mom did not realize her daughter took the comment very serious! This year a little boy started liking her daughter and her daughter had a little crush on him too. Mom suspected it but her daughter wasn’t openly telling her. One day her daughter’s girlfriend told her mom that her daughter liked this one boy but was afraid to tell her. When mom casually asked her daughter if she liked this little boy, her daughter at first denied it. Her mom then revealed someone told her she liked the little boy and it was okay to tell her. Her daughter broke down crying and said “I do like him mommy but I was afraid you would be mad at me if I told you.” This hit home to my friend and her casual words last year in teasing stuck with her daughter and caused her to not be open with her mom. The mom was crushed and learned a valuable lesson about choosing words wisely, and making a safe place for her child to talk.
There are so many things children need to be able to tell their parents. Make a safe place for them to speak their mind and ask you questions before they go and ask others who may not give them the same safe advice or guidance.

Healthy Relationships - Part 2

Posted on May 26, 2018 at 1:36 PM Comments comments (145)
Healthy Relationships - Part 2 (pg, 40 of Living Well Magazine)

Healthy Relationships: Part 1

Posted on March 23, 2018 at 5:38 PM Comments comments (234)

Holiday Cheer or Challenge

Posted on November 20, 2017 at 6:24 PM Comments comments (764)
 Article written for Living Well Magazine:Holiday Cheer or Challenge

The holiday seasons can be stressful and anxious. Keeping our holiday "cheer" during the season can be difficult. We have enough challenges and the holidays should be a time of happiness, joy and thankfulness. I hope you find this article helpful with a few suggestions on how to keep the "cheer" in your holiday! Enjoy and I hope you have a blessed holiday season.

Pruning Season of Life, written for Living Well Magazine, April, 2017

Posted on May 27, 2017 at 12:58 PM Comments comments (172)
Pruning Season of Life by Georgia Smith

Are You In A “Pruning” Season of Life
Imagine you are a tree, but not just any tree. Imagine you are a beautiful, majestic apple tree of Washington, or a lovely orange tree which grows in California orange country. Or would you rather be a juicy peach tree from Georgia? No matter which tree you favor, the process of growth year by year is similar for all fruit bearing trees. Pruning fruit trees is necessary for new vibrant growth to occur. The definition of pruning is “trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stem, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth; cut away; reduce the extent of something.” The pruning process does not only prune the dead branches but also the branches that have born growth and appear healthy. Pruning the dead branches and overgrown healthy ones are the only way to foster a healthy root system, and abundant fruit for future years. The pruning process typically takes place in wintertime.
 Human lives experience seasons just like our beautiful trees in nature. Our seasons are more complex of course, however, very similar. A winter season in a person’s life can symbolize a time when life appears to not shift in the direction you have hoped for and remains dormant. This dormancy prompts a realization that if positive change is to occur, the process of cutting away or letting go of some things in your life are necessary for the new growth and season to spring forth. This season can be uncomfortable and feel as though you are on an adventure of uncharted territory…a place where you have never gone before.  Your knowledge of what this new life change will look like might be clear or many variables still yet to be revealed.  You are definitely in a pruning season if this sounds familiar! Or maybe you have walked this way a few times in your life, and you know exactly what “pruning season” of life means. Letting go of what has been familiar and those things which brought years of security may need sorting through to determine what to take with you and what to leave behind. Embrace the process of change through the pruning season of your life, looking ahead for the new vision, and taking inventory of those things in your life that need pruning to make room for the new. We all know life is a journey, but can you make it an “adventure” if faced with new opportunities? Don’t let the wintertime of life fool you into thinking everything will remain the same. It is this season of life that can bring the greatest changes and growth if you allow the uncomfortable process of pruning to occur.
Do you have a direction or new vision you want to embrace?
Are you in a dormant, wintertime season of your life?
Are you willing to take an inventory of all the changes which need to occur?
Will you say yes to the pruning process by changing or letting go of some things to embrace the new direction?

If your answers are “yes” to all of the above, you are in for a journey full of adventure. Embrace the change, acknowledge any fear of change, and don’t be paralyzed by fear. Be confident in the new growth and look forward to a positive outcome.  
Georgia Smith-Lyle, MA, LPC-S

Nutrients Affect on Emotinal Wellbeing and the Brain

Posted on January 28, 2017 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (33)

Nutrients Affect on Emotional Wellbeing and the Brain
In 2012 I attended a continuing education course on the affects of specific nutrients in relation to mental health and brain functions. I was pleasantly surprised to see those who attended were varied in professions from doctors, nurses, trainers, massage therapist, chiropractors and mental health counselors like me. My first impression was there must be factual and scientific evidence to support this topic or there would not be such a wide array of professions (those professions who help people with their physical and emotional problems daily). I was ready to learn as much as I could. What I will attempt to do is convey briefly some of the valuable information I absorbed in six hours of this course. I hope it will be as eye opening and life changing for you as it was for me. If nothing else, I hope you gain such an interest that you do further study and research which will help you and others around you.
As a mental health counselor, I counsel many people with varied issues. I am convinced healthy emotional wellness is maintained by a healthy balance of good nutrition, exercise, and emotional healing and stability. Our physical body interacts and affects our emotional stability and vice versa. Both are affected by the other and if one is off balance, the other will be affected negatively. Exercise and good nutrition will help maintain the proper level and function of your neurotransmitters, which are chemicals released allowing signals to be passed from one neuron to the next. Memory, appetite, mental function, mood, movement and the wake-sleep cycle are all nerve functions which neurotransmitters regulate. The specific neurotransmitters I want to mention are serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, and norepinephrine.  With the proper nutrients and exercise, neurotransmitters will function at the capacity they were created to function and will directly affect our emotional wellness. Nutrients high in B vitamins, vitamin C and E, iron, selenium and magnesium are involved in production of neurotransmitters. Moods are regulated by serotonin, therefore it is important to eat food which support the balance of  serotonin such as nuts, milk, dates, papayas, and bananas. Dopamine production helps regulate the flow of information in the brain, playing a role in memory, attention and problem solving. Dopamine is associated with reward mechanisms which involves things that “feel good.” Dopamine is stored in nerve cells and requires a protein-rich meal. With the help of vitamin C, dopamine is then converted to norepinephrine causing increased feelings of alertness and energy. Endorphins are always associated with “happy” state of mind. Endorphins are sometimes described as morphine-like neurotransmitters and are produced through moderately intense physical activity including biking, running, swimming, or yoga.  Neurotransmitters play such an important role and healthy emotional state of mind and are maintained through the proper nutrients and exercise.
Although several disorders were discussed during the course and the affects certain nutrients have on helping to improve them, anxiety is the one I would like to concentrate on in this article. Others mentioned were mood disorders, depression, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s. Allergies, food cravings, stress related eating and appetite, sleep and awareness were some physical issues discussed and what nutrients were needed to help regulate them.
Anxiety affects close to 40 million people in the United States. Anxiety is a fear based manifestation of a deeper problem, increasing acute awareness of potential threats, or heightened fear of past events that lay dormant in the subconscious upon which a present event triggers the emotion of fear/anxiety to surface. People with anxiety most likely have a shortage of  the neurotransmitter serotonin during stress. Anxiety of course causes a negative mood and sometimes a craving for sweets. A healthy nutritional approach to anxiety would include supplementation with magnesium, passionflower, and L-theanine (amino acid) found in tea (increases brain dopamine and alpha-wave activity). A healthy physical approach would include moderate but regular exercise which will regulate your neurotransmitters (particularly produce dopamine and endorphins). The intense build up of stress (cortisol) from anxiety needs a physical release as well as an emotional release. Remember balance is the key to maintaining healthy emotional stability; balance with good nutrition, exercise and processing of emotions in a healthy way!
Georgia Smith is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. She provides counseling for children, adolescents, adults, marriage and family in the Dallas area. She is also the mother of three grown children, two daughter-in-laws and a grandson who also reside in Texas. Georgia has a BA degree in Economics from the University of North Texas and an MA degree in Counseling from Amberton University. As an author and counselor, she has a passion for writing, counseling, and public speaking to encourage others to become all they were created to be. She has written and published one book called You Are My Beloved, Now Believe It, with a supplemental devotional study guide. She is starting her second book called Mercy Falls Like Rain, which she hopes to have finished by Spring of 2016.

Mercy Falls Like Rain

Posted on January 28, 2017 at 1:16 AM Comments comments (2)
Mercy Falls Like Rain

Grace and Mercy have Kissed
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7 Christ pours out His mercy over and over again, strengthening us for the race set before us. The strength to overcome is His unstoppable grace. Because of His mercy, we have been given His grace. They are intertwined and woven together working always for our benefit, even when we do not realize they are at work. Think of mercy and grace’s interaction together in comparison to a sailboat. A sailboat cannot sail without the wind. The sailboat is at the mercy of the wind. But without the actual sail being hoisted in the right position and turned at the perfect angle, the sailboat has little strength which is the grace. Mercy and grace always work together. In fact, mercy propels us to seek the grace (strength) to continue. Mercy brings encouragement where there has been devastation. Mercy brings restoration and life. Why would we want to give up on life and God’s love when we continuously see His mercy poured over us. His mercy gives jump start to His incredible grace (strength).