Colorado Rocky Mountain Talk Therapy

Lori Pahl, LPC

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An Ongoing Series of Informational Entries



I think it is important to take the concept of normal and put it into the context of "individual normal". There is a sliding scale of normal and the marking points on that scale are determined by societal, psychological, medical, cultural, political, and spiritual terminology. When you look at it that way normal is so broad that no one or nothing are the same normal. Most would like to think it is possible because then you can lump it all together into a little box, set it aside,  and feel good about it. Then there is justification for assuming and judging others or even self  when there is a slight deviation from "acceptable" norms. 

I prefer to look at normal from an individualist view because my normal is not my parent's normal, my children's normal or my friends and colleagues normal. There are of course similarities but that is all they are; similarities. There are expectations associated with the concept of normal and when those expectations are not met there is sadness, anxiousness, guilt, hurt, a whole plethora of emotions, thoughts and feelings that are "normal to have" but escalate into something more often  leading to distorted processes. 

This first really struck me when my children were ages 13, 12, and 9 (all boys mind you) and there was a minor argument with me because I said no to something they wanted to do and out of their mouths came "Mom! why can't you just be normal?". I remember standing there, looking at them and my mouth dropping open. How dare you say that? I felt hurt, angry, and put down and the next thing out of my mouth was "just so you know, I am normal, I am Lori normal".

I remember after I said that I thought about it a lot. I felt like the worst mom. I had to, in that moment,   justify myself because I was not perceived as normal. Upon further evaluation I had to ask myself the question Is my son's perception of normal, in comparison with other parents, valid. Is some ways yes, and I readily admit it because I am not the average normal by any means but does that mean my normal is healthy?  So I have to choice to keep the healthy normal as odd as it may seem to others, and work on my unhealthy normal for that new and improved normal.  

My normal was and is not always perfect but it can be changed or perfected over time and that makes it all perfectly Lori Normal and that is ok. 

Each of you are your own set of normal. What is YOUR normal?  Is it healthy or unhealthy or a combination of both? And after this pandemic what parts of  YOUR normal are worth coming back to? What do you want to change because parts of your old normal are unhealthy? More importantly what are you willing to do? Your life is your own just as your normal is your own. 



Facts About:​

March 31, 2020

How is COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to be spread mainly from person to person through close contact (about 6 feet or less). The most likely way to get sick is to come into contact with the respiratory droplets from an infected person that they produce when they talk, sneeze, or cough. COVID-19 is also present in their stools.

However, it’s possible to get infected through handshakes or contact with infected surfaces or objects. Most common surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, toilets, phones, keyboards, keys, light switches, etc.

How do I prevent it?

As with other infectious conditions, these prevention basics are your best defense:

Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice)

After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

Before eating

After going to the bathroom

Before touching your face

Any time your hands are dirty

Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content when soap and water are not available

Always wash with soap and water when your hands are dirty

Avoid touching mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands

Avoid contact with sick people

Stay home if you feel sick

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

Cough and sneeze into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue on hand, then wash your clothes as soon as possible

Clean and sanitize objects and surfaces you frequently touch, using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes

Avoid large crowds and events as much as possible

Experiencing Symptoms?

COVID-19 can feel a lot like a cold or the flu. The main symptoms are:



Shortness of breath

Less common symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, and headache.

Should I go to the doctor?

If you’re concerned about your symptoms, call your doctor before going into the office. They are trained to ask the right questions and give you the best advice about any needed precautions or instructions. Be sure to mention:

Recent travel, especially out of the country

Possible contact with an infected person

Your symptoms

If you can’t reach your doctor, call an urgent care or hospital before visiting. If you’re directed to the emergency room, call them for any special instructions before you leave.

If you go to your doctor for any reason, even if you do not believe you’re at risk for COVID-19, call your doctor before going into the office. They may need to make special arrangements to protect other patients.

Can I get an online doctor’s appointment?

Ask your doctor or hospital if they offer virtual or online visits (telehealth) for flu symptom or COVID-19 evaluation and treatment.

Is testing available?

There is a test available for patients who may have COVID-19. Test supplies are limited. A healthcare professional will determine if you should be tested. Your doctor is your best resource, but urgent care centers, hospitals, and emergency rooms have access to the test, too.

Drive-through testing, which currently still requires a doctor’s order, is gradually becoming available in certain communities.

For more information about testing, contact your state health department or call a local COVID-19 hotline.

Should I use a facemask?

The CDC currently recommends only people with symptoms use face masks, in order to reduce the spread of the infection to healthy people. If you are instructed by your doctor’s office to go into their facility or elsewhere to be evaluated, wear your own mask if you have one.

I hope this information has helped you feel more prepared to understand, prevent, and deal with COVID-19. After all, we’re in this together.

People experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms (COVID-19) who are uninsured and do not have an established doctor should call the COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775 for guidance.


Qualities of a good Counselor

March 1, 2020

Imagine that feeling of the weight of the world being on your shoulders; everything closing in and not being able to catch a break. We've all been there and sometimes an objective sounding board is all that is needed. But who do we go to so we don't feel like we are being a burden? With all the helping professions out there, that too can be daunting. 

Professional counselors are licensed mental health therapists providing assessment, diagnosis and counseling to people facing a variety of life stressors and psychological problems. The things to look for in a great counselor are:

  1. Acceptance - the ability to "start where the client is at."
  2. Empathetic - the ability to feel what another person is feeling (a.k.a walk in their shoes).
  3. Rapport Building Skills - the ability to develop a strong relationship and cultivate trust. 
  4. Communication - the ability to listen and be able clearly explain ideas, concepts, and thoughts to others.
  5. Problem Solving Skills - the ability to "help" clients identify and make changes to negative thought patterns and other harmful behaviors that might be contributing to their issues.
  6. Flexibiility - the ability to adapt and change to a clients needs.
  7. Self Awareness - the ability to recognize one's own character, feelings, motives and desires to prevent own issues from affecting or influencing their client. 
  8. Multicultural Competency -  the ability to understand how cultural beliefs and differences affect and interact with problems within diverse patient populations.  

Finding this type of counselor will  bring about a greater outcome for success