#4. The Loneliness Epidemic: How to Help Others Through The Aloneness They're Experiencing

6 ceu/clock hrs.  6 core hrs. for Counselors and Social Workers



*3.  Working With Older Clients: What Therapists Have to Know About an Ever-expanding and Underserved Population (That Is Worried That If They're Over 60, They May Not Receive Treatment For COVID-19 Among a Great Many Other Things)
6 ceu/clock hrs.  6 core hrs. for Counselors and  Social Workers



 ​People 65 years old and older are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. By 2030, older adults will account for 20 percent of our nation's people, up from 13 percent in 2008. Despite the broad range of exciting opportunities for practice with older adults, not enough therapists exist to keep pace with the increasing demand for psychological services nor do enough therapists understand the many facets related to age increase. Mental health and well-being are as important in older age as at any other time of life.

This workshop will provide information that therapists need to know to be of the most help to the aging population. I hesitate to use certain words such as 'senior' or 'elderly or 'old'. These mean different things to different people, but will use them in the context of the information I've researched. I also hesitate to use particular numbers, but will use them in the context of the information I've researched. As many of us have experienced, you can join AARP at 50, some of us get into a movie cheaper when we're 55; some at 60; some at 65. I now qualify for a 'senior' discount on my sweet tea at Chick Fil A, but when I asked what age they used to determine the discount, no one seemed to know. I'm hoping it's not by looks or I'll be saving up for Botox.

 The following are areas we’ll be addressing in this workshop. The information will be presented through the use of lecture, videos, and discussion.

 - Clinical Issues

- Professional issues and education

- Common Presenting Issues

 -Psychological disorders 

 -Types of counseling 

 -Reducing Barriers to Counseling Services

 -Debunking 5 harmful myths about this population

 -Key mental health concepts and disorders

 -Treatment approaches for working with older adults

 -Risk factors for mental health problems among older adults

Obviously he helps attendees focus on the workshop information. Please remember he does not have opposable thumbs and won't be able to take notes for you.

Re: January-June, 2020 Workshops  

I left these up because they're just so sweet.

He'll sit in your lap if you want him to.  You do have to give him back to me at the end of the workshop.

A great deal of the information related to the workshops is incorrect now or no longer applicable. I've left things up so I won't have to re-create the information down the line. Please be aware of this and please check out the courses in the menu to your right.

*5. Mindful Marriage: A New Way to Help Couples 

6 ceu/clock hrs.  6 core hrs. for Counselors and Social Workers

Please take just a minute and join the E-mail Blast List. Helpful stuff and no fluff. 

Pal will guard your seat if you need him to.    (No tip required.)

This is my guy, Pal. He's a 7 year old white miniature schnauzer and very much a people dog. If he were a child, he wouldn't understand 'stranger danger'.

         Thanks to E.T. for his toy.

                            The Workshops:

                      TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS:

Dr. Karen McCleskey Workshops, Inc. provider # 6489, is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP is responsible for all aspects of the program.                                                                             

TX PAP SW  # 7849

*Workshops are core for LPC’s and SW’s; Related for LMFT’s 

*Ethics workshops satisfy the Board's requirements for LPC's, SW's, and LMFT's      

​​                      Description:

**All people gave consent to have their photo put on the website.  Thanks to you all for allowing me to do this!

Definition of Mindful: Attentive; the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also such a state of awareness. maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. Being mindful also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them.

Definition of Marriage: a legal union between 2 people that makes their lives hell and also makes life have meaning, purpose, and positive connection.

This is a very simple and very complicated topic about learning what it takes to be happily married and how to avoid being miserably married and how develop skills around being mindful can make the difference between the two.

I want to make it very clear that just because a couple practices having a ‘mindful marriage’ doesn’t mean that relationship won’t end. Marriage isn't  guaranteed to end in "happily ever after." It isn't the end of the road, the resting spot for eternal happiness. Marriage is one of the most challenging and rewarding paths we can commit to as human beings.

Marriage will activate every element of un-shed grief, unattended fear, unfinished business, unfinished transitions, and it will bring to light the fear and false beliefs about love absorbed from our culture. Knowing that the going is supposed to get rough and being mindful can give you fortitude to stay when you want to walk out the door. *Please know I do recognize sometimes you just have to walk out the door: any kind of abuse (and we all know there are more kinds than just physical)  should not be tolerated which means that with some couples we won't be helping them learn to be mindful in their marriages, we'll be doing 'conscious uncoupling.'

We’ll take an in-depth view of what a ‘Mindful Marriage’ can look like, what the components of being mindful are, and how to implement them into the marital relationship. We’ll also be taking a hard look at some of the most harmful myths about marriage that way too many couples think are true and we’ll bust those myths and replace them with accurate information. We'll do this through the use of lecture, discussion, small group activities, and videos. 

I want to be clear about how I’m using the word ‘marriage’.  Before June 26, 2015, I never used the word because it didn’t apply to everyone. Since then I use the word, but only in the legal sense. There are many couples who are together in the fullest sense of being ‘married’ but they have not taken the steps to make that union legal. There are ‘common law’ marriages; there are ‘commitment ceremonies’. I think what I’m trying to say is that the information in this workshop is for any of our clients that we, as the professional, discern will be helpful in whatever kind of relationship people have. We'll do this through the use of lecture, discussion, and videos.

​​*1. The Challenge of Ethical Decision Making: How To Do The Right Thing When You Don’t Know What It Is  
5 ceu/clock hrs. *This workshop meets the Licensing Board’s 5 hr. Ethics requirement. Counselors and Social Workers may choose to count this as core hrs. or as the 5 required Ethics hrs.

Essentially ethics is about morality and behaving with integrity. Remember from graduate school: ‘Do good and do no harm’?  At its core, ethics is about doing the right thing. The only problem is that so many times we just don’t know what the right thing to do is. The difference between what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong’ is affected by more factors than you might believe. Through the use of lecture, discussion, and killer videos (one is from Oprah!), this workshop will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn how to make difficult decisions when they’re faced with the challenge of discerning just what’s right or wrong.

All the information below is about the on-line courses (Text/Read) and (Watch) that are in the menu to your right.

Obviously these workshops are done.....sort of. I've turned 3 of them into On Line Courses: some are  'Watch' Pre-recorded  webinars and some into 'Text/Read'. Please join the Email Blast List. I'll blast when these are up as OLC's.


Why am I offering a workshop on loneliness? Two reasons:  

Reason # 1. Because it’s killing people emotionally, physically, psychologically, and yes, literally. You know loneliness is a huge issue when Britain’s Prime Minister creates a ‘Minister for Loneliness’. Countries around the world are increasingly examining loneliness—typically defined as the feeling of lacking or losing companionship—as a public health concern. Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness a “growing health epidemic” in citing a study that said social isolation is “associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

Check this out: research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and even death.

Reason # 2:  Take a look at the risks listed above and you’ll see how a therapist who understands what loneliness really is, how to identify it in our clients, and what to do to help and heal our clients with this epidemic is the best person for this undertaking.

Research points to therapists missing the component of loneliness when working with clients. If you’ve been coming to the workshops lately you’ve heard me say over and over: wrong diagnosis=wrong treatment. Another way to say this as related to the workshop is not recognizing loneliness as part of other things that bring our clients in to see us hurts, rather than heals the pain the lonely client experiences.

We’ll identify the multiple factors behind the existence of loneliness and look at a variety of research-backed treatments and how therapists can use them to help stop the epidemic of loneliness.

We’ll be looking at all the populations who experience loneliness. Conventional wisdom is wrong when it says the only lonely people are the elderly. People can experience loneliness at any age.

As I look back over the clients I’ve worked with through the years, I realize I missed the component of loneliness present in the clients' lives. I called it something else, thus missing an opportunity to address a huge part of my clients’ clinical issues.

This workshop is to help therapists recognize loneliness in our clients and learn to use the readily available types of treatments to help heal a condition that takes the lives of people, literally and figuratively.

Decades ago the Beatles asked through their song “Eleanor Rigby”: “All the lonely people, Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, Where do they all belong?” Those questions, plus many more will be examined in this workshop through the use of lecture, discussion, small group activities, and videos.


Lastly, loneliness, the kind we're seeing now, creates mental health problems. Period. The end. When this virus crisis is over, therapists are going to be seeing a lot of people who were negatively affected by it. You and I both know that loneliness won't be the only issue that will need to be worked on. But for right now, we're going to focus on helping clients get through the disconnection and isolation they're experiencing.

​​​*2. Effective Therapy for the Highly Sensitive Person  
6 ceu/clock hrs.  6 core hrs. for Counselors and Social Workers


If you haven’t heard of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), there’s a good reason. The characteristics of an HSP are very often mistaken for a ‘condition’ or a ‘disease’ or a ‘disorder’ or a ‘personality flaw’ or a ‘syndrome’. The person is often labeled ‘neurotic’ or ‘hysterical’. Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) is not a disorder. In fact, it’s a completely normal and healthy thing to be. It’s very often misunderstood because only about 15-20 percent of the population are HSP’s.  So what is an HSP? It’s simple.  The definition of a highly sensitive person is someone who experiences acute physical, mental, or emotional responses to stimuli. An HSP has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment. HSP’s are people with a sensitive nervous system who are deeply affected by the subtleties in their environment.

A highly sensitive person (HSP) experiences the world differently than others. Due to a biological difference that they’re born with, highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties and process information deeply. This means they tend to be creative, insightful, and empathic, but it also means they’re more prone than others to feel stress and overwhelmed. An HSP basically over-feels everything.

Why do therapists need to understand HSP’s? So that treatment of whatever brings the HSP to therapy is designed appropriately. HSP isn’t a disorder or a condition, but rather a personality trait. A treatment plan for a person displaying a disorder would be different from the way therapy would work in helping someone achieve ‘running a trait’ and not letting the ‘trait run them’.

HSPs who are chronically over-stimulated and feel incapable of exercising control over their environment may be at higher risk for developing feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and then depression.

Being highly sensitive is not a diagnosis. You’ll find no mention of it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM-V), which is the professional resource for diagnosing mental health concerns. Sensitivity, instead, is becoming increasingly recognized as a personality trait and as part of a person’s innate temperament, much like being naturally outgoing, reliable or independent.

I can’t stress enough how important having correct information about HSP’s is. I’d like to give you just one personal example that I hope will drive home my point.

I’m an HSP. (Most therapists are.) One of the many descriptors of an HSP is a high startle reflex. When I lived in AZ I got a horrible sinus infection and went to a doctor. He was a very fast paced guy, the kind of doctor where you talk to his back because he’s always headed toward the door. He did something I wasn’t expecting and I jumped like a frog on speed. Guess what he said? ‘People who startle as easily as you do have most often been abused as children. You might want to see a counselor about that.’ Because I am a therapist, I know he was dead wrong, but what if I weren’t a therapist? What if I took him at his word and got into therapy about something that never happened? I’m going to give you dozens of examples of how misunderstanding an HSP can lead to horrible outcomes.

I better stop. I’ll end up doing the workshop in the description. Obviously I feel very strongly about the need for therapists to know more about HSP’s. I hope you’ll attend so you can be an advocate for HSP’s. Information will be presented through the use of lecture, discussion, and videos.