Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How to Identify a Covert Narcissist

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

The Overt Narcissists are easy to spot as they literally suck the life out of a room and absorb all of the positive and negative attention. They love to be on center stage, need constant admiration, crave affection even from inappropriate sources, and seek adoration affirmation. The Covert Narcissists (CN) or the Silent Narcissists are much more difficult to spot.

On the surface, they present as normal. It is only with a viewpoint of others, that the narcissism appears. Worst yet, it is only with a few others that it is apparent. Everyone else believes they are charming, fun to be around, disciplined, determined, and affectionate. But for a few people whom the CN dislikes, they are intimidating, unbearable, inflexible, intolerable, and cold.

Using the DSM-V as a guide for narcissism, here is how a CN presents:
  • ·         Grandiose sense of self-importance: The best word to describe this attitude is snobbish. The CN may have inherited money but they act as if they earned it or deserve it. Anyone who fails to recognize their high status is dismissed and discounted.
  • ·         Preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate: This is frequently revealed in a belief that they cannot age, squander money, lose power and influence, or fail at anything they endeavor.  A spouse, who rejects them in any way, is met with severe mental abuse, the silent treatment, withholding of sex, or verbal assaults.
  • ·         Believes they are special and unique and can only be understood by other special people: Think of this as their own special club where only the people they choose can join. Frequently this group is comprised of highly exclusive, wealthy, or elitist type of people. Anyone trying to enter this group is immediately shunned unless they meet the overly strict standards. All others are ignored as if they do not exist.
  • ·         Requires constant admiration: CNs will not ask for admiration like the overt narcissists, rather, they expect it because of who they believe they are. If they don’t get any admiration, their tolerance for others diminishes and they will engage in passive-aggressive behavior to retaliate. Expect them to sulk, procrastinate, lie, be deliberately evasive, work half-heartedly, be obstinate, and complain.
  • ·         Sense of entitlement: A CN expects others to automatically comply with their wishes whether they are stated or not. Others are supposed to “know” what the CN wants based on past experiences. This method keeps people guessing and interested in the reserved opinion of the CN while silently feeding the need for attention.
  • ·         Takes advantage of others to get what they want: Because of the quietness of the CN, most do not suspect they will be at the receiving end of mistreatment or manipulation. But this is precisely how the CN can go undetected for so long as they sneakily exploit others for their own gain.
  • ·         Lack of empathy: As a rule, narcissists demand empathy for themselves but are incapable of giving it. The CN cleverly plays the victim card over and over to keep others off the track of their inability to empathize. When the CN believes they have been wronged by others, the CN will completely cut off communication or remove the person from their life. There is no grace extended to people who harm the CN.
  • ·         Envious of others: This is the hardest category to identify as the CN works hard at not exposing any jealousy or envious behaviors. For them, this overexposes their insecurities which are protected at all costs. Instead, look for sarcastic or demeaning remarks when it is completely inappropriate.
  • ·         Shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes: Again, these behaviors and attitudes are mostly hidden from others. Even those closest to the CN will have a difficult time identifying it. However, it does appear when the CN is faced with someone they deem beneath them, than the arrogance shows.
While the CN may be difficult to spot at first, they can be discovered. Use the above explanations to identify them even sooner.

How to Find an Experienced Life Coach

by: Dwight Bain, Life Coach

Want a better life? Get a better coach because if you pick the wrong one you will not experience the results you want. In fact if you have a bad coach you may have to fire them. Don’t worry – A non-performing coach knows you will fire them since coaching is about results for the client, nothing more, nothing less.

So how can you find a better coach? Here are the action steps to help you, and those you care about , find a coach who can challenge you to climb higher, dream bigger and accomplish more than you could have ever done alone. Start with the basics in your own life…
1. Are you “coachable,” that is, do you seek out coaching and respond to critique?
2. Is your life emotionally stable?
3. Are you ready for a coach?
4. Do you have the time to take on new projects?
5. Are you eager to move past the roadblocks toward experiencing your potential?
If you answered ‘Yes” to at least 4 of these 5 questions then move forward to the next section in seeking out a great coach. However, if you answered “No” to more than half of these questions coaching may not be right for you at this time. Once an experienced coach discovers you aren’t really ready to change they will likely fire you for wasting their time.

So who is an ideal coach for you? Look for someone who:
• Shares your values
• Who has extensive experience
• Who is a good fit in personality
• Can relate to your life journey
• That you can feel connected to
• Who offers one-on-one coaching specific to your needs
• Who is taking new client’s
• Has a level of success in their niche of the coaching industry
• Who offers a free consult, (it is wise to avoid people who are more motivated about getting your money than listening to your challenges to see if they are a good fit to help)

You have to ask the right questions to find an Experienced Coach

Choosing an experienced coach is essential if you want to experience positive results to rapidly reach your goals. Here is an extensive checklist of key issues to ask before you select a coach. Asking the right question can save you a TON of problems, a lot of money and more importantly protect your time in reaching your goals.

___ Is the potential coach’s belief system and moral values similar to yours?
___ Research the coach’s education, credentials, knowledge and experience in dealing with your specific type of coaching challenge
___Ask how many years the coach been in professional practice, and how long in this region of the country? (This usually shows they are highly skilled and well connected in your region in case you need local referrals for other services).
___Ask about the coach’s professional reputation in the community; Are they viewed as a leader within their industry, or a novice just beginning their career? (Remember, experience counts when you are trying to rapidly solve problems)
___Does the coach possess additional training, certifications, and credentials that match your specific challenge?
___Is the coach quoted by the media or recognized as a published author on the issues you are facing? This is important because it shows that the coach is a trusted resource by the professional community.
___ Can you find them on the Internet via Google or other search engines as an established author or professional known for their areas of expertise who is highly trusted and recommended by other leaders?
___Was the coach referred by a physician, lawyer, clergy member or other member of the professional community that you trust?
___Was the coach referred by a prior coaching client? This adds significant credibility to the coach’s work because you can ask your friends or family what their experiences were like. Did they like their coach and was their time useful to achieve results?
___Does the coach believe in a team approach to find other professional to address challenges they are not skilled in, and are they open to referring you on to the best professional in case they can’t best meet your needs?

Critique, not Criticism
Remember, a coach’s role is to challenge you. It won’t be “warm & fuzzy” and no one will be singing “Kum-ba-Ya” at the end of the call. Coaching is about results. If your coach’s values are too different, the questions and techniques they offer may not make a lot of sense to you and you won’t achieve your goals.

Ruthlessly press past the fear of hurting feelings to make sure you have the right professional by your side. Effective Coaching is an adversarial process so you shouldn’t start looking for a new coach just because your current coach pushes and actively challenges you. Getting in your face about issues is their job. As long as they are offering valid critique you likely have the right coach.

However, CRITIQUE is different that CRITICISM. One is about challenging you, the other is about attacking you.

Finally, consider these factors after the first meeting with your coach to insure they are a good fit to achieve the greatest results.

___Did the coach listen to you, and most importantly respect you?
___Did you feel valued as a person?
___Did you feel confident the coach had the skills and experience to move forward?
___Did you feel comfortable honestly describing your roadblocks to your coach, or were you embarrassed to spell it out?
___Is the coach easy to get in touch with if you have a question, either via telephone, web or email?
___Does the coach appear to be organized, or do they have administrative support staff to assist with tasks to keep their office running efficiently and smoothly?
___Does the coach run on schedule to respect your time?
___Does the coach’s approach and style feel like a good fit?
___Do you feel that the coach is genuinely interested in you and seeing you accomplish your goals?
___Does the coach offer additional guidance through printed resources, articles, assessments, tests, books or direction toward web links to give you greater insight?
___Does the coach remember important details from meeting to meeting?
___Does the coach inspire you to accept life challenges and push you toward creating positive change?

If you can honestly say that your coach is a good fit after mapping out these factors, then buckle up, because you are about to launch on a rocket-ride toward the life you were designed to live. Finding and living out God’s potential is one of the most important goals of life. Finding and listening to the right Coach will get you there.

About the author- Dwight Bain is an author, Certified Leadership Coach and Nationally Certified Counselor based in Orlando, Follow him @dwightbain

Monday, September 26, 2016

5 Murdered at Macy's Do you know how to Stabilize Shooting Trauma? - Free Psychological Response Training

Do you know how to stabilize a victim or organization in Emotional Trauma after homicidal violence?
Free half-day training to Equip Counselors with new skills needed to manage STS and PTSD. (Breakfast and CEU's provided)

Free Psychological Trauma Response Training to Equip Counselors and Clergy after a Community Shooting to stabilize victims and organizations. (Healthy Breakfast and Florida State Approved CEU's provided)

Where? Central Florida Behavioral Hospital
6601 Central Florida Pkway. Orlando, Fl. 32821
(Near Sea World)
When?   Friday, September 30th 
FREE & open to the public!

To register, please e-mail Rich Rodriguez at 
or call 

Seating is very limited for this intensive half-day training event, so if it is full, please leave your name and contact information to be placed on the waiting list.

The Macy's Mall shooting Friday night is just one more episode of massive community violence on the rise in our country.
Orlando has been the scene of increased violence and fear since the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, the worst community shooting in the history of the United States.
Terrorist attacks are on the rise around the world, and there are more community crisis events from shooting than ever before.
People are more afraid about their safety because of the growing epidemic of senseless violence. What makes some people 'snap' into these acts of violence?
Do you know the underlying psychological patterns that could identify how to intervene or stabilize clients under your care?
Can you spot the warning signs of STS - Secondary Stress Syndrome that leads to self-destructive behavior?

This community workshop will answer these questions as well as equip you with a comprehensive guide on how to manage the psychological trauma after a community shooting to help the survivors. 
"Killers do not 'snap'. They plan. They acquire weapons."  
- USA Today

Learning Objectives
Participants will:
1. Understand the underlying psychological patterns of shooters from a comprehensive analysis of domestic and foreign terrorism and how to spot high-risk indicators of violence.

 2. Implement tested crisis management strategies to use during and immediately after a community shooting for rapid stabilization of the survivors.

3. Intervene with potentially dangerous situations in a way that protects the safety of practitioners in keeping their office, home, church or their children's school safe.

About the Presenter:
Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor in practice since 1984. His primary focus is on solving crisis events. Bain is a trusted media resource on trauma recovery who has been interviewed on over 500 radio and television stations; as well as quoted in over 100 newspapers/websites including: New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Newsday, FoxBusiness.com & MSNBC.com.

"Dwight Bain is one of the most creative communicators in the country. He is a dynamic man with a real sense of the needs of people."  ~ John Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author

Space is limited.  Register now!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Solve Morning Stress with the “Daily 5”

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

Does your morning ritual start calmly with peaceful conversations, or it is a mad rush full of conflict and chaos?

For most of us it’s a time of panic, rushing and even yelling at each other, (which never makes it better by the way). So, how can you move from a morning rush to a healthy morning routine? The answer is found in a series of daily disciplines my friend John Maxwell taught me which I call the “Daily 5”.  

These are a series of healthy rituals that are practiced every day, no matter what. The secret isn’t in listing a healthy pattern to start your day rather the real strength comes from practicing them every day.
Dr. Maxwell explains it this way, “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you receive. If you want to grow, consistency is key.” John goes on to share that his five disciplines are, reading, writing, thinking, asking questions and filing what he has learned. Watching how effectively these daily disciplines added value to my friend led to developing my own daily list. They are:
1.    Pray, (usually while walking in the morning)
2.    Scriptures, or an inspirational devotional
3.    Read/Research cultural trends in personal development and change
4.    Write about those trends to add value to others
5.    Encourage friends and family
Many years ago my lovely wife Sheila taught me the simplicity of laying out clothes and shoes the night before and placing car keys and cellphone chargers near the front door to prevent morning chaos. It works and solves tremendous conflict, yet a more organized morning will not create the lasting results of changed behavior over time.

“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” – Dr. John C. Maxwell

To solve the morning chaos and feel peaceful as you launch into your day, ask yourself what are your “Daily 5” Disciplines which could make a huge difference in your life?

Once you know what your daily 5 are, and begin to put them into practice, ask your children what their “Daily 5” Disciplines might be.
Remember, it’s important for them to select their own tasks, not yours as a parent. If they don’t know ask them what is important to make their morning function better. It might be simple, but be encouraging so your children feel empowered to take on a task, instead of waiting helplessly for you as the parent to tackle it for them.

The Daily 5 can change your home, but only if it starts with you. The way you start your day will set the tone for the entire day, so when the sun comes up tomorrow morning try a new path and watch how much better you and those you care about feel.

About the Author: Dwight Bain is a change author, believer, husband, father, reader & Jazz Music lover who adds value with transformational Counseling & Coaching. Follow him across social media platforms @DwightBain

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Coping With a Grief Anniversary: 7 Tips

By: Anthony Centore Ph.D.  (Guest Blogger)

The anniversary of a loss is one of the most difficult times we experience after a loss. Each year, we are reminded of our loss. It is not uncommon to experience a reoccurrence of our grief. This experience commonly referred to as the “grief anniversary” can be unsettling and confusing, especially when we are sure we have grieved and moved forward into our new lives.
     Knowing that the anniversary is coming can evoke feelings of dread and fear. While it is not an easy time, there are things you can do to cope with the anniversary and the feelings that may arise. Here are seven counselor approved tips.
Coping With the Grief Anniversary
1. Build Comfort and Support into the Day – Having support on that day can be comforting. Reach out to close friends and relatives for support. Let them know ahead of time that the day might be hard for you. Plan to spend some time with them.
2. Choose to Remember the Day – It is easier to cope with feelings and memories if we expect them and choose them. Plan an activity/time (or even the day) to remember your loved one. Acknowledge your emotions. They are all valid and important.
3. Acknowledge that Recurrence of Grief is Normal – We never truly stop grieving. The intensity softens over time and we learn to find meaning in our new lives. We go on. Anniversaries, holidays or other special times may trigger a reoccurrence of your grief. It is a normal part of grieving and loss. Know that it can happen and that there is nothing wrong with you.
4. Find Comfort Helping Others – One very powerful way to cope with an anniversary is to do something in memory of your loved one. He/she may have had a favorite charity. Can you volunteer your time? Doing something that was important to your loved one can bring feelings of closeness and comfort to you.
5. Visit A Special Place – Visit a place that was special to your loved one. It might be a museum, a secret fishing hole, a favorite restaurant. Let yourself recall the warm memories and feelings associated with this place.
6. Take a Private Moment – Take a moment during the day to remember your loved one, say a prayer or just speak what’s on your heart. You can acknowledge the pain but also remember to acknowledge the happy memories and the strength you’ve gained as a result of the loss.
7. Create a Ritual or Tradition – Start a tradition or ritual that you can use to mark the grief anniversary each year. It may be a trip to a favorite restaurant. It may be a toast to your loved one. It may be the family getting together to celebrate the person’s life. A remembrance tradition can be whatever it is that brings you comfort in remembering.
When Is Recurrent Grief A Problem?
     The grief anniversary or even the anticipation of the anniversary can evoke strong and sometimes overwhelming emotions. This can catch us off guard and be quite distressing.

     The experienced grief counselors at The LifeWorks Group understand recurrent grief. They can help you find healthy ways to cope and get you back on your healing journey. This article was provided by the editorial team at Thriveworks, celebrating the opening of our new Fredericksburg VA Counseling Center.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Take Time to Be Still

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

For Floridians, hurricane threats send people scurrying around town collecting water, batteries, and can goods. The stores are flocked with people as the shelves begin to go bare. Preparations are made to homes and offices to protect landscapes, windows, and possessions. Anyone who lived through the four hurricane year of 2004, remembers the unpredictability of the path, the weeks without power, the displaced people, the intense traffic, and massive devastation that took years to recover. Nearly every part of Florida was affected by one of the storms.
But right before the storm would approach, there was an eerie stillness. Even the birds were silent as the streets of major cities became deserted, businesses and schools were shut down, homes were boarded up, and the people braced for impact. There was a peaceful deceiving look outside as even the trees were tranquil. The silence, in combination with a realization that nothing more could be done at the moment but to wait, placed serenity in the hearts of many.
That calmness was very much needed in the next few hours as each storm hit the state collectively leaving over $57 billion dollars in damage and the loss of over 3,000 lives. That was a difficult summer for nearly every Floridian contributing greatly to the economic downfall and real estate collapse two years later. The storms were a battle of sorts and those of us who lived through it pray for it never to happen again.
But there are lessons to be learned from the experience which can be applied to everyday life. The “storm” can be metaphorical for nearly anything in a person’s life. It could be a child leaving for college, a divorce, a move, change in vocation, permanent disability, significant shift in health, or the slow loss of a family member. Here are seven steps in dealing momentous change:

1.       Acknowledge. The first step is to acknowledge that something is about to change. It is important to name that change and have some understanding if the change is permanent or temporary.
2.      Plan. The next is to formulate a plan for the change. This might include a time line with deadlines for completion on items to be done. Or it might be a plan of worst case scenarios.
3.      Watch. Just because the change is coming does not mean that it is the right time to start on the plan. Be watchful of the early warning signs before beginning to implement the plan.
4.      Prepare. Now that the change is on the horizon, begin the preparation phase of the plan keeping the deadlines in mind. Strive to finish before the last deadline to allow time for the next phase.
5.      Wait. This is perhaps the most important part of any change. The waiting. Taking time out to rest just before a major shift in life helps to mentally and physical readjust to the new circumstances.
6.      Fight. All change brings about a period of struggle and battle. The previous steps help a person to successfully navigate the difficult time period of adjustment and tweak any necessary short-comings.
7.      Reflect. At the end of the process, it is good to evaluate and reflect on what worked and what needed improving. This information is invaluable for the next change in life.

The storms of life do not have to knock a person down. Rather, this can be a time for growth. But without the most important step of being still, the change can easily exhaust and overwhelm.

To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Can Too Much Breaking News Cause Psychological Harm?

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

The short answer is yes. Breaking news tends to be highly dramatic, less specific, emotionally driven, and very current. Just this past week, our area’s breaking news included: bomb threats at several area schools, fatal car accidents, several homicides, discovery of burnt body, missing child, severe child abuse charges pressed against parents, and the latest in political upheaval. Any one of these events can trigger psychological issues.

·         Anxiety. The first noticeable response is usually anxiety. This can be mild or more severe leading to a panic attack. When parents were notified of the bomb threats for their child’s school, many were concerned about sending their child to school that day. The affected schools reported a significant increase in absences which is unusual for the first week of school. While it is understandable that a parent would be worried, the news generated anxiety affecting the entire community.
·         Depression. For a person already prone to depression, too much news can elevate levels. It is discouraging enough to know that some parents abuse their children while other parents are terrified of never seeing their child again. Just thinking about the suffering of the children can place a person in a state of despair.
·         Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS). Unfortunately, some news stations are irresponsible about showing video footage of beatings, dead bodies, severe abuse, or torture. Once these images enter the brain, they cannot be removed. A person can relive the incidents over and over generating a secondary stress response. In many cases, this can be just as impactful as PTSD.
·         Paranoia. With all that is happening in the world, it is not surprising that many become paranoid of things happening to them or their family members. When the fear takes root, it can limit social interactions and associations with new people which can lead to isolation. The suspicion sometimes becomes so strong that it infects even family members and former friendships.
If any of these sound familiar, it is not too late. Here is something that can be done right now that will change the intensity of the emotions.
·         Limit time. Decide ahead of time how many minutes will be devoted to the latest news and then follow it. Try not to watch the news late at night when it is easy to fester on the current happenings right before bedtime.
·         Lighten it up. Intermixing other lighter news stories with the breaking news will help to bring balance. This allows for a more accurate perception of the world. Watching a comedy before bedtime is also useful.
·         Use responsible news stations, papers, or websites. Avoid sensational journalism that is frequently inaccurate and intended to spark an emotional response. Rather, choose a balance between several sources to discover the truth.
·         Talk about it. Having discussions about the news is a great way to release tensions and reduce anxiety. Find a couple of people who are easy to engage in conversation and limit the amount of time that a topic is discussed. For the more traumatic news reports, it is imperative that the situation be discussed to limit the potential for obsessive thinking.

A person doesn’t have to avoid all of the breaking news to keep from being psychologically harmed. Rather, it is better to have a sensible approach with some safe guards in place.

To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

How to Tell a Narcissist by Their Writing

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

It is easy to spot a narcissist by their speaking. The constant references to self, comparing them with others always coming out on top, the verbal assaults to disarm and belittle others, and insisting they deserve admiration for some achievement are all indicators. But when it comes to writing, it might be harder to identify.
To make a far assessment, the DSM-5 criteria for Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) will be used. In bold are brief characteristics identified in the DSM and following are how it appears in articles, books, blogs, emails, and even texts.

·         Expects to be recognized as superior. NPDs constantly demand attention. As such, their writing often has an air of superiority or “I’m better than you” tone. Sometimes, they are even bold enough to come right out and say they are the best. They tend to write to incite or provoke others but it is not for action. Rather, the victim feels placed in a position of defending themselves.
·         Exaggerates achievements and talents. This usually comes in the form of someone who pretends they are an expert in an area that they actually lack any discernable creditability. The use of first person in the writing is typical as NPDs prefer to speak about themselves more than the subject matter. Always check the credentials of an author through an independent source. NPDs will often lie about their own accomplishments.
·         Fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate. This is perhaps best demonstrated in a new romantic relationship where the NPD will write just how perfect their connection to one another is. The tendency for a NPD is to move very quickly in a relationship and they will write the exact right thing. This bubble is burst once the NPD knows they have the heart and commitment of the other person.
·         Superior attitude with need to associate with equally special people. Condensation is writing is the first clue especially when the NPD places them as the standard. Some NPDs will quote famous people as if they personally have a relationship with them when they don’t. For instance, they might say they are friends with a person whom they are only following on twitter.
·         Needs constant admiration. In this case, attention is a nice substitute for admiration. All attention is good for a NPD including negative attention. They will intentionally overreach their influence in an attempt to garner more recognition. Or they might even complain about not being admired by others.
·         Sense of entitlement. NPDs have an air of entitlement. They wrote a book and therefore it deserves to be published. It doesn’t matter what the quality of the writing is or the subject matter, all that matters is that they did it and it must be good or right. Anyone who refuses to give them what the NPD believes they deserve, will be bashed.
·         Automatic compliance with their expectations. In writing, this often comes across as demands that the NPD expects exact compliance. “You must do…” are common phrases indicating that there is no allowance for a difference of opinion or point of view.
·         Takes advantage of others. This is usually done in the form of blaming others for things that have gone wrong with the NPD. NPDs won’t accept responsibility for their actions, reactions, or responses. By placing the blame on others in their writing, they are passively-aggressively tossing the buck.
·         Lacks empathy. NPDs often expect empathy for themselves but refuse to extend it to others. In writing this can come across as playing the role of victim as an effort to garner sympathy. However, NPDs will see others attempt as gaining sympathy as weakness.
·         Believes others envy them. Statements like, “They are jealous of my ability to …” are typical responses especially when the NPD feels criticized. Sometimes the comment is more subtle or passive-aggressive in nature, especially when it is a writing that a superior might see.
·         Arrogance. This is pervasive throughout the writing with no apology for their arrogance. There might be some slight sign of humility or remorse of it but is surrounded by countless attacks directed at other people. These assaults are intended to create a diversion to their narcissism.

Once a person knows the signs of a narcissist, they are easy to spot. It is apparent not just in verbal communication or body language but in their writing as well.

To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.