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Episode 26 Cultivating Mindful Interventions with Yunieska Krug
Episode 261st September 2021 • The Holistic Counseling Podcast • Chris McDonald, LCMHCS
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Shownotes

How can therapists combine mindfulness with equity? Can mindfulness be made more accessible? What are your most effective mindfulness techniques as a therapist?

MEET YUNIESKA KRUG

Yunieska Krug and has a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston University. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Yunieska is also licensed as a Masters Level Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in New Hampshire.

She has extensive experience working in various settings with diverse populations. Yunieska holds certifications in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, and Mental Health with aging populations.

Yunieska's clinical specialties include treating Trauma, Anxiety disorders, Depression, Adjustment issues, Life coaching, Interpersonal conflict resolution, Relationship loss, Multi-cultural issues, Dual-diagnosis, and Substance use disorders. Her treatment approach is empathic, empowering, and patient-centered. Additionally, she is able to speak Spanish fluently.

Visit her website.

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • Mindfulness strategies for therapists
  • Equity and mindfulness
  • Mindfulness advice

MINDFULNESS STRATEGIES FOR THERAPISTS

We really have to take care of ourselves and our bodies so that we can be present for our clients because … we’re constantly exposed to vicarious trauma. (Yunieska Krug)
  • Guided mediation
  • Subtle yoga course
  • Aromatherapy
  • Reiki

Having a daily mindfulness practice that is dedicated to yourself and your wellbeing will enable you to give great therapy while maintaining your peace at the same time as you guide people through their treatment.

EQUITY AND MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness should not be exclusionary or be kept away from people who cannot afford to pay for full services.

Teaching people mindfulness tactics and techniques in their counseling, especially people who do not have the time or financial resources to pay for a full course, is a good way to make sure that mindfulness is accessible for everyone.

Making sure that we are updating and letting … our clients know that [there are] mindfulness strategies that don’t have to be a large expense. (Yunieska Krug)

If you have the capacity and the resources at your practice, consider offering free sessions or videos to people who could greatly benefit from valuable mindfulness information.

MINDFULNESS ADVICE

Do not be hyper-focused on the journey and trying to control outcomes. Embrace contrast in your life to give yourself the emotional freedom to move forward with intention.

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Transcripts

[CHRIS McDONALD]

The Holistic Counseling Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Behind the Bite, Full of Shift and Impact Driven Leader, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, where you discover diverse wellness modalities, advice on growing your integrative practice, and grow confidence in being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome back to another episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris MacDonald. Today's guest is Yunieska Krug. She's a Licensed Social Worker and Masters Level Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in New Hampshire. She has extensive experience working in various settings with diverse populations. She holds certifications and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT and Mental Health with aging populations. Her treatment approach is empathic, empowering and patient centered. She's here today to share with us how to cultivate mindful interventions. Welcome to the podcast Yuni.

[YUNIESKA KRUG]

Thank you for having me, Chris.

[CHRIS]

So glad you could come on today. So can you share with my listeners more about yourself and your work?

[YUNIESKA]

Absolutely. So a lot of my primary work right now is working at my private practice and an outpatient setting. So I work primarily with adults. I'm fluent in Spanish so I have a multicultural approach as well and a lot of my recent work is really helping people focus in and hone in on holistic healing practices.

[CHRIS]

That sounds wonderful. And you're in New Hampshire. That's a place I've never been in. I heard it's beautiful.

[YUNIESKA]

Yep. We have beautiful lakes and mountains and oceans and diverse seasons, snow, beautiful summers.

[CHRIS]

That sounds wonderful. I love that. I love being out in nature. So I'm sure you can be very mindful where you live.

[YUNIESKA]

Absolutely.

[CHRIS]

That's great. So what interested you in all these mindfulness intervention?

[YUNIESKA]

Well, during the course of therapy, what I found a lot of my clients had a lot of interest in holistic healing practices, whether it was alternative spiritual beliefs, herbalism, Reiki, yoga, they've all been things that I was interested in, but never really explored. Through the process of working with my clients and gaining more interests and also implementing holistic healing strategies for myself, I've been more and more interested in getting more studies and also helping folks cultivate that in their own treatment.

[CHRIS]

So what do you like to do as part of your daily practice with holistic healing?

[YUNIESKA]

So I like to do a Yuni workshop time. I know it sounds a little bit silly, but I take about minimally 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation and then I also set my daily intentions. I might do a little bit of yoga stretching, exercising, and I try to keep it really simple to try to not get exhausted from the routine, especially if I don't have a lot of time on my hands.

[CHRIS]

So do you find it that you're pretty consistent with that?

[YUNIESKA]

Keeping it simple and brief at times I can do more. If I have more time, I will go ahead and do my workshop time up to an hour or so. But on those days when I have a lot of work to be done, keeping it, giving myself that option for 10 minutes really helps me be consistent with that practice.

[CHRIS]

I love how you call it a workshop. That's like a good reframe, isn't it? So instead of something on our to-do list, it's something that you're making almost a me time, huh?

[YUNIESKA]

It's a me time. It's self-care time. I like to frame it as a workshop time so that I'm making a commitment to it as if I was going to a class.

[CHRIS]

That's interesting. So really making that commitment instead of just, well, I really want to meditate, but I don't know when.

[YUNIESKA]

Exactly.

[CHRIS]

Yes, so really putting that mindful awareness, isn't it, towards that?

[YUNIESKA]

Yes.

[YUNIESKA]

So what does mindfulness mean to you if you think about it?

[YUNIESKA]

Mindfulness, what it means to me is just really honoring our authentic selves, really listening to our bodies. How are we feeling? What are some of the things that we need for the day? If we're exhausted, do we need to get some sleep? Are we tired, really acknowledging our emotions, even if there's not much in terms of that we can do. We might have a significantly stressful day at work. We may get into arguments with loved ones, coworkers, but that we're always trying to think and keep our own sense of self and honoring ourselves.

[CHRIS]

So honoring what you need in the moment.

[YUNIESKA]

Absolutely.

[CHRIS]

I think that can change a lot too, doesn't it? I think that part of that mindful awareness is checking in with ourselves more than one time a day.

[YUNIESKA]

Yes, we have a lot of ebbs and flows in our energy and instead of trying to swim against the tide kind of flowing with our day. So if it's a day that we have a lot on our plates, it may not necessarily make sense for us to get 30 things done on our task list. Maybe on the days that we have more low energy, we pick a couple of reasonable things to do.

[CHRIS]

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. With that knowledge of mindfulness, how do you help clients cultivate mindfulness in their daily life?

[YUNIESKA]

I started first and foremost by helping my clients understand what's going on with their bodies physiologically. Many folks don't realize the amount of tension that they're carrying from day to day, how much, the frequency of cognitive distortions that they're having. So I like to do a little bit of an exercise with my clients, where we take a look at what their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions are when they're feeling well and then we progress down to take a look at what does that look like when their feathers get a little bit ruffled. Then the third part of that exercise is what does that look like when we're falling apart at the seams? And the last part is, what does it look like when we're in crisis? And then we go over speed bumps. So when our feathers first get a little bit ruffled, what are some of the interventions that we can use?

Many folks feel like they're, if you're dealing with anxiety or crisis moments or high stress, that it's an automatic, quick thing that they can't control, but there are a lot of red flags that our bodies are telling us that we need to slow down. So a good example of that might be someone's very tired. They have a lot of high stress in their work and instead of stop and taking a simple break to reset, they'll push through and they'll eventually be fried by the end of the workday, which then can lead to coming home with high stress, possible conflict with the folks that they live with. So it's really important for folks to understand and acknowledge and nourish their body when our bodies are telling us, "Hey, red flag, it's time to take a break."

[CHRIS]

It's like a stop sign, right? "Hello"

[YUNIESKA]

Yes.

[CHRIS]

Yes, exactly. And it's funny you say that because I had a lot going on with family coming into town from the other weekend. And it was like by Monday a whole weekend of guests and I had my birthday party. I was just like, my body just cried and you know what I did? Nothing. So I listened to my body. But I think that's what you're saying too, is really knowing those red flags and listening to your body, what it needs. So you were saying with that client to that, knowing that if you don't stop, then there could be some consequences?

[YUNIESKA]

Lots of folks don't realize that being over productive is actually toxic to yourself. Many folks really push themselves. They feel as though they don't deserve a break, they shouldn't be taking a break, but really the over productivity can be really toxic to our mind, our bodies and our spirit. If we're constantly running on low fuel, then it's going to be, we're going to eventually burn out or run out of gas. But I usually try to help folks reframe that. If you actually give yourself a break to rest and reset, you'll actually be more productive.

[CHRIS]

Absolutely, because if you keep pushing, it's just, you're not going to help yourself with getting more energy. It's just going to, like you said, lead to burnout.

[YUNIESKA]

Exactly.

[CHRIS]

So how do you do this activity? Do you just talk about it or do you write anything down?

[YUNIESKA]

It's an actual guided speed bump worksheet? One of my really brilliant co-workers actually helped develop it and I've implemented it in my private practice.

[CHRIS]

Do you have that available to share now?

[YUNIESKA]

Yes I can share that.

[CHRIS]

That would be wonderful because we could put that in the show notes as well. I'd be excited to see what that looks like. I know I'm visual. So I always got to see things.

[YUNIESKA]

I'm visual as well and I find that a lot of my clients need the visual. They need the tangible. So from your mind into an actual worksheet, so you can visually see where the speed bumps need to go.

[CHRIS]

I'm really looking at all those things that lead up to it. But I think that's great how you say looking at how a good day goes all the way down to when you're having a bad day, because I think they forget that there are those good days. It's good to be aware of like when things are going well and not just the bad days.

[YUNIESKA]

Right. And reframing the bad days as learning opportunities rather than it's a bad day, all is loss; really taking a look at those contracts moments and learning from that, using them as learning opportunities.

[CHRIS]

That's a good way to put that too, because I think otherwise clients can get stuck in that black or white thinking.

[YUNIESKA]

Very true. And clients can be very, we all can be very hard on ourselves, especially when we have those down days. And I think especially for clients who start to see themselves making some progress, if they have a day that doesn't go so well, trying to help them reframe that it's still progress, that they were able to even acknowledge what happened being mindful of, okay, these are some of the factors; I didn't sleep enough. I didn't eat well. That really created high anxiety, high stress for me. What can I do the next day?

[CHRIS]

And I think too, just thinking about that day because the black and white thinking, oh, this day is a bad day if they label it that and nothing I can do can get out of it, but what can you do to change your thinking about it or change your behavior and to make it a little bit better?

[YUNIESKA]

Very true.

[CHRIS]

So is there any mindfulness strategies you think that could be helpful for therapists to use for self-care?

[YUNIESKA]

Yes, there's so many great tools because first and foremost, we really have to take care of ourselves and our bodies so that we can be present for our clients because we're dealing with a lot of hearing, a lot of people's traumatic moments. We're constantly exposed to vicarious trauma by listening to all of these things that our clients are going through. So some mindful strategies and practices that have been extremely helpful to me have been things such as guided meditation. I actually took your advice and took some of the subtle yoga course for behavioral health professionals.

[CHRIS]

Oh, awesome. What do you think?

[YUNIESKA]

And it was amazing. So I signed up for, they have another course coming up in September, but I signed up for their online certificate. I've also actually done a lot of work with the romance therapy with DoTerra. So I'm doing that and incorporating, and this past weekend, actually within the past couple of weekends, I actually learned how to do Reiki.

[CHRIS]

Me too. I took a restorative yoga and Reiki course and I just got the level one. So it's so awesome, isn't it?

[YUNIESKA]

Yes. Very awesome. I have a really great mentor who I've done a lot of spiritual development classes with and she recently had a Reiki course. So I took the opportunity to do that with her.

[CHRIS]

Oh, that's great. And the best part of all of these practices, especially subtle yoga, I find is it really calms you down and helps you stay grounded in the process.

[YUNIESKA]

And the thing that I love about this technique is that they're simple techniques, and by no means a Yogi or have the capacity to stretch and very westernized yoga. So this is very easy, very relaxing, very calming. A lot of my clients as well, when you talk to them about some mindfulness, holistic healing, many people have in their minds that it's yogi stuff. When I share with them, some of the subtle yoga moves, they go. "Ah, oh."

[CHRIS]

So it's gone good already, huh?

[YUNIESKA]

Absolutely. And they're actually willing to try it because it's very simple, easy to use. It's not some high powered hot yoga situation, which is all great, fantastic things to do.

[CHRIS]

Yes. But I think it's great with her course. And this is the subtle yoga course. I can put the link in the show notes as well, because it's all about calming the nervous system for anxiety or energizing for depression and it's geared towards behavioral health professionals. And that's what I got trained in and got my certification in yoga but it's just amazing. Words can't describe it. Sometimes it's just wow when you use it with clients.

[YUNIESKA]

It's amazing and I honestly have never heard about it until you told me about it. So I was excited to make that connection with you and actually take the training. It was wonderful.

[CHRIS]

Good, good. And I think that can become an integrated part of therapists' self-care. And you said the aroma therapy. So you're learning more about that now?

[YUNIESKA]

And they consider a wellness advocate for DoTerra, but the group that I belong with, they do a lot of free continuing education and workshops. And I'm really using a lot of the information and targeting behavioral health strategies with the essential oils. So what particular oils can help with grounding, what oils can help with relaxation and even folks don't have to buy DoTerra, but just having the knowledge and the information, or even simple ways to use and apply the essential oils or diffuse it to give clients that education around that.

[CHRIS]

Yes. That's always helpful too, there because once I started to learn about essential oils, I learned there's so much, I don't know. There's so much that you can learn.

[YUNIESKA]

I think that there's a lot to know and learn about essential oils, but it's definitely a science.

[CHRIS]

It is. And there's so much research. More research keeps coming out too, about how effective it can be in use for anxiety and depression.

[YUNIESKA]

One of my nurse colleagues is, I'm actually part of a holistic healing committee. One of the hospitals that I work for, they've done a whole research pilot on how essential oils can help with chronic pain. And they've noticed a reduction in the use of pain medications by folks having these aroma healing bags.

[CHRIS]

Wow. That's pretty incredible.

[YUNIESKA]

Yes. It's an amazing.

[CHRIS]

I know. It's just a think of all these different strategies that really can take your practice above and beyond traditional therapy.

[YUNIESKA]

Yes, and incorporating these holistic mindful practice with regular evidence-based practices and allowing folks to also bring in any of their belief systems, whether it's traditional religion or more holistic, spiritual indigenous practices can be a real gold standard for treatment.

[CHRIS]

Yes. I know you mentioned about, that you do try to promote equity with mindfulness. Can you talk more about that?

[YUNIESKA]

That using mindful healing strategies and holistic healing practices isn't necessarily just for privileged folks. By giving people simple strategies, encouraging them to use their own practices and even teaching folks who may be, for example, primarily Spanish speaking, subtle yoga, that these are simple things that they access, especially when we're thinking about folks who may not have the resources to commit to a weekly yoga class. Maybe folks don't have enough money to dedicate, to do a whole Reiki, energy healing. So making sure that we're updating and letting our folks, know our clients, these simple strategies that don't have to be a large expense.

[CHRIS]

Yes. And I think just making it part of our practice too, to offer some things free, even if it's some videos online would that clients can access so other people can realize the benefits and

[YUNIESKA]

Yes, and it would be really great, at some point I'm hoping to develop some workshops for folks as the world starts opening back up again in offering Spanish speaking workshops that are holistic healing in one of my healing class in Spanish and offering a yoga class in Spanish as well, or going to a local community health center and offering to teach any one of these techniques.

[CHRIS]

Do you think there is some resistance from some other cultures as far as holistic strategies?

[YUNIESKA]

I'm not sure if there's resistance, but I think it's more about inclusion that maybe my strategies aren't necessarily what folks are interested in learning. Many of my Spanish speaking folks, they are very connected to their spiritual practices. So they have a lot of connections with their local botanicals where they get a lot of spiritual consult or they get a lot of herbal baths and candles. So really encouraging folks to include those practices and talk about that in therapy, what I found a lot of folks with those types of belief systems are very hesitant to talk about them because they're afraid of being judged. They're afraid of the stigma or they're afraid of being thought as psychotic. So many folks I noticed will start the conversation, even something as simple as talking about tarot cards and then they quickly back out of it. So I have to go back and re-engage them in the conversation and create a safe space for them to talk about it.

[CHRIS]

That's interesting, too, that, so having that awareness, there could be some other practices from some people that have been marginalized communities that could be part of their treatment, too, to use some of these practices and that it's okay to talk about it.

[YUNIESKA]

Yes. It's okay for us to talk about it. A large thing that I've been doing recently is definitely vetting a lot of local resources. For example, if I'm going to talk to an individual about Reiki training, I want to get to know as many Reiki healing practitioners in the area. If I'm going to talk to folks about Ayurveda nutrition, I have a pool of folks that I know are credible that can offer the services, making connections with the local Photonica owners and to really know what is available. And I really try hard to be culturally responsive. It's not always possible to be fully culturally competent, but continuously learning about other practices, even other cultures outside of the Spanish community as well.

[CHRIS]

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I think we have that obligation to our clients and our communities to be now as knowledgeable as we can.

[YUNIESKA]

Absolutely.

[CHRIS]

So what's a takeaway you could share today that could help listeners who may be just starting their holistic journey?

[YUNIESKA]

So my takeaway for folks is that life is about enjoying the journey. We're often hyper-focused on the destination and trying to control outcomes. So embracing the contrast in our lives gives us the emotional freedom to move forward intentionally through our lives.

[CHRIS]

Oh, that's beautiful.

[YUNIESKA]

Thank you.

[CHRIS]

I think that's great for everybody to remember that and join the journey. So what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you?

[YUNIESKA]

The best way to find me is on the web. So I have a website which is www.dmcounselingservices.com. That website shares a lot of information about my practice. And I also have a DoTerra site too, which I'm building and expanding for my mindful healing matters.

[CHRIS]

Excellent. So we'll have that in the show notes so people can reach you through there. But I want to thank you for coming on the podcast today, Yuni.

[YUNIESKA]

Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.

[CHRIS]

Yes. So it was great talking with you. And I want to thank my listeners for tuning in today. So glad we can be here to help you on your healer journey. And please remember to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts. This is Chris McDonalds sending each one of you much light and love. Until next time, take care.

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