Building Mastery Tips With Hillside Therapist, Laura Tapscott

By Laura Tapscott, LCSW | January 7, 2020

January. The time of year when some of us will make resolutions or set goals for the new year. It might be that you’re thinking of running a half-marathon, learning a language or signing up for a class. Taking on something new or getting better at something you already do is fun, but did you know that it’s also one of the DBT skills that we use at Hillside?

We call it Building Mastery.

One of the ways that we look to build Self-Esteem with Hillside kids is to help them to try new things. Our programs include West African Drumming, Horticultural Therapy, Baking and Art.

Here are a few tips on Building Mastery from Hillside therapist, Laura Tapscott:

  • Set yourself a challenging but achievable goal. Something that will feel good when you accomplish it, but not setting the bar so high that you feel like giving up.
  • Breakdown the big goal into manageable tasks. If you’ve promised yourself you’ll learn to speak Spanish, set some milestone targets such as joining a class, watching a film in Spanish or meeting up with friends that speak the language.
  • Celebrate your successes! Setting the milestones above will not only keep you on track but also give you the feel good factor as you develop your skills and improve.
  • Take a break. Don’t feel that you have to become an expert overnight. Becoming good at something takes time and dedication. If you find yourself struggling, it can be a good idea to take a break and set a day/time for when you’ll try again.
  • Ask for help. Rather than struggling on alone and risk giving up on your new hobby ask a friend/colleague for help. It doesn’t matter if they’re also new to the activity, just sharing it with someone can inject a bit of fun into the exercise – remember it’s supposed to be enjoyable!

By engaging with new activities, Hillside kids Build Mastery and learn how to break daunting exercises into more manageable tasks, they build resilience through practicing and problem solving when things don’t go to plan, and they get a sense of accomplishment when they do!

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  • Hillside Therapist – Residential Treatment Program - LCSW with extensive clinical experience with families, children ages 3 to 12, adolescents and adults struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges including post-traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, adjustment disorders, depression, anxiety, and other affective disorders. Experience in treatment settings including outpatient community mental health, intensive in-home therapy, group homes, domestic violence shelters, and group private practice with populations including child welfare-involved youth and families, survivors of interpersonal violence, and immigrants and refugees. Modalities include Trauma Focused-CBT, CBT, DBT-informed skills, trained in Theraplay® and certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). She is fluent and able to provide therapeutic services in Spanish. Outside of work, Laura and her husband can be found chasing their kids around a playground, backyard, or forest trails.