1) higher confidentiality standards (no insurance accepted)
2) Email support between sessions
3) Coordinate care with your medical provider, if you wish
4) Quality Assessments done periodically
5) Progress updates every 6th session
6) Handouts to reinforce what you’ve learned
8) Testing for depression and anxiety, with actual test numbers reported
9) Reduced fee/sliding scale counseling available with Intern Therapists
10) You will leave the first session with a “Prescription” of immediate, practical suggestions
How we see it is how it will be.” (Anonymous)
We most often suffer more from what we FEAR than what actually HAPPENS, so it’s important for you to learn how to evaluate what you are thinking. Things always look less fearful when we face them head on vs. running or distracting ourselves into TV, alcohol, food, or work.
Spend some time in your journal with your anxious thoughts, asking yourself these questions:*
1) What is the situation that I’m stressed or worried about?
2) What am I THINKING or IMAGINING?
3) How much do I believe that thought? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage
4) How does that thought MAKE ME FEEL? (assign a feeling)
5) How STRONG is that feeling? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage
6) What makes me think the thought is true?
7) What makes me think the thought is NOT true or not COMPLETELY true?
8) What’s another way to look at this situation?
9) What’s the worst that could happen?
10) Could I still live through that?
11) What’s the BEST that could happen?
12) What will PROBABLY happen?
13) What WILL happen if I keep telling myself the same thought?
14) What COULD happen if I changed or challenged my thinking?
15) What would I tell my friend _________________ if this happened to him/her?
16) What should I do now?
17) How much do I believe that negative thought now? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage
18) How strong is my negative FEELING now? A little? A lot? Or give a percentage.
Remember: you are not alone! I am here for you to evaluate and explore these fears and help you learn new ways of thinking and seeing your life.
*from the work of J.S. Beck
Ten Signs You May Need Professional Therapy
We all go through challenging times in our lives, but some experiences are worse than others. There is NO problem that can’t be eased—a little or a lot—by seeking professional counseling .
Some problems are like a sore throat—we go to the doctor, get a short round of treatment, and feel better. But others, such as death of a loved one, relationship issues, parenting problems, moving to a new city, living with the after effects of abuse from childhood, dealing with an elderly parent, health or weight issues—are more like a cancer. The problem only grows without professional intervention.
So what are you experiencing?
1) I have low energy, “blahs”
2) someone in my life puts me down or threatens me
3) I can’t relax
4) I have the same fights over and over
5) people keep disappointing me
6) My sleep is disturbed
7) I can’t keep a job and/or a relationship
8) My temper gets out of hand
9) I wouldn’t mind if I weren’t here anymore
10) I feel guilty all the time
I have extensively studied how to help these and many other issues common to all people. Let’s get started making your life better! We will gently examine the things that are troubling you and I will guide you toward new ways of thinking and dealing with people to lead you toward freedom. Homework is an essential part of this process, as you take the suggestions I give you and try them out between sessions. Are YOU ready to change?
Healing The Past: Children of Narcissistic Parents
“Why is getting along with my mother so hard?” said my client, sighing deeply as she wiped away tears in session. “I feel anxious all of the time, I’m depressed, and I can’t even hear her sigh of disapproval on the phone without wanting to run and hide. What am I doing wrong?”
The tendency to feel like everything is your fault, and that YOU are in fact the one “doing something wrong”, is typical of the child of a narcissistic parent. Karyl McBride, PhD* also notes the following symptoms:
1) feeling “not good enough”
2) valued by your parent for what you DO, not who you are
3) feeling unlovable
4) constantly trying to win your parent’s approval
5) your parent emphasizes how your behavior LOOKS, or makes them look, over how you FEEL
6) your parent is jealous of you
7) your parent doesn’t support your healthy expressions of self, especially when it conflicts with their own needs or threatens them
8) In your family, it’s always about pleasing that one parent
9) your parent can’t empathize with you
10) your parent is critical and judgmental
There is typically a family “scapegoat,” a person on whom the family blames the problems. “If only Jane wouldn’t cross Mother…if only she would call her more often…THEN Mother wouldn’t get so upset.”
The truth of the matter is, a parent who is narcissistic is always going to be looking for ways that the “scapegoat” lets them down. This parent’s attitude is not, “what have you done for me,” but instead “what have you done for me TODAY?” It truly is never enough to get the “scapegoated” child off the hook.
Freedom comes when, with the guidance and encouragement of your therapist, you begin to gently challenge these things in the family and express your own needs.
*Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
1. Protect the children. Children have a deep psychological need to think well of BOTH parents. Avoid letting them hear you put down or say bad things about the other parent, regardless of how justified you feel in saying these things.
2. Depend on the experts. Well- meaning friends and family will give you legal and psychological advice; that’s not a good source. Thank them for their concern and move on.
3. Avoid other drastic life changes. Make your life as stable as possible right now. Try to keep sleeping and eating on a schedule. See your doctor and/or counselor immediately if these are disrupted for more than a week or so-depression and anxiety may take hold if basic needs are ignored.
4. Take a Divorce Parenting class as soon as possible. When I taught this class, the comment I heard most often was, “why didn’t someone tell me to take this sooner?” You will find help and support there. Ask your attorney for more information.
5. Maintain professionalism at work. It is natural for your focus to be disrupted, but strictly limit the amount of time you spend on email or conversation about your divorce.
6. Lay it down sometimes. Take a break and play with your kids. Go see a funny movie. Let your mind rest. If the worries persist, promise yourself you will go back to worrying about the issues later that day, then return to the fun.
7. Limit contact with your ex-spouse. You are not obligated to endure any conversations that your attorney does not require of you. Make your contact brief and limited only to necessary details of custody issues.
8. Observe your breathing. Under stress, our breathing often becomes shallow. This leads our muscles to tense up and puts the whole body on constant alert. Put a sticker or an object around your workplace and use it as a reminder to breathe deeply.
9. Stand up for yourself. It’s time to say “I need, I feel” or “no, I can’t do that.” Maybe this is new behavior for you. A counselor who has been specifically trained in divorce (not marital) counseling can teach you how to detach and communicate in a civil manner that protects the dignity and rights of both parties.
10. Finally, remember: this WILL pass. You are currently experiencing one of the hardest life experiences there is. Keep your focus firmly on the hope of a peaceful outcome and take care of yourself in the meantime.