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
What might you imagine is one of the biggest stressors that convince people to seek counseling? Is it fear of death, disease, or unemployment?
Actually, it’s a fear of being seen as selfish and therefore, being disapproved of. It’s the conflict between knowing in your deepest self that someone is taking advantage of you, treating you disrespectfully, or otherwise ignoring your needs, and your fear of speaking and acting differently in order to address that person. (NOTE: A physically abusive situation is dangerous and is not intended to be addressed here.)
Sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t know how to do so in an appropriate way. After all, where do we learn how to communicate, how to be an adult? From watching our parents—and who taught them? The end result is that most people find themselves communicating either passively or aggressively—and neither will bring the desired results. Stress and tension only build in your life when these are used.
The Sighs Say it All…
Passive (also called passive-aggressive) communication is:
- hinting, sighing
- glaring, eye rolling
- “forgetting” to do what we say we will do
- “Swallowing” our words with alcohol, overeating or smoking The aggressive style is often dangerous. This person might:
- Look Out! Here Comes The Unloading…
- Sayings like “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” feed the passive style. A belief that feeling angry is wrong makes many people so frightened of this emotion that they suppress it rather than express it in healthy ways.
- We feel we are somehow responsible for the other person’s misbehavior (“what did I do to make them act that way?”) instead of remembering that EACH of us is responsible for our own actions.
- yell or call names
- hit or throw things
- put you down or threaten to leave you
- control your money and activities
- check up on you constantlyThe aggressive style is powerful and we often allow aggressive people to get what they want, simply because it seems to take too much energy to “rock the boat”, or we don’t believe we have a right to do so.
- Honest and Direct=ASSERTIVE Communication
- So how do we need to communicate to keep the stress levels down in our lives? By stating our needs:
- They tend to unload their anger at the world directly onto you. If you bring up any frustrations or needs of your own, they quickly launch an offensive attack, telling you that you are “wrong” to feel that way. You are told that “you’re just too sensitive” often enough that you finally begin to believe them and tune out the voice of reason inside you.
- In a calm voice
- Directly and respectfully
- Using “I need, I want, I would like, I am going to” instead of “YOU should, YOU need to”
- Repeating ourselves if we are not understood, as necessary
- Asking for clarification if you don’t understand
- Physically leaving the room if the communication becomes aggressive or abusive (taking a “time out”), with a promise to try again later
- Taking deep breaths when we are upset
- Following up with actions that back up our words
Although the people around you will have to adjust to your new communication style, the end result will be less stress and more respect– both self-respect and from others.
PLEASE NOTE: this list is NOT intended to diagnose or treat you. See a licensed mental health provider or medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Most people get “the blues” sometimes that last a day or two. However, Major Depressive Disorder is a SERIOUS and often FATAL illness that occurs in approximately 6.7 percent of US adults. Medications can be helpful, but come with side effects that many people cannot tolerate. Medications will NOT cure the mistaken belief system causing the depression.
Without talk therapy to both uncover the root cause of the depression and learn ways to manage it, depression can persist despite medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can help you uncover the beliefs you carry about life without even knowing it. These beliefs often contribute to depression below your level of awareness. Once uncovered, I can help you face and refute the irrational thoughts and replace them with healthy, logical thoughts.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a frequent or daily basis, please contact me for a full professional evaluation:
- feeling like a failure
- loss of pleasure
- guilty feelings
- punishment feelings
- suicidal thoughts or a sense of, It would be better if I weren’t here*
- crying, or unable to cry anymore
- feeling agitated
- no interest
- hard to decide things
- feeling worthless
- no energy
- sleep issues
- appetite changes, up or down
- can’t concentrate
- no sexual interest
(Adapted from the Beck Depression Inventory)
Taking that step to call me for an appointment is hard, but can be the best decision you ever make.
*IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL, CALL THE SUICIDE HOTLINE AT 1-800-273-8255 OR 911 IMMEDIATELY!
- Turn off the TV news for the holiday season. Instead, light candles and put on music.
- Notice even the smallest of your daily accomplishments instead of what you DIDN’T get done. Keep a “success list!”
- Remember that we get what we focus on in life. Focusing on good points in yourself and others will bring MORE of them.
- Take a “senses walk” for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. Notice the breath in your lungs, the smell of the air, the change of the seasons. Outdoor light and exercise both stimulate serotonin production, lifting mood.
- Take a few minutes daily to “hibernate.” Close your door, remove your shoes, dim the lights, and focus on what makes you happy.
- Breathe in to the slow count of four. Hold it four slow counts. Release in four slow counts. Repeat until you feel the muscles relax all over!
- Stay aware of your thoughts.
- Don’t take on another person’s bad mood. Guard yourself, removing yourself from their company if necessary.
- Find freedom by letting go of criticizing and complaining about yourself or someone else.
- If you need to make changes, act NOW. Don’t put off health or happiness!
Maybe you have asked yourself this question while yelling at your teenager, struggling with the family budget, or watching your spouse work too much. Let’s explore some answers that might help you understand the benefits of sitting your family down together under the guidance of a licensed therapist.
- It gives everyone an equal voice. I am trained to observe and detect what isn’t necessarily said out loud. I can help a child find words to express their needs, which is much harder for children than adults.
- It’s a safe place. A rule is established at the beginning of therapy that no one can be punished outside of session for what they say IN session. All members must agree to this rule.
- Everyone learns to communicate. I teach skills, such as using “I feel” instead of “you should” and to avoid the use of “never” or “always” when talking to loved ones. Defenses are lowered and love can flow more freely.
- It helps you see things from their point of view. I can help each member of the family articulate desires and feelings, then teach you how to reflect that back in a calm way.
- You learn to focus on the positive. I use exercises that are especially designed to bring good memories and positive thoughts about each family member to the forefront, increasing your bond with each other.
- Agreements can be forged. I have expertise in mediating family contracts, such as Teen Rights to the Car Keys, Work Hours for Dad, and Adult Child Living at Home. This teaches children how the real world functions, with responsibilities, rewards, and consequences.
- Secrets can be aired and resolved. Children know so much more about what’s going on behind the scenes than parents allow themselves to realize. Unhealthy secrets can be discussed and resolved, and questions answered.
- Mutual respect can be taught. Families often use sarcasm or abrasive “teasing,” which can scar a child. I can help you see where you might be unintentionally inflicting hurt.
- You have a safe place to be real. The pressure to put on a happy family face to the world can be exhausting. My office is a place where we can observe how families protect some members and blame others, and resolve that pattern.
- Responsibilities can be balanced. Often Mom is the primary caretaker, taking on chores that rightly belong to the rest of the family. I can help you work through a reasonable and fair plan to share the load.
If this sounds like what your family needs, let’s get started! Call me today for an appointment.