Why go to counseling?
Counseling provides an opportunity to explore freely any personal problem or concern within a marital or couple relationship, a family, or individually. Self-defeating behaviors, and problems with relationships may be due to anxiety, depression, unfavorable family history, early experiences of loss or neglect, addictions, negative thought patterns, low self-esteem and more. Change occurs by connecting with one’s inner experience and by identifying, expressing and altering thoughts and feelings. We integrate sound psychological and Biblical principles to provide feedback and tools to help remove obstacles that interfere with growth and happiness. Our services include marriage, pre-marriage, and couples counseling, treatment for addictions, individual therapy for anxiety, depression, anger, and low self-esteem.
Marriage and Couples:
Common complaints couples present with: Communication problems, lack of intimacy, sexual dissatisfaction, feeling disconnected, one person feeling like they are doing all the work, infidelity, feeling trapped, feeling neglected, one partner wanting more than the other, and variations of these. Our approach: We listen to what your concerns are and teach effective communication techniques. We facilitate understanding of each partner’s views to enhance connection. Sometimes it is necessary to allow space for grieving and forgiving of ways each partner has hurt the other. We explore family patterns to see what behaviors are being repeated and reenacted and we work to change these. Together, we set goals and enact plans to move forward, towards intimacy, connectedness, and mutual satisfaction.
Symptoms of depression vary from mild to severe. Milder symptoms include feeling sad or empty, having a decrease or increase in appetite, having diminished interest in activities, experiencing insomnia or hypersomnia, feeling fatigue or loss of energy, low self-esteem, experiencing excessive and inappropriate guilt, having difficulty thinking or concentrating, and indecisiveness. More severe symptoms of depression include, inability to get out of bed, recurrent thoughts of death, and recurrent suicidal ideation. Children and adolescents are also vulnerable to depression. The causes of depression vary from person to person. Part of overcoming depression is discovering the origin and reasons for the depression. Some reasons people suffer from depression include; losses that have not been fully processed or grieved, family dynamics or family history, biological or chemical causes, allergies and more. Having a safe, confidential environment to talk about your symptoms and your life story can be the beginning of transforming your depression into a brighter, lighter experience of yourself and of life.
Anxiety can range from mild to severe. Milder symptoms include nervousness, feeling tightness or pain in the chest area or stomach, worrying, difficulty sleeping and shyness. More severe symptoms may interfere with work or social functioning such as excessive fear of leaving the house, crossing a bridge or being in crowded public places. The origin of anxiety can be due to a variety of factors including family history, traumatic experiences, excessive stress, diet, hormones and more. In therapy we take time to explore all of the possible reasons for one’s anxiety. We use a variety of therapeutic methods that facilitate understanding and easing of the anxiety.
Addictions of all forms have in common the underlying discomfort and pain of “being with oneself” as one is and a general feeling of being bad. There is also an inability to stop the compulsive behavior. Some addictions can become life threatening such as drugs, alcohol and over- or under- eating, while others may have legal or social consequences such as addiction to sex, spending, gambling or the internet. Coping with an addiction can feel overwhelming and hopeless. Having a safe place to talk about the difficult feelings that often arise when one wants to stop a certain behavior can be very helpful. In addition to sharing your unique difficulties with a therapist, you will be given guidance and support as you transition from using habitual destructive coping mechanisms to productive, positive ways of living.
Having a good opinion of one’s self correlates with a general feeling of well being in various aspects of life. Low self-esteem can keep us from pursuing interests that are important to us, hinder our general motivation, and may be a precursor to depression. In therapy we explore personal meanings and interpretations of self-esteem, find the obstacles that are in the way of having better self-esteem, and work towards achieving a more positive belief in oneself.
Loss and Grief:
When we experience a loss, we need to grieve. If we don’t, the grief will fester and control us in ways that can be damaging to our relationships and ourselves. Loss can include our own dying, loss of a loved one, loss of childhood through trauma, excessive moving (changing living locations), divorce or separation (which not only includes the adults but the children as well), or simply by having too much responsibility at too early an age. Counseling provides a container for the grieving person to go through his or her emotions. In addition to sadness, loss can bring up other emotions such as anger, numbness, indifference and fear. These reactions could be confusing and disturbing. Sometimes a current loss can stir up past losses that have not been attended to.