Category: Counseling Blog

Help Restore Peace When Living with a Personality Disorder

Living with another person poses challenges and often results in joy, but it’s particularly challenging to live with a person with a personality disorder. Receiving counseling from a trained psychologist often helps when struggling to understand a person who seems suspicious, emotional or impulsive and anxious. Some people in relationships are co-dependent but not everyone married or dating a person with a personality disorder has co-dependency issues. At the same time, receiving relationship help from a psychologist empowers you.

Suspicious personality disorders

Some of the personality disorders that fall in the suspicious category include antisocial, schizotypal, schizoid and paranoid. If your partner seems odd or eccentric, he or she could have a disorder that falls in what therapists call “Cluster A.” Some of the challenges of living with a person who has a suspicious personality are dealing with their distorted thinking, social withdrawal, and social awkwardness. If are an outgoing, social and warm empathetic person who likes feeling close to someone, it’s confusing to live day-to-day with a cold partner.

Emotional and impulsive disorders

If you live with someone who is emotional or implosive, they could have narcissistic personality disorder or exhibit borderline or histrionic types. Cluster B types often exhibit dramatic and erratic behaviors. With the help of a trained counselor, you learn to cope strategies to protect yourself. People with narcissistic personality disorder often seek narcissistic supply or attention the way drug addicts seek drugs. Histrionics tend to see attention by using his or her body, which could cause jealousy issues in the relationship. Some people with NPD withhold sex or affection to manipulate a partner. Other warning signs include pathological lying, cheating, and excessive bragging.

Anxious disorders

Anxious disorders include dependent, obsessive-compulsive and avoidant, which is part of the fearful “Cluster C.” A relationship counselor gives you insights into the thinking of a persona with a dependent, avoidant or obsessive compulsive personality. After receiving individual therapy, you will likely invite your partner in for couples’ counseling. Even if you end up going solo with therapy, you begin to understand how to make healthy decisions for yourself and your family.

At Family Restoration Counseling Services, we provide individual and couples counseling for a variety of issues including anxiety and depression. For relationship help from an experienced and non-judgmental Dallas area psychologist, please contact us.

3 Tips for Talking to Children About A Psychologist

Kids are often uncomfortable with new situations, and it is common for parents to discover that their normally accommodating child digs in their heels at the prospect of visiting a child psychologist. While you may know that getting to the root of issues such as depression is important for your child’s health, it is possible that they just don’t understand why they need to talk to someone. Fortunately, you can ease your child’s anxiety and discomfort during those first few sessions by using these simple strategies.

3 Tips for Talking to Children About A Psychologist

Let Them Know What to Expect

Before your child’s first appointment, speak with the staff to find out how they conduct the initial consultation. For example, your child’s psychologist may want to meet with you alone first, or they may encourage you to stay in the room for the first few sessions. It is also important to let your child know that they can be honest during their sessions. When your child understands that their counselor is not seeking to get them in trouble, they will be more willing to open up and let them help.

Compare It to a Medical Need

Unfortunately, some kids have heard negative things about going to counseling. They may insist that they are not crazy or in need of any help. Be honest with your child about the reasons why you set the appointment, and compare going to a psychologist to visiting a doctor. Just like you would take your child to see a doctor if their leg hurt, it is sometimes necessary to see a psychologist when something such as a divorce has caused hurt emotions. Seeing their sessions from this angle helps kids understand that nothing is wrong with them as a person. They just need help learning to cope with a life situation.

Make It a Special Time

Although they may not always show it especially as they become teenagers-kids crave time with their parents. Make visiting the psychologist something your child looks forward to by planning for some special time together afterward. Going for dinner, indulging in a scoop of ice cream or listening to your kid’s favorite music in the car are all opportunities to turn counseling days into bonding experiences.

Our counselors often discover that the most reluctant kids often turn out to be the most involved in their sessions once they have a little encouragement. Our counselors are trained to assist parents with transitioning their child into therapy so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have along the way.

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Ease Anxiety — Even For Kids

If you suffer from anxiety, you know how difficult it can be, with all the thoughts running through your mind. If you have a child with anxiety, you know it can be even more difficult to hear their fears and be unable to take them away.

Enter mindfulness meditation, which can help to ease anxiety — and is simple enough even children can do it.

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Ease Anxiety — Even For Kids

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is, according to Psychology Today, “paying precise, nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it arises and subsides [and] doesn’t reject anything.” It sounds counterproductive — why would pay attention to the experience of anxiety help to relieve it?

Those with anxiety disorders often waste time in their heads coming up with impossible escape plans for future events that will probably not happen. Mindfulness teaches people to be in the moment instead of worrying about the past or the future.

By learning to accept anxiety and then deal with it or set it aside instead of fighting it, those who practice mindfulness may be able to train their brains to better separate real dangers like an injury, which can be dealt with, from imagined threats such as a meteor rushing to strike your home, which cannot.

How to cultivate mindfulness through meditation

One way to begin cultivating your mindfulness skills is through meditation. Meditation helps practitioners learn to focus their attention on their breathing and their senses, and teaches them to let go of thoughts that are not relevant to the current moment.

There are a number of ways to begin practicing mindfulness meditation, alone or as a family. Your therapist may have some recommendations, and it’s a good idea to check in before you begin.

For adults and adolescents who want to start with more traditional mindfulness practice but don’t know how, websites like UCLA Health and and apps like Stop, Breathe & Think offer free guided meditations, explanations, and other tools to begin meditating.

Annaka Harris, a volunteer with the Inner Kids program that teaches children about mindfulness, has posted a number of exercises geared for the younger set on her website. These turn lessons about listening, mindful breathing, and compassion into kid-friendly games.

The goal of all of these practices is to help you learn to turn anxiety into positive action or let go of anxiety you are unable to address. Incorporating meditation into your day can give your brain and body a break from stress.

Of course, if you suspect you have an anxiety disorder or are in treatment for one, please contact us and consult with your therapist before beginning a mindfulness meditation practice.

Moving Toward Grief and Loss

Grief and loss are universal experiences; however, just as every person is unique, experiencing grief is unique to every individual. Religion, spirituality, culture, and/or ethnicity can provide guidance for coping with grief and loss, while temperament and personality contribute to the uniqueness of an individual’s grief experience.

Moving Toward Grief and Loss

The loss of a relationship, the loss of some aspect of self, and the loss of treasured tangible property all have the potential to cause grief. In addition to the death of a loved one, relational losses can happen during many life transitions such as the loss of a job, moving, or retirement. Losing an aspect of yourself includes losing states of being such as innocence or independence, and physical aspects such as hearing or eyesight. The loss of treasured tangible property is evident in situations such as when a home and/or personal belongings are destroyed during a natural disaster, or when a senior citizen is unable to keep his valued possessions when he moves into a nursing facility. In the article From Losing a Person or an Idea to Your Sense of Safety: The Types of Grief No-One Talks About and How to Recognise Them, Lauren Ingram provides valuable insight into various types of often-overlooked grief.

To encourage and empower people during their journey through grief, Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, educator, author, and grief counselor, wrote The Mourner’s Bill of Rights. The Mourner’s Bill of Rights is a list of ten statements beginning with the declaration that all people “have the right to experience [their] own unique grief.” The final declaration proclaims that all people “have the right to move toward [their] grief and heal.”

At times when people feel stuck in their grief, grief counseling can be very beneficial. For all who are transitioning through the challenges of grief and loss, we are here to help.

Couples Therapy isn’t Just for Marriages

Most people think that couples therapy is designed to help married couples stay together. This is a huge misconception! Couples therapy is for any couple at any stage of courtship that needs guidance. There are many benefits for dating couples to attend counseling. Married couples aren’t the only pairs that need a boost of help from professional counseling. Below are just some of the questions you might have in your current dating relationship:

Couples Therapy isn't Just for Marriages

  • Is this a person I want to marry? 
  • Is this a person I can trust? 
  • Do we want the same things in our lives? 
  • Can we move forward after a problem or betrayal? 
  • How can I be a better partner for my boyfriend or girlfriend? 
  • How can I trust my partner again? 
  • Is my partner harming me physically, emotionally, or spiritually? 
  • Is my partner straining my relationship with my children or family?
  • Can he/she be a good parent for my child/children? 

Dating couples can benefit just as much from couples therapy as married couples can. It can be very challenging to open up a line of difficult dialogue with your partner. Also, you may have a partner who seems unable or unwilling to share his or her feelings at all, leaving you in the dark about where you stand together as a couple.

If you think you need couples therapy, please contact us. Our team is made up of professionals who want to help you feel safe, secure, and happy in your relationship. We don’t consider it a warning sign that dating couples attend couples therapy. Instead, we see it as two people who care enough about one another to make improvements in their dating relationship.

Tips for Blended Families with Children on Autism Spectrum

When you have as son or daughter on the autism spectrum, it’s often stressful. As a step-parent coming into a family with children who have Asperger Syndrome or related issues, it’s particularly stressful and emotionally draining. Whether your child or step-child is in elementary school or a young adult, it is important to the caregiver to receive help from a trained therapist specializing in blended families. Children and teens on the autism spectrum often have difficulty communicating with words. At times, a child with autism will pull your hair or act out because of confusing feelings. A therapist helps you learn to bolster their social skills as well as provide the right kind of nurture and guidance.

Tips for Blended Families with Children on Autism Spectrum

Teaching your child practical skills

After building some rapport with a new step child or your own child, teach them social skills. The subtle way to teach them is by role modeling proper conversation skills. Model to the child different conversation starters.

Encouraging child to emulate

Another good tip is to encourage your child to notice how other children behave and interact. With judgment or shame, point out how other children take turns or share. By learning to emulate positive social interactions, they find greater acceptance.

Talk about eye contact

Many people with Asperger Syndrome do not like to look people in the eyes. Explain how eye contact is a positive part of socialization. You can model and practice eye contact just as you practice brushing teeth.

Reinforce good behavior

Another tip is to identify positive situations with comments such as “You showed your consideration by opening the door.” Remember to praise publicly and criticize privately. At the same time, a therapist helps you balance your parenting style so you don’t end up with a child with narcissism or other personality disorders which are another challenge for blended families.

A therapist in the Dallas area also helps you relax and surround yourself with good, supportive people as opposed to toxic friends or family who bring you down. Talking to a therapist often gives you the motivation you need to act as the most loving and attentive caregiver in stressful parenting situations.

At Family Restoration Counseling Services, we provide therapy for individuals including step parents and mothers struggling with difficult children as well as difficult marriages. For more information about making blended families work, please contact us.

Depression: 7 Ways to Conquer The Sadness

Depression is a harrowing mental illness that affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Many people develop depression due to different circumstances and situations in life that may cause grief, pain, and stress. Although it is extremely difficult to deal with and very hard to overcome, it is not impossible. Here are 7 ways that you can conquer depression:

Depression: 7 Ways to Conquer The Sadness

  1. Set goals. Setting goals can help to bring about the feeling of accomplishment. When you accomplish a goal, you feel better about yourself as well as the future ahead. No matter how big or small the goal, it still counts towards your healing. Just remember that any progress is better than no progress at all.
  2. Eat healthily. Making healthy choices when depressed is of extreme importance since it can aid you in feeling better both physically and mentally. Eating a balanced diet can greatly decrease the chances of your depression worsening, as well as the risk of developing other mental disorders. Avoiding fried foods, foods high in fat, and high in sugar, is best as they only add to the problem and not the solution.
  3. Exercise. Working out is a guaranteed way to improve your mood, as well as your overall well-being. Studies have shown that exercising triggers the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are known as the “feel good” chemical as they help to relieve pain and prompt feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
  4. Spend time with loved ones. Spending time with people who care about you can lift your spirits and alleviate stress. Being around loved ones helps you to feel support, all while giving you hope and strength to continue on your journey of healing.
  5. Take a trip. Getting away to see a new part of the world is always exciting. No matter how close or how far the trip, taking time away for yourself and discovering something new gives you the opportunity to relax, recharge, and most importantly, have a good time.
  6. 6. Stay optimistic. Staying positive is essential in the healing process. Shifting to a more positive perspective rather than thinking negative can help to bring about a healthier and more joyous outlook on life. Not only can this build confidence, but this will build the determination needed to push forward.
  7. 7. Try a new hobby. Trying out a new hobby is not only fun but it also helps you to discover new talents and learn new things. Involving yourself in new activities can give you feelings of gratification, revitalized energy, and even fulfillment. For ideas on hobbies that can help you overcome depression, check out this link.

Despite how things may seem, depression doesn’t last forever. So remember to take it one day at a time, never give up, and good things are coming your way! Contact us to learn more about how you can overcome depression.

Seeking Counseling When Family Member Is Addicted

One of the realities of the times we are living in is dealing with drug addiction within our family. While it is the cruelest fact of life for the addicted one, it is also often called a “Family Disease” as it affects everyone who loves the person who is struggling with drugs or alcohol.

Seeking Counseling When Family Member Is Addicted

The only thing the family eventually figures out, for sure, is that they can’t really do much. It doesn’t matter what they try. Nothing will work until their loved one wants help. Sometimes this can take years or may never happen at all. The family, at some point, realizes that this constant stress is affecting their own health. They have no choice but working on achieving health and vitality for themselves. As hard as it is, they have to find some way to ‘Dance in the Rain’ and keep themselves healthy through it all. This is also the case for many other major life events that we can’t control. Families face divorce, illness, caring for aging parents, death in the family, and the list goes on.

They have no choice but working on achieving health and vitality for themselves. As hard as it is, they have to find some way to ‘Dance in the Rain’ and keep themselves healthy through it all. This is also the case for many other major life events that we can’t control. Families face divorce, illness, caring for aging parents, death in the family, and the list goes on.

A good start for the struggling family member is to see their doctor make sure their blood pressure, blood sugar and their general health is on the right track. Sometimes stress causes heart palpitations, headaches, stomach pain and other symptoms that could be serious. It is easy to neglect your physical health when you are under any kind of stress.

Just as important as physical health is mental health. While dealing with an addicted family member is to seek counseling for yourself. It will allow you to deal with the family addiction issues. Learning coping techniques and understanding can truly make a world of difference.

Another thing that may help you is to intentionally live in the moment. Regrets of the past and worrying about the future will always be there but try to minimize them. This can aide in establishing peace of mind.

If you find yourself in the middle of a “family disease” due to addiction please contact us.  We are here to help you through it.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are many types of anxiety disorders and many people who suffer from them. Some of the more well-known types are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Agoraphobia. However, not many people understand the nuances and differences between these disorders. Learning more about anxiety disorders is the key for those that suffer from them. Understanding the ways in which anxiety can present to different people and why anxiety can lead to a disorder will pave the way to becoming mentally healthy and aware.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

GAD is a type of anxiety which lasts for 6 months or more and continuously makes someone restless, tired, irritable or frustrated. Physical symptoms may include muscle tension and aches. If you believe you have this disorder and you do not believe it is caused by medications or diet or another condition, contact a professional.

Agoraphobia is often misunderstood in society as a fear of open places or crowds. While this is one of the symptoms of this disorder, its underlying cause is more important in the treatment of agoraphobia. It starts with a physical symptom which cannot be controlled; for instance, incontinence or a constantly running nose or unexpected panic attacks. When the patient has no control over these functions he or she starts to fear the possibility of these things happening in a public place where there is no way out. Agoraphobia usually develops as a result of this.

Panic Disorder is another anxiety disorder which develops from unexplained bodily reactions. The first panic attack is usually unexpected or unexplained, where the body goes into a physical fight or flight mode and cannot be stopped. Heart palpitations and cold sweats and nausea may ensue. Some people mistake the first panic attack for a heart attack. After that, the fear that another one is going to occur unexpectedly can cause avoidance and stress. One panic attack does not equal a disorder but 4 or more panic attacks indicate a pattern which has been labeled as Panic Disorder.

There are many different types of anxiety which cannot all be covered here. Just a few more of them are Specific Phobia (having to do with objects or animals)and Social Anxiety Disorder (extreme embarrassment or fear of social blunders).

So how do you cope with anxiety?

Here at Family Restoration Counseling Services, we are committed to enlightening and re-enlivening everyone who comes in. There are many methods of combatting anxiety and some are more specific to the type of disorder. For instance, systematic desensitization as a therapy treatment has extraordinarily high rates of success for those experiencing specific phobia. Please take action today if you or a loved one is experiencing uncomfortable levels of anxiety.

Christian Counseling Can Strengthen Your Life and Your Faith

People of every faith go through challenging times. Whether you need marriage counseling, help healing from a personal trauma or someone to guide you through the struggles of mental illness, it makes sense to seek counseling that is consistent with your faith.  Here are three reasons to seek faith-based counseling as a Christian.

Christian Counseling Can Strengthen Your Life and Your Faith

Shared Values

Many secular counselors are kind and caring people who provide much help to those in need. However, a Christian counselor combines skills learned in professional training as well as values taken from the Bible.

This combination makes your counseling experience more full and specific to you. Your Christian counselor will understand when you talk about how your faith affects your personal life and the feelings you may be feeling about whether or not your life is following a Biblical path.

Prayer Power

As a Christian, you probably know that prayer can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Your Christian counselor understands that as well and will encourage you to pray about what is bothering you. Your counselor can also help you strengthen your relationship with a spouse or child by guiding you in developing a prayer life together.

Your Christian counselor may also pray with you, an activity that provides comfort and a sense of well-being.

Healing in Christ

A Christian counselor will approach therapy with the intention of leading you deeper into a relationship with the greatest counselor of all, Jesus Christ. Christian counseling helps you further experience the love of Jesus with an intensity that leads you to be all that you were created to be.

When you seek to counsel for any reason, consider the benefits of counseling based on Biblical principles and grounded in your relationship with God.

Contact Family Restoration Counseling Services for more information.