Category: Counseling Blog

You can’t solve this alone! You need an addiction counselor today.

No one wakes up in the morning thinking “I’ll get addicted to drugs today.” Or “I’ll become an alcoholic this morning.” Honestly an addict does not typically see themselves as an addict. They certainly don’t see their behavior as problematic. Often times the addict does not attempt to seek help until they hit rock bottom. This is why early intervention by an addiction counselor, and outside support is so important.

You can't solve this alone! You need an addiction counselor today.

I can stop any time I want:

This is one of the lies an addict will tell you regarding the alcohol they drink, or the drugs they use. They see themselves as in control of their lives. Actually the addiction is controlling their lives. If they can stop anytime they want why don’t they stop now? It should be easy right? An addiction counselor can see through the lies. This is exactly what the person needs.

The root cause:

Typically there is a root cause behind a person’s addictive behavior. How did the person get to this point? What started it? Although there is a physical component to addiction, the psychological component is much stronger. What pain is the person trying to numb with drugs? What happened to make a person go this far? Fixing the root cause is vital to recovery.

Strong support system:

In order to recover, and stay in recovery, a strong support system is necessary. The support system must be dedicated to the person’s recovery. It is very important that those who are helping an addict recover do not enable the addict. Some will enable the person thinking they are being loving. The addiction counselor can provide an outside perspective that can avoid, and stop any enabling from happening. In turn this will help the addict recover.

Addiction is a destructive disease. However, recovery is possible! If you or a loved one struggles from addiction contact us today. Our professional counselors will help guide you through the path of recovery and long-term health.

Do you suffer from social anxiety?

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety is a phobia that causes a persistent and debilitating fear of people. But social anxiety doesn’t stop there. It can be largely anticipatory, and it’s very common for those suffering from the disorder to experience severe anxiousness for weeks leading up to a social event. While anxiety before public speaking is common, the degree to which social anxiety impairs a person is to a far greater extent than that experienced by a non-sufferer.

Do you suffer from social anxiety?

In this hyper-social world, having something like social anxiety is extremely impairing. Relationships, career trajectories, recreational activities, all of these things are much more difficult for someone currently under the uncertain cloud of social phobia.

The symptoms

The primary symptom of social anxiety is an ongoing fear of social situations. The symptoms arising from this disorder can be mental or physical in nature. Mental aspects of the disorder essentially amount to persistent anxiety over a variety of social contexts, such as public speaking, group activities, dating, etc. One common myth is that after enough exposure to social situations the anxiety will remit. This is usually not the case, especially if the underlying self-esteem issues go untreated.

Social anxiety isn’t just a cluster of mental symptoms. Physical symptoms are usually present too, such as sweating and light-headedness, or nausea. Not only are these physical aspects impairing in themselves, but someone with social anxiety might develop a higher level of avoidance due to fear of the physical symptoms. Who wants to experience a racing heart right before they give a speech?

How counseling can help

Treating anxiety disorders with talk therapy has proven to be highly effective. A treatment method known as cognitive-behavioral therapy is widely used. CBT is a group of cognitive exercises that the patient can use to undo the negative and harmful associations that have been fueling the anxiety. What is the therapist’s role? A trained therapist is able to help the patient utilize these exercises for maximum benefit, and to gently steer the patient away from creeping negative or anxious thoughts. Since positive change takes time and multiple approaches, a well-trained therapist is just what the doctor ordered.

If you are suffering from social anxiety disorder, please contact us.

5 Tips to Move from Crisis to Stability in Your Relationship

Are you a couple in crisis? At Family Restoration Counseling services, we’re here to help you through difficult moments like these. It takes time, commitment, and dedication to move from crisis to stability.

5 Tips to Move from Crisis to Stability in Your Relationship

Start with these 5 tips to help you renew your love and transition through this difficult period in your life as a stronger couple:

  1. Go to couples counseling. A counselor is a professionally trained neutral party with tools and resources to help you and your partner navigate the stress and hardship of your relationship. You will work on communication, conflict, and compromise, as well as other skills you may need to strengthen. Also, attending counseling shows your partner you are dedicated to making the relationship work.
  2. Spend time together – alone. As a couple in crisis, spending alone-time together may be difficult. However, it’s necessary to carve out special date nights or outings just for the two of you. Turn off your cellphone. Lock your doors. Ignore the internet. Spending time together strengthens your relationship and will remind you what you love about your partner.
  3. Learn their love language. We all have different love languages. Get to know your partner’s love language, and use that to make him or her feel extra special. If you have different love languages, this may take research and thinking outside the box. That’s okay…it shows how much you truly care.
  4. Try something new. Trying something new is a great way to bond, laugh, and spend time together all at the same time. You’ll make new memories and practice communication and conflict management skills you are working on with your counselor.
  5. Say the words.Yes, you love each other. That’s why you’re committed to counseling and spending the time to renew your marriage bonds. Even when it’s difficult, make sure you remind your partner of your love every day.

It is key to remember that all relationships take work, and your relationship isn’t doomed to failure just because you’re going through crisis. Together, you can work through anything. Contact us today for more information on how we can help in difficult times.

Preparing for Your First Counseling Appointment

Whether you have anxiety, depression, addiction, or other issues, many people benefit from counseling. However, it can be scary to start going to counseling, even after you’ve been able to find an appropriate therapist. By preparing for your visit, you can take away some of your uncertainty to start a productive counseling relationship. Here are some specific steps that can make the process seem less daunting and mysterious.

Preparing for Your First Counseling Appointment

Fill out all of the Needed Paperwork

This isn’t an exciting task, but it’s still needed. Most offices will have new patient/client forms to fill out for insurance and assessment purposes. There are also forms that discuss cancellation policies, payment structures, and confidentiality rules. Some offices have assessments you can do ahead of time, especially for issues such as depression or anxiety. If you have hospital discharge papers or the results of recent psychological tests, these documents can also shed light on your background and what you might need most in therapy.

Think about Why You Want Therapy in the First Place

It can be helpful to make a list of what you’re feeling and what your goals are. For example, you’ll have different needs if you want to be more comfortable speaking in public than if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. If you can, create some specific goals related to your treatment to clarify what your treatment path looks like.

What Else is Happening?

Keep in mind that other forces can influence your mood and chances of success. Losing a job, a rough patch in your marriage, or economic concerns are just some of the many factors a therapist has to consider when working with you find the best treatment.

What Have You Tried Already?

Thinking about what you’ve done already helps you and your therapist avoid spending time on ideas that haven’t helped you. If you have something that’s working, you and your therapist can build on it to make it work better. This is also where you could discuss medications with your therapist, if you choose to go that route.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask about your therapist’s background, training, methods, or experience. Ask about what you might need to do between sessions or what the plan is going forward.

What to Remember

You’re in therapy for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up! If something’s not sitting right, mention it—your therapist isn’t a mind reader, so letting them know what’s going on isn’t insulting them. They’ve also seen a lot of different clients, so they’ve heard stories like yours before. Plenty of people have benefited from therapy, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed, “weak”, or “crazy” for seeing someone. After all, we all see professionals such as car mechanics, doctors, and dentists to help us with issues. Therapy isn’t any different. So breathe a little and congratulate yourself on taking the first step toward a better you.

If you are looking for counseling services we offer our counseling and therapy services at our Dallas and Mesquite offices. Call us today to set up a consultation that will help your mental health.

How Counseling Benefits You (Even When You Think You Don’t Need It)

Many people adhere to the myth that counseling is only for those in severe distress. Nothing could be further from the truth! Counseling provides many benefits across a whole spectrum of needs. Here are three reasons why therapy is beneficial…even when you think you might not need it:

How Counseling Benefits You (Even When You Think You Don't Need It)

Counseling takes you out of your normal comfort zone. Has the daily grind of life numbed you to new possibilities?  For many, it indeed has! Counseling allows you to step outside of the routines of your life and—with the help of a competent guide—take a more neutral look. When you view your life from “30,000 feet”, you will see patterns of thought and behavior that were beforehand unnoticed.

Counseling teaches you skills you will use today. Don’t believe the notion that progress in therapy measures in years! You will master practical techniques that make your life better right away. An expert counselor teaches you simple and effective ways to manage your thoughts and emotions.

Counseling makes good lives great. So your job invigorates you? Your children adore you (and vice-versa)? Your marriage absolutely fulfills you?  Counseling empowers you to take the good things in life and use that momentum to go to the next level.

Reflect on the great progress you’ve made on life’s journey and then consider where your potential has not been completely reached, where blind spots may exist, and where relationships have not been fully realized. For more information on how Family Restoration Counseling services will help you, contact us.

Three Common Misconceptions About Addicts

We’ve seen it everywhere. From books to movies, to media presentation, to news reports, our culture constantly tries to paint us that generalizing picture that addicts and people who’re addicted to something are weak, feeble-minded people who live on the street mumbling to themselves. That they’re something to avoid and vilify so that our children don’t imitate them. But, the truth of the matter isn’t nearly so black and white. Here are three huge misconceptions about addiction:

Three Common Misconceptions About Addicts

1. Addicts are always dysfunctional

This is a big one with anti-drug documentaries and biased news outlets. That an addict has no control over themselves and are constantly doing whatever they can to get their next fix. Whether it’s prostitution or outright begging, they’ll do anything to achieve it. Well, that’s not exactly true. Yes, there are some people who get to the point of becoming dysfunctional, but there are also a good bit of people who’re functioning addicts as well. They lead normal lives, maintain jobs and relationships, and still have their addiction. Some notable ones are Ernest Hemingway who managed to write profound classic literature despite being an alcoholic, Famous jazz musician Billie Holiday was a heroin addict and Hungarian Mathematician, Paul Erdős, struggled with speed and caffeine.

2. Addiction Can Only Happen With Drugs and Alcohol

Thankfully, scare ’em straight tactics have been called into question in recent years, and their effectiveness is up for debate. But many people still have the idea that addiction only really applies to illegal drugs and alcohol. That’s not the case. Addiction is just that. Addiction. There are more coffee and caffeine addicts in this country than there are drug addicts. Let that sink in. Just because a certain substance is legal, that’s no excuse to throw moderation out the window.

3. That YOU Could Never Become an Addict of Anything

This is what many people think to themselves while watching a news report or documentary. That they’re somehow so above the addict that they could never fall from their self-propped pedestal. That they’re way stronger than that. But the truth is, anyone could become an addict. Sure some people are less likely than some due to many factors, but the possibility will always be there for everyone. People form addictions due to a myriad of reasons like depression, divorce, loss of a loved one, or as a general coping mechanism to deal with stress. And believe it or not, those are all very realistic things that happen to just about everyone at some point.

If anyone reading this is struggling with substance addiction and would like to break their habit, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Balance is something we should all strive for in our lives.

How to Benefit from Couples Counseling

In order for couples counseling to actually work there are some things required from both parties involved. To get the most out of couples counseling you need to be honest during your sessions, give your time freely to improving your relationship, and own up to your part of the blame.

How to Benefit from Couples Counseling

  1. Finding the right counselor for both people is a must. Terry Gaspard, a social worker, speaks of the importance of finding a therapist both partners are comfortable with. “If both parties don’t feel comfortable with the therapist, this can negatively impact progress,” Gaspard explains.
  2. Gaspard also explains how important giving your time is to show your dedication. Showing up for sessions is not enough. You have to commit to working on your relationship during regular daily life as well, practicing healthy communication and other skills taught during appointments.
  3. Know what you want to learn and gain from couple’s therapy. Racheal Tasker, a relationship expert, suggests making both short-term and long-term goals. “Think about what it is you hope to get from your marriage counseling before you enter your first session,” Tasker says. Doing this will help you focus on what will really benefit the relationship and stop you from focusing on the little arguments that arise in everyday life.
  4. Be open and honest. It is hard to lay it all on the line. You might be afraid of hurting your partner’s feelings, their reaction, or afraid to show your vulnerable side. Your therapist will help you communicate in a more effective and positive manner. You can only change yourself, so being open will help you learn healthier ways to react and behave to better your relationship.
  5. Realize that you contributed to the problems in the marriage. It’s important to be honest with everyone, especially yourself, on how you are to blame for the issues in your relationship.

Motivation and commitment to counseling is paramount to making your relationship work. Setting goals of what you would like to accomplish will help couples fully benefit from couple’s counseling. You can find a couples counselor here.

A Look at Christian Counseling

Christian Counseling is a look at life’s problems from the perspective of the Bible. The bible is a perfect reference for the issues we face in life because it contains solutions that God has guided. The best part is they are applicable to everyday life.

A Look at Christian Counseling

The problem with self

When we look at life from our own perspective, it isn’t fair and is full of disappointment and misery. Responding to life based on biblical principles, not only pleases and honors God; it changes how we respond to the events in our lives. This does away with self-gratification making way for a Christ-centered life.

Our past does not define us

The past is full of guilt and torment as those failures and hurts continually haunt us on a daily basis. This brings about anger and bitterness that tend to control our thoughts and feelings. Lastly, we will fear and worry about the future. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Tools for building change

Counseling from Scripture provides the tools needed to defeat the past, transform the present and provide hope for the future. The Bible provides solutions to change negative feelings into positive responses. It isn’t pleasant but God uses everything we experience to strengthen us.

Effective change

Changing ourselves to match a biblical perspective is an ongoing process. Every day we have to make choices to follow and seek God’s will for our lives. Christian Counseling helps you learn what the Bible teaches about your experiences and how to change your reactions to life into habits that are God-honoring.

Christian Counseling applies to everyday life, to everybody in every season of life. Our experienced counselors are here to help you with real solutions to work toward a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle. Please consider allowing us to help you get started on your journey to a healthier you.

What the Emotionally Abused Should Hear in Christian Counseling

The ideal of Christian marriage as a safe, nurturing place lasting “until death does us part,” has historically been a sticking point for those suffering from emotionally abusive conditions when seeking Christian counseling. The conflict between the dream of a perfect world and rigid interpretations of Biblical principles sends many away from encounters with well-meaning counselors and Christian would-be mentors carrying a heavier burden of guilt and shame that they started with. Of course, the fear, self-doubt, and depression causes are not conducive to the growth and healing needed to set boundaries to take necessary action and start fresh — whether the relationship survives or not.

What the Emotionally Abused Should Hear in Christian Counseling

A Changing Paradigm

As more spouses step forward with their stories to shed light on the issue of hidden emotional abuse within Christian marriages, respected Christian counseling organizations, such as Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based ministry organization dedicated to the health and well-being of marriages and families acknowledges, “It’s time to take bold steps and assert healthy biblical boundaries.” By encouraging a paradigm shift in Christian circles, they are paving the way to a healthier and more Christ-like response to helping the abused heal from the invisible wounds caused by their abusers.

What Doesn’t Help

Receiving pat answers, clichés, and assurances that more prayer and submission will be the magic bullet that cures the abusive tendencies of the other spouse is patently not helpful. Dismissing or marginalizing the emotional abuse as an imaginary complaint or ungodly discontent to justify criticism of an imperfect spouse only empowers the abuser to continue the abuse without facing consequences. Instead, the emotionally abused counsel seekers need reassurance that their suffering is real and justifies them in taking decisive steps to protect themselves and their children.

The Right Kind of Help

According to Elisabeth Klein’s article on Crosswalk, a Christian response to emotionally abused counsel seekers includes:

Emotional Validation

  • An emotionally abused spouse seeking Christian counseling already is struggling to believe that their suffering is “that bad” and needs validation from a trusted outside source that the pain is real and he/she does not just have to put up with it in the name of being a “good Christian.”

It’s NOT Your Fault

  • The abused spouse likely already believes it is his/her fault so telling him/her that the marriage/spouse will get better “if only you ____,” is counterproductive and exacerbates the damage. Instead, he/she needs assurance that the abuser alone is responsible for their actions. Even though the abused spouse is surely not perfect, nothing justifies the abusive words and actions he/she has suffered and it is not his/her fault nor the result of some inherent personal defect.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Gary Thomas, well-known Christian author and speaker in his Sacred Marriage books and seminars answers doubts raised by Malachi 2:16 where God says, “I hate divorce,” which trips up many in knowing how to proceed biblically in cases of emotional abuse. In his article, “Enough is Enough,” he states:

“God loves people more than he loves institutions… Our loyalty to marriage is good and noble and true. But when loyalty to a relational structure allows evil to continue it is a false loyalty, even an evil loyalty.”

Yvonne DeVaughn, a national advocate for victims of abuse and Dena Johnson, a single mom and survivor of abuse and founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, concur that there does come a time that it is OK to walk away from an unrepentant abuser. Having summoned up the courage to do the once unthinkable and end an abusive marriage, the emotionally abused help seeker needs to hear Christian counseling that stands on Romans 8:1 and says, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” From there the healing can start.

Abuse can make you feel isolated but you are not alone. Contact us today to access the support tools you need to make a healthy recovery.

One Major Misconception When Dealing With Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a difficult subject. Many have opinions, but not all opinions come from personal experience. Addicts hear all kinds of advice from family and friends. Especially when struggling with addiction. Everyone wants to help. Most of the time this help produces an opposite outcome.

One Major Misconception When Dealing With Addiction Recovery

An addict’s struggle includes a consistent fight with their thoughts. Changing the way you think is one goal when entering recovery. When people you love start throwing opinions of your sickness at you, duck and weave. Listen to people active in recovery. Possessing longevity in regards to clean time is key. Don’t bet the farm on somebody’s opinion with whom you’re getting high.

One major misconception you will hear when trying to get clean and sober:  Just don’t use your drug of choice.

  • As long as you don’t partake in (fill in the blank) you will be fine.
  • Use (fill in the blank) instead of (fill in the blank).

This little gem of advice keeps people sick for years. Trying to limit your intake to drugs and/or alcohol you do not prefer will not work.

Deciding If You Are An Addict

You decided you are an addict for good reason. People who are not addicts never misdiagnosed themselves as addicts. You found some aspect of your life unmanageable due to your substance abuse.

Congratulations, this is admitting you are an addict. You are filling a void inside of you. You are acting obsessively and compulsively. You want to change the way you feel because the reality isn’t your cup of tea. Whatever the situation, changing your poison is not helpful. Trading one for another will eventually lead you back to your drug of choice or breed a new addiction. It is inevitable.

Acceptance 

If you are struggling with addiction, acceptance is essential. You cannot partake in any drugs or alcohol no matter what the flavor. If you do, you are not clean and sober. Nor will you be as long as you continue using any substances.

Contact us and we will guide you on your journey to a better way of life.