Counseling Tips & News

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.

Marital Infidelity Does Not Have to Mean it’s Over

Contrary to what you may be feeling right now, a spouse’s marital infidelity does not mean your relationship is over. Infidelity is likely a symptom of an ongoing problem that now needs to be addressed immediately. Although extremely damaging to a marriage, the damage of infidelity is not usually irreparable.

Marital Infidelity Does Not Have to Mean it's Over

After the dust settles, do you really want to never see your spouse again? Or if you have children, do you want to see your spouse with a new partner when he or she picks up or drops off the kids? You are hurt and humiliated and understandably so, but being too proud to forgive your spouse or trying to get revenge will not take away any of that pain or shame. Don’t compound what you are already going through by causing yourself even more problems.

Statistics show that divorce is bad for children. Even if you don’t have kids, the breakup will take its toll on you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Do whatever it takes to get your spouse into counseling with you for a last-ditch attempt to salvage the marriage.

Infidelity is a wake-up call, but after successful marital counseling, spouses can actually fall head over heels for each other all over again. Meeting with a therapist can force the two of you to address underlying issues and give you the tools to get past this.

For example, as wrong as adultery is, you may find that a little jealousy can help reignite the passion in your marriage. That said, you will need to learn how to avoid bringing up the subject of the affair. You will also need to communicate what each of your needs in the relationship. A therapist can help you work through all of these issues.

Marriage is a series of ups and downs. You have probably always loved each other, but it is natural to have fluctuations in your feelings for each other. A good marriage counselor can educate you in such a way that you will learn to prevent any future affairs even during the hard times. There is something about overcoming an obstacle that brings couples closer together than ever. People who have successfully pushed through after an affair will tell you that they are happier than they have ever been.

Contact us today for help with restoring your marriage.

5 Signs of Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore

A mood disorder that affects 350 million people globally, depression robs its victims of happiness, fulfillment, and energy.  The symptoms may surprise you, however. These are the top five signs of depression that shouldn’t be ignored.

5 Signs of Depression You Shouldn't Ignore

Enduring Sadness

This is not a case of the Mondays; it is a sadness that permeates every aspect of an individual’s life that lasts for weeks, months, or even years. There is nothing an individual does that alleviates the sadness, and often the sadness spirals down into hopelessness.

Loss Of Interest

If all of a sudden an individual loses interest in their normal activities, depression may be to blame. A loss of interest can appear in the form of withdrawal from social activities, sudden poor performance at work, or even decreased sex drive.

Fatigue and Sleep Problems

Fatigue and sleep problems are some of the physiological symptoms of depression and are some of the only symptoms that can be quantified. The body reacts to depression by becoming so tired that an individual cannot perform daily tasks, or sleeps far more than normal. On the other end of the spectrum, the individual may be fatigued, but insomnia grips them, and they are unable to sleep at all.

Irritability

Becoming irritated at things that are non-consequential is often an early sign of depression. Whether an individual is irritated by friends, family members, or even their boss, the general distaste for everything is difficult to shake.

Anxiety

The final symptom of depression that you shouldn’t ignore is anxiety. While anxiety by itself is a different mood disorder, anxiety coupled with other symptoms signal depression. An individual with anxiety constantly worries over decisions to make or decisions already made, and if they made the correct one. They worry about the future and about things that they cannot change, including other’s thoughts.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs of depression, contact us. You can get on the road to recovery with the professionals at Family Restoration Counseling.

Blended Families: Tips for Combining Households

While joining families seems so easy when a couple is dating, the reality is not always so beautiful and smooth sailing. Once everyone is living under one roof, things can get ugly between who gets the bathroom first in the morning and who has to take the garbage out. There are a few things to remember when combining households in blended families.

Blended Families: Tips for Combining Households

Establish Rules

Children often have a hard time accepting leadership from a step-parent. So, parents should establish the rules together and relay those rules to all of the children together. This can include things like curfews, electronics time-limits, and household chores. When children know what is expected of them and that both parents are on board with the expectations, it is harder for them to disobey the rules.

Let Everyone Speak

Allow everyone in the family to specify their own limitations or needs. Sometimes there are simple things that kids don’t want to change from their previous lifestyle. If it’s something that can easily be continued like, “No one is allowed to borrow my clothes,” or “I need only Mom to read to me at night,” let them have their limit. Most importantly, make sure that everyone knows everyone else’s limits.

No Special Treatment

This should go without saying but all children need to be held to the same standard. There can be no special privileges for any that can’t be had by all. The negative effects of being left out can last a lifetime. In addition, consequences of negative actions should also be comparative, depending only on age and seriousness of the offense.

Schedule Family Time

Schedule family time and independent time. A family bond cannot be made when family members are never together. Put together a game night or a family dinner night so that everyone can interact in a healthy way. To the contrary, make sure that each individual is getting the right amount of private time. Being part of a bigger family can often mean never having your own space, which is equally important.

Protect Your Marriage

Keep the marital relationship strong. The children need to see a loving relationship with lots of positive communication. This is especially true when one of them comes to you with a problem. If you can work together to handle the problem for the child, they will value your bond and the family bond that much more.

Combining the households of blended families may seem challenging, but don’t worry, it can get better. If anyone in your household is struggling to adapt to the new living arrangement and would like to talk about it, or anything else, please Contact Us. Thanks.

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Maintaining Your Sobriety Through The Holidays

As the holidays approach, many in recovery find the forced social situations less than enjoyable. As the work parties, social gatherings and family feasts begin, so does the steady flow of alcohol and in some situations, the drama and triggers which test one’s sobriety.

Maintaining Your Sobriety Through The Holidays

In a perfect world a person in recovery could enjoy these festivities with people who live their lives, in the same manner, the addict does but it is unrealistic to expect society to adhere to the same social restrictions. So, to walk, talk and play with others not battling an addition the addict needs a game plan. This holiday season, try these oldies but goodies to maintain your sobriety throughout the holidays.

  • During a party always have a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand so no one slips one with alcohol in it.
  • Let the host or hostess know ahead of time you plan on staying sober this year. If you aren’t comfortable talking of your sobriety tell them you are watching your weight or you’re in training.
  • Make sure you have a good support system with you wherever you go this season. Reach out to family and friends who are familiar with your plight. If you go to any support groups some have extra meetings this time of the year. If you need to attend five meetings a day to stay sober, do it!
  • If a trigger is an actual person you must see this holiday season think carefully before doing so. If you have a sponsor or friends to lean on before, during and after the required interaction, please do so.

You made the choice to be present in your life. Addiction waits for you. One drink, or using just once, places you right back where you were. You’ve come so far. The holidays are a time to celebrate and be thankful. Keep that in mind and be thankful for all you’ve done for you. Be good to you and stay sober. Please contact us if you ever need us. It’s why we’re here. Happy Holidays!