Counseling Tips & News

Life Abundantly: How Christian Counseling Can Help You to Break Free

 

When it comes to helping, there are so many things that we Christians do and do quite well. However, if we are honest, one of the things that we do not do well AT ALL is receiving the same help that we give.

Life Abundantly: How Christian Counseling Can Help You to Break Free

Though we know that our churches and fellow Christian friends would be more than happy to help us navigate problems in our lives, we are all still incredibly human. Sometimes our unwillingness to share is an unfounded worry. Other times, we may have been conditioned to keep things to ourselves because sadly, even Christians can be judgmental though we all already know that this kind of judgment breaks the heart of the very God that we serve.

In most cases, it boils down to this – we fear the stigma that comes when we let people see into the spaces of our lives that hurt most – the lonely places, the angry corners, the dark halls that lead to the ugly stuff… These are the things that we dare not speak.

However, it is where we fail to shine the light that will always remain dark.

Jesus Himself said it best…“The truth shall set you free.”

We love that quote here because the truth is not always spewing your deepest wounds for the world to see, but just faithfully letting them out into the air someplace where you feel safe, somewhere where a friend is on the other side of those words to hear and, then guide with wisdom. This breaking open of ourselves was always what Christ had in mind when He spoke about bearing one another burdens. It is not, perhaps, that we need human support… but that these supporters are a visual sign to us that God is already holding us up on every side. This is all a very vital part of the Body of Christ – that together we are His hands and feet.

If we truly want to take up our crosses daily, we should not only be willing to give help but also to receive it. We must speak our truth and let God work behind the scenes for us… because whether you know it now, He is. Whatever you are going through, whatever is keeping you from living life to the fullest, remember Whose you are and why you are here. You, us and every child of God knows better than anybody else that Jesus paid a great price for us not so that we could live in fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, sadness or anger…

But so, that we could have the life He died for us to share in because He wanted us to have life and have it abundantly.

If you need that helping hand to help you navigate the rough waters, our Christian counseling can help. It would be a blessing to us to help you on your journey in a way that is in line with The Way, The Truth and The Life. Together, we can find that “abundantly” Jesus spoke so much of. It is out there and it’s waiting.

3 Steps To Dealing With Depression

The United States reports more than three million cases of depression each year.  Chances are, that you or someone you know is struggling with depression.  Far too often, those struggling with depression do not know where to begin to get help.  Here are three helpful steps in dealing with Depression.

3 Steps To Dealing With Depression

1.  Take the time to get healthy.

Depression is frequently linked to many physical causes.  A first step toward dealing with depression is a visit with your family doctor.  Get a physical and be sure to honestly share your feelings with your doctor.  Your doctor may suggest a number of ways to improve your overall health and he or she may also prescribe you a medication.  He or she may also refer you to a Psychiatrist in order to address the medical causes of depression.  Taking the time to get healthy is a great first step.  Address your diet, your exercise, and any medical problems you may have.

2.  Identify your support group.

Who can you be honest with and have them love you just the same?  It is wonderful if this is your family, but it is important to find a group that can love and support you.  Churches, clubs, and depression support groups are a great place to start looking for that place.

3.  Find a good counselor.

Just like anyone else, counselors come in a wide range of personalities.  They also have different approaches to counseling.  It is important that you find one with whom you can be honest and with whom you are comfortable. To begin your journey, contact us today!

Depression seems overwhelming, but with good health, good support, and the right therapy, there truly is hope!

Counselors: Helping People Regain Their Quality of Life

Are you or a loved one suffering in the aftermath of loss? The loss of any significant attachment can result in painful feelings of grief. Grief resulting from the death of a beloved is well-known. Importantly, grief can also be a natural reaction to divorce, separation, job loss, and many other types of losses. Losing one’s health, whether through chronic illness, terminal illness, or accident, is also a significant form of loss that can result in grief.

Counselors: Helping People Regain Their Quality of Life

Counseling

Most people don’t need a professional counselor to help them navigate loss. However, there are times when people can feel stuck in their losses. This sense of being stuck can interfere with a person’s quality of life. Importantly, an individual may not know why he feels stuck, wherein the adjustment process he is, how to move beyond being stuck, or even recognize being stuck in his loss. When this happens Professional counseling can help empower a person to regain and maximize a meaningful quality of life.

Awareness

Awareness is central to the process of adjusting to the loss. Lacking awareness, possibly a protective buffer zone, can restrict a person’s adjustment to loss. A counselor can safely encourage an individual to explore and recognize her feelings. As her awareness increases so too do her emotional strength.

Regaining a Meaningful Quality of Life

You may have heard the saying, “Loss is a part of life,” which is true, but it doesn’t go on to share how challenging the associated pain can be. At Family Restoration Services we have empathetic compassionate counselors dedicated to helping people adjust to their losses. If you or someone you care about is struggling with regaining a meaningful quality of life after a significant loss, we are here to help.

Common Misconceptions About Marriage Counseling

When a marriage is threatened by various relationship difficulties, counseling is often not considered a beneficial option due to a number of misconceptions.

Common Misconceptions About Marriage Counseling

It Is A Couple’s Last Resort

Most believe that when a couple is undergoing marriage counseling it means that their problems are so irreparable, they are only doing so as a last resort before filing for divorce. Because of this misconception, a great number of couples don’t consider counseling as soon as marital issues occur. In fact, counseling early on when difficulties arise is highly beneficial and can increase a couple’s chances of success.

It Is Ineffective

Thinking that counseling does not have a positive effect on a suffering marriage is also a misconception. Counseling is recommended even for healthy relationships to continue to prosper. It can improve spousal communication methods and teach effective conflict resolution strategies.

It Proves The Weakness of The Relationship

Just because a couple is exploring the possibility of marriage counseling, does not mean they have a weak relationship. In fact, it proves the opposite. The couple is investing in keeping their marriage intact, displaying their mutual respect for each other and their desire to devote time and energy to improve their life together.

It Is A Perfect Solution

When experiencing marital hardships, counseling has the potential to prevent divorces and separations, but it is not a perfect solution every time. Determining the need for counseling early on and consistently putting forth their best effort at solving their problems as a team is the best ways for couples to accomplish that goal.

Marriage problems can occur in any relationship at any time for a variety of reasons. Contact us today to learn more about how to pursue marriage counseling, how it can help you and your loved ones, and if it is the proper treatment method for healing your relationship.

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 Mindful.org 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.