Category: Counseling Blog

Grief and Loss: How to Deal With the Loss of a Loved One

According to the counseling website BetterHelp, grief is considered a normal reaction to a loss. The loss can be either someone or something you loved and cared about deeply. For example, pet owners often suffer the same amount of grief over losing their pet as they would losing a loved one. Grief can impact a person in a variety of ways. Along with emotional problems, the patient can experience physical, social and behavioral complications.

Grief and Loss: How to Deal With the Loss of a Loved One

Grief therapy recognizes that each person experiences a loss differently and therefore, there is no exact guideline for treatment. Therapists use their training and own judgment of the situation to decide what kind of treatment would be the most effective. Proper therapy occurs when the patient and the counselor come together to identify, reinforce and utilize the patient’s strengths to effectively learn to cope with the loss. The goal of grief therapy isn’t to help the person move on from a loss, but instead aims to get patients to the point where they can replace their negative emotions with positive memories.

The psychologist, Mark Tyrrell, states that, while it is widely accepted that there are five stages of grief (i.e., denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), different people deal with the grief in various ways and may not experience all five of the stages. In other words, there is nothing that says that a person has to feel a certain set of emotions, nor do they have to feel them in a certain order.

Moreover, he claims that there are several crucial techniques that comprise proper grief therapy, with each being equally important.. The first is allowing the patient to talk about the deceased. They may feel as though they can’t properly express themselves, lest they upset or burden those close to them. Therapists should encourage their patients to talk about their lost loved one and ask them to consider how the deceased would have wanted them to be living now.

Tyrrell considers the second step to be the most challenging in proper grief therapy, which is to help the patient distinguish grief from trauma. If the patient continues to experience flashbacks and horrific memories, such as finding their deceased loved one, the counselor should seek to help them by finding a method to detraumatize these memories and intrusive thoughts so that the patient can begin a healthy grieving process.

In addition to the first two techniques, the last deals with the guilt patients in grief therapy struggle with. They might feel like they aren’t grieving enough or may interpret the fact that their grief is abating means that they no longer care about their deceased loved one as much as they once did. The best remedy for this is to encourage the patient to rest, allowing them to take breaks from grieving. This will ultimately help the person function despite their loss, allowing him or her to move forward and focus on the happy memories.

It is important to remember that the grieving process is different for each person and that what works for one patient might not work for another. Should the severity of grief not lessen within a few months or if the person denies the possibility that he or she can lead a happy and fulfilling life without their loved one, grief therapy should definitely be sought out. At Family Restoration Counseling Services, our therapists seek to serve the community by helping individuals and families to regain and maximize their ability to function well in life. We offer individual, couples, family and group therapy in the greater Dallas area for children, adolescents and adults. If you are experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one, contact us at Family Restoration Counseling Services.

7 Ways to Get Your Teen to Talk

Getting a teenager to talk to an adult is tricky. Blasting through a thousand texts a day, your teen suddenly has dry mouth when you ask how their day went. Parents want to be involved emotionally with their teenage children but it is frustrating receiving the cold shoulder every time.

7 Ways to Get Your Teen to Talk

Here are seven ways to get your teen to open up and talk to you:

1. Respect

Mutual respect is built over time and is a vital component needed to get your child to open up to you. Instead of waiting until your teen respects you, try to give them respect and watch to see if they repay the favor. It may take some time but it is worth it.

2. Don’t Assume they Are Ignoring You

Teens may not want to get into more trouble and may not speak up as a way to avoid disrespecting you further. Instead of assuming why your child is doing something, keep your cool and ask them directly.

3. You Won’t Understand

How many times do parents here the phrase, “You won’t understand”? Teens forget their parents were young and certainly have a hard time imagining they did the similar things. Tell your teen a personal story of why you can understand. The story will connect you and your teen emotionally.

4. Keep Your Head

Arguments can become heated quickly. Know when you are losing your cool and take a break. Not only will you avoid potential guilt from saying or doing things you did not mean, you will accomplish more after you and your teen take a few moments to reflect on the argument at hand.

5. How are Your Other Relationships?

If a teen sees how you gossip behind their father’s back or belittle their siblings to family friends, they will shut down and bow out of a deep relationship. Your relationships with others show your kids what they can expect the relationship between the two of you will look like. How does it look from their point of view?

6. The Gossip Monster

If your child is not talking to you, they may be afraid anything they say to you will be spread around as fast as they can spit it out. Make a point to keep your conversations private and if your child has a big secret, let them know that certain things must be shared but they will keep the secret if the child is not being harmed.

7. Open up About Yourself Too

Don’t expect your teen to carry the weight of the relationship. Open up and take time to bond with your teen. Tell them personal stories that fit the occasions and walk them through lessons you have learned. Kids and parents benefit greatly by connecting on a deep emotional level.

Family Restoration Counseling Services has trained professionals for helping adolescents and families. Contact us today if you want to learn more about how to connect more deeply with your teen.

Why Do we need Re-marital Therapy?

When a relationship ends, often times we accumulate resentments, pain and heartbreak from our failed journey toward happily ever after. If we are not careful, we carry those resentments and pain forward into future relationships, maybe even without being aware of it. All of these emotions can lend to becoming fearful to move on from a failed marriage. This fear based living is detrimental in life and relationships so why do we need Re-marital Therapy?

Why Do we need Re-marital Therapy?

In this instance, the proverbial saying of: “nothing changes if nothing changes” rings true. If we do not want to make the same mistakes in the future, we have to know what those mistakes are by taking an honest inventory of ourselves and our actions. This may include asking some very difficult questions. Where had I been selfish or unkind? What could I have done differently? How would I handle this situation in the future? Are the coping skills I developed as a result of this relationship healthy and beneficial, or negative and destructive?

The answers to these questions are difficult. But in order to affect lasting change, it is a necessary step in personal growth and will prepare you for future, healthy relationships. This allows you to live the best and most honest version of ‘you’ as you move forward. It is not an easy step, especially if you attempt to take it on your own.

At Family Restoration Counseling, we partner with you on your life walk. We are here to guide you through the muddy waters. We offer Re-marital Therapy as a tool to fortify and strengthen your relationship. Contact us today to set up an appointment to move past the past and into the future even if you feel you don’t need re-marital therapy.

What is Anxiety and When Should You Seek Help?

What is Anxiety? Generally, anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry and dread about something over which you have no control? In psychology, anxiety is defined as a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension. Mental side-effects of anxiety include insomnia, embarrassment or a rapid heartbeat, while physical side-effects include trouble eating, nausea, tension headaches, light-hotheadedness and difficulty concentrating. If you focus on any of these symptoms too much, you can enter into a never-ending cycle of worrying about worrying.

What is Anxiety and When Should You Seek Help?

 

It’s important to realize that being nervous before a presentation or date is a normal feeling that everyone experiences. This state is a natural reaction to real stresses. However, excessively worrying about an issue over which you have no control is not normal and is characterized as anxiety. It’s as if your nervousness is amplified and you have no way of turning it down. Anxiety appears in many forms, such as anxiety or panic attacks, social anxiety, or phobias. You may repeatedly tell yourself to stop thinking so much and to think positively, neither of which are effective.

Does your head sometimes feel as if it were spinning? Do you lay in bed at night, worrying about the same issues over and over again, unable to get them issues out of your head? Are your nervous thoughts keeping you trapped, leaving you to feel suffocated, with no hope of relief? If this sounds familiar, it may be caused by anxiety.

Effective Coping Techniques

The good news is that there are a variety of coping techniques that you can use in an effort to relieve some of your anxiety. Some of these techniques include:

  • Setting Aside a Specific “Worry Time.” Unfortunately, our worries often show up announced and we feel as if we need to tend to these feelings right away. But, what if we don’t respond immediately? Try picking a time during the day and give yourself a specific time limit for worrying. Let’s say you want to let yourself worrying for 20 minutes after dinner. In the meantime, whenever an anxious concern pops up, jot it down to look at during that designated time. When that time comes around there is a good chance that these troubles may not matter as much anymore.
  • Concentrating On Your Breathing: When our bodies are tense, we tend to hold our breath, which is a sign that our body needs breathing retraining; specifically, special diaphragmatic breathing. Mindful breathing is an effective tool for calming your nerves. If you focus your mind only on your breaths and the in and out flow of oxygen into your lungs, your body becomes relaxed and your mind quiets down. Practicing meditation and yoga are also effective strategies for coping with your anxiety, especially panic attacks.
  • Challenging Your Negative Thoughts: When a worry pops up in your head or you sense your mind getting stuck on the same issue, it is important to ask yourself if these thoughts are productive. Chances are that they are not, meaning that no good can come of them. Continuing to dwell on these worries means you are thinking negatively and the resulting anxiety can paralyze you. Instead, when you feel yourself starting to focus on a worry, tell yourself to Stop. It may be hard to do at first, but with practice though-stopping becomes easier.
  • Avoiding Anxiety Triggers: Many people don’t realize when they are unintentionally feeding into their anxiety. By keeping away from anxiety-fueling behaviors, you can help to reduce your feelings of dread and worry. Some anxiety-fueling mistakes include moping over your negative thoughts, consuming too much sugar, caffeine and alcohol, and avoiding stimuli which can trigger your anxiety such as horror movies, dark alleyways and reckless behaviors. By avoiding these pitfalls, you are in a better position to cope with your anxiety.

When Should You Seek Counseling?

How do you know it’s time to seek professional help for your anxiety? If your worries frequently interfere with your daily activities and your anxiety keeps you from doing things or going places, it is best to seek counseling. These are effects of a bigger concern called generalized anxiety disorder, and require help. Generalized anxiety means constantly worrying about something all of the time, as if there is a “worry machine” in your head. It can lead you to procrastinate to the point that you don’t do something or cause you to be so nervous about going somewhere that you avoid going altogether. Unfortunately, when we are experiencing so much anxiety, we are not good at making rational decisions and are unable to rise to the occasion because of our worries.

At Family Restoration Counseling, our therapists seek to serve the community by helping individuals and families regain and maximize their ability to function well in life. We offer individual, couples, family and group therapy in the Greater Dallas area for children, adolescence and adults. To learn more, contact us!

Identifying the Stages of Addiction

People do not become addicts overnight. Instead there are four specific stages that result in the disease. Understanding the signs that occur when someone becomes addicted helps you understand, cope and, hopefully, assist the individual. The more you know about substance abuse issues, the more likely you will be successful in communicating with the addict and getting him/her into a recovery program.

Identifying the Stages of Addiction

Experimentation is the first stage of the process by which someone becomes addicted to a legal or illicit substance. You might notice that your friend or family member stays out later, socializes with new people and is not forthcoming with details of his nights out. Many times there are no noticeable signs of a developing addiction, and, for many people, this experimentation does not result in abuse.

Regular use of a mind-altering substance marks the second stage of addiction. This consistent use begins to show itself in patterns as it becomes ritualized. At this point, your loved one might engage in risky behavior such as driving while under the influence of a substance. He often reacts irritably, becomes less dependable and make some poor decisions.

When the person reaches the third stage of addiction, he continues to use/abuse despite serious ramifications. His regular use increases to the point that he is unable to function well in society. He might be arrested in connection to his substance use/abuse (for impaired driving or possession). This is the stage in which close personal relationships dissolve, loss of employment often occurs and abusers result to extreme means to obtain their drug of choice.

In the fourth and final stage, physical addiction is apparent with the user experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not able to obtain the drug in a specific time period. The addict continues to compulsively use despite continued and worsening ramifications of that use. Significant changes have occurred in the user’s brain and body. Attempts to abstain completely from the drug can result in death due to chemical dependency. Comprehensive medical treatment is necessary at this time for the addict to successfully recover. Contact us to discover helpful therapy and counseling programs in the Greater Dallas area.

How Mental Health and Depression Affect Your Immune System

When you are focusing on your immune system, you may think they only factors are diet and exercise. Though these can be huge factors in how your immune system handles issues in the body, they are not the only things to change. You also need to focus on your mental and emotional health as well. If you do not see the connection these two aspects have to your immune system, consider the following ways that your mental health can affect you.

How Mental Health and Depression Affect Your Immune System

Anxiety Symptoms

One of the leading ways that mental health can affect your immune system is through anxiety symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety, such as fatigue, can lead your body to mimic the symptoms of a cold or flu. That sends your immune system into overdrive. This means that it is focusing on what it believes to be a cold or flu instead of other issues in the body. When a real issue occurs, the immune system is broken down from focusing on the false cold that your body is triggering due to anxiety.

Inflammation

When you have mental health issues from depression and anxiety, you may start to notice issues such as body fatigue. This body fatigue can lead to issues of inflammation and swelling in your muscles and joints. This is usually due to the body becoming tired and then reacting by not wanting to move as much or just feeling drained. The inflammation can lead directly to your immune system trying to counteract the inflammation and pain caused by that inflammation. This overload on your immune system as it tries to counteract the inflammation can cause the system to be fatigued and reduced in effectiveness.

Sleep Issues

When you have mental health issues, you may find yourself sleeping a lot. This is likely due to depression and the effect that depression has on your body. Even though you are sleeping a lot, you may still feel tired. This is because the sleep you are getting is not deep sleep and is therefore not restful. Your body is not getting the rejuvenation it normally would from sleep. That means your digestive system, immune system, and other systems of your body are not resting either. When it does come time for your immune system it will be to fatigued to do any good, thus leading to increased illness.

Constant Tension

Mental health issues such as anxiety and tension can lead to having your body tense all the time. This leads to migraines, tension headaches, lack of sleep, and the feeling of aches and pains throughout the day. As you start having multiple symptoms from the constant tension, your body will try to react. This reduces the effectiveness of your immune system and overall makes illness more likely.

These are only a few of the ways that your mental health can have a direct affect on your physical health and directly to your immune system. By taking on some daily habits focused on giving you better mental health, you can counteract the issues with your immune system and help it to function in a more stable manner. Contact us today to learn more!

Couples in Crisis and Christ

You start a relationship with love and optimism flowing abundantly through your veins. It is alive and well in your spirit as you exchange your wedding vows. You feel untouchable by tragedy or crisis. So long as you have one another, you can conquer anything. What a beautiful moment in life this is.

Couples in Crisis and Christ

However, life rolls on and things happen. One of you loses a job or addiction takes up residence in your home. Perhaps someone has been unfaithful or there’s been the loss of a child. Regardless of the details of how you arrived, you find yourselves plummeted into despair, grief and crisis. Suddenly, that euphoric perfect memory of the day you said your vows seems foreign and distant. You want to quit. You want to walk away because the pain is too great or the struggle too difficult. In this moment of fight or flight, you have a choice. You can choose to succumb to the negative despair or; you can choose to unify and set a course to overcome your adversity together.

Crisis, no matter how it looks, is an immense opportunity for personal and mutual growth together. Overcoming a crisis requires self discovery, willingness, hard work and an attitude of perseverance for both you and your spouse. Many take heart in knowing that they are not alone. As Christians, we are not guaranteed an easy path. In fact, the Bible tells us otherwise. John 16:33 tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”.

There is comfort knowing that Christ has already conquered all of it! Allow this passage to fill you with reassurance and confidence that we can overcome whatever life has thrown our way, in Him. Sometimes we need some extra help in bearing the burden, that’s why we are here to help. As a resource in times of trouble, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

The Process of Blended Families

You take fruit and add some ice cubes, perhaps a little sugar and yogurt and proceed to annihilate these individual items into a smooth and delicious concoction. While the finished product is wonderful and satisfying, the actual blending process can be violent. It requires each individual ingredient be decimated, in order to become part of a cohesive item.

The Process of Blended Families

The same is said for blending families together. It is an arduous task with several players whose roles have all changed. Mom has become not only mom to her own children, but also step-mom to new little people. Step siblings are now learning to coexist with each other. Then, there are the exes. Every individual person in the equation is at a different time and place in their personal growth and now expected to acclimate to the new consistency of their lives.

Some are reluctant to change and revolt causing friction in the newly formed family unit. At times, two different parenting styles collide and outbursts of “you’re not my real mom” or “I don’t have to listen to you”; erupt as a result. These statements can arouse bitterness, anger and hurt feelings. And while everyone’s feelings are valid, it is a tough road to walk on your own.

Remember to give yourselves time to grow together as a family. The old proverbial saying that ‘Rome was not built in a day’, rings true in this situation. Remember that everyone is adjusting. Be patient with one another. Be loving to one another.

If you find yourself and your newly blended family, facing troubles, do not give up! There is hope. Just remember, there are no perfect people or perfect solutions and you are not alone. We are here to help!

Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Anxiety Counseling for Adults, Adolescents, and Children

Anxiety is a term used to cover a good number of disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and several others. Recent studies have shown that anxiety is the leading mental health issue in North America, affecting nearly a third of the adult population — in conservative estimates. Many people let their anxiety go undiagnosed, untreated, and unknown. Many don’t realize what anxiety is, assuming that living with fears of the irrational, unknown, and social interaction on a daily basis is normal. This is where anxiety counseling could bring hope.

Anxiety Counseling for Adults, Adolescents, and Children

Oftentimes, as it is with many mental health issues, anxiety disorders are undetectable from the outside, and many people won’t speak of it. In the culture of today’s world, when everything from politics to daily life is hotly disputed and argued over, anxieties flourish, and will continue to do so until something turns the tide. Many people turn to alcoholism, recreational drug usage, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to control it — but only 10% of those affected by anxiety will seek or receive treatment for this condition.

Family Restoration Counseling Services can help you change the tide of anxiety in your life. With counseling for children through adults, our trained counselors will help you work through fears, anxieties, and worries. Equipped with progressive, healthy coping methods and avenues for healing, we give our time and attention to you as an individual, not another number on the chart. Your complete confidence can be placed in our confidentiality and care.

To learn more about our counseling services and the help we can provide, contact our counselors to begin the process of finding your own healing.

Quick Anxiety Release

Anxiety is becoming more and more of a household word these days. That is largely because the condition is increasingly common for people from all walks of life and across all age groups. One of the most common things people will recommend for someone having anxiety, from family and friends to doctors, is to breathe slowly and deeply. What happens if the person experiencing anxiety isn’t able to do this? In fact that scenario is quite common.

Quick Anxiety Release

When a person is experiencing anxiety they often don’t have much control over their breathing pattern. There is hope though, and we are here to help. In the meantime if you are experiencing anxiety here is a quick and easy trick. The yogic tradition calls it breath of fire or skull polishing breath. In this breathing exercise you focus only on the exhalation. It is particularly effective when someone is experiencing anxiety because it helps to release some of the pent-up anxious energy that one might be carrying with them.

To start you can either sit on your shins or stand. So, find a comfortable place to sit on your shins or stand. Open your mouth slightly and exhale quickly and powerfully while you pull your belly in. As if you were trying to blow out a particularly stubborn candle. Don’t think about the inhalation, that will happen naturally. Do this repeatedly for about 20 exhalations, stop and take a couple of slow normal breaths, then repeat. Once you have done a second set try to take a couple of slow deep breaths through the nose. You will likely find that you are able to do that now that you have release some of the anxiety.