Category: Counseling Blog

Couples in Crisis: What to Do When You Can’t Even Begin to Describe What’s Wrong

There’s no way around it. Relationships are hard, and there are so many things that happen along the way that interferes with the love you once shared. Couples in crisis often come to counseling completely confused about what has happened in their relationship. After all, how can you fix something when you don’t know where you went wrong? Fortunately, it is possible to identify the challenges in your relationship so that you can begin to renew the bonds you share with your partner.

Couples in Crisis: What to Do When You Can't Even Begin to Describe What's Wrong

Name Your Emotions

Over the course of a relationship, it is common for personalities and reactions to change. Often, this is due to a series of unresolved events that cause one or both people in the relationship to shut down. Resentment, anger, apathy and even jealousy can all creep into a relationship and slowly chip away at your bond. Identifying these emotions is the first step toward recognizing the behavior patterns that affect your relationship.

Acknowledge Your Role

Do you turn on the television to escape your partner’s nagging, or maybe you continuously work late so that you do not have to face being turned down at bedtime? Escaping is a common way couple try to cope with problems in their relationship, yet refusing to work through issues just allows them to fester. We often discover that many problems couples still struggle with have been going on for years, and acknowledging your part in allowing issues to continue is important for learning how to take action.

Learn to Communicate

Almost every issue in a relationship comes down to a breakdown in communication. This is because truly listening and responding to each other takes courage and a specific technique. With professional counseling, it is possible to learn effective communication strategies that will help you discover the best ways to change your relationship so that both you and your partner are happy.

Knowing that your relationship is in trouble but not being able to pinpoint why is a sure sign that you are heading toward a crisis. Contact us today to begin getting to the bottom of your relationship distress so you can revive the love you know is still there.

Could My Senior Loved One Benefit From Counseling?

Life after retirement is often viewed through the optimistic lens of younger generations who yearn for the freedom that comes with ending a career. However, the senior years are often filled with challenges that can leave seniors struggling to find a sense of purpose and overcome feelings of depression. As a family caregiver, your loved one’s best interests are always close to your heart. Watch for these signs that a senior may be in crisis and capable of benefiting from professional counseling.

Could My Senior Loved One Benefit From Counseling?r

Losing a Spouse

The loss of a spouse is devastating for seniors who not only lost a beloved companion but who may also be left living alone. Although grieving is normal, your senior loved one should still have occasional moments of happiness break through the sorrow. If your loved one seems to have given up hope or struggles with isolation, then it may be time to encourage them to seek help with learning how to move on.

Facing a New Health Diagnosis

The likelihood of developing a health problem increases during the senior years, and a diagnosis that involves long-term challenges can lead to depression. Spend time with your loved one, and observe how they manage their daily activities. Giving up, expressing frustration and anger during daily tasks or feeling anxiety about future problems are all signs that counseling will help them adjust to their new lifestyle.

Moving to a New Residence

Aging in place is a goal for which most people strive, yet it is not always possible for everyone to achieve. Moving at any age is stressful, and it is possible that your loved one may struggle with adjusting to their new home. This is especially common for seniors who have transitioned from an independent living situation to one that provides assistance. Counselors are trained to help seniors identify the positive aspects of moving, and talking about their experience helps seniors make a better transition.

Life events tend to occur at a rapid pace in the senior years, and it is common for a senior adult to experience multiple changes in a short period of time. Help your loved one adjust and enjoy positive wellbeing by contacting us today.

4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Adolescents Thrive

The adolescent years of one’s life are undoubtedly the hardest. Emotional, intellectual and social skills are in the process of developing to their mature capacity. There are a few things that parents can do to help their teens handle their journey to adulthood in a safe and healthy way.

4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Adolescents ThriveModel Positive Behavior

Parents need to be the models for positive behavior. According to Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal, parents should be warm and affectionate towards their teens as much as possible. When parents are able to keep their cool, it not only teaches the adolescent how to do the same but it also may help keep them calm in that moment as well. Additionally, parents can teach self-soothing skills to their teen to help them de-stress. These can include yoga, exercise, or listening to music.

Support Friendships

Friends are an important part of an adolescent’s life. “Parents and caregivers should teach teens that real friendship involves two people who understand and respect one another, care and take responsibility for each other, expect good things from each other and solve problems together without blaming or manipulation,” says Terri Clark-Jones of the Michigan State University Extension. Encouraging positive friendships and discouraging negative ones can have a great impact on what kinds of activities teens choose to participate in.

Provide Social Options

Giving teens constructive extracurricular options can help them to develop socially and explore their own identities. Ron Dahl, a neuroscientist and professor of human health and development at the University of California, Berkeley, says, “At a practical level, you want to create a context that gives them a range of options and let them find something relatively prosocial and healthy to explore.” Parents need to be positive role models for their children, but not the only positive role models their kids encounter. Sports, 4-H, or any after-school clubs are all good options for teens to experience a variety of meaningful relationships and valuable mentors.

Be A Parent!

Parents still need to be the parents. Setting boundaries, monitoring the teen’s activities both online and in real life and providing a stable home environment are all important for helping kids thrive. When expectations are not being met by the adolescent, parents should show respect and talk through the issue with the teen with the absence of yelling and arguing. Using positive tones helps the parent to connect with the child and be heard. “You want the relationship between a parent and a child to be close enough and warm enough that the child discloses behaviors and what they are thinking, and the parent can offer advice that reinforces rules but doesn’t disparage the child,” according to an interview with social psychologist William D. Crano at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.

The parent-teen relationship is a complex arrangement.  Developing this relationship successfully can lead to a healthy, fulfilling life for the teen and a life-long closeness with the parent.

For more help parenting a teenager, or questions about our counseling services, please contact us!

Coping With Grief And Loss After Losing Your Job

The career world today is cutthroat, and it is common for someone to experience a sudden job loss. When you lose a job without warning, it is normal to feel a sense of grief and loss. After all, a career is part of our identity, and you had relationships with your coworkers that will be missed. While you may not be able to get your job back, you can ease your feelings of loss by using these strategies.

Coping With Grief and Loss After Losing a Job

Spend Time Reflecting

After a job loss, most people do one of two things: fight to get their job back or immerse themselves in new hobbies. While both of these things seem productive, it is better to reflect upon what happened and make a plan for self-improvement. Staying focused on a new job search, developing new skills and creating a budget to help until your income returns to normal are all healthy ways to spend your time.

Minimize Stress

Career changes are stressful, and it is important to practice self-care while you make the transition. Avoid taking on additional responsibilities, and find positive coping strategies to use when you feel angry. For example, you can write in a journal or call a supportive family member or friend. By doing something to make yourself better, you can avoid falling into a trap of negativity.

If you find that you struggle with negative emotions or getting over the loss, then our counselors are here to listen. Please contact us today so we can help you get back on your feet.

3 Ways to Stop Depression From Affecting Your Addiction Recovery

After leaving treatment, you knew that addiction recovery would be a lifelong process. However, you might not have expected for depression to rear its ugly head again and make it harder to stick to your treatment plan. While it may be hard to believe, the fact that you are dealing with depression is a normal part of the recovery process since the feelings you once masked with drugs or alcohol are now coming to the surface. Fortunately, you have made the right decision to seek help, and you can stay on the right track by taking these three steps.3 Ways to Stop Depression From Affecting Your Addiction Recovery

Continue to Avoid Triggers

Depression during recovery can make it harder to resist triggers, and the temptation is always lurking around the corner. During this time, you may be extra vulnerable to an offer to grab some drinks with friends, or you may prefer to curl up in bed instead of going to your aftercare meeting. As hard as it may be, continue to fill your day with healthy activities that you learned during treatment so that you will feel strong in the face of temptation.

Practice Self-Care

It is important to remember that depression is more than just a mental issue, your entire body can be affected by symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches and disrupted sleep. For this reason, taking care of your physical health has a positive impact on your mood. Make sure to exercise each day so you benefit from mood-boosting endorphins, and do something that makes you feel happy every day. Whether you soak in a bubble bath or schedule a massage, a little pampering will go a long way toward helping you feel better.

Surround Yourself With Support

You didn’t overcome your addiction alone, and that same support network can help you through your depression. Reach out to sober family members and friends, and let them know what you are going through. It is also important to talk to a professional counselor who can help you identify any possible underlying causes for your depression. This way, you can work through this time with the support you need to overcome depression without relapsing in your recovery.

Dealing with depression during recovery can be scary since it can leave you vulnerable to falling back into old habits. Don’t struggle alone, contact us today so we can help you feel better and continue to be strong in your recovery.

Blended Families: Counseling Can Help Ease The Transition

Blended families are common today. With many studies reporting that fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce, this leaves at least fifty percent of the nation’s children are living in blended families that include a parent’s new partner, and possibly other children. While re-marriage and the coming together of two families is a joyous occasion, it can present challenges for everyone involved. Counseling can help ease the transition. Even if you’re not currently facing any challenges, seeking the help of a family counselor can help your family start this new chapter on a positive note.

Blended Families: Counseling Can Help Ease The Transition

Counseling Couples

When two people enter into a union and bring children from previous relationships into the fold, they also bring their own idea of parenting and discipline. Add to that the involvement of ex-spouses, and it becomes a potential hot button issue. Even if you are clashing with your partner about parenting, this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. A counselor can help to mediate differences in parenting skills, lay out an agreement for the children brought into the family, and create a game plan for any future children.

Counseling Children

Children can become stressed by change, and the process of divorce, visitation with both parents, and the entrance of a new partner and new children can be extremely difficult. Children who are unable to verbalize what they are feeling, and don’t have the tools to cope when they become overwhelmed can begin to act out, or withdraw.  For a child, a counselor is a neutral party who is there to listen and offer real life techniques for the child to use when the stress of a new family becomes too much. Counseling for children also offers new insight for the parents into what their children are thinking and feeling.

Success as a Blended Family

It takes time for a blended family to successfully transition, longer for some than others. It is worth the time and effort into overcoming the obstacles you may face because, in the end, you will have a closely bonded family.

If you need help with the transition process for your blended family, we are here for you. Please contact us today.

Is It Possible to Heal After Marital Infidelity?

Finding out a partner has cheated is one of the most painful experiences you can have in your marriage. In addition to feeling hurt and angry, you may also be feeling confusing emotions such as relief that you finally know the truth. While healing from marital infidelity will take work, you can emerge from this trying time with renewed confidence by focusing on the following strategies.

Understand the Underlying Cause

Affairs never happen for no reason. Usually, there has already been a breakdown in the marriage that contributes to the decision to be unfaithful. Difficulty handling stress, ineffective communication or sexual addiction are a few common reasons for infidelity. While this does not give a person an excuse to have an affair, understanding the underlying reason for it serves as a starting point toward healing.

Is It Possible to Heal After Marital Infidelity?

Surround Yourself With Support

The discovery that the one person you should be able to trust has betrayed you can shake your belief system to the core. For this reason, you will want to establish a support network that can help you work through your emotions. Right now, you may want to cry on your best friend’s shoulder, and that is okay. However, make sure to also include professional counseling in your support network since they can help you take an objective look at how to get over infidelity in your marriage.

Be Patient With the Process

Healing from infidelity takes time, and some days will be easier than others. Everyone wants an instant answer about whether or not to stay in their marriage, yet this is one decision that is best determined after you work through your feelings and identify the underlying cause. As you make this journey, rest assured that you will heal in time.

Being betrayed by your spouse just hurts, yet the only way to heal is to face your situation head on. As you begin to move forward, contact us so our counselors can help you get on the right track for mending your heart.