We all function in relationships; in families, as coworkers, with friends: we need others to thrive. How we learned about ourselves growing up is often the foundation for all our interactions. If we had the fortune to be in a “healthy” family this learning translates into success in most interaction, however if our families held dysfunction, these flawed ideas may lead us to recreate that in our broader interactions with work, friendships and loved ones. Often that dissatisfaction brings us to therapy to change those old dysfunctional patterns. It can be very rewarding to break free of the dysfunction and learn better skills.
Depression can occur with the seasons or for specific reasons, like when life losses come into play. Sometime we can identify exactly why the sadness deepens yet can’t prevent it or seem to manage. Other times it is less clear why the energy drains away, and life stressors seem so unbearable. If you talk with your Doctor, they might suggest a medication and therapy. Take the advice, take the medication, and come to therapy. It is proven that both help best together. If you don’t like the medication option come to therapy, we can help with the depression and sort out together if a medication recommendation is a good idea. I don’t think “doing nothing” helps elevate the depression!
Anxiety can motivate, the feeling can drive us to get things done or it can drive us crazy with worry and fear. When overloaded with tasks in life anxiety can petrify, leading to a spiral of feelings that can lead to isolation and larger irrational fears. Panic attacks seem to come out of the blue yet the emotion is so intense that we expect death because our heart is pounding out of our chest. If the panic attack repeats, as it often does, it can lead to irrational phobias that limit our activity. These “sister” emotions, couple with irrational fears feed each other and seem beyond our control. With appropriate interventions the irrational thoughts can be examined and managed so that life can be lived.
Today more than ever people struggle with stress over job issues. With companies downsizing no career path is safe, despite doing a good job your position can be eliminated, or your company may expect more from you as positions are eliminated around you. Careers in just one firm is highly unlikely, therefore job seeking has become a second career. In this economy if you have lost your position finding another is difficult. Skills in networking, resume writing, and interviewing are as critical as keeping current with new skills in your field. The anxiety of being out of work and looking for that next paycheck creates major stress for everyone in the family. While the expense of therapy is of concern, it may be money well spent if the process gets your career on track.
We have an epidemic of obesity in our society. It is often more than, simply changing your diet. The addiction to food is often about issues of nourishment and love. Denying oneself food is as strong as any other addiction. Bulimia and anorexia are terms used to describe the most serious forms of clinical eating disorders. Whatever the cause, we know for sure that if left untreated that these disorders shorten and limit life. With professional help and group support change can be meaningful and lead to a higher quality of life.
There are many self help books on the market discussing how to increase esteem, yet I have seen many struggle to find increased esteem from these sources. Talking, gaining insight, and expressions of feelings in the therapy session can assist in finding meaningful change. I suggest we all can grow and change, it is a requirement of life to adapt. Growth therapy or what is now coined as Life Coaching creates the focus of attention and skilled interaction to solidify this change.
No one goes into marriage expecting a divorce yet today in America, over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Managing the feelings of loss, anger or finding a resolution with therapy can be very helpful. If children are involved creating a good parenting plan is critical to help them move beyond the loss. Marital therapy is often only seen as helpful in preventing divorce, yet the interventions that reduce conflicts when the goal is to separate can be huge. Preventing divorce is a great goal, yet when a couple have come to the conclusion to separate professional intervention with a therapist can be huge in reducing conflict and creating a path through the legal process.
Everyone, even the most psychologically healthy, face changes in their life that could use psychological support! Depending on family and friends can create burdens on members who maybe struggling with the same dilemma, at the same time. Loss of a family member, job loss, relocation, becoming empty-nesters, retirement, having a new baby, starting a new career; you name it, these can be reasons to enter into treatment. Coming to counseling can create adjustments that move you into more creative and adaptive patterns.
Sexual abuse, neglect, verbal and physical abuse of childhood creates adjustment problems for most adults and can affect every aspect of life, yet it is often hard to see its impact. Tragically, these patterns can repeat in adult relationships or with your own children. To stop the abuse, seek professional help with very bit of courage you can muster!
It is the addiction to another and it looks like love, however it is not! It takes the form of pleasing others, or taking care of others and at first it seems helpful. We can learn this pattern from childhood or from caring for another who has a chronic debilitating disease. So it is born out of love, but we loose ourselves caring for the other person. When one cares of another, loves them, and they don’t get better, just trying harder doesn’t necessarily get them better. It can be very complicated! Like all addictions its costs can be denied. Often professional intervention helps find solutions and interventions that truly can help.
The old adage, “If you think you’re addicted you probably are!” It is true. If a love one asked you to stop you should listen. It is probably true. Yet most don’t stop until something major happens to you in a negative way! People get addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, work, food, anger and other addicts. It is all the vices and they can really screw up your life and your relationships. We professionals have good interventions and have the ability to help you get your life back, if you want it! It all starts with an appointment and the assessment.
As the women’s movement changed things for women in the ‘60’s; the men had to change too! While women are smarter and more willing to seek therapy, men need to recognize that they may need to understand their roles in life much more today then ever. More men do seek the couch to talk through their issues and feel smarter for the experience. Men’s roles and responsibilities within the family have expanded and many find that they are challenged by partners, children and their work to be better at being human.
Women are more inclined to consider therapy for life’s troubles, as they are more inclined to seek out another’s opinion. It’s one way to see them as more intelligent, willing to talk through feelings and thoughts when troubled. A male therapist may provide a perspective that assists with some issues, yet sometimes a female therapist is most helpful. Sometimes the gender is less the issue as the experience and skill are most important. Regarding the need for support in making life changes professional assistance rather than relying on friends to sort out the issues may be critical. Besides it allows you to have more fun and friendship with friends.
With the greater openness in our society more men and women are seeking couples treatment to support healthy attachment and well-being. Gay and lesbian partners are seeking treatment to deal with the deep connection their relationships deserve.
More of us are living in this category of family than ever! Much has been written about blending families after a divorce. They are families born out of loss. They are more complicated and the boundaries between members are less clear. While the parents may love each other, their respective children may not be as enthused about the “new family” often because they are struggling with the loss of the family life they had to leave. Changes in schools, routine, home life can take a toll. Yet, children are able to trust loving again, just as parents have. It just is not simple to bring two different cultures together with it’s our set of rule, expectations and behaviors expecting that love will solve it all! The love between members can help but to assume that each family member loves each other enough is naive. I suggest to anyone who is facing divorce, remarriage, or blending families to seek a family therapist who is comfortable and skilled at dealing with these issues.
Our task to raise healthy children is our most important Job! Yet most of us have much doubt about our abilities, duties and boundaries. We worry about their developmental markers when they are babies, how they achieve in their school work. Then as teens we surely feel we’ve lost them, or they have lost their minds! If you have kids with special needs, and all have a special need, you agonize over their struggles. Do I encourage this activity or that? How do I balance their activity and school with my crazy demands? Professional guidance early can make everyone more certain of success.
Family life is the foundation of our existence. Everyone needs to help one another to be healthy and happy. Everyone needs to be treated respectfully to thrive. Often dysfunctional patterns of the past derail these basic concepts or parents who have very different backgrounds don’t take the time or have the insight to work on solutions together. When trouble erupts between members their resentments, blaming, and conflict lead to more distance rather than understanding and cooperation. Family based treatment can help rather dramatically.
We learn parenting from our parents, this is true! However, we often look at the way we were raised saying, “I’m not going to make the same mistakes!” Then find ourselves reacting in ways we believe is just wrong for ourselves and our children! Through therapy one can examine dysfunctional processes from our past and truly be different with our children. While the parenting books have great theories, it is often hard to see how to implement the idea, or we try and are struggling to be consistent.