Staying Comfortable At the Counseling Office

Helping A Child Come Out: Four Mistakes Parents Should Avoid

Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Helping A Child Come Out: Four Mistakes Parents Should Avoid

It’s seldom easy for a child to tell his or her parents that he or she is gay, but with millions of people in the United States who self-identify in this way, it’s important that moms and dads understand the challenges young gay people face. Uncertain about how their parents may react, many children will face significant emotional turmoil when it comes to talking about their sexuality. As such, if you want to support your child’s sexual development, it’s useful to consider some of the mistakes other parents make. Here are four of them. Ignoring hints Many children will take some time to pluck up the courage to tell their parents that they are gay. Many gay kids will initially drop hints or offer up subtle clues to see if they can predict how a parent will react. For example, your son or daughter may ask you what you think of a well-known gay celebrity to see if you respond in a positive or negative way. Respond positively to these clues and hints, and take the conversation seriously. While it’s also hard for parents, it’s generally even more traumatic for uncertain teenagers and children, so it’s vital that kids get the positive affirmation they are looking for. Try to keep the conversation going with open answers, too. A simple yes or no may actually sound like you don’t really approve or want to talk about the matter. Confrontation Parents may suspect that their child is gay, but it isn’t always a good idea to confront a child with a direct question about his or her sexuality. While you may think you are helping your son or daughter, he or she may not yet feel ready to honestly answer the question, and, when confronted in this way, he or she may deny or reject the claim. This can make it harder to come out at a later stage because your son or daughter must also then deal with the fact that he or she previously lied. If you decide to ask the question outright, choose your timing carefully. Find a time and place when you and your child are relaxed and alone. Avoid situations that may feel stressful. For example, if your son or daughter tries to avoid doing something, don’t try to bring his or her sexuality into the discussion, as the situation is probably already difficult. Above all, make sure you are willing to positively accept and support whatever your child says. Failure to learn You may not know much about gay people, especially if you don’t have gay friends or colleagues. You may have preconceptions about gay people that could influence the conversation. You may even have an unconscious bias towards gay people that comes from your background and personal experiences. These preconceptions may steer the conversation down a negative path. Take time to learn more about gay people and the issues they face. There are several voluntary organizations that gay parents run for other people who want to support their children. There are also plenty of books and online resources to help parents challenge misconceptions and develop a better understanding of gay people. This information can help you have more positive, supportive conversations with your child. Ignorant or unhelpful responses When your son or daughter comes...

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Counseling Can Be A Good Idea For Money-Related Stress

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Counseling Can Be A Good Idea For Money-Related Stress

If you are at a point in your life where you spend a lot of time worrying about money, your bills, and your lack of retirement savings, it might be time to seek help from a professional counselor. A lot of people have anxiety because of the extreme debt they have, and these worries lead to stress, which is very bad for your health. If you are in a bad financial state, you might be at a higher risk for developing health problems, but you might be able to find some relief from this stress by getting treatment for anxiety. Stress Leads To Health Issues WebMD reports that people with high levels of money stress may suffer from ulcers, back pain, headaches, depression, heart attacks, and many other health issues. Stress, in general, is not good for your body or mental status, and a main reason for this is due to the way your body fights stress. One of the first things your body will do when you feel stressed is release cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. While cortisol is natural and helpful at times for dealing with stress, it is not good when you are stressed all the time. As your body continues to produce cortisol, it can actually have negative effects on the way you think and on the way your body functions. High levels of cortisol can prevent you from learning and can lead to weight gain and high blood pressure. High levels are also linked to depression and mental illnesses. In addition, stress can also cause your body to increase the blood sugar in your system. Exposure to elevated levels of high blood sugar can lead to diabetes. Stress is also known for causing an increase in a person’s blood pressure, which makes the person at a higher risk for heart-related diseases and problems. Another risk you take when feeling stressed about money is developing bad habits. When people feel stressed over things, they may turn to food, alcohol, or drugs. They do this simply to feel better, but the feelings of joy are only temporary. After a while, the effects of consuming too much food or alcohol can lead to health problems and more stress. For some people, stressing over money also interferes with their sleep. If you are worrying about how you will pay your next mortgage payment, it could keep you awake at night. The problem with this is that sleep is one of the most important aspects of good health. Without the proper amount of sleep, your immune system will begin to weaken, and you may be even more susceptible to illnesses. How A Counselor Can Help According to recent polls, 72% of Americans worry about money. Reports also show that money is the top stress people experience in life. As common as worrying over money might be, it is not good for your health, and it doesn’t help you gain control over your finances. No matter what your reasoning is for your worrying, you can change your situation. Sometimes just talking about the situation can provide relief, but other times medication can help. There are numerous types of medications you could try, and this could be a great way to reduce the anxiety you are feeling. Seeking help...

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Why Is It So Hard To Break A Drug Addiction?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Is It So Hard To Break A Drug Addiction?

Drug addictions can be devastating to families, and studies show that approximately two-thirds of all American families are in some way affected by either an alcohol or drug addiction. If someone in your family is struggling with an addiction that he or she cannot seem to break, it is important for you to understand why this is happening. Drug addictions are extremely hard to overcome, especially when the person tries to do it alone. Here are three things you should understand about addictions. Drugs Alter The Brain The first thing you should understand is that when a person uses any type of substance, it can alter his or her brain. Because of this, it can be hard for an addict to understand the effects of his or her addiction. This also explains why addicts do things that seem irrational and illogical. The word “addiction” comes from a Latin word that means enslaved. The drug a person uses begins to take over the person’s brain, and the person soon becomes enslaved to the drug. As this happens, the person’s brain begins to change. When the person uses a drug, the brain releases dopamine, which provides a pleasurable experience to the person. As the drug wears off, the pleasure goes away. Drugs also alter the chemical transmissions within the brain. Over time, drugs can cause permanent damage to a person’s brain. This can include memory loss and can lead to long-term problems with normal brain functions and reasoning. The Body Experiences Withdrawal Symptoms When a person’s brain gets used to the drug he or she uses, it will constantly remind the person that he or she needs this drug, and this can happen with any type of addiction. As the brain reminds the person of this, the person begins to experience withdrawal symptoms. Not only do addicts long for the euphoria feelings they get when they are using drugs, but they also take them to stop the withdrawal symptoms they are going through. Withdrawal symptoms can be mild or severe, and they can include: Nervousness, anxiety, and depression Headaches and pain Stomachaches Nausea and vomiting Diarrhea Chills and shaking Hallucinations An addict’s brain has a hard time functioning without the drug, which is why addicts experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug of their choice. Addicts Need Life Changes Finally, you should understand that breaking an addiction requires complete changes in a person’s life. A person that tries to break an addiction alone without changing anything in his or her life will have a difficult time achieving this. If you really want to see this loved one break his or her addiction and are willing to step in and help, here are several things you may want to push for: Substance abuse treatment – The first thing this person will need is a good treatment center. Substance abuse treatment centers can help people go through the detoxification process and can offer additional types of help. This is the first step needed to break an addiction for good. Chemical dependency counseling – Counseling services are also vital for anyone trying to break an addiction. Counseling can help the person understand why he or she became addicted and can find ways to help the person stay sober. New environment – The...

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Need Marriage Counseling? 4 Tips for Dealing with a Resistant Partner

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Need Marriage Counseling? 4 Tips for Dealing with a Resistant Partner

Marriage counseling is a good investment for the future of your relationship, even before problems occur. If you have a partner who is not open to the suggestion of attending counseling, there are ways to help cope with your partner’s resistance and possibly encourage them to reconsider. Figure Out the Real Reason Do not immediately assume your partner is resistant to the idea of counseling because they do not see problems in your relationship or are being defiant. Pick a time when both of you are relaxed and can be attentive to each other. Ask your partner directly why they do not want to attend counseling. It is possible your partner views counseling as an imminent sign of divorce or they believe you should not discuss problems within a marriage with anyone outside of the relationship. Sometimes a direct question can open a dialogue. Underlying problems rooted in the past abuse, physical intimacy or illness can cause feelings of embarrassment or shame and make it difficult for your partner to open up about problems, especially to a stranger. Avoid Threatening Language It is easy to become frustrated with your partner when they are resistant to seeking outside help to fix marital problems. You need to figure out a way to bring up the subject in a way that seems non-threatening. Try explaining how you feel about the status of the relationship and why you think it is important to seek outside help. Tell your partner what you want to achieve by going to counseling. Your partner is more likely to be open to hearing what you have to say when you are expressing your thoughts and feelings, rather than telling them what they are doing wrong or being critical. Do not use ultimatums as a method of luring your partner into counseling. An ultimatum will likely make your partner more defensive and just spiral into another argument. Furthermore, if you need to use ultimatums for your partner to take relationship concerns seriously, this can be a sign you both value the relationship differently. Go Alone When your partner resists counseling, they may hope you will give up on the idea. Even if your partner refuses to attend counseling, keep your appointment and talk to the counselor one-on-one. Showing you are serious about counseling and are assertive enough to go alone is important. After speaking with your counselor about problems in the relationship, you and the counselor can formulate ideas that are more likely to make your partner less guarded about counseling. Some partners are more likely to warm up to the idea when the topic does not create additional tension in the relationship. If you attend sessions alone and treat it like any other appointment, your partner may eventually become inquisitive about the process and want to attend. Maybe your partner would agree to marriage counseling if you each talked to separate counselors or had individual sessions. If your partner is willing to attend counseling sessions separately, as they become more comfortable with the process they might be willing to begin joint sessions. Know When Enough Is Enough The objective of marriage counseling is to help two people work through problems and to possibly save the marriage. Since you cannot force your partner to attend counseling, you will eventually...

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Curious About Seeking Help: What Goes On During Counseling?

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Curious About Seeking Help: What Goes On During Counseling?

Even those who are die hard about receiving some help about either a mental illness or a rough patch someone is going through in their life might be a reticent about seeking counseling or therapy. For many years, therapy had a social stigma attached to it. Many people tended to think that those who went to therapy were somehow crazy or abnormal. Luckily, such a stigma has somewhat been lifted, but the vestiges of being a little weary of what goes on during a therapy session still remains. Therapy can be a quite normal experience with licensed professionals knowing how to create an environment that is welcoming yet professional, friendly yet discreet. This brief article will serve to let you know what goes on during a therapy session. Learning About Your Background Although all adult counseling sessions differ and all therapists differ in scope and methodology, one of the most common things that occurs is that, during your first visit to a therapist, your therapist will want to learn about your background. If you have a history of mental health issues, he or she may wish to read charts supplied by your psychiatrist, if you so allow them access to such information. This is not to say that all therapists will remain so aloof; many will go beyond the scope of simply examining medical charts in order to learn more about you. Most therapists will get to know you during your first session. First and foremost, they will want to learn what brought you to therapy. Is there a specific reason, or is this time in your life just difficult and you need someone to talk to and add a bit of clarity to the fog of confusion that is resting on your life at the time being? Not only this, but many therapists will want a condensed version of your life story during this session. They want to be able to fit the puzzle pieces together, so to speak, and perhaps impute an impetus upon the problems that are currently plaguing your life. Discuss What You Want Out Of This Relationship Remember that a relationship with a therapist is just that: a relationship. And like all relationships, they are a two way street. You should not go to a therapist without knowing what you want out of your therapy sessions and you should not go to a therapist if you do not know why you are there. Remember, a therapist’s job is to help you, but they can’t help you if you’re unwilling to help yourself, and they can’t help you if you’re unwilling to articulate what with what it is you need help. It is a therapist’s job to talk to you about you, but you have to come into this relationship with an idea of what it is that you wish to discuss. Although a good therapist can do a good job at coaxing truthful responses out of their clients, you should have an idea of what specifically it is you wish to discuss. For example, if the main reason that you have come to therapy is to discuss the death of a beloved pet, then feel free to discuss this matter. Your therapist is here to help you, but first and foremost, he or she...

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Is Counseling The Key To Weight Loss? 2 Signs That Counseling May Be Your Best Diet Companion

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Counseling The Key To Weight Loss? 2 Signs That Counseling May Be Your Best Diet Companion

It can be a struggle to lose weight if you are overweight or obese and cannot stick to a healthy eating plan. Some people have trouble sticking to a diet because they love eating out with friends or feel hungry all the time, which are two common problems. However, many people have trouble sticking to portion or calorie-restricted diets not because of hunger, but because of disordered eating habits. While your doctor or dietitian can give you a personal eating plan designed to help you lose weight, a counselor is another professional necessary to help you lose weight in a healthy way if you experience one of the following signs of disordered eating.  1. You Follow Your Diet Until It is Interrupted by an Uncontrollable Binge Many people following weight-loss diets slip up occasionally and have an extra cookie or two here and there or an extra piece of cake at a birthday party. Eating occasional extra treats while dieting is normal and occasional “cheat days” can actually be a built-in part of a healthy weight-loss plan.  However, binge eating disorder is a problem when binges are triggered by negative emotions instead of happy ones. Binges often consist of thousands of calories worth of food, and you may continue eating long after your stomach feels full. Other signs that you have a binge-eating disorder include: An out-of-control feeling while eating. You feel like you cannot stop eating and you cannot think rationally during your binges.  Depression after binges. Your binge brings you a temporary “high” while eating but is followed by an extreme “low” once you realize how much you have consumed.  Secret Eating. You eat in secrecy as an escape from the real world, and you may even withdraw from friends and family just to get away to eat.  If you are a binge eater, then a counselor may use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to teach you how to recognize the signs that you may be nearing a binge episode and suggest ways to channel your anger, stress, or anxiety into a healthier outlet. He or she may advise you to keep a journal and write down how you are feeling right before a binge and how you feel after.  Your counselor may also recommend a prescription medication approved to treat binge eating disorder. This medication can help reduce your anxiety and depression episodes that trigger your binging.  2. You Eat Too Much of Only a Tiny List of “Safe” Foods Many people who want to lose weight cut unhealthy foods out of their diets, like cookies and candy, and that is normal. However, some become obsessed with eating healthy and develop a disorder called orthorexia. You may have orthorexia if you have an obsession with eating only specific foods and never stray from your “safe” food list. You may not have lost any weight eating these foods or you may have even gained weight eating them, but you experience extreme negative emotions at the thought of eating other foods. Orthorexia can take a toll on your body by limiting the daily nutrients you consume to only those on your personal safe food list, and the physical effects of this disorder vary depending on exactly what you eat.  However, the toll orthorexia takes on your mental health can...

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