Individual counseling is where you work one-on-one with a therapist to receive support during challenging life circumstances. Maybe you’re dealing with the loss of a marriage, a dating relationship, or a friendship. Maybe you’ve just lost your job. Perhaps you are having trouble adjusting to a new phase of life or are grieving the death of a loved one. Maybe you’ve been struggling with depression for so long
you can’t remember the last time you felt happy. Maybe you’ve started having suicidal thoughts. No matter what you are dealing with, a counselor can likely help you with your situation.
Individual counseling can help you deal with many issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, addiction, or even a combination of separate issues. You and your therapist will work together as a team to explore and define present problem situations, develop future goals for an improved life, and work in a systemic fashion toward realizing those goals. Our therapists are trained to treat more serious issues such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well. Some common forms of therapy are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Below are some of the more common areas individual counseling focuses on and the counselors who can best help:
Many believe that anger is a secondary emotion. This means that anger is the emotion that presents on the surface, but underneath is another emotion, such as fear or sadness. It is common for someone who experiences anger to be altogether unaware of the underlying emotion. This is one reason that counseling can be beneficial in helping with anger concerns. Discovering and working through the emotions that underlie the anger help that anger to dissipate. In the meantime, while those emotions are being sought out, counselors can equip clients with a variety of calming and grounding skills they can use to cope with anger when it arises. These tools can help mitigate anger before it escalates and becomes problematic.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness are excellent modalities for treating anger issues.
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological reaction to perceived threats. In small doses, anxiety is very helpful. It protects us from danger, focuses our attention on problems, and can drive us to action. But when it is too severe or is too frequently, anxiety becomes debilitating.
Do you feel overworked, like life is coming at you at the speed of light and like everything is out of control? No matter what you do, you can't seem to relax? You're stressed and uptight much of the time? You snap and become angry at the smallest things? If so, you may be experiencing anxiety. Just like depression, anxiety can be brought on by life circumstances and experiences or it can be a more chronic problem, called generalized anxiety.
Those who experience generalized anxiety may find that they tend to be consumed with worry. If you worry that you forgot to turn off your curling iron before leaving for work and are convinced that fire will result, or you call the nanny ten times a day to check on your precious bundle of joy, you may be an excessive worrier. If these worries cause you significant distress so that you have trouble functioning in your daily life, you may have generalized anxiety.
Whether you are in a season of being overwhelmed or are consumed with worry and angst, a counselor can help. At Judah Christian Counseling, we have counselors who are trained to help you work through your anxiety issues. They will assist you in discovering what triggers your anxiety and will teach you valuable skills, such as grounding techniques and thought stopping, to help you cope with excess anxiety. Some popular forms of therapy for anxiety are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness.
Codependency is a topic that is maybe difficult to define and understand. Perhaps the simplest way to explain codependency is with the phrase, "I'm not okay if you're not okay." The meaning of this is that codependent individuals cannot rest or be at peace if the object of their codependency is under duress. They feel they must do something to correct, or "fix," the situation, or rescue the person. They take on responsibility for the well-being of the other person. They feel their love and acceptance is gained through doing for the other person, even when they want to say no. They enable the other person to continue poor behaviors, habits, or addictions. These are just some of the ways in which a person can display codependent tendencies.
It's important to understand and recognize when these behaviors are present in relationships because they can become detrimental not only to the health of the relationship, but also to the individuals themselves. Many times, codependent patterns begin when one partner in the relationship struggles with an addiction or an illness of another sort. Once these patterns of behavior are established in a relationship, they are difficult to break. It is helpful to have the expertise of a counselor to guide you through setting up new boundaries in the relationship as you seek to do away with these unhealthy codependent patterns. Some effective forms of therapy for codependency are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Codependents Anonymous.
Just about everyone has likely heard the term depression by now. Most probably associate it with being sad. While this can certainly be the case, depression involves much more than merely a feeling of sadness. There is generally a loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, a lack of energy, a change in sleep patterns, and a change in appetite and weight. Those who suffer form depression can sometimes present with symptoms of anger, irritability, or weepiness. Many times, depressed individuals withdraw from friends and family, isolating themselves from others. Keeping up with everyday tasks and responsibilities becomes overwhelming. At times, depression even causes individuals to contemplate suicide.
Depression comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes depression is the temporary result of a life circumstance. It lasts for a relatively limited amount of time, perhaps a few weeks or months. Other times, depression is a more persistent problem. In these cases, a person tends to experience depressive symptoms for prolonged periods of time. Some individuals deal with depression off and on for most of their lives. Depression can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic statues.
Working with a counselor can be beneficial for depressed individuals. It's helpful to have someone assist you in sorting through the many thoughts and feelings that go along with depression. Additionally, a counselor can equip you with a set of coping skills that will aid you in your recovery progress. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a preferred treatment method that many of our counselors use to help with depressive symptoms. Other methods are Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).
Grief & Loss
When you think of grief and loss, you probably think first of loss from death. Losing a loved one to death is something we will all have to face at some point in our lives. Sometimes, having someone walk with you through the phases of grief is helpful as you process your loss. Seeking counseling during this time can be of great benefit.
While death may be the first thing you think of when you think of grief and loss, it certainly is not the only type of loss we encounter in life. You may have lost of job or a relationship. Perhaps you've received a devastating diagnosis and are grieving over lost health and well-being. Maybe you're experiencing an empty-nest or have moved away from home. Whatever your grief or loss, counseling can help you navigate your thoughts and feelings surrounding it.
Some productive forms of therapy for grief and loss are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy.
In our current culture, it is common for a person to have a low self-esteem. We live in a society that tells us we should have it all and do it all. We should be a success in every area of life - school, extra-curriculars, careers, family, etc. We should be fit and beautiful. We should be smart, talented, and wealthy. We should have a career and a family. We should have all of these things, and we should be exceedingly happy because of it.
So, what happens when reality hits and we see that we don't have all of these things perfectly the way society tells us we should? Well, many people internalize it as personal failure. They begin to feel badly about themselves and put themselves down for not living up to their own expectations. Their image of themselves suffer and their self-esteem plummets.
Low self-esteem can cause us to feel as if we are incapable of accomplishing our goals. It can keep us from going after our dreams. Additionally, low self-esteem can lead to a host of other problems, such as depression and anxiety.
If you suffer from low self-esteem, wouldn't it be a relief to let go of the self-doubt that plagues you? Wouldn't it be nice to be free from the negative self-talk that you've been subjected to for so long? Speaking with a counselor may be just what you need to find that freedom. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an excellent source of treatment for correcting self-esteem issues.
Trauma comes in many forms. It could be that you've spent time in the military and have experienced war or are having trouble processing things you've seen. Maybe you're a victim of abuse or have been in a traumatic accident. There are many different causes for trauma and many different ways the symptoms can manifest themselves. Perhaps you have trouble sleeping due to nightmares, or you experience flashbacks of unpleasant memories. you could be hypervigilant of your surroundings at all times, causing extreme anxiety, or maybe you avoid certain places or situations because they are too painful to revisit. These symptoms, along with many others, are all common responses to trauma.
One of the most prevalent treatments for trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This type of therapy helps clients retrieve and process painful and traumatic memories so that they can then be resolved in a healthy manner. Many who have gone through this treatment have had great success in overcoming their PTSD symptoms.
When it comes to trauma, the past doesn’t stay in the past.
Distressing and traumatic events have a tendency to get locked in the brain. Unlike normal memory processing, traumatic memories get “stuck” which triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response. EMDR therapy is designed to help the brain’s natural processing mechanisms get trauma memories unstuck and reduce the anxiety produced by the fight, flight, and freeze responses
How does EMDR therapy work?
In the late 1980s, Dr. Francine Shapiro noticed that if she thought about disturbing memories while walking through the woods, the memories would dissipate on their own. Eventually, Shapiro realized that while on her walk her eyes were moving side to side. When she replicated the experience she felt like the disturbing memories would bother her less and less the next time they came to mind. Shapiro began experimenting with her discovery and soon Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was born.
EMDR therapy is mostly used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which occurs when one is unable to process and recover from a traumatic experience. PTSD can result from a number of distressing events such as being confronted by a violent crime, experiencing an accident, or being a victim to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Such powerful experiences are stored in the brain with the original picture, feelings, body sensations, sounds, and thoughts. Once such a memory is stored in your long-term memory it can bother you for a long time.
Even years after the original incident, those with PTSD may experience flashbacks to the traumatic event, have sleep and concentration problems, have persistent feelings of anger and shame, and experience heightened arousal. The disturbing memory keeps coming back unintentionally with feelings of powerlessness or believing you are not worthwhile.
As the name suggests, EMDR uses side to side eye movements and other forms of bilateral stimulation (such as by holding a special device that uses tactile simulation via vibrating pulsers) to reduce PTSD symptoms. At first, your therapist will ask you to activate the traumatic memory from your long-term memory by recalling the sights, thoughts, and emotions from that event. This now places the memory in your short-term memory, which is also called the “working memory.” Your therapist will then ask you to focus on this distressing event while using bilateral stimulation. By keeping a traumatic memory in your mind while also experiencing bilateral stimulation, the working memory is forced to process a lot of information all at the same time. As this to too much information to keep going all at once, this forces the traumatic memory to become ‘blurred” and it looses its emotional charge. With a lower emotional charge it also becomes easier to think differently about the traumatic experience. The intrusions lessen and you feel less anxious, less depressed, get better sleep, and are able to start looking forward toward the future.
Using EMDR to reprocess these memories is not about guiding your thoughts. It's not talk therapy. This natural process lets your brain figure it out and take the lead. It involves holding the traumatic memory in your mind and simply noticing your response. The goal is to allow the brain to connect the memories to a new, more positive cognition.