Counseling Topics

Psychotherapy is often money well spent.   Psychotherapy is a powerful tool to be able to sit down in a safe environment, feel your feelings, clear your mind, and clarify your goals.  Then we look at behavior to see if it is consistent your goals.  If it isn’t, then we look at ways of changing that behavior.  It’s very good to believe in yourself, but sometimes an outside pair of eyes can be very valuable.

Depression and anxiety are common reactions to life.  Those feelings tell us that something in our life needs prompt attention.  Ignoring these potentially debilitating “road signs” can be dangerous.


Depression is painful.  It is also second cousin to anxiety.  The good news is that Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has become easily treatable.  Often clients prefer to use medication with therapy, but each case has to be looked at with care.  Depression is something you shouldn’t have to live with.   Research shows that MDD is a life shorting disorder, that can be cured, sometimes in a relatively short period of time.

Anxiety and Stress:

Having too much or too little stress can cause an empty, painful and unfulfilling life.  Our level of stress is a basic component of good relationships and a meaningful life.  Anxiety has many symptoms; Like an inability to relax, or hyper vigilance, or feeling of fear that we can’t pinpoint, or controlling behavior that wastes our precious energy.  Often controlling behavior can seem quite obnoxious to others around us.  Too much anxiety is often the result of certain beliefs that we formed long ago that may be just outdated.  An untreated anxiety condition over time is dangerous and can lead to a life that doesn’t feel worth living.


Marriage is really great, unless it isn’t–and that is painful, distressing and just not good!  I try to help couples assess their individual needs and assist in communication skills.  It’s funny that spouses will listen to outside advice more then from  their partner!

Couples Counseling:

Close loving relationships seem to be very important to many, if not most of us.  Psychotherapy deals with conflict between partners seeking love and intimacy.  Frankly, successful “coupling” is complicated for you and your therapist, because of the many variables.  We bring our baggage from the past into our current relationships and can try and master our past issues by blaming our partner.  That doesn’t work.  It ends up in those arguments that are very predictable and circular in nature.  Not very fun or loving….right?  These patterns are boring and unproductive.  In psychotherapy, we work together with the goal of checking our behavior against our goals (what we really want).


Our children are our greatest teachers.  Often we don’t want to learn what’s on the agenda.  Power struggles with our kids are unproductive and tend to hurt the relationship, but we do need to have an appropriate response to these challenges.  Our expectations of our children come from many different motives….some healthy and productive, and some not.  In psychotherapy, we try to let the conflict lead us in understanding ourselves and our children and changing our behavior.  Small changes in ourbehavior can effect massive changes in the dynamics of the relationship.  We feel lesshelpless and allow humility, honesty, and love be our guide to raising our children successfully.


When I do any kind of counseling, I like to involve as many family members asthe situation will allow.  Family stress and tension can be consuming for all involved. I see families as a system.  Affecting one person will often change other dynamics in the family.  It’s complicated and often overwheming trying to figure out what the problem is. Therapy is an outside resource that can often be very helpful, reassuring and comforting.  When we feel safe and unjudged, solutions become more easily seen.


Our career is so important for many reasons.  We spend a lot of our time and effort making money, and also becoming good at our vocation.  This is a fundamental component of self-esteem.  Having a job that fits your values and gifts is a wonderful blessing.  For many this is not the case.  Having fun and enjoyment from your work, sets a balanced tonefor you and your family.  Balance is a key to vocational success.  In a marriage,sometimes our career becomes like an affair, with all your valuable passion and time, going to succeeding.  There are boundaries in our work setting that are often clear and defined.  In love and family those boundaries are much more complicated.


Addiction of any kind is a substitute that we come up with to live life safer and happier.  Although very common, it usually doesn’t work.  Some untreated addictions can easily kill us……that is how much we want to live safer and happier.  There are really no easy shortcuts to living a fulfilled life, but it’s not rocket science either. Addicted people must first stop the addiction and feel the feelings that are being covered by the acting out.  Many find this hard and think it is impossible…but it’s not.  Feeling powerful and confident often comes from being able to come up with a strategy to stop the addiction.  As a culture we hold in high esteem those who can find their own way.


Having a vibrant and rich spiritual life is key to living in a comlicated, confusing and overwhelming world.  How does one determine what is right or wrong in thier life?  What should our life goals be based upon?  There are many rule books on various aspects of life, but who has the truth?  These are very personal questions that can only be answered by seeking by faith the answers.  This is an area that is often overlooked in our daily life.  We are busy, stressed, fearful,  and often feel stuck in this cycle. Balance in our life comes from our spiritual growth and understanding God.  Unselfish love and helping others has to come from a power greater that ourselves.


Managing ones anger is so important in all aspects of life.  Anger management involves helping clients identify their own power within, and helps direct that power in the most productive way to reach their goals.  Anger can be understood as like a warning sign to our deep feeling.  Anger can be managed in a non-destructive way, where we learn to take responsibility of our feelings and stop blaming.  Much of explosive anger comes from our inner beliefs that we take for granted.   In therapy we look for the “take for granted part” and often find those beliefs that need updating from an adult perspective.


Everyone grieves in different ways.  During the grieving process there must be a safe place to process sadness, emptiness, depression, transition issues having to do with living life differently.  Psychotherapy helps a client redefine the life ahead as it provides a place that is safe for expressing all sorts of feelings both expected and unexpected.  Supporting a person through feelings of guilt, and blame is very important. Grief can be very painful and debilitating.  Sometimes group work is helpful at some point during treatment.  In psychotherapy, we are taking a global view of persons life and helping them make sense of their new reality.

Eating Disorders:

Eating disorders are common especially in the American culture.  We can learn to act out our feelings by soothing ourselves with food, or feeing in control with our eating habits, often to control or get back at others.  This is unproductive,right?  Eating to just “stoke the furnace” is a long lost art in our culture.  We often eat as entertainment, or to self sooth.  Some believe that diets don’t work…so what does?  The first step toward an answer is to get to know ourselves–that is the “gunpowder” behind the behavior of eating poorly.  There are many ways to control these behaviors, but we likely will need help and encouragement and a plan to adopt these new patterns.