Going through Changes? Counseling Can Help You

Articles Comments Off on Going through Changes? Counseling Can Help You

perfect-storm-1519619From day one, our lives go through many changes. Our bodies change, as well as our minds, our relationships, our behaviors, values, needs, motivations and so on. Due to this transforming nature of our existence, we usually have to deal with events such as ending a relationship, quitting a job, losing a beloved one or giving up a bad habit, having a baby, changing career or moving abroad. Wanted or not, expected or not, change isn’t always easy and varied degrees of stress, anxiety and other emotional issues can come with it. This is why many people decide to look for professional support such as psychological counseling or therapy when they’re in a transitional life phase.

If you find yourself in that boat as well, you might consider seeing a counselor. Here’s a short list of what you can gain from counseling:

A place to manage stress – By definition, change means dealing with novelty and confronting the unknown. This triggers different amounts of stress, which can affect one’s behavior, as well as their psychological and physical health, as shown by research. Seeing a counselor before an expected change can prepare you to cope better with the coming situation by discussing or visualising what will happen to you next. Later on, during the process of change, a therapist can help you learn relaxation techniques, as well as how to make sense of your emotions. Most probably you will go on an emotional roller-coaster, going from hope to despair, from happiness to immense sadness, from fear to anger. You can also learn how to let go and how to take control over your life, or, simply put, how to find shelter in the middle of the storm.

A place to be emotional and vulnerable – For some of us it seems very difficult to accept that we are scared or that we need help. Change is often a time when we put aside many masks and discover we can be as frightened as a child: it’s not easy to accept that you’ll have a baby and be responsible for someone’s life for the next 18 years or to be left by someone you’ve been married to for decades. This is a time when you feel emotional and vulnerable and in counseling you can do it with no restrictions. Because this is a place where you’re not alone – it’s the place where you can cry and shout, where you can be listened to and accepted for who you are. Remember that we all go through changes and nobody is here to judge your tears.

A place to get informed – counseling isn’t only about listening to people, but also about orienting them in the right direction through the provision of insights and information. You might go through a difficult time after deciding to quit smoking or after being diagnosed with a life-long disease and would like to get some group support. A counselor can offer you information about where to find such groups or what other methods to use in order to cope with this new life situation.

A place to discover and re-discover your strengths – Changes usually test your strengths quite a bit, making you push yourself or, on the contrary, learn to accept our limits. Either way, you’ll end up learning something new about yourself and the better you know who you are and what you can do, the better you’ll cope with change now and in the future. A counselor is the witness of your progress, no matter how fast or slow that is, the honest mirror that you might need to look into in order to remember that you can make it.

A place to learn as you go – As human beings, we never stop learning: we make sense of past experiences, adapt to new ones and challenge ourselves to leave the comfort zone for more learning, which is then the equivalent of a even better adaptation and of a better life. During transitional periods, which throw us out of that comfort zone, the learning process is sped up and it can be quite easy to repeat past mistakes, to make fast decisions or just to give up and run away. A counselor can support you in staying on the right track, in connecting the past and the present, in understanding what went wrong before and what can be done to avoid or minimize unhappy outcomes. More than that, through counseling you can manage to structure your life better and to see the bigger picture: we all learn as we live and everything we live shapes us in beautiful ways if we get to make sense of it.

If you need support in dealing with change, we can help! Just give us a call at +1 847-967-0952.

Photo credit: www.freeimages.com

Coping with Mental Health Issues During the Summer

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For most children, teens, and college students, summer is a season they look forward to because of freedom from school and the long days of sunlight perfect for summertime fun. Adults also enjoy summer because they get to spend more time with families. But for some, mental health issues can be more prevalent in the summer. It’s difficult to understand, and even more difficult to treat.

Why are Mental Illness Symptoms More Prevalent in the Summer in Children and Teens?

Much of the symptoms from mental illness that appear during the summer are because the summer means less structure since there’s no school taking up much of their waking hours. Structure often prevents children and teens from thinking about the emotional pain they face in their day-to-day life. With more time on their hands, thoughts become what students are then left with.

Boredom often triggers symptoms of anxiety and depression. It becomes difficult when the child or teen has no short term goals to accomplish like they would in classes. Having a sense of mindfulness and purpose helps keep symptoms of mental illness at bay. The children most affected by boredom happen to be those struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – many of these youth struggle with the unstructured days of summer. Their ADHD symptoms can worsen and they can also experience anxiety and irritability.

How to Deal with Symptoms more Effectively

Experts say for healthier children in the summer:

  • Schedule time to have family conversations about behavior and mood changes
  • Go outside
  • Limit time spent with electronics (i.e. television, computers (Internet), and video games)
  • Be active and exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Take your medications regularly
  • Speak to your doctor before making any changes to medication
  • Be part of something. Develop your strengths and interests.
  • Parents should also provide some consistent structure during the summer for their children.

Adults Get the Summertime Blues Too…

Adults who dislike the sun and hot weather might experience depression and anxiety as they watch life pass them by during the hot summer months. This may be entirely due to their body chemistry.

Although seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually occurs for most people during the winter months, some people experience SAD in the summer.

What causes SAD? Some believe that the lack of sunlight in the winter months increases melatonin in the body (which regulates sleep) during hours later than you’re used to, and this can cause depression during some of your waking hours. In the summer, not going outside due to a dislike of the sunlight and hot weather can cause similar symptoms to winter SAD.

Some signs you may have SAD in the summer:

  • Trouble getting out of bed in the morning or insomnia
  • Little or no energy
  • Increased appetite or weight loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • No interest in normal activities or friends

SAD is treatable. Here’s some alternatives:

  • Light (photo) therapy- exposing oneself to a special type of light for a certain amount of time each day
  • Medication
  • Change in diet
  • Stress management
  • Vacation to a sunny climate in the winter.

Although summer can be difficult for children and adults with mental health issues, there are steps you can take to alleviate some of your symptoms and enjoy your summer to the fullest extent.

If you feel that you need some extra support this summer, please contact us today.

You Have Been Diagnosed with a Mental Illness. Now What Do You Do?

Articles Comments Off on You Have Been Diagnosed with a Mental Illness. Now What Do You Do?



People deal with a wide range of emotions when they are first diagnosed, ranging from relief to fear.  Some may feel relieved to know the cause for all their symptoms is real and not “all in their head”, while others may face an existential crisis and wonder “Why did this happen to me?”

One in every five Americans has a mental illness, and many more experience acute episodes of sadness that is akin to depression. So no matter how alone you may feel, you are truly not; furthermore, nowadays they have more treatment options available than ever before, making the light at the end of the tunnel much, much brighter. You can make your treatment and recovery work for you once you find the right treatment and really work at it.

Taking control of your treatment and recovery:

Do research about your mental illness. You want to find out as much as you can about your diagnosis. Once you discuss your symptoms with your psychiatrist and receive a diagnosis, ask for some reading material about your specific diagnosis. Finding out about your symptoms leads to mindfulness and self-awareness, which is key in symptom management. Talk to people who have your mental illness about what treatments worked for them, and bring these alternatives up to your psychiatrist.

Find emotional support. Educate your friends and family about your mental illness. Talk about your symptoms and how they might impact the family. Explain to them how they can help you and how they can be a part of your treatment. Having empathy from the family could make a significant impact in recovery. There are many support organizations such as DBSA that offer support for individuals with depression or Bipolar Disorder and their families. Finding people who understand what you are going through and have succeeded in their treatment can be very reassuring.

Determine your health care options. Typically most people receiving treatment for a mental illness have a psychiatrist and a therapist. Compile a short list of psychiatrists in your insurance network and do some research on them for ratings and reviews. You want to make sure that other people have had good experiences with this doctor. Do a similar search to find a few therapists that you can call. Ultimately, once you have that shortlist of doctors and therapists, who you choose will come down to which psychiatrist and therapist you can get in to see first. Don’t leave out the possibility of intensive day programs as a treatment option, as they can be very helpful with learning coping skills and curbing problematic behaviors.

Be honest and open with your psychiatrist or therapist. Bring questions about your diagnosis and treatment to your appointments. Speak openly about your progress or any difficulties you are having. Your treatment is ultimately what YOU make of it.

Continually persevere and advocate for yourself and recovery. Be assertive – make sure your needs are being met, both in your personal relationships and your treatment. Before long, you will be on the road to recovery and back to living your life again.

Looking for Love: Know Yourself First

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Looking for Love - CCFEG.com“Love comes when you stop looking for it.”


While those words may seem illogical some, they do have truth to them.  When we are not focusing on trying to attract someone, we have time to better ourselves, making ourselves more interesting and happier people.


And who wouldn’t want to start a relationship with a really interesting, really happy person?


The trick is to find what truly interests you.  Choosing an activity based on how you think you will appear most interesting or who may also be interested in that activity is just bad news.  Find something that makes you lose track of time when you’re doing it.  Something that you can’t wait to do again, even after you’ve just finished.


Once you find that one thing that makes your heart sing, pursue it.  You’ll be amazed by the results.

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Avoiding a Depression Relapse

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When it comes to depression, the road to recovery can bring many mixed emotions: relief, worry, joy, and even fear. With the help of therapy and/or medication, many people do indeed experience this recovery. Yet in the back of their minds, they might be wondering what they can do to avoid a depression relapse.

If you are recovering from depression and questioning what the future might hold for you, try taking the following steps to help you avoid or manage a depression relapse.

Counseling Center For Emotional GrowthDon’t stop your treatment regimen until you talk with your care provider

Though you might feel better, stopping medication without the supervision of a care provider can have dire consequences. You might experience headaches, sleep interruptions, or even symptoms of withdrawal.
As such, make sure to ask your doctor about changing your medication regimen. They can guide you in ceasing, cutting back, or even sticking with your current dosage(s).
Remember too that quitting therapy sessions can have negative consequences. While some therapy methods are intended for short-term outcomes, others are intended to take place over longer periods of time. Discontinuing therapy can leave some much-needed work undone and can leave you more vulnerable to a depression relapse.

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Four Tips to Help Manage Adult ADHD

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ADHDManaging ADHD as an adult can often feel overwhelming. With schedules and responsibilities that only become more complicated as you grow older, you might find your confidence slagging when you don’t get things done.

These four tips can help you not only boost your confidence but also strengthen your ADHD coping methods.

Learn as much as you can.

Read books, talk with professionals, and seek out other people with ADHD. Don’t just focus on the medical literature; make sure to explore people’s personal experiences too. You can even try connecting with adult ADHD support groups.

In these explorations, always remember that ADHD is a medical disorder: it is not a moral failing or lack of willpower, nor does it reflect upon your intelligence or capabilities. In fact, finding ways to manage ADHD takes plenty of intelligence and strength.

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Managing the Holidays After Divorce

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Life after divorce is a time of redefinition: redefining your family, redefining your marriage status, and sometimes even redefining yourself. When it comes to the holidays, all this redefinition can add unwanted stress to your celebrations. If you find this stress creeping up on you, consider taking these steps to help manage your holidays this year.


•  Preserve some old traditions, start some new ones.

Managing the Holidays After Divorce - CCFEG.com

A change in your holiday traditions is inevitable after a divorce. Nonetheless, this time of transition shouldn’t mean that you have to give up everything you enjoy about the season. 

Try making a short list of the traditions that are most important to you. Are there ways that you can still integrate these traditions into your new family structure? Depending on your current relationship with your former spouse, can you participate in any of these traditions together? Some people find they can make this work, and others simply cannot. Do what makes the most sense for your family. Read more >

Choosing to Have a Strong Relationship

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Choosing to Have a Strong RelationshipIt’s often an exciting experience to start a new relationship. Finding someone who shares your interests, joys, goals and sorrows makes you feel on top of the world.  But healthy, long-term relationships are built on more than just attraction and infatuation that comes early on.  To have a strong, long lasting relationship with your partner, you both must be willing to put in the time and effort.


A continuous effort is needed to build a solid foundation that offers strong support for the inevitable challenges the future holds.  And it takes time to know whether the elements that make up that foundation are present. But when they are and the proper amount of effort is added, a deeper more meaningful relationship will have the chance to develop.


Why Successful Relationships Take Time to Build

Building a strong relationship with someone is a gradual process. Certain interactions happen that can change how you relate with one another. For instance, conflicts will inevitably arise.  Choosing how to deal with such disagreements will either strengthen or deteriorate the relationship. In addition, changes in personality or circumstances may affect how you feel about one another. The way both partners react to change can act as an opportunity to either improve the relationship or become the source of separations and break ups.

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Understand Your Emotions Now, Feel Better Later

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medium_2884915815Due to our hectic lifestyles, stress and anxiety have now become inevitable in our day-to-day living. If left unaddressed, these negative emotions can build up over time, causing you to suffer a burnout or a meltdown. Don’t worry, though, as there are many approaches you can easily take to feel better.


Reach Out to Friends and Family
Friends and family can be a strong support system that you can get when you’re not feeling your best. When you talk to someone you trust about your emotions, you’ll gain amazing insights and advice that you would have never gotten otherwise. You’ll be learning from other people’s experiences, and their stories will serve as a short-cut through life’s many trials and tribulations.


Counseling or Therapy

If you have been suffering from long-term and serious emotional distress, counseling or therapy may be what you need to feel better. You’ll be able to consult a professional who understands what you need to do in order to overcome setbacks, and help you transform negativity into positivity. A professional therapist will help you make peace with the past while guiding you toward a better future.


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When Fear Affects Your Life

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When Fear Affects Your LifeWith Halloween just around the corner, we see “scary” things around every corner. A creepy advertisement for a horror film. A “haunted house” designed to give you a fright. A spooky decoration made to make you jump. Fear becomes fun at this time of year.

But fear isn’t fun for everyone. When fear becomes so consuming that it affects how we go about our day-to-day lives, it can prevent us from living our lives to the fullest and enjoying life’s moments. While some people may experience only specific fears, such as a fear of spiders, many people experience fear’s effects to the point where their entire days are spent living with fear’s consequences.

Many significant mental health issues that revolve around fear can be overcome with the help of a trained counselor or therapy group. While this is not an overnight fix, overtime the issue causing fear can be adequately addressed and through therapy techniques, can be eliminated.

Here are a few conditions relating to fear:


1. People with anxiety and panic disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes or longer. These are called panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack. A person with panic disorder may become discouraged and feel ashamed because he or she cannot carry out normal routines like going to the grocery store or driving. Having panic disorder can also interfere with school or work.

2. A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger or has a controllable element to it. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, we can develop phobias of virtually anything. If you have a phobia, even though you may realize the fear is unreasonable, you can’t control the anxiety when facing the feared situation. Often, even thinking about the feared situation can cause anxiety to grow, and if actually exposed to it, terror and panic is automatic and overwhelming. When you try to deal with a phobia on your own, you may go out of your way to the point of changing your lifestyle, just to avoid the feared item. If you have a fear of heights, for example, you might drive an extra twenty miles in order to avoid a tall bridge.

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