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Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Sometimes marriages fall apart and sometimes people grow apart.

The sad fact is though, so many couples call it quits and start the process for divorce when they don’t need to. There are many different outlets to try and find help before doing something drastic and not to mention, divorce can be expensive. According to back in 2006, the complexity of some divorces and legal proceedings cost couples anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $30,000 or more.

Divorce Isn’t the Immediate Answer

If you’re having trouble or things aren’t working like you had hoped, don’t call it quits yet. You can still work things out and reconcile the relationship before it’s too late.

  • A divorce procedure can be expensive, costing up to tens of thousands of dollars and that’s for average income families
  • Divorces can become extremely complicated when numerous expensive assets are involved such as vehicles, boats, multiple homes and expensive non-essentials
  • Divorce tears families apart and is especially hard on children, especially after the divorce when you need to figure out visitation rights
  • The process can drag on and on, depending on how you do it and how long the paperwork takes to get filed
  • Some people rush into the process before they even give the relationship a second chance

Why Do You Need Marriage Counseling?

Whether or not marriage counseling will work for you can largely depend on the reasoning for the counseling. Sometimes, couples find out they’re not a match for each other and sometimes, there are people who just want to go to a marriage counselor to say they tried.

You have to go in with an open mind and you have to be willing to listen and participate. If you go in with the mindset that marriage counseling isn’t going to work and is a waste of time, then it just might be a waste of time.

Marriage Counseling for Violence & Abuse

This is one thing we need to make clear. If you’re with a spouse that is violent or abusive towards you or any member of your family, leave. Don’t stick around to see if things will get better, you need to make arrangements for you and your family and leave immediately. Marriage counseling will not help in such cases and you’re supporting a criminal’s actions by remaining in the relationship. Make sure to document any cases of physical abuse so you can take evidence to the police.

If you’re being emotionally abused on a consistent basis, then it’s unlikely that counseling will be able to resolve the issue. The only way that emotional abuse can stop is if the abuser recognizes what he or she is doing and then decides to get help.

Essential Questions to Ask Yourself

Before looking for a marriage counselor, ask yourself some essential questions.

#1 – How much damage has been done to the relationship and do you personally feel that the damage done can be repaired?
#2 – How long have these issues been going on and how long have you been waiting to find professional help for these issues?
#3 – Do you see a future with your significant other? Do you really want your marriage to be saved?
#4 – What are the pros and cons of the relationship with your significant other?
#5 – Is saving the marriage worth it? If you’re constantly at each other’s throats and things aren’t working out, is living a lie and living in emotional torment every day really worth it?

The Problem with Marriage Counseling

Counselors are people, too. It can be very challenging to find a marriage counselor who can truly remain neutral while also guiding you and your spouse through the difficulties in your marriage.

Individual counseling is far less complex because the counselor only needs to work with one person.  A therapist who is excellent at working with individuals might not be a good fit for relationship counseling so make sure you work with an experienced marriage counselor.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

The big question on everyone’s mind is does marriage counseling work? While there are no hard statistics available, we can go over a few points here.

It was reported by the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists that they saw a drastic improvement in the quality of life of couples and families after receiving therapy for family related issues. The majority of the satisfactory results came from families who attended multiple sessions. It takes multiple sessions for a counselor to fully understand the issues going on and to see the problems from every angle. Overall though, families who have gone through marriage counseling have reported success and a lot of them reconciled their marriage.

Sometimes, we just need a third-party to listen and guide us.  Relationships can tend to form patterns and while some of these can be healthy and beneficial others are not. A professional therapist can help us to identify these patterns as well as what behaviors we have that are contributing to problems in the marriage.  When we are open to this type of feedback and willing to make changes based on it, dysfunction can be corrected.

So, does marriage counseling work?

It can and it has for many couples who have given their relationship a second chance. You have to have a partner that’s willing to actively go to therapy with you and you both have to want to fix the relationship. Ask yourself the questions we’ve featured above, find out if your relationship is worth saving and look for a marriage counselor immediately if you feel your relationship is in jeopardy.

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How To Find The Right Therapist

How To Find The Right Therapist

Therapy is a sensitive topic that not everyone feels comfortable talking about.

Some people struggle to admit that they need therapy, while others fail to understand that it can work for them. And, even if you’ve accepted that you need to find professional help, you might not know how to find a good therapist.

In this blog post we take a look at some of the common issues people deal with that lead them to seek help and then we’ll take a closer look at how you can find the right therapist for yourself and the problems you want to address.

Why People Go to Therapy

  • Is therapy right for you?
  • Do you even need therapy?
  • Does therapy really work?
  • How can just talking to someone fix your problems?
  • Can’t you just talk to family or friends?

These are common questions asked by people who may be nervous to seek professional help. Let’s go over some of the most common reasons people go to therapy.

Anxiety – People with anxiety often go to therapy to talk about their fears, their general anxiety issues and to help learn healthy ways of dealing with their anxiety.

It’s known and accepted that anxiety can be treated effectively through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as other common treatment methods.  Proficient counselors are able to teach coping methods while also shedding light on the thought processes that fuel anxiety.

Loss of a Loved One – When you lose a loved one, or even be a beloved pet, it is a traumatizing experience. Grief can be crippling and not knowing how to effectively cope with it can cause major life issues.  Therapy cannot erase the pain of a loss, but it can teach you how to cope with grief in healthy ways.

Gambling Addiction – Gambling addictions are more prominent than ever. Modern technology and the internet have made gambling easily accessible to far more people. It’s entirely possible to gamble in a safe and recreational manner, but when an individual begins to put themselves or their loved ones in financial trouble so that he or she can gamble, it becomes a problem.  Therapy can help a gambling addict understand his or her addiction and learn ways to manage impulses.

Sexual & Intimacy Issues – Being truly close to another person can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but some individuals struggle to do so in healthy ways. Past traumas, failed relationships, self-esteem issues and abnormal thought processes can make intimacy or healthy sexual relationships very challenging.  For individuals who want to change their unhealthy behaviors or thoughts so that they can experience healthier intimate relationships, therapy can help significantly.

Relationship Problems – When you’re having trouble in a relationship, sometimes you just need a neutral third-party to listen and give a fresh perspective. A relationship therapist can help you find out what’s causing the issues in your relationship and give you advice on how to fix it or at least how to move forward.

PTSD – This is a common problem among combat veterans who return home from war or people who have been through traumatic experiences. PTSD can result from things that we might not commonly think of us traumatic so it’s important to understand that PTSD is more common than most people realize.  There are modern ways to treat PTSD that are highly effective and that can actually work in just a few short sessions.

How Do You Choose A Therapist?

The process of discussing your most personal thoughts and feelings to a stranger can seem intimidating but therapists are trained to specifically for this type of work. But, how can you know what therapist is right for you and what you’re going through? Here are a few different ways to help find a therapist that’s right for you:

  • Decide if you prefer to speak to a man or woman.  Some people prefer to talk to a therapist of the same gender because they feel that the therapist can relate to them on a personal level. It really does not matter if you choose to see a male or female therapist as long as he or she is properly educated and credentialed to treat you, but it might matter to you on a personal level. So, consider if you have a preference early in your search.
  • Look for a therapist that specializes in treating the specific issue you feel you’re dealing with. This information is usually available on the therapist’s website or professional profiles like Psychology Today’s website.
  • Ask trusted friends and family members for recommendations. You don’t need to discuss the details of why you want to see a therapist to ask people you trust for recommendations.
  • Look at online directories or even Google for local therapists to see what options exist. Try to determine their availability, look for how long they’ve been in business, check out their website and always look thoroughly through the reviews of people who have used their services. Therapists commonly don’t have as many online reviews as other service businesses because many people don’t want to reveal that they’re seeking treatment, but you should be able to locate at least a handful or reviews.
  • Decide if you want to treat your condition with just traditional therapy or if you also want to utilize medication as part of your treatment.  If you want to use medication then you’ll need to see a psychiatrist or a therapist who works with a medical doctor who can prescribe medicines.

Call Potential Therapists

Most therapists offer some sort of initial consultation. If some of the therapists you’re considering offer this option, take this opportunity to connect with the therapist directly. Here are a few things you may want to cover during your initial consultation:

  1. Ask if they’ve ever dealt with someone who’s going through your exact situation. For instance, if you’re struggling with anxiety then look for a therapist who has successfully treated people with anxiety.
  2. Find out what kind of training and educational background they have.  If you are interested in treating your conditions with medications then you will need to work with a psychiatrist or a therapist who works with a doctor.
  3. Find out how much they charge and what forms or payments they accept. Also, if you have insurance then find out if the therapist accepts your insurance.
  4. Ask the therapist what you should expect from treatment. How long will it take to see improvements? What’s involved? How often do you need to go?

Looking For A Therapist Near You?

If you’ve been through a traumatic experience or just need someone to talk to, most therapists offer free consultations so that you can evaluate if they’re a good fit for you personally. Ask friends or family members for referrals, reviews the therapist’s online reviews and then utilize a free consultation to connect directly with the therapist.

If you’re in the Lakewood Ranch or Bradenton area then contact us for a free consultation.

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10 Signs Someone Close to You Could Be Suicidal

10 Signs Someone Close to You Could Be Suicidal

The suicide rate has been steadily rising across the country, and it’s important that everyone knows about the various signs that someone they are close to could be suicidal.

Many people don’t realize that a loved one is having suicidal thoughts until it’s too late. These signs will help you determine if someone in your life is struggling with serious depression. If someone you know is showing several of these signs, it might be time to talk about getting professional help.

Obsessive Thoughts About Death

One of the primary signs of a person with a suicidal disposition is obsessive thoughts about death. But, how do you know what someone else is thinking? You don’t.

However, you might hear them often talk about how life is meaningless and there is no point to anything or they may talk about death and dying a lot. Additionally, the individual may begin to show less motivation at work or in other areas of his or her life like relationships and hobbies.

You might hot ever know what your loved one is thinking, because they might not discuss their thoughts with you, but if there is a sudden noticeable fixation on topics surrounding death then it might be a sign that he or she is struggling.

Extreme Mood Swings

Mood swings alone are not something to be overly concerned about because there are many factors that can contribute to them. Stress and hormonal changes, for example, may lead to emotional instability.  However, when combined with other signs mentioned on this list they might indicate a need for concern.

If one moment a person seems perfectly fine, but shortly after they are very visibly sad or angry, they are experiencing difficulty regulating emotional responses.  If this is new or abnormal behavior for your loved one then it might be a sign of a problem.

They Start Giving Away Their Possessions

If a person suddenly starts giving away their possessions for no apparent reason, he or she might be planning suicide. Again, this activity alone might not indicate that someone is suicidal. However, when accompanied with other indicators it may be reason for concern especially if this is a new behavior.

Tying Up Loose Ends

Suicidal individuals also sometimes visit family and friends to “tie up loose ends” with them. This typically involves making amends for things they regret and having deep conversations out of the blue.

While it’s true that the person could just want to patch things up, you shouldn’t discount the possibility that they are actually suicidal. A lot of people don’t want to commit suicide until they have made things right with the people who are closest with them, which is why they do this.

Excessive Use of Alcohol and Drugs

An extremely depressed person who is thinking about taking their own life could be using alcohol and drugs excessively in an attempt to kill themselves or as a method to deal with the pain and internal conflict they’re dealing with.

Sometimes drug abuse is a sign that someone has become very depressed and needs help, but not everyone who abuses drugs in excess is suicidal, of course. Sudden onset of drug use by someone who has no previous addiction issues is reason for concern.

Researching Methods of Suicide

If you have recently discovered that someone you are close to has been researching different methods of suicide, you should take it very seriously.  Many people who end up taking their own life will plan to do so long before they actually do it.

Google searches for methods of suicide, visiting internet forums where people discuss it or journaling about it are all red flags. If you find proof that your loved one is researching suicide then you definitely should talk to him or her and consider involving a professional.

Creating a Will

Sometimes a suicidal person will create a will because they know they won’t be around for much longer and want to make sure that their loved ones get certain things of theirs when they die. Creating a will on its own certainly doesn’t mean a person is thinking about suicide and it’s perfectly normal to plan for death by making legal and funeral arrangements.

Social Isolation

When a normally social and outgoing person starts withdrawing and shutting themselves away all the time, something is wrong. Social isolation is a fairly common sign that someone is thinking about committing suicide.

Many people who no longer want to live shut themselves off from other people, even those who are normally close to them.

Previous Suicide Attempts

It is not uncommon for someone with chronic depression to attempt suicide multiple times. If you know anyone who has already tried to end their life once, you should be more sensitive to the signs of depression and any suicidal tendencies.

Buying a Weapon

Each year thousands of people across the country commit suicide with firearms, so buying one can be a red flag if someone is exhibiting other signs. Men are statistically more likely to end their life with a gun, but some women also use this method.

If someone close to you has recently purchased a weapon for no apparent reason, and he or she exhibits other signs on this list then there may be reason for concern.

Are You Concerned That A Loved One Is Suicidal?

IF SOMEONE IS IN DANGER OF ACTING ON THEIR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS NOW THEN CALL 911 OR GET THEM TO A CRISIS CENTER OR EMERGENCY ROOM. Another option for someone who is in immediate danger or harming themselves is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255.

If someone isn’t in immediate danger of committing suicide, it can be very difficult to tell if that person is in fact suicidal. However, when you examine the behaviors of your loved one you may be able to tell that he or she is struggling.  Ultimately, we might not be able to prevent our loved ones from harming themselves if they are intent on doing so, but if we are cognizant of the behaviors that indicate suicidal thoughts then we may be able to intervene.

If you think someone you love is suicidal then talk to him or her about it. It’s okay to let them know you’re concerned and to urge them to get help.  It’s also okay to let them know you care.  Suggest counseling and take steps to assist them in getting the help they need.


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How To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse

How To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse

Emotionally and mentally abusive relationships can be very damaging. 

And, recovering from the abuse suffered in a relationship with someone who has a narcissistic personality can seem like an impossible undertaking. These powerful personality-disordered people often leave their victims completely drained physically, emotionally, mentally and even financially. However, there are numerous ways to facilitate healing and get back on track. The more you learn about these methods, the easier it will be to start the healing process.

Let Yourself Grieve

After leaving an abusive relationship, it’s normal to grieve and be angry. You should allow yourself to experience these emotions, but it’s important that you process them in a healthy way. You have suffered a loss, and even though this is a loss that will be better for you in the long run, your mind will need to go through the normal grieving process that occurs after any loss.  

Be open to experiencing the pain, but find ways to focus on moving forward. Suppressing your feelings or trying to avoid them will only lengthen the grieving process.  If you are unsure how to process your emotions in a healthy way then consider seeing a therapist

Stay Away from Your Abuser

It is absolutely essential that you do not have any contact whatsoever with your abuser, because it will only make the recovery process more difficult. There is no reason whatsoever that you should stay in touch with this person, so cut ties with them completely.

A lot of people who have suffered emotional abuse from narcissists find it difficult to let them go because they have become dependent on them. You must set boundaries and adhere to them.

If you have children with the narcissist then it might be difficult to maintain “no contact.” Consider involving a third party like a neutral friend or family member. There are also professional services that can assist you; look for supervised visitation services in your area.

Start Building Up Your Self-Esteem

You may have had low self-esteem when you met the narcissist, but if you didn’t it’s very likely your self-esteem has been negatively affected over the course of your relationship with him or her. It’s important that you start working on building your self-worth because having healthy self-esteem will help you avoid toxic and abusive partners in the future.

There are many different ways that you can work on your self-esteem, but try starting with being kind when you speak to yourself. Tell yourself that you are worth the time and effort required for recovery and that you will recover.

Learning to love yourself again (or for the first time) might not happen overnight. Remind yourself of your strengths, accomplishments and positive relationships.

Also, your self-esteem can benefit from challenging yourself or trying new things so try new activities; take a class you’ve always wanted to take or travel somewhere new. Exposing yourself to new situations and places can really help put things into perspective while also helping you build confidence. 

Exercise Daily

Exercising on a daily basis is shown to have both physical and mental benefits. Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise is great for depression and that it improves your well being overall.

It’s also a good idea to try getting your exercise outside in nature, as this can enhance the healing benefits of this activity quite a bit. Try running through a local park or going swimming at a local pool.  You should try to devote at least 20-30 minutes a day to one of these activities.

Accept Your Thoughts and Move Past Them

You are probably going to have intrusive thoughts about the abuse you have suffered. A lot of people who have suffered this type of abuse find it difficult to recover because of these thoughts. When you start to accept that they are inevitable (at least for a while), you can begin dealing with them in a productive way.

Handle these thoughts in a way that works for you. If you feel better after thinking through a problem and you feel you should spend time ruminating over some of your experiences then that’s okay.  Just make sure that you are not allowing these intense thoughts to affect your day-to-day life negatively. 

Many people use journaling as way to channel their thoughts. Consider keeping a journal and allowing yourself 30 minutes per day to focus heavily on what you’re thinking. As these unwanted thoughts come up during other parts of the day, change your focus to whatever you’re doing and remind yourself that you can spend time thinking about these things the next time you journal.

Have a Strong Support System

It’s important that at least a few people who are closest to you know what you are going through so they can support you. The more support you have from family and friends, the easier this whole recovery process will be.

If you don’t have someone close to you who you feel you can lean on during your recovery, then consider working with a therapist. In fact, even if you have a strong personal support system it’s a good idea to consider counseling. A therapist can offer an outside, professional perspective. And, he or she might be able to teach you coping mechanisms that your family and friends aren’t aware of.

Be Patient

Recovering from narcissistic abuse takes time, so you will have to remain patient. This process could take months or even years, but it’s worth all of the hard work and effort.

You can and will move on to find healthier and happier connections with others.

Create Goals for Yourself

You should make a point of creating goals for yourself. These goals will help to keep you oriented properly in the world and give you a purpose. A lot of people who are coming out of abusive relationships feel completely lost, which is why it’s so important to have a sense of purpose.

Make sure that you are doing something every single day to meet your goals so you can feel proud of yourself and build up your self-confidence. The more confident you are in yourself, the easier it becomes to tackle difficult problems and situations.

Recovery From Narcissistic Abuse Is Possible!

While it is true that recovering from narcissistic abuse can be quite a challenge, there are lots of ways to make it an easier process. If you’re willing to commit to taking care of yourself, the process can be shortened.

If you think you’ve been involved with a narcissist and you need help getting your life back in order, contact us. We provide free phone consultations and we accept most major insurance plans.

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What Are Panic Attacks And Can They Be Treated?

What Are Panic Attacks And Can They Be Treated?

Panic attacks are best described as a set of physical symptoms brought on by intense anxiety.  Sometimes panic attacks are mild, but they can also be completely debilitating.  In fact, these attacks can be so severe that some people may think they are having a heart attack.

If you’re experiencing panic attacks for the first time, they can seem overwhelming and you might feel like you cannot function or live a normal life.  The good news is that anxiety and panic attacks are treatable.  Understanding the symptoms you’re experiencing and exploring treatment options are the first steps towards getting well.

Common Symptoms of Panic Attacks

There are many different symptoms that are associated with panic attacks, but not everyone experiences them the same way.

A person with this type of anxiety disorder could experience only two or three symptoms while others experience many more.

Some of the more common symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort
  • Headache or migraine
  • Light-headedness
  • Muscle weakness or tingling
  • Labored breathing
  • Feeling of losing control
  • Urge to urinate or defecate

Those who get panic attacks typically experience a combination of these symptoms, and in some rare cases all of them at once. The combination of symptoms can be very overwhelming and are often accompanied by powerful thoughts and emotions.

Triggers for Panic Attacks

Panic attacks generally occur when a person begins feeling stressed, but there are many different potential triggers. Often times a person will begin having one of these attacks when they are in a public place. The fear of having an attack around other people can escalate the symptoms. One of the most common fears of those with an anxiety disorder is having other people see them when they are so vulnerable.

Some people get panic attacks when they are at work, stuck in traffic or in social situations. Any high-stress environment can easily lead to a panic attack. This often leads people to isolate or avoid certain situations, which only makes the condition worse.

Treating Panic Attacks

There is not a single treatment that works for everyone who suffers from panic attacks.  However, there are many treatments and coping methods that are very effective; individuals just need to learn what works for them in particular. Learning the various coping mechanisms is an important first step to managing anxiety.

Focus on Your Breathing

One of the most effective ways to get a panic attack under control before it becomes a serious problem is to focus on your breathing. There are a lot of different breathing exercises that you can do to calm yourself down when you start to feel really stressed. These exercises can have a real physiological impact on your nervous system, and they have been proven effective in combating panic attacks.

Even just taking some deep breaths and slowly counting to 20 can help a lot. If breathing techniques aren’t effective for you at the first time you try them, don’t worry. Sometimes there are other coping mechanisms that need to be learned via professional treatment like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy first.

Distract Yourself

Sometimes the best thing that you can do to prevent the onset of a full-blown panic attack is to find effective ways of distracting yourself. There are tons of little ways to distract yourself, such as playing a game on your smartphone, watching TV, or just going for a walk.

Anything that occupies your mind that you enjoy can act as an effective distraction when you want to prevent a panic attack. The more occupied your mind is with something else, the less likely it will be to escalate your anxiety symptoms.


Certain anti-anxiety medications can be very effective at keeping panic attacks under control, though it is usually best used as a short-term solution. These medications can be habit-forming, so you will need to be cautious and use these medications only as prescribed. A doctor will decide whether or not you should be on medications, and which ones to give you if they determine it is necessary.


Daily meditation or mindfulness practices can be very powerful in helping individuals deal with stress, anxiety and panic attacks.

Meditation works at the root of the issue by addressing problems with racing thoughts. It also teaches us to be present, or in the moment, which helps individual suffering from anxiety because these individuals frequently struggle with obsessing about the future in negative ways.

Avoid Stimulants

You should make a point of avoiding any stimulants that could actually make your condition worse, such as caffeine, energy drinks and certain herbs. The more jittery you become, the easier it is to have an attack. If you must drink caffeine, you should only consume it in moderation.

Get Plenty of Sleep

A lack of sleep can also make you more vulnerable to panic attacks, so you will need to make a point of sleeping at least 7-8 hours each night.

If you have difficulty getting to sleep, there are a lot of different things you can do. Make sure that you don’t consume any caffeine 3-4 hours before going to sleep, and try playing some white noise to relax you. Adequate sleep is essential for being healthy as a whole, so you will need to keep this in mind.

Panic attacks can definitely be very scary and difficult to deal with, especially if it’s the first time you’re experiencing them.

Many people get panic attacks every day, so you aren’t alone in the way you feel. And, as mentioned previously, they can be treated.

If you are struggling with debilitating anxiety or stress, contact us for a free consultation. We have successfully treated many people who have anxiety disorders.

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What is Emotional Trauma?

What is Emotional Trauma?

Emotional or psychological trauma occurs when a person experiences an extremely upsetting or disturbing event or events in their life. Whether it is one big even or a series of smaller events, the resulting trauma can be crippling. The fact is that emotional trauma can be just as damaging as physical trauma, even though it is not visible in the same way.

Traumatic Events

Many different events can trigger emotional trauma in a person. Some people are more vulnerable to this type of trauma than others, depending on their personality and past experiences. A lot of the emotionally traumatic events in people’s lives occur in early childhood. Some people repress the memories of these events, but they eventually manifest later on in adolescence or adulthood.

Child abuse is one example of an early emotionally traumatic event that can negatively impact a person for their entire life. A disturbing event is much more likely to result in this type of trauma if it occurs very suddenly, such as with the death of a loved one. People often feel powerless in these situations, which compounds the emotional trauma significantly.

Some of the more common events that trigger emotional trauma in adulthood include:


It isn’t uncommon for those who get broken up with by someone they are in a long-term relationship with to experience emotional trauma. Many divorces result in emotional trauma, especially when there are children involved. This is often when people are at their worst, which can inflict a lot of psychological damage to both parties.

Humiliating Experiences

A particularly humiliating experience can also cause lasting emotional trauma. People often fear that something humiliating will happen to them, and when it does they become scarred psychologically.

Physical Accidents or Injuries

Physical trauma can easily lead to emotional trauma. Some people who get into very bad car accidents and sustain serious injuries become traumatized, making it difficult to even get back in a car again. There are many types of accidents that can cause emotional trauma, and they are almost always associated with physical trauma.

Diagnosis of Serious Illness

When someone is diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness by a doctor without warning, the news they receive can cause emotional trauma.

Spousal Abuse

A lot of people who suffer abuse at the hands of their spouse become emotionally traumatized. Even verbal abuse can be very psychologically damaging to the person who it is being inflicted on, especially when it occurs on a regular basis.

Ongoing Stress

Those who experience a high level of mental/emotional stress on a regular basis for long periods of time can easily become traumatized. Once a person becomes so accustomed to experiencing stress all the time, it can be difficult for them to recover.

Military Service

Those who serve in the military often come out with emotional trauma to one degree or another, especially those who have been in combat situations. The things that soldiers see in combat can have a significant and lasting impact on their psyche.

Signs of Emotional Trauma

There are many common signs of emotional trauma that you should know about so you can recognize them in yourself and others. Some people don’t even realize they are emotionally traumatized, or they don’t know the full extent of it.

One of the more common signs of emotional trauma is intrusive thoughts. A lot of people who are traumatized in this way find themselves thinking about the original event(s) out of nowhere and on a regular basis. These thoughts often seem impossible to get out of one’s head, and they can cause a person to become distracted at work and in other aspects of their life.

People who are carrying around emotional trauma also sometimes have mood swings. They go from being completely happy and acting normal to flying into a rage or becoming severely depressed in a very short period of time. These mood swings can be very mentally and physically exhausting for those who experience them, and they often drive others away.

Changes in eating and sleeping habits are also common with emotional trauma. Some people tend to eat or sleep more than usual, while others do them less.

It isn’t uncommon for people with these issues to have trouble focusing in school or at work as well. This is because they find themselves constantly thinking about the traumatic events over and over.

Recovering from Emotional Trauma

While it is true that recovering from emotional trauma can be very difficult and take a long time, it is very possible with most people. The time it takes for a person to recover depends on the kind of trauma they have suffered and how hard they work at getting their life back on track.

It is important that those who have emotional trauma see a therapist, specifically one with a relevant specialty. There are some therapists who specialize in treating emotional trauma, so if you know you’ve experienced a traumatic event, it’s best to look for a therapist who is specifically trained to treat in this area.

There are other things that people with emotional trauma can do to begin the recovery process on a daily basis, such as exercising and meditating. It’s also important to talk to people close to you when you feel the need, as keeping your feelings bottled up is not a good idea.

Getting Help

There is no question that emotional trauma can be extremely destructive in a number of ways, and there are many different ways to become traumatized. The pain that people with this type of trauma endure can last for many years if its left untreated.

If you are struggling to deal with an emotional trauma, contact us for a free phone consultation. The sooner you start getting help, the sooner you will be able to get on the road to recovery.

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How Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety Works

How Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety Works

Are you one of the 40 million adults in the US who suffer from anxiety disorders each year? Unfortunately, anxiety is a common occurrence in our society. It can have negative impacts on your life and impact your ability to go about your day-to-day activities. The good news is that there are treatment options available, including cognitive therapy for anxiety.

Keep reading to learn more about cognitive therapy for anxiety and how it might be able to help you overcome your anxiety disorder.

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders often manifest themselves as excessive fear or worry. There are 11 different anxiety disorders. These include separation anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety, among others.

Regardless of which specific anxiety disorder you have, the common characteristics include extreme fear or worry, inability to control that fear or worry, restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating. These things often impact a person’s ability to function in social or work settings.

They often go hand-in-hand with negative thought process and poor social adaptations. This makes them ideal disorders to treat with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is the most commonly used treatment for anxiety disorders. Research has consistently shown that it works in treating panic disorders, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

CBT works by addressing the negative thinking patterns that people with anxiety have. The cognitive piece of CBT examines how our negative thoughts (or cognitions) contribute to anxiety. Behavior therapy examines how we react and behave in situations that cause anxiety.

The main assumption of CBT is that our negative thoughts impact the way we feel. If mental health professionals can help you identify those negative thoughts, then CBT is an option to reduce anxiety.

How Does Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety Work?

To treat anxiety, CBT uses something called thought challenging. Thought challenging is a process where you challenge the negative thinking that caused your anxiety. You then replace them with positive and realistic thoughts.

This process occurs in 3 steps:

  1. Identify your negative thoughts. To do this, you can ask yourself what you were thinking when you began to feel anxious.
  2. Challenge your negative thoughts by thinking about their cause. Also, think about how realistic these thoughts are. To do this, you might conduct an experiment or weigh the pros and cons of worrying or avoiding the things you fear, and think about how likely it is that what you are worried about will really happen.
  3. Replace the negative thoughts with realistic ones. You might think of calming statements you can say to yourself when you face a situation that causes anxiety.

A trained therapist can lead you through this process.

One additional feature of CBT is the use of assignments to do at home. CBT isn’t just limited to what happens in your therapist’s office and wants you to practice this process at home.

Your Next Steps

If you have an anxiety disorder, a mental health professional can help you decide if cognitive therapy for anxiety is right for you. Contact us today for a free consultation to see if we can help you overcome your anxiety.

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3 Signs It’s Time to Consider Couples Sex Therapy

3 Signs It’s Time to Consider Couples Sex Therapy

Many couples agree that sex is a huge part of what makes up their relationship. It’s a very direct way of showing your romantic feelings for your spouse, and it brings you closer to one another.

That being said, there are few things more upsetting in a relationship than a lack of intimacy.

Feeling a disconnect between you and your spouse is never a good thing – but that doesn’t mean your relationship can’t be saved.

If you feel like your relationship is on the rocks, couples sex therapy may be able to help.

When to Consider Couples Sex Therapy

If you’re seeing some of these signs in your love life, it may be in your best interest to seek out some extra help.

You Constantly Bicker

Every relationship has its arguments, but there is a difference between one argument and constant bickering.

Constantly being at each other’s throats is a sure sign that you need to fix up your romantic life. Bickering is the result of not being able to see eye to eye, and sex could very well be affected by it.

Usually, the problem doesn’t start from sex itself. However, if you’re constantly angry with your partner (or vice versa), you’re not going to want to have sex, which in turn could further damage your relationship.

You’re Stuck in a Sexless relationship

This is a tricky one, and it could happen for a number of reasons.

Having very little sex or no sex at all might happen because of a falling out. Sometimes, couples are getting distracted by what life throws at them.

It could be that you have kids and they’ve become a priority in your life. Or maybe your recent promotion takes up all your time and you come home too drained to connect.

There is an infinite number of reasons why you may not be having much (or any) sex, but one thing’s for sure – you need to mention it to your partner.

Chances are, if you don’t know what’s causing the problem, your spouse doesn’t either. Get connected and find out what’s going on, before the problem gets worse.

You’re Considering Breaking Up

This is not a situation you or your spouse should want to be in.

Usually, a lack of sex isn’t enough of a reason to call for a breakup, but it can certainly get the snowball rolling.

If your mind is constantly imagining your breakup like a scene from a soap opera, you need to seek sex counseling – and fast.

Often the root of the problem is simple. Maybe it’s too little communication, or one partner is constantly doing little things that annoy the other. Luckily, most situations can be handled with proper counseling.

We’re Here to Help

We realize that couples sex therapy could play a big part in saving a relationship, but it’s only a part of what we do.

Helping you is our number one priority. We specialize in many forms of counseling, including individual therapy, couples counseling, and group counseling.

If you feel you may be in need of any of our services, Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to be there for you in any way we can.

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What Should a PTSD Treatment Plan Include?

What Should a PTSD Treatment Plan Include?

Around 7.8% of Americans will struggle with PTSD at some point in their lives. This disorder does not discriminate between age or gender and can affect anyone.

If you or someone you love is experiencing PTSD or similar trauma-related disorders and you aren’t sure what to expect, here’s a look at what a PTSD treatment plan should include.

What Is PTSD?

While PTSD has been around for quite some time, it was only named as a treatable mental disorder in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Before it was called PTSD, it was “shell shock” because it was mainly thought that victims of combat trauma were the only ones to experience it.

Though, now we know it’s a psychiatric disorder that can become present when someone experiences any traumatic event in their lives such as:

  • Car accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Combat
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Sexual or violent assault

In most cases, the person who is experiencing PTSD will still have memories or feelings related to the event or person that caused harm to them in the first place. These feelings can come in the form of nightmares or flashbacks.

What Are Symptoms of PTSD?

Many symptoms can accompany PTSD, and it’s important to look at them as a whole. This can help medical professionals provide the right diagnosis and treatment options that are appropriate for the patient.


Flashbacks of the event or trauma are very common. Anything can be a trigger, such as a scent, a familiar sight, or a loud sound.

In this case, it’s as though the person is relieving the experience again.

Avoidance of Certain Triggers

When someone experiences something traumatic, you might be able to tell when that person needs PTSD therapy if they show signs of avoiding specific triggers.

For instance, if someone you know was in a car accident, and you begin to notice the avoidance of driving or taking rides in vehicles, then treatment for PTSD might be needed.

Easily Startled

Have you seen the yard signs during the Fourth of July announcing the presence of a Veteran, asking for sensitivity while setting off firecrackers?

That is a good example of the PTSD symptom “hyperarousal,” which is the state of being easily startled by loud sounds, or even by touch.

What Is a PTSD Treatment Plan?

The idea behind therapy sessions is to get the affected individual to open up and speak about their experiences. By talking about the trauma, you can effectively alter the thought patterns that accompany the memories.

The hopeful outcome for you or your loved one’s therapy sessions:

  • Effective coping skills
  • Improved symptoms or behavior
  • A boost in self-esteem

Because everyone is different and will respond in various ways, the cure for PTSD won’t look the same for each individual. You can opt for individual or family therapy sessions, depending on your needs.

We Can Help

If you or someone you know has been through something traumatic and has exhibited one or more of these symptoms, don’t hesitate. If you think a PTSD treatment plan is right for you, check out our traditional counselingapproach.

If a traditional appointment doesn’t work for you, we also offer web sessions for your convenience.

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5 Signs You Should Consider Couples Counseling

5 Signs You Should Consider Couples Counseling

Whether you’re going through a tough time in your relationship or you just want the strongest possible relationship before committing to that special person, couples counseling can be extremely beneficial.

Trying to determine when to seek out a couples therapist?

Here are five signs that you and your partner could benefit from talking to someone.

1. You Can’t Trust Your Partner

At the core of every relationship is one common component: Trust. A lack of trust in a relationship, no matter how small, is often a sign of a greater issue.

In fact, Psychology Today reports that trust is the most important factor in a successful relationship.

Whether there’s reason for the lack of trust, such as lying or infidelity or you just get a bad feeling, it never hurts to talk things out and work on trusting again.

2. You’re Looking to Strengthen Your Communication Skills

If trust is at the core of a relationship, communication is the foundation. It’s no secret that everyone communicates in his or her own individual way. And sometimes, that can lead to some tricky misunderstandings.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just said what they meant?

Learning to communicate with your partner in a more effective way is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship. By seeking out a couples therapist, you and your partner can learn to express your needs and desires in a more thorough, healthy way.

3. You’ve Experienced Trauma

Trauma can break down even the strongest relationship. It’s no one’s fault, per say, but grieving and withdrawing in an unhealthy fashion can lead to fear, resentment, and anger.

No matter what type of trauma you’re dealing with, it’s important that you learn how to properly cope. Learning those coping skills with a loved one can make the process far easier.

4. You Don’t Feel Like a Team Anymore

A relationship consists of individuals. But it’s only when those individuals come together to form a team that the dynamic begins to resemble a relationship.

Being a team is integral in a healthy relationship.

It means having someone you can turn to in your time of need. It means having someone to share the most important moments of your life with, both good and bad.

When that sense of unity begins to disappear, we have a tendency to put up walls and shut people out. But couples therapy is a great way to work at reestablishing those bonds.

5. You’re Considering Marriage

Want to enter into your marriage with the strongest possible bond? Relationship counseling can help.

Before saying ‘I do’ to that special someone, learn what it takes to make a marriage work. You’ll be better prepared for the challenges and hardships you’ll face along the way and you’ll feel closer to your partner, to boot.

Couples Counseling Can Strengthen Your Relationship

In truth, couples counseling could benefit just about every couple out there. If we all learned to take better care of each other, the world would be a much simpler, happier place.

If you’re interested in counseling, reach out for a free consultation. Whether you’re in a rut, experienced a hardship, or you just want to know your partner better, Dr. Quintal & Associates can help.

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