Counseling Services

Psychotherapy:

A highly confidential service, psychotherapy is a set of strategies designed to change unhealthy patterns and accelerate growth with the use of empirically tested psychological theories and techniques.  The client and therapist enter into a commitment to overcome challenges by confronting thinking and behavioral patterns in a safe, non-threatening environment.  More than just an exchange of ideas, the therapist makes use of all elements of the relationship to explore how old patterns are activated in the here-and-now.  Goals are clear and developed with realistic solutions agreed upon by both the therapist and client.

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Anxiety Disorders:

We’ve all worried about things from time to time.  When worry turns into energy used to solve problems, it’s useful and healthy.  When worry becomes intense and pervasive, it causes a freezing and withdrawl from one’s world.  This is unhealthy anxiety.  People with this anxiety are “what-ifers.”  These individuals feel responsible for things outside of their control.  They need to be certain of the future and want to be more in control of the behaviors of others.  Treatment addresses the subtle goals set by the individual and the inevitable difference between the actual self and an ideal self.

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Depression

Often called the common cold of psychology, Depression should not be confused with sadness or grieving.  Depression, when examined closely, has as its central feature a negative explanatory style.  People experiencing depression select negative information or events from their environment to think about, encode in memory, and later recall very easily.  This explanatory style, the negative beliefs they come from and the maladaptive behaviors they produce is the focus of treatment.

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Sports Psychology

The normal frustrations, challenges and anxiety felt in normal life are intensified in a sports context.  For the athlete, the self-concept, confidence and frustration tolerance are all put to a very rigorous test.  Individual differences along these lines are combined with different coaching styles and parental involvement to create an overall experience that could be satisfying and growth-stimulating or frustrating and even a source of anxiety or depression.  Consultation in this area focuses on the athlete, coach and parents with the goal of either performance enhancement or an increase in confidence that generalizes into nonathletic realms.

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Youth Services

Children

Hyperactivity, attentional difficulties, oppositional behaviors and fears are normal parts of childhood development.  When these rise to the level when it’s noticed by teachers or causes distress among family members and lower grades or involving intervention from schools or the legal system, intervention is needed.  An effective therapist uses a systems approach to understand not why the child shouldn’t do these things but answers the question, why should the child do these things.  Put another way, what are the hidden benefits?  Good intervention with children involves both one-to-one contact with the child as well as the engagement of the whole family.  In a family system, changing behaviors, even on the part of one person, often leads to a change in thoughts and feelings of all of those involved.  A good therapist is very direct about what changes need to take place and how to do it.

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Adolescents

Often called a time of “Storm and Stress,” adolescence is the breaking away or “divorcing” of the family where the emerging adult develops his/her own identity.  Conflicts, power struggles and risk-taking behaviors are very common.  When these become persistent unsolvable and even dangerous, help is needed.  Using a family systems approach, a good therapist engages both the adolescent and parents to understand patterns of interaction and make suggestions as needed.  The ultimate goal is a restoration of the relationship between adolescent and parents and an end to power struggles.

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Couples/Relationship Counseling

Adults

In relationships the occasional conflict is normal, even healthy.  When you notice that you and your partner seem to be ready for conflict, over react to a small disagreement, or fight about insignificant things constantly and repetitively, this may be a sign of an unhealthy conflict and relationship.  At this point both people agree that “there’s something else going on.”  The therapist is here to observe, understand and explain the triggers and the solutions to ending this unhealthy behavior.  Often when hurt and fear can be expressed instead of anger, people feel safer and grow closer to one another, significantly increasing their understanding, compassion and love.

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