Individual, Couples, and Family Counseling for Children and Adults 

Real people, real help.


It is our desire to provide the community with insight, encouragement, and positive messages through as many avenues of communication as possible. To further our efforts in staying connected with you, we have brought back our blog in hopes that it will be updated on a regular basis and truly provide help to those who read it. Feel free to visit and share these postings with others. We welcome you to submit a topic request to [email protected] Enjoy! 

view:  full / summary

The 12 Rules of Christmas - Day 1

Posted on December 11, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Don’t forget that everyone has one ugly side of their Christmas tree.

We all know what it’s like. You painstakingly hang all of the ornaments, tinsel, lights, and ribbon. You step back to admire your work and realize there are gaps or lights are out or you missed a section altogether. So what do you do? Most of us don’t have the time to make it all over again so we turn that part to the wall or the corner and we carry on with our day. Some of us, myself included, don’t even bother decorating the side that faces the wall. Its just there with bare branches and some big old gaps.

How does this apply to our life? Well, consider the fact that just because you are seeing this amazing tree, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are ugly, bare, or unfinished sides. We all have those same parts within ourselves or within our lives. We all have the part that we put out for the world to see and then the parts that we carry silently and hide from plain sight.

It’s important to remember in this time of year that it is easy to start comparing yourself to others: how much time off they have, how many traditions they have, how many family comes to town for them, how many presents they are able to provide their kids, etc., etc., etc. We have to remember that those things are just the pieces that are out there for the public eye. They all have the ugly part facing the wall. You may not be able to see it, and really we don’t even need to. We know we all have one. So let’s all embrace the public parts of our Christmas trees and be understanding of the hidden ones, both our own and those around us.


What Should I Do If I Think I Am Depressed?

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:40 PM

If you think that you are personally dealing with depression or a reduction in positive mood state, start by talking to someone. Keeping it hidden or a secret will only allow the negative feelings and thoughts to grow. There are many factors that could be contributing to your decreased mood, and counseling can be a great way to find different areas that need resolution as well as proper coping skills to minimize the impact of depression on your daily living. Some small key points to remember are:

• Depression is an illness, not a weakness.

• Seek treatment if your symptoms persist for 2 weeks or more.

• Keep active as much as you can.

o Many people feel fatigue and a desire to sleep or rest more when dealing with depression. This can often cause depression to grow since isolation is a known factor to depressed moods. Don’t give in to it or give depression permission to take over. As long as you are getting proper rest at night, work to stay awake and at least minimally active during the day.

• Set realistic goals for yourself and assume a moderate amount of responsibility.

• Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.

• Mild exercise, eating well and avoiding alcohol can help improve your overall health and may help you to feel better day-by-day.

• Talk to a professional about how you feel.

In conclusion to this series, just remember, you are not alone. There are options available, and people that care and are willing to listen.

What Should I Do If I Think Someone Is Depressed?

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:40 PM

There are some clear ways to help someone that you think may be dealing with depression. At the same time, there are detrimental things that we often unknowingly say in an attempt to help. Here are some key things to try and keep in mind when approaching someone you are concerned about:

• Talk to the person and tell him/her that you are concerned and want to help. They may be surprised anyone noticed a change in their behavior.

• Be accepting of his behavior and don’t expect him to “snap out of it”.

• Try not to be judgmental or offer advice.

• Encourage the person to make an appointment with a doctor, or offer to make the appointment for them. You may also want to offer to go along for support.

• Invite the person to join you in activities that you know he/she used to enjoy, but keep in mind that expecting too much too soon can lead to feelings of frustration or failure.

• Try to help them avoid resorting to alcohol, or other substances.

• If your friend talks of suicide, take this seriously and act on it! Insist they see a doctor and contact a suicide hotline right away.

When talking with someone that you are concerned about, remember to listen with a heart of understanding. You may not understand why they are feeling down, or why their reported situation is causing them anguish, but it is. They feel this whether you understand/believe them or not. Speak with kind, and gentle words that provide comfort rather than judgement. Make sure that you are remembering the myths presented earlier and giving validity to their feelings. And, lastly, counseling is not only indicated for people with clinical depression. If someone you care about is struggling, whether it is diagnosable or not, offer resources that could help them feel better.

Myths and Facts about Depression

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:40 PM

The following are some myths and facts about depression:

MYTH: Clinical depression is a character flaw, a sign of personal weakness

FACT: The person with clinical depression does not lack personal motivation or character; he/she has a medical illness. The illness can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

MYTH: Clinical depression doesn’t really affect your everyday life; you just appear unhappy.

FACT: Clinical depression may profoundly affect individual functioning, social relations, and life-course.

MYTH: Clinical depression is no excuse for missing work.

FACT: Although clinical depression is rarely the reason given, absenteeism is one of the costly outcomes of untreated depression.

MYTH: Visiting a Psychologist or Psychiatrist for depression means that you are “crazy”.

FACT: Depression is a mood disorder, not a psychosis. People consult medical specialists for different ailments, so why not a mental health specialist?

MYTH: Depression is a bad mood that someone can “snap out of”

FACT: Depression is an illness, in the same way heart disease is an illness

MYTH: So what? Nobody dies from being sad

FACT: Approximately 15% of people with severe clinical depression will commit suicide

The Look of Depression- Seniors

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:40 PM

Depression in later life frequently coexists with other medical illnesses and disabilities. Also, advancing age is often accompanied by loss of key social support systems due to the death of a spouse, siblings, or friends, retirement and/or relocation of residence. Depression tends to last longer in elderly adults. It also doubles their risk to develop cardiac diseases and increases their risk of death from illness, while reducing their ability to rehabilitate. Depression in the elderly is more likely to lead to suicide. The National Institute of Mental Health considers depression in people age 65 and older to be a major public health problem. In elderly men (over age 70) the suicide rate climbs, with the suicide rate more than twice that of the general population, peaking after age 85.

Check on your elderly loved ones. Elderly will often feel disconnected as they can no longer remain as active as they once were, as well as the other end of the spectrum of feeling like a burden on their caregiver. Talk with them about their feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask about how they feel. Be open and honest about what you are capable and willing to do towards their care. When we feel safe and understood, mental illness severity declines, and overall functioning increases.


The Look of Depression- Adolescents/Teens

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:35 PM

It is estimated that depression affects as many as one in every 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents. Factors contributing to depression in teens include high stress environments, feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy over school performance, social interaction, sexual orientation, or family life. The symptoms of teen depression may also include striking changes in thinking and behavior, loss of motivation, becoming severely withdrawn, rebellious behavior, a sudden drop in grades, or cutting school. Other behaviors may also include: The use of alcohol and drugs and promiscuous sexual activity; and/or a preoccupation with death and dying. Suicide is a serious problem within the teen population. Suicide is the leading cause of death among teens in the US. Approximately 500,000 teens attempt suicide every year, with 5,000 succeeding.

One major factor that is happening with teens is bullying. As a child, bullying only existed within set time frames. If my bully was at school then I only had to deal with the situation from 8am-3pm, Monday thru Friday. The moment I was home, it was over. That reason alone is why I am thankful to have been a child of the 80’s. Teens today have technology that allow for bullying to carry on 24 hours a day and have detrimental information move at the speed of WIFI. Teens are losing ways to remove themselves from the cruelty of others, gossip, and negative peer groups. Talk with your teens about their friends. Ask if they feel supported. Ask them if they have been bullied or if it is currently happening. Offer them support such as counseling so that they can process these feelings. Many teens feel that they cannot talk to their parents (it’s a teen thing, parents, don’t take it personally) and a solution like a counselor they like and trust can offer support and possible solutions. There is a lot to say about teens and bullying, and we will tackle this topic in a later blog series. Just know that there is hope and you nor your teen are at the mercy of this feeling of hopelessness.

The Look of Depression- Men

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:35 PM

This is one of the easiest and hardest groups of people to see the behaviors of depression. Men are raised to be strong, virile, leaders, who are providers. We can’t forget that the evolution of the male role is one of the largest shifts in society. Our family’s hunter and gatherer is now being told that they are needed to be more connected emotionally to the home, they are no longer solidified in the role of leader, and often are no longer the bread-winners of their homes. What, you may ask, does this have to do with depression? EVERYTHING! Men are in transition and are still human. They have feelings, but have not been given permission to show it. They are sad and worried, but are told that is weak and to push those feelings down and march on. All of this combines into one major way that men show depression: Anger. We can thank the combination of everything discussed and testosterone for this one major symptom. Men are also more likely to self-medicate with tobacco, drugs or alcohol. Again, men don’t feel they have permission to feel depression, so they definitely don’t feel permission to talk about it. If you are a man reading this post, I want to tell you thank you. Thank you for being strong. Thank you for feeling committed to leading. Thank you for pushing your feelings aside to keep working hard and going on. But, it was all a lie. Your feelings didn’t go anywhere. They are still in there. Maybe you have learned to compartmentalize. Maybe you have learned how to displace it in an area that feels safe. IT. IS. STILL. THERE. It will be there until you acknowledge it and work to resolve it rather than repress it. Now, if you are a loved one to a man that you feel is depressed, STOP. I can read your mind and see that you are thinking, “I am going to tell them I read this thing about depression and I think they have it.” Remember what I told you about men’s pride? This approach will only wound them, or cause defensiveness. Start by talking to them. Ask them about their day, their work, and their friendships. Listen. If there are minimal responses, but their behavior shows different, give them permission to feel something other than happy, focused, and strong. Offer this post to read. Talk to them about their needs and how you can support them. And, only if you feel the depression is severe, talk about getting support through professional sources.

The Look of Depression- Women

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Depression occurs twice as frequently in women as in men. Research is unclear if women are actually more likely to get depressed than men, or if they are more likely to report symptoms and seek treatment, thus increase the reported rates of depression.

Women today are under more pressure than ever to carry multiple roles within their lives from professional, parent, spouse, friend, or even community leader, amongst many other. Women have always been an integral part of society, but more than ever, the lack of balance and self-care that women report are considered to be major contributing factors to depression.

The common, yet stereotypical, symptom of depression in women is frequently emotional and crying. This is more prevalent in women than men, but denies many of the other ways that women show and deal with depression. Some of the common things that as a clinician I look for in women is isolation. If a women feels disconnected and isolated from friendships, spouse, and even family members, this can be both a sign and contributing factor of depression. Like men, the modern women is encouraged to be strong and emotionless because this is falsely seen as weakness. This lie is detrimental to the long-term health of women.

Not always, but often the most outgoing person in the room is the most insecure and struggling with depression and self-worth. If you or someone you know seems to show a large personality publically but struggle to become vulnerable or serious in a private conversation, be alright with asking how they are feeling. It may be that they don’t feel safe talking about how they feel or areas of struggle, which can be precursors to depression.

I Think Someone I Love is Dealing with Depression, What Should I Look For?

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Now that we have spent all this time with the technical side of depression, we are going to dive into what depression looks like for different people and age groups. If you remember from the beginning of the month, we talked about there not being one “cookie cutter” way that depression looks, and as you can understand now with all the different types and symptoms, it can become overwhelming even from a professional perspective. We are going to spend some time bringing it back down to the level of useful and applicable information. It’s no surprise the differences between men and women, adolescents and adults, and young adults and seniors. If you think trying to explain/understand the latest technology is hard between these groups, then you must imagine that the way depression affects the daily functioning can also look vastly different. We will first look at the ways that depression looks in the actions of men vs. women and will tackle adolescents and seniors.

Causes of Depression

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Family history – Clinical depression tends to run in families. From 20 – 25% of those who suffer from clinical depression have a relative with a mood disorder. It is unclear if this link is completely genetic; the tendency for depressive behaviors could be learned through the social dynamics of the family as well.

Grief – Death of a loved one, or other significant loss, can contribute to an episode of depression. Any person suffering from sadness or anguish that is debilitating past the amounts of time considered ” normal” for grieving, or grief that is persistent over two weeks’ time, should be examined for depression.

Major life events – Major events that occur in everyone’s lives, such as moving, graduating, changing jobs, having a baby, getting married or divorced, retiring, or other events requiring significant social adjustment may precipitate a depressive episode (even “positive” life events).

Serious or chronic illness – People diagnosed with chronic illnesses must adjust to the demands of the illness itself, as well as to the treatments for their condition. It may change the way a person lives, sees him/herself, and/or relates to others. Depression is one of the most common complications or chronic illness. Risk for depression increases with the severity of the illness and the level of life disruption it causes.

Certain medications - Some medications have been reported to cause depression in some patients. This is not a time that we recommend stopping any medication you are on, but rather discuss the change in your mood and overall mental alertness with your physician.

Substance abuse –Depression and alcohol and/or drug abuse often go hand in hand; some people with depression try to “drown their sorrows” by drinking more than usual or using drugs and other substances to reduce their pain and help them escape. Since alcohol is a depressant it only serves to worsen the depression. And the downward spiral begins…

Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse – Individuals who have been victimized by abuse may suffer from recurring psychological trauma if they have not been treated for the effects of that abuse. Depression may occur if the person is still in an on-going relationship with their abuser, and may feel hopeless and powerless to change the abusive situation.