Being Vulnerable

Many clients come to counseling realizing they are quite guarded or shutdown. Some realize they are living more isolated than they want in their relationships. For others, relationships may have ended because they were too guarded. Therapy can help dig out the root of invulnerability and teach steps towards vulnerability. It's hard to let your guard down; for some it's really hard to open up. In counseling we look at those fears and find ways to connect in the face of them. In stepping toward vulnerability, connection happens. Isolation can then decrease and so can loneliness...

Date Night Ideas!

Date night is so important to maintaining a healthy relationship and keeping the fun and excitement growing. Couples who date regularly are more connected, satisfied and intimate! When I'm working with clients in marriage counseling, we always talk about date nights. Are date nights happening? How often are they dating? Are they talking, holding hands, and laughing during date night or just starting at screens? Date night is a time to connect, to learn new things about each other and share deeply with each other...

Finding God when Feeling Bad

One of my passions is incorporating faith into the counseling process. For clients who desire, I offer Christian counseling. One thing discussed often in therapy is how to find, experience and "feel" the Lord when one is feeling depressed or anxious. Depression is tough; just getting out of bed and accomplishing a few small things feels like climbing a mountain. Anxiety can leave someone paralyzed and exhausted from debilitating fearful thinking. During times like these, finding God can seem impossible. It can seem like you're praying and He's not listening or at least like He's not responding...

Boundaries with Adult children

Often in therapy I'm working with a parent or parents who have adult children. Sometimes these children are in college or just out of high school and other families I work with have children who are in their late 20's or 30's. Parent come in for counseling at their wit's end, frustrated that their adult child isn't following their expectations. It's tough to know what boundaries to set with adult children and can be even tougher to actually implement boundaries with your adult kids. I've found in my work with families that some parents are being taken advantage of, some are enabling unhealthy behavior, and some desperately want their kids to succeed...

Breaking up is hard to do.

I work with many clients in counseling who are going through a break-up. Some clients are experiencing divorce, others are separating from long-term serious relationships. The end of a relationship is difficult, whether you initiated the break-up or not. Therapy can be a helpful resource in times of big transition like the loss of a relationship. After break-ups the tendency is to retreat, rebound or retaliate. These responses to the end of a relationship tend to hurt more than help and can often lead to more "stuck" feelings. Isolating can cause you to see things in negative ways and to feel more depressed. Rebounding with another superficial relationship or hook-up typically only puts you deeper into insecurity and loneliness...

Feeling our Feelings

I work with many clients in counseling who have difficulty identifying their feelings and knowing what to do with them. Therapy can teach you how to effectively understand and process your feelings. Feelings are important but don't need to rashly trigger our behavior. They are a great indicator but not a great dictator! Feelings help us make decisions but are only one piece of healthy decision making. For some clients feelings run every decision of every day. For other clients feelings are a foreign idea and they have no idea what they may be feeling at any given moment...

Paralyzing Anxiety

I often work with clients in therapy who are experiencing all kinds of anxiety. For some it's panic attacks, others have daily generalized feelings of anxiety, and others experience situational anxiety before a flight or a public speech. Clients who present for counseling are often paralyzed by their anxiety. Anxiety is keeping them from moving forward in their life in some way. Therapy helps them realize where they are stuck and what steps to take in order to make progress towards their goals. One primary principle we focus on in therapy to help them move out of paralysis is the thought-feeling connection...

Boundaries & Saying "No"

Many clients I see for counseling struggle to know how to set healthy boundaries. Some clients come to therapy not knowing what boundaries are and why they are needed. Many of these clients arrive burnt out, exhausted and experiencing many health issues. Their bodies have worn down from lack of self-care. When we constantly say yes to things and people around us, we are saying no to ourselves. The longer we engage in that pattern, the more worn down we become. We end up in a vicious cycle that where we feel trapped. Counseling can help you interrupt that pattern...

Being Assertive

I work with many young women (ages 13 and up) who seem to find themselves picked on, taken advantage of or bullied. This can greatly impact self-esteem or self-worth. Confidence can decrease and one can begin to be seen as passive by others. This can open them up to even more of the negative behaviors they first experienced. In therapy we not only discuss the pain from these experiences and how to move through that effectively but also assertiveness...

Are you Dating?

I work with many couples who are struggling in their relationships. Some have been married for over 20 years and others are just getting started in their relationship. A common theme I see is that married couples are no longer dating each other. They may be spending many evenings on the couch together or sitting in the same room both on their phones. They might be going out together with other friends or spending time with family. These things are not bad things but...

Teen Friendships

I work with many teenage girls in counseling that are feeling lonely and struggling to make friends. Many aren't happy with their current friend group. Some teenagers are working in therapy to overcome anxiety or low self-worth that keep them from healthy friendships. Others have very strong values and aren't willing to compromise those for the peer pressure they experience and thus they feel rather isolated. Many teen girls I see are in the throws of figuring out who they are...

Adult Friendships

Quite often my work with clients in counseling focuses on friendship. Friendships are an important piece of well-being, work-life balance and add so much to a sense of belonging.  I hear frequently in my counseling office about the loneliness clients feel and the difficulty they have making friends as adults. School and college made friendships more accessible and there was quite a big pool to choose from when looking for friends. As adults, the pool is much smaller and sometimes really hard to find! Many adults are working from home or own their own businesses which can be quite isolating...

Not Good Enough

Many of us feel not good enough, unworthy of love or invaluable. I work with many clients in therapy that struggle with self-confidence, self-esteem, or self-worth. For those clients who desire Christian Counseling, we dig to the core of it all. We are worthy of love and valuable because of who loved us first. We were created, knit together in our mother's womb by our Creator. When we try to base our worth on our works, things we do, we will always fall short...

Boundaries & Work

Work can be a big part of our lives. Sometimes it fits nicely into the box of a set number of hours and other times it invades much more of our life. There's an elusive work-life balance that many of us strive to achieve but somehow seems to evade our grasp! Many clients come to counseling describing the stress they feel at work or the stress they feel at home about work. Work seems to invade all their free time and intrude in relationships they value. This can cause tension, stress and conflict...

Are you an Introvert?

I work with many clients who have introverted personalities and struggle to accept their introversion. They feel guilty that they don't want to be around friends or family all the time. Or they feel like something is wrong with them because they need alone time to recharge. Extroverted personalities recharge by being with others; time spent together is energizing to extroverts. Introverts gain energy from being alone or doing hobbies they love by themselves; time spent with others is draining to them...

Adjusting to College life

My office is very close to North Carolina State University, William Peace University and Meredith College. I love working with college students to achieve the goals they desire accomplished. Many are simply trying to figure out how to adjust well to college life, how to handle being away from home for the first time and how to deal with all the new stress that comes with such a big change. Some are experiencing anxiety and panic for the first time in their lives and others are trying to figure out how to make friends and balance their academic and social lives..

Pursuing through Separation

I work with many spouses who are currently separated. They are reaching out for support and guidance during a turbulent and emotional time. For clients who are Christians and desire their faith incorporated into counseling, we discuss culture's view of separation and what the Bible says about marriage. Our culture says that if you are separated, the marriage is basically over. Don't work on the marriage, start dating and "live your life." However, separation isn't fully the same as divorce...

Conflict Resolution

Conflict happens and it happens to us all. We are all broken people so we will mess up; we will hurt each other. But what matters is how we handle it. Do we address and resolve the problem or do we shutdown and run from the issue? We all are responsible for our part in conflict in our relationships. Couples that come for counseling are often in conflict or are not solving conflict like they'd like. Therapy helps identify unproductive patterns in conflict resolution and create new, healthy patterns...

Discipline & Teens

Parenting teens is difficult but discipline doesn't have to be such a stressor. Parents I meet with for counseling are often exhausted, frustrated and feeling like they can't reach their teen. Sometimes the teen is disobedient, rebelling and disrespectful. I work with the parents to create a predictable and consistent discipline plan that is easily enforceable. A necessary first step is to create a list of basic home rules; type them up and go over them with your teen...

Emotions & Responses

Many clients I see in counseling have difficulty with their emotions. Sometimes it's difficulty identifying what they are feeling. Other times they do not know what to do with what they feel. Other clients struggle to allow themselves to feel how they are feeling deep down. Emotions are important. They help us to experience connection with others. They help us understand others and help others understand us...