PathwaysVoice – Blog

Guide to Help You With Marriage or Couples Counseling

Posted by on Oct 19, 2017 in PathwaysVoice - Blog | Comments Off on Guide to Help You With Marriage or Couples Counseling

A large portion of the human world believes in love, while the other part considers it nothing more than a myth. The degree of truth in this statement is unknown. But we do know for sure that every relationship has its ups and downs. No matter how perfect a couple seems, even if they are married, they do have their downs too. The celebrity couples that appear to have a love life that seems too good to be true for everyone else usually is. It’s a fact that these down times make a relationship stronger…if we can survive them. However, the process of not letting these bad moments ruin your relationship is difficult to do. In order to get the best out of these moments of disagreement, betrayal, lack of communication, infidelity or other common problems we suggest that you see a marriage counselor as soon as possible. It’s imperative to take positive steps towards a better relationship before the relationship is severely damaged. Often, by the time people feel the need to see a counselor, the relationship has reached a hurting state. Here is our little guide to help you with your process of marriage or couples counseling. When to go to a counselor The most vital part of marriage counseling  or couples counseling is to go at the right time. Don’t start your counseling search after your relationship has gone past the stage of getting repaired. Yes, it’s best to try and solve relationship issues on your own but sometimes the matter can get out of hand and cause negativity between two people. Things like infidelity can seriously harm the trust and ultimately the bond in a relationship. Try to get the damage fixed as soon as possible. Even if there is no major issue as such, family counseling and marriage counseling will help you achieve a healthier relationship which benefits both the people in the relationship. Which counselor to choose The person you choose is going to play a very major role in the process. Of course, the therapy won’t be of any use unless both the partners are comfortable with their choice of counselor. Similarly, you need to open up about a very private part of your life. This won’t be possible unless you actually like the person and trust them with their work. Opt for someone that both the partners are happy with. Along with that, do not tie yourself to a long term commitment with the counselor. Some family counselors make you sign an agreement for attending a certain number of sessions. It’s better to have the sense of freedom so that you can quit whenever you feel like the counselor doesn’t suit your needs. Get comfortable with your counselor before the sessions start. Get to know about your counselor. Their name, educational background, experience, and other basic information that’ll make you comfortable enough to open up to them. In case your counselor refuses to answer you, reconsider your choice. How can you trust someone to know about your entire love life if they won’t tell you the most basic information about their work. Your counselor needs to be someone who will genuinely help you solve your problems. We are a Scottsdale counseling office and our therapists specialize in marriage counseling and family counseling . The outcome The first day you step into the therapy session, be clear of your outcomes. What results do you expect from this counselor as a couple? It’s important that you pay attention to your partner’s expectations of the counseling too. Sometimes couples would go into sessions only to solve a certain issue. Once they feel like they have achieved that goal, they give up their counseling sessions. This is a huge mistake. Once you’re in it, only get out once you’ve got the best results. Fixing one or two issues won’t lead to effective results. Your aim should be to reignite the love you had at the time you got married. Your counselor should ask you of your goals too. You can discuss this topic with your...

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Tragedy in Las Vegas: Strategies for Psychological Healing

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in PathwaysVoice - Blog | Comments Off on Tragedy in Las Vegas: Strategies for Psychological Healing

How to process, talk with children, and help others. By: Elyssa Barbash Ph.D. We are appalled and heartbroken by the horrific mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas this week. To think how many concert-goers were there, just living their life and innocently having fun in a place known to be relaxing and enjoyable, only to be changed forever by the actions of a sole shooter, is incomprehensible. For many of us, it’s hard to find the right words to describe how we are feeling, so instead, we turn to logic, and we find ourselves wanting to find an answer for why this tragedy happened. Still, many are in disbelief; not understanding how something like this can happen (at all, and perhaps even more, again). Situations like this are hard to comprehend and understand. And as much as we try, there’s a good chance that we will never totally understand the why, especially when there is very little way to make sense of the senseless. Despite the fact that what happened in Vegas is now the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, this tragic event is only amplified by the number of traumatic events that have preceded it. In the wake of the numerous worldwide traumatic events and mass shootings, it is important that you take care of yourself and your family. This article is written to provide information on how to cope during this difficult time. How to psychologically process During this time, it is incredibly helpful not to avoid how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Find others who you can openly speak with, and discuss what is on your mind. Share your fears, your heartache, anger, disgust, etc. Whatever it is, share it. Repressing your innermost thoughts and emotions does not make them disappear, but instead, they are likely to intensify. If you have been personally impacted by the shooting, whether you were present at the concert or know someone who was, it is imperative that you allow yourself the time and emotional space to process what has happened. For many in Florida, the Vegas shooting hits too close to home after the Pulse nightclub shooting that took place in 2016. The key to psychologically processing what has happened is to think about it, talk about it, journal about it, etc. Don’t avoid it. How to help others You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings about what has happened, and just as you need support, those around you likely do, as well. If you know someone who was present during the attack or someone whose loved one perhaps passed away or was injured, it is incredibly important to know how to help them through this difficult time. The best thing you can do is to simply listen and be supportive. Don’t minimize their feelings, reactions, or pain. Everything you or they are going through after a tragedy such as this is both completely normal and healthy (and must occur if effective healing is to happen). Being a good friend or family member means being available and listening with empathy. Likewise, perhaps you know someone who has been in a similar situation, and the Vegas shooting is a strong trigger for them. The Vegas shooting is only likely to bring up disturbing memories, images, nightmares, anger, emotional pain, etc. If this is you, it is important to acknowledge your thoughts and emotions. If this is someone you know, it is important to be there for them by listening with understanding, being supportive, and letting them share anything they are thinking and feeling. Professional help If the Las Vegas shooting has personally impacted you, or you are still healing from a past traumatic experience, it is imperative that you seek help sooner rather than later. This is not to say that waiting for treatment reduces its efficacy, but you are likely to experience less pain and suffering the sooner that you reach out. There are excellent therapies that can help you to face what has happened in a safe and healthy manner, process it, and heal from it. Seek out the help of a trauma specialist, who has the training...

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Anxiety Treatment: Should You Be Wary of Anxiety Medication?

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in PathwaysVoice - Blog | Comments Off on Anxiety Treatment: Should You Be Wary of Anxiety Medication?

Susan Heitler Ph.D.Resolution, Not Conflict Nervousness can feel awful. What are the up and downsides of treatment options? To understand why pills for treatment of anxiety can be problematic, look first to the growing understanding of the downsides of pills for physical pain. Physician Russell Portenoy, a prominent New York pain specialist, twenty years ago spearheaded the movement that encouraged doctors to prescribe more painkiller medications to suffering patients, a movement that helped many but at the same time minimized the dangers of addiction. Now Dr. Portenoy has come full circle.  He has become a leader in warning physicians and the general public of the addictive potential of painkillers, particularly when used for on-going long-term problems as opposed to for brief acute pain such as from a surgery. Many doctors similarly have begun to rethink the frequency with which they prescribe drugs to quell physical pain.  The Wall Street Journal (12-15-2012) reports that 16,500 people die of overdoses annually from these medications, more than from all illegal drugs combined. What about taking pills for easing anxiety, a particularly common form emotional pain? Many physicians prescribe anti-anxiety medications to decrease feelings of worry, stress, stomach butterflies, and other anxiety manifestations. For patients who are suffering with extreme and chronic anxiety, the medication is a godsend. They can relax and live normal lives. That strategy though, like use of physical painkillers, risks addiction.  Many anti-anxiety drugs, like physical pain reducers, are highly addictive substances. So while using them briefly to calm short-term major anxiety may be worthwhile, wariness is appropriate. Benzodiazepine medications, with familiar names such as Halcion, Klonopin, Librium, Resteril, Valium and Xanax, are among the most widely prescribed pharmaceuticals in America, and also the deadliest.  Like opioids, benzodiazepine drugs are highly addictive if used for more than a brief period of time and on a regular, as opposed to occasional basis. Instead of risking addiction and potential overdose from benzodiazepines, doctors and nurse practitioners are increasingly prescribing antidepressant drugs for anxiety relief as some of these have sedative (relaxing) side effects.  These SSRI medications have another downside however. They make you drug dependent, which is the same as addicted but without feelings of craving.  Ceasing the use of these medications once you have been on them for some time can engender sick feelings and/or trigger an intense withdrawal-induced depression. Anxiety Treatment Re-Thinking TV pharmaceutical ads would have us believe that anxiety, an unpleasant sensation for sure, is a chemical phenomenon that needs to be subdued, soothed, or in some other way eliminated. Their recommended route to calm is to take a pill. A similar re-thinking as what has happened with opioids for physical pain may be needed for this widespread prescribing by doctors of drugs to quell the emotional pain of anxiety. Is there any way that is anxiety good for you? The good news is that anxiety, like physical pain, is almost always a valuable signal.  It tells you that troubling is brewing. Like a blinking yellow traffic light, anxious feelings signal “Pay Attention. There’s a problem here that merits addressing!” Because anxiety warns you that there is a problem that needs to be solved, a best first response to anxiety is to get to work gathering information about the problem and mapping an effective plan of action for dealing with it.  Already then the anxiety is likely to begin to lift. Anxiety in this regard is like a good angel.  It arrives to give you a message.  Once you have adequately addressed the problem that the anxiety is warning you about, the anxiety will have accomplished its mission and so will disappear of its own accord. How can a psychological therapy treatment potentially help? Whereas pill-giving is a get-rid-of-that-feeling-without-listening-to-its-message approach, therapists help anxious clients identify the underlying concerns triggering their anxiety, and then help them to map a plan of action to address these concerns. With clarity about the concerns plus a plan for how to address them, anxiety most of the time dissipates. Sometimes, in fact, even just beginning to move forward toward problem-solving by seeking out more information about the situation can alleviate the fears. In this regard, therapists sometimes quote the mantra the best...

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Yes, You Can Have Depression and Still Be Mentally Strong

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in PathwaysVoice - Blog | Comments Off on Yes, You Can Have Depression and Still Be Mentally Strong

my MorinWhat Mentally Strong People Don’t Do There’s an unfortunate myth that says mental illness stems from weakness. There’s a pervasive belief that mental illness stems from weakness. It’s not true. Unfortunately, however, this belief is so widely held that some people don’t recognize that they’re attaching a stigma to mental illness. When I wrote a book about mental strength, I received comments from people accusing me of stigmatizing mental illness by talking about mentally strong people. They were assuming that mentally strong people couldn’t have a mental illness, but the truth is, many individuals who have a mental illness are mentally strong. In fact, some of the strongest people I’ve ever met were those who entered my therapy office seeking help for illnesses like PTSD or depression. Those who assume otherwise don’t understand mental strength. And they certainly don’t understand mental illness. Mental Illness Isn’t Treated the Same as Physical Illness When someone develops a physical illness, like cancer, no one ever says, “He wasn’t physically strong, was he?” Instead, we look to things like genetics, the environment, and the person’s immune system. While it’s clear that a nutritious diet, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise can prevent some health issues, other physical conditions aren’t 100 percent preventable. From the common cold to Alzheimer’s, science hasn’t yet given us a blueprint to prevent all illness. Fitness guru Bob Harper is a perfect example: As a personal trainer best known for his role as a coach on The Biggest Loser, Harper appears in a variety of workout videos, and he’s authored many books about diet and fitness. And when Harper experienced a heart attack, no one questioned his commitment to good health. Instead, people used his story as a reminder that you can’t control your genes. Wouldn’t it be nice if we did the same for people with mental illness? Instead of gossiping about someone who is hospitalized for anxiety or blaming someone with depression for being lazy, what if we applauded them for staying strong? A healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing mental illness. But just like you can’t prevent all physical illness, you can’t prevent all mental illness. And people who have a mental illness can be just as strong — even stronger — than those who don’t. Just like someone who has diabetes can still be physically strong, a person with depression could be highly mentally strong. After all, someone with a mental illness has several complicating factors that make it even more difficult to develop mental muscle. We Need to Talk More About Mental Strength Talking about mental strength isn’t about shaming people with a mental illness. Instead, it’s about encouraging a healthy lifestyle that could prevent some mental health problems. Holding more conversations about the habits that develop mental muscle can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It can also encourage people to seek help if they experience symptoms or warning signs. And it’s important to note that being mentally strong isn’t the same as acting tough — it’s not about seeing how much suffering you can endure. It’s about taking steps to reach your greatest potential, which often involves asking for help when you need it.   Want to learn how to give up the bad habits that rob you of mental strength? Pick up a copy of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t...

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Depression Is Not a Choice

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in PathwaysVoice - Blog | Comments Off on Depression Is Not a Choice

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann MS, LPCSTeen Angst Addressing the misconceptions of depression. Depression affects an estimated 300 million people of all ages worldwide. It is a common, and serious mood disorder that alters how people think, feel and behave. Unlike being unhappy, depression is an intense feeling of deep sadness and despair that can last for days, weeks and even months. The symptoms of depression can include feelings of hopelessness, rejection, poor concentration, lack of energy, sleepproblems, and sometimes suicidalthoughts. Depression is not a choice, it is an illness. Depression is a serious medical condition that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affects approximately 8% of the U.S. population ages 12 and up. Although there are effective treatments, less than 50 percent worldwide seek professional help. People may be reluctant to get help for a variety of reasons, such as they think they can overcome depression on their own, or they believe that no one will understand how they feel. There are a lot of myths surrounding depression and the two most common are: depression is triggered by a negative life event, and people who are depressed should find something that makes them happy and “snap out” of the depression. Both misconceptions are not accurate portrayals of depression, and both feed into the stigmatization of the illness. 5 things to know about depression: It can affect anyone. Depression can affect people of any age, ethnicity, geographic location, or social position. It is common. The World HealthOrganization estimates that depression will be the second highest medical cause of disability by the year 2030, second only to HIV/AIDS. It may not have a cause. The onset of depression may not be triggered by a specific event. Depression can occur at any time and any place. It can’t be fixed quickly. Some who suffer from depression attempt to alleviate their symptoms by self-medicating. Their attempt to find a fast fix can lead to a life of self-destruction. They may turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, or other dangerous behaviors to help them cope with their thoughts and feelings. It responds to treatment. In nearly 80% of the cases, people who receive professional treatment for depression say it helped them feel better. Treatment may include a combination of medication, therapy, or alternative approaches. 5 ways to support someone with depression: Be patient. Depression is an illness that needs to be professionally treated. Healthy coping skills are learned and rehearsed, and that takes time. Listen without judgment. Talk less and listen more. Allowing someone to speak aloud their thoughts and feelings can be extremely beneficial. Focus on the present and take small steps. With depression, looking at the big picture can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s good to live in the present, and take one day at a time. Get involved and do something. Get moving, go to the mall, watch a movie, cook a nice dinner or just go to the park for a walk. When people are depressed they tend to isolate themselves from others. A great way to keep connected is by engaging in a fun or relaxing activity. Learn about depression. Knowledge is power. The more we know, the more we can proactively change the perception of depressi Depression is a real and serious condition. No one chooses to have depression, just like no one chooses to be ill. Odds are most of us know someone, friend or family member, whose life has been affected by depression. The good news is depression is treatable, and people who suffer from it can live happy and productive lives. Treatment is key for learning to live with depression. As a society, it’s time we destigmatize depression, and understand it for what it is – an illness that no one chooses to have in their...

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Depressed and Don’t Know Why? Or What You Can Do About It?

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in PathwaysVoice - Blog | Comments Off on Depressed and Don’t Know Why? Or What You Can Do About It?

Susan Heitler Ph.D.Resolution, Not Conflict If you feel down on yourself, irritable, and discouraged, try this strategy. Feeling like there is a dark cloud over you?  Like you don’t have your usual enthusiasm, and are having trouble motivating yourself to do things?  Maybe more self-critical than usual? Isolating at home instead of wanting to go out or do things with others? These signs of depression are important to notice. At the same time, why you are feeling down may remain a mystery.  How to feel better may feel equally challenging. In the TEDx talk below, I offer a surprisingly easy three-step route to identifying the cause of your low feelings and then lifting away the dark cloud. [Note that these understandings apply to the depressed feelings of non-physical origin, which are the vast majority depressive episodes that most people deal with.  Physical factors such as insufficient sleep, post-operative depression etc. may need additional treatments.] The beginning of the TEDx talk explains that in the face of depressed feelings many, and maybe even most, people either assume there’s nothing they can do that will help them to feel better, or go to a physician to get antidepressant pills.  Both of these routes can have significant downsides.  Here’s an alternative. At about four minutes into the talk I explain what triggers depression. If you are already aware of the risks of medications, you might want to begin there. I then focus on the three steps that can lead you up and out, back to the realm of well-being. For more information on the causes of depression and how to release yourself from it, see my new book Prescriptions Without Pills: For Relief From Depression, Anger, Anxiety and More. Also, do check out the free videos and downloadable worksheets at Help yourself to feel better, soon. Or ask a therapist to guide your use of these techniques. Life is not meant to be an endurance contest.  If you or someone you know has been feeling depressed, take action, now. Say good bye to those depressed feelings,...

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