Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill Therapist Sara Cole.
Clients often say to me in the therapy that they should have gone to counseling a long time ago. There are lots of reasons people give for seeing a counselor or therapist. There are also many reasons people give for avoiding therapy. Sometimes people don't know much about therapy and so it can be intimidating or they may incorrectly think that therapy is only for problems much worse than what they are experiencing. Don’t let things get worse by continuing to put it off and book an appointment today. Here are some of the excuses people give for avoiding therapy.
1. "Small Problems Don’t Require Counseling":
Many people think your problems must be HUGE before you go to counseling. So, they put off seeking help because it seems silly to go to counseling over what they conceive to be a minor issue. Who is to say what minor is? If there is something thats bothering you or keeping you from living and enjoying your life, that's enough of a reason to look into seeing a therapist. The thing is, small problems can snowball into big ones. It often makes sense to get counseling if you have a problem that is bothering you or your relationship, no matter how minor, so you can prevent it from getting bigger.
2. "I can always talk to a friend. I don't understand how talking to a stranger can be helpful"
Friends can provide wonderful support and empathy, and that’s often enough to help us through difficult times. But a counseling relationship is different in a very important way. In a friendship the needs of both people must be attended to. Friendships involve a mutual exchange of listening and sharing. In counseling, the focus is solely on you and during this dialogue about you, your counselor is trained to use therapeutic techniques to help you.
3. Fear of being judged by the therapist:
Many of my clients have told me during their first session that they were nervous to come because they were afraid I’d judge them. This always leaves me surprised and a bit sad.
Therapists undergo specific training to create a safe therapeutic environment. Besides being taught how to cultivate warmth, unconditional positive regard, and a nonjudgmental atmosphere, current therapists are also required to go through multicultural studies, which increases our insight into the variety of cultural norms that exist in our country.
4. Fear of being judged by other people:
For a long time there has been a stigma around going to therapy or seeing a therapist. People are often under the impression that we should be able to handle any problem on our own and that seeking help is a sign of weakness. The truth is that almost everyone can benefit from having someone to talk to about life. Knowing when you need help and how to access that help is a strength. Many people never get the courage to admit they are having a problem and even fewer actually take the steps needed to solving those problems. People who know they need therapy and take the steps to seeing a therapist, are strong and brave and they have the commitment to themselves to live their best lives. If others judge you for going to a doctor or to therapy, must not know you well or they are still misinformed about the value of therapy.
5. "I don't believe just talking can do any good"
Talking can actually do a lot of good. Discussing something with someone who cares about you and who is not judgmental helps relieve the emotional pressure caused by keeping our thoughts and feelings to ourselves. But counseling involves much more than just talking. Counseling provides a to understand who we are and how we relate to the world around us. In counseling we focus our attention on aspects of our experience that we may have been previously unaware of. This provides new ways of looking at problems and often gives us new ways to handle these problems.
6. "I won't know what to say":
Don't worry. There is not right or wrong thing to say in therapy. Your time in therapy is about you and your life and thoughts and feelings, so you can talk about anything you want, or say nothing at all. If you find yourself lost or uncomfortable in a therapy session, that's ok. Your therapist is trained to guide you through the process when you want or need them to.
From time to time, some issues CAN be resolved without outside help. That doesn’t always happen, and only you know if a problem continues to persist. If a problem doesn’t seem to go away, or you find yourself in the same pattern over and over again, it may be time to consider confronting the issue with the help of a professional. When you are ready to find a therapist that is right for you, check out my blog post titled "12 Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist".
Sara Cole MFT is a therapist in San Diego, with offices in Scripps Ranch and Banker's Hill. She has been helping people for over ten years. If you are interested in learning more about therapy or how Sara may be able to help you, check out www.saracolemft.com.
You know those times when you are in a situation and you just feel overwhelmed, like you could have a panic attack or just sort of "lose it"? Yeah, I think we all know that feeling. Maybe it's too loud, the situation is super stressful, you have a lot going on in your life, or something else. For me, when I am somewhere where and there are a lot of people and it's really noisy, I feel like I can't concentrate. I feel like I need to get out of there and sometimes feel a little panicky when there are really loud noises. For other people it may be taking a test that throws them off. Or maybe you just get stuck thinking about something and can't let it go. It could be anything really. Luckily there are some things you can do to help.
This exercise is not a magic wand, but I find it very helpful. I recommend giving it a try. You can do it anytime, anywhere and it doesn't require any tools, training or a specials environment. And really, what can it hurt? It doesn't really matter what order you do it in, as long as you hit all five of your senses.
Part of what I really like about this exercise is that it forces me to focus on right here and right now. It also involves some numbers and going through steps which distract me from my racing thoughts. Try counting and naming items in your environment without being distracted from your thoughts. I can't do it. Being forced to focus on the present can be a reminder that you are ok. Your body may be telling you that it's time for fight or flight, but once you slow down and look around, your brain gets a chance to tell you that you are safe.
Give this a try. I think you might find that it helps.
Sara Cole MFT is San Diego Therapist who has been in practice for over 10 years. For more ideas or to find out how she may be able to help you, check out www.saracoemft.com. Sara has offices in Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill.
Getting Through Grief
If you have experienced the death of a loved one, you know the pain and confusion and sadness that follows. Death is a natural part of the life, but it does not feel natural when someone you care about dies. I don't know if you can really ever fully get over such a loss. You can find your path again, you can regain your sense of direction, you can start to smile again, but you don't forget that person or the place they hold in your heart. It is important for you to know that you won't always feel as raw and crazy and overwhelmed as you do right after someone dies. It takes time and care and sometimes, guidance to get through it. But you do get through it. You will find joy in life again and you will sleep peacefully again and you will think of your loved one without feeling like your heart is being ripped out of your chest. That will happen a little bit at a time. Seeing a counselor can be very helpful as you traverse this unknown and painful territory.
"Grief is a wilderness". I cannot find my own words to describe grief any more accurately than this. So I borrow the phrase from singer/songwriter/author Dustin Illingsworth. After the tragic and sudden death of his longtime girlfriend, Illingworth crafted this album, Grief Is A Wilderness. His songs are about his process of grieving her death. Think about being dropped in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness on your own. You wouldn't know which way to go. You wouldn't know what you need to survive. You might be cold and lost and afraid to do anything. Lost and overwhelmed are often a part of the grieving process, just like if you were lost in the deep dark woods.
Illingworth most likely borrowed the phrase from Author Alan D. Wolfelt. Wolfelt writes about grief in his book, The Wilderness of Grief: Finding Your Way. In his writing Wolfelt presents the idea of wilderness as a strong and lasting metaphor for grief—and likening the death of a loved one to the experience of being plucked from one's normal life and dropped down in the middle of nowhere. Feeling lost and afraid in new and uncharted territory, people are initially overwhelmed, but they begin to make their way through the new landscape and slowly begin to find their way again.
When a dear one dies, grief is overwhelming, but there are things you can do to help yourself or someone you know get through the process of grieving. Talking about the person who died can be helpful. Talking about memories your shared with that person. Talking about your sadness in losing them can help. Just letting yourself cry is okay. Many people find comfort in commemorating the departed in some way. This could be through writing, making a donation, having a celebration, planting a tree in their name, organizing and displaying photos, creating art, making a small altar with pictures and small objects or any other activities you can think of.
Knowing and understanding that it is normal and healthy to grieve can be helpful in itself as it is common for people to feel like they are going crazy. The process is not the same for everyone. It doesn't last the same amount of time for everyone and people do not all find comfort in the same things. It is common to bounce around from sadness, loneliness, denial, anger, confusion, depression, anxiety, guilt and more as you process this sort of loss. People often feel like they should have somehow prevented the death or that it was their fault. They may feel guilty that they are still alive or that they should have been the one to die instead. This is all normal. People may lose their ability to find joy or they may suddenly have a new appreciation for their own life. These are also normal experiences in the grieving process. The grieving person may try to isolate themselves and this is okay for short periods of time, but then they need to have at least some social interactions.
If you or someone you know is experiencing grief and loss, know that this time is a tough one and that is to be expected. You need compassion, patience, care and time. Accomplishing small things can help sometimes because it brings back the sense that you have control over somethings in your life when it feels like life is overwhelming and out of control. While it normal for this to be a hard time, if you feel like your emotions are getting in the way of living your life, it's time to reach out for help. This can be through your church, a support group or with a therapist who specializes in grief and loss.
Sara Cole MFT is a San Diego Therapist providing counseling in Bankers Hill and Scripps Ranch. To find out more about Sara and how she may be able to help you, check out www.saracolemft.com.
Too much screen time can result in isolating and missing out on social interactions which results in feelings of loneliness. Loneliness can cause or increase depression and anxiety and it can even shorten your lifespan. A blog Post by Sara Cole MFT.
We are social beings. There are lots of explanations for why we need to interact with other people. If you take an evolution and survival perspective, you see that we have needed one another to simply reproduce and survive. Connecting with others, gives a person feedback, stimulation, comfort, protection, the opportunity to care for another, new ideas, motivation. The list goes on. But beyond survival and reproduction, we thrive when we feel connected to other people. As far as I know, even the most introverted people need some connection to other people. Well actually, they need to feel connected to other people. The types of connections may vary from person to person and the amount of people or number and depth of connections will vary as well. Isolation can actually drive a person mad. Loneliness can feel overwhelming. It can cause depression, anxiety and even shorten a person's life span. But if you look at our lives, you see us becoming less social and less connected overall. Why is that?
Loneliness is quickly becoming one of the top reasons people are seeking counseling or therapy. The bad news is that with social media, everything available on line and busy work, family, school lives, the number of meaningful social interactions we experience is shrinking quickly. What seems like convenience, could actually be making people mentally and physically ill. Take for example Amazon. You don't have to leave the house or even speak to another person to do your shopping. Or think about Netflix. Instead of going to a theatre with friends, you sit at home and watch Netflix alone. All of these conveniences are shrinking our social networks. Screens are reducing the amount of social connections we make with other people.
Is a Facebook friend a real friend? Probably some yes and some no. There is value and connection on via media is better than no connection. So when that's the only option, by all means use it. But remember, it is not at all the same as a real life interaction with another person. For one thing, you can't hug your friend when you read their update on facebook, but you can reach out and give a hug or hi five in person. You don't hear the tone of their voice or pick up on their energy. For people who are far apart from one another, the internet and phones can provide a sort of connection when , there would be none otherwise.
If there is one thing you do to improve your overall mental and physical health, consider this. Get social, at least a little bit. People who have "friends" and connections with others, live longer and report less depression, anxiety and loneliness. Put down the screen, walk away from the tv, put down the game controller and make some real live connections. For one thing, getting off the couch and engaging in an activity with another human requires physical movement, mental and emotional interactions, and much more. Those things are better for your health than laying on the couch ar sitting in front of the computer by yourself. You may even want to consider making one of these connections outside where you also get the benefits of fresh air and sunshine.
I am not saying that you need to have a full social calendar. I am saying look for ways to make connections with other people. It can be at work, with family, at the gym, talking to a neighbor, joining a club or group, volunteering, or pursuing an interest you have. The list goes on. This is one of those things that can feel hard at first, but it really does get easier. As you do it, you see and feel the positive benefits. Then soon you won't be trying so hard to make this happen and it will feel more natural. The more you do with other people, the more there is to do. They have ideas and invite you to join. Oh and one more thing, don't turn down invitations to be social. Especially if you don't have any plans or your feeling lonely. And certainly don't let anxiety stop you. Tell your self doubt and anxiety to shut up and let you get out there and live your best life. You may feel insecure , but I promise you, almost everyone else does too.
For more ideas on how to help yourself feel better or to find out how Sara Cole MFT might be able to help you, visit www.saracolemft.com or give her a call at (619) 316- 3171. She has been providing therapy and counseling in San Diego for over 10 years. She has offices in Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill in San Diego CA.
Sara Cole has been providing mental health services in San Diego for over 15 years. Sara specializes in working with women and teen girls to overcome trauma and major life changes, including postpartum depression, going away to college, marriage, etc. Sara also loves to help people get their anxiety under control. She is also passionate about providing treatment to those whose lives are affected by the addiction of a loved one.