Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill Therapist Sara Cole.
Just like there isn’t only one way to solve a problem, there isn't just one reason why people should go to counseling. It's not just for "crazy" people, or the place to turn as a last resort. There are many reasons to seek help from counseling, from traumatic life events to ongoing depression or major life changes.
Here are some of the top reasons people should go to counseling:
Long-term depression or sadness can hold you back. It makes you less motivated, less confident, it can damage relationships and can just reduce the quality of your life overall. If you are experiencing depression or ongoing sadness, a therapist can help you develop ways of coping, feeling better and getting to the root of the problem. A therapist can also also talk with you about whether medication might be useful in your treatment.
Anxiety or nervousness in small amounts can actually be useful as a way of protecting yourself. However, if your anxiety is getting in the way of you living your life, going to work, maintaining friendships- its time to talk with someone that can help.
When you lose a friend, family member or even a pet the sadness can feel like too much. You may feel moments of despair, then feel ok and then feel guilty for feeling okay. Some people also experience anger at the loss of a loved one. The grieving process is a natural one but most people need a lot of support as they navigate the this part of life. Counselor can help you to deal with loss in a way that is safe and healthy.
hen you experience a traumatic event such as a life threatening accident, witness a death, or get attacked, it can be almost impossible to move past the trauma. It may be something that happened recently or many years ago. A therapist can help you learn how to move past the trauma.
5. Life Changes:
Changes in life are inevitable, however that does not make them easy. Starting a new relationship, moving or having a child can be desired change, yet they can still cause stress and confusion. If changes that are undesired, such as divorce, happen a therapist may be even more important as you cope and make new plans.
When you are struggling to communicate with a partner, family member or friend, a therapist can help you to get back on track. In counseling you can learn tools to both communicate and listen in a productive way.
7. Relationships (beginning, ending or repairing):
I think we all know that relationships can be confusing, at any stage. This is even more so if there are problems or questions about the relationship. Therapy can be very helpful to answer some of those questions, make things less confusing or get the relationship back to a happy place.
8. Overwhelming emotions:
Overwhelming feelings can happen for so many various reasons. They may be uncontrollable crying, nervousness or mood swings. Feelings like this get in the way of living and enjoying life. No matter the reason, it is important to address the issue.
Sara Cole is an MFT practicing in Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill. For more tips, tools and articles you can sign up right here.
Ready or Not, Change Happens
Life is full of change. Some changes we desire and choose, others are unwanted, overwhelming or even devastating. Having a new baby, getting married or starting a new job are all major life changes that are usually seen as positive. he truth is that even happy and exciting changes in life can be overwhelming, can throw us off balance or result in questioning who we are. Events like the death of a loved one, divorce or the end of a relationship, serious illness or the loss of a job are not changes that we hope for in life and can be extremely difficult to cope with.
Our responses to changes are as unique as we are and can depend on so many factors. Responses to life changes can be joy or relief or they can be depression, anxiety, confusion, anger, fear, feeling overwhelmed or the feeling of being in crisis. Even the natural process of aging can be difficult for some people to cope with. This is especially the case for people entering midlife. Questions of self worth, identity and the reality of our own mortality begin to come up.
When life changes or life transitions happen it is important to be gentle with ourselves and allow time to adjust. Sometimes the changes can be so abrupt, devastating or disruptive that we may need to seek out support or treatment. Leaving serious reactions to change unaddressed can be dangerous, as they may not resolve without some sort of treatment. An example of this is if someone has the symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) they have experienced a traumatic event such as natural disaster, life threatening event or witnessing something scary or disturbing. Symptoms can include anxiety, anger, depression, isolation, even suicidality, drug or alcohol abuse, nightmares, insomnia and more. PTSD does not resolve on its own but can be successfully treated with therapy.
Getting a divorce or ending a relationship can be extremely difficult and is another example of change in life that can be so hard to cope with in the absence of support. Graduating from college is a transition for some people that can be overwhelming and confusing. Questions start like "what is my purpose" or "what do I do know" or " who am now that I am an adult" start to bubble up as young adults move away from friends and the safety bubble of college life and are expected to get jobs and live independently.
No matter the type of change, if you are feeling lost or overwhelmed by it, getting support is an important step toward feeling better. Finding a therapist that you easily connect with will allow you to find peace and energy and to feel proud of who you are.
Hi again. Today I posted a new recording in the quick tips section of my website. It is only about 6 minutes but it is one of my favorites to practice. I finding it deeply relaxing and centering. I hope you have the chance to check it out and let me know what you think of it. In working with people experiencing high levels of anxiety it becomes so clear that not all anxiety is the same, just as not all people are the same. That is why I am so happy to be finding new relaxation and grounding exercises all the time. I am even more excited to share them and see the change they can bring to people who are struggling. Sometimes anxiety or stress are temporary and for some it seems like they become a way of life. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. There are things you can do to get control of stress and anxiety. I hope this is a useful tool for some of you. You can link to the guided meditation here relax_white_light__1_.wav
If you have had the experience of loving or even knowing someone struggling with addiction, you will most certainly agree with this title. Addicts need help. Yes! But so do their wives and husbands, children, parents, sisters, brothers, girlfriends, coworkers, friends, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews and anyone else who cares about them. We don't hear about that part very often. Probably because when you look at addiction you see the addict and their suffering and destruction. You don't necessarily see the people who have been left in that destruction.
If you care about an addict, you need support. Al Anon is one place where you can get that support for free. For many, attending these groups is a life line and life saver. If you don't go to groups, know that you need support and understanding from somewhere. Trying to survive this alone is dangerous and can destroy you. Another place you can get support and learn more about how addiction works, is in therapy.
You might hear that even though you feel crazy, you aren't. You might hear that you cannot change anyone's actions but your own. You will hear that this is not your fault. You did not cause it and you cannot fix it. That's right! You can not fix someone else's addictive behaviors with worrying, nagging, screaming, babysitting them. You can change your own behaviors though. And you can change the focus back to caring for yourself and living your life....
Allowing The Peace to Seep In
Having a two year old in my life has reminded me of how wondrous the world can be.
Seeing “everyday” things through her eyes awakens my own creativity and curiosity. Even though I know the science behind rainbows, bubbles, smoke, fire and stars and clouds and snowflakes, they are once again magical. This “magic” has helped me to focus on the small things and take the time to appreciate them more.
Stopping to watch a bird fly or chasing raindrops with my daughter has become a small gift. These moments are the gifts I want to hold onto and take out again years from now when she doesn’t need me as much and those treasured mama moments are less plentiful.
Where can you find a bit of magic in your day? Look for it and take the time to imagine you are seeing it through the eyes of a toddler. These are the moments when peace is allowed to seep in through the cracks between, the everyday, the to-do list and the auto pilot. Take a breath. Close your eyes and think of something for which you are grateful. Take a breath, appreciate the magic and then go on with your day. But maybe keep that moment and that sensation with you for when you may need it again sometime.
To Learn More About Mindfulness, Parenting or Stress Reduction Contact Sara with the link below.
As most people are aware, addiction is a pervasive problem in our society. It is killing people across generations, races, economic classes and more. It does not discriminate and it is not gentle. It is sneeky, deseptive and leads people to do the unimaginable. People will kill, lie, steal, degrade themselves in horrible ways to feed their addictions, to get their drug, to chase that high. As a person who has addicts in my family, I am speaking from personal experience. An addict in their addiction is not themself. They are the shell of your loved one. That shell can be deceiving and heartbreaking, but just remember. Its not your person, its the drugs that are hurting everyone around them. To see a loved one being sucked into the spiral of addiction is scarey and sad and leaves you feeling so so helpless. Addiction can destroy a person if left untreated and it can destroy the people around the addict if left untreated.
One of the most important things to learn, for anyone who loves an addict, is that you can not control other people. No matter how hard you try, the only person you can control is yourself. You can chose what you do in your life, how you respond to people and situations and what your boundaries are. This is so hard to accept, because as a person watching addiction take hold you want your loved one back. You know what they need to do and how they should do it and you are desperate to force them to somehow stop. But they have to do these things themselves.. They have to find help and ask for help and take the help and learn to help themselves.
Trying to control "your addict" is like banging your head against a wall and will shorten your life and take the joy out of your life. You get to make this choice. Will you let their addiction ruin your life too? I have to make the conscious desicion to live MY life. I still love the addicts in my life and will do anything I can to help them. But here's the thing . I wiil NOT do anything to help their addiction! That means if they want a ride to treatment. I will be there. If they need money to get high. I will not help them. This is confusing at times, but if I go back to this idea, it gets easier to know the right thing to do. It helps me not get furiouse and crazy. I still feel sad because I am loosing those people while they are using. Its normal to feel sad, but it is not healthy to let their addiction take over my life. This is the idea behind not enabling a person in their addiction. I will not enabe them to continue using.
By stopping the enabling behaviors, we are actually doing the most powerful and helpful thing we can for our addict. We cant control them but we can start to limit the power their addiction has over us. We are also allowing them to take responsibility. We are letting them know that we trust that they can get well. That they are strong.
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.