Posts Tagged ‘addiction’

Why do clients come to therapy?

Written by Sharon Coulter, MA, PPS, MA LMFT on . Posted in Blog

A client asked me this past week why people come to me for therapy. It was a great question. In the culture I grew up in, you only went to a therapist if you were “crazy,” so of course hardly anyone sought out help unless they were experiencing a severe mental health crisis. You were also served platitudes, such as, “You need to suck it up,” or “Get it together.” Sound familiar?

What a price has been paid by so many people who have grappled alone with functioning in the world – because of their own misunderstood struggles, or the dysfunction of partners or family units.

Today, I’m happy we’ve come so far and therapy has become another important resource for people to draw from on this journey we call life. In my experience, here are my “Top Reasons for Therapy” and why I’m so honored to work with the courageous souls who seek me out.

  • To make a change
  • To address an emotional issue like anger, anxiety, sadness, depression, loneliness, shame
  • To address a physical issue that has emotional impact (what one doesn’t)
  • To resolve trauma (seemingly “small” – or “significant”; note, all trauma affects us)
  • To address an addiction or disorder that is getting in the way of relationships and life goals
  • To work though limiting beliefs and unhelpful ways of thinking
  • To learn to express emotions
  • To learn to communicate in ways that maintain connection with others, especially during conflict
  • To work through a mental block
  • To address phobias or release fear of something
  • Spiritual incongruence
  • Lack of meaning in life
  • Lack of a sense of belonging
  • Support for a quest of some kind that has been ignited
  • To understand a sense of incompleteness
  • To address a desire to live life more fully and understand what that means
  • To learn self acceptance
  • To learn self forgiveness
  • To identify co-dependent patterns and understand healthy boundaries
  • To process loss
  • Help with a life transition (geographic moves, careers, relationships, life stages)
  • Help to support the process of aging
  • A safe space to support the dying process (self and others)
  • A sense of being “lost”

Of course, many of the above issues are multi-dimensional and overlap. Perhaps some of them resonate for you. Whatever you’re struggling with or want to further develop within yourself, I hope you’ll consider finding a therapist who can support you to create the change you deserve.

For Caregivers ~ Do’s and Don’ts in Discussing Death with Children

Written by Sharon Coulter, MA, PPS, MA LMFT on . Posted in Blog

Sad boy

 

For children, when they experience death of a parent, grandparent, sibling or best friend, we often are ill-equipped to know how best to help them. In my work as a psychotherapist and grief/bereavement counselor, I share the following fundamental tips with caregivers.

  • Don’t use euphemisms. For example, don’t talk to the child about death as sleep. Research has found that children become afraid to go to bed, because they worry they might not wake up.
  • Don’t avoid the reality by saying the deceased has “gone away.” At ages 7/8, children can understand that death is universal, irreversible, and has a cause.
  • Don’t say God has taken the child because God could become something to fear/hate. If the family believes in an afterlife, the child needs to understand that concept for this explanation to be helpful.
  • Do understand that the child may show anxiety for some time. This may look like sadness, irritability, acting out, mentioning death in conversation at odd times, difficulties sleeping, upset stomachs or headaches. School performance may also decline for a time as children may have difficulty focusing on their work. All are normal coping patterns and part of the grief process. Show love and understanding. Have the child see a pediatrician if symptoms are not diminishing.
  • Do be honest. Don’t tell lies about how the person died and keep explanations very simple. The child may well need you to repeat them over the course of time. An exception to this would be if the child is young and will not understand the cause of death or it seems inappropriate to tell the child the cause of death, e.g. death by addiction or suicide. If you are unsure what to say because of the circumstances, speak with a grief counselor.
  • Do let your child cry. Crying is healthy and releases hormones and energy that promote healing. Telling your child to stop crying or “be strong” will only result in emotions being released in other ways – often through anger.
  • Do let your child know that family and friends are also sad. If the child is school age, do contact the school counselor and the child’s teacher and let them know what has happened so they can give the child extra support, time, and attention.
  • Do talk about the deceased person. The healing is in the talking and the memories – difficult and happy ones.
  • Do create traditions to celebrate the legacy of the deceased person. These can be simple or on a larger scale. Let the child be a part of the creation of these.
  • Do consider that a bereavement group for the child may be helpful after a sufficient amount of time has passed. Explore the options in your area.
  • Do find books to help the child process what has happened and their emotions. Your local librarian can provide you recommendations.
  • Do remember your own self care. Parents/caregivers are often so quick to get the child help. Remember, you can only help the child if you are getting the support you need to navigate this extraordinarily complex journey.