These areas are just examples of things I have experience working with. You may not see yourself exactly here, and that is okay because everyone has their own unique story.
- Special Needs Family Challenges
Being the parent of a special needs child is often exhausting, lonely, full of struggle, and unseen. Who will understand your pride at those tied shoelaces or the C in grade-level math? Only you know the hours upon hours of work that went into teaching the right grip on the fork to pick up pasta. Who wants to hear about your child’s 15 th overnight stay in the hospital – this should be old hat, right? Your moments of pride and despair, alike, are unshared. Your life is in the shadows. Research shows that parents of special needs children have higher levels of stress and often go through grief cycles during different moments of their children’s life like first diagnosis, when a sibling is born, or moving up in grades. Therapy may seem like just another thing to add to the plate, but I have flexible scheduling and online appointments. The ability to be seen and validated is powerfully healing.
- Parenting Challenges
It’s hard being a parent! You knew it would be hard, but then baby/toddler/kid came along, and it is so much harder than what you could have ever dreamed. The hardest part of being a parent is that there is no guidebook, so you are trying to figure things out while you are in the midst of doing it. Then you figure it out – and your child starts a new stage. Along with all of this struggle is the constant feeling that so-and-so is doing it better. You start feeling like your struggles are different and worse than everyone else. This hidden stress can cause anxiety and depression. Research shows that parents can pass on their anxiety to their children, so reach out and take care of you. That in turn will help take care of your children.
- Grief and Loss
Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and deeply personal experience. And many times, people are still grieving when others in their life have moved on from supporting them. Grief and loss are a part of life. Yet we are often expected to do it alone in a specific time period. Grief can bring up difficult questions about the meaning of life, fear of the unknown, and what our place is in the world. And loss is more than just death. It could be the ending of a relationship or friendship, the loss of a dream, a new diagnosis, or the loss of a job or opportunity. Many times, we need a space to grieve and process these deaths and losses in a safe place. Counseling can be that safe place.
- Military and Veteran Support
The military lifestyle is unique. You serve your country all over the world and make meaningful relationships with all kinds of people. You have to do hard things and go through hard things to meet the mission. You felt pride and fear and many emotions in between. You may have experienced death and trauma. You may have been injured while serving your country, and the injury is a lasting reminder of your loss. Or maybe one of your teammates hurt you and your service becomes synonymous with pain. Then you transition to the civilian world and nobody understands what your service meant to you. You are losing the support of the service and also entering a community that you don’t feel connected to. Research shows that most service members and veterans feel a loss of purpose and stress when transitioning to the civilian world. Talking about this very real stress and having a nonjudgmental space to work out the next mission in your life is important.
What is it? It is an anticipation of something in the future. Anxiety is a normal part of life and is a reaction to stress. It is actually good in some situations – worry about a job interview propels us to prepare; worry about a car accident ensures that we put on our seat belts. Yet many times this worry drives us to excessively fear, worry, or avoid things in our life. This can show up in your life with body aches, trouble sleeping, avoiding things that used to bring joy, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, and/or feeling restless. Anxiety is the most common mental disorder with as many as 30% of the U.S. population being diagnosed at some time in their life. Luckily, it is also treatable through therapy and sometimes medication.
Depression can range in severity and causes feelings of sadness that could lead to physical problems and decreased ability to function at work or home. What does it look like in your life? Maybe you are struggling to get out of bed and find yourself sleeping most days or you can’t sleep. You feel sad or irritable all of the time. You have difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and you feel worthless or guilty. You are tired. You are having thoughts about death and suicide. If this sounds like you, please reach out for help. Depression is treatable. If you are thinking about suicide, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.