For some people, it’s because of a crisis, such as infidelity, job loss, illness or accidents.
Others come in because they feel distant and want to grow closer, or they seek counseling before they marry to sort out any difficulties and ensure that they’re ready for life together.
Some couples simply know that something feels wrong but they don’t know what, and they want to fix it.
But once you and your partner have decided to seek counseling, how do you make the most of it? Here are six things to consider.
“Jessica” (pseudonym) was 18 years old when she enlisted in the Army. She was trained as a mechanic, and enjoyed what she did.
The Army provided her the family she didn’t have at home and a sense of belonging and stability. At the time, the United States was not engaged in a war. A year later, this would change.
Jessica was sent to Afghanistan. While there, she was injured when the truck she was driving hit an IED. After her body healed, and she continued in her unit. Like all service people who serve in a war, Jessica saw and experienced many horrific things.
After her time in Afghanistan ended and she was back in the US, Jessica’s body wasn’t the same. She had an undiagnosed TBI (traumatic brain injury) from the IED. She had intense mood swings. She couldn’t concentrate. She had nightmares nearly every night.
These were all problems that Jessica felt like she could talk about with other veterans, friends and family. Things like TBI and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) have become well known and understood.
What Jessica didn’t feel like she could talk about was the rape by her commanding officer, the very person in the chain of command she was expected to report sexual assault to, and who she looked up to like a father.
It’s fall here in the United States. For much of the country, this means darker skies, shorter days, and colder temperatures. For many people, the change in season can also mean an increase in depressive symptoms.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD)?
SAD is a type of depression that occurs during a change in season, usually fall and winter. People who suffer from SAD have many of the same symptoms as those with depression: lack of energy, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, weight gain, and not enjoying things that one used to enjoy.
How many people experience SAD?
Many people experience seasonal affective disorder. According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, 6 percent of the people in the United States suffer from SAD 1. This does not include the number of people who experience a less severe form of seasonal depression – the winter blues. SAD is more common in the northern areas of the United States, and less common in areas of the south where there is more sunshine.
How is SAD treated?
There are several treatments for SAD. Like major depressive disorder, SAD can be treated with psychotherapy and medication. But SAD also responds very well to light therapy. Light therapy uses a full spectrum, intense light to help decrease depressive symptoms.
What is the difference between SAD and clinical depression?
People who experience SAD have the same symptoms as people with major depressive disorder. However, major depressive disorder is not limited to the darker days of fall and winter.
Tips for surviving SAD
Often we think that big problems come from big incidents: your spouse divorces you and you become depressed, your house burns down and you have nightmares for weeks, you fight in a war and have PTSD.
But trauma doesn’t fit so neatly into a box.
Some people experience severe trauma with very few lasting side-effects; others go through what many would consider a minor trauma and it has a significant, life-changing impact. So what’s going on?
Working with a therapist can promote growth and healing, as well as decrease symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
Therapy is also an investment. People spend money, time and energy hoping to make themselves and their relationships healthier and happier.
Each person comes in to therapy with different hopes and expectations, as well as different problems and concerns. Just as every person and therapist is unique, every therapy experience is one of a kind.
Although there is no way to guarantee the exact road that your therapy will take, there are some things that you can do to make the most of your therapy.
Creativity is a characteristic prized in children. Did you ever create forts with sheets and a kitchen table, or play cops and robbers, house, or act out a TV show? Creativity is fun!
Children use their creativity to open up their minds, to learn and to enjoy themselves. Creativity is as basic and natural as breathing, and as useful as intellect.
Children create constantly, both with their hands and with their minds. They can look at a paperclip and imagine hundreds of uses, see dragons in the clouds, or invent invisible cars that fly.
But as people get older, the push for creativity diminishes. Creativity is often relegated to drawing, making music, or writing. People who don’t consider themselves artistic may falsely believe that they are not creative.
But creativity is much more than art. It is a part of nearly everything we do. And the more the creative brain is used, the stronger it becomes.
Before you ever enter a therapist’s office, there are some basic questions you should know the answer to:
Are they licensed to provide counseling or therapy, and is their license up-to-date? Do they take insurance? How long are sessions? What is the cost for each session? What type of payment do they accept? Do they treat the problem you’re seeking help for? What are their hours? What is their cancellation policy?
In addition to these questions, there are more specific things you may want to inquire about that will help you find out if a particular therapist will be a good fit with you:
Have you ever wondered what group therapy is all about? Portrayals of fictional group therapy are all over; on TV, in the movies and in literature. But what is real group therapy like? And why would anyone want to open up their soul to other people who are not friends or family?
Everyone has been in a group of some sort. Most of people have been in many. In elementary school students are grouped together by skill level for reading or math. In high school they’re put into groups for projects. Adults are in work groups, church groups, AA, or groups of friends.
All these groups have distinct purposes: to educate, to construct, to build, to learn, to support, or to socialize. In a similar manner, group therapy has a purpose. This is different depending on what type of group therapy you’re in.
Grief is a natural, common occurrence to loss. Here are 8 things that are important to recognize about grief.
When my daughter was born, I wanted everything to be perfect. Her room was painted in a nontoxic soft lavender. Tiny clothes hung on tiny hangers. Childproof locks were installed on everything that could open.
The day that I came home from the hospital after giving birth, my husband, new daughter and I stopped for lunch. After eating, I told my husband to meet me out front, I was going to use the restroom. I came out, and saw my husband, but not my two-day-old baby. He had forgotten her in the restaurant booth.