Individual, Couples & Family Counseling Services

We Help You Manage Life’s Difficulties, Including…

ADD / ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, (ADD / ADHD), is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood.

Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, and include:

  • Impulsiveness: a child who acts quickly without thinking first.
  • Hyperactivity: a child who can’t sit still, walks, runs, or climbs around when others are seated, talks when others are talking.
  • Inattention: a child who daydreams or seems to be in another world, is sidetracked by what is going on around him or her.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.

People with generalized anxiety disorder can’t seem to shake their concerns. Their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Behavior Disorders

Behavior disorders (sometimes referred to as disruptive behavior disorders) are the most common reasons children are referred for mental health evaluations and treatment. All disruptive behavior is not the same. Behavior disorders include mental health problems with a focus on behaviors that both identify emotional problems and create interpersonal and social problems for children and adolescents in the course of their development.

The most common behavior disorder in children is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Conduct disorder focuses on mental health problems identified and created by more disruptive behaviors. Oppositional defiant disorder is yet another behavior disorder that focuses on the behavior that is disruptive to relationships with others.

Source: University of Virginia Health System

Chronic Illness

Having a long-term, or chronic, illness can disrupt your life in many ways. You may often be tired and in pain. Your illness might affect your appearance or your physical abilities and independence. You may not be able to work, causing financial problems. For children, chronic illnesses can be frightening, because they may not understand why this is happening to them.

These changes can cause stress, anxiety and anger. If they do, it is important to seek help. A trained counselor can help you develop strategies to regain a feeling of control. Support groups might help, too. You will find that you are not alone, and you may learn some new tips on how to cope.

Source: National Institute of Health / Medline

Depression

Depression is a serious medical illness; it’s not something that you have made up in your head. It’s more than just feeling “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. It’s feeling “down” and “low” and “hopeless” for weeks at a time.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression can include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed

A variety of treatments including medications and short-term psychotherapies have proven effective for depression.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Divorce

Divorce, also known as “dissolution of marriage,” occurs when a marriage is legally terminated. Divorce law governs the sometimes complicated process of divorce, helping to determine how property and assets are divided as well as who will have custody of any children the couple may have. Couples going through a divorce may want to consider hiring a qualified divorce mediator (or attorney) to help determine the most equitable decisions.

The most common alternative to divorce is separation.

Separation occurs when a couple chooses to live apart without getting divorced. There are several types of separation:

  • Trial separation – when a couple is unsure as to whether or not they want to permanently separate, they may choose to undergo a trial separation. During this time, they live apart, but their assets and debts are still considered mutual.
  • Permanent separation – in a permanent separation, the couple has already made a decision not to get back together. They are actively choosing to live apart. Therefore, any material gains and losses are the individual’s rather than the couple’s responsibility.
  • Legal separation – when a couple decides to separate permanently, they may choose to become legally separated. This means that a court decides how property and possession are divided and makes decisions about child custody, child support, and alimony.

Couples who are unsure whether they should seek a separation or divorce should consider consulting an experienced divorce mediator or attorney.

Source: Divorce Law FYI, Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois,

Grief & Loss

Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death. When you grieve, it’s part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. You may experience grief as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems or illness.

How long bereavement lasts can depend on how close you were to the person who died, if the person’s death was expected and other factors. Friends, family and faith may be sources of support. Grief counseling or grief therapy is also helpful to some people.

Sources: National Institute of Health / Medline

Marital Adjustment

Marital Adjustment defines the process of integrating the married couple in a fashion where they learn to work together to complement each other for the benefit of both people.

Parent-Child Relationships

Nothing is more important than your relationships within your family. These relationships existing between spouses and from parent to child. Focus and attention to these relationships and the demeanor in which each relationship is approached are critical to the success of the family.

Peer Problems

Children’s friendships have inevitable ups and downs. Yet the feelings of satisfaction and security that most children derive from interacting with peers outweigh periodic problems. For a number of children, however, peer relations are persistently problematic. Some children are actively rejected by peers. Others are simply ignored, or neglected. It even appears that some popular children have many friends but nevertheless feel alone and unhappy.

Children who are unable to form close or satisfying relationships with peers should be of concern to parents and teachers alike. For one thing, these children miss out on opportunities to learn social skills that will be important throughout their lives. Especially critical are the skills needed to initiate and maintain social relationships and to resolve social conflicts, including communication, compromise, and tact. Children who lack ongoing peer involvements also may miss opportunities to build a sense of social self-confidence.

Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary Education

Relationship Conflicts

It’s a rare couple that doesn’t run into at least a few relationship problems — even when their love life is generally happy. It helps, experts say, to know what the most common problems in a relationship or marriage are. That way you’ll have a better chance of getting through them if they occur in yours. Scott Haltzman, MD, is a clinical assistant professor of psychology at Brown University in Providence, R.I. “Knowing what to expect from relationships — the good, the bad, and the ugly — is the best way to make sure you’re not looking for something that will never be there,” Haltzman says.

Ideally, basic topics such as money, sex, and kids should be discussed before a couple decide to share their life together, says Margaret A. Cochran, PhD. Cochran is a San Francisco Bay area psychotherapist who coaches couples on resolving marriage problems and building romantic intimacy. But agreeing on these things, she says, doesn’t guarantee that a marriage or long-term relationship is going to be trouble free.

Source: WebMD

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the collection of beliefs or feelings that we have about ourselves, or our “self-perceptions.” How we define ourselves influences our motivations, attitudes, and behaviors and affects our emotional adjustment.

Patterns of self-esteem start very early in life. For example, when a baby or toddler reaches a milestone, he or she experiences a sense of accomplishment that bolsters self-esteem. Learning to roll over after dozens of unsuccessful attempts or finally mastering getting the spoon into his or her mouth every time he or she eats are experiences that teach a young child a “can do” attitude. The concept of success following persistence starts early.

Healthy self-esteem is a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic.

In contrast, for children who have low self-esteem, challenges can become sources of major anxiety and frustration. Children who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems. If they are plagued by self-critical thoughts, such as “I’m no good” or “I can’t do anything right,” they may become passive, withdrawn, or depressed. Faced with a new challenge, their immediate response is “I can’t.”

Source: Kidshealth.org

School Problems

Sorting out the cause of a child’s school problems can be difficult, but the earlier you get started looking into the cause of your child’s school problems and getting him help, the more likely he is to be successful.

There are many reasons why children struggle in school, such as lack of motivation, attentional problems (ADHD), learning disabilities, behavioral problems, stress with family or friends, being bullied, depression, etc. And many of these conditions can overlap, for example, a child with a learning disabilities might struggle in school and then develop poor self esteem and behavioral problems or depression because he is doing poorly. Or problems at school can begin with an underlying depression or behavioral problem.

Sorting out the cause of a child’s school problems can be difficult. Among the resources where you should look for help include your child’s school, with a meeting with his teachers, counselor and/or other school personal, and his Pediatrician.

Source: About.com - Pediatrics