Individual Counseling

Helping A Loved One Deal with a Breakup

By |2024-04-18T19:09:47+00:00April 18th, 2024|Featured, Individual Counseling, Relationship Issues|

When the people we love are hurting, that can activate our protective instincts. We wish we could shield them from the ugliness of the world. We want to cushion them against pain. This is true whether it relates to a parent, sibling, child, friend, or other loved one. Of the various sources of pain out there, one of the most difficult to go through is a breakup. Breakups and their effects Romantic relationships can be rich and joyful experiences, but they can also be nightmares. Some relationships are unhealthy, and their drawing to a close can be considered a blessing. An example of this is when a relationship is abusive, whether that’s emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. It may be healthier for that relationship to end than to carry on. That being said, relationships are complicated, and even in the worst ones, there is some good in it. Losing that relationship is a source of grief, which can have physical, mental, and emotional effects on a person. While it may be tempting to force your friend who has just gone through a breakup to go out and have fun, remember that they are grieving. Celebrating may not be the appropriate thing in that moment. A breakup can have a wide-ranging impact on a person. Unfortunately, the thought of living without the relationship may cause some to ponder thoughts of death or suicide. The person may likewise feel worthless or like a failure. They may be distracted, have poor concentration, and little motivation to get things done or engage in what was previously enjoyable. Guilt, anger, and frustration may ravage the heart and mind of your loved one. All this emotional impact can manifest physically. Body aches, headaches, and stomach problems can begin. Your person may have changes in appetite, [...]

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Self-Improvement Tips to Get You Started

By |2024-02-08T11:28:54+00:00February 8th, 2024|Featured, Individual Counseling, Personal Development|

To grow as a person, you need to improve. Jim Rohn, an American motivational public speaker used to say, “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” If you want to change your life, you must change yourself. This means self-improvement of thoughts, behaviors, and skills. Self-improvement tips to get you started. Eat better. Eating better has less to do with maintaining a healthy weight (although that is encouraged for physical health) and more about the mental aspects of consuming nutritious foods. Food full of preservatives, dyes, and chemicals can leave you lethargic. You do not think as well when you consume foods that trigger inflammation. Train your body. Physical fitness is the foundation of self-improvement. If you are physically sick, your other work will suffer. Your relationships suffer when you cannot physically do what you want. Stop thinking of exercise as working out. Instead, think of it as training to do God’s work. You must be strong, balanced, and flexible to do many required tasks. Even if you have a desk job, you need your heart and lungs to be in excellent health so that you do not succumb to cardiorespiratory illnesses from less movement. Train your body and consider it a temple for the Holy Spirit. Make rest a priority. Much of our culture values hustle. We are told that if we give 110%, then we will see results. Although this is true, God created us with a need for rest. We can give our best effort, but we need to set aside time to rest. In the Bible, God commanded the people to take the Sabbath as a day of rest. This was not just to spend the day worshipping God and fellowshipping with one another. It was also to force the [...]

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How to Forgive Someone When It Seems Impossible

By |2024-01-23T18:24:34+00:00January 23rd, 2024|Featured, Individual Counseling, Relationship Issues, Spiritual Development|

As much as we would prefer it otherwise, our relationships are marked with conflict, pain, unresolved tensions, and irreconcilable differences. These may be difficult to trace to their source in some instances. In other cases, we know all too well why the relationship has suffered damage but we don't always know how to forgive. When a relationship is broken, or when another person hurts you, there are a few choices for what you can do in response. One of those choices is to forgive them. If we’re honest with ourselves, that often isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Our impulses might direct us toward getting our own back somehow, even if that’s just something we fantasize about and don’t put into action. Forgiveness is complicated and hard to offer, but it matters immensely. How to forgive: Remembering why forgiveness matters. There are several key ingredients to functional relationships. One of them is good communication and another is forgiveness. Forgiveness makes this list because it’s inevitable that we will cause injury to others that we’re close to. It could be entirely unintentional and the result of miscommunication or a misunderstanding, but it can also be deliberate. Regardless, forgiveness is an effective way to deal with that hurt. Remembering why forgiveness matters, and what forgiveness is can help motivate us toward it. A few things to consider include the following: It’s the right thing to do. From a Christian perspective, forgiveness is the right thing to do. God has forgiven us our many sins, choosing to set aside what we have done and moving toward us to bless us. That is why there are several directives to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6: 12-15, 18: 15-35; Ephesians 4: 32; Colossians 3: 13). We are simply treating [...]

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How to Have a Healthy Attachment Style

By |2023-12-21T18:47:20+00:00December 21st, 2023|Abandonment and Neglect, Featured, Individual Counseling, Relationship Issues|

You might have heard of “attachment parenting” or “attachment style” in everyday conversations, on social media, or in pop culture. Attachment theory has become a hot topic because it provides key insights into how caregiver relationships in childhood affect adult relationships. Keep reading to learn more about attachment theory, the four styles of attachment, and how you can move to a healthy attachment style. What is a healthy attachment style? Attachment theory provides the basis for understanding the four attachment styles. John Bowlby developed attachment theory in the mid-twentieth century. He researched how early childhood experiences affected both child development and adult behavior. Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” He devoted a great deal of attention and research to the relationship between infants and their primary caregivers. Attachment theory identifies four main attachment styles: 1) secure, 2) anxious, 3) avoidant, and 4) disorganized. Secure attachment involves “feelings of trust and safety in relationships” (Simply Psychology). Anxious (or anxious-insecure) attachment can outwardly manifest as insecure or stereotypically “needy” behavior. Avoidant (or avoidant-insecure) attachment often shows up as emotional disconnection and overindependence. Disorganized (or disorganized-insecure) attachment is characterized by unpredictable and inconsistent behavior, such as being loving sometimes and lashing out in anger at others. Secure attachment is the healthy attachment style. Infants and children who have their needs met by responsive caregivers usually develop secure attachment. Other life experiences can also impact how attachment styles develop. How to have a healthy attachment style. Considering your attachment style provides a first step in the right direction! Self-reflection and self-awareness are vital components of personal growth. It is more than possible to move from insecure attachment to a healthy attachment style. On the other hand, it’s not possible to control all of our relationships and circumstances so [...]

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What to Do When You Feel Insecure: Overcoming Insecurity

By |2023-11-30T13:51:53+00:00November 30th, 2023|Coaching, Featured, Individual Counseling, Personal Development, Spiritual Development|

Feeling insecure, self-doubt, and a lack of self-confidence can make life difficult. Sometimes, even after a significant success, a gnawing feeling undermines the sense of victory by instilling doubts about your accomplishment. You start to ask if you deserve it, whether you really are as good as the award you just received says you are, or if you really are loveable even though you’re with an amazing person who thinks the world of you. Feeling insecure can happen in any aspect of life – at work, in your relationships, or in social situations like at a party or family gathering. Being able to cope with and handle your insecurities well can help you enjoy your life and your successes more. What is insecurity and where does it come from? One way to think about insecurity is that it is a feeling that you are not good enough or that you are inadequate in a particular situation. Some of the causes of insecurity include: A recent and significant failure, rejection, or betrayal. Traumatic experiences like being bullied or body shamed that instilled negative beliefs about yourself. Experiences like abandonment and neglect can foster an insecure attachment style in relationships. Having critical parents or caregivers who undermined your confidence and set an impossible standard for you to achieve . Deep-seated perfectionism, which makes you unsure that you can ever do or be enough. Emotional dependence on or attachment to a person, then losing that relationship. General A person who experiences unpredictable upsets in daily life will tend to feel insecure about routine things. How insecurity affects you. One of the main things that insecurity does is it makes you uncertain. It will often produce anxiety in you about your goals, relationships, and ability to handle certain situations or problems. Your insecurity can [...]

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The Value of Really Good Female Friendships

By |2023-11-22T20:22:06+00:00November 22nd, 2023|Featured, Individual Counseling, Relationship Issues, Women’s Issues|

Often, when women are depicted in movies, TV shows, or other forms of media, they are shown as being in some form of rivalry with one another, usually for some sense of superiority over others or the attention of men. Even the mother-daughter relationship can become a site of struggle. It is rare to see female friendships portrayed in a favorable light. These portrayals skew one’s perceptions of women, despite the fact that they may sometimes reflect reality. Women, as much as men, are subject to the brokenness of this world and the many unhealthy behaviors that characterize human interactions. Thankfully, alongside these toxic representations of women are more wholesome depictions of relationships among women, and these also reflect reality. To be sure, our world is filled with beautiful things, but it also has hard edges and ugliness in it. This relates to our relationships, the various situations we encounter, and our experiences. Understanding and commending the value of female friendships can help women pursue not only a healthier self-understanding but healthier relationships. While toxic behavior is often promoted by being given time on our airwaves and newsfeeds, good female friendships need to be celebrated and given the spotlight. Everyone needs friends. Doing life solo is hard. The rugged individual needs community and a sense of belonging to function well. This is true when things are going well, and it is all the all the more true in difficult times. In seasons of hardship, having a network of support makes an enormous difference in how one copes. The God who created the universe and everything in it is deeply relational; one passage of Scripture says, “God is love” (1 John 4:16, NIV). God made us in His image (Genesis 1: 26-27), so it’s not surprising that we are deeply [...]

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How Turning to God Can Help with Emotional Eating

By |2024-04-04T11:26:54+00:00September 21st, 2023|Eating Disorders, Featured, Individual Counseling|

We all crave something. For some people, it is fame and acknowledgment. For others, it is money and material possessions. Still, other people find that they crave food to fill them through emotional eating. But at the root of these wants, these cravings are a deep need only God can satisfy. Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort when we feel overwhelming emotions. We desperately want to drown out these feelings and thoughts, so we eat foods that give us temporary pleasure. Our brain recognizes that when we consume specific foods like simple carbs and sugar, we do it to relax. In response, the brain’s reward system floods us with chemicals that do just that – help us relax and feel good. But emotional eating cannot replace God in our hearts, nor can it bury unresolved hurts for long without consequences. The hole in your heart needs to be filled by God, not by food. In the Bible, God warns us about overeating. There are several passages about the sin of gluttony, or uncontrollable eating. The Book of Proverbs also points out how overeating something sweet that God gave us to enjoy can make us ill. “If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit.” (Proverbs 25:16, NIV). How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 119:103, NIV The writer of Psalm 119 recognizes that honey is a good food as he refers to Scripture as honey, but he also knows that overeating for any reason can make a person sick. What hole in your heart are you trying to fill with food? We often eat to avoid feeling our negative emotions, yet in some cases, we must confront these sensations to begin [...]

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Distracted by Desire: Infidelity and Emotional Affairs

By |2024-04-04T11:29:22+00:00August 28th, 2023|Couples Counseling, Featured, Individual Counseling, Infidelity and Affairs, Marriage Counseling, Relationship Issues|

Statistics concerning divorce rates can be alarming. Most sources report that roughly half of all marriages endure. Among the other fifty percent that end, a lack of commitment and infidelity are cited as top contributors to why many couples part ways. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines infidelity as “the situation in which one partner in a marriage or intimate relationship becomes sexually or emotionally involved with a person other than the partner’s spouse.” While we can respect that description, it is important for believers in Christ to understand that adultery, like other sins, does not originate at the point of a physical or emotional exchange with another human being. Infidelity and the state of an emotional affair, however, begins in the heart (Ephesians 2:3). With unrestricted access, our adversary can influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions. He seeks to gain a foothold in our lives to build a fortress (Ephesians 4:17). For that reason, we need to establish a hedge of prayerful and practical protection around our minds, mates, and marriages. We don’t have to live in fear, but we can be active in saving our marriage before it’s threatened. In the cases where we have been distracted by desire and experienced infidelity or an emotional affair, we can recover to make our marital bond more resilient. There may be many reasons or explanations why we or our spouses sought companionship or intimacy outside of the marriage. These reasons don’t excuse infidelity or an emotional affair. Where there are gaps or unmet needs, we need to be willing to commune with our hearts and face what prompted us to seek fulfillment elsewhere (Psalm 4:4). We must also engage and be present with our spouse in honest, ongoing conversations where we demonstrate an active and compassionate response to one [...]

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Aging in America: Effects of Negative Stereotypes

By |2023-05-01T14:47:02+00:00April 30th, 2023|Aging and Geriatric Issues, Featured, Individual Counseling|

Aging in America can be an intimidating prospect. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, older adults are projected to outnumber children by the year 2034. Despite this evidence of an aging America, the elderly continue to be devalued and stigmatized. Some societies, such as Japan, respect their elderly and hold them in high esteem for their experience and wisdom. Old age is viewed as a normal stage of life and something to enjoy, as opposed to something to fear. In America, however, youth is valued over old age, and the word “old” tends to be a put-down loaded with negative undertones. The elderly are often diminished, subject to age discrimination in the workforce, disrespected, stripped of dignity by being addressed in condescending or patronizing ways, and regarded as unimportant and less worthy of care. Older adults are one of the only stigmatized groups that we all become part of some day. And that’s always struck me as interesting – that we would treat so poorly a group of people that we’re destined to become someday. – William Chopik, Assistant Professor of Psychology, MSU America is obsessed with youth. People want to look younger and will lie about their age. Media fuels this desire by glorifying youth and beauty, and is one of the main perpetrators of prejudice and bias against the aging in America. Mass media depicts old people as frail, slow, forgetful, less competent, and senile. Ads featuring older people often reinforce these stereotypical images and messages. They perpetuate negative attitudes toward the elderly and what they can and cannot do, or should or should not do, that are out of whack with reality. This leaves many individuals to fear aging in America. They fear not having enough money to meet their basic needs, becoming a burden to [...]

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Grieving for Good: How Christian Grief Counseling Can Help

By |2023-06-14T19:12:20+00:00January 13th, 2023|Featured, Grief Counseling, Individual Counseling|

Grieving can take many different forms, depending on the person experiencing it and the circumstances surrounding the loss of a loved one, parent, or friend. It has the potential to be debilitating, bringing your life to a grinding halt as you try to make sense of how you feel about the passing of a person who played such a vital role in your life. On the other hand, it may come as a relief and cause for celebration that the person who was dear to you will no longer have to deal with their disease or misery. Complicated grief is a complicated collection of feelings, and it has the potential to throw us off balance and advance the mourning process in ways that we did not anticipate. This might carry on for an infinite amount of time. There is no set time frame for the grieving process; it lasts for as long as we require to go through our emotions and readjust to life without the deceased person in our lives. It may take some time before we can come to grips with the fact that we may have regrets over things that we may have left unsaid, particularly if we had unresolved issues with that person. Honoring those we have lost through grieving. The desire of the people I work with to memorialize their departed loved ones in a meaningful way is something that comes up quite frequently in our conversations. One way that people are often able to achieve closure after the loss of a loved one is by engaging in an activity that is both tangible and significant and that pays honor to the life that was lost. A bereaved person can still honor the memory of a loved one who has passed away by taking [...]

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