Types of Counseling
Counseling is a process that helps you learn skills and develop a new perspective in order to cope with changes and/or difficulties that are going on in your life. You will be able to manage the storms in your life and reach your desired direction with confidence and steadiness.
Your therapist will take direction from you in a treatment plan in which you identify the problems you want to work on and the goals you want to accomplish.
Learning about yourself in counseling can help you identify patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are causing you pain. We help with the following:
- A loss of self through depression or anxiety
- A chronic or terminal illness
- The death or loss of a loved one
- Loss of employment or income
- Suicidal thoughts
- An abusive relationship
- Survivor’s guilt
According to Dr. John Gottman, less than 5% of divorcing couples seek marriage counseling. The average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems. Keeping in mind the fact that half of all marriages fail in the first seven years, the average couple lives for far too long with unhappiness.
If you are struggling with your relationship and you and your partner have been unable to resolve the issues, counseling can help you get “unstuck.” Couple counseling is about learning skills in order to have a successful relationship. You and your partner will learn the following:
- Ways to communicate better
- How to argue in a healthier way
- How to resolve conflict and problem solve in a productive manner
- How to express, disclose and resolve painful emotions
- How to state your needs clearly and openly within your relationship
- How to work through unresolved issues
- How to negotiate for change within your relationship
CHILDREN & ADOLESCENTS
At CCOEA we work with children as young as the age of 2. We will also work with you to help build your capacity for parenting and your ability to cope with your child’s behavior. According to the American academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, these are warning signs that indicate your child is having difficulty and may benefit from therapy:
- Changes in school performance such as dropping grades, missing homework and skipping school
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Changes in sleeping habits, nightmares
- Mood changes
- Dangerous or illegal behavior
- Fighting or episodes of anger
Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible—the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginia Satir
Family therapy addresses routines that have become burdensome, breakdowns in communication, and extreme emotional reactions. It is a process that goes beyond hearing each member talk about family problems. It focuses instead on providing tools and experiences that can change patterns of relating, hierarchies, unspoken needs, unconscious expectations, intolerance, and repressed resentment.
One misconception about group therapy is that members take turns receiving individual therapy from the therapist while others observe.
What actually happens is that members are actually encouraged to turn to each other for support, feedback, and connection, instead of getting all of that from the clinician. Here are five specific benefits of group therapy.
- It helps you realize you’re not alone. When we believe that our problems are unique it isolates and alienates us. In a group we learn that in fact there are many who struggle with the same issues we believe are only ours.
- It facilitates giving and receiving support.
- It helps you find your “voice.” Participation in a group helps you become aware of your own feelings and needs and learn to express them.
- It helps you relate to others (and yourself) in healthier ways. In a group we get to see our difficulties in relationships when we see how our behaviors and words impact others. It is easier to take feedback from people who are not permanently in our lives and may help us see where it is we have difficulty with our friends and family.
- It provides a safety net. We can take risks in a group we may not otherwise be willing to take in our circle of family and friends.
Not everyone is ready for group therapy however. It takes strength and some recognition of the needs of others to function well in a group.
Expressive Methods of Counseling
Our licensed counselors and therapists can determine what modality to use to help each individual grow. Each of our counselors are experts in talk therapy and their additional individual skills may include play therapy, child-parent relationship therapy, expressive arts therapy, art therapy, and sand tray therapy.
Expressing their emotions, pain, or fears in words does not come naturally to children. Their natural medium is play and activity. While using toys, they create a world in which they can freely express what is going on inside them.
Through play, children gain knowledge and understanding of themselves, others, and the physical world around them. They learn to trust and self-regulate. They learn about boundaries, limits, and consequences. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems.
CHILD-PARENT RELATIONSHIP TRAINING
In our experience, parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Yet there is no curriculum, no handbook we can pull out when we get in trouble as parents. We depend on our experience with our own parents, even though many of us swear we will “never” do as our parents have done.
Child-Parent Relationship Training is a service we offer that gives you some simple and effective tools for parenting. Through this method parents or caregivers can improve their relationship with their children as well as increase communication.
We work with a group of about 6-8 parents, often referred by our counselors. Parents use basic play therapy skills to learn to listen, recognize, and respond to a child’s feelings. They also learn how to set limits while building a child’s self-esteem. We facilitate this specialized training through 10 sessions. These sessions are designed to help you learn how to communicate effectively, set limits, and regain control.
Expressive art utilizes not just visual arts but movement, drama, music, writing, and other creative processes. It is a process of discovering ourselves through any art form that comes from an emotional depth. In therapy we are not concerned about the aesthetics or craftsmanship of the visual art, the grammar and style of the writing, or the harmonic flow of the song.
We use the arts to let go, to express, and to release. Also, we gain insight by studying the symbolic and metaphoric messages. Our art speaks back to us if we take the time to let those messages in.
Although interesting and sometimes dramatic products emerge, we leave the aesthetics and the craft to those who wish to pursue the arts professionally. Expressive arts are focused on the internal process of the individual, family or group.
Art therapy asks you to explore your inner experience—your feelings, perceptions, and imagination. While art therapy may involve learning skills or art techniques, the emphasis is generally first on developing and expressing images that come from inside you, rather than those in the outside world. Art therapy uses art media, images, and the creative process. What you “create” in a session is often a reflection of your interests, concerns, conflicts, personality, and abilities. Art can often be used to reconcile emotional conflicts. It also fosters self-awareness, develops social skills, reduces anxiety, and increases self-esteem.
You do NOT have to be an artist to participate!
SAND TRAY THERAPY
Sand tray therapy is a therapeutic modality for both children and adults. This method allows the child or adult to build a three-dimensional world with a wide assortment of miniature figures in a tray of sand in the presence of a counselor.
We not only think in words, but in images as well. The use of the sand and the miniatures activates symbolic thinking. This allows the client to engage in nonverbal thinking – letting emotions, perceptions, struggles, and conflicts emerge into awareness. As these insights are understood and resolved, an increased capacity for self-expression, self-awareness, and communication can be developed.