Individual counseling is comprised of experiencing one-on-one therapy sessions with the psychotherapist. Goals for treatment are determined mutually between the client and their psychotherapist.
Addictions are one of the most devastating mental health problems that can affect a person. When one is addicted, their whole life is at risk and often everything is lost before the extent of the problem is realized. One’s sense of self, job, family and material possessions become secondary to the addiction. Because addictions affect every area of one’s life, at aha NOW! Counseling we develop a holistic and inclusive approach to treatment. Our addictions specialists provide a gentle and individualized therapy program that is designed to meet one’s specific treatment issues. Whether the addiction is due to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or sex, our treatment includes individual, family and group therapy. We work with twelve-step programming and encourage people to begin to heal in a way that addresses the hurt and shame the addiction might have produced. We provide specialized intensive outpatient program development in either an individual or group format. Family work is central to the recovery process and this is incorporated into every treatment plan.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – AD/HD Treatment
A person who is diagnosed with AD/HD is often made to feel “stupid” or “difficult” because they are unable to learn and do as easily as others. Whether a child or adult, our psychotherapists do not just treat the person with AD/HD but also develop a psycho-educational & supportive therapy program that includes family, friends and significant others. We stress that AD/HD is a learning disability, which limits one’s ability to process information and regulate behavior. AD/HD is not due to a lack of intelligence. Treatment for AD/HD is based on utilizing the skills and strengths of each individual and incorporating these into each aspect of their life.
Individual, family and group therapy are done in combination with one another. Social skills and parenting skills training, whether in a group or individual setting, is fundamental to treatment success. Augmentative services include school performance evaluations, consultation and collaboration with school personnel and behavioral modification plan development for home & school. Transitions to high school or college can be especially hard for those with AD/HD as well as their families. Specialized learning and behavioral plan development for these specific transition periods is offered and can ease these difficult times.
Anxiety Disorders and Phobias
Anxiety disorders are a very common mental health problem. One in four people have an anxiety disorder (NIMH, 2008). Often one with anxiety feels extreme fear that they are experiencing a medical emergency when in fact they are having a psychological response, which manifests itself in a physical manner.
Our psychotherapists specialize in treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Specific Phobias. Therapy begins with allowing anxious clients to gain trust in the therapeutic relationship. Treatment plans are based on how comfortable the client is with the suggested therapeutic method and the process is matched to individual preference and pace. Research-based treatments are used such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR Exposure Therapy, and Relaxation Skill Development.
Understanding the interplay of these specific areas allows one to manage anxiety. Exposure Therapy is a gentle, graduated and hierarchical approach, which slowly introduces the feared object along with Relaxation Skill Development. Relaxation Skill Development includes body-based relaxation, mind-based relaxation, self-awareness and guided imagery. These specific relaxation skills are taught, developed and practiced in the session. Additionally, Medication Management is a treatment option that might be utilized along with therapy.
Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed Therapy
This method of therapy focuses treatment on how the client views their level of functioning along with their feelings about the therapeutic relationship. Created by Barry Duncan, PhD and Scott Miller, PhD Client-Directed, Outcome Informed Therapy was developed after Dr. Duncan’s and Dr. Miller’s research demonstrated what actually works in therapy to produces successful outcome. The factors are highlighted and assessed in each therapy session.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy based on modifying cognitions or thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors, with the aim of influencing disturbed emotions. The general approach, developed out of Behavior Modification, Cognitive Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy is widely used to treat various kinds of mental health issues, including mood disorders and anxiety. The particular therapeutic techniques vary according to the particular kind of client or issue, but commonly include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors, questioning and testing cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic, gradually facing activities which may have been avoided, and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation and distraction techniques are also commonly included.
Depression and Mood Disorders
Depression is one of the most widely recognized mental health problems and one of the most common with approximately 20.9 million people diagnosed with a mood disorder in the United States (NIMH, 2008). Whether someone is suffering from a Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, commonly known as “the blues”, or Bipolar Disorder, aha NOW! Counseling’s psychotherapists are skilled in helping someone with depression begin to manage their symptoms. Assessing which type of depression is key to successful treatment and our psychotherapists’ years of clinical expertise allow for accurate diagnosis. Treatment begins with education on depression and the various therapy methods available. Not everyone responds to the same treatment method so the assessment process is ongoing and collaborative. Our psychotherapists want to know how each client feels about the therapy model being used as well as the therapeutic relationship.
Types of therapy models used are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (See description under anxiety disorders), Narrative Therapy, which holds that our identities are shaped by the accounts of our lives found in our stories and narratives. Work is done to re-write the story that has contributed to negative beliefs. Types of therapy models used are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed Therapy. Additionally, Medication Management is often used to treat the physical symptoms of depression.
Exposure Therapy is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique for reducing fear and anxiety responses, especially phobias and Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. It is similar to Systematic Desensitization though it works more quickly and produces quicker results. It based on the principles of tolerance of the feared object and the incongruity of what we believe to be true versus what is actually true. Exposure Therapy consists of the client being instructed and guided by the psychotherapist. The psychotherapist gradually exposes the client to progressively stronger stimuli and thereby assists the client in developing tolerance to the feared object. It is a gentle, slow and hierarchical approach used in combination with Relaxation Skill Development.
Eating disorders are a debilitating mental health disorder, and are becoming increasingly more common. People with eating disorders are typically reluctant to seek therapy. Often they feel shame and embarrassment about their problem, which keeps them from asking for help from family and friends. It is often due to the direction of medical, school or work professionals who have encouraged the person to seek mental health counseling. Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder are the most common types of eating disorders. At aha NOW! Counseling we know the importance of providing a safe and nurturing environment so that people can start to heal from their weight related issues. Additionally, our psychotherapists utilize not only individual therapy but also family therapy to treat the dynamics underlying the eating disorder. Medication Management is often an adjunct to treatment as well.
Eye Movement, Desensitization, Reprocessing-EMDR
EMDR is a specialized therapy which is especially helpful in treating trauma, post-traumatic stress, anxiety disorders, anger, guilt, and self-esteem issues. EMDR involves rapid eye movements done as one thinks about past events or present life situations. Guided by the psychotherapist, these rapid eye movements are similar to those that occur during the REM phase of sleep. However, EMDR is done while the person is fully awake & alert. This process accesses both the left and right sides of the brain. EMDR is neither intrusive nor aversive. Neither is it a form of hypnosis. Relief from long standing symptoms often brings about other positive adjustments in one’s life and most find that this method accelerates their emotional work. People generally see positive results within one or two sessions and find that the results last over time.
Family of Origin Issues
Family dynamics can impact our life in many ways and may contribute to our current mental health issues. Regardless of the constellation of your family or the type of family in which you were raised, families can leave an imprint on our lives as adults. Many people are reluctant to address family problems that continue to bother them despite years of mental health problems and therapy. Family of origin issues can contribute to addictions, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental health disorders. If family of origin issues is a part of one’s presenting problem, our psychotherapists will suggest working on these issues along with other pronounced mental health problems. We approach these issues in a gentle and effective manner. aha NOW! Counseling psychotherapists are highly trained in family systems theory, which assists clients in working on these difficult issues.
Once the family of origin issues are worked through and understood, other mental health issues become more manageable and sometimes no longer are present. We utilize Family Systems Theory including Bowen Family Systems Theory, Gestalt Therapy and Psychodrama. Additionally, all of our psychotherapists have been trained by Terry Kellogg and Marvel Harrison, nationally recognized for their work and writing in family systems and addiction/codependency fields.
Family Systems Therapy
At aha NOW! Counseling we utilize several types of family systems therapy. One of these is Bowen Family Systems Theory, which views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. Terry Kellogg and Marvel Harrison, nationally recognized for their work and writing in the addiction/codependency and family systems field, have trained all of our psychotherapists through their Lifeworks program.
Gestalt Therapy is an existential and experiential therapy that focuses on the individual’s experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts in which these things take place, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of the overall situation. It emphasizes personal responsibility and allows the client to understand their situation from a new perspective.
People typically respond to significant loss and change with what has been characterized as a grief reaction. Whether a loss is due to a death of a loved one, job change or medical condition, grief reactions vary widely and can be affected by the internal or external resources of the grieved as well as circumstances surrounding the loss. Grief therapy sustains individuals and families through these extremely difficult situations with a full range of grief services. We offer supportive therapy for the acute and overwhelming early stages of loss. Specialized treatment plans are developed based on the nature of the loss. If the loss is sudden or involves a trauma, focused treatment plans are developed to attend to the trauma as well as the grief.Additionally, grief therapy incorporates therapeutic skills allowing the client to re-work old losses that were incomplete or have resurfaced. Sometimes people experience complicated grief reactions in which they are unable to navigate the natural grief process. For this type of grief reaction, therapeutic methods are employed to assist one in addressing the areas of their experience that they are “stuck” which helps them begin to move into life again.
To integrate means to unite or blend into a functioning unified whole. In therapeutic terms, this translates into treating individuals on a multidimensional basis. Human beings are complex and are impacted by a myriad of factors on numerous levels, many of which are only on the periphery of our awareness. The level of our physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being is based upon not only recognizing how each one of these levels effect us but how they are all intricately interconnected. Integrative therapy illuminates the importance of achieving equilibrium and the “how to” of maintaining the delicate balance between these factors. Individuals are taught to recognize when their mind, body, heart, and spirit are not in sync and what to do to bring themselves back to holistic integrity.
Medication is often used to treat many mental health problems. We offer medication evaluations to determine if medication might assist with alleviating the vegetative symptoms of your mental health issue. Vegetative symptoms are those physical symptoms, which make it hard to function in daily life such as insomnia or a lack of appetite for example. Medication Management in not mandatory but rather is a tool to be use by those whom it can benefit. It is seen as an adjunct to therapy and can assist one in feeling physically better so that therapy is more effective.
Narrative Therapy holds that our identities are shaped by the accounts of our lives found in our stories and narratives. From this perspective, therapy work centers around re-writing the story that has contributed to negative assumptions and beliefs.
Parent and Child Relationships
The parent and child relationship is the most important intimate relationship that human beings develop. These relationships can be positive and nurturing for both child and parent. However, not all parent and child relationships are conflict free. Due to the intimate and long-lasting nature of this type of relationship, conflicts may arise at any point in a child’s development. The psychotherapists at aha NOW! Counseling have expertise in helping parents and their children navigate these conflicts. Whether the issue is due to a child’s acting out behaviors during their younger years or changes occurring during adolescence, we can help you understand the developmental complications that might be occurring and provide assistance to both parents and children as they work through these difficult issues.
Psychodrama is a form of drama therapy that explores people’s problems through action. Several techniques are used to allow the client to work through difficult emotions or unresolved conflicts. The psychotherapist might ask the client to live through and portray situations, which are a part of their conflict. The psychotherapist utilizes the psychodrama experience to analyze pertinent information before or after the specific exercise. This information is then used to assist the client in understanding their emotional reaction and behaviors that might be lending to continued difficulties.
Relaxation Skill Development
Relaxation Skill Development is a process of learning body-based and mind-based relaxation techniques. These specific relaxation skills are taught, developed and practiced in the session. The type of skill taught is based on the client’s presenting issue and their natural learning style. Specific techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, self-awareness exercises, and breath work.
Acute Stress disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are anxiety related disorders that manifest when one experiences an emotional, physical or sexual trauma. Symptoms, which are frequently associated with trauma include intrusive recollections, reliving the event, avoidance, numbing, and symptoms of hyper-arousal such as sleep disturbance, irritability, difficulty concentrating and general anxiety. At aha NOW! Counseling we specialize in trauma resolution and use a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Family Systems Theory, Narrative Therapy and Psychodrama to address trauma symptoms. Our safe and home-like environment contributes to the healing process for people who have suffered a traumatic event. We understand the sensitive nature of trauma resolution and work at the client’s pace through the healing process. We honor the client’s the feelings and preferences in this process and work collaboratively to develop a treatment plan that feels safe.