I just want to acknowledge you for the courage to take the step to get support. It can be overwhelming to have so many things going on, and it might be hard to figure out where to start. I truly believe that one of the biggest advantages to working with a therapist is that a therapist can help you prioritize and work with those issues that need to be addressed first and foremost. A therapist will help you with the flow of dealing with different aspects that come up. Some issues may even be related to one another. For examples, some clients with depression may also feel anxiety about their depression. Also, rest assured, many clients go to therapy for multiple issues. We are complex beings. I encourage you to reach out to a therapist and talk about this concern. You may find out that even upon the first meeting you will feel hopeful that you will be able to create a plan with a therapist to address your issues. I don't believe you have too many issues, I think starting sooner rather than later will put you on the path to healing. Good luck. I am rooting for you!

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Worrying about our children seems to be part of the job of parenting. I think you are wise to consider helping your daughter around this particular issue. I think encouraging her to talk to a therapist is a really good idea. It is great that she is a high achiever, however, the down side could be high levels of stress that she may find difficulty managing in the future. A therapist can help her with skills to manage her stress levels. 

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

This is a great question. I think that as a client it is important to educate yourself on how to look for a therapist. I think the process of looking for a therapist can be intimidating for some people and they may just pick the first therapist they find who takes their insurance. I think if you take a little more time, you will be able to find the best therapist for you.

The most important thing is probably to create a list of therapists you are interested in working with. You might get referrals from friends, or check out some websites. You want to see that the person you are working with mentions working with people with the issues you want to address. You also want to see what they say about how they work with their clients. If they only do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and you don't feel comfortable with only that modality, then keep checking out other therapists. You want to definitely call a few therapists to talk. Don't just make an appointment with the first one who answers their phone! 

See what each therapist feels like to talk to over the phone. Do you feel comfortable? Do they make you feel at ease? Do they use a lot of jargon? Not every therapist may be the right match for you. Ask questions. If they say they use a certain modality and you have never heard of it, have them explain it to you. Do they explain it in a way that makes sense to you? Keep listening to make sure you feel comfortable and feel like they "get you."

The best way to "train" your therapist is to be upfront about what it is you need. Let them know what is working and what isn't working. Learning how to communicate with your therapist will not only make your therapy more productive, but it is usually a good way to practice the new skills you will be developing.

Best of luck on your journey!

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

If you enjoy crossdressing and it is an integral part of who you are, giving it up for anyone else or to get into a relationship will only lead to resentment and resentment in a relationship usually leads to it's demise. So I would caution you against giving it up for someone else, as you won't be happy and neither will your partner because they will be losing out on getting to know your authentic self. 

Stay true to your authentic self and balance that out with dating people who do the same and are open to exploring thoughts and feelings in a relationship. You definitely get to choose the right time to share this with a partner and I encourage you, if it feels safe, to talk about it as soon as you can. Sometimes just keeping something a secret for a long time in a relationship can also lead to other issues, too. Also, if you know the other person doesn't respect this part of you if you find out early you won't waste your time and can move onto a relationship that feels more supportive.

I hope this makes sense and I wish you the best of luck!

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Absolutely! It is very normal to cry during a therapy session. During a session lots of different feelings will come up. When sadness and grief show up you are going to feel them in your body and crying is our way of expressing them. Sometimes we even cry when we feel anger or joy.  Your therapist should provide a safe place for you to express all your feelings and help you process them. It is part of the work of therapy and it sounds like you are doing the work. Good luck to you!

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Goodbyes can be hard. Chances are most of the goodbyes you have experienced in your life have been difficult. Saying goodbye to a therapist can be different. It can be an opportunity to create a healthy ending in a positive relationship in your life. If you work with a therapist who is skilled, then saying goodbye can be just as transformative as the therapy itself.

Ending therapy is also known as “termination.” I know, “termination” doesn’t have a great ring to it! However, it is what it is. It is an ending of the relationship as it existed. It is reality cold and stark. Of course, when I talk to clients I don’t use the word “termination,” I usually say “our goodbye.”  Under what circumstances does therapy usually end? Therapy should end when a client does not need further assistance, is not receiving any benefit from therapy, or might be harmed by continuing to work with a particular therapist.

In the best case scenario the decision to move on from therapy and “say our goodbyes” happens when both the therapist and the client feel like the client is ready to move on and move up!  Ending the therapeutic relationship should actually be worked on from the very first session. What I mean by that is, there should be an understanding that the work we do together will have an ending and that is a good thing because it means the client has gained the skills to continue working on themselves independently. So the first session I have with clients usually outlines a plan where the end goal is discussed and we both have an understanding of the skills the client wants to learn or what they hope to achieve.

Now sometimes there are situations where the therapist ends the relationship and the client may take that personally, it is hard when any relationship ends and it might bring up feelings of sadness, and fear or abandonment. Any good therapist will end the relationship based on what is right for the client.

What are some situations where a therapist might end the relationship?

If the situation the client is dealing with is out of the therapist's scope of practice, the therapist may end the relationship and refer the client to someone else. This is in the client’s best interest. Another reason a therapist might end the relationship is that the therapist is in a place in her life which prevents her from being objective and helpful.  A therapist who is going through a painful divorce may have difficulty working with a couple that considering divorce. A good therapist may see that their judgement may be clouded and want to refer the client to see someone else. This is good practice and helps the client.

If a client is actively suicidal or actively using substances then the therapist may end the relationship and refer out for a higher level of care. The client may need to be hospitalized or may need an inpatient substance abuse treatment program. Therapy may be terminated while they are being treated and may continue after the intensive program is completed. 

Ending therapy should be a time for connection and bringing together accomplishments, or reviewing the next important step the client needs to take. It should not be an experience of abandonment. A skilled therapist will help a client gain a new perspective on closure. For some clients, it may be the one time in their lives when they get a clean ending in a healthy relationship and they get to feel a sense of control on creating that ending. 

Good luck to you!

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
I love this question! Some people shy away from counseling because they think since they already talk about how they feel to their relatives or friends they shouldn't need a counselor. However, if you are having a difficult time, counseling can be beneficial in helping you move forward and get your life back on track. 

Counseling is not like the kind of talking we do to people we know. For one, your counselor does not have a history with you and has no expectations of how you will act and what you will do. In that way, counselors come to a session without judgement and expectation. This gives you the platform to truly explore your thoughts and feelings. A counselor can also help you understand your motivation and help you integrate your past experiences and recommend coping skills that can help you if you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. 

Over time, as you work with a counselor you will get feedback and also be able to share new insights. The work you do is based on you and where you are at. Oftentimes, when we talk to friends they bring their own agenda to a conversation, and while they mean well they may offer solutions that work for them and not you. A counselor will help you uncover the solutions that work best for you and help you find the motivation to follow through with your plan.

Best of luck to you!
The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Thanks for reaching out. This is a great question. Communication is definitely a 2-way street. One person cannot participate in a discussion. It takes a talker and a listener. Furthermore, communication will breakdown if each party is only focusing on his or her agenda and is not open to what the other person is saying.  since I can't ask you questions about what is going on, I am going to make a guess at one situation that comes up a lot when I work with couples. One person focuses more on solving the issue, than listening to their partner.  This can be frustrating for the partner who wants to just be "heard."

I understand that you are working really hard to listen to him and he might not be putting as much effort into listening to you. That can be really frustrating and difficult and I want to acknowledge you for wanting to improve your relationship.

One of the best strategies to gettting heard, is actually to BE A GOOD LISTENER to someone else. I know you are probably already a good listener and for you to work on listening skills may seem counterintuitive, right? You want to get heard and now you are the one doing the listening. But this can really create more effective communication if you invest time working on doing some active listening in your relationship because then you get to model those skills for your husband and allow him to see what it feels like to be listened to and then you can even teach him some of those skills. In other words, you practice specific techniques that you can use and then teach later on. 

Here are some skills for you to use consciously and then you can teach:

  • Pay attention and use your body language to convey that you are in the conversation. No texting or distractions. Lean in. Focus.
  • Listen for content and for emotion. Clarify what you don't understand. Try to understand the person's underlying emotions. 
  • Don't rush to judgement or to changing what is going on with the person. Sit in a place where you are really curious and want to understand what is going on. 
  • Encourage the other person to continue speaking, Nod and vocalize that you hear what they are saying.
  • Ask questions to get to understand the other person's point of view.
I believe when we can model these kinds of listening skills, and the other person feels heard, they will be more likely to listen to us. If you don't find that this doesn't spill over in that way, then have a discussion about what you are practicing and that you are learning these skills to be a better listener so you can understand him better. Then explain how it might be helpful if you both tried it. If there is push back from him, set up a trial period to just try the skill, perhaps for 2 weeks and see if it helps. If communication is really breaking down, then it might be time to work with a counselor who can help with these skills.

Best of luck to you!
The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

I am really glad you reached out. When parents get divorced, they still need to figure out how to have relationship so that they can parent their child. We might divorce our partners, however, we don't divorce our children. If anything our children need to know that we are still a stable force in their lives. Unfortunately, in some relationships children get used as a bargaining piece and I am hearing that may be happening in your relationship. 

You can move on from the relationship with your ex while still maintaining a relationship with your child. It is possible and it takes both parents to agree to do the right thing by their child. It is important for your children to have some consistency in his or her time with you. For example, if you and your ex don't have a parenting schedule it is something that you want to create so that you can not only decide for you when you will see your child, but your child can know when you will be available just for her. This will lay the foundation for consistency and allow your child to have some security in troubled times.

I would highly recommend you sit down with your ex and discuss how you can both be a positive source in your child's life. How you can both be there to help raise her. If this is not a conversation that you can have on your own you might seek out help from the court. There are parenting experts and mediators who might be able to assist you.

Remember, in any discussion keep the focus on what is best for your child and you will be moving in the right direction.

Best of luck to you!

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Dealing with a breakup is difficult. We have high hopes and then those hopes and dreams are dashed and we feel at a loss for how to deal with this sudden change in our lives. First, it is important to acknowledge that losing a relationship is a loss and we need to grieve that loss. If we don't allow ourselves time to process and move through the grieving process, we may remain stuck and it may make it hard to move on. So in some ways, you don't want to move on too soon by just trying to ignore your feelings. Instead, take good care of yourself, talk to friends and give your self time to heal. The second most important thing is to forgive yourself; this is also an important part of taking care of yourself. You might be blaming yourself and re-living moments when you wish you would have done things differently. By replaying those thoughts you remain stuck. When we begin to forgive ourselves, we truly begin to heal. Lastly, in my experience the people who have the most difficulty moving on have not really severed all ties with their ex. They are still following them on social media or even checking in with texts. This is probably the hardest part for some people, but to move forward there needs to be a clear boundary and a clear ending. If you have a clear ending, you can have a new beginning. I hope this helps. Take good care of yourself! 

The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health... (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.