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How to a Counselor by Charity Hagains

Thinking of starting Counseling in this New Year?  

Tips for Finding a Therapist That’s Right for You

Charity Hagains MA, LPC-S

 

If this new year has you thinking about better self care, healthier habits, or just letting go of the previous year’s struggles, you may be considering starting counseling.  With that decision made, your next hurdle is to find the “right” counselor for you. It’s this phase which can lead people to feel anxious or stuck and often prevents them from entering counseling.  It can be difficult to know where to find a therapist, how to know if they are any good at counseling, or if you are going to feel comfortable building a relationship with them. While there is no fast way to know for sure if you are going to “click” with your therapist, here are a few tips to help you find your way towards a trusting and beneficial counseling relationship.

 

  • Do your research
    • Before your first session, you will have probably looked through dozens of therapist profiles trying to determine which counselor is right for you.  Some things to look for when you are reading through counselor bios are:
      • Do they talk about how they view the counseling relationship, and do you agree with their vision?
      • Do they have the necessary schooling and license? (LPC, LPC Intern, LPC-S)
      • Does their profile speak to you in some way that gives you confidence?
  • Be open
    • Some people feel like a therapist will only be able to relate to their struggles if they are of the same background or share similar life experiences.  While I understand the desire to see a piece of yourself in your counselor, I urge you to be open to counselors who are different from you. Most people enter counseling looking for new solutions to their problems or new perspectives on how to view their situation.  My clients are smart and thoughtful people who have already ventured down many avenues of problem solving. They have tried everything they know, and are looking for new ways to get them where they want to go. For that reason, a person with a very different background may be the best fit.  They will likely see your issue from a perspective that is foreign to you. Our training as therapists allows us to open ourselves up to view the world through your eyes, while still holding on to our own ways of understanding. Someone who is in a different season of their life, or comes from a different culture or background, may be able to see the answers a counselor who is “just like you” never could.
  • Trust your gut
    • The therapeutic relationship can often feel intimidating at first.  Some see the therapist as an authority figure, or they may worry the counselor will judge them if they are honest about their darkest thoughts.  These feelings are normal when entering counseling. However, if these feelings persist and get in the way of you being able to build trust with your therapist ask yourself a few of these questions:
      • When do I feel the most uneasy about going to counseling?
      • What is my counselor doing or saying that causes me to feel a sense of fear or distrust?
      • Are these feelings coming from within me or are they being sparked by something going on in the counseling room?
      • Do I feel comfortable enough to confront these feelings and talk to my counselor about them?
      • Do I feel that my therapist cares about me?
    • The therapeutic relationship is built on trust and acceptance.  Your therapist should help you feel open and at ease during your time together.  While it can take a few sessions to build rapport, it should come quickly. If it doesn’t it is imperative you discuss this with the therapist.  They should respond with sincerity and work with you on your terms to build a comfortable and beneficial relationship. Should they become defensive, blaming or angry, or if you just can’t form that bond with them, trust your gut and move on to another counselor who may be a better fit.  While counseling is not always comfortable and the therapist has a duty to confront some of your thoughts or behaviors (which may not feel good) it shouldn’t be a harmful or threatening relationship.

 

Whether you are entering counseling for the first time, or returning after a long break, you can expect your counselor to treat you with the utmost respect and care.  Our field is full of therapists who feel empathy and compassion on the deepest levels and we desire to connect with every client who honors us with their story. At Noyau, we focus on the therapeutic relationship and believe it has the capacity to heal, but what makes our work truly gratifying is seeing the relationship grow with our clients’ progress.  We see clients change in profound and meaningful ways before our eyes and we want to spread that feeling to everyone who seeks therapy. If you would like to know more about finding a therapist that is right for you check out our youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1jPPVAredcBmw-WimnOOyQ or give our offices in Dallas or Fort Worth a call to speak to our Counselor Match Specialist.

 

Dallas (214)706-0619 Ft.Worth (628)385-9540

5445 La Sierra Dr. Suite 200 1701 River Run Suite 805

Dallas TX 75231 Ft. Worth TX 76107

 

It’s Not Too Late: Tackling Mid-January Burnout

It’s Not Too Late:  Tackling Mid-January Burnout

by Angela S. Taylor MA, LPC-S

So it’s mid-January, and you set some pretty amazing goals, resolutions, intentions, etc. for this year!  But…you’re feeling completely unmotivated. What happened? Why were you so excited to start fresh and are now just not feeling it?  Why is it so difficult to create a new healthy habit that you know is good for you? You are not alone. People are struggling with this all over, right now.  Luckily, we’re here to help! Here are 5 ways to get yourself back on track.

  1.        Be gentle with yourself.

You are human!  It’s not easy to create a new habit when we’ve already established unhealthy habits for years.  You are trying to disrupt a system, narrative, and pattern that has been established and cemented in your life for a very long time.  This takes time (and a ton of effort) to do. Remind yourself that you are normal, but you’re also valuable and worthy enough to make good changes in your life.

  1.       Start small.

We have a tendency to try to overhaul our entire lives at the beginning of the year.  We’re going to eat healthy, workout every day, be a better partner and parent, go to church weekly, etc.  This feels overwhelming and impossible to maintain. Starting with small goals will help you reach your larger ones in a much more sustainable way, and you won’t feel so defeated when you don’t make it to every workout class this week.  Can you replace your normal lunch with 2 salads this week? Maybe you can fit in 3 30 minute workouts this week?

  1.       Be intentional.

“Hope is not a strategy.”  I think of this phrase often when setting goals with my clients as well as myself.  We consistently say things like, “I hope I can start working out,” “I’m really going to be better about eating this year,” “I’m going to be more active in reaching out to friends,” etc.  While all of these are great goals, there is not plan behind them. What can you actually do? Be very purposeful about when and how you are going to achieve your goals. What days and times will you be working out this week?  Who will you reach out to, and what day of the week can you fit that in? Really focus on your week, and how you plan to achieve these milestones.

  1.       Focus on how achieving your goals will make you feel.

How will you feel when you’re excelling at work, more deeply connected to your friends, calmer with your kids?  A lot of the time we think of reaching goals from the outside in. We focus more on how others will perceive and feel about us rather than how we will actually feel living the life we want to live.  This mentality usually leads to unsustainability. It will never be enough because you can’t please everyone, make everyone happy, and there will always be someone you believe is outperforming you. So really focus inward and think about the joy and energy you will have when you are pursuing and achieving these goals.

  1.        Enjoy the journey!

I know this is a little cliché, but there’s so much truth in these words.  You’re living this life right now! Do not let these moments pass you by waiting for that thing to happen or expecting that when you reach that goal then you get to be happy.  The here and now is so important, and you don’t want to lose this time waiting for the next thing. Be present and lean into gratitude. What are you doing right now that makes you happy?  What can you do today that you know will bring you joy? Who are you connecting with that makes you feel more purposeful? What activity are you engaging in that gives you more energy to live your life to the fullest?

So, it’s not too late to get back on track!  Your new life doesn’t have to start at the beginning of a year or on a Monday.  It can start right now! If you’re struggling with figuring out who you want to be or where you want to go, Noyau counselors and life coaches can help you find a path and plan.  Call us today to get started on your exciting journey!

Last 90 Days: How to Finish 2018 Stronger than You Started

What if you finished the last 90 days of the year stronger than you started?  What if when you start 2019, you feel stronger and more empowered than ever, rather than feeling like you’re starting over?  What if you felt like your best self all through the holidays rather than exhausted and drained? What if you didn’t have to make new promises and resolutions because you’ve already been engaging in healthy habits for at least three months?

I recently heard Rachel Hollis discuss #Last90Days, and I believe it’s such an incredible concept.  Often times, we let everything go in the last several months of the year. We lose sight of eating well, working out, maintaining self care, engaging in gratitude, etc., – anything and everything that helps us feel vibrant and ready to take on life.  We make promises to ourselves that we’ll start fresh in the new year. But…this is a quarter of your year! This is a great time to finish strong and start your new, healthy life. You are worth it and valuable enough to invest in you. There’s so much during this season that will be grabbing for your attention, but you have to take care of you first to truly enjoy all that is around you.

Here are a couple of questions to get you started:

  1.       What do you keep saying you’ll start in the new year?
  2.       What resolutions did you make last year?
  3.       How much time do you devote on you during your day?
  4.       What are the things that make you happy that you’ve already let fall off your agenda with the beginning of Fall?
  5.       What gave you energy over the last year?

After answering these questions, what positive change can you make or pay more attention to today?  Try to maintain that for a week and then add something new next week. For example, can you get a walk in 3-4 times this week?  Maybe next week, you can get those walks in and call 2 friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with for some time now.

Let us help you start your #Last90Days!  Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to get you started on the road to the best and happiest you!

#RachelHollis

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More than First Day Jitters

The first few days of school are now behind us.  The school supplies have been opened, the new clothes have been worn, and the morning photoshoots have given way to rushing out the door on time.  As the routine begins to set in, many children begin to relax and ease into their new roles. They may feel a sense of peace at having the boundaries of the day restored and renewed purpose for school achievement. However, some children may feel the opposite during these first few weeks.

While the anxiety of starting a new year can often hit children on or before the first day, there are still many children who experience those feelings days or even weeks into the new year.  Often the first few days are a bit chaotic as they learn where to go and what is expected of them. Knowing this, teachers go out of their way to make the first few days fun. Anticipating social anxieties, educators are trained to break the ice in their classroom and lighten the mood as they build rapport with their students.  Sometimes that’s enough to help children through those nerves, but sometimes it falls short.

If your kiddo is experiencing some of those second week anxieties, here are a few helpful tips to reassure and support them through this complicated time:

    • Ask.  Casually asking “Overall how do you feel about the ___ grade?”  “What is math class like?” “How does lunch work? Who do you sit with?”  This lets them know you are curious about their day, and opens the door for them to share their struggles.  
    • Validate.  Letting your child know you hear their frustrations and aren’t judging them, is vital to having an open and trusting relationship.  It is important not to make suggestions, tell them they are wrong, disagree with their feelings, or try to redirect them during this.  As an adult, you may find this situation to be silly or the worry to be baseless, but your child does not. It is real and painful for them and your job is to be present in that pain with them, not change it for them.  “That sounds really hard.” “I can only imagine what that was like for you,” or even a silent hug does more for your child than any piece of advice ever could.

 

  • Wait.  Before you put your problem solving super skills into action, wait for your child to ask for help.  Saying “I remember 5th grade was a hard year for me, so many changes seemed to happen that year.” “I have had disloyal friends and it was one of the hardest moments I can recall.”  “Ugh, mean teachers can be the worst!” Unconsciously you are telling your child that you know what it is like to experience this, and you have gotten through it. This knowledge gives them reassurance they can ask you how you dealt with situations, and gives them the control to hear your sage advice when they are ready to receive it.

Having survived to adulthood we know these concerns eventually pass, but at this moment your child is just learning that life lesson.  It may cause you a great deal of anxiety and hurt to hear your child struggle through the same pains we all did. For that reason, seeking your own support system can be so helpful as a parent.  Hit up other parents, your own family, or reach out to a professional to get the much needed and deserved support as you tranche through these difficult times with your child.

If your child’s distress does not dissipate in a couple of weeks, seek outside help.  At Noyau Wellness Center we specialize in child and adolescent counseling because we know these early years are so developmentally important.  How your child learns to experience difficult emotions plays a huge role in their coming adulthood. It’s a special, but complicated time in a person’s life and we strive to be a cornerstone for those growing minds.  

Holiday Survival Kit!

The holiday season is definitely in full swing and people are hustling and bustling trying to get everything done! One of our counselors, Brittany Strauss has put together some of the toxic thoughts people have–especially during the holidays, that do NOTHING for your holiday spirit! Read More

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