Each of us will face trials and experience difficult times in life. In these moments, having a counselor to talk with can be a vital component of healing and recovery.
Jack Collins, MA, LCMHC
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Individual counseling is a conversation between two people, focusing on the client's concerns. This "therapeutic dialogue" is client-driven and confidential. My goal is to connect well, listen well, share questions, offer another perspective, and when appropriate, engage in problem-solving with a client. Sometimes what is most important is processing emotional trauma, while other times call for a collaborative problem-solving approach. Individual Counseling helps people clarify issues and more effectively manage personal struggles. These struggles may be related to depression, anxiety, fear, addictions, hopelessness, trauma, loss and grief, communication problems, challenging transitional issues, interpersonal relationships and negative self talk.
Having worked with countless couples over the years, I see that most people do have good intentions toward their spouses, but fall prey to relational patterns which essentially hijack the relationship. Even with the best intentions, couples can find themselves alienated and in need of outside assistance. I help couples reclaim their relationship from the influence of destructive patterns and engage one another with more effective communication, building relational connections.
Often, negative dynamics develop over time which alienate spouses. Relationships are very challenging, but people often expect it to be easy and to come naturally. Disappointment leads to increasing disharmony. Our tendency is to underestimate the need for ongoing learning about each other. Effective communication is further complicated by the fact that we are all unique and therefore quite different in the ways we do things.
For example, consider these common differences:
Loners vs people-lovers
Detail vs big picture person
Private thinkers vs relational processors (talkers)
Logical vs feeler
Planners vs spontaneous people
Some couples seek premarital counseling as a very wise step before deciding to marry. So many unforeseen aspects of their future together can be discussed. Other couples seek a “tune-up” for their relationship in order to keep on a healthy track together. Many times couples seek marital therapy at various life transition points (newlyweds, new parents or “empty nest”) that demand a shifting of roles or values or purposes within the marital relationship. In any case, I seek to help couples engage in renewed curiosity about each other and to throw off the old negative patterns that had entrapped them.
Sometimes it is most helpful to get together as a family to talk and resolve presenting issues. Families may be experiencing interpersonal conflict, grief and loss, school-related issues, misbehavior at home, or transitional difficulties. In times of intense emotional or interpersonal need, counseling can help family members to resolve issues and become a more effective support system for one another.
It is common for parents to approach parenting challenges from different perspectives. Sometimes, this results in the parents finding themselves on opposite "teams", thereby cancelling each other out. This leaves them feeling ineffective and upset with one another, rather than feeling like a unified team. One common goal of counseling is to assist parents in becoming (or rediscovering) a shared stance that both can agree to about how to parent their children.