Tag: Professional Help

Overcoming Stigma and Accepting Help

Suffering from a mental health condition is hard.  Unfortunately, the stigma that is often associated with it can make it even harder.  Individuals with mental illnesses are often portrayed in movies and television as extremely dangerous, violent, or unstable which can result in misinformation to those around us.  Words like “crazy” and “psycho” are painful and perpetuate the unnecessary stigma.  Far too often this type of stigma serves as a barrier to reaching out for necessary support.
First, recognize that seeking help is not a sign of personal weakness.  Professional counseling provides support so that you don’t have to do it all alone.  Second, try to release the fear of being “labeled.”  Sometimes people are afraid to acknowledge having a condition that needs treatment.  However, identifying what’s wrong can provide relief and result in a specific treatment plan to reduce troubling symptoms.  If it’s determined that you are suffering from a mental health condition you may be hesitant to share this information with others.  Remember, judgment from others may be based on misinformation.  Sharing your diagnosis with those you trust may help educate those around you and help to reduce the overall stigma.
Some recent studies suggest the stigma associated with mental illness may be decreasing as evidenced by an increase in the public acceptance of antidepressants.  However, it’s important to remember that study after study shows that drug treatment is most effective when combined with talk therapy.  Medication can be helpful in treating the chemicals in our brains, but humans are made up of more than just chemicals.  We are emotional beings and often times our feelings and emotions demand our attention.
Overcoming stigma and accepting professional help can be challenging, but it may be just the thing to empower you to take back control of your life.

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

Life In A Military Family

Life-In-A-Military-FamilyBeing a member of a military family comes with a unique sense of honor and pride.  Unfortunately, it also comes with a great deal of stress.  There are a number of reasons it can be a challenging, but two in particular often weigh heavy on the hearts of military families.
1.  Deployment – Fear of deployment may be a constant for some military members, their spouses, and children.  Not knowing when, if, or for how long can be stressful.  Though you may have signed up for this by joining the military or marrying a member of the military the reality of it may be harder than you imagined.  Once deployment orders have been given couples may experience tension in the relationship due to anxiety about what’s to come.  Children may begin acting out for the same reason.  Once the family member is deployed spouses may have difficulty adjusting to new duties around the home and may feel overwhelmed by handling the homefront alone.  Many find it helpful to include the deployed spouse in parenting decision making whenever possible.  The separation can also make it difficult to maintain a level of intimacy both partners desire.  Additionally, families may experience financial strains during deployment.  This may come in part as a result of having to work out new child care arrangements.  Spouses and children alike may fear heavily for the safety of their loved one.  Limiting exposure to constant news sources may be helpful.  Unfortunately, the challenges may not end with the deployment. The returning soldier may have difficulty adjusting to the changes that have taken place in the family while gone.  It may take some time getting used to the new independence his or her spouse has acquired while they were gone.  Of course if the soldier returns wounded, physically or emotionally, it may also be a challenging time of transition.
2.  Frequently Relocating – This can also place tremendous stress on military families.  Spouses and children may feel their lives are constantly being interrupted.  Having to change jobs, neighborhoods, and schools means having to make new friends.  This can be tough for everyone involved.  Also, because the military issues the orders it may feel like a loss of control of your own life.  It’s important for family members to discuss their feelings with one another which can ultimately help make the transition smoother.
The good news is there are a number of great resources available to help military families handle the unique stress they experience.  Support groups are available online and throughout communities all over the country.  Also, many find it helpful to quickly connect with other military families in their neighborhood, schools, and churches as soon as they move so that they have people around them who understand their experiences.  If a support system of family and friends is not enough, professional help is always available.

Life After Divorce

Going through a divorce can be incredibly painful.  It may be the toughest storm you’ve ever had to weather.  The financial and emotional stress can be hard to bear and the transition from “we” to “me” may feel like going through an identity crisis.  If you’re accustomed to thinking of yourself as one half of a larger whole this is the time to remind yourself that you are a unique and complete individual all of your own.  It’s a major life alteration and, although it may not feel like it at the moment, there can indeed be a truly full and happy life after divorce.  While on the road of transition here are a few things to keep in mind:
1.  Give yourself the freedom to mourn.  Going through a divorce may feel like you’ve experienced a death.  That’s because, in a sense, you have.  Divorce is the death of a marriage and perhaps the lifestyle you envisioned. The feelings you experience may be similar to those in the stages of grief and loss.  Recognize that this is normal and may take some time.
2.  Lean heavily into your support system.  That means allowing friends and family to be there for you when you’re ready.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to take advantage of their offers.  Spending time with others during this painful time can help decrease feelings of loneliness.  Also, many people find divorce support groups to be helpful.  Seek one out in your local community if you feel it would be beneficial to spend time with others who have experienced similar pain.
3. Monitor your thoughts.  Though you are experiencing pain, it’s important to take note of the messages you are sending yourself.  Positivity is a powerful tool.  Recognize that thoughts like “my life is over” aren’t factually true – your life is not over.  Acknowledge that it may feel that way and then try to reframe it in a positive way such as “this is an opportunity for a new beginning for me.”  Perhaps take some time to reflect on goals you had before you were married or personal passions that have been left behind.  Then, take advantage of the opportunity to put them back into practice.
4.  Know when to seek professional help.  If you feel like you are unable to move beyond your grief it may be time to reach out.  If you or loved ones begin to notice symptoms of depression in you or your children or if you simply feel it would be beneficial to talk to an objective third party to help guide you on your new path in life don’t hesitate.
There is life after divorce.  How will you choose to spend it?
Photo Credit:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=732

Infidelity: Signs, Causes, and Coping

Infidelity.  The word alone can strike fear into the heart of any person in a committed relationship.  The very thought of your partner being intimately involved with another individual can send shock-waves.  The reality is even more devastating.  It undermines the foundation of the relationship, but that doesn’t mean it has to end it.
There are signs to look for that can help identify problems in the marriage before resulting in infidelity.  The key is to address them directly in order to save your relationship.  If your partner says things like, “I’m not happy”, “This isn’t working” or “I wish things were like they used to be” he or she may be crying out for help.  It’s important to acknowledge that cry and seek professional assistance.  An objective, nonjudgmental third party can help guide things down a path of recovery.  Sneaking around, a history of cheating, and sudden unexplained interest in personal appearance may also be red flags.  Again, it’s important to address these signs head-on.
Maybe your situation has already moved beyond warning signs and the infidelity became a reality.  You may be wondering why your partner cheated or how to move on from here.  The reasons can be as varied as the individuals involved, but there is some evidence to suggest men typically cheat for sexual reasons while women cheat for emotional reasons.  With that said – the opposite can also be true (men cheat for emotional reasons and women for sexual).  However, knowing the reason probably won’t provide much comfort.  If both parties are committed to saving the relationship it can become stronger than before.  It may take a lot of time, space, and professional help to repair the trust that was broken, but take hope in knowing that it can be done.

Holiday Harmony

Holiday Harmony, Holiday Family Dinner December is in full swing which means the holidays are just around the corner.   For some they symbolize a season of hope, joy, and cheer.  For many, however, the holidays produce tremendous stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression.  Perhaps they are a painful reminder of a loved one lost.  Maybe this is the first Christmas following a painful divorce.  Maybe you’re having difficulty accepting that certain holiday traditions and rituals may not survive in your new blended family.  Or maybe you lay awake at night wondering how you will provide a happy holiday for your children following a recent layoff in the family.  Whatever the reason, know that you are not alone in your feelings.  You should also know there are steps you can take toward creating a harmonious holiday for the entire family in spite of circumstances.
1.  Acknowledge your feelings.  Recognize it is ok to feel sad or lonely.  It may even be a necessary part of the grieving process if you recently lost someone you love.
2.  Set realistic expectations.  The holidays won’t necessarily turn out as rosy as they do in our favorite holiday classic movies.  Remind yourself you cannot do everything (and neither can your spouse).  Set small goals and keep an open mind about compromising some traditions if it means keeping the peace for everyone.
3.  Be good to yourself!  That may mean going to bed early to fight off fatigue or monitoring your eating and drinking consumption so you don’t overindulge all season long (which only adds to feelings of guilt and depression).  Being good to yourself also means taking a few moments each day to just breathe and remember you can do this!  You deserve the break.
4.  Reach out for professional help.  There’s no shame in needing a helping hand through the holidays.  It may be just what your family needs to navigate its way through the season.

hope & restorationWhen the dark clouds of life roll in and settle over you, it’s important to have someone who can help you tap into your inner strength so that you can survive the storm.  At The Empowerment Group, that’s exactly what we do. We welcome you to explore the possibilities that are available to you. Restore a sense of balance and direction to your life. Whether through therapy, through Family Mediation, or through relationship counseling, we can help you find a path toward resolution and relief. Empowering your life! The Empowerment Group wants to help you bring balance, peace and happiness to your life even when the storms roll in and you feel all hope is gone. We can help:
  • Mediation
  • Therapy
  • Relationships
  • Pre-Marital Counseling



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