Understanding Depression

Depression is a group of enduring symptoms that last anywhere from a few weeks to many years. Symptoms are broken down into 4 clusters:

  1. How you think (e.g. self-criticism, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, concentration difficulties, overall negativity)
  2. How you act (e.g. isolating, low motivation)How you feel emotionally (e.g. sad, guilty, irritable, angry, anxious) How you feel physically (e.g. appetite or sleep changes)
  3. A negative state of mind that colors all of your experiences is the chief feature of depression. You may cry a great deal, or you may want to cry, but can’t. Simple chores require great effort and everyday problems seem overwhelming.
  4. You become your own worst critic and believe that you’re being punished for something you did wrong.

Causes of Depression

The most likely explanation of depression is that it is a built-in, natural response to feeling defeated. From an evolutionary perspective, depression allows you to shut down until the dire conditions improve. Every human, if they feel defeated enough, will become depressed.

When you become depressed, your mind and body are operating exactly as they were designed to do when faced with insurmountable obstacles. The problem is that you are reacting to an imagined total defeat, rather than a real one. In other words, the obstacles are actually NOT insurmountable – you just perceive them that way. (Source: Overcoming Depression Client Manual by Gary Elmberg, Ph.D.)

Healing from Grief and Loss

Grief is experienced in three major ways:

  • Psychologically (feelings, thoughts and attitudes)
  • Socially (behavior toward others)
  • Physically (health and bodily symptoms)

Grief is a continuing development, involving many changes over time. PCS provides comprehensive steps toward effective grief work in addressing both physical and symbolic experiences of losses:

  • Facing the reality of the loss
  • Working through painful memories
  • Experiencing range of emotions associated with the loss
  • Coping with lifestyles changes
  • Adapting to the loss and reconfiguring life

There is hope for healing from loss. Call PCS today to begin the process.

Helping Women Deal with Psychological Challenges

Psychological Counseling Services, Ltd. is a group of licensed psychologists and mental health professionals who provide specialized psychological and educational services for women. It is our pledge to work with individual women, families, and organizations in a safe, supportive, and therapeutic manner.

  • Counseling Services – individual, relationship, family, and group therapy with treatment planning and implementation.
  • Assessment Services – evaluations, personality, and career with treatment planning and implementation.
  • Consultation Services – staff development, communication skills training, team building, and conflict management.
  • Workshops – mental health wellness, parenting classes, life management, couples communications skills, anger/forgiveness, and spirituality.

PCS offers women specialized, intensive outpatient therapy unique to the individual woman. The philosophy at PCS reflects that the world changes when we change; that the world softens when we soften; and that the world loves us when we as women choose to love ourselves and the world around us.

Trauma Resolution

Emotional trauma is defined as any distressing experience that causes emotional shock and may have long-lasting psychological effects. Trauma resolution is accomplished when the painful memory or event no longer triggers anxious reactions or distorted thoughts. At PCS, all therapists are trained to assist clients in identifying past traumatic experiences that may contribute to present dysfunction. The goal of treatment is to assist the client in desensitizing and processing painful experiences in order to integrate the event into their life story. This is accomplished through individual talk and experiential therapies (including hypnotherapy and EMDR) as well as experiential groups such as Psychodrama, Anger and Forgiveness, and GET.

Depression in Teenagers

Depression is the predecessor to suicide and teens experience depression differently than adults. For example:

Instead of exhibiting typical depressive behavior such as lethargy, helplessness and lack of energy, most teens will become hyperactive. Although increased activity during the teen years can be normal, changing friends or interests frequently can indicate a serious problem. When this happens, the teen begins alienating himself from many forms of emotional support. When this occurs, the teen does not maintain any strong connections and they become a higher suicide risk.

Surprisingly teen suicide rates increase dramatically following a publicized account of suicide. A teenagers’ attitude or affective mood can change dramatically overnight. Often, they will imitate what is happening around them, or copy something they have heard about in the news.

Alcohol and drugs may mask depression. Although alcohol is a depressant, in teenagers, it can be a way of acting out so the teen will not have to feel the inner feelings of self-condemnation or loss.

(Taken from ALPHA News – Understanding Teen Depression and Suicide by Gaylen Larson, M.A.)

Surviving Ashley Madison

The recent security breach of the Ashley Madison website is having a profound effect upon both the individuals named and their spouses/partners. If you found the email of your spouse in the leaked email addresses OR if you find yourself dealing with infidelity please know that help is there for you.

Betrayal in any relationship is a difficult issue to overcome but when the betrayal is exposed in a public format the results can create havoc in the lives of everyone involved. Let this event be a new beginning for you. It has been shown again and again in our practice that recovery is possible after an affair.

If you are feeling hurt or overwhelmed and are looking for support, we have been helping couples for over 40 years. Let us help you find a treatment program that can assist you in getting your life back on track.

The staff of PCS welcomes your call and looks forward to hearing from you.

Sports Performance Enhancement

Trained therapists at PCS incorporate time-tested tools with the latest technology to promote production and performance with athletes from all sporting venues. We address the development of mental toughness; tools for cultivating a productive response to pressure; reversing a setback; handling stress; and cultivating visualization skills through hypnotherapy and EMDR. Proven techniques are integrated with grounded principles that produce championship living.

Single Parent and Blended Families

Divorce happens to about 40-50% of first marriages and another group of children lose a parent to death. While divorce and bereavement do not necessarily lead to long-term adjustment problems in children, there is a subset of kids who suffer long-term problems as a result of these transitions. Following divorce or bereavement some kids then have to deal with the unique issues associated with blended families, such as the myth of immediate love; how to have a relationship with a stepparent, stepsiblings, or half siblings; increased demand for limited resources, such as money, time and space; and how to manage the different culture, rules and expectations of extended biological family and extended stepfamily.

In spite of all these challenges, there are concrete, evidence-based strategies parents can use to help kids cope and to prevent their children from suffering long-term damage from family transitions. At PCS, we offer child therapy, teach parenting strategies, and provide family therapy to address the unique concerns of children and families who have experienced divorce, bereavement or repartnering/remarriage.

Identifying and Treating Personality Disorders

Everyone has unique personality traits, some positive and some negative. Negative personality traits that can be traced back to childhood or adolescence and become rigid and problematic in many areas of an individual’s life may indicate the presence of a personality disorder. Personality disorders may cause considerable chaos, frustration, and disappointment and lead to depression, anxiety, marital discord, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, and addictive patterns. Therapy involves helping individuals identify distorted patterns of thinking and the accompanying vicious cycles of self-defeating behavior and then relearning new ways of being with self and others. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) have proven to be helpful tools in the change process.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by compulsive behaviors that are hard to understand at times. In OCD, people attempt to avoid disturbing thoughts that are difficult to stop (obsessions) by doing compulsive behaviors that don’t always appear to make a lot of sense.

Obsessions may include:

  • Fears that you will be harmed or considered flawed in some important way,
  • Fears that someone else will be harmed by you,
  • Worries about germs, pollution or contaminants,
  • Worries about you or someone you love contracting diseases

Compulsions may include:

  • Checking behaviors,
  • Compulsive washing or cleaning,
  • Extreme orderliness,
  • Driving rituals,
  • Avoiding situations or people

While at times these compulsive behaviors can lead to positive outcomes, such as very clean houses or perfectionistic work behaviors, many of the compulsive behaviors or “rituals” are difficult to understand by even those who are doing them. Friends and family often think a person with OCD should just “stop” doing the rituals. However, much evidence suggests that OCD does not just go away over time, despite the best intentions of people struggling with the disorder. Often people with the disorder report feeling they can’t imagine stopping the behaviors and feeling hopeless that anyone will be able to help them.

Unfortunately, people with OCD may be struggling unnecessarily. The good news is that behavioral and psychoactive (e.g., SSRIs) treatments can be extremely helpful. In fact, behavioral treatments, such as exposure therapy with response prevention (ET/RP), has been shown in research to work for about 75% of the people who complete it. Also, people who complete the treatment, report a strong reduction in the compulsions and obsessions they experience. ET/RP involves an intensive outpatient treatment model that requires a strong commitment by the participants but can be completed in about 4 weeks. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) may also be incorporated into the treatment of OCD.

Trichotillomania is a disorder that most traditionally involves pulling the hair from one’s body (e.g., eyebrows, arms, head), often during times of stress and anxiety. In addition to hair pulling, some people with Trichotillomania symptoms pick their skin compulsively. While hair pulling and skin picking may seem difficult to understand, ET/RP treatment strategies can also be helpful in managing this disorder.

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