• Grieving During COVID-19 June 22, 2020

    During this time, many of us are grieving. Some may be grieving the death of a loved one; some may be grieving other types of loss like the loss of a job or cancelled special events, such as graduations and weddings. No matter what type of grief you are experiencing, it’s important for us to learn healthy ways to cope with grief and how to support one another during this time of physical isolation.

    Coping with Grief

    What are some ways we can cope with our grief? First, remember to practice self-care. Set aside some time to take care of yourself and do something you enjoy – it could be going for a run, soaking in a warm bath, or finding a quiet place to read. Whatever self-care looks like for you, take time for that activity! Second, it is important to remind yourself that what you are feeling is valid. Sometimes, we find ourselves downplaying our grief with thoughts like “It really could be worse, look what this person is experiencing.” Remind yourself that another person’s circumstances do not take away from your own. Your grief is valid. Your emotions are valid. Next, seek connection and support! While we are living in a time where we are having to be more physically distant, connection with our loved ones is still important. Staying connected during this time may mean utilizing tools like phone calls, text messages, video chats, or even handwritten letters. If you need additional support, reach out to a professional who can help you through your grief journey. Finally, allow yourself time. Grief is not typically something that goes away in a matter of days or even weeks. Allow yourself the time you need to grieve!

    Garrett Counseling’s Sandra Owens shares this message of hope:

    To me grief is like being at the bottom of a deep, dark, dank well. Sometimes it feels hopeless and I want to give up. Everything seems so bleak. Then one day I realize there has been help waiting for me to do my part in getting out of the well. I just didn’t see it. That’s when I understand there is always hope for change. – Hope by Sandra Owens, MSW, LICSW, PIP

    Supporting a Grieving Loved One

    When our loved ones are grieving, it can be hard to know how to best support them. First, take the time to listen to them. Often, the temptation is to try to offer advice, but our loved ones need someone willing to listen to them talk about what they are facing. Next, validate how they feel and refrain from minimizing their pain. Even when you don’t completely understand what they are going through, their grief and emotions are valid. Remind them of that! Third, ask your loved one how you can help support them. Is there a task you can take off their plate, can you organize a virtual hangout with your friend group, or could you have their favorite food delivered to them. Don’t be afraid to ask what would be helpful! Lastly, stay connected with your grieving loved one, especially during this time of physical separation. Try to reach out regularly with a quick phone call or text.

    Odds are, we are all grieving something during this pandemic. That is why it is so important for us to know how to cope with our own grief and how to support our loved ones who are grieving. If you are in need of additional help as you are grieving, please reach out to your counselor or contact us!

  • Statement of Solidarity June 20, 2020

    Garrett Counseling stands in solidarity with our Black counselors, community, and clients. We support the Black Lives Matter movement, protesters, and any other activists, communities, and leaders who fight systemic and institutionalized racism. Now is the time for us, as a society, to listen to our Black leaders, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members. We must not expect our Black Americans to comfort our discomfort, nor should we expect them to answer our questions when we have had more access to historical, cultural, and educational resources than ever before. For those familiar with racism and the insidious and detrimental effects, Garrett Counseling sees you, hears you, and stands with you. We know this is still not enough, and it will never be until White supremacy and institutionalized racism is dismantled. We commit to continuing this fight for true justice. We have a long way to go, but we must continue. We must take action.

    For Counselors: Key to the counselor identity is striking a balance between individual counseling and our role as social justice advocates with the ultimate goal of challenging the status quo that perpetuates world-wide inequities, while simultaneously addressing clients’ immediate concerns. Our advocacy identity should be evident across all of the roles we hold (e.g., counselors, counselor educators, supervisors, researchers, leaders, and citizens). Therefore, we must work to increase our self-awareness and other-awareness, to be diligent in recognizing and addressing issues of power and oppression in our clinical settings, classrooms, communities, and our research (ACA, Social Justice Counseling Competencies, 2020 statement).

  • Essential Workers & Stress During COVID-19 June 17, 2020

    Essential workers have found themselves in the spotlight and on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. This time has caused us to take a deeper look at what an essential worker is… What at one point was healthcare workers and first responders, now includes even more workers – those working in grocery stores, restaurants, manufacturing, delivery, and more are all now included in this group of workers.

    These essential workers are facing an increased amount of stress and anxiety. Garrett Counseling’s Clinical Director, Ginger Caudell, helps clients with anxiety, stress, and depression, and she offers great insight to the concerns these workers are facing. She says, “Essential worker concerns range from the people who are working at low wages while they face the virus being passed from co-workers in production settings to more highly paid medical professionals who deal with COVID being passed from their patients. Either way, worries about being sick is an issue.” Fear of contracting the virus and facing terrible symptoms or death seems to be a concern for everyone, but the fear is certainly heightened for older individuals.

    While concern for health is a primary concern for essential workers, other stressors during this time include difficulty finding childcare and financial strain. Even as public childcare options reopen, public health guidelines make availability limited. For those who rely on grandparents to care for children, there is the added concern that grandparents fall into the category of those at high risk if they contract the virus. Financially speaking, there is the worry of getting sick if one goes into work but the worry of not being about to pay bills if one stays home. Ginger says, “It is highly anxiety evoking to be scared of getting sick when you go to work while also being scared of not going to work all occurring at the same time. It does seem to indicate a new type of injustice when the people with the lowest income are the least able to worry about the virus, but instead to worry about the aftermath of the virus.”

    So, how can essential workers cope with the stress they are facing? Engage in healthy activities (such as keeping a consistent sleep schedule when possible and getting fresh air each day), stay connected with friends and family, and seek help when needed are a few ways!

    Maybe you are reading this, and you are not an essential worker but someone you love is. Two important ways you can support your loved one is to listen and stay connected. Take the time to reach out to ask how they are doing and really listen to what they say!

    At Garrett Counseling, we are committed to helping our clients navigate these unique times. If we can help you, please reach out to your counselor or contact us for more information.

  • Staying Connected To Your Partner During COVID-19 April 24, 2020

    Unprecedented times, like the current stay-at-home orders, can add stress to our relationships with those we love. When learning to make adjustments like working from home or spending more time at home, it’s understandable that people are asking the question, “How can my partner and I stay connected during the coronavirus ‘lockdown’?” We put together a few ideas that may help you strengthen your relationship with your partner.

     

    Create Quality Time Together

    While “dates” will look different during this time of quarantine, it is still just as important to be intentional about quality time for you and your partner. Couples and Sex Therapist, Leah Simmons says, “For our couples in lockdown, it is important to remind them to create quality time together, which can be with a game, movie or walk… Find ways to be creative and engage in laughter or get out of their comfort zone and have a dance party in any room in the house.”

    Communicate Regularly

    Communication is always important for relationships, especially during a stressful time.

    Between work, kids, and other responsibilities, days can go by quickly! One way to be intentional about communicating is to have daily check-ins. Set a time each day, maybe after the kids go to bed, to check in with your partner about their day. Ask questions like “How are you feeling?” or “How can I support you?” Take this time for each of you to really listen to one another and to communicate your emotions, anxieties, needs, etc.

    If both partners are working from home, it may be a good idea to spend just a few minutes each morning reviewing work schedules. This can be especially useful if one or both of you are conducting meetings over video or phone calls!

    Leah Simmons says, “If couples want to find new ways to communicate they can create a time to watch Brene Brown’s Call to Courage on Netflix and identify how they can engage in better communication.”

    Remember Self-Care

    Most likely, you and your partner are not accustomed to being in the house together all day, every day! Leah Simmons says, “It is important for each of them to have some alone time and engage in self-care for themselves so they can better connect with their partner.” Taking time alone to engage in self-care will provide each of you a chance to recharge and reflect, which will strengthen your relationship!

    This pandemic is a new experience for all of us, and we are here for you as you navigate it. If you find your relationship needing additional help, please reach out to your counselor or contact us.

  • Staying Connected When Feeling Disconnected April 9, 2020

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, social distancing has become our new normal. Social distancing refers to increasing the amount of space between people in order to slow the spread of the illness. But, for most of us, our new normal probably looks a lot more like only leaving our homes for activities that are absolutely essential. With all of this time at home and away from people we are accustomed to seeing regularly, many people are feeling lonely and disconnected. We want to share a few ideas to help you stay connected to those you love during your time apart:

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  • Parenting & Social Distancing: How Do I Keep My Sanity? March 31, 2020
    The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we have seen before, and with it comes unique challenges – like having the entire family home together every day. With everything that is going on, you may have found yourself asking “How do I keep my sanity with my kids home all day?” We have compiled a list of ideas to help you thrive during this time of social distancing:

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  • All About Online Counseling March 26, 2020

    Did you know that Garrett Counseling recently began offering online counseling, sometimes referred to as teletherapy? We are excited to be able to offer this service to you, especially during a time when you may not be able to come to the office or you just don’t feel comfortable getting out. Our counselors are working hard to support you during this time, including opening their schedules to more appointments and assisting you in the transition to online therapy if you’re interested. This blog is designed to give you all the basic details about online counseling. If you’re interested in learning more about the specific online counseling that we offer at Garrett Counseling, you can get more information by reaching out to your current counselor or by visiting our new online counseling webpage (insert link: https://garrettcounseling.com/online-counseling-services/ ).Continue Reading

  • Grief March 21, 2019

    Grief is a natural response to losing someone or something that’s important to you. You may feel a variety of emotions, like sadness or loneliness. And you might experience it for a number of different reasons. Maybe a loved one died, a relationship ended, or you lost your job. Other life changes, like chronic illness or a move to a new home, can also lead to grief.  Everyone grieves differently, but if you understand your emotions, take care of yourself, and seek support, you can heal.  Your feelings may happen in different stages as you come to terms with your loss. Every person goes through these phases in his or her own way. You may go back and forth between them, or skip one or more stages altogether. Continue Reading

  • Growing Your Relationship – Building Connection March 20, 2019

    As we begin a new year, we tend to reflect on the past and set new goals for ourselves. Perhaps focusing on building connection with your partner is one of the best things you can do for your relationship this year. Think about it: At the beginning of a relationship, we put a great deal of effort into it – going on dates and talking for hours. Then somewhere along the way, we stop doing those things and begin to run on “autopilot.” Relationships thrive when we put effort into them. That’s why in this blog, we’re sharing a few ideas for building intimacy in your relationship.Continue Reading

  • Why You Should Drink More Water (& Some Tips To Help You) January 11, 2019

    Drink Water

    Water has many benefits for us, and most of us probably aren’t drinking enough! In this blog, we will share a few reasons why you should be drinking more water and a few tips to help you increase your water consumption.

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  • How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health (+ Take Our Sleep Quiz) December 27, 2018

    Most of us know that sleep is extremely important to our health – both physical and mental. Yet many Americans report they struggle with getting enough quality sleep! In fact, some studies have found that 40-60 million American adults struggle with sleep issues and disorders (1) and over 60% of American children have difficulty sleeping at least one night each week (2). In this blog, we’ll take a look at why getting enough quality sleep is so important for our mental health, how much sleep is recommended, and advice for improving your sleep quality.

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  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Understanding the “Winter Blues” December 21, 2018

    Winter is upon us, and with it comes shorter days and colder weather. This season is known widely for its holidays, snow covered trees (depending on where you live), cozy nights by a fire, and other traditions. But winter is also a time where we see a rise in something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “Winter Blues”. In fact, Seasonal Affective Disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans, with an additional 10-20% possibly suffering from a milder form. (3)

    Throughout this blog, we want to help you understand Seasonal Affective Disorder and  give you some practical tips for taking care of yourself this winter.Continue Reading

  • After the Storm: Part 4 April 8, 2018

    Today is the final part in our series on coping with stressful events, like the recent storms in Jacksonville, AL. Today, our focus is on adults.

    Typical Behaviors:  Events like the recent storms can cause a significant amount of stress for adults. This stress can present itself in several different behaviors and symptoms. Some of those behaviors include:

    • Replaying the event or memories of the event in your head
    • Trouble sleeping or nightmares
    • Flashbacks to the event
    • Fear, worry, or anxiety
    • Anger, depression, or sadness
    • Increased sensitivity to loud noises or being easily startled
    • Decreased appetite or trouble eating

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  • After the Storm: Part 3 April 8, 2018

    Today, we are moving on in our series about coping with stressful events – like the storms that recently impacted Jacksonville, AL. Today, our focus is on children ages 12-18.

    Typical Behaviors:  During and following events like these storms, children and adults can experience stress. This stress can manifest itself in a variety of behaviors or symptoms. The behaviors seen most often in children ages 12-18 include:

    • Depression, anxiety, or worrying
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    • TEMPORARY problems at school – grades or attendance
    • Withdrawing from friends or family
    • Becoming more accident prone
    • Acting out or rebelling
    • Changing future plans – Ex: “I’m not going on that trip now.”
    • Focusing only on current things or things in the very near future
    • Appetite changes – overeating or undereating
    • Focusing completely on themselves
    • Seeking revenge
    • Engaging in behaviors as a distraction – substance use or risk taking
    • Talking about suicide, self-harm, suicide pacts, etc. (**Seek Immediate Help**)
    • Life threatening behavior or reenactments of the event (**Seek Immediate Help**)

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  • After the Storm: Part 2 April 8, 2018

     

    Today, we are on part two of our series on coping with stressful events, like the recent storms in Jacksonville, AL. Today’s focus is on children ages 7-12.

    Typical Behaviors:  During and after stressful events, both children and adults can experience significant amounts of stress. This stress can present in a variety of symptoms or behaviors. The behaviors or symptoms typically seen in children ages 7-12 include:

    • Paying close attention to caregivers or parents to watch their anxiety and fear levels
    • Losing interest in usual activities
    • Withdrawing from friends
    • Becoming focused or preoccupied with safety
    • TEMPORARY decrease in grades or school performance
    • Physical pain – including stomach aches or headaches
    • Increased sensitivity or response to loud/sudden noises
    • Difficulty sleeping or night fears
    • Clinging to parents or caregivers  

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  • After the Storm: Part 1 April 8, 2018

    After The Storm: Part 1 (Ages 6 and Under)

    Over the next few days, we will be sharing a series of blogs related to coping with stressful events, like the recent storms in Jacksonville, AL. Each blog will focus on different age groups. Today, we are focused on children ages 6 and below.

    Typical Behaviors:  During and after events, like the recent storms, people can experience a great amount of stress – children are no different. This stress can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms or behaviors. Those most typically seen in children ages 6 and under are:

    • Change In Behavior: Becoming more aggressive than usual, becoming much quieter, etc.
    • Return To Previous Behaviors: Clinging to parents, bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, etc.
    • Night Fears or Trouble Sleeping
    • Physical Pain: Including headaches or stomach aches
    • Heightened Response or Sensitivity to Loud or Sudden Noises
    • Change In Appetite: Eating more or less than normal
    • Confusion

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  • BOOKSHELF: WILD ABOUT YOU December 19, 2017

    Wild About You is a children’s book written by Judy Sierra with pictures by Marc Brown. This book illustrates many themes, such as the struggle of wanting to start a family via adoption and how sometimes it takes a village to raise children. One important theme shown by this book is that despite looking different or coming from different backgrounds, the most important factor in adopting a new member into a family is unconditional love provided by the parents. This book also reveals the difficulties in raising a child without an support system. Without help from others, the pandas and the kangaroo would not be successful in raising their adoptive babies. This book would make an excellent tool to help children who may struggle with understanding why some families adopt, or why other families may look different from theirs.

    Written by Intern Josalyn

    Josalyn is a Senior at Jacksonville State University, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology with an interest in pursuing a career in mental health counseling and advocating for social equality.

  • BOOKSHELF: THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT December 19, 2017

    One day, as Duncan was getting ready to color in class, he opened his box of crayons only to find a stack of written letters. One by one he opens the letters and begins to read. To his surprise the letters are from the crayons! Letter after letter, color after color, Duncan acknowledges each complaint. But what were the crayons complaining about? Each one had a feeling of being overworked , underworked,unappreciated, and/or misused. Duncan came up with a plan and decided to color one big picture using every color to its best abilities. The Picture was so unique and beautiful that Duncan’s teacher gave him an A+ for creativity.

    Activity: Each crayons expresses a different feeling or emotion in the book. Grab a blank paper and go over each individual crayons complaints in the book. Have a conversation with your child about what the crayon is feeling, why it feels that way, and how to resolve those feelings. Then have the child draw the emotions with that specific color or a picture of choice. You can even have them act out a time where they felt the same way, helping to build empathy.Continue Reading

  • EFFECTS OF NATURE THERAPY December 19, 2017

    Nature – Based Therapy is becoming the therapy of choice for many counselors, and with research showing positive results, it’s easy to see why! Nature – Based Therapy refers to programs that promote mental health through an on outdoor environment. At Garrett Counseling, we are big proponents of Nature – Based Therapy, and here is why:

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