• 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

     

    When To Seek Professional Help:  You should seek help if any of the behaviors listed above persist for more than a few weeks, behaviors continue to worsen over time, or behaviors begin to interfere with day-to-day activities. Even if the guidelines above aren’t met, if you think you need professional help, you should contact someone.

     

    Tips To Help:  There are several things you can do to help yourself cope with the stress you may be feeling. Many adults, especially parents, find themselves putting on a “brave face” in order to help their families. It’s important to make time for you to process your thoughts and emotions with another adult.  In order for you to take care of others, you must make time to care for yourself. Some ways you can practice self-care include:

    • Make time for rest
    • Accept help from others when you can
    • Try to keep to your normal routines. If normal isn’t possible, work to establish new, consistent routines.
    • Practice thankfulness and gratitude – Ex: Write a letter to someone who has helped you
    • Perform acts of kindness

     

    Resources – Local & Online

    • Disaster Recovery Center: The Disaster Recovery Center is located in the Jacksonville Train Depot (map). This is designed to be a one-stop shop for all the resources you need, including mental health and counseling services.
    • School Counselor: If your child is enrolled in school, the school counselor can help you assess behaviors and connect you with resources you may be needing.
    • Garrett Counseling: You are also welcome to contact our office. We accept most major insurances, and we can be reached at (256) 239-5662.

     

    Online Resources:

  • 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**)

    When To Seek Professional Help:  There are a few guidelines that can help you make the decision to seek help. You should seek help if any of the behaviors listed above persist for more than a few weeks, behaviors continue to worsen over time, or behaviors begin to interfere with day-to-day activities. If you’re a parent or caregiver – trust your instincts. If you feel you should seek help for your child, you should do so even if the above guidelines are met. It is always better to err on the side of caution.

    Tips To Help Your Child: As a parent, there are several things you can do to help your child. Those things include:

    • Limit television or media coverage of the event.
    • Try to keep to normal routines. If normal is not possible, work to create new, but consistent, routines.
    • Involve your child in the rebuilding process. Give them a chore to do at home, assist them in cleaning up for a neighbor, or take them with you to deliver a meal to someone in need.
    • Allow your child opportunity to discuss the event, but don’t pressure them to talk if they aren’t ready.
    • Don’t ignore threats of self-harm or harm to others. If your child demonstrates this behavior, seek help immediately.
    • Encourage your child to resume normal activities such as social activities, athletics, clubs, youth groups, etc.
    • Temporarily relax your expectations for school and general performances.

    Resources – Local & Online:

    • Disaster Recovery Center: The Disaster Recovery Center is located in the Jacksonville Train Depot (map). This is designed to be a one-stop shop for all the resources you need, including mental health and counseling services.
    • School Counselor: The school counselor can help you assess behaviors and connect you with resources you may be needing.
    • Garrett Counseling: You are also welcome to contact our office. We accept most major insurances, and we can be reached at (256) 239-5662.

    Online Resources:

  • 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  

     

    When To Seek Professional Help:  As a parent, it’s important for you to trust your instincts. If you feel your child needs professional help, seek help. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.  However there are a few guidelines that may help you with your decision. You should seek help if any of the behaviors listed above persist for more than a few weeks, behaviors continue to worsen over time, or behaviors begin to interfere with day-to-day activities.

    Tips To Help Your Child:  There are several things parents can do to help children cope with a stressful event. Those things include:

    • Give your child an opportunity to grieve. It may seem silly for your child to be upset over a lost toy or blanket, but to your child: it’s important. Try not to minimize their grieving.
    • Limit your child’s exposure to television coverage or photos of the event.
    • Try to keep to normal routines. If normal isn’t possible, work to establish new, but consistent routines.
    • Find ways to involve your child in the rebuilding process. Give them a small chore to do at your house, help them donate a few old toys, or take them with you to deliver a meal to a neighbor.
    • Let your child know they can talk to you about what happened, but don’t push them to talk if they aren’t ready.
    • Temporarily relax some expectations.
    • Create a family disaster plan together. Working together to create a plan will give your child a sense of control if a similar event happens in the future, but it will also present an opportunity to discuss what happened.

     

    Resources – Local & Online:

    • Disaster Recovery Center: The Disaster Recovery Center is located in the Jacksonville Train Depot (map). This is designed to be a one-stop shop for all the resources you need, including mental health and counseling services.
    • School Counselor: The school counselor can help you assess behaviors and connect you with resources you may be needing.
    • Garrett Counseling: You are also welcome to contact our office. We accept most major insurances, and we can be reached at (256) 239-5662.

     

    Online Resources:

  • 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

     

    When To Seek Professional Help:  When it comes to seeking professional help, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Seek professional help if any of the behaviors listed above persist for more than a few weeks, behaviors continue to worsen over time, or behaviors begin to interfere with day-to-day activities.  As a parent, trust your instincts. If you feel your child needs professional help, even if the guidelines above aren’t met, seek help. It is always better to err on the side of caution.  

     

    Tips To Help Your Child:  There are several things you can do as a parent to help your child cope with a stressful event, like the recent storms. A few of those things are:

    • Answer questions honestly, but briefly. Use simple words, and try to keep an optimistic tone.
    • Remind your child that they are safe and that you will take care of them.
    • Enjoy family time together- watch a movie, play a game, etc.
    • Try to keep to your normal routines. If you can’t keep to your normal routines, establish new, but consistent routines.
    • Protect your children from news coverage and images from the event.
    • Point out caring people in the community and explain how those people are helping.
    • Find a way to involve your child in the rebuilding process – maybe they have some old toys they can donate or let them come with you to take a meal to a neighbor.
    • Allow your child to grieve their loss(es). It may seem silly to be sad over a lost toy when someone else lost more, but to your child – it’s important. Try not to minimize their grieving.
    • Praise age appropriate behavior. You may be way past the days of applauding when your toddler uses the potty, but this is a time to start that back up. Celebrate them!
    • Give your child the opportunity to discuss what happened, but don’t pressure them if they aren’t ready.
    • Create a family disaster plan together. Creating a plan will help your child feel more in control if a similar event happens in the future. Creating a plan also provides an opportunity to discuss what happened.

     

    Resources – Local & Online

    • Disaster Recovery Center: The Disaster Recovery Center is located in the Jacksonville Train Depot (map). This is designed to be a one-stop shop for all the resources you need, including mental health and counseling services.
    • School Counselor: If your child is enrolled in school, the school counselor can help you assess behaviors and connect you with resources you may be needing.
    • Pediatrician: Contact your child’s pediatrician to keep them informed of your child’s behaviors and for resources and recommendations.  
    • Garrett Counseling: You are also welcome to contact our office. We accept most major insurances, and we can be reached at (256) 239-5662.

     

    Online Resources:

     

  • PLAY THERAPY WITH ADOLESCENTS December 19, 2017

    Connecting with adolescents and building a therapeutic alliance can be daunting for even a seasoned therapist. How can trust be established and a relationship built when an adolescent is reluctant to engage with a therapist? Play therapy is the answer! Play gives us an entry into the world of adolescents and enables us to connect with them in a fun and engaging way.Continue Reading

  • DO CUSTODY EVALUATIONS BENEFIT THE CHILDREN, PROTECT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH, AND HELP THE FAMILY MOVE FORWARD? December 19, 2017

    While research regarding the benefits of custody evaluation is limited, we do know that the conflict and instability are harmful to a child’s wellbeing. Typically, custody evaluations are used when a solution can’t be reached and the child’s best interest is to have the best decision made as quickly as possible.Continue Reading

  • GUEST BLOG: MEDIATION & DIVORCE December 19, 2017

    The greatest predictor of maladjustment, behavior issues, depression and anxiety in children is the level of conflict between their parents they are exposed to.

    Many times the conflict children experience between their parents is during and after a divorce. In our current society divorce is often a long, drawn out, expensive, stressful experience for both the parents and the children. How you choose to parent your children though this crisis will never wear off.Continue Reading

  • BE A VOICE December 19, 2017

    In the United States, slavery is not a matter of the past but continues in the modern day and is all around us. While most of us know and acknowledge that sex trafficking exists in other countries, many remain unaware that women, men, and children are being sold for sex in our nation, in our state, and yes, in our city. In my work with women rescued from sex slavery I mentored and counseled women rescued from other countries, other states, and our very own state. Women are trafficked throughout and sold for sex or labor all over our state from cities of lower SES to higher income cities such as Hoover and Mountain Brook. I’d like to take this time to bring awareness by sharing the facts, helping you learn the signs that someone is being trafficked, and advocate for the millions of adults and children who’ve been enslaved by this heinous crime. Please note that these numbers could actually be much higher, as many victims are never identified. Continue Reading

  • GUEST BLOG: DOES MY PRESCHOOLER NEED PLAY THERAPY? December 19, 2017

    Do you ever wonder if the behaviors you see in your preschooler are normal or a cause for concern? Do you sometimes question your parenting strategies and wonder if there’s a better way to respond to your child?

    As three to five year olds become more independent their behaviors can be challenging to most parents. Children who are experiencing difficulty adjusting to the birth of a sibling, a family move or starting preschool may be feeling anxious, confused or fearful. Bedtime battles, potty training, and temper tantrums can prevent you from feeling positive about your ability to parent your preschooler effectively. Sometimes parents are able to resolve difficulties on their own. Sometimes consulting with a play therapist can put a parent at ease.Continue Reading

  • UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY PART 2 December 19, 2017

    While you are waiting to see the therapist, there are some things you can do to slow down and sometimes stop the sensations at the onset. It is logical if you know what adrenaline and cortisol do to the body. Adrenaline causes the heart to beat faster, so taking a walk helps to use up the chemical. If you are sitting at your desk at work and cannot move at that moment, remember to add some fitness into your afternoon or evening. At the onset of symptoms, begin drinking water. Cortisol causes a thickening of the blood, and thick blood is hard to pump, so drinking a tall glass of water will help increase blood flow. A few swallows is not enough. It will need to be 8 oz or better. Secondly take a deep breath and hold it till the count of 10 seconds. Blow out slowly. Continue Reading

  • UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY PART 1 December 19, 2017

    We live in a culture of speed and instant fixes. Anyone or anything that gets in our way is considered a problem in our thinking. We do not tolerate discomfort and if pain or distress occurs, surely a professional will take care of the issue. Even though our bodies are the same as our ancient ancestors, the stressors are quite different. The ancient humans faced ravenous beasts and starvation, and modern man in America is plagued with financial woes and relationship discord. Although the problems are different, the internal alarm system referred to as anxiety is wired the same as in the early history of mankind. In the search for managing stress and anxiety, a brief study of the reasons for the symptoms (or loudness of the alarm) should help improve the unpleasant physiological responses.Continue Reading

  • HOW PLAY THERAPY CAN HELP CHILDREN RECOVER FROM TRAUMA December 19, 2017

    Research is ongoing, but many studies have shown that play therapy helps increase engagement, process trauma in safe space, and reduce manipulative cognitions. Primarily, Release Play Therapy and Structured Play Therapy have been used in the treatment of trauma victims.Continue Reading

  • THERAPY & PTSD December 19, 2017

    According to the National Center for PTSD, as many as 7-8% of people in the United States will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. This number jumps to 11-20% when looking at veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and/or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). With numbers this large, we felt it was important to discuss how therapy can help individuals suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).Continue Reading

  • THAT KIND OF MORNING December 19, 2017

    Good morning! Well, truthfully it has not been a good morning. It’s been a mom morning. You know the kind where there doesn’t seem to be enough coffee in the house. Oh wait, and the ‘out of creamer’ kind of morning. The kind of morning where not one child is dressed appropriately for school. The kind of morning where, of course, no one followed through with that rule in our house of having decent clothes laid out the night before. The kind of morning where you say Jesus’ name more than once, and you aren’t sure if it was in the heart of desperation or anger (Yes, honey, I promise I repented!!). We are honest in this right? So in this kind of morning, my heart yearns for mom companionship. The non-judgemental mom friends. Not the ones who have gotten up at 4 am to cook breakfast for the entire family, those kind of friends are the ones I need on other days. But today, I just need to reach out to those of you who struggle like me on certain mornings. And yes, even you high achievers have these mornings if you are honest! I feel as though it is time for honesty as parents. So here is where I’m at and where I want to go. I want to go through the adventure of seriously turning chaos into order by thinking long term about this parenting thing and I want to stop beating myself up for expecting my kids to be kids, yet hold them accountable.

    From the counseling standpoint, I encourage parents that children need to know expectations and boundaries, and these need to be verbalized repeatedly. They need to know that they are protected, yet allowed to roam freely within those walls of protection. Children are amazing at solving their own problems, if we encourage this. Continue Reading

  • 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

  • WHY SHOULD I PURSUE PLAY THERAPY IN MY PRACTICE? December 19, 2017

    More and more counselors are turning to play therapy in their practices. At Garrett Counseling, we are experts in play therapy and utilize the method regularly.Continue Reading

  • WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PLAY THERAPY December 19, 2017

    Often times, what we discover in our conversations with parents is that they do not fully understand what play therapy is or how it may benefit their child. We want to help parents be better equipped to make decisions and help their children.

    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:

    Continue Reading

  • BOOKSHELF: IN DINOSAURS DIVORCE: A GUIDE FOR CHANGING FAMILIES December 19, 2017

    In Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families, Lauren Krasny Brown and Marc Brown explore all of the different possibilities that can arise as a result of a parents’ divorce. The topics covered include why parents might get a divorce, how things may change, how a child can expect to feel as a result of the divorce, what holidays and special occasions may look like after the divorce, and even the possibility of step parents and siblings.

    Continue Reading

  • BOOKSHELF: THE UNCORKER OF OCEAN BOTTLES December 19, 2017

    The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

    Continue Reading

  • BOOKSHELF: DUCK, DEATH, AND THE TULIP December 14, 2017

    Duck, Death, and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch

    Review by Intern Jessica

    In Duck, Death, and the Tulip, Erlbruch takes a direct approach to tackling the subject of death and loss. Duck seems to be aware that Death has come for her, and together they ponder existential questions. She fears Death at first, but gradually Duck warms up to him before she dies. It ends with Death tenderly smoothing Duck’s feathers, placing her in the river, and watching her body float away. On the final page, Death walks with a fox and rabbit.Continue Reading

  • BOOKSHELF: THE OWL GOES ON HOLIDAY December 14, 2017

    In “The Owl Goes on Holiday” by Ulf Stark and Ann-Cathrine Sigrid Stahlberg, the Owl is a school teacher to the children of the animals in the forest. The stress of teaching has begun to take its toll on him. He has not been sleeping very well lately and feels exhausted while he is giving his lessons. The owl is eager to take some time off and relax, so he decides to take a vacation. At first, the owl enjoys his time off, but eventually begins to miss his schoolchildren. He feels well rested and heads home to get back to work. When he returns, he finds that one of the mice that he teaches has gone missing. He is quickly able to find the missing mouse and return to his work. Sometimes your daily life can become tiring. You feel like you are exhausted and just need to get away for a while. This story demonstrates that vacations, even if it’s just a short one, are necessary to allow ourselves to rest and recuperate. Doing the same work every day can make you feel like you are living in a rut. Going through life in this rut can drag you down and make you feel exhausted. Just a day of getting away and relaxing can improve your well-being, mind, and performance.

    Find something you love and something you are passionate about and use that as an escape from daily life. – Intern Tara

  • Bookshelf: The Friends in Fantasy Forest December 14, 2017

    In “The Friends in Fantasy Forest” by Ulf Stark and Sara Nilsson Bergman, Tuka is sad because his house is blown away by a snowstorm the day before his birthday. All of his friends pitch in to surprise him with a new house and a party. This is truly a wonderful surprise! When he gets to his new home, all of his friends are there. All but one: his best friend Kota. He again becomes sad because his best friend isn’t there to celebrate his birthday with him, but his attention is drawn to a big box in the corner. What’s in the box? The best surprise of all: his best friend Kota! This story beautifully illustrates the importance of friendship. Life can become pretty overwhelming at times.Continue Reading

Get in Touch

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1215 Jackson's Way, SW
Jacksonville, AL 36265
(Across from Jacksonville High School)
(256) 239-5662
 | Phone
(256) 217-4162 | Fax
» Get Directions


Boaz
605 A Medical Center Pkwy
Boaz, Al 35957
(256) 239-5662 | Phone
(256) 217-4162 | Fax
» Get Directions