Recognizing Depression in a Loved One

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish whether someone is just going through a funk or if it is more serious. Feeling blue is a normal emotion, but if those blues aren’t going away, it’s time to consider depression counseling.

depression therapist, depression counseling

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression can come in many forms, and symptoms range from mild to severe. The list below touches on some of the signs and symptoms that would suggest your loved one is suffering from more than just the blues and should consider depression counseling.

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Not participating in activities they once found enjoyable
  • Comments about the world being better off without them
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Changes in weight (loss or gain)

Where Does Depression Come From?

Every human has a unique ability to handle life in their own ways. A life event that is tough but manageable for one individual could be extremely difficult for someone else to handle which leads them into depression. Transitions in life are a great example. When children are grown and leave to begin a life on their own, some parents are thrilled to begin this new phase of their life while others deal with empty nest depression. Other factors that could lead to depression include chronic illness, an unexpected diagnosis, the loss of a job, moving away from friends and family, divorce, the loss of a loved one, or financial struggles.

Compassionate Depression Therapists at Garrett Counseling

If you have noticed signs of depression in your loved one, take the first step in helping them conquer their depression and schedule an appointment with Garrett Counseling. Our compassionate depression counseling experts are here to support your loved one during each step of their journey. Contact our professionals by calling (256) 239-5662, or follow this link to submit your request through our convenient online contact form.

 

What is Anxiety?

What Is AnxietyAnxiety is complex, overwhelming, and sometimes debilitating. Often we can find ourselves trapped in a vicious cycle of fear, anticipation, and doubt that begins from one simple thought. Our minds have the ability to do amazing things from creating our own creative worlds to solving difficult problems. However, when we are anxious, our minds can take us to scary places. In this blog, we are going to take a look at what anxiety is.

Two Types Of Anxiety Experiences

Neuroscientist and professor David Pittman, Ph. D., describes two types of anxiety experiences: a cortex experience and an amygdala experience. His point is that anxiety can manifest itself as thoughts, which is a cortex experience, or as physiological sensations, which is an amygdala experience. When we hear “anxiety,” we often think of thoughts about bad things happening or worrying about what others think of us. Something important to remember is anxiety can present as a small scale worry, such as an upcoming test, or a large scale worry, such as pain or loss.

How To Know If You Are Experiencing Anxiety

Have you found yourself experiencing any of the following:

  • Practicing Problem Situations: Thinking About What Could Go Wrong and What You Would Do
  • Reflecting On Past Problems and How You Could Have Done Things Differently
  • Having Constant Thoughts That Prevent Sleep
  • Imagining Social Situations In Which Others Judge You
  • Thinking About The Worst Happening
  • Feeling Overwhelmed or Inadequate When Problems Arise
  • Taking Comments Too Personally

These thoughts are common in people who are experiencing anxiety and feel stuck in their thoughts.

It is easy to get caught in this cycle of “what if” and “should have” thinking, but there is hope! Counseling can help you put these thoughts in perspective and find ways to challenge and reframe them. At Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL, our counselors have extensive experience working with individuals experiencing anxiety. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or online to schedule an appointment.


Emily Tester, a mental health counselor at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL, wrote this blog. She was inspired by a training she attended by Dr. David Pittman, Ph.D. Learn more about Emily by clicking here, and learn more about Dr. Pittman by clicking here.

Why Play Therapy if My Child Can Talk?

 

Even though your child is able to speak words, their minds are not yet capable of conveying feelings and emotions like an older child or an adult can. Research has shown that play therapy for PTSD and other mental health issues is a very effective method of treatment for younger clients.

reaching children through play therapy

Play Therapy Techniques and How it Works

When your child is playing at home or with friends, do you create a script for them to follow? Sounds like a silly question, right? More than likely, they are engrossed in an imaginary world acting out whatever creative thought comes to mind. Many scenarios within their playtime are recreations of situations they have witnessed in their own life.

Similarly, when a counselor is working with your child, there will be no limitations of play therapy. As they reenact life experiences or act out what they are feeling, the therapist asses different things including:

  • Social skills
  • Emotions
  • Problem solving abilities
  • Underlying behavioral issues

Observation of other things specifically related to the child also occur. A variety of methods can be used to complete the assessment such as board games, card games, puppets, sand trays, coloring, building with blocks, art and dolls.

Because a child does not always understand what they are feeling, play therapy gives them a way to express what’s inside while a trained mental health professional analyzes their behaviors and is able to distinguish what the issues are that need to be addressed.

Reaching Children Through Play Therapy at Garrett Counseling

Through evidence-based techniques, our play therapy experts at Garrett provide a unique approach that is effective with child therapy. Give us a call today and see how play therapy for PTSD can help your child. You can reach us at (256) 239-5662. If you have questions about limitations of play therapy, send us a message here, and we will get back to you as soon as possible! With offices in Boaz, Huntsville, and Jacksonville, we are reaching Alabama children through play therapy one child at a time.

What Are Symptoms Of Depression In Children and Teens?

What Are Symptoms Of Depression In Children and TeensDepression is sometimes referred to in different ways, such as “the blues” or “being in a funk.” Everyone experiences “down” days, but how do you know if what your child is experiencing is depression? In this blog, we will take a look at symptoms of depression in children and teens.

How Are Children Affected By Depression?

The CDC estimates that 1.9 million children aged 3-17 have diagnosed depression. Depression in children and teens can be caused by different factors, including biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

Common symptoms of depression in children and teens can include depressed or irritable mood and loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, among other clinical signs. We know that these behaviors can be difficult to identify, especially in children who can’t yet communicate how they are feeling and in teens experiencing normal teenage behavior. If you are noticing changes in behavior that last for at least two or more weeks or extreme changes in behavior, we recommend working with a professional counselor to help your child through what they are experiencing.

Seeking Help For Children and Teens Experiencing Depression

Treating depression in children and teens can include a variety of methods such as medication, emotional management, behavioral management, lifestyle changes, and more. At Garrett Counseling, our goal is to provide your child with the tools they need to become regulated and process their feelings in a healthy way.

One of the therapy methods we use often with children is play therapy. Play therapy allows children to communicate through a fun, safe, and healthy way that indirectly teaches them how to manage their feelings and build the skills they need to overcome adversities.

Our counselors at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL and our other locations are experienced in working with children and teens who are experiencing depression. If you would like to speak with us about working with you and your child, contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or online by clicking here.

What Are Symptoms of Depression In Adults?

What Are Symptoms Of Depression In AdultsDepression is sometimes referred to in different ways, such as “the blues” or “being in a funk.” Everyone experiences “down” days, but how do you know if what you are experiencing is depression? In this blog, we will take a look at symptoms of depression in adults.

Common Symptoms of Depression in Adults

  • Crying Spells
  • Ruminative Negative Thoughts
  • Feelings of Sadness
  • Feelings of Worthlessness
  • Irritability
  • Sleep Disturbance (i.g., sleeping too much or too little)
  • Muscle Tension
  • Appetite Disturbance
  • Potential Alcohol or Drug Abuse (as a means of coping)
  • Self-Imposed, Over Isolation
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Thoughts of Self-Harm

Understanding When Symptoms May Indicate Depression

Depression is measured by severity of symptoms, including:

  • How the symptoms affect a person’s daily functioning
  • How long the person has been experiencing the symptoms

For example, consider the difference between someone who has experienced depressive symptoms for two days and is fully functioning, versus a person who has experienced it for 2 months and is in jeopardy of losing their job due to excessive absences from work. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, try asking yourself, “How long have you been feeling this way?”.

Seeking Help For Depression

While there are several, varying types of depression (e.g., clinical depression, seasonal effect depression, etc.), no form of depression will necessarily go away on its own. In fact, most forms of depression require treatment in some form.

Many people spend far too much time and energy on hiding their problematic, depressive symptoms, and far too few seek treatment. There are ways to embrace, better understand, and ultimately tame your depressive symptoms. For some people this can look like reaching out to others, seeing a mental health professional, and/or increasing healthy movement and nutrition.

If you have been experiencing any of the feelings mentioned above for 2 weeks or more, or experiencing thoughts of suicide or self- harm, we encourage you to reach out for help. Garrett Counseling has a team of counselors in Huntsville, AL and our other locations that are experienced in working with adults who are experiencing depression. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or by clicking here.

How Do You Know You’re Ready to Leave Therapy?

One of the myths about therapy we hear as a Huntsville therapist is that once you start, you are committed for life. Although it might seem like forever to some, therapy for the rest of your natural life is simply not the norm. So, how do you know when you are ready for your final session? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this blog.

Huntsville therapist

The Psychotherapy Cycle

Everyone’s journey is different. Your experiences, childhood circumstances, relationships, and all other factors in life make you unique. Therefore, your involvement in therapy will be unlike others. The length of time you attend therapy, the assignments you are given, and the frequency of your visits will be customized by a Huntsville therapist to your specific needs. Will you be in therapy forever? The answer is no, and here is why. There is a process. When you begin therapy, you obviously have a reason for why you are there. Based on that reason, goals are set, and then steps are taken to achieve that goal. Typically, psychotherapy is a four-step cycle.

  1. Orientation – The first step where you and your therapist build a relationship. It might be a little awkward sharing intimate details of your life with a stranger. This is the part where you get to know your therapist and become comfortable with them.
  2. Identification – As the name implies we identify issues i this step, but goals are also discussed.
  3. Working Stage – Now the hard work begins. You’re comfortable talking to your counselor. Things you want to work on have been identified. Goals have been set, and now you start working towards achieving those goals. Be prepared. This will be the most challenging phase.
  4. Resolution – Your goals have been met, and phasing out therapy begins.

Looking For a Therapist in Huntsville?

If you have questions about starting counseling or how long you need counseling, contact one of our Huntsville therapists today at (256) 239-5662. You can also submit questions or request an appointment by following this link. We offer in-person appointments as well as virtual sessions if you prefer the comfort and safety of your own home.

 

What Causes PTSD?

According to Psychiatry.org, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.” Although there can be long-term side effects from an event such as those mentioned above, not everyone will need the services of a trauma counselor.

trauma counselor

Types of Therapy for PTSD

Some victims suffering with PTSD find that support groups and/or sharing their feelings and experience with others is helpful. They are able to process their trauma to a degree that their PTSD symptoms subside or disappear all together. For some, however, the side effects are too severe to manage individually and require crisis and trauma counseling.

There are several types of PTSD therapy that your counselor may employ. The ones we are discussing today provide a brief overview. Keep in mind that the clinicians who utilize any of the following treatments with their clients have gone through extensive training and education to become proficient and qualified to render these treatments.

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Targeting the problem and honing in on changing negative thoughts and behaviors that are responsible for difficulty with daily functioning
  2. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) – Creating a new perspective on the trauma which decreases the negative effects
  3. Prolonged exposure – Gradually facing the trauma and understanding the memories are not a threat
  4. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) – Combining visual stimulation with memories which reduces the effects of the trauma.
  5. Medication – Sometimes a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most effective treatment. Your medical professionals can determine what is best.

Compassionate and Effective Trauma Counselors at Garrett Counseling

Garrett Counseling has three convenient locations each with at least one experienced trauma counselor to serve the needs of Alabama clients. We also offer online video appointments to accommodate any schedule. To make an appointment, you can send a request here, or call (256) 239-5662. Call us today and see how Garrett can help you!

 

What Triggers Anxiety In Children and Teens?

What Triggers Anxiety In Children and TeensMany people experience clinical anxiety that affects them on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America estimates that anxiety affects 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Symptoms of anxiety include worry, fear, tension, feeling restless, racing thoughts, irritability, and feeling distracted. You may have heard the word “trigger” used when talking about anxiety. In this blog, we are going to take a look at what triggers anxiety in children and teens.

What Does “Trigger” Mean?

When talking about anxiety, the word “trigger” refers to situations, thoughts, or memories that activate your child’s anxiety and often leads to an increase in symptoms. While each child is different, triggers could lead to panic attacks, difficulty accomplishing tasks, or relapses in a former negative behavior.

Verywellmind says there are two types of triggers: internal and external. Internal triggers refer to triggers that occur inside your child. This could be a physical sensation, memory, thought, or emotion. An example of an internal trigger could be the child thinking of making a mistake or something going wrong. In this example, the thought would be intrusive and unwanted, and it would lead to an anxious response. External triggers refer to triggers that happen outside of your child’s body, such as people or specific situations. An example of an external trigger could be when a child who is anxious around large groups of people walks into a busy, crowded classroom. In this example, walking into the crowded classroom would lead to an anxious response.

What Are Common Anxiety Triggers In Children and Teens?

Now that we understand what a “trigger” is, we can take a look at some of the common triggers of anxiety in children and teens.

Common Anxiety Triggers In Children:

  • Separation From Caregivers
  • New People
  • Family Conflict
  • Sibling Conflict
  • New Environments
  • Uncertain Situations
  • Changes in Schedule
  • Dark

Common Anxiety Triggers In Teens:

  • Academic Performance
  • Social Stress
  • Making Friends
  • Preparing for High School Graduation
  • College Preparation
  • World Events
  • Relationships
  • Transitions
  • Family Conflict
  • Peer Pressure

What Can Help Children and Teens Regulate When Anxiety Is Triggered?

Counselor Miriam created this video to share three techniques to help children and teens regulate their anxiety. The three techniques she covers are:

  • Procrastination Recognition
  • Keep A Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts
  • Post-It Reminder

If your child is experiencing anxiety and you are looking to help them identify what their triggers are, it is important to work with a professional counselor who can help them examine situations or feelings that activate their anxiety response. Our counselors at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL and our other locations are experienced in working with children and teens experiencing anxiety. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or by clicking here to schedule an appointment!


This article was written by Miriam Comer, a mental health counselor at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL. Learn more about Miriam here.

What Triggers Anxiety In Adults?

What Triggers Anxiety In AdultsMany people experience clinical anxiety that affects them on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America estimates that about 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety include worry, fear, tension, feeling restless, racing thoughts, irritability, and feeling distracted. You may have heard the word “trigger” used when talking about anxiety. In this blog, we are going to take a look at what triggers anxiety in adults.

What Does “Trigger” Mean?

When talking about anxiety, the word “trigger” refers to situations, thoughts, or memories that activate one’s anxiety and often leads to an increase in symptoms. While each person is different, triggers could lead to panic attacks, difficulty accomplishing tasks, or relapses in a former negative behavior.

Verywellmind says there are two types of triggers: internal and external. Internal triggers refer to triggers that occur inside you, such as a physical sensation, memory, thought, or emotion. An example of an internal trigger could be the thought of making a mistake or something going wrong. In this example, the thought would be intrusive and unwanted, and it would lead to an anxious response. External triggers refer to triggers that happen outside of the body, such as people or specific situations. An example of an external trigger could be when someone who is anxious around large groups of people walks into a busy, crowded store. In this example, walking into the crowded store would lead to an anxious response.

What Are Common Anxiety Triggers In Adults?

Now that we understand what a “trigger” is, we can take a look at some of the common triggers of anxiety in adults:

  • Health Issues
  • Financial Issues
  • Hectic Work Schedule
  • Family Conflict
  • Loneliness
  • Thoughts of Failure
  • Thoughts of Making a Mistake
  • Public Events
  • Stressful Situations

What Can Help Adults Regulate When Anxiety Is Triggered?

Counselor Miriam created this video to share three techniques to help adults regulate their anxiety. The three techniques she covers are:

  • Procrastination Recognition
  • Keep A Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts
  • Post-It Reminder

If you are experiencing anxiety and are looking to identify what your triggers are, it is important to work with a professional counselor who can help you examine situations or feelings that activate your anxiety response. Our counselors at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL and our other locations are experienced in working with adults experiencing anxiety. Contact us today at (256) 239=5662 or by clicking here to schedule an appointment!


This article was written by Miriam Comer, a mental health counselor at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL. Learn more about Miriam here.

Benefits of Post Adoption Counseling

Raising a child is a challenging, yet rewarding feat. When it comes to blending a family with a child who has been adopted, the dynamic of challenges is different. It can be a bit more complex depending on the age of the child and what they have already experienced in their short lifetime. If you are considering adoption or have already adopted, family or teen counseling should be at the top of your to do list.

family counseling for adoption

Why Family, Child and Teen Counseling Should be a Part of Your Adoptive Family Unit

A counselor with expertise in family counseling services, particularly those dealing with adopted children, can help the adopted child work through trauma-related issues they are experiencing. Additionally, the counselor can help the adoptive parents understand what their child is dealing with emotionally and psychologically. Therapy is not a one-size-fits all treatment. Therapy approaches for younger children will differ from those involved in adolescent or teen counseling.

It’s important for the family unit as a whole to have an understanding of what helps create a cohesiveness within the family and what hinders it. For example, a disciplinary action you use with your biological child that works well could trigger disruptive behavior or unpleasant emotional reaction when used with your adopted child. Another example would be if your adopted child experienced abuse with their former family simply raising your voice could lead to upset. It is vital that you learn to implement effective techniques so that your adopted child feels safe in their new environment and they learn that they are safe and loved.

Professional Adoption and Counseling Services for Families at Garrett Counseling

Our experienced adoption counselors understand the unique needs involved with families with an adopted child. Whether the issues are related to trauma, attachment, grief, loss, or something else, we can help. For more information on our family, child, teen counseling services, you can find that here. If you are ready to schedule an online or in-person appointment, click here. You can also reach one of our advocate specialists by calling (256) 239-5662.

 

The Winter Blues & Tips for Overcoming Them

Alabama doesn’t experience harsh winters like northern states with blizzards and snow days, but seasonal depression is still very real here. Shorter days, less sunlight, the let down of the end of the holidays and loneliness now that family has gone home and kids are back in school all lead to seasonal depression. Although you may be able to overcome your seasonal depression for some depression treatment in Huntsville, AL becomes necessary.

depression treatment huntsville AL

What is Seasonal Depression?

Simply put, seasonal depression is feeling blue, low mood, lethargic, or moodiness usually beginning in late fall and continuing until spring. This is commonly diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Symptoms of SAD may include the following:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling blue
  • Decreased interest in things you typically enjoy
  • Loss of energy or feeling fatigued
  • Sleeping more than usual or difficulty getting to or staying sleeping

The good news is that these unwanted feelings with the season changes are treatable. Therapists with experience in depression treatment in Huntsville, AL, work with clients suffering from seasonal depression year after year.

What You Can Do To Kick The Blues

One of the most important things you can do to kick the blues is get outside! There are so many benefits you can gain from sunlight and fresh air. Exposure to the sun increases the production of serotonin which is your brain’s “happy” hormone. Serotonin is connected with helping you feel calm and boosting your mood. Soaking in the sun’s rays can also help decrease your blood pressure, reduce stress, and help you get a better night’s sleep.

Find Joy Through All the Seasons with Garrett Counseling

With Garrett’s multiple locations, you can receive depression treatment in Huntsville, AL, or counseling in Jacksonville. Our third location in Boaz and virtual appointments truly makes your mental health our priority in being able to connect with you no matter where you are in Alabama. If you would like more information on overcoming winter blues, contact Garrett Counseling by calling (256) 239-5662 today. You can also reach us here, and one of our advocate specialists will be with you as soon as possible.