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.


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.

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, 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!


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.


Are New Year’s Resolutions Impacting Your Mental Health?

The all-famous “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” question has already likely come up. And, we all know how that goes. A recent study by a psychology professor at Scranton found that about 40% of Americans have a list of things they want to change in the new year, but less than half of that 40% will actually stick to their resolution and be successful. Setting expectations and failing to achieve the “all new you” bar you have set could have an effect on your mental health.

new year's resolutions

Realistic Resolutions

Making resolutions are great when they are attainable. Ever hear the adage “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” An elephant itself is pretty overwhelming, but when you shrink the expectation and make it feasible, then success inevitably follows. Let’s take a look at some ways you can set yourself up for success in the new year.

  1. Be specific. Goals such as “lose weight” and “exercise more” are very general, and it may be difficult to create a plan of action when there isn’t much clarity.
  2. Make it reasonable. Using the examples above, how many pounds do you want to lose? How many days a week will you exercise? How long will you exercise?
  3. Reward yourself. Create milestones along the way where you reward yourself for sticking to the plan. For example, a massage for being consistent in your workout routine for two months. Little rewards along your journey will keep you motivated to keep going to the finish line.
  4. Have a support system. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and motivate you.
  5. Adult counseling. The last year has definitely changed our way of life. If the thought of going into a new year is worrisome to you or you are just flat out dreading it, speaking to a counselor can be helpful.

Setting realistic goals gives you a greater chance of succeeding. Avoid unattainable goals that sound a bit far-fetched. No one likes to fail. When you set goals that are out of reach and then don’t achieve them, it’s disappointing. If you are already struggling with mental health issues like depression, this can actually worsen your symptoms.

Happy New Year from Garrett Counseling

Give Garrett a call today and see how we can help you start the New Year off right! Click here or call us at (256) 239-5662. New Year’s resolutions aren’t right for everyone, but whatever you decide for you, our staff from the center for counseling in Huntsville, Jacksonville, and Boaz wish you a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.


Common Modern Therapy Terms – Part 2

Welcome to part two of our two-series blog on common modern therapy terms. We chose this topic to help educate society on therapy terms that are commonly used in family counseling services but may be misunderstood or not understood at all. In part one of our blog for the Boaz center for counseling, we explained gaslighting, codependency, self-care and burnout. Let’s continue on and see what part two has in store.

Boaz center for counseling defines common therapy terms

Defining Medical Health Terms

Moving into our second segment of the most common therapy terms, the first one is a type therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy. This method of therapy is based on the idea that the individual’s thought processes are faulty. The therapist takes the lead in this approach and helps change behaviors or patterns by changing the way you think.

Body dysmorphia is the next term we are going to look at. It means that you perceive a flaw in your physical appearance that others can’t see or may not even be there, and it affects you to the point you avoid social situations because you feel embarrassed. This is not to an eating disorder. Someone with an eating disorder focuses on the weight and shape of their body. A person with body dysmorphia hones in on one specific area or a particular flaw they see.

Therapist is definitely one of the most common terms in mental health conversations. Although there are different types of therapists, the objective is the same – someone who treats mental illness with a certain type of therapy. The term therapist could include a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a licensed mental health counselor, marriage counselor, or a family counselor

Jacksonville, Huntsville and Boaz Center for Counseling – Your Family Counseling Services Experts

Hopefully the terms we have reviewed in this two-part series has helped answer some questions or taught you something new. If you still have questions about a term used in your therapy session, just ask during your appointment. Or, you can submit questions or request an appointment in our Huntsville, Jacksonville, or Boaz center for counseling, click this link to complete a short form, or call (256) 239-5662 today.


Common Modern Therapy Terms – Part 1

Terms used by mental health professionals can be confusing. Searching for definitions online can be misleading. For these reasons, we are beginning a two-part blog on current therapy terms commonly used by family counseling services and what they mean.

terms used in family counseling services

Understanding Therapy Terms

Therapists use many terms in their jobs. Some relate to diagnosis and others are treatment related. Here are some definitions of the more common terms frequently used.

  • Burnout – defines burnout as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Some causes include your job, parenting, overbooking, or anything else in your life that is overwhelming.
  • Codependency – This term is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person manifesting low self-esteem and a strong desire for approval has an unhealthy attachment to another often controlling or manipulative person.” Basically this is when an individual caters to the needs and wants of another to gain their approval or because they feel trapped.
  • Gaslighting – According to a report by NBC News, this term refers to “a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get someone else (or a group of people) to question their own reality, memory or perceptions.”
  • Self-care – Doing activities to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul. This includes things like eating healthy, exercise, understanding healthy coping skills, meditating, therapy and setting boundaries.

Contact Garrett Counseling for Your Family Counseling Services

If you still have questions about therapy terms, their meanings, now or during a session, ask. If you’re unsure whether therapy might be benefit you, contact Garrett Counseling today. We offer in-person appointments at our Boaz, Huntsville, or Jacksonville center for counseling. If you prefer the comfort of your home, we also offer real-time virtual appointments as well. Call us at (256) 239-5662 today at or click here to submit your questions or request an appointment online. Stay tuned for part two!


The Negative News Cycle & Our Mental Health

It seems that the news these days is full of negativity. Whether it’s a world event on social media or a local accident on the nightly news or an act of violence interrupting your viewing, the negativity in the airways far outweighs anything positive. What you might not be aware of is the effect those negative news broadcasts can have on your mental health. If you have been feeling a little off or things within the family have gotten chaotic and you don’t know why, child and family counseling can help you make sense of it all.

News Fatigue ~ What is it?

When we are bombarded by negative news, it is inevitably going to take its toll emotionally and leave you feeling drained. Thanks to technological advances, access to anything outside our homes is just a click away. Secondary to the ease of accessibility, news fatigue can result from spending too much time on social media. This could lead to viewing society with a doomsdayer mentality and feeling depressed or anxious about the world in general.

Tips on How to Avoid News Fatigue

Staying connected and knowing what’s going on in the world around you is important. However, it is more important to protect your mental health and create healthy boundaries while staying in the know. Here are some helpful hints on how you can stay informed while maintaining a healthy mental balance.

  • Limit time on social media apps where content is prevalent
  • Take a hiatus from social media all together
  • Be intentional in seeking out “good news” stories

Depression and Anxiety Counseling with Garrett Counseling

If you or your children are suffering from depression or anxiety, consider child and family counseling as sometimes healing as a family is best. When world events lead to stress and anxiety, Garrett Counseling is the place to be. Our trained professionals have experience with child and family counseling and can help with depression and anxiety you are suffering from. You can reach us online by clicking here or calling (256) 239-5662. Don’t delay. Starting finding peace in your world today!


How PTSD Counseling Services Can Help You

Starting therapy for any reason can be difficult. This is especially true when looking to overcome Post-Truamatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You know you will have to face the events of your trauma. Although difficult, it is an important part of the healing process. PTSD counseling services have helped countless individuals work through the effects of trauma and go on to live happier and more peaceful lives.

PTSD counseling services

Facts of PTSD

  • An estimated 8 people out of 100 will develop PTSD during their lifetime
  • Around 8 million people in the United States have PTSD
  • The ratio of men to women developing PTSD is 4% of men to 10% of women
  • Symptoms can begin anywhere from a month to years after the traumatic event
  • People of all ages can experience PTSD, including children
  • Symptoms of PTSD are not the same for everyone
  • PTSD can occur in people who have experienced the trauma or those who have witnessed traumatic events

How Therapy for PTSD Improves Your Life

Counselors with specific training in PTSD play a vital role in treatment for your PTSD symptoms. Therapy is not one size fits all. With a variety of treatment methods to choose from, a counselor will assess your unique situation and develop a treatment plan specifically designed for you. A few of these approaches include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – Changing how an individual thinks about the traumatic event
  • Exposure therapy – Teaching you how to take control of your thoughts and feelings
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – Using sensory cues to process memories of your trauma.

You and your PTSD therapist will find the best approach for you.

PTSD Counseling Services with Garrett Counseling in Boaz, Jacksonville & Huntsville

Help is available for your post-traumatic stress disorder no matter how recent or how far in the past your trauma. Contact our PTSD therapists today by calling (256) 239-5662 or clicking here to contact us online. Start the journey to healing and a happier life today!


Start Your New Relationship Right with Adult Therapy

Past relationships can either help or hurt you. Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective. There is always a lesson to be learned even if the relationship ended on good terms. Whether you have had the experience of a previous relationship or have only been an observer of others in theirs, opinions are created, good and bad. To help ensure a lasting relationship in your future, it is best to begin the journey with optimal mental health and curb any unhealthy perspectives or habits through the help of adult therapy.

adult therapy can aid a successful relationshipp

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Everafter

Every individual is unique in their life experiences and the aftereffects of what they have been through. If you are holding onto baggage or just wanting to be sure you are going into your new relationship with realistic expectations, Boaz counseling services can help. In the meantime, here are a few pointers to help guide you in the right direction.

  1. Focus on the present. Remember, your new partner wasn’t the one who hurt you before. It’s important that you don’t treat them as if they were. Take one day at a time enjoying the “getting to know them” phase. Don’t let thoughts of the future and what “could” happen rob you of the time you have right now in the present moment.
  2. Be responsive. Being in tune with your partner’s needs and feelings shows that you are responsive to them. This helps build a strong foundation to a lasting relationship.
  3. Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. Simply put, are you attracted to them or just the idea of a relationship?

Healthy Relationships Start with Huntsville, Jacksonville or Boaz Counseling Services

Every relationship teaches us something. However, you don’t want to bring baggage from an old one into the new one. Don’t let past hurts get in the way of a healthy relationship. Adult therapy can help you start your new relationship with a clean slate. We also offer services for young adult counseling. Call our Huntsville, Jacksonville or Boaz counseling services at (256) 239-5662or click today to schedule your consultation with one of our relationship experts.