Often, people come into our Utah clinic looking for counseling services thinking they will receive professional advice during a critical period in their life.
- Maybe that individual is experiencing a divorce.
- Perhaps a married couple has a teenage son struggling with suicidal thoughts, and they know they need some help managing the problem.
- Maybe a young married person has a partner who is suffering from addiction to pornography, and they are looking for some tips to overcoming the problem from a specialist.
The average person often doesn’t understand how the counseling process is more than receiving good professional advice, although that is part of it. Like going to a physical therapist asking for advice to heal a muscle, you may be surprised when that practitioner provides a service to remedy the aggravated tissue. We, too, strive to heal our clients at the point of damage. We don’t just offer sound advice. We seek to recover the traumatized limb. In this case, emotional wounds affect the mind and body.
For example, a person suffering from tremendous emotional trauma can describe physical pain, unusual sweating, find themselves trembling when they shouldn’t be afraid, or feel unexpected nausea. People report difficulty concentrating on tasks they would have easily completed in the past. They may have a hard time sleeping, often describing vivid nightmares.
There are many misperceptions out there about the psychotherapy process. A lot of the public thinks that it’s more magic than real science. Much is now known by neuroscience and biology about the brain and how it interacts with the body. For example, modern scientists understand how our entire body is affected by emotional experiences. As trained counselors, we can help your whole body heal when you have suffered from a mental health injury.
Those who have lived through the various types of abuse common in our communities can see relief from the pain and anguish they feel daily. If you believe there is no hope for you, there is much reason to feel optimistic about what can be accomplished today through modern therapy.
How Counseling Services Help You Receive Good Advice
On one level, YES! A licensed therapist will give you professional guidance through tough decisions during critical periods of your life. It is helpful to have a counselor coach you through your big choices, help you access your values, and ask you to think more deeply about your typical behavior.
Identifying Our Patterns of Emotions, Thoughts, and Behavior
We learn to make choices through patterns in our emotions and thoughts. We inherited these patterns from the families we grew up in. Sometimes these patterns are not accurate, and they can result in us making significant mistakes in life.
We all make mistakes. We can learn from these mistakes and avoid the big ones. However, we can often blame ourselves for everything terrible that has happened to us, thinking we are “all bad,” sinking into a cycle of shame.
Working with a professional counselor, someone who lives locally here in Utah and understands what type of unique issues adults face here can help many adults learn to make life decisions. We often need someone who takes the time to get to know us as an individual. We can benefit from an examination of how we make decisions.
This process is nonjudgmental. We identify the patterns you may have inherited from your family. We conduct this fairly, without contributing to the emotional harm. All of us need honest feedback about how we think and act at times in our lives and what may be causing these patterns. Sometimes, the people who care about us in life don’t know how to do this constructively.
When receiving a professional perspective, we can avoid mistakes we may have made in the past or fear making. We can generate more confidence in our decision-making process. We can acquire that indefinable self-assurance needed to succeed in a career and matters of the heart.
Therapy Services During Early Adulthood
If you are going through the difficult transition into adulthood, you are not alone. Many young adults describe what is often called a quarter-life crisis where they struggle to settle into college, find a career, make friends, and discover meaningful romantic relationships. Individual counseling can be enormously helpful during this period.
Our Utah-area therapists work with clients during this crucial stage of life. We can help you think through the decisions you are making, analyze the patterns you learned in childhood that shaped their thinking, and perhaps help find ways to improve how you are establishing intimate relationships.
Avoiding critical mistakes during your early adulthood can be crucial. Although it is possible to recover from serious missteps, changing careers later in life and getting back on your feet after a divorce can be costly. It is often more productive to avoid these difficulties, finding the right career path early on, establishing meaningful friendships and life partnerships as early as possible. Counseling in individual sessions can be essential. We also recommend group therapy often for young adults learning to connect with other grownups.
Counseling During a Midlife Crisis
It’s not uncommon after you’ve experienced a bit of life, after you’ve tried to find a career, whether you’ve found some success or not, to have a feeling like you’re struggling to find your place.
Perhaps you’ve gone through a loss of a serious relationship, a separation from a partner, or a divorce. Is your family breaking apart? Are you struggling to connect with your children? These are typical challenges during midlife.
Whatever is initiating the crisis, many people in this period can describe a profound emotional battle. Whether you have kids or not, whether you’ve experienced marriage or divorce, whether you are single or a part of a couple, many of us adults can often feel like time is passing us by. We worry we are running out of opportunities for happiness.
Do You Feel Too Small or Too Big?
We often see clients in our clinic here in Utah who describe feeling like they are “too small,” while all their problems may feel “too much.” This type of description can be a typical way of describing what it feels like during any period of crisis for people of all ages. Yet, it can be especially prevalent during midlife.
We see an increase in our society and our clinic from men and women who identify as love and sex addicts. This situation can be associated with other types of behavioral addictions, people struggling with eating disorders, and those experiencing trouble regulating their mood.
Perhaps instead of feeling “too small,” the opposite is true. Maybe you feel like you are “too big!” You feel like the world doesn’t quite recognize who you are. You feel like you’re running around trying to get noticed. No matter how much you tell others on social media, try to make friends, find a lover, it seems like everyone is ignoring you. It seems as if no one is paying attention. You come on too strong with people you like, often driving individuals you care about away from you.
We see clients reporting both the feelings of “too small” and “too big” at different times in their lives. These are evidence of the need for long-term counseling.
Therapy as a Healing Process
Whatever stage of life you are in, therapy is more than a process of giving you good advice or counseling you through difficult decisions. We have modern treatments that can heal a traumatized brain affected by repeated abuses and painful emotional experiences. Disturbing events do more than affect the brain. They can have long-lasting consequences on our entire body.
The nervous system runs through our whole body. Many of us are familiar with the fact that this system transmits information from our brain to individual cells. Scientists have learned that the body also communicates data back to the brain, sending information back and forth in a much more integrated method than they initially understood.
Physical Illness as a Result of Emotional Trauma
People who have experienced emotional trauma are reporting severe physical consequences, including chronic disease. Sometimes, in extreme cases, early death is the tragic consequence of untreated mental illness, which we hope to avoid.
As abuse and emotional pain can damage the entire body, mental health workers do the opposite. We sit with our clients and try to connect with the whole system. We initiate healing.
Jackie Pack describes therapy: “… their body is talking to [our] body and [our] body is talking back to them.”
This restorative progression is likely unexpected for a lot of people new to therapy. Yet recovering from trauma is possible when being treated by well-trained people who understand the importance of being relational with clients.
In the early days, Freud noticed that the process of free association, which became known as psychoanalysis, actually improved his patients’ emotional life. Since that early time of psychology, researchers have studied how the mind experiences inner wounds and have discovered that many people suffer from this type of trauma. It turns out severe distress during the critical early childhood years is common. These emotional disturbances can also occur during adulthood, which affects the brain.
We now define the physical and emotional effects of frightening experiences as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Modern Counseling Services at a Utah Clinic Can Heal an Individual’s Trauma
New research and treatment options like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Lifespan Integration Therapy have made huge strides in treating people struggling with PTSD. Neuroscientists now understand so much more about how the brain works. We are learning how to heal a mind under duress from this condition.
When we see patients in our clinic who are heavily traumatized, it’s clear they may not be ready for intense individual counseling sessions. Standard therapy sessions with a counselor involve discussions about challenging topics. Some people can find this experience deeply painful early in treatment. Treatment like EMDR, which is often considered non-evasive, can be disturbing to some patients who have endured severe trauma. New clients may not be ready for the shock.
We have alternative treatment options like neurofeedback, which allows patients to gently heal from years of extreme distress to the nervous system. We can prepare our clients for the more intense therapy options that may come down the road when ready.
A Relational Approach to Therapy
At Healing Paths, Inc. office in Bountiful, Utah, we practice a relational form of counseling. We believe the key to our clients’ healing is establishing a professional but emotional connection with our clients. Evidence-based treatment options like EMDR, which are becoming more and more popular, can sometimes be offered by therapists without much human contact.
All of our therapists believe in teaching our clients the critical skills of adult attachment. When any of us have sustained emotional wounds, we often need to acquire new communication abilities. Our clinic focuses on teaching those proficiencies.
We think all counseling, whether conducted in an individual, group, or an online setting, is more effective when done relationally. We require all of the services we offer at Healing Paths to prioritize the clients’ ability to connect with other people now and in the future.
Finding Intimacy in a Disconnected World
Many folks confront emotional trauma early in life in their family of origin. Often our clients also report encountering traumatic situations in marriages or through their deepest friendships. Healing from these occurrences can, in some instances, be more challenging to recover from than the PTSD that results in war zones.
A Local Guide to the Authentic Self
When we become adults, learning how to be authentic can be one of the most complex problems we must solve. It is easy to feel pressure to follow specific rules, both spoken and implicit, by our family and culture. Whether in early adulthood or midlife, we can decide what it means to be genuinely true to ourselves and not try to fulfill an idea of others’ expectations. Attempting to be someone we are not can harm our ability to find intimacy with ourselves and others. A lack of authenticity leads to a lot of the mental health problems we see today.
Treating Intimacy Disorders
Many leading therapists are starting to believe we should as a mental health community refer to many of the common disorders caused by early childhood trauma and resulting in challenges making relationships in adulthood as intimacy disorders. Many individuals suffering from these related problems need a professional therapist to coach them through close communications. We are often profoundly isolated in our communities here in the United States. We are seeing chronic societal loneliness, which is adding fuel to many people’s psychological problems.
Connecting with others is one of life’s most significant challenges. Receiving guidance from a licensed counselor who teaches us how to communicate with others should be standard in our society. When we do, we can discover profound truths about ourselves. Maybe we’re not as good at speaking with others as we’d like to believe. Perhaps we have experienced trauma, which is affecting our ability to experience deeper intimacy. These can be realities we may have ignored our entire lives. Working in individual and group therapy can help us restore our authentic selves.
Finding Individual Therapy Near You in Utah
Numerous citizens of our state are suffering from wounds to the soul. Maybe you are one of them. If so, you may need individual counseling services at a reputable clinic. You’ll establish a connection of trust and understanding with a talented therapist. In time, working in therapy, we can solve many of these shared intimacy issues we often see in our clinic.
Some people need a therapist who lives near them, even if they choose the convenience of online therapy sessions. Many of our clients find it helpful to work with a counselor who understands the unique local and cultural challenges we face here in Utah. Many of us can benefit from assistance in making life decisions while also healing from emotional trauma.