Intellectual/Developmental

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) Counseling

Oftentimes, it has been observed that individuals who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities experience pain, not necessarily from their disability, but from depression, anxiety, or relationship issues in response to their disability.  While there are outstanding resources for the ID/DD population to assist them with challenges faced because of their disability, my goal is to address mental health issues often experienced apart from the disability. This is the purpose for incorporating Cognitive Behavior Therapy as part of the treatment plan .

Intellectual disability:

  •  A group of disorders characterized by a limited mental capacity and difficulty with adaptive behaviors such as managing money, schedules and routines, or social interactions.
  •  Originates before the age of 18 and may result from physical causes, such as autism or cerebral palsy, or from nonphysical causes, such as lack of stimulation and adult responsiveness.

 

Developmental disability:

  •  Severe, long term disability that can affect cognitive ability, physical functioning, or both.
  •  Appears before age 22 and are likely to be life-long.
  • The term “developmental disability” encompasses intellectual disability but also includes physical disabilities.
  • Some developmental disabilities may be solely physical, such as blindness from birth. Others involve both physical and intellectual disabilities stemming from genetic or other causes, such as Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome for example.

Goal of Counseling:

  • To assist clients in developing a sense of self-empowerment in practical, emotional and social areas.
  • Coordination of care and networking with client’s various support systems  because most of us know it takes a team!

We as a society have come a long way thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) passed by Congress in 1990, however,  individuals with  “Different Abilities” often continue to face challenges and are misunderstood by society.

As a parent of a daughter born with Spina bifida who is now 30 years old.   I am thankful to have personally developed a sense of awareness in regards to individuals with disabilities  by witnessing struggles she has faced, as well as various other individuals we have interacted with throughout the years.

The “language” of therapists is also an important factor to consider when seeking counseling for individuals with ID/DD and their families.  For example,  we often continue to hear the term “wheelchair bound” even among some professionals.  Individuals who use wheelchairs would rather be referred to as just that.   Someone who “uses a wheelchair” is a much more acceptable term and defines a person as an independent individual rather than being “bound” to an object.  This is just one example of the importance of choosing a therapist who is multiculturally sensitive to the needs of individuals with “different abilities”.

Feel free to contact me today to schedule a session.

Depression

In The Garden Depression Counseling Services

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.

Symptoms

Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headachesFor many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.
  • In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction. Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help.

Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, such as:

  • Memory difficulties or personality changes
  • Physical aches or pain
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medication
  • Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new
    things
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men
    When to get emergency help:If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:
  • Call your doctor or mental health professional.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National SuicidePrevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
    (Source: mayoclinic.org)

    Take the first step in managing your depression by contacting us today!

Additional resources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-what-you-need-to-know/index.shtml#pub5

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/depression/depression

 

Divorce

Divorce Counseling Services Iredell County

Reasons that often lead to divorce:

There are numerous reasons marriages end in  divorce. The following reasons have been identified as some of the most common factors leading to divorce:

  • Lack of commitment
  • Infidelity.
  • Communication issues
  • Inequality in marriage
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Addiction issues
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Financial difficulties/how money is managed

Predictors of Divorce:

  • Constant criticism with very little encouragement or positive communication
  • Lack of respect for spouse
  • Defensiveness.
  • Stonewalling (deliberate avoidance of interaction and discussion of problems) which often leads to difficulty in resolving arguments or disagreements.

    Therapeutic Interventions:

  • Therapy is usually done on an individual basis.
  • Goal of sessions can be to address symptoms related to guilt, fear, anxiety, depression and grief
  • Therapy can provide an objective and rational perspective and assists in developing coping skills to work through difficulties.
  • Therapy as a means of  learning more about themselves and come to see the life transition as an opportunity for growth and personal development.
  • Divorce may contribute to or exacerbate certain mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or personality diagnoses.
  • Many people perceive divorce as a personal failure. Therapy can help one work through those feelings, make sense of the end of the marriage, and obtain a new perspective.
  • Individuals may learn more about what they require from a relationship and what they do not desire in a relationship, and they may, through therapy, discover more about their own nature and personal characteristics.Therapy for children whose parents are divorcing.
  • Because parents may often be consumed with their own feelings during a divorce, they might overlook the emotional state of their children, who may be confused or feel guilt, loss, pain, or abandonment.
  • Children may not be sure which parent they should “choose,” or be loyal to, and they might also worry that they are the cause of the divorce.
  • When parents are aggressive with each other, a child may feel even more fearful, and a child who often hears his or her parents argue about custody arrangements might feel as if he or she is unwanted by either parent, or as if he or she is to blame for the separation.
  • If family members are able to discuss their feelings they may be able to process their emotions more easily and better adjust to the changes.

Adjusting After Divorce

  • Recovering is a process.
  • Adjusting to changes that occur can take time.
  • Part of the process is often the recognition of newly divorced people, whether they initiated the divorce or not, that their lives and the lives of those around them have been profoundly affected by their situation.
  • Worries about financial solvency, employment, or housing may affect them.
  • Stress over losing friends or family members as a result of the divorce can also be difficult to deal with.
  • Parents may be emotionally overwhelmed by guilt as they consider what effects the divorce may have on their children.

These issues can often be worked through during the recovery process. An individual in therapy may be more able to discover necessary coping techniques that can help in the establishment of a new life, and the individual may have an easier time developing a healthy perspective on the divorce.

Therapy can also often provide people with a safe, encouraging, and empowering experience during what might, for some, be a difficult time.

Case Examples

  • Therapy for grief after divorce:  Mark and Linda, a couple in their early thirties who has no children, come in for marriage counseling, as they are considering separation. Linda wants to save the marriage, however, Mark is ready to leave. After two or three sessions, it becomes clear to all involved that Mark has made up his mind. The therapist helps the couple to talk about their relationship openly in such a way that Mark and Linda are both able to learn, grow as individuals, and prepare for separation. After the separation occurs, the therapist continues to work with Linda to help her manage her grief and begin moving forward as a single woman.
  • Divorce after a 30-year marriage:  Nathan, 59, enters therapy after divorcing his wife of 30 years.  Nathan’s children are grown.  He has been unhappy for years. He hoped the divorce would make him feel better, but instead finds that he is devastated by the loss. His wife, who had not wanted a divorce, now seems to Nathan “to be doing fine,” and this confuses him terribly. He even spoke to his wife about reconciling, but she was uninterested. Nathan thinks that is for the best, but he cannot seem to make the adjustment to being single. A therapist helps Nathan identify his fears about being single and then assists him in beginning to develop the skills and support system he needs to stay connected with people and feel hopeful about the future. Together, they identify the benefits of marriage that Nathan has chosen to give up and the benefits of being single that he can now enjoy. Nathan has also developed methods of getting in touch with his grief and his guilt surrounding the divorce, his positive feelings towards his ex-wife, and his fears about being able to stay connected with his children.

Our goal is to assist you in coping with the decision to remain in a marriage or leave.  Both, individual or couples therapy may also be used to address these goals.

 

COVID-19 NOTICE:

Now scheduling Telehealth online video/phone sessions. This is a simple process that complies with HIPAA requirements to ensure privacy & security. Contact In The Garden Counseling for more information.