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Counseling for Individuals, Families, Marriages and Children

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often difficult to escape from the pressures and perplexities of daily life. Career demands, personal relationships and family situations can contribute to depression, grief, stress, anxiety and other emotional burdens.

At The Carole and Ronald Krist Samaritan Counseling Center, we want to help you cope with life’s difficulties. By using a team approach and drawing upon the unique talents of professionals from the counseling, theological and medical disciplines, we can help you work through life’s challenges — no matter what hardships you’re currently facing.

Our goal is to help individuals and families cope with their problems, grow toward emotional maturity and strengthen their personal relationships. We seek to enrich the life of each person we serve.

To learn more, click on a topic below.

Family Conflict

If one or more of the following characteristics exist in your family, we would suggest family therapy as a means of help:

  • Defensiveness - blaming others
  • Criticism - name calling
  • Stonewalling - silent treatment
  • Physical aggression
  • Lying
  • Keeping secrets
  • Destruction of others’ property
  • Over-involvement in or by extended families
  • Power struggles
  • Controlling behavior
  • Life transition difficulties
  • Behavioral problems with children
  • Division - cutting-off relationships

Domestic Abuse

Answer the following questions about yourself and your partner. If any of these instances are occurring in your daily life, you may be experiencing an abusive relationship. It is important to seek help for abuse, because without it, the abuse will likely continue.

Signs of domestic abuse:

Are you afraid of your partner?
Has your partner ever hit, slapped or pushed you?
Do you feel as if you deserve to be punished?
Is your partner good to you most of the time but every once in a while very cruel and scary?
Have you believed that your partner would kill you?
Has your partner ever threatened to kill you or kill him/herself?
Do you feel isolated from friends and family?
Do you feel emotionally numb?
Has your partner forced you to do something you didn't want to do?

Trauma Issues

Sometimes trauma happens directly to us (e.g. rape, car wreck) or sometimes can indirectly affect us (e.g. witness to an act of violence). Sometimes memories (old or new) from these traumas can be so disturbing that it can influence the functioning in our daily lives.

The following may indicate the need for professional help:

  • A persistent feeling of "numbing" after the trauma.
  • Traumatic event is persistently re-experienced either through flashbacks, dreams or physical sensations.
  • Persistent avoidance of anything associated with the trauma — including thoughts, activities, places and people.
  • Significant diminishment in interests or participation in activities.
  • Sense of a foreshortened future (e.g. does not expect to have normal life span, career or marriage).
  • Persistent physical arousal — such as difficulty with sleep, increased anger, difficulty concentrating, exaggerated startle response, very vigilant about potential dangers.

Teen Issues

Being a teenager is often associated with moodiness, insecurity, impulsiveness and rebellion. Teenagers are also characterized by odd sleeping patterns, awkward growth spurts, bullying, acne and being unkempt.

However, if your teen is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, you may need to seek professional help:

  • Talk of suicide — It is important to have this assessed, especially if any specifics of a plan are mentioned. Never assume this is attention seeking behavior.
  • Symptoms of depression — Adolescents can have different symptoms than adults. Parents should pay attention to the following:
    • Any troubling changes in teen's eating, sleeping or social life
    • Irritability/reactivity — including extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
    • Vague physical complaints — such as headaches
    • School absences or drop in grades
    • Bouts of crying or shouting
  • Reckless behavior — depressed teens are more at risk to self medicate with drugs and alcohol, or promiscuous behavior.
  • Self mutilation — The cutting or burning of self is a definite "red flag" that a teen may be trying extreme measures to get relief from emotional pain and needs to be assessed for depression or other difficulties. This could potentially become habit forming and the teen needs help developing non-destructive coping skills.
  • Eating disorders — Be aware of any troubling changes in eating habits, including extreme restrictions with food, binge eating and any type of purging (vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise). Weight may still be in normal range with some of these destructive and potentially life-threatening behaviors.
  • Drug/alcohol abuse — If a parent suspects that drug and alcohol abuse is becoming a chronic pattern, a professional assessment can be a life saving intervention.
  • Anxiety disorders — These could include panic attacks or social anxiety. Any chronic worry/anxiety that is present more days than not and is somehow interfering with functioning level socially or academically.
  • High level of conflict — Chronic family or social conflict over a period of several weeks could be a potential indicator of multiple difficulties, whether it is depression or unresolved family issues.

Anxiety

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms more days than not, you may be experiencing severe anxiety:

  • Nervousness
  • Inability to control worrying
  • Worry about many things
  • Worry that is difficult to control
  • Restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Tiring easily
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling easily annoyed or irritated
  • Muscle tension or tightness
  • Difficulty sleeping

If these things affect your ability to function at home, work, or socially, or cause significant distress, it may be beneficial to seek treatment.

Child Depression

Depression affects five percent of the child/adolescent population. Sadness and irritability are considered adaptive and normal in response to stress, disappointment, changes from loss or separation. Children who have problems with attention, learning, conduct or anxiety may also show signs of depression. Your child may be depressed if changes in their behavior or mood lasts more than a few weeks or interferes with daily activities.

The following are symptoms of depression in children and adolescents:

  • Irritability
  • Increase in conduct problems at home or school
  • Boredom
  • Increase in physical complaints (headaches, muscle-aches, stomach-aches, tiredness)
  • Decrease in energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Frequent absences from school
  • Decline in grades
  • Isolation
  • Unexplained crying
  • Low self-esteem or extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Poor communication
  • Major changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
  • Threats or efforts to run away from home
  • Thoughts of suicide or engagement in self-destructive behavior

In addition to the above, adolescents may exhibit:

  • Drop in school attendance
  • Problems with alcohol, drugs or sex
  • Impulsive behavior

Wellness Checklist

Maintaining a healthy state of personal wellness includes giving daily attention to the nurturance of our bodies, our minds, our moods and our spiritual life.

The following list includes daily behaviors that promote health:

  • Eat three balanced meals a day.
  • Eat one meal a day with the gathered family (Turn off TV and minimize telephone interruptions).
  • Sleep long enough each night to feel rested.
  • Monitor caffeine intake (Caffeine intake after 12:00 noon can disrupt REM sleep).
  • Monitor daily stress level.
  • Take your full lunch hour.
  • Take exercise breaks during the day.
  • Walk several flights of stairs for exercise.
  • Take a walk around the parking lot.
  • Take a short walk outdoors, breathe the air, observe the colors in the sky and watch the birds.
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day beyond exercise breaks.
  • Participate in a faith community.
  • Set aside time each day for prayer and devotion.
  • Call or write a friend.
  • Spend some time with a good book or with a hobby.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

What is alcohol/drug dependence?

  • Alcohol/drug dependence is a progressive, chronic and potentially fatal disease.
  • Alcohol/drug dependence most often has a genetic component; it runs in families.
  • Alcohol/drug dependent persons crave the substance and continue to use despite harmful effects.
  • Alcohol/drug dependent persons have progressively lower ability to choose not to use.

What are some signs of alcohol/drug dependence?

  • High tolerance to the substance
  • Unplanned use
  • Loss of control of use
  • Blackouts, that is, the inability to remember events which occurred while using
  • Using while alone
  • Using against direct medical advice
  • Hiding substances for later use
  • Lying to others about use
  • Preoccupation with use, avoiding social situations where use is not possible

If you or a loved one is having difficulty with alcohol or drug use, know that help is available through therapy or a twelve step program like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Divorce Recovery

Divorce can be a puzzling, painful and overwhelming experience. These effects are oftentimes greatly magnified by financial issues, custody concerns, feelings of betrayal and abandonment, returning to the workforce or dating arena, and the loss of a partner. For many this can be a time where it appears that life is out of control and the future is blurry and uncertain.

Professional help may be needed if one or more of the following symptoms are experienced:

  • Inability to accept the end of the marriage
  • Seeking revenge toward ex-spouse
  • Degrading ex-spouse publicly
  • Avoiding ex-spouse
  • Stalking ex-spouse
  • Destruction of ex-spouse's property
  • Unwillingness to cooperate with ex-spouse
  • Using children to communicate with ex-spouse
  • Using children as bargaining leverage
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicidal threats

Depression

If you have experienced at least five of the following symptoms for at least two weeks, you may have clinical depression, and should seek help:

  • Feeling sad or blue, unexplained crying spells
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Lack of joy or not enjoying things previously enjoyed

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition resulting in symptoms of inability to maintain attention, impulsive behaviors and/or motor restlessness.

Below are many of the symptoms of ADHD:

  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Failure to follow through or finish tasks (not due to an inability to comprehend instructions)
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Reluctance or dislike of activities that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Tendency to lose things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Often forgetful in daily activities
  • Failure to give close attention to details
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively
  • Has difficulty playing in or engaging in leisure activities
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often is "on the go" and seems to be driven by a motor
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others

For the consideration of the diagnosis of ADHD any of these symptoms should be prevalent for at least 6 months and to a degree that is maladaptive to every day functioning. Computer assessment for this disorder is available by calling our office.

Spiritual Issues

Many studies have shown that spiritual satisfaction and comfort is an important aspect of living a meaningful life.

Signs that an individual may be experiencing a period of spiritual disquiet can include:

  • Feeling distant from God
  • Not having a sense of meaning or purpose in one's life
  • Finding worship to be without meaning and boring
  • Suddenly withdrawing from a faith community of which one has been a part
  • Yearning once again or perhaps for the first time for a relationship with God that gives life meaning

The staff of The Carole and Ronald Krist Samaritan Counseling Center can help an individual address and work through these issues so that spirituality is an important and rewarding part of their life experience.