Counseling Services for Adults & Teens
We believe that everyone has the potential to grow. We strive to provide our counseling clients with abundant support along with tools for making (and maintaining) significant life changes. Because of this, our clients tend to experience a positive difference in their moods, work or school lives, and relationships.
An EMPOWERING Approach to Therapy
We provide counseling for variety of life issues, from relationship problems, to loneliness and isolation, to anger management, to career or educational issues. It’s our goal not to just help the client overcome immediate pain but also to empower them to live a fulfilling life.
- Find lasting happiness and freedom from Depression.
- Discover peace of mind and relief from Anxiety.
- Learn to live in the present, healing from Trauma.
- Overcome Guilt and Shame by learning to forgive yourself and others.
Our supportive counselors use research-proven approaches, including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and EMDR.
7 Ways Counseling Helps You Get Unstuck
Do you ever feel like a hamster on a wheel—as if you are going through the motions of life, but not actually moving forward?
People often come to counseling when they are in this state of stuck-ness. Here’s how we’ve heard clients describe their personal brand of “stuck”:
- Losing motivation
- Constant ruminating
- Living in the past (or future)
- Indecisiveness—No “good” options
- “I’ve tried everything.”
- Compulsive habits (followed often by guilt or shame)
- Ambivalence about change
Here are seven strategies that a counselor might use to help you break out of the hamster wheel (and the cage too).
1. OBJECTIVE FEEDBACK
A counselor is a neutral (and non-judgmental) observer who listens carefully as you tell your story. When strong emotions have you stuck at ground-level, a counselor is like a helicopter hovering above, helping you build a bigger picture of your surroundings. As long as you are open to gentle (or sometimes hard-hitting) feedback, counselors will help you build awareness of your own blind spots.
In uncovering blind spots, the why, how, when, what, and who is very important for both the client and the counselor to understand what’s going on. Counseling is not a simple as “If X, then Y.” Counseling is a process of identifying patterns of behavior, learning new habits, adjusting to a new normal, learning from setbacks, finding support, getting some success, and maintaining new, healthy behaviors.
2. CLARIFICATION OF INTERNAL CONFLICTS
A counselor will help you clearly identify the barriers standing between you and change. You can push the gas pedal on a broken car as much as you want, but until you attune to the mechanics of what’s gone awry, the car will not be moving forward.
Barriers might be pragmatic (“I can’t leave my job because I need the money”), based on conflicted values (“I don’t want to lie anymore, but I can’t hurt her feelings”), emotion-driven (“Even the idea is overwhelming”), or derived from ingrained negative beliefs about yourself, others, or your environment.
Sometimes barriers are external, like in your over-demanding workplace or within a conflicted marriage or family. In counseling, you will create tailor-made solutions for understanding and overcoming the barriers between you and your goals.
3. COGNITIVE RE-FRAMING
Negative thoughts that happen repeatedly, day after day, can become a part of your belief system about how the world works. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, your counselor will help you:
- Stop negative thought cycles
- Improve problem-solving
- Challenge self-defeating thoughts
- Try out behaviors that might promote a more positive or neutral thought process
4. A FOCUS ON THE HERE-AND-NOW
Sometimes we ask counseling clients to create a pie chart, breaking down the content of their distress thoughts by percentage:
- % of thoughts about the past
- % of thoughts about the future; and
- % of thoughts about the present (i.e. this very second in time).
Often, only a small percentage of the distress is happening at this exact moment. A counselor can show you strategies for containing overwhelming thoughts and feelings so that you access them only during certain times (and not all day long). Counselors can also help you learn mindfulness, grounding, and other coping skills that can be incredibly relieving for those stuck in grief, trauma, or fear.
5. BUILT-IN ACCOUNTABILITY
6. OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IT OUT
7. AUTHENTIC SUPPORT
What common questions might a therapist ask to authentically get to know you?
- A counselor will ask you why you’ve come, what you’re wanting help with, and how long the struggle has been happening.
- A counselor might ask what steps you’ve already taken and what strengths you bring to the table.
- A counselor might ask about your family history, relationship patterns, marital concerns, or kids.
- A counselor might inquire about medical history, substance use, socialization, and school or work life.
Our counselors care about the unique details of your life. These details help your counselor to understand the context of your problem so that they can offer the best support possible.
Counselors know the right questions to ask. They are adept at listening to understand, not to judge or condemn. They can tease out hidden assumptions, provide insightful feedback, and offer creative and helpful suggestions.
We’ve had countless clients tell us how good it feels to finally be “understood” and “heard” by a counselor.
ARTICLES & INFORMATION
Our mental health focused blog contains useful tips for improving your emotional health and relationships. You will find practical advice on a variety of topics.
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Star Meadow Counseling
Provides Therapy Services to:
Vancouver WA | Salmon Creek WA | Ridgefield WA | Woodland WA | Battle Ground WA