Category: Individual Therapy

Two teenage girls consoling each other during a difficult time.

Five Steps for Dealing with Difficult Life Events

It has been said that life is a journey. The only way to progress through this journey is to take steps forward. Throughout our lives we will encounter a number of twists and turns, perhaps even a few pitfalls. Obstacles make life challenging. It is important to remember that it is important to continuing moving forward even when life is difficult. Depression and anxiety can make moving forward seem impossible. Sometimes, overcoming life’s challenges starts as simply as putting one foot in front of the other. Learning and practicing small daily strategies to deal with difficult times will help ease the overwhelming negative feelings. This is a difficult thing to do. Especially when we find ourselves in the midst of a difficult crossroads, or a path that seemingly leads to nowhere.

Five Tips for Dealing with Difficult Times

Below are a few ideas on how to take the next necessary steps forward even when life gives you lemons.

1. Don’t Give Up

 First and perhaps most importantly – don’t give up! Just because an obstacle emerges, no matter what size, does not mean that the journey is over. Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a multi-award winning psychotherapist, explains that “once you quit, it is never quite the same. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, or your life, you are in charge of your choices. Giving up may enter your mind, but find some way to keep going, even if you have to do things a little differently.” So when the going gets tough, don’t be afraid to find another path, or, to find a way to overcome the obstacle obstructing your way. The journey continues from there.

2. Stay Positive

 In this day and age, it may seem a bit cliche to say that positivity is key, but the truth is often worth repeating. A positive mindset can make all the difference when it comes to progressing through life’s challenges. It is important to remember that the world is not our enemy. True, we will all face our own shares of ups and downs, but when we are confronted by the “downs”, we must remember that they don’t happen because the universe hates us or that we are the victims of some sort of terrible cosmic vendetta. Rather, by adopting the perception that the world around us exists to do us good, we can learn to see the opportunities that surround. In this way, we open ourselves up to the possibility to flourish, and learn not to assume failure.

3. Take Things One Day at a Time

 A simple yet effective piece of advice is also to take things one day – or one step – at a time. Trying to tackle problems head on all at once is the easiest way to get overwhelmed. Instead, it helps to learn to tackle things one at a time. For example, if we’re having problems within a relationship, attempting to fix all of them at once can seem not only difficult but outright impossible. By approaching our problems one step at a time, we can improve this relationship by strengthening the parts that comprise it. To begin with, we might start by improving communication. Then, maybe we schedule more dates or quality time. One-by-one, we take on the things that were causing us to feel upset and stressed. By doing so we not only improve the health of our relationship, but our own personal health as well. We don’t need to do everything at once in order to see progress.

4. Go at Your Own Pace

 Life is not a race. There is no need to rush progress. Dr. Goldsmith states that “you may have been beaten down, but you are not broken. Even if you have suffered and lived through a life-altering trauma, if you still have a beating heart and air in your lungs, you can get back on your feet.” The key is doing what we can, when we can, and taking breaks when we need to. These periods of rest can be what we need in order to get the energy to continue forward. However, we must remember that taking breaks should not be the same thing as stopping entirely. We must continue on the journey. There is nothing wrong with taking time every now and then to collect ourselves and refocus on what we really want in life.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Disappointment

 Unfortunately, disappointment as natural to life as as breathing. People from all walks of life experience disappointment. Disappointment should never stop us from moving forward. There is nothing wrong with feeling disappointed from time-to-time. Disappointment is not an excuse to give up or stop trying to accomplish what we want. No matter what, we must keep going. After all, we have a lot to see and do before our journey end. So why stop here?

If you are feeling overwhelmed with life, speaking with a therapist can help. Call our office @ 800-378-9354 to check appointment availability.
paper that says "train your braing!!!" pinned to a chalkboard

Train Your Brain with Individual Therapy

Our brains are our bodies executives. We cannot function without them and they dictate every word we say and every action we take. But just as even the highest ranking executive can be trained to do things differently if the need arises, so can we train our brains using therapy to react in a manner best suited for our mental, physical, and emotional health. Dr. William Klemm is a senior professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University. He explains the executive functions of the brain in further detail by revealing that the “The human brain contains a distinct network that serves as its executive agent.” This network, as he describes, is responsible for regulating the many “top down” neurobehavioral functions which our brains control and determine. Deficiencies in the function of this network, as Dr. Klemm explains, can underlie a number of neuropsychiatric conditions, including memory loss. Therefore, according to Dr. Klemm: “The ability to regulate emotions and direct rational actions is typically associated with success in life, and inability to do so often leads to dire consequences.”

Can Therapy Help Train our Brains?

Luckily, therapy can enable us to train this network so that it may develop a more robust capacity for executive control. What does this mean? Essentially, therapy can help us train our brains to better serve our own happiness by helping us take back control. Dr. Klemm suggests that some of this training takes place at home and at school, where our minds are developed, but another such means of applying this assistance can be achieved through therapy. Therapy can help by acting a supplemental means of communicating, better understanding oneself, and learning to orient one’s goals and ambitions toward self-improvement.

Therapy can not only help us train our brains but in some cases may even expedite this process. After all, many of us see more improvement once we discuss our concerns with a therapist in a comfortable, nonjudgmental setting versus perhaps opening up to the same degree when we feel as though others might judge us. This poses the question of how long exactly does it take for us to alter our executive control? The answer varies from person to person and there is no set timeframe that is considered “right” versus one that can be considered “wrong.” What Dr. Klemm has found, however, is that when it comes to issues of memory loss, one’s memory capacity can potentially be expanded in a short period of time thanks to therapeutic implementation and “training”.

Memory Training Improves More than Just Memory

Interestingly, this may mean more than we realized. Dr. Klemm states that “To pursue this possibility in a specific context, researchers have hypothesized that inappropriate or maladaptive behaviors might be reduced by effective working memory training based on emotion-laden stimuli.” In other words, by starting with our emotional memories, ones that might trigger us to behave or think in a way that can be harmful or, as Dr. Klemm puts it, “maladaptive behaviors,” we can aim to ultimately improve our overall thoughts and actions which may have developed as a result of this stimuli in the first place. Therapy sessions can be the best place to determine to what extent we are negatively influenced by our past experiences and what emotional responses we might have to certain recollections. It is through exploring these relationships that we can better understand how to move forward in our thinking and afterwards in how we behave as a result.

Better Executive Control Means Better Self Control

Dr. Klemm has examined several studies in which emotional memory training has benefited the individual participants. This training has helped them develop the ability to better regulate their emotions which then allows them to be more successful in their daily lives and interactions. Dr. Klemm explains: “The emotional working memory training produced benefits that transferred to the emotional response task. Trained subjects not only regulated their emotions better but also developed greater brain-scan activity during the emotional task in the predicted brain regions of interest, the executive control loci.” In other words, not only did this training improve their emotional responses but also improved the participants’ overall brain function. In doing this, this “training” can help afflicted individuals learn to overcome their past trauma and emotional triggers to reclaim the executive function of their brains which can then be focused on their goals, aspirations of self-improvement.

Need to train your brain? Therapy can help. Contact our office for appointments @ 800-378-9354.

Learning How to Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

I’m sure many of us are familiar with the concept of the comfort zone. The term is used to describe a number of behaviors, activities, and situations which enable us to feel safe and at ease with minimal to no experience of stress. Initially, this arrangement may seem ideal: after all, the promise of the absence of stress does seem like a win-win. But unfortunately, the comfort zone can actually be fairly restrictive.

Dr. Abigail Brenner, attending physician at the NYU-Bellevue Adult Mental Hygiene Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor at New York University Medical School, describes the comfort zone thusly: “a psychological/emotional/ behavioral construct that defines the routine of our daily life. Being in one’s comfort zone implies familiarity, safety, and security. It describes the patterned world of our existence, keeps us relatively comfortable and calm, and helps us stay emotionally even, free from anxiety and worry to a great degree.” That being said, while creating a comfort zone is arguably a healthy adaptation for our day-to-day lives, so is stepping out of it.

If we don’t step out of our comfort zone, we may end up limiting ourselves and our experiences, which can ultimately hinder our quality of life. Think of it this way: if we spent all our lives inside of a box, we would miss out on the whole world outside our walls. When our comfort zone becomes our box that we refuse to leave, it becomes problematic rather than beneficial in any way. In many cases, our limitations are actually self-imposed and our fears irrational. For example, we might eat the same food everyday because it is familiar and therefore we assume it to be “safe”, but it’s irrational to believe that all other foods outside of our narrow selection are consequently “unsafe”. New experiences, both large and small, can be essential to living fulfilling lives. After all, it’s human nature to constantly grow and evolve.

Here are 3 reasons a therapist might give you for breaking out of the comfort zone and open up to new things, one step at a time.

1. Life is Waiting

Dr. Brenner states that “experiencing a little stress and anxiety now and then is a good thing… If all you ever do is strive to stay wrapped up in your little cocoon, keeping warm and cozy, you may be missing out on quite a lot—maybe no new experiences, no challenges, and no risks.” While perhaps scary at first, taking risks can be an important part of the transformative human experience, so long as we do so responsibly and use our common sense. Likewise, new experiences enable us to grow and transition in our lives, thereby helping us define who we are and bestowing meaning upon our existence. Our true lives exist beyond the bubble of our own personal thoughts and beliefs. In other words, true life includes the total summation of all of our experiences, not just the ones we are immediately comfortable with. Thus, we shouldn’t limit ourselves and look at the world from a narrow perspective. Broader horizons can give us a better idea of the scope of our potential.

2. Taking Risks Can Be Rewarding

Building on the previous point, it is not only healthy but essential to take risks from time to time. Taking risks is the only way we can allow ourselves to grow and progress personally, socially, and professionally. As Dr. Brenner explains: “Challenging yourself pushes you to dip into and utilize your personal store of untapped knowledge and resources. You have no idea what you’re made of unless and until you venture outside of your own familiar world.” In this way, all risks taken, regardless of outcome, lead to personal growth. Even when we make mistakes, we can take that newly acquired experience and knowledge and apply it to our future decision making. There is no such thing as failure if something can be gained from an experience, even if it’s not the first desired outcome.

3. Settling Keeps Us From Experiencing

By never allowing ourselves to experience new things, we might just end up settling for mediocrity. While it may sound harsh, the reality is that our comfort zones are pretty narrow and, as such, only account for a small selection of situations and experiences. But as it turns out the risks we take are cumulative. What this means is that each time we try something new, we are slowly opening ourselves to more and more new experiences as they arise, and, as a result, we are learning, expanding our skills and knowledge, and even expanding the size of our comfort zone by adding to what we know we can enjoy.

Stepping out of our comfort zones can seem daunting at first, but doing so can be important to our growth as individuals. To make things a little easier, we can start by making small changes. Dr. Brenner advises us to “Try to make small changes that take you out of the every day and familiar, yet are not too emotionally challenging.” This can be as simple as going to a new place or trying a new food. Regardless of what we do, the most important thing is to be open to new experiences.

If you would like to schedule a time to speak with one of our therapists about learning to step outside of your comfort zone, please call 800-378-9354.

What to Expect from Therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL

Most people, at some point in their lives, need some help and may seek therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL.  For many, undergoing therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL. helps them to make improvements in their lives and gain better insight and understanding in their struggles.  Sometimes, overwhelming stress or crisis in life brings an individual to therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL.  Others may seek therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL. to achieve personal growth or improve relationships.  Whatever the reason may be, the therapists at Proliance Center in Boca Raton are trained and equipped to provide you with the support you need to move forward.

Everyone has different needs they bring to therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL., but what you can universally expect from your experience at Proliance Center, is to build a relationship with your therapist built on support, acceptance, non-judgment, expertise, and professionalism.  When seeking therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL your therapist is here to help you make the changes you wish to make.  Some patients know exactly what changes are needed when they enter therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL while others don’t know what to change or how.  A skilled therapist is here to help you determine your needs and your goals.  We will also help you to determine the specific issues that have lead you to our office.

The differences in individual experiences in therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL are not only based on the issues present at your first session, but also the theoretical orientation of your therapist. When seeking therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, you can expect your therapist to have extensive training in their areas of expertise and also draw from a variety of therapeutic approaches to best meet your needs.  While we typically draw from the techniques of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Positive Psychology, Psychodynamic Therapy, Insight-Oriented Therapy, Psychoanalytic Therapy, Art Therapy, and Play Therapy, we also combine these with Humanistic and Person-Centered theories to provide you with a comprehensive treatment approach. When seeking therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, we feel it is important to focus on and develop your existing strengths to help you overcome and move forward.

The process of therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, begins with a consultation session in which your therapist will help you to find out whether psychotherapy is right for you and determine if you will be able to have a successful working relationship.  You will likely discuss the issues that have brought you to therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, and the values and views that are most important to you.  When you leave your initial session, you should feel that you can trust and respect your therapist and that he/she understands your situation.

Following your initial session, you will spend the following sessions assessing the concerns or problems that have brought you to therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, in order to determine clear and specific goals to address throughout your treatment.  These goals can be modified or replaced by other goals as your therapeutic experience progresses.  Throughout your experience, you can expect to work in therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, in order to gain insight and solve your current problems.  You may also experience a shift in your emotions, thoughts and/or behaviors you want to change.  Oftentimes, your therapist will encourage you to implement the skills you learn in session outside of therapy through the use of homework or other types of practice.  This will help you solidify your new insights and knowledge in order to best sustain the changes you have made in therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL.

The length of therapy at Proliance Center in Boca Raton, FL, varies depending on the individual and their treatment goals.  Some experience may last 3-4 sessions, while others can extend for longer periods.  Typically, sessions are approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour and take place once per week.  Each individual is able to determine the treatment schedule that works best for them with their therapist.  Here at Proliance Center, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the therapeutic process!

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