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13

Understanding Depression

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
hope for depression

There is a common misconception that depression is a choice. The truth is that depression is a common yet serious mood disorder that has to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain. People experience depression in a number of ways and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Depression can affect how someone feels and thinks as well their daily activities such as work and sleeping. There are a variety of factors that can put someone at-risk for developing depression such as:

  • Genetics: Depression can be hereditary and runs in families.
  • Environmental Factors: exposure to neglect, abuse and violence can be risk factors for depression.
  • Personality: Traits such as low self-esteem and being easily overwhelmed by stress can make people more vulnerable to depression.
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop depression.

It should be noted that depression can look different for everyone. Some common symptoms of depression include.

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in hobbies/activities
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability

Treatments for Depression

There are several therapeutic treatment options for depression. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based CBT and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) have all been shown to help reduce depressive symptoms and increasing coping skills.

Many courses of treatment for depression will include medications such as anti-depressants in combination with psychotherapy to treat depression. Remember, no two people are alike and therefore, neither are their treatments. What worked for one person may not work for you.

Additionally, activities such as yoga and exercise in general as well as meditation and healthy eating can all have an impact on our overall mood and help to decrease depressive symptoms.

If you are struggling with depression the first step is reaching out for help. Visit our website at: https://www.collaborativemn.com/  to learn more about the services we offer and the people who can help.

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20

What Leads People to Cutting?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

Research estimates that 80% of cutters and those who self harm are trying to regain their emotional balance. There are a couple of factors commonly seen in those who cut:

1) They tend to be more sensitive and emotionally reactive.

2) They often feel invalidated by their environment.

Let’s break these two apart to make them more understandable.

Sensitive and Emotionally Reactive

People who cut seem to be more sensitive than others and they tend to have much stronger reactions to the feelings they experience. They also seem to take longer to recover from strong emotions than most. Others will often describe them as a “drama queen”, “overemotional” or “overly sensitive”. This strong emotional reaction makes them vulnerable to acting in a way that is either impulsive or can be desperate to soothe him or herself.

Invalidated by the Environment

This means they do not feel understood or heard. Validation involves using empathy to make sure the other person feels heard and understood. To validate, we accept the other person’s experience as they state it without judging or helping problem solve. Often with emotionally reactive people we can get reactive ourselves instead of  trying to make them feel better or helping them to solve the problem.

These two factors combined will often leave the person struggling to find a way to feel in control, particularly of strong negative emotions. Cutting thus becomes a tool to manage painful emotions because it soothes just as drugs and alcohol can.

For more information on how to help someone who cuts, visit http://collaborativemn.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy/

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26

How To Help Someone Struggling With Thoughts of Suicide

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
stress

According to the CDC, more than 38,000 Americans commit suicide each year. While we often think of suicide in relation to teens or the younger population, middle-aged males make up the majority of suicides in the U.S.

Suicide can be the result of any number of issues that someone is facing. However, an estimated 90% of people who committed suicide were suffering from substance abuse issues or a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD. Suicide can be the tragic answer that some turn to when they feel they have no other options.

Warning Signs

Suicide can be difficult to prevent. However, if you are aware of the warning signs you may be able to help a person who is struggling. Some warning signs of suicide are:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest or withdrawing from activities

Keep in mind this is not a complete list of the warning signs of suicide. Therefore, if you suspect that someone you care about may be contemplating suicide, read on to find out what you can do to help them.

What to do if you suspect someone may be suicidal

  • Be open to talking with them and listening to what they have to say.
  • Try not to discredit their feelings or minimize their problems. Focus on validating them for how they feel.
  • Let someone else know.
  • If the person doesn’t seem to be in immediate danger: encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional or doctor.
  • If the person seems to be in immediate danger: stay with them and contact a suicide prevention resource or accompany them to the emergency room or to mental health services.

Furthermore, if you or someone you know think they may be suffering from a mental illness, it is key to begin treatment as soon as possible. As a result, this can help to prevent the symptoms from worsening and lessen the likelihood of them resorting to suicide.

Resources For Suicide

Some additional resources that may be helpful for someone who is thinking about suicide or someone looking to help are:

Those who are suicidal often times will not reach out for help. Sometimes the simplest things like letting someone know that you are there for them can give them the hope they need to open up to someone and potentially save their life.

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18

Teens and Self Harm

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

Being A Teen Today

Teenage years are a very volatile and unpredictable time in a person’s life. They are too old to be considered children but still too young and immature to be considered adults. Frankly many parents are not fundamentally aware of the inherent distinction between the two stages, nor do they realise that the progression from child to adulthood is gradual. At this stage of life their hormones begin to go haywire as they prepare to cruise into adulthood. Often things such as peer pressure, bullying, disagreements, abuse and just plain ignorance can derail this delicate progression for teens.

At this stage of life teens require lots of understanding and patience. Teen counseling is very important to ensure that the chosen path into adulthood is navigated effectively. So many things can derail their progress that it’s a constant battle to make sure your words don’t fall on deaf ears. When teens find themselves in untenable situations sometimes they resort to self harm.

What Does Self Harm Look Like?

Self harm may include taking legal and illegal drugs, cutting themselves or engaging in high risk activities. Self harm can be a coping mechanism for dealing with pain, disappointment, neglect or abuse. When a teen is self harming it is very seldom that they will share this information with parents or guardians. This is when you know the situation has become indefensible and has pushed that teen to this extreme. Teens usually cut themselves in places that will not be easily visible like the arm and upper thighs that can be covered by long sleeves and pants.

How To Help Your Teen

It is paramount these at-risk teens get counseling before their actions lead to a more serious situation like them seriously or permanently hurting themselves or others. Listening is the most important step when counseling teens. Most often teens will continue to self harm when they feel that parents are judgemental and hypocritical towards them or lay blame squarely on their shoulders for any and all situations.

Reassuring your teen that help is available and things can improve is important. Some teens engaging in self harm feel a sense of hopelessness about things getting better and you want to reassure them that things can get better. Teens need to know someone is listening and that they have an outlet to air their frustrations and disappointment. They also need to know that there is always a different side, a better side to every situation.

To learn more about our services for teens visit: https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/teen-counseling

 

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06

Childhood Depression

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Childhood depression is much more common that you may know. According to the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services, as many as one in every 33 children and one in eight adolescents may have clinical depression.

What is depression?

Clinical depression is sadness that extends beyond being sad about particular situations or events (e.g. being sad about a breakup or sad about the death of a loved one). In addition, Clinical depression involves a prolonged sense of feeling sad that gets in the way of doing things the person wants to do.

Signs of depression in children

  • Sadness and hopelessness for weeks at a time
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or activities they used to enjoy
  • Irritability or being easily agitated
  • Missing school or a significant decline in grades
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Low confidence/self-esteem
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Help is available for a child or teen with depression

Collaborative Counseling provides specialized therapy services for children as young as age 3 up through adulthood. Our services are available in:

We provide play therapy for young and school age children. This has been shown to be effective in helping children overcome depression. To learn more about play therapy visit: http://collaborativemn.com/play-therapy/

Also, for older children and teens we provide a variety of different ways to help your child learn the skills they need. They can learn how to cope with their emotions, relationships and everyday challenges of our modern world. While counseling with children often involves a family component.  Furthermore, family counseling can help parents and other family members learn how to support the person who is struggling with depression.

What should you do if your child is exhibiting depression symptoms?

First of all, if you suspect your child is struggling with depression, get them help immediately. Therefore, we recommend bringing your child in to talk with a counselor or psychologist to clarify the symptoms as soon as possible. The counselor or psychologist will be able to provide you recommendations for treatment to help your child through their depression as well as any other areas of concern.

Finally, if  you are not quite ready to see a counselor or therapist, we recommend sharing your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician. Most general practice clinics can also help assess whether your child may be suffering from depression or another emotional health issue.

 

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10

Teen Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

The teen years involve a lot of stress. Some studies have indicated that teen stress is on the rise, yet many of the stressors of teens are the same as those faced by teens throughout the yesteryears. Furthermore, counseling for teen stress can help them to work on the many struggles particular to being an adolescent.

The teen years involve many unique challenges from other phases of life. Let us count the ways teen stress exists:

  • First, most teens want to fit in. An important phase of the teen years is finding a sense of acceptance. Teens seek a sense of this through friends, family and community culture. This is easy for some and very difficult for others and the social hierarchy is always at the forefront of teens attention.
  • Second, hormones are on the rise! Teen years involve many changes biologically which for some happen right on time, for others too slow and for others far too fast.
  • Also, brain development is rapid. In the teen years the frontal lobe begins to develop. Thus allowing teens to plan more and sometimes making them feel they know it all!
  • In addition, peer pressure kicks in to full gear. Teens begin to feel more pressures to fit in to social expectations, to take risks and to try new things, some of which include alcohol, drugs and sexual behaviors.
  • Last, teens are grappling with questions like, “What are you going to do with your life?” Increasingly teens are feeling the pressure to figure out what they will be “when I grow up”.

As a result of our society, there are many competing demands from parents, peers, teachers, employers, coaches and more. The goal of the teen years is to develop positive ways. It is also to cope with the stress of the increasing demands of life. As parents it is important to be a listening ear for your child. You want to pay attention to their friends and life dramas. Ultimately to foster a sense that your child has the ability to make positive choices for themselves.

Since teen stress will always exist, it’s important we learn to support our children through these years. To learn more about how to support your teen in developing the skills to navigate the teen years visit our website here.

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13

What are the different types of therapies you offer?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

It is important as a consumer to know what different types of therapies are available. There are many different theories our therapists pull from to make sure to target the concerns you bring to therapy. We encourage you to talk with your therapist about your treatment and to ask questions about what therapeutic approach is being taken. Below is some information on commonly used therapeutic approaches:

Cognitive Therapy

First, lets learn about cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapies focus on changing one’s attitude, perceptions and perspectives towards both oneself and situations to healthier and more positive ones. Many people develop cognitive distortions that require examination. Examples of cognitive distortions include: mind reading, over generalizing, exaggeration or minimization, self-fulfilling prophecies and more.

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25

Introducing Collaborative’s New Website!

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

Check out Collaborative Counseling’s brand new website! Our new site layout features responsive design and interactive content for a customized user experience on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops of any screen size. We are based in Maple Grove, Minnesota; Lakeville, Minnesota; Eau Claire, WI; and Hudson, Wisconsin. Collaborative Counseling provides comprehensive therapy services for all ages. Our skilled and compassionate therapists specialize in a wide range of therapeutic services.

Our main areas of service include:

(more…)

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13

What is the Difference Between Depression and Mourning?

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Depression & Alzheimer's

Depression Versus Mourning

Depression and mourning hold a lot of similarities. However, depression is different from mourning. Mourning is viewed as a longer, ongoing sadness that impacts the person’s ability to function effectively in life. Everyone mourns differently. Therefore, someone in mourning could potentially meet the criteria for a Major Depressive Episode. With this in mind, maybe we haven’t given enough thought to whether some people who are depressed are grieving a loss of some kind.

One In the Same?

In a recent conversation with a friend, she posed the question: Is depression a type of mourning? Maybe some people with depression are grieving the way they wish things were. We do know that depressed people tend to view the world in more negative ways. However, maybe it goes deeper than that.

Maybe, the negativity we see in the thinking of depressed people is about their grief and loss of relationships or career dreams. Maybe, even family ideals or visions of success they saw for themselves.

Of course, by no means do I suggest everyone who is depressed is grieving or in mourning. However, I do believe that some people may be.

Ultimately, depression varies in how it develops and presents for each individual. I think the thoughts above remind us to treat each person as an individual. By better understanding those in mourning and in depression, we can undoubtedly better help them to overcome their struggles.

Learn more at: https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/individual-counseling

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