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Psychological counseling is offered by various professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists and pastors. Counseling can provide an opportunity for self-discovery and growth that would not take place without outside assistance. It helps us to learn more about ourselves and how we think. Someone else’s input may suggest new solutions to old problems or help us make the choices we were unable or unwilling to make on our own. Counseling usually increases our self-confidence, improves our relationships, helps us to achieve important goals and aids us in making good decisions that improve our emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual well-being. Most people, at some time or another, can benefit from counseling.

Sometimes all that one needs is a little outside assistance to help define and solve chronic problems. In many cases all that is needed is a listening ear or someone to pray with. Many counseling sessions conclude successfully without the counselor saying much at all.

While many issues can be resolved easily or quickly, deeper and more complex problems may require working with a specialist, someone with whom you are comfortable, over a longer period of time.
 

 
 

Counseling can help with the following:
 
 
Autoimmune  Ulcerative Colitis
 Unresolved grief is sometimes a hidden contributing factor. Resolving the issue as completely as possible may hasten healing and reduce relapses.

Mental

  Counseling Need
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
 Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) involves working with cognitions to change emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Exposure therapy is one form of CBT that is unique to trauma treatment. It uses careful, repeated, detailed imagining of the trauma (exposure) in a safe, controlled context to help the survivor face and gain control of the fear and distress that was overwhelming during the trauma. In some cases, trauma memories or reminders can be confronted all at once ("flooding"). For other individuals or traumas, it is preferable to work up to the most severe trauma gradually by using relaxation techniques and by starting with less upsetting life stresses or by taking the trauma one piece at a time ("desensitization").

Along with exposure, CBT for trauma includes:
  • learning skills for coping with anxiety (such as breathing retraining or biofeedback) and negative thoughts ("cognitive restructuring")
  • managing anger
  • preparing for stress reactions ("stress inoculation")
  • handling future trauma symptoms
  • addressing urges to use alcohol or drugs when trauma symptoms occur ("relapse prevention"), and communicating and relating effectively with people (social skills or marital therapy).

[The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Department of Veterans Affairs]

  Paranoia/Paranoid Personality Disorder
  Depression
 Psychotherapy, as well as medication, can be effective in treating depression. Certain types of psychotherapy, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), have been shown to be particularly useful.

  Unresolved Grief
  Panic Attacks
 "Children who are not cured of their phobias run a great risk of developing other areas of anxiety later on. It's therefore important to find effective forms of treatment that can reduce this risk. The method we have now tested also functions for other types of phobias," says Lena Reuterskiöld.

In a one-session treatment the children, together with their therapist, gradually approach what they are afraid of in a controlled and planned manner. The therapist describes and carefully demonstrates before the child is allowed to try. Because the children remain in the anxiety-inducing situation, they can experience how their anxiety and fear abates and how the expected catastrophe in fact does not occur. With the patient remaining in the situation for an extended period, without running away, new learning occurs, producing a development toward a new behavior. This is all done on a voluntary basis, which is also a precondition for successful treatment.

"One-session treatment has also proven to be effective over time. Adults who have been treated with this method have been able to notice the effects of the treatment more than a year after the session. And nothing indicates that the effect would taper off sooner in children, which we assume will soon be confirmed by a follow-up study," says Lena Reuterskiöld.

Besides the time aspect, the treatment offers other positive consequences.

"In cases where there anxiety problems of another kind than that targeted by the treatment, they too were alleviated in connection with a one-session treatment. This seems to indicate that the children take with them the knowledge they attain from this brief intervention and apply it to other problem areas," says Lena Reuterskiöld.

The dissertation is based on three empirical studies of children and adolescents with various specific phobias in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Virginia in the US. The overarching purpose of the treatment was to contribute to our understanding of fears, anxiety, and specific phobias in children and to evaluate the efficacy and the transferability of one-session treatment for specific phobias in children from one culture to another.

Metabolic

  Bulimic Tendency
  Anorexia / Starvation Tendency
 Anorexia requires counseling as it is mainly a psychological problem.

  Bruxism (Clenching/Grinding Teeth)
 Bruxism is sometimes due to strong emotions such as resentment, frustration, anger, grief, or fear, and can result from a dysfunctional family situation.

  Problem Caused By Being Overweight
 Although "eat less and exercise more" is a common prescription for weight loss, there are many additional factors, especially psychological ones, which may need to be addressed to successfully lose weight. The most common issues include self-sabotage, using food for comfort, hopelessness, and having a "fat mindset" instead of a "thin mindset."

Nervous System

  Nervous Breakdown Tendency

Pain

  Low Back Pain / Problems
 In a four-year investigation that followed patients who initially had no lower back pain, Stanford researchers studied their subjects' spines using both disc injection and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. And they also got to know their research subjects through psychological evaluations. It turned out that psychological factors more accurately predicted who would develop lower back pain than the two diagnostic techniques.

In people both with and without back pain, MRI can detect cracks or tears in the spongy cartilage disc that cushions each unit of the spine. Some doctors also have suggested that if a patient feels pain when fluid is injected into one of the spine's discs in a procedure called discography, the patient will soon develop back pain even if he or she doesn't already feel discomfort. The researchers found that patients with poor coping skills, as measured by psychological testing, or with chronic pain were nearly three times more likely to develop back pain compared to those with neither. A history of disputed workers' compensation claims also predicted future back pain. Meanwhile, a crack in the disc or a "high-intensity zone" seen on MRI was weakly associated with back pain, but the result was not statistically significant. The structural problems were overwhelmed by the psychosocial factors. [Spine May 15,2004;29(10): pp.1112-7]

This study confirms the findings of Dr. John Sarno.

Uro-Genital

  Susceptibility To Miscarriages
 Depression and guilt are often the result of a miscarriage and counseling can help. Furthermore, there appears to be a strong connection between diet, lifestyle, and risk of spontaneous abortion. Before becoming pregnant, therefore, it is a good idea to have counseling about the risks.

  Premature Ejaculation
 Rather than a physical exam, useful information is more likely to be obtained from interviewing the man or the couple. Premature ejaculation is most often a function of anxiety and overstimulation. Other psychological factors, such as guilt, may also be relevant if the prematurity develops later in a relationship as opposed to earlier.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended