Piedmont Counseling Center’s New Website

Piedmont Counseling Center’s New Website

Piedmont Counseling Center has launched a new website. Our hope is that for our existing patients, our new website will be easier to navigate and helpful in finding needed resources. We also hope that new and prospective patients will be able to find us more easily and contact us more readily.

Our first website launched in 2013 and was relatively simple, as Dr. Spriggs was our only staff person at the time. As we added staff and changed locations, we launched a new website (with updates in 2018). Launching a new website is costly and time-consuming. So why a new website in 2021?

In 2019 and 2020, we have had a renewed emphasis on providing psychotherapy through tele-health (provision of psychotherapy through video and phone services), counseling at no cost and on training practicum students. These pursuits may seem varied in focus. They all require training and resource allocation, but they are complementary.

The pandemic has required tele-health services. Practicum students do not charge for their services. While there is no fee for seeing a practicum student, they provide quality psychotherapy services and are under the supervision of our licensed staff. This enables us to provide care to patients who aren’t able to afford counseling.

Our community has a greater need for mental health services than ever before. The pandemic, divisions in our society, and lack of community have all contributed to this need. We hope that our new website will help us reach more people and allow for easier access to our services. Thanks so much for taking the time to follow us.

Emotional Support for Youth

lonely youth
young woman sitting alone

Youth (teens and adults under the age of 30) is a wonderful time in life.  This age group is facing unique challenges brought on by Covid-19 and other social factors.  A recent article in USA Today reported that young adults and teens (and especially young adults who are non-white) have experienced a disproportionally high amount of anxiety compared with some other age groups.  You can read the article on USA Today’s website by following this link:

https://social.triadpcc.com/1iOh

According to the above article, the suicide rate has increased significantly from 1999-2018.  If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, please seek help. The national suicide crisis line is a good resource:  1-800-273-8255 (the last 4 digits spell “talk” on a phone keypad, which makes the number easier to memorize).

A Need for Increased Independence AND Increased Social Support

Although there has been an increase in anxiety, social isolation, the stigma associated with mental health treatment, and economic challenges are leaving youth extremely vulnerable to mental health problems.  A developmental task for youth is developing their own identify and not depend as much on their family of origin as much for the support they need.  The current economy has made it extremely difficult to establish independence.  Social distancing is a requirement (by law in many areas) and many young people are not receiving needed social support.

Technology Alone is Insufficient

Technology can help overcome the social distancing requirements for some people. Individuals who have the financial means to have tools such as high-speed internet, computers, and mobile devices can use social media and video conferencing software to connect with their peers.  Some people do not have these tools and there are a significant number of individuals who do not find social media or teleconferencing as an adequate substitute for in-person socialization.

The Benefits of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy will likely be increasingly important to this age group for a variety of reasons.  The privacy of psychotherapy will help young people to continue to receive social support without dependence on their family-of-origin.  Even the wisest of friends and family often have an agenda and are tempted to give advice.  Many young people do not need advice as much as they need a healthy venue to struggle with their feelings and arrive at solutions themselves.  Psychotherapy is an ideal venue for this process.  Finally, there are significant self-care skills that a competent mental health professional can teach young people that they are not likely to learn from non-professionals, such as mindfulness, setting boundaries, and eliminating negative thinking patterns.  The majority of youth will experience positive growth during psychotherapy.  Mental health professionals are also equipped to identify mental health problems that youth may be experiencing that go beyond normal stress.  To summarize, the following are some unique benefits psychotherapy may provide to youth:

  • Privacy
  • Fostering Independence
  • Self-Care skills
  • When needed, diagnosing and treating mental health problems

Finding a Psychotherapist

Finding a therapist can be difficult.  Therapists are not allowed to advertise in the same manner as some other professions.  Due to the stigma associated with going to therapy, people are not as likely to discuss their experiences with local therapists.  Finances are one consideration.  If you have health insurance, your plan may have a mental health benefit.  If you call your insurance plan, they may be able to direct you to a therapist in your area who is covered by your plan.

Although finances are an important consideration, your comfort with your therapist and their effectiveness are also very important considerations.  Unlike some other types of healthcare, seeing a therapist requires your active participation and interaction with your therapist.  If you are not comfortable talking with your therapist, it will make the process much more difficult.  Do you have any preferences in terms of age, gender, or personality type (outgoing and talkative, reserved and quieter, someplace in the middle)?  A good resource to help you find a counselor is:

psychology today

This online database will allow you to search for a therapist by location, insurance, and specialties.  You will receive a list of therapists with a bio, picture, and contact information. This database is free for you to use and will give you a starting point for finding a therapist who is a good match for you.  It would be wise to have a list of 3 or more names so you can call them and see if they are taking new patients and also get a feel for their responsiveness to you.

Understanding Meditation

health benefits of meditation
Meditation

Are you having problems with chronic pain?  Do you have sleep problems or anxiety?  Would you be interested in a treatment that does not involve medication or invasive medical procedures?  Healthcare research has demonstrated the benefits of meditation.  The following link provides a brief overview of some of the benefits of meditation as well as supporting research:  https://social.triadpcc.com/1dci

Basic Components of Meditation

Meditation can be a lifelong study, but getting started is not complex or difficult.  Unlike many pursuits, you don’t need to read books or enroll in a class to commence learning.  Here are some components of meditation that you can try today without any study:

  • Slow and relaxed breathing.  Use your diaphragm muscles.  You should feel your gut expand.
  • Relaxed muscle tone.  As your muscles relax, they will feel loose and heavy.  It is important to relax all muscle groups from head to toe, including small muscles, such as in the forehead and neck.
  • Clear your mind.  Don’t think about the past or future.  It often helps to focus on a nature scene that is relaxing to you.  If your mind wanders, focus on the feelings of your body and the relaxation of being in nature. Try to use all of your senses (for example, being able to hear the waves of the ocean, taste and smell the saltwater, see the blue of the sky, and feel the sand on your feet.

A beginner does not need to meditate for an hour or even 20 minutes.  Five minutes of meditation per day will yield benefits to physical and emotional health.  Consistency is very important.  If you can meditate most days for only 5 minutes per setting for 30 days, you will gain far more benefit than inconsistent practice.

Additional Resources

If you would like to learn more about meditation there are a number of options.  Most libraries have DVDs and audio recordings of meditation exercises that can be loaned out, in addition to books. Youtube has videos demonstrating meditation, and there are many free websites that have comprehensive information on meditation.  There are also online courses on meditation (for example, https://social.triadpcc.com/1ddV).

Meditation is a simple way you can invest in your emotional and physical health today.

Make the most of 2019

It is still early in the new year. Are you off to a good start in 2019? We hope 2019 is a wonderful year for you. Contact us at Piedmont Counseling Center if you need support.
https://pmtcounseling.com/services/

When Will I Start Feeling Better? Grieving for the First Time

One of the most devastating experiences we must endure in life is grieving the loss of a loved one. Although we have the knowledge that everyone will eventually die, and we logically understand the finality of death, no amount of information can prepare us for the devastation of the actual experience. Losing someone we love for the first time can be overwhelming. Trying to comprehend the finality of this separation is a shock to our system. We can feel angry, anxious, or depressed.

Experiencing grief differs for each person. How we endure, experience, and eventually thrive is unique to each individual. Although Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) are very well known, they are still imperfect: not everyone will experience those exact emotions. There is no road map and no timeline when it comes to grief. When you start to feel better is largely up to you.

One of the most important things to recognize when it comes to grief is that the length of time you spend in mourning, or the depths of the sadness you feel, are not a measure of how much you treasured the loved one you lost. At the same time, it’s unhealthy to try and “skip over” the period of mourning by burying yourself in work or play. The only way to the destination at the end is to walk the road and to do that you must let the feelings come up: cry when you need to cry, and laugh when you need to laugh. If the sorrow you’re experiencing is overwhelming, here are some activities to try and alleviate it.

Schedule time to cry. If you find yourself spending too much time crying and upset, schedule a time to feel sad. Give yourself one hour when you can cry as much as you like. But when the hour is up, wash your face and do something nice for yourself.

Do something in honor of your loved one. This can be making a donation in their name, volunteering, planting a tree, or baking their favorite cake.

Write. Write your loved one a letter or journal your feelings.

Meditate. Find a quiet place to meditate or pray. Visit your place of worship or read religious books you find comforting.

Exercise. Go for a walk, go to the gym, or take a yoga class. Try something new, or do something familiar – whichever feels better to you.

Although someone you loved has died, who they were has left a permanent mark on you: you are forever changed because of them. Honor their memory by honoring their life, and honor their life by making the best out of yours.

If you are struggling with grief and need help moving forward, contact my office today and let’s set up a time to talk.