The therapists in our practice are Christians and therefore, approach the counseling process in a way that is based on their Christian faith. It does not mean that they only work with clients who are Christians nor that the Bible is always used directly in the counseling session. It does mean that their understanding of problems, relationships, change and growth is shaped by a Christian worldview.
We approach marriage counseling as more than simply helping couples learn how to communicate better, though that is certainly a part of it. We believe that before a couple can resolve their problems they first need to forge a common vision for their marriage. When that is shared the real work of marriage counseling can begin – moving from a competitive relationship to a cooperative one. This process involves confronting the areas that keep a couple stuck – rigid patterns of relating, unhealed hurt, loss of trust, competitiveness, etc. – and changing them. Marriage counseling is not about assigning blame to either partner as both are involved in the patterns that get formed. Our desire is to help couples realize ”oneness” in their marriage and to experience all the blessings that marriage was intended to provide.
Play is the most natural way for children to explore their environments and express themselves. Through play, a child learns about relationships and the world in which they live. Play therapy is a therapeutic approach which builds on the natural tendency of children to play and equips trained professionals to help children achieve their optimal mental health.
Children have a limited capacity to express themselves verbally yet they do express themselves frequently through their behaviors. Children often use non-verbal ways of communicating and all behavior is communication. Play therapy allows children to communicate their thoughts and feelings in a developmentally appropriate manner and provides a way to express non-verbally what they may otherwise be unable to express with words. Play enables children to express what’s going on in their internal world and process thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. This helps them to make better sense of what they are feeling and experiencing, which them allows them and their care-givers to manage those feelings in a healthier manner.
Play is initially used to establish rapport and communicate acceptance of the child. Play therapists observe, decipher and respond to both verbal and non-verbal interactions in the playroom. Play is then utilized to assess and understand children’s view of themselves and the world. Therapists specializing in play therapy are able to assess current difficulties and provide interventions designed specifically for a child’s presenting issues and developmental level. Playful interventions are then utilized to teach new skills and maximize responsiveness from a child.
Play therapy uses different materials and interactions to address a child’s particular situation. Specific toys and materials are thoughtfully chosen to help children express their thoughts and feelings through play. Therapists strategically utilize play therapy techniques to help children express what is troubling them and help them cope with difficult emotions. Through play therapy children learn to find alternative solutions to current problems. Children learn to modify behaviors, express emotions, improve communication and develop problem solving skills and self confidence. Play therapists help children and families to learn more adaptive ways of responding and interacting with the world around them.
Play therapy can address a wide variety of issues in various settings including hospitals, schools, agencies and clinical settings. Typical presenting concerns include poor social skills, impulsivity, anger, depression, anxiety, sadness, family dissolution, grief and trauma. If you would like to learn more about Play Therapy and its benefits visit the National Play Therapy website at www.a4pt.org.
Do you ever feel stuck, unable to move past a particular event or belief? Do you ever have a reaction that feels much bigger than the current situation? Are there some disturbing memories that just don’t seem to resolve, but cause pain long after the experience has ended? Interestingly enough, some of these disturbing memories or beliefs can get locked in our brains, bodies or nervous system without being completely processed. You may sometimes feel a disconnection between what you know to be true and what your “gut” is telling you is true.
It seems clear that God designed our brains to process unresolved events of the day while we sleep. This is the reparative function of REM sleep. During our deepest sleep, our eyes move back and forth while new networks are created and new associations are formed. During EMDR, this side to side motion or bilateral stimulation of the eyes, which seems to replicate deep REM sleep, is used to help the brain reprocess disturbing events. The goal in EMDR is to process the disturbing thoughts, feelings or body sensations and allow negative material to become unstuck and bring the processing to completion. This accelerated form of therapy helps to promote recovery from our difficulties. EMDR can help you experience decreased negative emotions and increase positive feelings.
The brain’s natural tendency is to repair itself but overwhelming circumstances in our life can halt that natural process. EMDR can provide an alternative to traditional talk therapy. The EMDR therapist does nothing magical and you are in control of the process at all times. EMDR is used with adults as well as children. If you are interested in learning more about how EMDR could help you, please contact one of our specially trained EMDR therapists.