Individual Mental Health Therapy/Evaluations
Individual therapy can address a variety of issues and help facilitate healing, balance, and growth. Our experienced therapists are credentialed in co-occuring disorders (having a substance use disorder in addition to a mental health disorder) and trauma and are committed to aiding in identifying your strengths and resolving issues for both adolescents and adults. Although our speciality is co-occuring disorders, below are other theraputic services we can and do address:
Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.
Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
- Being irritable
- Having muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
Everyone feels sad or low sometimes, but these feelings usually pass with a little time. Depression—also called “clinical depression” or a “depressive disorder”—is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks.
Sadness is only one small part of depression and some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. Different people have different symptoms. Some symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.
Substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. As time passes, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may need the drug just to feel good. As your drug use increases, you may find that it's increasingly difficult to go without the drug. Attempts to stop drug use may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms).
Symptoms or behaviors include, among others:
- Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day
- Having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts
- Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
- Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended
- Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
- Spending money on the drug, even though you can't afford it
- Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
- Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it's causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm
- Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you're under the influence of the drug
- Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug
- Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
Substance use disorder changes normal desires and priorities. It changes normal behaviors and interferes with the ability to work, go to school, and to have good relationships with friends and family. In 2014, 20.2 million adults in the U.S. had a substance use disorder and 7.9 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental illness. More than half of the people with both a substance use disorder and another mental illness were men (4.1 million). Having two illnesses at the same time is known as “comorbidity” and it can make treating each disorder more difficult.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after exposure to a potentially traumatic event that is beyond a typical stressor. Events that may lead to PTSD include, but are not limited to, violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat, and other forms of violence.
Exposure to events like these is common. About one half of all U.S. adults will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives, but most do not develop PTSD. People who experience PTSD may have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories of the event(s), experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or may be easily startled. In severe forms, PTSD can significantly impair a person's ability to function at work, at home, and socially.
A traumatic event is a shocking, scary, or dangerous experience that affects someone emotionally. These situations may be natural, like a tornado or earthquake. They can also be caused by other people, like a car accident, crime, or terror attack.
How individuals respond to traumatic events is an important area of research for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Researchers are exploring the factors that help people cope as well as the factors that increase their risk for problems following the event.
Some signs that an individual may need help include:
- Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad, or fearful
- Crying often
- Having trouble thinking clearly
- Having frightening thoughts, reliving the experience
- Feeling angry
- Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses.
- Stomach pain and digestive issues
- Feeling tired
- Racing heart and sweating
- Being very jumpy and easily startled
For people who continue to feel the effects of the trauma, it is important to seek professional help.
- Parenting concerns
- Life Stressors
- Stress management
- Self-esteem development
- Anger management
- Emotional maturity
Betsy Pennington, LMSW, CADC
Betsy is a licensed master’s social worker with a certification in addictions counseling. She has had 15 years helping incredible individuals overcome their challenges to discover a more fulfilling life. Her work has focused on people with co-occuring substance use disorders but has also included individuals presenting primarily with depression, anxiety, trauma, OCD, PTSD, parent/child issues and a range of other concerns. Betsy largely uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as an effective modality, however, she is also aware that not one approach fits all. She is also certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to address trauma by directly reprogramming the way distressing memories and images are stored in the brain. She also uses Solution Focused Therapy, Moral Reconation (MRT) and Gestault Therapy. She is also is trained in the principles of Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, TF-CBT , Mindfulness and Parenting Skills. She has stated that, “Time and time again I amazed how even the deepest pain can be healed when it’s given a voice in a nurturing and supportive environment.”
Amanda Edwards, TLLP, CAADC
Amanda is a temporary licensed psychologist with a certification in advanced addictions counseling. She has 10 years of experience working with adults and at risk youth. Her work has focused on individuals with co-occuring substance use disorders but she also sees clients with depression, PTSD, relationship issues, survivors of domestic violence, trauma, anxiety, and a range of other issues. Amanda has extensive training in psychological testing, uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing while taking an empathetic, strengths-based approach with her clients. She has expressed that, “ I have witnessed some of the greatest life challenges can bring about gifts such as increased consciousness, resiliency, wisdom, and strength.”
A psychological evaluation provides a comprehensive assessment of an individual's behavior, personality, cognitive abilities, and several other domains to provide an objective diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The purpose behind many modern psychological evaluations is to try to pinpoint what is happening in someone's psychological life that may be inhibiting their ability to behave or feel in more appropriate or constructive ways; it is the mental equivalent of physical examination. On average, most psychological evaluations take 3 to 5 hours to complete, but for some clients it may take longer. Short breaks are provided as needed. At this time we do NOT take insurance for psychological evaluations.
Psychological Evaluations conducted with us include mental health or behavioral diagnoses only at this time. Our evaluations cannot assess for neurological problems or learning disabilities such as: ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, or Autism.