August 18, 2019

Past events got you down?

Stuck in a bad event in your life? Have you noticed a certain set of experiences or a major event seem to have an undo amount of impact on your thoughts, dreams, and fears? Traumatic events can be an overwhelming setback for our lives. Coping with these events can be overtly challenging and overwhelming for many. There are several techniques we use at New Focus Counseling Center to overcome these past events. The first step is to confront the problem and acknowledge this is real, it exits, and it needs be challenged head on. Avoidance is a go to behavior when a traumatic event happens, who wants to think about this bad stuff that happened to us anyway? The problem is avoidance perpetuates the problem, often leaving it under the surface only to spring up at unexpected times. Symptoms can seem minor but have big impacts on our lives it’s the outbursts with a loved one when everything seemed fine, suddenly feeling a strong sense of emotion in a situation that reminds you of the event, or avoidance people/places/reminders altogether because the memories they bring up. These are all signs we are dealing with avoidance and likely symptoms of a trauma disorder. These events and thoughts are often identified as “stuck points” which are first identified then sorted through. Don’t let these life events keep you back, there are several great techniques that can be utilized to tackle these setbacks. Check out the link below for more information on stuck points and Cognitive Processing Therapy.

April 17, 2019

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

We all have played this out in our heads, “if this happens, can I deal with it?” Known as the downward arrow technique worst case scenario can be useful. However, there is counter question which can be as or more beneficial. What’s the worst that could happen is common, we think it often (at times to our own distress) but what alternatives are there to this question. Are there questions of equal importance we are leaving out? Next time you are running through your worst case scenario add this one in, “what is the best possible outcome?” That’s right, just as there is a worst case scenario, there is also a best case scenario we are likely to avoid/not think of. This influences our thinking and how we approach problems/coping. This week when you are asking yourself what is the worst case scenario, try also to ask yourself what is the best case scenario.

If you would like someone to walk through this process with you feel free to give us a call and talk to one of our providers: (903)715-4480.

March 18, 2019


Sleep effects everything. We have to have it both for our physical and mental health. If you are aren’t getting good sleep you should definitely talk to a professional see what can be done to help you sleep better. Overall sleep is a key factor for us it effects our judgment, irritability, mood, perceptions, cognitive functioning, and make healthy decisions. This is not inclusive and does not include the effects on our physical body of sleep deprivation. Check out this article on sleep deprivation.

February 28, 2019


Life is so busy, right? Most of us have at least one job, both parents working, kids in activities, our own additional obligations, and heaven forbid a social life! Here are a couple of quick tips to apply this week to help with the business.

  1. Clean it up. Just like we clean out clothes that are old and don’t fit we need to examine what is taking up space in your schedule that is not longer fulfilling or suiting its purposes. Sit down with your loved ones and look at what is ahead, are there things we could reduce or cut out? Really examine the things in your schedule and evaluate if they are meeting their intended purpose.

  2. Reserve time for self. That’s right you are a person with needs, desires, and goals. You as an individual need time to yourself which will allow you to regroup, plan, and literally relax. It can be very easy when attempting to meet the needs of others to forget we are also important and need time. Start with something small maybe 10 minutes in the morning or evening. Totally give yourself permission to have some privacy where you can read, rest, reflect, whatever you need to get regrouped for your day/week.

Thank you for checking in and have a great week (with time for yourself of course)!

February 11, 2019


Welcome to the last decade. Our lives have been changed quickly with the onset of social media. It’s made the unknowns famous and brought down the famous. It’s a giant that can build/destroy with a single line, on a single day, amongst a thousand other lines no one noticed. The word is be intentional, be intentential. If you don’t want your employer/family/loved/friends/kids/ or your future self to see it then, DON’T POST IT. Here is a place to get started from Psychology Today, enjoy!

January 28, 2019


Any conversation which produces results is likely uncomfortable. I must admit this is not an area in which I accel . In general, I am an agreeable person meaning I prefer to allow disagreements or differences to just be that without feeling the desire or need to confront them. The problem is this leaves things unresolved and at times totally avoided. This is why I admire people who are comfortable with disagreement. I’m not talking about the emotionally removed who go at arguments without really being in them due to their rough emotional absence. Rather I have several times had deep and meaningful conversations where uncomfortable things were discussed and through that love and connection were able to be established. It must be stated this is a difficult thing to do, it is much easier(at least in the short term) to avoid these conversations, or when in them to dominate and attempt to control them, manipulate to seem right, road block to only see your point of view, or bludgeon to verbally beat others into submission. Here are some tips to have meaningful conversations that help you and your loved ones grow together.

  1. Unconditional positive regard. Take the point of view that others around you are deserving of respect and dignity. Whether they are right or wrong is not what determines how they should be treated. Treat them kindly, with love, and EMPATHY.

  2. You can be right all by yourself. Sometimes we get so fixated on “being the right one” that we isolate everyone around us. At times this comes down to a simple problem, you can be right, but you will likely be alone. If you are so fixated on “being right” it can become hurtful and harmful all while missing the point of the discussion to begin with. Focus on solutions not who is “right” or “wrong” as these often subjective labels cause more damage to others than what they are worth.

  3. Stay in the room, don’t avoid the difficulty of the conversation just because it is difficult. There are times when things turn volatile that distance might be needed but don’t run from conversations just because they make you uncomfortable.

    This process is uncomfortable but very rewarding, increase the love by showing love through difficult conversations, empathize with others and watch your relationship grow!

January 21, 2019


Disappointment is an experience shared by all of us. Strangely at the time we experience it, it’s as though we are the only ones in the world who could understand it. Disappointment is unique in that it’s existence is shared by all, however the way it is experienced is individual and deeply personal. Disappointment comes in many forms, it’s the bombed joke that causes a rip of anxiety in it’s wake. It’s the friendly hello that is blown off by someone you care about. The opportunity you knew you were meant for, and being led too, that is nothing short of a rejection. Here is the good news… Yes disappointment will come, however, with the disappointment also comes opportunity. It’s not whether you receive disappointment that determines whether you will be happy or not, rather it is how you perceive/view the disappointment and then what you do in response to it. Steve Harvey shared a story of when he was homeless and bathed in the public restrooms of luxury hotels to stay clean. This “disappointment” could have shaped his whole life and took him down any path, but it didn’t. Look at yourself, what disappointments are in front of you? What is not going as you’d expect or wish? Now frame your circumstance in terms of opportunity. What options do I have (normally you have at least three)? Now ask yourself, which option is most likely to get me to my goal? Example, if you goal is to go back to school then don’t put yourself in a position where this would be impossible (i.e. getting an inflexible job, not telling others what you need, getting a gas burning SUV when you know you will be commuting on tight funds, etc.). Yes you will be disappointed and so will I, this doesn’t conclude the story, it’s just a turning point.

If you are dealing with disappointment in your life that you feel could use more attention please feel free to call us today, (903)715-4480.

January 14, 2019


New Years Resolutions. “I mean it, I’m really going to stop smoking!”

How many times have you or someone you know tried to stop smoking? It is TOUGH. Nicotine is hard to drop, it falls on the same list as hard drugs like cocaine in terms of its addictive properties.

I have been successful in helping many people curb their addictions to nicotine.

1st step: Take a mental inventory of when you usually smoke: When you wake up with your coffee, after getting ready, on the way to work, breaks, lunch, afterwork, etc. Then, add up roughly how many you are smoking a day. Now, take off the pressure! You are an adult, if you want to smoke, you can smoke. Instead, let’s not smoke right now. If this sounds like procrastination, your right. Instead of waking up and having that first cigarette with coffee, just wait, and have it on the way to work. You just saved one cigarette that was bad for you. Or, if that morning cigarette is most important, have it, and then skip another. Either way, what we want to do is put a little distance between uses. This helps keep cravings low and helps us psychologically as you transition from being smokers. Over time you can space these out more and more. Before you realize it can be a couple of weeks down the road and you haven’t smoked all day. What a success!

                A side tip: you never have to say you are quitting unless this helps you, this can make some feel deprived, instead, just say I’m not smoking right now! I know some people who have been saying this for nearly a decade.

2nd step: Remind yourself of the great benefit you are doing for your body. Not only does smoking cause discoloration of teeth, it is one of the few things we know is REALLY bad for us. Remind yourself of the vast benefits and check out the chronological wins you’ll be making for your body from the World Health Organization

3rd Step: As with any behavior modification you need to replace with something healthy. Go for a walk, get some exercise, save the money your are saving from not buying cigarettes for something just for yourself. Doing something HEALTHY INSTEAD.

                A side tip: Keeping candy or gum around can help when you are used to having something to do. This can be an alternative while your in transition.

Finally, talk with your doctor. What I have given you are very practical psychological tools to help make you healthier. Working with your doctor will be an added benefit as they know very well the impacts of smoking and can discuss other medications and modifications that can aid in your new goals!

The procrastination concept was first taught to me by Jerry Beare, LPC ,check out his book “Parenting: a View From the Therapist Chair.”

December 17, 2018


The family is coming over for Christmas! Three rules for a successful holiday.  

The tree is up, presents have been purchased, meals are planned, and people are invited. It’s the most wonderful time of year, or least it’s supposed to be, right? With so much anxiety, worry, and despair we ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN says the overstressed mom over gritted teeth. Let’s make this year special and enjoyable with a little prep work. Here is how to manage the influx of family/friends during this special time of year.

1st Boundaries: let’s set some ground rules. What is allowed at your house, also what are we willing/not willing to be around at other’s homes. This includes alcohol use/abuse. Have a family member who can’t seem to help themselves stay clear? Set the standard BEFORE we expose kids, spouses, etc to the poor behavior brought on by abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Let the family member know what will be allowed in your home or in your presence ahead of time, no need for surprises.

2nd Keep the topic light: in the current culture and climate NONE of us can totally escape politics or other heated discussions of human importance. Of recent years these topics get ugly quickly and are often damaging to relationships. The politics has become personal, very personal, and it is NOT worth harming relationships over current fads of political fervor. When the topic comes up (trust me it will) even Christmas songs are literally political now, then redirect. A lot of times a simple redirection can help us stay on a track of pleasant dialogue without everyone leaving with hurt feelings and negative views of each other. Do you really want to be arguing with your step dad over homemade mashed potatoes? Of course not, mashed potatoes are wonderful, and rare, don’t let them go to waste!

3rd Options for the masses: we aren’t altogether very often so it can be difficult for some to be in close quarters for long periods of time. Give people space, allow for outdoor space to be utilized if possible. Have light reading material laying around and allow Uncle Eddie to have that much needed nap, you will all be glad you did. Activities for the kids are always memorable; and remember it’s the season of giving so be kind with words, deeds, and attitudes.

Get these rules in place just in time for the best Christmas yet. From New Focus Counseling Center have a very Merry Christmas!

December 10, 2018


Understanding the holiday blues. For many, the Christmas season is an event starting slightly before thanksgiving (insert eye roll) and ending somewhere in January. We all have that special loved one who is rocked out with Christmas music and has the wildest Christmas clothes. However, not everyone enjoys Christmas in this way and for some it is even a time of struggle and disappointment. If you or someone you know falls in the latter category here is a three step plan for fighting off the holiday blues.

1.       Set some priorities. For many (I must include myself in this) Christmas has become a time of money spending fervor where we feel high expectations and obligations to provide others with a certain dollar value of goods to “show we care.” Don’t let obligations set the tone for your Christmas, rather work with your family to develop a loving exchange this Christmas which might not even involve presents or money! A local family I know one year decided to use the money they would normally spend on Christmas to be gathered and spent for mission work. They purchased some gifts for the children and made homemade gifts for the adults. This was a wonderful Christmas for this family and everyone felt especially blessed. What priorities could you set or change with your family that would decrease the stress and add to the enjoyment?

2.       Make a plan to give to someone who is in need. While some research shows we find more fulfillment in giving to those we know and can see, there is great enjoyment in the imagination of not knowing and trying to visualize their experience. A simple angel tree or shoe box providing a child with gifts on Christmas reminds us all we are in this short life together and we want to make the experience for others as enjoyable as possible. Get outside yourself!

3.       Look for an underlying issue causing the distress! Is there too many planned events for you to have self-care? Too many parties, get togethers, etc. What can you skip and prioritize to make sure you have time for yourself as well as others? Perhaps Christmas has not been enjoyable for a long time, when was the last time you enjoyed the Christmas season? Was there a bad event around Christmas at some point in your life? Or maybe you are adjusting a new circumstance around Christmas like the loss of a loved one or change in your living arrangements, job, etc. Identifying within ourselves the source of the discomfort is the first step in making a positive change!

I hope this 3 step plan helps to identify the source of the “Christmas Blues” and always consider talking to a professional in your area to get some added guidance. As always, Merry Christmas readers!