Our clinical team is trained in Counseling Psychology or Marriage and Family Therapy. Both degrees prepare our therapists to work with individuals, couples, and families. Our therapists have training in various techniques and use numerous therapeutic modalities to work with a variety of concerns including, but not limited to:
Counseling and psychotherapy are excellent as a wellness practice, not unlike yoga, meditation, and exercise. It is a great way to deepen self-awareness and cultivate more satisfying ways of being your best self in the world.
Our emotions, mind, and body react to our environments. They often work in unison at lightning speed. This is why we often find ourselves confused after the fact as to how we reacted in negative ways. We “know better,” but we keep finding ourselves acting in ways that create pain for us. We take that one more drink, we agree to go out with our party friends, we meet with the prostitute one more time, we purge our last binge, or we skip yet another meal. Whatever the choice, we are practicing our addiction and causing a myriad of pain for ourselves and those who love us. Counseling can be a way to unpack why we act the way we do and get to the deeper emotional and bodily reactions we are having so that there is room to choose something different.
Grief cannot be avoided nor can it be short circuited. Therapy can be a safe context to explore all of the confusing and painful emotions that grief brings. Whether it is anger, sadness, regret, fear, or even happiness, in this space you can be fully yourself with someone who will listen and not judge you. Oftentimes, when we are attempting to talk to others about our loss, they become anxious and out of their attempt to make their own anxiety go away say some pretty insensitive things. Counseling can be a space where you do not have to take care of the counselor. Instead, they are there for you.
We get overwhelmed. Our mind races or it just goes blank. Our emotions surge or seem to go numb. Our bodies ramp up or go limp. We may have some idea why our beings are reacting this way or maybe we aren’t sure why. Therapy can create an environment where you can become aware of how you are responding to a certain situation. By slowing down using mindfulness strategies a therapist can help you become aware of the sense of threat that you are reacting to, and give you practical tools for helping you soothe and calm your body & mind in stressful situations.
Trauma therapy creates a safe space to experience the full weight of past harm without reinjuring the client. The therapeutic relationship and self regulation skills become the “container” that allow the client to express what happened, explore the impact of that event on the present, and begin to place this story in the context of the rest of their narrative, honoring its impact and the intrinsic strength of the client. Integral to this process is an awareness of the body’s experience both past and present, and learning techniques to soothe the body. Along with talk psychotherapy, we have therapists who specialize in therapy modalities that are used to directly treat trauma including, EMDR, AEDP, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
Adult therapy at The Phoenix Counseling Collective is often a long-term process. Weekly or bi-weekly appointments work best to establish the safety of the therapeutic relationship, which is critical for true change and transformation to occur. There is typically a catalyst for you to begin therapy, but you have had years of experiences and interactions that have shaped who you are. Therapy is a great place to begin to process those interactions and experiences, to develop an understanding of how and why you respond to the world around you as you do, and begin to choose something different, thus creating a new story for yourself.
The therapist will get to know you and what brings you into therapy. They will go over confidentiality, informed consent, and the logistics of appointment length and policies, but more importantly they will be asking you about your goals for therapy and what you are hoping for in the process.
Parents are typically in the room during the first session. Beyond that, it’s different for each situation and will be determined between the parents and therapist. Your child’s therapist will provide insight of the therapy process, including the relational aspect of sessions. Family therapy may be applicable, in order for your child to exist within the "system" of their family. Parents will be provided with tools to support your child in the home and school environment.
It is important for caregivers to take an active role in the therapeutic process for change to take place. It can be helpful for parents to have some strategies to utilize to help their child. It is important that both the therapist and the parents are using the same type of language when discussing emotions and experiences. The more consistent, the more change that will be created. At times, it can also be very helpful for parents to be a part of the therapeutic session to learn skills such as non-directive play therapy, as well as observing how to create space for your child to explore their emotions and experiences.
Work in the relational framework is meant to be long-term in order to develop rapport to explore depths beneath behaviors and symptoms. It takes time for your child to build trust and a relationship with the therapist. Once the relationship has been more established, more work can then be done.
The therapist wants to get to know you and your child. Parent(s) will be welcomed back to the office in order to discuss intake paperwork, confidentially, informed consent, and logistics. The therapist will ask about your observations of your child’s behaviors and symptoms as well as your hopes for therapy. A conversation will be had about what future therapy sessions will look like and the level of parental involvement the therapist recommends for sessions.
Your therapist will also be teaching you about childhood development and attachment. They may suggest books for parents to read themselves to better understand their child and the dynamics that may be playing out with the relationship.
Your therapist may read books or suggest books to introduce coping skills, emotions, and to normalize an experience.
This therapy utilizes figurines in a tray of sand to help children (actually, this can be used for clients of all ages) to help express emotional content.
Drawing, painting, creating can be a great way to explore what is occurring internally.
Children tend to be in-tune with their body and can express things in play that they struggle to articulate with language. Play can be a way to process internal experiences and emotions and bring them to the conscious surface.
Many couples anticipate and plan their wedding with such care and concern. While this is understandable, very few take as much time and attention to tend to the actual relationship that they are celebrating. The ceremony that marks the beginning of a life together is just that, the beginning. Afterwards comes the rest of life and a strong foundation makes the normal changes and stages of life a couple will go through manageable.
Communication regarding expectations, roles, and family of origin issues as well as exploring the emotional and bodily reactions each partner has to the other are helpful in creating this strong foundation. Premarital counseling is a type of preventative therapy, and just like preventative counseling, premarital counseling is important because it helps couples address potential issues before they become bigger problems and establishes a relationship with a therapist, should the couple need or desire to seek out counseling in the future.
At times, couples counseling can be more solution-focused, but most of the time it is a more long term process. You may be coming in during a specific crisis or because there is a long standing issue that has finally come to a head. Either way, there is a long history that precedes your coming to therapy and it takes time to both build a relationship with a therapist where there is mutual trust as well as unravel the impact that each one of your stories has on the relationship.
Trust between the couple has often been eroded and it takes time to rebuild this, especially if you have waited a while before seeking counseling. While it is difficult work, it is rewarding work to learn how to cohabitate and love and be loved by another.
Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) Neurobiologically Informed Psycho-education Mindfulness Relational and experiential Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Family Systems Solution Focused Therapy
In your first session, your counselor will discuss the logistics of confidentiality, paperwork, and time of sessions, as well as policies, but the therapist’s main purpose is to understand what brings you into the session in the first place and what the goals you both have for your relationship. The therapist will get to know you both and will ask historical questions about your marriage and or about the current crisis that you may find yourself in. Most of the time, the therapist will schedule an individual session with each one of you to both grow rapport with each one of you, but also get some individual history. Following these one on one sessions, the counselor will begin meeting with you both as a couple again.
Moving in together
Lack of healthy communication
Feelings of resentment
Feelings of distrust
Feeling that needs are not being met
Lack of physical intimacy
Lack of emotional intimacy
Lack of quality time, busyness
Unproductive conversations about the same issues over and over
Unhealed wounds that keep coming up
All couples can benefit from counseling even before any issues arise. Counseling provides a safe space that you can strengthen and grow in your understanding of each other and how you can grow in your ability to be vulnerable and attuned to one another. It can be a place to sharpen your tools while also creating an established space to be able to explore areas for growth or when times get more challenging.
Communication regarding expectations, roles, and family of origin issues can create a strong foundation. Everyone enters their marriage with well worn ways of protecting themselves from harm which can get in the way of intimacy. Change is inevitable as new stages and experiences (such as parenting, sickness, loss, etc.) bring new stress to the relationship. Preventative counseling can create strength in the relationship as well as provide an already known safe, solid space to process and move through these difficult seasons.
Sometimes a couple finds themselves trying to survive a crisis. It may be that something has happened in the relationship and it feels on the brink of collapsing. Or maybe a couple is suffering through tragic loss (loss of a loved one, loss of a child, miscarriage). Therapy can help the couple find ways to cope and heal that feels safe for both partners. Together the therapist and couple can look for ways to walk through the pain together.
When the tension in a relationship is high for a long period of time and trust has been eroded, bringing in a neutral third party can be helpful to assist you to become aware of the harmful patterns that have been created over time and the contributing factors that have led to where you find the relationship. Again, the goal is not to blame one partner over the other, but instead to become aware of the ways in which you have both attempted to protect yourself and have drifted away from each other. The therapist can also provide tools and strategies to help you have old conversations and arguments in new, more productive ways that build vulnerability, attunement, safety, and intimacy.
If there’s a problem for one partner, then there’s a problem for the relationship. Most couples wait too long before attending couples counseling, and by then it requires a lot of hard work to repair. Couples counseling should be viewed as a preventative measure, like a check-up with a doctor or getting an adjustment from a chiropractor. We can all grow in our ability to be attuned to our partner and share our own experience with them. This can be difficult, rewarding work that can steady a relationship and set it on a long and steady path.
Even if you are the happiest you have been, it can be a great time to go and explore what is helping you to be happy and to continue to be intentional and attuned to your partner.
All couples can benefit from counseling. Here are a few places that couples find themselves in.
Couples counseling creates a safe space for each partner to explore their individual emotions and reactions to each other. The therapist creates an unbiased context where the goal is not to decide who is wrong or right, but instead create a conducive environment for being curious and bringing clarity to your relationship. In the end, the goal is to come to new understandings of oneself and one’s partner and find new language and ways to have old conversations, thus creating intimacy and strengthening the relationship.
Therapy provides a professional perspective that may provide insight and understanding towards relationship barriers. There are a lot of cultural and societal misconceptions and myths about what relationships should look like, and couples counseling can help normalize what you experience and free you up to co-create the relationship you both want.
Your intimate relationship has a huge impact on you as an individual and on the wider system of which you are a part. Helping you build a healthier relationship can have ripple effects far wider than just you as a couple.
We offer intensive couples and family therapy that can be tailored to fit your needs. Some clients are unable to come in on a regular basis, and others have a more pressing crisis. Our clinicians are capable of working with you specifically or in conjunction with some of the other clinicians in the practice to provide support, skills, and a way forward through your specific issue. Some possible areas that may need to be addressed are: