Common misconceptions about therapy
While views about therapy have come a long way, there are still some myths about therapy and when to seek it. Many people refuse to seek help because of common misunderstanding. Here are a few common misconceptions about therapy:
1. Only "crazy" people need therapy.
The truth is you don't have to be "crazy" to participate in therapy. Most people in therapy are dealing with common stressors and are seeking ways to change thinking patterns, feelings, and behaviors that are not working well for them.
2. I've gone to therapy before, and it didn't work.
It's not uncommon for people to try one kind of therapy and assume that all therapy isn't effective if it doesn't suit their needs. In reality, there are many different types of therapy, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you.
3. People who talk to therapists are weak and incapable of solving their own problems.
It takes courage to reach out to someone to pursue changes. When we're unable to sort out our issues, it is wise, not weak, to seek assistance when needed.
4. I just want someone to tell me how to fix my problems.
Therapists are not meant to magically fix your problems. Instead, they will give you the tools and resources to guide and empower clients to find the answers themselves.
5. Therapy isn't confidential.
Confidentiality is the highest priority for a therapist. While there are circumstances in which things can't be kept private, but your therapist should review that with you from the beginning, so you know what to expect.
These are a few common misconceptions about therapy. Therapy can be a challenging process, but if you're thinking of seeing a therapist, it may be a good idea to email or pick up the phone to briefly speak with a therapist and get a feel for it. You may be surprised at how comfortable you feel from the initial conversation. From there, you can make a decision on how you'd like to proceed.
Ariana is a Student counselor with Transform & Renew. She works with tweens, teens and adults regarding a variety of issues. Check her out on our Clinicians profile. She is supervised by Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S.
Conquering your goals
The new year is such a hopeful time. Many of us are thinking about our goals on some level, and the New Year gives us the clean slate we need to start fresh. Here are a few tips to conquer your goals this year, whatever they may be.
1. Be Realistic - While it's good to have goals for yourself in the new year, try to be as realistic as you can. For example, if you're thinking how to play the guitar, be prepared for a learning curve. Unrealistic expectations can lead to negative outcomes, which can often discourage us from trying again.
2. Don't go goal crazy - As tempting as it may be to set a million goals for the new year, it may leave you feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Setting one or two focused goals will give you the space you need to invest your time and energy on them.
3. Track your goals - Many New Year's resolutions involve slow and gradual change. Because of this, many of us don't notice the little things. To avoid discouragement, keep a record of your progress. Having visual reminders can serve as an encouragement to stick to your goals.
4. Ask for support from loved ones - Change is hard. If you find yourself having a difficult time staying on track with your goals, reach out to a friend or loved one to help you stay accountable.
5. Don't be afraid to reward yourself - Hard work pays off! Finding ways to reward yourself for sticking to your goals can be a great motivator. For example, if your goal was to work out more, buying yourself a cute new gym outfit is a great way to reward yourself for staying on track.
6. Be Consistent - The most important part of achieving our goals are staying consistent. While it's impossible to be perfect, just remember that each day is a new day to try again.
Ariana is a student counselor and works with teens and adults with Transform & Renew, PLLC.
anxiety and false memories
Our memory is influenced by many emotional aspects, such as depression and anxiety. These many aspects affect memory accuracy and can cause memory distortion. Working memory is vital ineffectively managing chunks of information in the present. Difficulty with memory can cause major problems in your work and personal life. When we struggle with our memory it can lead to mistakes,difficulty concentrating, and problems multitasking.
What are false memories?
A false memory is a mental experience that is mistakenly taken to be an accurate representation of an event in one's past. Our memories can be false in minor ways, such as believing you left your wallet in the kitchen when it's really in the living room. False memories can also be false in major ways that can have profound implications on ourselves and others, such as mistakenly believing you were the originator of an idea.
What is the relation between anxiety and false memories?
In a study conducted by Coli, et. al, (2015) they concluded that individuals with high trait anxiety enhance the elaboration of negative emotional materials. This eventually leads to people misremembering causal antecedents of negative events as previously experienced while they were onlyinferred.
Additionally, a study conducted by Brust-Renck, et. al, (2017), found that social anxiety may have a significant impact on emotional memory accuracy.
Because working memory is vital to our everyday functions. if you are dealing with a high level of worry and have noticed memory and attention problems, it may be a good reason to seek treatment for your anxiety. Treatment might include looking for a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders or
consulting with your doctor to try medication to manage symptoms. (Meek, 2019).
Coli, T., Cornoldi, C., Mirandola, C., Toffalini, E. (2015). High trait anxiety increases inferential false
memories for negative (but not positive) emotional events,Personality and Individual Differences,
Volume 75, Pages 201-204, ISSN 0191-8869,
Crippa, J, Brust-Renck, P.,Neufeld, C., Palma, P. Rossetto, C., (2017). False memories in social anxiety
disorder. Archives of Clinical Psychiatry (São Paulo), 44(5), 113–116. https://doi.org/10.1590/0101-
Meek, W. (2019). Generalized anxiety disorder can negatively impact your memory. Verywell Mind.
Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.verywellmind.com/anxiety-and-memory-1393133
Diet and Depression
What we eat is important for every aspect of our health, but it is especially important for our mental health. When someone is dealing with depression, it is not uncommon to see a change in their appetite.
Depression can cause us to eat more frequently and unhealthily, and can also lead to a loss of appetite, skipping meals, and a sweet tooth.
According to Lang, et al., an unhealthy western dietary pattern was associated with an increased prevalence of depression (2015). Additionally, an increased risk of depression has been shown to be associated with the consumption of unhealthy foods, such as refined food, fried food, a high fat intake, etc. On the other end of this, a diet consisting of a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, antioxidants, and a low intake of animal foods is associated with a decreased risk of depression (Tello, M., 2020).
Keeping this in mind, it’s helpful to find strategies that can help avoid food traps, such as:
Overall, our diet plays an important role in how we feel. While there are many factors at play when dealing with depression, eating foods such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains can put you at a lower risk of developing depressive symptoms. When it comes to what we eat, quality matters over quantity. By better understanding the role our diet plays in our mood, we’re able to make better choices.
Lang, U., et al.(2015). Nutritional Aspects of Depression. Cell Physiol Biochem; 37:1029-1043. doi:
Martin, L. (2011). Depression Food Traps: Eating too Much, Eating too Little, and Unhealthy Choices.
WebMD. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
Tello, M. (2020). Diet and depression. Harvard Health. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
Counseling student at Sul Ross State University. Enjoys working with teens, preteens, young adults and more.
HOW ANXIETY AFFECTS THE BODY
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress; it alerts us to dangers and reminds us to stay attentive. However, anxiety that differs from normal feelings of nervousness can affect our job performance, schoolwork and personal relationships. According to the Barlow, D. H. (2002), anxiety is an uncontrollable, unpleasant
and persistent state of negative affect characterized by apprehensive anticipation of unpredictable and unavoidable future danger. This negative affect is often accompanied with symptoms of tension.
How does anxiety affect our bodies?
Anxiety can manifest in our body in a number of ways. According to Patriquin and Mathew (2017) symptoms of anxiety include the following:
How to cope with anxiety?
The next time you are feeling anxious, try of these self-management strategies found to promote personal recovery and symptoms reduction (Villagi, et. al, 2015).
Anxiety can often feel like a roadblock that prevents us from leading normal lives. By understanding our symptoms and finding coping strategies to use when feeling overwhelmed, we can manage our anxiety and reduce our stress.
Barlow, D. H. (2002). Anxiety and its disorders: The nature and treatment of anxiety and panic (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Patriquin MA, Mathew SJ. (2017). The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Stress. Chronic Stress. doi:10.1177/2470547017703993
Villaggi B, Provencher H, Coulombe S, et al. (2015). Self-Management Strategies in Recovery From Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Global Qualitative Nursing
Student Counselor at Sul Ross State University. Ariana enjoys working with adults and teens for a variety of reasons. Please check her out on our clinicians page.
How Burnout Affects Mental Health
Burnout is more than work-related stress, it can make us feel helpless, detached,
unmotivated, and unsatisfied. The constant demands of work take a toll, leaving us overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Burning out is a serious phenomenon that affects our mental and physical health. Suffice it to say that one's level of burnout will have a direct impact on their quality of life. Because of this, it is important to understand how to prevent and overcome burnout.
While burnout leads to a general sense of exhaustion and excessive fatigue, many also experience mental health issues in addition to their physical ailments. Sufferers from burnout may display signs of anxiety, depression, or other mental disorders. And you’re probably not alone in feeling stressed at work, according to the APA’S 2021 Work and Well-being survey, 71% of workers reported work-related stress within the past month.
According to Hadley, C. (2022), there are three signs of burnout.
Here are a few ways to cope with burnout:
Taking time to prioritize self-care, reducing stressors, and finding meaningful connections are the best ways to combat the negative psychological effects of burnout. At times, burnout can feel unsurmountable. By better understanding the symptoms and causes of burnout, you can implement these strategies to prevent feeling overwhelmed. While our experiences may be exhausting during the process, they can serve as a learning experience to help you lead sustainable career and a happier life.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Work and well-being 2021 survey report. American
Psychological Association. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from
Hadley, C. N. (2022, April 14). Work burnout signs: What to look for and what to do about it.
Boston University. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from
Valcour, M. (2021, August 27). 4 steps to beating Burnout. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved
January 18, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2016/11/beating-burnout
Author - Ariana Hernandez
Ariana is a student counselor under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S. Ariana enjoys working wth individuals in person and via telehealth. She is a student at Sul Ross State University. We are glad to have her on our team.
Sometimes you feel sad, lonely, and don't want to do anything and if it occurs long enough a thought might occur to you - what's wrong with me? Am I depressed? And if so, what does this mean? Am I mentally ill? Will I be depressed forever? These are common questions but here are somethings to consider. How long have I felt this way? Depression can be situational and therefore very temporary. Things like the death of someone close to you or the break up with "the one" can lead to a natural sadness whose symptoms can mirror what doctors and counselors call Major Depressive Disorder. Many symptoms like lack of appetite, increase in appetite, sleeping more or less, and not enjoying the things that you normally would can all occur, but if they are situational they normally resolve within two weeks. Then there are those depressive symptoms that are of greater concern - suicidal thoughts or plans, self-harm, a depressed mood nearly every day, feeling hopeless or worthless, daily fatigue with no explanation, or the inability to think clearly or concentrate - to name a few. An additional concern is if you have a family history of major depression or bi-polar disorder and have had no triggering event to explain these feelings of sadness. If this is the case your first stop should be to your personal physician to be evaluated and referred, as appropriate, to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. If you have suicidal thoughts and a plan your nearest emergency room or calling 911 may be appropriate. If your symptoms appear more temporary here are some suggestions to get you back to normal:
1.) Eat well! You are what you eat so if you eat bad you will feel bad. Limiting sugar in particular can be very helpful as your mood tends to go the way of your blood sugar which is greatly affected by all the sugars and fast digesting carbohydrates in our diets.
2.) Exercise! Three 30 minute, make you sweat, exercise sessions a week appear to have the same affect as a low dosage anti-depression medication. Even better if done outside where you can enjoy nature and the sun, where your body can produce more vitamin D, a key vitamin for mood and health.
3.) Watch and correct your thoughts. Depressive thoughts lead to depressive mood. General negativity, negative self-talk, hopeless or helpless thoughts, and black or white thinking can add to one's depressive mood and can become cyclical in nature and destructive. Concentrate on the positives in your life and consider writing them down in a journal on a regular basis (shoot for at least 5 a day and they do not have to be big things. Something as simple as having great weather could be a positive for your list.)
4.) Spend time with loved ones doing things you enjoy! And laugh while you do as laughing and smiling release positive hormones which tend to improve mood. Sometimes it is appropriate to fake it until you make it!
5.) Take yoga! Learning relaxation techniques can help clarify thinking and concentration, increase feelings of peacefulness, and increase joy. Yoga has also been shown to lower blood pressure, leading to decreased cortisol (the stress hormone) production.
And most importantly PERSIST! Life and situations can change at the snap of a finger and what looks negative today can turn out to be a lifesaver tomorrow.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.