Whether your are dealing with anxiety, depression, the end of a relationship or you need to work on understanding yourself better, individual therapy is a good option. Our expert therapists use a mixture of evidenced based interventions (i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Relaxation Training) and in session experiential exercises when helping people with depression or anxiety. This combination helps clients practice the skills that are proven to work in session so they are able to use them more when they are out of the session. Some of our therapists also use Transgenerational Therapy to help people better understand who they are. Many people, especially those having an identity crisis, don’t fully understand their backgrounds, which can create anxiety and other emotional symptoms. Working on understanding your history, which includes understanding how the way you were treated in your family as a child, helps you work on that anxiety and decrease those other emotional symptoms before they get out of hand.
Another way individual therapy can help is to help you learn what things have been a problem for you in previous relationships so you don’t repeat those patterns in future relationships.
Most couples experience cycles of hard times and good times throughout their marriage. It is important for couples to identify the cycle before it get out of their control. Within each cycle there are often some major hotspots that need to be dealt with. Some of the most common hotspots couples tend to attribute to ending their marriage include: money problems, intimacy issues, and communication problems. While these are the most typical reasons for divorce/separation, many other problems are hiding below the surface of these three hotspots. For instance communication problems can lead the individual partners to ‘drift apart’ and feel like they are ‘falling out of love’ with each other. Intimacy issues are often connected to emotional disconnection, physical or mental health concerns, problematic pornography use, emotional or physical affairs, and/or addiction problems. And financial concerns often lead to many other issues including: addiction, abuse, depression, anxiety, problems with in-laws, etc. Our couples therapists are familiar with identifying these cycles and addressing these common hotspots in marriage. Many times, if the cycle is stopped early, therapy is quick and short term. If you have let the cycle get out of hand, therapy can often be long term. With the exception of the presence of abuse, our main goal in couple therapy is to enhance relationship satisfaction. Click the picture below to see more details about that particular mode of therapy.
Families often experience challenges that are troublesome and difficult for them to work through on their own. This can be anything from an oppositional child, a serious medical issue of one or more of the family members, or dissatisfaction of how things are experienced in the family. Families have patterns of behavior that affect how they interact with each and with others outside the family. Being able to identify these patterns and offer ways to change them, you can increase satisfaction within your family.
The decision to end a marriage or a long term relationship is very difficult and emotionally trying. When kids are involved, the difficulty and turmoil are intensified. Whether you are just thinking about ending the relationship or have already done so, therapy is a good place to work on that frustration.
After a Divorce or Separation
If children are involved, it is vital that both parents devote some time to “co-parenting” therapy (see below for more information). If no children are involved, it still might be a good idea to seek therapy. Often times people will get into “rebound” relationships because of the void of emotional intimacy that results from an ended relationship. If you are not careful, you are very likely to enter a relationship that mirrors or has many of the same patterns/circumstances that were in your previous relationship. Make an appointment with me in order to determine if you are likely to fall into these same patterns again.
Co-Parenting after Divorce or Separation
Children can have a difficult time adjusting to divorce or separation. However, research shows that the greatest predictor of how well a child adjusts to a parental divorce is how well the parents themselves adjust to the divorce. Often times, while unintentional, some parents continue the fighting that caused their relationship to end, but do so through their children. This is often seen when parents ask their kids to “spy” on their other parent so they still know what their former partner is doing. It can also be something as seemingly innocent as relaying messages between parents. Children want their parents to be happy (even if that is not with each other), but they can’t be happy if both parents are not cooperating for the child. Co-parenting therapy is a way for both parents to come together for their child and learn news ways of parenting and new ways of communicating with their former partners. Even if you took (or are ordered to take) a parenting class as a result of your separation, continued therapy is a good way to make sure you are doing the best for your child. Contact me to set up an appointment so you and your former partner can start working together for your child(ren).
Play therapy is a way of connecting with children through their play experiences. Throughout play therapy, the therapist is a positive presence to allow the child to feel accepted. This acceptance allows the child to “work through” their problems in their play. Our experience conducting play therapy has surprised us at how amazing and intelligent children are. Children are able to “work through” most of their problems through play. However, there needs to be a positive adult presence of acceptance in order for that play and work to be therapeutic. After the therapist has helped your child get to a positive point in their therapy, they will typically teach parents how to interact with their children in this positive way as well. This turns the parent into that positive adult presence of acceptance, re-building that attachment relationship. We currently accept children as young as twelve months old for play therapy. If you see a need, please contact us to schedule an appointment. For more information about play therapy see the website for the Association for Play Therapy.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT PLAY THERAPY: Many mental health professionals may use play in their work with individuals (mostly with children), however only those with extensive and specialized training, supervision, and experience can call themselves Registered Play Therapists. Currently there are only 3 Registered Play Therapists in the Magic Valley (Twin Falls, ID and surrounding areas). Dr. Whitehead is one of those therapists. He is also a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, meaning he can supervise other therapists wanting to earn the credential as a Registered Play Therapist.
To see who else is a Registered Play Therapist in your area, please visit the Association for Play Therapy website and search for “Registered Play Therapists” using this tool: https://www.a4pt.org/page/TherapistDirectory
The therapists at Aspen Grove Family Therapy may have additional training and specialties that don’t fit cleanly into other categories. Some of these specialized services are listed below:
- Relationship Checkup’s – Like dental or medical checkup’s, a relationship checkup is designed to identify areas of strength and areas of concern that can help curb the need for long term couple or family therapy. These checkups usually involve three to four sessions of assessment and feedback. These services are not covered by insurance, but the price usually outweighs the typical costs of long term therapy. To learn more, please use the Contact Us form and indicate you are asking about a “Relationship Checkup”.
- Diagnostic Assessment’s – Dr. Whitehead offers stand-alone diagnostic assessments for the following concerns (NOTE: These assessments are NOT Neuro-psychological or Psychological Evaluations. They are diagnostic assessments. When a diagnosis is provided as a result they are official diagnoses, but do not qualify as ‘psychological evaluations’. These are NOT covered by insurance):
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – see here for more information about assessment procedures.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – see here for more information about assessment procedures.
- Social and Emotional Development of Children
- Disruptive Behavior Disorders (ODD/CD)
- Discernment Counseling – Discernment Counseling is a new format of therapy that takes couples on the brink of divorce with two opposing goals in mind to identify and work toward a unified goal. The goal of discernment counseling is to help couples have greater clarity and confidence in their decision making. The immediate decision is framed not as whether to stay together or divorce but whether to continue moving towards divorce or committing to a six month effort to restore the marriage, with divorce off the table for that time period. Currently (February 2020) Dr. Whitehead is the ONLY Discernment Counselor in the state of Idaho. Dr. Whitehead received advanced training in Discernment Counseling and can train other therapists as a result. For more information on Discernment Counseling checkout the Doherty Relationship Institute.