top of page

Search Results

5 items found for ""

  • Letting Go of Internalized Transphobia: 5 Ways Counseling Can Help

    In recent years, society has made some strides in understanding and accepting gender diverse individuals. Despite this progress, many transgender people still struggle with internalized transphobia – a phenomenon where individuals internalize negative societal attitudes and beliefs about being transgender, leading to self-hatred, shame, and denial of their own identity. These beliefs can manifest in various ways, such as: 1. Self-Loathing: Transgender individuals may harbor deep-seated feelings of shame and disgust towards themselves because they internalize the negative messages they receive from society about their gender identity. 2. Denial of Identity: Some individuals may struggle to accept their transgender identity, attempting to suppress or deny their true selves due to fear of rejection or ostracization. 3. Low Self-Esteem: Internalized transphobia can erode self-esteem, leading to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy, as individuals may perceive themselves as fundamentally flawed or unworthy of love and acceptance. 4. Avoidance of Authentic Expression: Fear of judgment or violence may lead transgender individuals to hide or modify their gender expression, denying themselves the freedom to express their true selves authentically. The impact of internalized transphobia can be profound and far-reaching, affecting various aspects of an individual's life, including mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. Some common effects include: 1. Psychological Distress: Internalized transphobia can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, as individuals grapple with conflicting feelings about their identity as they struggle to reconcile societal expectations with their authentic selves. 2. Social Isolation: Fear of rejection or discrimination may lead transgender individuals to withdraw from social interactions or avoid forming meaningful connections, resulting in feelings of loneliness and isolation which can lead to spiraling shame and rejection of self. 3. Impaired Self-Expression: The suppression of one's true identity can hinder self-expression and personal growth while sapping a person of their energy, preventing individuals from fully embracing and celebrating who they are or engaging fully with their daily experiences. 4. Risk of Harm: Left unaddressed, internalized transphobia may increase the risk of self-harm, substance abuse, or suicidal behavior, as individuals struggle to cope with internal turmoil and distress. Symptoms of anxiety and depression may emerge as minority stress and internalized transphobia enhance a need to escape or numb what can feel like inescapable pain. While internalized transphobia can have a profound impact on an individual's life, it is not insurmountable. Counseling can play a crucial role in helping transgender individuals enhance their experience of well-being and combat internalized transphobia. Combined with medically affirming care that helps gender diverse individuals meets their transition goals, counseling can be a crucial resource throughout a the transition journey and provide the following benefits: 1. Creating a Safe Space: Talk therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for transgender individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or discrimination. An allied therapist creates a welcoming and affirming space where individuals feel validated and accepted just as they are. 2. Challenging Negative Beliefs: Through dialogue and reflection, therapists can help clients identify and challenge the negative beliefs and internalized messages that contribute to their internalized transphobia. Therapists can also help clients navigate the process of creating boundaries with individuals, organizations, and systems that reinforce negative messages. By examining the origins of these beliefs and exploring alternative perspectives, individuals can begin to cultivate self-compassion and self-acceptance while also building themselves a support system of affirming allies where possible. 3. Building Self-Esteem: Counseling can help transgender individuals cultivate a positive self-image and build self-esteem by acknowledging their strengths, resilience, and inherent worth. I find it helpful to utilize Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Narrative Therapy that seeks to reframe how we may have storied ourselves so that clients can recognize and see their resilience and self-worth throughout their life story. 4. Exploring Identity: Through self-exploration and reflection, clients can gain clarity about their identity and develop a sense of empowerment and authenticity. By empowering the client, a therapist can offer support to their clients who are bravely beginning to express their authentic selves. 5. Fostering Resilience: Talk therapy can help gender diverse individuals develop resilience and coping skills to accept and thrive in a society that may not fully accept or understand us. By building a support network and cultivating self-care practices, individuals can enhance their ability to cope with discrimination and adversity.

  • Religious Trauma: A Path to Healing Through Counseling

    Religious beliefs and practices often provide a sense of purpose, community, and comfort to many people around the world. However, there are times when an individual’s religious upbringing or experiences have left them with deep emotional scars and a condition known as religious trauma. In this article, we will define religious trauma, explore its effects, and discuss how counseling can be a valuable tool for healing and recovery. What Is Religious Trauma? Religious trauma, often referred to as spiritual or faith-based trauma, is a psychological condition that results from harmful experiences within a religious context. These experiences can include any of the following: Spiritual Abuse: This occurs when religious leaders or community members misuse their authority to manipulate, control, or exploit individuals emotionally, mentally, or physically. This can look like clergy leaders offering the blessings or favor of their deity but only when in compliance with rigid compliance of the believer to a certain set of beliefs or behaviors that may benefit the religious community to the detriment of the believer; such as providing financial donations that deprive the believer of financial resources which may further bolster the manipulative hold that a religious leader may have over the well-being of the believer. Dogmatic Belief Systems: The rigid adherence to strict religious beliefs can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and fear when individuals struggle to meet these standards. This can lead to isolating from others in order to conceal behaviors considered unacceptable by a religious community which reinforces an experience of not being worthy of belonging and fears of discovery and rejection. Excommunication or Shunning: Being ostracized or cut off from one's religious community can cause profound emotional and spiritual distress. It often results in the loss of support networks and social connections which can exacerbate shame, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness due to not feeling accepted by one’s community. Cognitive Dissonance: When a person's personal beliefs and values conflict with the teachings or doctrines of their faith, it can lead to internal turmoil, distress, fear, and self-loathing. This can look like being told that loving others is an important part of doctrine and being told that certain marginalized groups are unworthy of acceptance or love until they change, while also being a member of the marginalized group. Religious Trauma Syndrome: coined by psychologist Dr. Marlene Winell, RTS encompasses a range of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty forming healthy relationships, resulting from religious trauma. Effects of Religious Trauma Religious trauma can have far-reaching effects on an individual's mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. Some common consequences of religious trauma include: 1. Anxiety and Depression: The constant fear of divine punishment or feelings of unworthiness can lead to severe anxiety and depression. This can be experienced as a constant fear that God will punish you for moral or behavioral failures, or that God is angry with you and is actively looking to punish you or loved ones with struggles, pain, or loss because of your failings. 2. Low Self-Esteem and Self-Worth: Individuals who have experienced religious trauma often struggle with self-acceptance and may carry deep feelings of shame and guilt. For some, this may be experienced as a pervasive sense that you will never be good enough due to personal insecurities, wrongdoing, or flaws. 3. Difficulty Trusting Others: Trust issues can arise from betrayal by religious leaders or community members, making it challenging to form healthy relationships. The constant fear of betrayal or manipulation may lead to difficulties with being vulnerable with others which can short circuit an ability to develop reciprocal connections with others. 4. Loss of Identity: Leaving a faith community can result in a profound loss of identity, as individuals may have defined themselves primarily through their religious beliefs. Individuals may have defined large elements of the purpose or meaning of their life around their religious beliefs. Losing one’s religious community can remove a person’s source of experiencing a large source of motivation, hope, and supportive connection with others. 5. Negative Impact on Physical Health: Prolonged stress and emotional turmoil can have detrimental effects on physical health, including sleep disturbances and chronic health conditions. Religious trauma can create a large set of emotional, relational, and physical symptoms that can have a profound negative impact on a person’s well-being. While trauma often isolates us from connection with others, taking an opportunity to connect with a trauma informed therapist could be a great step toward healing from religious trauma. How Counseling Can Help Counseling offers a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their feelings and beliefs without fear of condemnation. Once safety is established, a skilled therapist can provide validation and support for the individual’s experiences. Being able to acknowledge the pain and struggles they have endured can empower to acknowledge their experience. It’s at this time a therapist may help a client to reevaluate their beliefs and thought patterns. Cognitive restructuring allows us to challenge harmful and unhelpful ideas that may have been instilled throughout our religious experiences. Safety is also an internal experience of calm and peace and decrease the impact and frequency of intrusive thoughts. Therapists can help teach you techniques such as mindfulness or other relaxation exercises to assist in managing these intrusive thoughts. In turn, as we develop the confidence in our ability to manage our intrusive thoughts that often exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety, we can begin to rebuild self-esteem and self-worth by addressing the shame and guilt associated with past destructive religious experiences. As we are freed from the burdens of shame and guilt it is then we have the opportunity to rediscover one of the most precious things we have access to: ourselves. We can begin to understand ourselves outside of our past religious framework and rediscover meaning, purpose, and ourselves in authentic relationship. Finally, counselors can help you in navigating Religious trauma is a real and often deeply distressing experience for many individuals. However, healing is possible. Seeking counseling from a qualified therapist who specializes in trauma and religious issues can be a transformative step toward recovery. Through counseling, individuals can regain their emotional well-being, find a sense of identity, and build fulfilling lives outside of the shadows of religious trauma. It is so important to remember that healing takes times. Our most prized relationships, including those with our religious communities, can be sources of great love and acceptance or, tragically, pain and abuse. And when our relationships lead to pain, trauma, and abuse a helpful step you can take is to seek and develop a therapeutic relationship with a counselor who can support you in your path toward freedom and healing.

  • Breaking Free from Codependency: 5 Ways to Embrace Interdependence

    Do you feel like your happiness is solely dependent on others' approval or that you sacrifice your needs to prioritize someone else's? Do you feel responsible for how others choose to behave? Do you feel guilty for having needs? If so, you may be struggling with codependency, a complex pattern of learned behaviors that can affect our mental and emotional well-being. It can trap us in destructive relationships that are at best one -sided or abusive. When stuck inside of this relational dynamic it can feel overwhelming to imagine breaking free from what feels like our own self-created prison of being needed. Addressing codependency requires a multifaceted approach and it will be helpful to seek out individual or group therapy that focuses on supporting individuals who are codependent in your efforts toward change. When we begin the complex process of changing our relational patterns it can be helpful to understand some of the ways this process will shape us. Here are 5 aspects of breaking out of codependence: 1. Increasing Self-Awareness: The first step to healing is recognizing and acknowledging the presence of codependency in your life. A journey of self-discovery can help you identify underlying patterns and triggers that contribute to codependent behaviors. Codependency often has its origins in our past and has contributed to our safety and survival in our lives while also trapping us in unhealthy relationships. Healing from these experiences may be a critical element of letting go of these patterns we are locked within. 2. Setting Healthy Boundaries: Learning the art of boundary-setting - a skill crucial for maintaining balanced relationships is critical to establishing independence and maintaining healthy interdependence. 3. Unearthing Your Authentic Self: Embrace your true self! Codependency often can lead us to reject many of our needs apart from the need to be needed. Being able to explore your needs, desires, and passions without guilt or shame can feel selfish, but it is also liberating. Reconnecting with your authentic identity is the goal and the reward of breaking free from codependency. 4. Cultivating Self-Care: Prioritizing self-care is a revolutionary act of love for yourself. Our mental health experts will guide you in nurturing your mind, body, and soul, teaching you effective self-care practices that build resilience and promote well-being. 5. Fostering Independence and Interdependence: It can be challenging to navigating the fine line between exclusive independence or dependence. But if we stay the course, we can arrive at our relational destination: Interdependence. Interdependence allows us to rely on our ourselves as capable and autonomous people, but it permits us to be vulnerable with others in supporting them and being supported by them. All of this is confined within boundaries that maintain the safety of both people which provides fertile ground for mutually beneficial connections that grow with the people inside that relationship. I will emphasize that it will be necessary to reach out to someone or a group of people for support in your efforts to escape codependency. Being able to acknowledge and share your needs with another person is at the foundation of change. If you are reading this now and feel trapped in codependency I would challenge you to reach out to someone who can help you escape. Start that journey by contacting a therapist or a codependency support group and take the opportunity to value the incredible person that you are. If you are in our community please know that Prism Point Counseling is here as one such support and we will be glad to support you in your journey or point you toward resources that may be helpful in that process.

  • Unlocking Potential: How Individual Counseling Can Help Treat ADHD

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. People with ADHD often struggle with challenges in attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity, which can significantly impact their daily lives. However, with the right support and strategies, individuals with ADHD can thrive and unlock their full potential. An effective treatment approach for ADHD includes individual counseling, which offers personalized guidance and tools to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. While ADHD commonly appears during childhood, some may not receive a diagnosis until adulthood. Currently, ADHD diagnoses are on the rise among adults, as diagnostics have improved and cultural stigma surrounding mental health is being addressed. Symptoms of ADHD may include difficulty staying focused, forgetfulness, impulsivity, restlessness, and challenges in organizing tasks. ADHD, amongst other neurodivergent diagnoses, has experienced a negative connotation across different environments. ADHD is not a personal deficit, and while it may present certain challenges, individuals with ADHD typically possess highly valuable intellectual or personal traits including high levels of creativity, resilience, charisma, spontaneity, intuitive reasoning, imaginative problem solving, and a willingness to take risks. Working with a counselor can be a crucial aspect of treatment. Mental health professionals experienced with addressing ADHD can provide a tailored approach to addressing the specific needs and challenges faced by individuals with ADHD while leaning into the the strengths of their neurodiversity. Here's how counseling can be instrumental in treating ADHD and to unlock an individual's potential : 1. Accurate Assessment and Diagnosis: Counseling sessions allow a counselor to work alongside the client to determine the impact of symptoms, behaviors, and challenges. They can offer a referral to a psychologist who can engage in precise diagnostics to inform a targeted treatment plan that meets the needs of the individual. 2. Education and Psychoeducation: Understanding ADHD is fundamental to managing it effectively. In counseling, clients and their families can gain insights into the nature of ADHD, its impact on daily life, and strategies for coping with its symptoms. 3. Developing Coping Strategies: Counselors work closely with individuals with ADHD to identify and develop effective coping strategies. These strategies may include time management techniques, organizational skills, and ways to minimize distractions. Utilizing coping strategies also includes leaning into the strengths of their neurodivergence and making ADHD work for them rather than being viewed as a shortcoming or weakness. 4. Improving Executive Functioning: Executive functions, such as planning, prioritizing, and self-regulation, can be challenging for individuals with ADHD. Counseling helps strengthen these executive functions, enabling better decision-making and goal attainment. 5. Enhancing Emotional Regulation: ADHD can be accompanied by emotional challenges, including frustration, impatience, and low self-esteem. Counseling assists individuals in recognizing and managing their emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. 6. Building Self-Confidence: Individuals with ADHD may face criticism and negative feedback, leading to a decline in self-esteem, a chronic experience of underachievement and being shamed for not meeting expectations. Counseling fosters a positive and supportive environment, promoting self-confidence and a strong sense of self-worth. 7. Addressing Co-Existing Conditions: Many individuals with ADHD may also experience co-existing conditions, such as anxiety or depression. Counseling can address these issues alongside ADHD, offering comprehensive support. 8. Family Support and Education: Individual counseling involves working with families and caregivers to create an understanding and supportive environment for the individual with ADHD. Family members can learn strategies to assist their loved one and foster a positive atmosphere at home. ADHD is a condition that requires comprehensive and personalized support. Individual counseling plays a vital role in the treatment of ADHD by providing a safe and supportive space to address challenges, develop coping strategies, and foster personal growth. Through counseling, the path to unlocking the potential of those with ADHD becomes an empowering and transformative journey.

  • 6 Ways to Support Someone Who is Coming Out

    ‘Coming out’ gives the power to the other person to accept or deny you. When you’re ‘inviting them in,’ you have the power. - Karamo Brown, Queer Eye While the month of June, and subsequently Pride Month, has come and gone, the journeys of LGBTQ+ folks goes forward. For some, this may have been their first Pride celebrating their identities. But there are many others who are unable or not ready to publicly share their identity with those around them. There are a whole host of reasons why this may be; it may not be safe for some, others may still be exploring and seeking to understand their own identity, some may have a healthy fear of potential and real consequences, and others may be rejected. Being a visible member of the LGBTQ+ community opens you up to numerous stressors that can be overwhelming for even the most resilient of individuals and communities. If someone in your life identifies as LGBTQ+ and chosen not to disclose this to others or to the world, you may be curious, confused, or frustrated as to how best to support them. I would strongly suggest you consider and prioritize the well-being and safety of this person first and foremost, even if you do not support them in their identity. I would also recommend that you defer to the preferences and needs of the person who has invited you into their story, rather than make assumptions based off of this article. With that said, here are some ways that you can support someone who is in the process of inviting others into the fullness of themselves. 1. Value Their Safety Their safety could be dependent on you choosing to value their story. Do not "out" someone unless they give you permission to do so. “Outing” someone - the act of disclosing someone's sexual or gender identity without consent - can have dire consequences on their financial well-being, family relationships, access to social resources, social relationships, mental health, residential security, and even their physical safety. Historically, and sadly even today, there are numerous places across the country and world at large that do not accept the natural, valuable, and beautiful diversity of the human experience that includes gender and sexuality. Because of this, many LGBTQ+ individuals feel the need to hide their identity even from those close to them. When someone chooses to disclose their identity to you, they are letting you into their story. I want to emphasize that it is THEIR story, and they retain all the rights, powers, and privileges that it is their story. It is not for us to decide when, how, and to whom they share their identity, and whether or not it is valid. It is also not up to us how someone should risk facets of their lives. Sharing this part of themselves with you is a privilege, because it communicates a trust that they have imparted to you. Honor that they invited you into their story, and respect their needs. 2. Value Their Bravery It is terrifying to let others into a part of your life that is vulnerable to rejection, invalidation, or stress. When someone invites you into a fuller understanding of their gender or sexual identity, they are taking a very brave step toward loving and accepting themselves. Stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals that swirls through society at large can often become internalized. Warm validation and active acceptance is one way we can demonstrate how much we value their bravery and identity. If you are reading this, and do not support someone’s identity, you can still value and admire their bravery and willingness to share this with you and others. It is likely they may have anticipated that you will not support them. That is an incredibly brave choice, and I would strongly encourage you to empathize with how difficult that must have been. If you feel hurt that they didn’t tell you sooner, could you appreciate that it is likely they have been spending all of this time summoning the bravery to do so, or that there must be good reasons they waited? 3. Accept Their Identity Sometimes, an individual can questioned on their identity or provided with unsolicited or hurtful opinion about their identity when they disclose their gender and/ or sexual identity. For example, if someone shares that they are gay, it is not helpful to say, "Really? I thought that maybe you were bisexual. Are you sure?" This can be invalidating, denigrating their awareness of themselves and their right to self-identify. Even if they are continuing to explore and understand who they are, recognize that it is a process, and that they get to choose who is involved with and where they are at in that process. Something else to keep in mind is that someone sharing with you may not have anything to do with how they see your relationship (i.e., they are not attracted to you just because they’re sharing, or need your approval/ permission to be themselves). There is a chance that they felt anxious just sharing this information with you. Get a sense of their comfort in the conversation. It is important to keep in mind that this may not be the exact moment for deep questions. I would also emphasize to not ask questions that would have been inappropriate to ask prior to the disclosure. An example of this may include details about what gender affirming care they wish to receive (such as hormone replacement therapy or gender affirming surgeries). If they are comfortable sharing that information with you, they will likely volunteer that information. 4. Let Them Lead You may feel pressured or driven to provide a certain type of support, such as helping them share with others, attend LGBTQ+ inclusive events, go shopping, etc. Though this is often really appreciated, it may be helpful to seek feedback about what would be most supportive to them at this time. There may not be anything different that you need to do. If they want your help or support in a particular way, let them share how you can best support them. They are the expert on themselves and their needs. 5. Self-Process Complex Emotions First You may experience a whole subset of complex emotions, even if you are supportive. You may be excited for them in their journey, proud of them for being willing to live authentically, and even grateful for their vulnerability. At the same time, you may feel worried for their safety, concerned about the timing, or scared about the possible implications of coming out. When someone first shares about their identity, take this moment to celebrate. Tomorrow, we can begin to process those complex emotions, whether on our own, with a therapist, or with that person if necessary. 6. Rejection Will Not Lead to Change Finally, if you are reading this article and do not support someone’s identity, it is important to recognize that is not something you can change. I understand you may feel hurt, scared, or betrayed. You may feel your rejection is necessary, driven by care and concern for their long-term happiness or well-being. But when we reject someone for their identity, all we accomplish is inflict harm on their mental health, lead them to withdraw from a relationship with you where they could have been accepted, or drive a wedge in the relationship that may be difficult to repair. That person’s identity has always existed. Their identity will not change regardless of your opinion. Don't miss this opportunity to support someone when your rejection will not be helpful for them or your relationship. If they are inviting you into their story, they are probably doing their best to set aside their assumptions about your response to be authentic with you. It will likely be helpful to match their vulnerability with your openness. That will likely be more constructive to their well-being, safety, and connection in your relationship.

bottom of page