Behavioral/School Problems

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Behavioral/School Problems

As adults, we need to realize that life for a young person can feel just as stressful and complicated to them as one of our toughest days on the job, in the office, or when running the home.  All behavior has a story to tell that is behind the immediate crisis or conflict.
Signs and Symptoms that there is an “untold story” taking place:

  • Declining grades
  • Withdrawal and/or depression
  • Fights
  • Conflict with teachers/coaches/authority figures
  • Discovery of vaping/drugs/alcohol
  • High risk drug/alcohol or sexual behavior with peers
  • Sudden change of friends
  • Poor friendship choices
  • Skipping school/truancy
  • Decline in performance in other school activities

We believe that, for most kids, extended therapy and treatment are not necessary. However, both the child in crisis and the one having a chronic problem may benefit greatly from brief and focused treatment. Our licensed professional child counselors work regularly with pre-school through High School aged children.  Call today to learn more.

Behavioral Specialists:

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Play Therapy

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Play Therapy

Play Therapy is an alternative to talk therapy and is used to help children make the transition to verbalizing their problems and finding solutions. By utilizing things such as toys, games, sandbox, and puppets children tend to relax and be themselves, in addition to possibly communicating important information. Play Therapy can expedite the counseling process and shed light on difficult subject matter.

Finding ways to identify the inner world and heart of the child is the purpose of most child therapy. Play Therapy can also help your child express their inner world in a healthy and non-destructive ways while teaching positive ways of coping with internal difficulties.

We treat children experiencing a wide variety of problems including:

  • anger control problems
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • eating problems
  • social and peer problems
  • grief and loss after a death of a family member, friend, pet
  • traumatic event, divorce, sexual abuse

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Technology / Gaming Addiction

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Technology/Gaming Addiction

Mainstream American culture is flooded with technological advance, often to our benefit but sometimes to our demise. Parents frequently come to us with concerns that their pre-teen children are far too engaged in the internet and video gaming culture, which can exact a heavy toll on kids in the areas of relationships, social skill building, personality development, and academics.

For the individual or family struggling with the problem of addictive use of entertainment and technology, we find that counseling can be helpful to uncover contributing factors. A variety of things can come in to play including:

  • recognizing the difference between normal technology use and addiction
  • different or conflicting standards between parents for limits on entertainment
  • difficulty keeping up with technology advances and understanding options for monitoring and filtering
  • parental uncertainty about how to set limits with their children’s friends
  • general difficulty with talking to children about sexual topics
  • kids having difficulties in their lives and finding few or no “safe” adults to confide in
  • a lack of healthy alternative activities

After an initial assessment takes place we can design a plan for change that includes family members working together.  Contact our client relationship coordinator to schedule an assessment for you or your family.

Technology/Gaming Addiction Specialists

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Substance Abuse

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Substance Abuse

Teenagers are caught in a world somewhere between child and adult, a place where experimentation is inevitable and in many ways normal, good, and healthy. Unfortunately, that experimentation can be dangerous, and when it involves alcohol or drugs it has the potential to move into ever higher levels of risk and addiction. Parents trying to adjust to their teen’s need for independence often make one of three classic mistakes: overlooking signs of a problem altogether, “clamping down” with excessive restrictions that can undermine the relationship and reinforce the problem, or encouraging abuse of substances by hosting “safe” drinking events.

As with other teen counseling topics presented on this website, we recognize many teens will only be in counseling because they are mandated by school authorities, parents or the court. Our skilled Professional Counselors work carefully with reluctant teens to build a rapport and trust essential to ultimate change.

However, if you are the parent of an older teen who refuses to attend counseling, you still have some options. We find many parents benefit greatly from even brief consultation on some common issues:

  • Reducing emotional intensity and focusing on constructive communication
  • Determining the difference between an experimentation phase and something more serious
  • Finding clear and consistent limits you both agree on
  • Finding ways to maintain relationship with your teen regardless of your teen’s choices
  • Finding ways to keep other family members safe
  • Learning to get a balance of self-care and enjoyment back in your life

Parents often lose sight of family strengths and options for support, as hope shrivels and frustration escalates. Professional counseling will help you navigate the tricky waters of holding your family together, reducing unproductive conflicts, and finding creative ways to maintain a good relationship with your teen. Speak with our client relationship coordinator about an initial assessment for your teen, for you as parent(s), or as a family.

Substance Abuse Specialists:

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ADHD child


If your child is consistently having problems at school, relationships or at home you may have suspected ADD/ADHD. Specifically, you might notice a combination of the following symptoms:

  • often behind or under pressure in schoolwork
  • feeling inferior to peers
  • chronic disorganization
  • problems remembering simple things
  • poor grades
  • social isolation/rejection by peers
  • difficulty participating in group events or organized sports
  • anxiety or depression that comes from a compounding of these problems

An accurate diagnosis, a skilled counselor, good medical attention and patience are all critical to provide successful solutions to this problem.

Three Major Symptom Categories of ADD/ADHD

This is the most common symptom. In addition to having difficulty paying attention, people with this ADHD symptom often are unable to consistently focus, remember, and organize. They may be careless and have a hard time starting and completing tasks that are boring, repetitive, or challenging.

People who frequently act before thinking may not make sound judgments or solve problems well. They may also have trouble developing and maintaining personal relationships. An adult with severe ADD/ADHD may not keep the same job for long or may have great difficulty with impulse spending.

A hyperactive child may squirm, fidget, and climb or run when it is not appropriate. These children often have difficulty playing with others. They may talk a great deal and not be able to sit still for even a short time. Teenagers and adults who are hyperactive don’t usually have the more obvious physical behaviors seen in children. Rather, they often feel restless and fidgety, and are not able to enjoy reading or other quiet activities.

Strategies for treatment of ADD/ADHD may include one or a combination of the following:

  • behavioral or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • lifestyle changes
  • medications (stimulant and non-stimulant)
  • dietary changes

If your child is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD it is important to consider a commitment to treatment. Successful and lasting outcomes will make all the difference not only for your child but your family as a whole.

Call us. We would like to help your child succeed academically, socially and at home.

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ADD & ADHD Specialists

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ADHD is typically considered a diagnosis given to children, but the truth is, it is a lifelong disorder. It is not a diagnosis a person grows out of; it simply evolves into different issues impacting adult responsibilities and relationships. Without treatment, the impulsivity, disorganization, lack of motivation and inability to focus can wreak havoc on an individual’s personal and professional life.

Through proper diagnosis and counseling, individuals can learn how their brain works differently, what their ideal learning style is, and how to change their thinking about themselves and the world around them. There can be profound healing as life is put into a new perspective, making sense of lifelong frustrations.

Often times, physicians request testing prior to choosing medication management as an option. At Directions Counseling Group we conduct a comprehensive evaluation focusing on past and present symptoms; developmental and medical history; and psychiatric history including medications, social adjustment, and general ability to meet the demands of daily life. We also use the Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) assessment tool as a standard part of our evaluation.

Ultimately, we believe individuals with ADHD can function at very high levels, enjoy their lives, and experience tremendous success in their work, family and intimate relationships. Call us today to find out more about how we can successfully help you assess and treat this issue.

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ADD / ADHD Specialists

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Trauma / PTSD

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Trauma / PTSD

The experience of a traumatic event can overwhelm a person for days, weeks, months, and even years. What once seemed like an ordinary life can be filled with unannounced, sudden, and powerful negative memories of an earlier traumatic event. Some describe it as a vivid flashback, others relive the feelings without the visual memory, but either way it can feel like life will never be the same. Our counselors often see people experiencing negative symptoms after traumatic events like:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Car accidents
  • Sexual assault or abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Combat
  • Witnessing or experiencing a crime

This list is certainly not exhaustive as unexpected tragic events can happen to a person in countless ways. Fortunately there are a variety of very effective treatments available to help individuals recover regardless of when the event took place.

While a small percentage of the population suffers from posttraumatic memory “flashbacks” (or PTSD), a far greater number of individuals struggle on a regular basis with emotional “over-reactions.” Chronic over-reacting usually indicates a person is triggered to defend him or herself from a past event, which was very painful emotionally or physically. Unfortunately, chronic “over-reacting” can be very damaging to current relationships.

If you have troubling memories, a PTSD diagnosis or unexpected emotional reactions that disrupt the way you want to live your life we encourage you to call. We can help.

Trauma Specialists:

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Stress Management

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In healthy doses, stress can be a good thing. Moderate stress can propel us to set goals and work harder. On the other hand, if our stress exceeds our ability to cope, it can rob us of health, happiness, and pleasure.

During these ‘unprecedented times’ children are home due to school closings, unemployment is skyrocketing, and political unrest is unavoidable as we watch TV or scroll through social media… the days seem very long and the end seems to be no where in sight. Some relationships are hanging on by a thread.

Recent statistics show that job related stressors can actually place some people at as great a risk for heart disease as that of cigarette smokers and those with high serum cholesterol. Stress in the work-place contributes to low morale, increased use of sick or mental health days, and reduced job performance.

Physical signs of stress include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Butterflies in the stomach
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Change in eating habits

Emotional signs of stress include:

  • Feeling “burnt-out”
  • Depression
  • Abnormal irritability
  • Feeling helpless about your situation
  • Losing interest in normally pleasurable activities, including work

The professionally trained counselors at Directions Counseling Group understand the pressures faced during these unprecedented times.  Call today to schedule your first appointment and discover hope.

Stress Specialists:

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Adult Grief / Loss

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Grief & Loss

Few emotions are as devastating as the grief that comes after a major loss. At Directions Counseling Group we commonly see individuals searching for help to cope with:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • End of a relationship
  • Retirement
  • Major life transition
  • Empty nest
  • Death of a pet
  • Past trauma
  • Loss of job
  • Health issues

Aside from the well-intentioned grieving “stages” our culture has embraced, not everyone processes circumstances the same way. Your loss may have occurred recently or many years ago, but the opportunity to share those details and work through your feelings is important on many levels. The early symptoms and sometimes even long term repercussions can manifest in the following ways:

  • Reduced concentration
  • Sense of numbness
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Changed eating habits
  • Feeling like you are on an emotional roller-coaster
  • Hopelessness

While the voids left by grief can never be entirely filled, much can be done to help relieve troubling symptoms, and often also honor the people and situations where you experienced the loss. We approach issues of grief in a comprehensive manner, aware that loss can impact us in profound ways relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our counselors seek to provide therapy that will help you explore these areas as they become relevant in your treatment.

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Grief & Loss Specialists:

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Many suffer needlessly with depression when help is available. The personal toll of depression can be devastating, affecting every aspect of one’s livelihood: family, job, finances, friendships, and spiritual life.

You may be experiencing a depressive illness if some of these symptoms describe you:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Fatigue or decreased energy
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex
  • Appetite and weight change (not due to dieting)
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism about the future
  • Chronic feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Thoughts of death, “accidents,” or considering, planning, or making a suicide
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Chronic aches or pains not due to a known physical illness
  • Significant change in sleep patterns

If you or a loved one are experiencing some of these symptoms, it is recommended that you seek professional evaluation and treatment. If you are experiencing any suicidal thoughts or impulses, please go to your nearest hospital emergency room or call Netcare Access at 614-276-2273.

Help is available and relief from depression is possible. Call us at 614.888.9200 to schedule an assessment with a counselor.

Depression Specialists:

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