Support For Family
Do You Have A Loved One Who Is Struggling With Their Mental Health?
Is your partner in the midst of a substance abuse problem that’s wreaking havoc on your relationship and their health? Are you the parent of a child in the throes of a severe depression and you feel powerless to help them? Conversely, maybe your own parent is the one who needs help. In any case, trying to care for your loved one has probably left you feeling exhausted, worried, and even guilty. You may blame yourself for their troubles, asking: Where did I go wrong? What could I have done to keep them from feeling so miserable?
When someone you love is in pain, your own mental health often takes a toll. At times, it probably feels like your entire life has been reduced to making sure they’re OK. If you can’t be certain your spouse is safe, for instance, you probably find yourself staying closer to home, shying away from friendships, and going out on less dates. Similarly, if your child is depressed or self-harming, you may be so caught up in their troubles that you’ve neglected everything else—including your own health. You’ve poured your heart and soul into your loved one’s life, only to realize you’re struggling, too. Perhaps they’ve found a mental health support group now, and you wish you had one as well.
Trying to protect and watch over others can save lives, but it can also leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. If you want to know how to support your loved ones and still support yourself, I can help you practice self-care in a way that will enliven both yourself and those around you.
For Every Person In Recovery, There’s Someone Struggling Behind The Scenes
According to a 2017 national survey, roughly 20.7 million Americans needed treatment for a substance use problem. What often goes unsaid, however, is that for every person in recovery treatment, there’s someone behind the scenes who needs support, too. We’re all human, after all; our identity is rooted in community and none of us lives in a vacuum. That means our problems affect others—especially those close to us. For every person dealing with depression, anxiety, trauma, or substance abuse, there’s a loved one quietly suffering in the background.
Oftentimes, however, people don’t reach out about their loved ones because they fear it’s disrespectful. If you’re in a relationship, for instance, you may worry that you’re violating your partner’s privacy by spilling information about them. Or perhaps you fear the stigma that comes with others knowing your business. You probably don’t want the neighbors knowing your partner has a substance abuse problem, because you don’t want them constantly worried or keeping an eye on your home.
Nonetheless, if your loved one is suffering, it’s important to let someone know—not just for their sake, but for yours as well. You may tell yourself: If I’m just more caring and supportive and stay home more often, everything will be fine. But when the focus is entirely on caring for someone else, your own mental and physical health often takes a hit. As a family support counselor, I will help you protect your own mental health so you feel empowered to help your loved one safeguard theirs.
Therapy Offers Guidance And Support For You And Your Family Members
My sessions provide a chance for you to learn how to regulate emotions, stay grounded, and work through any feelings of grief and loss. I want to assist you as you navigate the guilt and shame that often comes with having a loved one you’re struggling to help. Most importantly, I want you to know it’s not your fault. You didn’t put your significant other or family member into the state they’re in, but with my help, you can gain the strategies, guidance, and knowledge necessary for supporting them in the recovery process. By learning to manage your own emotions, you’ll be better equipped to help your partner, parent or child manage theirs.
My approach to therapy is heavily focused on uncovering where your feelings come from. To that end, you can expect to learn a little about the brain’s neurobiology, so you can recognize that what you’re feeling is normal (but don’t worry—it won’t get too scientific!). By providing insight into your emotions, I can help you release feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety regarding you and your loved one. Additionally, you’ll learn grounding techniques, mindfulness strategies, and bodily awareness exercises to reduce stress.
In my sessions, I often use a revolutionary new approach called Brainspotting. Brainspotting aims to break patterns of chronic stress through visual stimulation exercises. It somatically helps you release trauma and stress by using guided eye-movements that allow you to connect to the deeper, subconscious part of your brain. I also utilize mindfulness therapy, which seeks to heighten your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. This approach can be done through meditation, yoga, and focused-breathing exercises.
Another approach I use is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Through ACT, you will learn to find peace through grounding and acceptance techniques and commit to improving yourself by focusing on personal values. For instance, you may find yourself setting goals that you’re constantly unable to reach. Rather than setting goals, ACT seeks to help clarify your values so you can live according to the ones important to you. If compassion is the force behind your desire to help others, for instance, ACT will help you find practical ways to live in a state of compassion. For families or partners of addicts, this approach is vital for supporting them in recovery. It can help you maintain a loving, sensitive attitude when your loved one is caught up in the same old negative behaviors.
My hope is that, through the strategies you learn here, you will build resources, gain coping skills, and earn the support you need for helping your family member or loved one. When you seek help for your struggles from a nurturing, compassionate professional, the benefits trickle down to the people you love most.
You may have some questions about the support I provide for family members…
Why do I need help when my partner is the one struggling?
On an airplane, you’re supposed to put your own oxygen mask on before you help someone else put on theirs. In the same way, finding healing for yourself enlivens you to help others on their own healing journey. Sometimes, as much as we like to think we’re superheroes who are able to save everyone in our lives at once, it’s good to step back, examine ourselves, and give ourselves the level of care we give to others.
I don’t know if I can afford this after spending money on my partner’s rehab program.
Your financial concerns are completely valid. Most support group programs are expensive to begin with. The key point to remember, however, is that your healing process is just as important as your loved one’s. In order to overcome negative cycles and care for others adequately, sometimes we all need to make an investment in ourselves.
I’m worried about the public perception of seeking help for someone else’s problems.
We are defined, in many ways, by the people we love. Their problems become our problems, and vice versa. It’s perfectly normal. You’re not “weaker” for seeking help because someone else’s struggles have impacted your own. That shows you love them. It shows you’re actively engaged in their healing process as well as your own.
Learn To Be Compassionate To Yourself And The Ones You Cherish
If you have a family member or partner in recovery, it’s important to find support for yourself. To get started, you can call me at 385-240- 0689 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. You can also contact me or schedule a first session via the contact form. Right now, because of COVID-19, I offer both telehealth and in-person therapy. I’m open to whichever option you prefer!