Challenges In Counseling: Depression

So many of our clients come in with depression, that it is among the top three problems that we see. Relationship issues and anxiety are the other two. Depression comes and goes for most people, and often is connected to life situations. If you are feeling depressed because you can’t pay your bills, and you receive a large check, your depression may change to happiness. People often feel depressed over break-ups or difficult relationships, financial problems, and other life stresses. People tend to get depressed when they have demands that “things should be a certain way.” Depression results when their demands aren’t met. Interestingly, depression disappears when the life-stress is resolved and their demands about how “things should be” are satisfied.

There are doctors and others who may tell you that you need medication because you have a chemical imbalance but winning the lottery won’t cure a true disease such as a heart attack, stroke, or even a cold. Since winning the lottery may cure depression (if the depression comes from financial stress) then I wonder how it can be a true chemical imbalance. The same goes for a break-up. Being in love leads to a feeling of high, while breaking up can lead to depression. This clearly shows that your thoughts affect your emotional well-being.

There are some people who have depression severe enough that medication is needed, but most people can recover from depression with counseling alone. Even those who truly need medication, still benefit from counseling. There is no reason for you to suffer from depression. Life is too short, and you deserve to enjoy your life without being miserable. Counselors are experienced in helping people recover from depression and start enjoying their lives. If you have questions or just need to talk to someone, you can call Linda at (813) 620-4900. She is available nights and weekends, so don’t hesitate to seek help. We are here because we care.

What is Imago Encounter-Centered Therapy?

Imago Relationship Therapy, developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt in 1980, is a form of relationship and couples’ therapy that focuses on transforming conflict into healing and growth through relational connection.

Imago therapy is a technique to help a couple come together to improve their communication and listening. Often, when couples come into therapy, it’s because their relationship has broken down. They no longer look or listen to each other. Disrespect and anger have replaced love and concern. Their “dance” has become dysfunctional, and they interact by stepping on each other’s toes rather than smoothly dancing together. Imago therapy helps them reconnect and clear out the resentment and trash that has been polluting their relationship.  Linda begins therapy by observing how they interact. She watches the dance to see what is working and what is hurting the relationship. Once she has a good feeling of how they dance together, she starts making changes in their behavior. It’s easier to change behavior than it is feelings, but because our behavior is connected to our feelings, changing one is the origin to changing the other. Uncross your body, remove items that you place between each other, move closer, make eye-contact, look lovingly without disrespectful behaviors such as turning away or rolling your eyes. Once the physical changes (that’s the easy part) then it’s time to start working on communication skills in both talking and listening.  Linda has had great success working with couples who are honest about improving their relationships and getting better. However, she is not a magician, and the couple must be willing to put in the effort to make things better. Linda is only a guide. If you are honest about improving and saving your relationship, Imago therapy is a very successful approach.

What is EMDR? How is it different from other trauma therapy approaches?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.   Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy helps people process their past traumas and resolve them.  Like cognitive behavioral and rapid trauma therapy, EMDR helps people replace negative thoughts and feelings with positive thoughts. The technique has you moving your eyes back and forth while thinking about your trauma. Other trauma techniques have the client talking about the trauma and repeating it over and over while remaining in a relaxed state. Whether it’s through EMDR, rapid trauma, or cognitive behavioral therapy, repeating a traumatic experience, either aloud or in your head, while remaining relaxed and calm, helps resolve it. If you can think about your trauma while in a relaxed setting, your brain can reset itself and the trauma no longer interferes with your life.  EMDR is an excellent approach to managing trauma. Cheer Counselors are trained in a variety of trauma treatment approaches in addition to EMDR.

What is Cognitive Behavioral therapy?

What is Cognitive Behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. CBT is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders, including phobias, addictions, depression, and anxiety

Have you ever noticed that some people get upset easily, while others are like ducks, with problems rolling off their backs like water?  The difference between people who seem to get through life easily, and those who are chronically upset is based on your thinking and self-talk (the conversation that goes through your head all the time).  Cognitive comes from the word cognition, which refers to your thinking and behavioral relates to how you act.  If you think something is terrible, you may act in a way that leads to problems. If you change your self-talk to more positive thoughts, then your behavior will follow in a positive way.  For example, if you think a certain person doesn’t like you, you may act unfriendly, resulting in conflicts. However, if you change your thinking, and consider that maybe that person didn’t greet you because he never heard you, or was distracted, then instead of feeling and acting angry, you can talk to that person, and find out that you have a lot in common. Or, one person might find the Florida rain depressing, while another person may be pleased how green and beautiful everything is.  Cognitive/behavioral therapy helps you learn to examine your thoughts and look for positive messages that help you feel better, rather than blame others for your depression or anxiety.

What kind of training do mental health counselors have?

Mental health counselors (and social workers) must go to school for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree and two more years for their master’s degree. Part of their schooling includes one thousand hours of unpaid, supervised practicum.  Once they graduate, counselors are required to work under weekly supervision for two more years. Finally, they must take a very difficult test. The test is multiple choice but weighted so someone guessing would get a score of zero (wrong answers can have minus one or minus two points).  In addition, licensed counselors are required to earn continuing education credits every two years. LMHC’s (licensed mental health Counselor) must be highly skilled before they earn that license.  Counselors working for Cheer Counseling have many more years of experience working with a wide range of people. We all have experience in relationships, depression, anxiety, grief, and substance abuse. In addition, each Cheer Counselor has their own specialties. Check out their biographies to learn more.

What is the difference between mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists?

Welcome to Cheer Counseling Blog.  I’m going to be using this blog to answer common questions, and to educate about mental health problems and treatments. I am glad you are here and look forward to continuing “meeting” in this way. If you have questions you would like me to address, please email your questions to

Thank you.

What is the difference between mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists?

Mental health and substance abuse counselors assess and treat individuals suffering from mental health problems or addiction and substance abuse issues. This is a masters level program. Mental health counselors are trained to listen and to talk to people to help them learn to manage their own problems. Our job isn’t to fix you, or to give you answers, but rather, to help empower you to manage your own emotions and problems more effectively. We help you examine your own self-talk and make changes that will help you function better in your life.

Social workers act as advocates for their clients, educate clients and teach them new skills. link clients to essential resources within the community, protect vulnerable clients and ensure that their best interests are observed and counsel clients who need support and assistance. This is a masters level program. While counseling is part of social work, it isn’t their primary and only focus, as it is with counselors. You are likely to talk to a social worker if you are hospitalized and need help with after-care planning.

Psychologists also counsel, but they are primarily trained in testing. If you need testing for ADHD, gifted, or other special need services that require formalized testing, then you will want to see a psychologist for this. Psychologists have a Ph.D.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They are a trained MD with additional education in psychiatric medications.  They will talk to you briefly, but their training is that of a medical doctor. They prescribe medications and follow-up with your medication needs. They supplement weekly counseling, but do not replace it.