Tag: counseling

man yelling into megaphone. Text that reads "Affordable counseling in Georgia"

Affordable Counseling in Georgia- Resources & Contact Information

In 2016, 13.9% of Georgia residents were uninsured. For uninsured individuals, comprehensive mental health care, including therapy, is often a rare commodity. The following resource list contains agencies in Georgia who offer affordable counseling, and other mental health services.

       Brenau University 

Low cost clinics are available in two locations: Norcross and Gainesville. In addition to counseling, psychological assessments are available at a reduced rate.

Care and Counseling Center of Georgia

A nonprofit, ecumenical organization offering low cost counseling, pastoral care and education to individuals, couples, and families. They have several counselors in training. Located in Decatur, GA; 404-636-1457.

Emory University Outpatient Psychotherapy Training Program

A Department of Psychiatry training program for new psychiatrists, providing evaluations and individual, couples and group therapy, as well as medication management, on a sliding fee scale; 404-727-0399.

Emory University Psychological Center

A Psychology Department therapy training center providing individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy on a sliding fee sale. They also provide a variety of lower cost psychological testing, including IQ, learning disability, attention deficit disorder and neuropsychological assessment services; 404-727-7451.

Georgia Community Mental Health Service Boards

The publicly funded adult and youth community-based mental health service system in Georgia, provides affordable counseling treatment for mental health and addiction disorders; 404-657-2136.

Georgia State University Psychiatry  Clinic

A Georgia State Department of Psychology training center for new therapists providing individual, couples, family, group psychotherapy, and psychological testing on a sliding fee scale; 404-413-6229.

Heartwork Counseling Center

A therapy training center providing some low fee counseling through their “Project Open Heart” program.  Located in Inman Park, near the Marta station; 404-658-1222.

Jewish Family & Career Services

An organization that provides health, career and human services, including low fee counseling services, serving people of all faiths. They have several locations and counselors in training; 770-677-9305.

Karuna Counseling

Located off Clairmont Road just north of the Emory campus; 404-321-4307.

The Link Counseling Center

A nonprofit community counseling center located in Sandy Springs, 404-256-9797, and Cobb County, 770-541-1114.

Mercer Family Therapy Center

A Mercer University training clinic for new therapists, providing couple and family therapy; located at Piedmont Hospital, near Buckhead; 678-547-6789.

Metropolitan Counseling Services

A nonprofit community counseling center and training center for new therapists providing affordalbe counseling services to adults, located in Atlanta, on Buford Highway; 404-321-0305.

Open Path Collective

Website where therapists register and clients can search for therapist by zip code. This site is for discount sessions $30.00-$50.00 per session. Client’s must pay an initial registration fee of 50$. Individual therapist set their own prices for their counseling services.

Sage Center, Sage Therapy and Education Partnership (STEP Program)

The Mission of the Sage Center is to promote comprehensive wellness in the community by providing quality support services through counseling, consultation, education, and mentorship to individuals, professionals and organizations. Sage Center is committed to serving with integrity, compassion and respect in a balanced and collaborative environment. Reduced fee counseling services available now between $40 – $95. Clients seeking services through the STEP program may complete a short application at www.sagecenteratlanta.com that will help identify the counselor that can best meet the client’s needs and also determine fee. For more information or to inquire about services, please visit www.sagecenteratlanta.comor call Sage Center at 404-419-4221 Extension 103. Sage Center is conveniently located in North Atlanta near interstates 85 and 285 inside the perimeter.

The Training & Counseling Center at St. Luke’s (TACC)

An outreach of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church serving people of all faiths, providing sliding fee scale. Located in downtown Atlanta just south of Crawford Long Hospital off of Courtland Street; 404-876-6266.

Authentic-Life Counseling does not have first hand experience working with any of these agencies.

The reference list of agencies offering affordable counseling in Georgia has been provided as a resource.

Special thanks to Allyce Wellons, psychotherapist, who originally posted this content.

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Angry Incredible Hulk Figure with Authentic Life Counseling Logo

Anger Management Skills

Anger is a master that demands an outrageously high price. Anger destroys physical and mental health, relationships, self-esteem and dignity. There are many victims. The individual which feels angry, and the unfortunate target on the receiving end of the anger. Both pay a price. To manage anger, individuals often turn to counseling to learn Anger Management Skills. Effective anger management provides tools to address the many dimensions of anger, including the physical, emotional and the mental (cognitive or thinking) aspects.

The Physical Response 

Anger triggers the fight/flight/freeze response in the body which signals an internal state of emergency, and subjects the body to a great deal of stress. To protect ourselves from the (perceived) threat our heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing becomes faster and we suffer headaches and abdominal pain.

Self-Soothing Skills Young man with head bowed practicing self-soothing

Skillfully using self-soothing techniques is an essential anger management skill which should be practiced to calm the physical reactions of the body. Self-soothing skills regulates and retrains the Central Nervous System so that the relaxation response is strengthened and, the fight/flight/freeze response is weakened. Two easy self-soothing skills include:

Deep Breathing – Take slow, deep breaths. Practice counting as you breath to help anchor the mind and prevent racing thoughts. Notice the in/out – up/down rhythm of your breathing. Feel the sensations of your breath as it moves in and out of your body.

Visualization – Use the power of your imagination to experience being in a beautiful, peaceful relaxing place.  Bring in as many sensory details as possible as you practice visualization. See, hear, feel and smell details of your imagined experience. This exercise is best practiced when one is in a relatively calm state and will help regulate and normalize the responses of the Central Nervous System.

The Cognitive (Thought) Response

Understand the irrational and intrusive nature of your thoughts with a compassionate curiosity is the attitude to have when learning anger management skills. Be willing to question cognitive  anger traps such as mind-reading the intentions of others and the projecting unreasonable demands and expectations into the future.

Challenge Cognitions Young boy looking through binoculars with caption Look At Your Anger

Challenge your beliefs and assumptions with a compassionate curiosity. Anger is an emotion which sees the world through a lens of assumptions. An obvious fact to you may be a fairy-tale to me.

Just The Facts – What did you actually see or hear? When we are angry we tend to project beliefs, opinions and assumption on to the triggering event. Stick to the facts. Find a trusted friend or family member who witnessed the triggering event and ask them to help collaborate and distinguish facts from fiction.

What Are Your Assumptions? – You are likely assuming a rule been broken. The problem is that the rule may only be known to you. Or perhaps you are assuming that everyone should subscribe to your rules. Your rules are valid in your mind, but possibly not mine. Are you basing your assumptions on historical events, and assuming history will repeat itself? Do you mind read the intentions of the person you are mad at? Do you really have a working crystal ball? If the answer is no, stop mind reading. You are on you way to using anger management skills effectively when you begin to see your assumptions.

Response Control

Evaluate what your angry mind is telling you to do before acting in its behalf. When we speak, act or respond with anger, you are acting in behalf of your lower (or lowest) self. Things are broken when the “lowest self” is in control. Important things like our relationships, self-esteem, and dignity are diminished.

Change the Response – To change a conditioned response or behavior, we must be motivated and “buy-in” to the need for change. If we have buy-in, the cost of “doing the work” is worth the price of the effort and the discomfort we are surely going to face to change the pattern. Buy-in is fortified by recognizing the cost of our anger.

What Will Be Broken By Your Actions? – Your angry mind does not act on your behalf or on behalf of the future. Like a little child, your anger acts on behalf of immediate impulsive reactions. Responses are more extreme than they need to be when angry. They are over the top. If you act on the impulse to go over the top, what will your break? Your job, your wife, your child’s self-esteem. Evaluate the cost.

What Has Anger Broken In The Past – As a counselor, I am still touched and saddened to see the high price of anger. Investigate the cost you have paid. Look at the physical, emotional, relational, and financial cost with compassionate curiosity.

Evaluate Outcome of Your Efforts 

When anger becomes a problem, the emotional, behavioral and thinking patterns that have sustained it, have been reinforced for a period of time. Be patient, because it will take time and energy to learn new responses.

Recognize Successes – Be reasonable. Rage-alcoholics, by nature are not reasonable. See even slight changes as successes. Perhaps you remembered to practice self-soothing skills or asked for clarification before making an assumption. Know and feel these small wins.

Practice Strategies – Transforming anger takes time and patience. Anger management skills are effective in changing emotional, behavioral and cognitive patterns from one of anger and rage to peace and joy. But it does take practice. Be compassionate with yourself as you practice.

Be in peace – Diane

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What is the best time of day to meditate ?

As a psychotherapist, I offer clients skills which promote emotional and mental well-being.  If I could give my clients one gift, it would be that they learn to meditate . For new students, practical questions such as what is the best time to meditate are important.

“If I could give my clients one gift, it would be a regular meditation practice. ” 

Find a teacher:

When learning to meditate, having a teacher is important. Different types of meditation should be matched to fit the needs and personality of the student. Also, new students may experience periods of frustration as they begin to meditate.  Attempts to control a racing “monkey mind ” is difficult in the beginning. Individuals may experience difficulty sitting still.  Zen Meditation practice teaches to face your discomfort with the energy of a smile. In other words, you lovingly observe the discomfort without attaching to it.

As far as time –  there are specific times of day to meditate that are particularly conducive to a experiencing a deep meditative state.

“Rolling in or out of bed and directly into your meditation practice provides an obvious advantage. Your  brain is already humming at a frequency that is conducive to a meditative state”

There are two times of the day that are particularly advantageous, for meditation but any time of the day will be beneficial to your mental and emotional health. If you cannot accommodate these suggested “best” times it is better to practice when ever you have a chance. Be as diligent as possible with your practice.  Daily meditation is like a savings account. You are making deposits into the account of calmness, clarity and peace and you make withdrawals on those feelings when they are most needed such as during times of stress.

However, if possible the best times of the day to mediate are:

Women Meditate Sitting on Rock
Meditation during specific times might deepen the meditation experience because of corresponding brain wave frequencies.
  • First thing in the morning

  • Before bed time

These times periods are optimal because of corresponding brain wave activity. Meditative states have a corresponding brain wave frequency. The brain wave frequencies observed in meditation are the same frequencies experienced when we are coming in or out of sleep cycles.  Rolling in or out of bed directly into your meditation pillow provides an obvious advantage. Your brain is already humming at a frequency that is conducive to a deep meditative state.  Add a dose of focused awareness, and you have a deep meditation experience.

Why are these times of the day better?

Explanations of brain wave frequencies and brain functioning help us understand why meditation in the morning or at night has advantages.

Beta (14-40 Hz) – The waking consciousness and reasoning waves: Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. Beta waves are important for effective functioning throughout the day, they can also translate into stress anxiety and restlessness.

Alpha (7.5-14Hz) – The deep relaxation wave: Alpha waves are associated with deep relaxation. This usually occurs when you close your eyes, when you slip into a lovely daydream, or during light meditation. Alpha is responsible for heightening your imagination, visualization, learning and concentration. The voice of Alpha is your intuition which becomes clearer and more profound the closer you get to 7.5Hz.

Theta (4-7.5) – The deep meditation and sleep wave: Theta is present when sleeping, when in deep meditation and light sleep. It is the realm of your sub consciousness and only experienced momentarily as you drift off to sleep.   Research has shown that a sense of deep spiritual connection and unity with the universe can be experienced at Theta. Theta is where you experience vivid visualization, great inspiration profound creativity and exceptional insight. The voice of Theta is silent.

Delta (0.5 – 4Hz) – The deep sleep wave: The delta frequency is the slowest. It is experienced in deep dreamless sleep. In this state, awareness is fully detached. It is the only brainwave that is important for the healing process. Not having enough Delta can be dangerous to health.

Gamma (above 4OHz) The insight wave: this brain wave is the most recently discovered. It is the fastest of all frequencies. It is associated with burst of insight and high level of information processing.

Please leave a comment below if you have any further questions about meditation or if there is an aspect of meditation you would be interested in seeing in a blog post.

Be in peace – diane

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Ninja Ego

Ninga Ego 

The Ninja Ego

The ego. An elusive but dominating force. It sneaks up on us and takes control of our thoughts, words, and behaviors in a wink of an eye. I have had many discussions with clients, friends and family about the importance of understanding one’s ego.  I have been trying to understand mine for a long time.

The persona of my ego is a ninja. It is shadowy, elusive, potentially dangerous but never far away.

When the conditions are right my ego-ninja takes control of the wheel by hi-jacking perceptions, emotions, rational thinking and behaviors. Often the agenda of my ninja are at odds with my true objectives.

The Latest Coup Attempt 

Please let me provide a little background information for the recent conditions which made a coup attempt perfect for my ninja . My family, like many families, has suffered a great deal due to alcoholism and substance abuse. If you have or have had substance abuse in your family, you know that it is the bad gift that keeps on giving through the years and sometimes, sadly through generations.

Right Conditions

The conditions could not have been more perfect for my ninja ego. It’s summer and I’m at a pool party. An acquaintance, I will call Dean, is drinking shots of Jack Daniels. And…as people do when drinking Jack Daniels…. Dean is becoming obnoxious and loud. A group of vibrant 20 year old girls are at his table. Dean tries  to convince the young women to drink shots with him. None of them do thank goodness. However, Dean was perfectly modeling a crash course in Binge Drinking 101. Responsible Drinking 101 is the course that would benefit the young women. Not to mention Dean’s is breaking the law. And, not to mention, maybe the families of these young women would like to be the ones who introduce them to alcohol by modeling responsible drinking ie Now that you are legal drinking age, would you a glass of wine with dinner?

The Ninja Takes Control

After observing Dean’s actions, I was quite angry. After calming down, I decided to talk to Dean and explain why his actions were not OK on many levels. The discussion I planned to have with Dean began running through my head. It was only through a deep awareness that I understood what Ninja Ego truly wanted. My true objectives were to try and help Dean see how his actions encourage binge drinking of hard whisky to young women and why that is dangerous.   Ninja had a different agenda. Because of my past pain, Ninja Ego wanted to make Dean feel stupid and ashamed. Trying to shed some light on Dean’s behavior had taken back seat to Ninja Egos objectives. Ninja Ego wanted Dean to pay… a little. And at the end of the conversation, Ninja wanted to feel superior and smarter. Yes, Dean should be told that what he did was not smart and explain why. But Ninja wanted more

Surprise….You Too Have an Ninja Too

Your ego has ninja qualities too. Look for them. Understand them. What makes your ninja ego plan a coup? To answer this ask yourself, what do you defend? Is your existence or worth based on some idea of what it  is to be a good man/woman, Republican/Democrat, vegetarian/meat-eater, victim, Protector of Young Women?

When anger, frustration, judgement, intolerance arise, your ninja ego ninja is close by. She is elusive. She is in the shadows, but she is there. Before you know it your good intentions are vanquished.

The most interesting aspect of this experience was the subtle nature of ninja. I barely saw the true intentions, which were to make Dean feel bad, and for me to feel superior and smarter. It was if ninja ego was somewhere, very, very far  back in my subconscious mind.

I know you are there ninja ego. I am watching out for you.

be in peace – diane

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Counseling Is Hard Work

Talking Is Only Part Of The Process

People are best served when they actively work with their therapist to set goals, do homework, acknowledge and dissolve defensive mechanisms, and become more conscious. The talking component of counseling is very therapeutic.  Discussing, admitting or purging your most tender, sensitive, or secret thoughts is an important part of the counseling process. However, it is only part of the process.

Counseling Is Hard Work

If long-term benefits are to be sustained, new skills and tools are needed to solidify new behaviors, emotional reactions, and thought patterns.  There is a reason why therapy is hard-work. Replacing old behaviors, emotional reactions and thought patterns with new ones is an active and ongoing process. There is no finish line. The process is not over at some time in the future. Many times our unproductive responses have become part of our personality. They have been reinforced for years and have become automatic. Sometimes we are not even conscious that these behaviors, reaction and thought patterns are diminishing our health, peace and happiness. It is realistic to acknowledge that changing our automatic reinforced responses will take commitment, time and energy. To make changes requires our active participation in the change process.

Empowerment

We can become attached to our irrational behaviors, emotions and thoughts. Subsequently our thinking becomes clouded and confused by these destructive patterns and we begin to make poor choices. When the suffering becomes unbearable, we understandably begin looking for relief from our suffering. For example, a person who is anxious may have thoughts, actions, or emotional reactions that promote and sustain their anxiety. Identifying environmental triggers which cause anxiety is very helpful.   However active awareness and control of their behaviors, emotional reactions, and thought patterns will be a core component of recovery.   Empowerment, to a large extent, is dependent on our desire and ability to be conscious of how we perceive, define,  attach to and react to our environment.

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