Our New Office is Cozy

Our New Office is Cozy

Welcome to our new office! As of May, we’ve put down roots in a new location in Huntsville. We’re now conveniently located in the Medical District, just off of Bob Wallace Avenue. What drew us to this location? Convenience played a factor, but it was mainly the warmth we found inside the cozy little house. Sunlight streams through the windows, which creates a cheerful vibe. It’s a warm, comfortable place and we think it has the perfect atmosphere for relaxing and engaging in meaningful conversation. We look forward to seeing you in our new “home.”... read more
Procrastination: Why Wait?

Procrastination: Why Wait?

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”  – Mark Twain It’s easy to make jokes and laugh about procrastination, but I think most of my clients struggle with it from time to time. Tim Urban, a popular blogger and a TED Annual Conference speaker, says, “For a real procrastinator, procrastination isn’t optional, it’s something they don’t know how to not do.” If you feel that way, read on. Or you might decide to read the article later. (Yes, I’m winking.) Procrastination is Easy The bottom line is that we always think that there is going to be more time to do something and so we idle. I do it, myself. I recently took a vacation and carried along a big file of “stuff.” As of the third day, I had been “too busy” to do any work. That included the morning I spent three hours surfing the internet in my workout clothes, before I finally made it outside for a walk. Technology certainly makes it easy to procrastinate. It’s a handy distraction that can keep us entertained for hours, if we let it. Whether we’re updating our Facebook status or searching for a new recipe on Pinterest, social media is a strong pull. From streaming movies to reading books, our devices can distract us from important tasks at hand. Sometimes, we simply want to be mindless . . . to escape. Certainly movies and books are a healthier outlet compared to things like drinking. But why does mindlessness win out over mindfulness? Let’s take a look at the things we procrastinate... read more
Finding Connection

Finding Connection

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. ” – Brené Brown Author Brené Brown studies human connection and says that, “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” A research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social work, she has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Let’s take a look at what it means to truly connect with another person. The Energy of Connection When talking about energy, I often ask people to think of a boomerang. The energy that you put out there often comes back to you. And, what you are feeling about yourself is often what you put out there. Many times, people don’t feel worthy. They feel like they put their best foot forward, but that fear of being unworthy is in the back of their head. They’re afraid of being “discovered.” In a dating situation, for example, you try to be your best self. Sometimes, that best self isn’t authentic. If you have insecurities, you hide them and you try to show your “Sunday best.” You’re always afraid that someone is going to see your “weekday self.” It’s an issue of perfectionism. You think others expect you to be perfect, which creates insecurity. When we give ourselves permission to be human, we give ourselves permission to be imperfect. We need to give other people permission to be human as well. Giving... read more
Are You Depressed, Grieving or Simply Stuck?

Are You Depressed, Grieving or Simply Stuck?

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus It’s no wonder that winter gets pegged as the most depressing time of the year. Chilly, often dreary weather and shorter days can combine to occasionally dampen even the most cheerful spirits. Yet, when we hear the words, “I’m so depressed,” either from our own mouths or from someone else, what can that really mean? “I’m So Sad.”  Sometimes when those words are said, what is really meant is that the person is sad. There is a distinct difference between being sad and being depressed. If something sad has happened, acknowledging that sadness could, in fact, be grief. Unresolved grief issues are often mistaken for depression. The only way to get through that grief is to simply allow yourself to grieve. However, some people never learned to grieve properly―to grieve in a healthy way. They may have been told, “You’re being silly; don’t feel that way” or “Get over it.” You see, for each loss that we have, we store information. Sometimes, we store misinformation. For example, if you were told that being sad was silly, you may have thought, “Is it not okay to be sad? Is there something wrong with being sad?” As a result, you may have stopped trusting your own feelings. With the help of a counselor, you have to go back and basically, “uninstall” that feeling. It’s okay to be sad. God gave us that emotion because a lot of life’s circumstances are sad! “I’m So Depressed.” You really feel like you are depressed. How... read more
Just Breathe!

Just Breathe!

We are often told to “take a deep breath” but did you know there is right way to breathe? Oddly enough I was in college before I learned that I was doing it wrong. I mean air had obviously been getting in since I was still here…so how was I doing it wrong? The truth is I was making a very common mistake. Have you ever paid attention to how your chest rises and falls while you’re breathing? Well, that’s what’s wrong. If your chest alone is showing movement that is a sign that your breathing is shallow. Breathing should happen below the area of the chest and using the diaphragm. The first time I tried this it actually felt pretty foreign so I will explain it the best way I can muster. Imagine that inside your belly, directly behind your belly button, there is a deflated balloon. Place your hand flat against your belly button. Make sure to breathe in and out through your nose. As you breathe in your goal should be to move your hand away from your body and feel your stomach rise. Think about “inflating” that balloon we talked about earlier until it is full. As you breathe out your goal should be to feel your hand come in toward your body. You will use your abdominal muscles to press and “deflate” the balloon completely. With some practice this will feel more natural. Focusing on our breathing and doing it correctly has many benefits. The most readily noticeable is the calming effect it has on us. When we breathe deeply our airways and blood... read more
Spring Cleaning: Time to Clear Your Head

Spring Cleaning: Time to Clear Your Head

Have you done any spring cleaning, this year? Whether it’s dusting baseboards or cleaning out closets, a deep spring cleaning not only leaves the house fresher, it can also lift your spirits and help clear your head. Let’s take that a step further and look at why it might be a good idea to do some figurative spring cleaning “in your head.” What’s in Your Head and How Did it Get There? Let’s first take a look at where all of the thoughts in our head come from. Basically, we learn to have a relationship with the world (“the world” being people, money, family, friends, etc.) from our family of origin. As we grow, all of the voices we hear (teachers, parents, siblings, friends) combine to form the voices we hear in our head. What is the most important relationship? It’s our relationship with ourselves, which helps determines what our “self-talk” is. Self-talk. It’s that little voice inside our heads that either speaks to us positively or negatively, or sometimes a bit of both. From, “I did a great job” or “I look good today” to “What is wrong with me?” and “Why is everything so hard?” – those voices can come from experiences we’ve had in the past and can influence how we form judgements about the future. Negative self-talk can be indicative of a negative self-concept, which can leave us feeling defeated and helpless. “Why bother?” we may ask ourselves. Another thing that can pile up in our heads is old defense mechanisms. Any past experiences where we felt physically or emotionally threatened caused us to defend ourselves. The problem is, that while those defense mechanisms may have protected us at... read more
Listen to the Signs

Listen to the Signs

On February 13, 2016, Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold, gave her first television interview to ABC 60 minutes. In this interview, Sue Klebold stated she “did not recognize the signs” of her son displaying his internal emotions and mental distress. She described and discussed her concerns regarding his changes in personality and demeanor, but stated she felt he was “simply being a teenager.” As the interview continued, several professionals, including Clinical Psychologists and Child Psychologists, discussed the signs of Depression and Suicide. Sue Klebold has now released her memoirs (A Mother’s Reckoning) regarding this situation and her thoughts along with her views, continuing to state she feels there was more she could have done. Throughout this interview and the book, it was obvious the warning signs were not viewed nor were they taken seriously, by his mother or other family members. As parents, friends, and family members, it is important that we ask questions and notice changes in other individuals. I understand, we all have our own lives to live and it is difficult at times to communicate effectively with others who are not willing to communicate back, but that is when we seek help from a professional. Please know that it is okay to ask. Please ask your friend or family member if they are suicidal or depressed, because it could save their life. Below is a list of warning signs to be mindful of:   Signs and symptoms of depression include: Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness Loss of interest in daily activities Appetite or weight changes Sleep changes Anger or irritability Loss of... read more

Half Full

You are special. You are worthy. Your life has a purpose. Although, you do not hear this every day, it is all true. Sometimes life can start to take a toll on us and we can get depressed or overwhelmed. Every day is not as happy and fulfilling as we would like; however, the most important thing to do is to see the Bigger Picture and know all things come to an end. It is hard to be positive all the time, however, negativity weighs heavily on us and can began to take a toll on our thoughts, emotions, and even our actions. Depression, anxiety, or possible thoughts of suicide impact individuals daily. It’s important that we work to recognize our emotions and be willing to communicate with others in an effort to regain control over our lives. I understand the stigma and stereotype associated with counseling or seeking help; however, we all have a need to communicate and engage with one another. There are individuals who are trained to aid in different areas of our life. Be willing to get the help you need and seek treatment through therapy. Statistics have shown us that Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population; and there is one death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes. With facts like these, it is essential to... read more
Adolescence – Growing Up is Hard Enough

Adolescence – Growing Up is Hard Enough

Being a teenager has never been easy. Maybe you are facing puberty and changing hormones, having difficulty with social acceptance or rejection. Maybe you are learning who you are and who you want to be. Mix in social media and technology and you are now adding new difficulties to what was already a challenging time. Did you know that approx 1 in 5 adolescents have been impacted by or are currently dealing with a mental illness? Here are some of the common mental health issues that impact adolescents: • ADHD • Anxiety • Depression • Disruptive Behaviors (Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder) • Eating Disorders • Grief • PTSD • Self-Harm • Substance Abuse So, 1 in 5. That’s about 20% of our adolescent population. In a classroom of let’s say 30 kids, 6 of them are currently dealing with a mental illness. Then, according to the Office of Adolescent Health (part of the US Department of Health and Human Services) only half of kids with a mental illness are getting the help and care that they need. Half. Why are these youth not getting the help they need? One piece of the puzzle is that ugly word we keep hearing – stigma. Being a teen can be hard enough without “labels” that make kids feel different from those around them. Both teens and their family members can fear this stigma. Another large piece of that puzzle is that we don’t always recognize the symptoms of mental illness in our adolescents. Common symptoms can include irritability, anger, withdrawing or isolating, changes in appetite or sleep, risky behaviors, substance... read more

Wellness Programs

Wellness Programs

Physical activity and emotional well-being are important components of an overall wellness program. Learn more about how Empower can build a program for you.

Counseling Services

Counseling Services

Our counseling services are designed to be efficient and effective, but always compassionate. We offer a safe, stigma-free, confidential environment to every client