Wellington Counseling Group

Wellington Counseling Group

Tuesday, 15 June 2021 17:20

5 Benefits of Group Therapy in Chicago

The thought of attending group therapy might sound intimidating at first. Sharing your story with strangers? It’s very personal, and to really benefit from the process, you’ll have to share things you aren’t inclined to tell even your closest friends and family. It’s enough to make anyone a little apprehensive. But group therapy can be extremely beneficial for plenty of people. Here are five reasons to consider attending group therapy in Chicago.

1. Understanding you are not alone

One of the biggest benefits of group therapy is learning that you are not alone in your struggles. Oftentimes, people struggling with mental health, self-destructive behaviors, or trauma feel alienated and isolated, which makes it difficult for them to seek treatment.

Attending group therapy can help connect you with people who are dealing with similar issues. This shared understanding of a difficult experience helps you build a sense of community with other trusting individuals, where you won’t be judged and you won’t be alone. Many people also report reduced stress and pain surrounding the condition they’re suffering from when attending group therapy.

2. Different perspectives

Group therapy, at its very core, is all about the input of different perspectives. When you’re surrounded by others with their own unique experiences, it can help you look at your issues differently and learn new coping mechanisms.

3. Accountability

In most scenarios, peer pressure is perceived as negative, but group therapy can lead to more accountability. You’ll be more motivated to manage your condition when you’re surrounded by others who are working hard day in and day out to heal.

The members in your group also act as a sounding board. Let’s say, for example, you are discussing a fight you had with your partner. Hearing from those around you about how you come across can be exceptionally powerful. They can help you see things you may not see at first because you are too close to the situation or issue at hand. Playing your part in that accountability by offering frank feedback to others that you likely wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to your own friends and family, can be more than edifying to their process; it can bring a sense of growth to you, as well, for being accountable to your group peers.

4. Empower your voice

Being aware of your feelings and knowing how to express them are two very different things. We’re often acutely aware of how we feel; it’s expressing those feelings and finding our voice that’s challenging. Group therapy provides you with the opportunity to practice this over and over again.

It also helps teach you a lot about yourself and become more self-aware and self-connected.

5. Group therapy costs less than individual therapy

Counseling can be expensive. And most likely, managing your condition even without therapy is a financial burden in and of itself. There is a common misconception that because group therapy is more affordable, it’s not as beneficial. That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people find group therapy to be even more beneficial than one-on-one counseling sessions. Most members of therapy groups find that it’s the combination of group and individual treatment that really moves the needle on living more authentically.

Learn more about group therapy in Chicago

If you’re interested in learning more about group therapy in Chicago, reach out to us today at Wellington Counseling Group. As a trusted counseling resource for adults, children, couples, and families, we specialize in treating mental health disorders, behavioral issues, life transitions, family dynamics, and trauma.

Contact us today to schedule your first group therapy session.

Anxiety and depression levels hit an all-time high in the U.S. last year. That news comes as no surprise, given the convergence of crises that defined 2020: A global pandemic, the recession that ensued in its wake, an awakening for many Americans about our country’s racial injustice, a heated election. According to the State of Mental Health in America report, 19% of Americans now are living with a mental health condition -- 1.5 million more people than in 2019. If you’re interested in anxiety treatment in Chicago, you’ve come to the right place.

Here at Wellington Counseling Group, we have witnessed people struggling in myriad ways. Many have lost a spouse, parent, grandparent, or other loved one to COVID-19. Or, they may have taken ill themselves, and are now living with long-term symptoms. They may have anxiety about making ends meet with the loss of jobs and income and/or juggling to balance remote work while helping children with online school.

Here in the Chicago area, 2020-21 has also been a time when many have felt rage, fear, and hopelessness persistent racial injustice in their communities. And, with a great deal at stake, it was common for people to feel highly anxious about the 2020 election, the results of which took several days to tally and many weeks for final counts to provide certainty. Bottom line: the past 15 months have created a perfect storm for skyrocketing anxiety and depression.

Individuals who already were managing anxiety may have found that their usual coping strategies failed them, simply could not adequately stand up to the chaos of 2020-21.

Things are More ‘Normal’ Now -- Why Don’t I Feel Better?

Thankfully, many of us finally are returning to some “normalcy” after more than a year of isolation, but we must be patient with ourselves. The time away from our regular lives took a toll. We couldn’t hug or even see each other. We may have postponed weddings or canceled graduations. We missed gathering in faith, fitness, or opportunities to enjoy the arts. Some of us felt trapped in contentious or abusive homes. Physically and psychologically, it was a year like no other in our lifetimes.

Now, as many of us re-emerge from our shells -- whether tentatively tiptoeing or rushing back to life as usual -- we may be surprised to find we feel a bit shaky, vulnerable, hesitant, afraid. Our anxiety may not have dissipated, and that reality may make us even more anxious.

Those reactions are completely understandable and very much in keeping with human nature. We tend to survive, and even thrive, by revving our engines high on the fuel of expectations. We can therefore easily pin our hopes on an outcome so much better than the present situation that, when we’re finally there, we almost can’t help but be let down. Tempering expectations about life-after-lockdown will help prevent feeling overwhelmed by disappointment and the anxiety that may follow.

Treatment Options: Start with Simple Lifestyle Changes

If you are experiencing anxiety, know that treatment options are available and can be extremely effective, even life-changing. Sometimes simple lifestyle tweaks are sufficient, other times therapy and even the addition of medication may be advised. For those new to navigating anxiety treatment, it makes sense to start with lifestyle steps first:

  • Stay active, exercise regularly.
  • Try to spend time outdoors, in nature, if possible.
  • Try meditation or relaxation apps that target anxiety.
  • Eat healthfully.
  • Avoid caffeine, particularly when used to cope with anxiety.
  • Stay connected to helping family and friends.
  • Adequate sleep is an essential anxiety treatment, but insomnia often is anxiety’s side-effect. To the extent possible, adhere to a regular sleep schedule and get as much rest as you need.
  • After a week or so, check in with yourself -- do you feel less anxiety? Are any of these lifestyle changes reducing your anxiety more than others? If not, getting professional anxiety treatment may help.

Could Therapy and/or Medication Be Right for Me?

At Wellington Counseling Group, a top provider of anxiety treatment in Chicago, our therapy focuses on identifying anxiety sources and triggers and then developing a kit of tools that clients can deploy when or even before they are needed.

Sometimes therapy in conjunction with medication is most effective, particularly for those whose anxiety impacts daily functioning, who may experience panic attacks or sleeplessness.

Medication in support of psychotherapy can balance the chemistry in our brains to stabilize our ability to function in the world; therapy can help us understand how to operate from a social, emotional, and spiritual perspective.

These have been and continue to be extremely trying times. It’s important to understand that heightened anxiety is to be expected. It’s also important to recognize that we aren’t powerless over anxiety. We have an array of options available to help us feel better, to gain agency over our lives.

Learn More About Anxiety Treatment in Chicago

To learn more about your options for anxiety treatment in Chicago, reach out to us today at Wellington Counseling Group. We are a team of experienced and trusted psychotherapists who provide thoughtful and attentive anxiety treatment for Chicago area adults and youth experiencing mild to severe symptoms.

Both in-person and telehealth options are available to accommodate client preferences.

Change will always be a part of life. Most people have likely gone through a substantial transition at some point throughout their life, whether positive (landing a dream job or getting married) or negative (loss of a job or getting divorced). While many people can make the necessary shifts smoothly, others may feel as if their entire world has been flipped upside down. They may experience emotional discomfort, stress, and anxiety during transitional times, leaving them feeling overwhelmed, fearful, and, in some cases, depressed. Therapy for life transitions in Chicago can help individuals establish healthy coping mechanisms and improve their mental health and overall well-being during times of change.

According to Healthline, approximately 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States have or have had an eating disorder at some point throughout their life. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder, and unfortunately, only 10% of people with eating disorders ever seek treatment. If you suspect you may have an eating disorder, it’s important to seek care as soon as possible. Here are 7 signs you could benefit from eating disorder treatment in Chicago.

Friday, 30 April 2021 17:11

FAQs About IQ Tests for Kids in Chicago

Getting your child into a gifted program in Chicagoland schools is no easy feat. In many cases, acceptance to the most sought-after programs requires a certain score on an IQ test that is facilitated by a psychologist. Here at Wellington Counseling Group, we know you probably have questions about what this process looks like. We're here to answer those top FAQs today about IQ tests for kids in Chicago.

Studies indicate that as many as 1 in 6 children in the United States have a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders among children are characterized by significant changes in the way they learn, behave, or handle their emotions. These changes can cause serious distress and make it difficult to get through the day. The most common disorders among children are attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavior disorders, and anxiety disorders. If your child is struggling with their mental health, that's a sure sign they could benefit from seeing a child psychologist in Chicago.

Marriage is hard. Even the happiest and healthiest couples experience relationship challenges from time to time. If your marriage is having problems, you may be wondering whether you can tackle them alone or if you need professional help. Many people waver on whether or not they should see a couples therapist. Here are eight signs you should seek marriage counseling in Chicago.

COVID-19 caused major disruptions to daily life for children. While some may be looking forward to returning to school, many others are feeling anxious or frightened at the prospect. Helping students navigate the complicated emotions they may be feeling about returning to normalcy is uncharted territory for many teachers and school administrators. Here at Wellington Counseling Group, we asked five of our licensed counselors to talk about ways to best support the socioemotional needs of kids returning to school after COVID-19. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Create a safe space for children to discuss and process their pandemic experience

Although the reason for being out of school for so long has been universal, the pandemic experiences and losses of each child returning to the classroom will be different. Apart from the prolonged disruptions to our routines, many other things like familial deaths from COVID-19, parental unemployment, food insecurity, racial injustice, and mental health concerns to name a few, may have impacted the real-life experiences of students in profound ways.

As students and teachers adapt to being together in person again, creating a safe space for children to discuss and process their experiences will be crucial for short and long-term socioemotional adjustment. The intentional act of teachers facilitating the emotional space to hold these kinds of ongoing conversations will go far to support the fragility and difficulties of returning to in-person classes.

2. Keep in mind that it might be more challenging to keep kids engaged

Engagement and attention during the school day might look different as students return to the classroom. They may have developed personal strategies to enhance their remote learning experience throughout the past year.

For example, some children may have found comfort in laying in their bed or using fidget objects while on a screen all day. Others may have turned to video games or snacking at intervals that don’t align with the typical structure of an in-person school day.

It will, of course, be an adjustment as children reorient themselves to falling back into old – yet familiar – classroom routines and expectations that may not be as casual as home-based learning. Teacher and student collaboration about strategies to assist with the adjustment will go far to enhance student focus, motivation, and engagement in classroom instruction.

3. Create coping strategies for students who are anxious about returning to school or contracting COVID-19

Returning to in-person learning will be a big change for many students. It’s likely that some children will be feeling increased anxiety related to separation from parents/caregivers as well as new levels of social anxiety and trouble with peers. This may occur with children who have not previously exhibited such struggles but feel that their social skills are rusty, and teachers can help by creating coping strategies for anxious students.

Other students may be fearful about getting and spreading COVID-19 or one of the more aggressive variant strains. Encouraging students to write and talk about their feelings can help them better cope with those fears. Acknowledging that their fears are valid is also an important part of helping students feel heard and seen.

4. Prioritize playtime

Prioritizing “playtime" (e.g., recess, in-class free time, fun activities, etc.) will be vital and perhaps more important than ever before as your students transition back into the classroom. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and taking time to relax is important for managing mental health. Introducing practices such as mindfulness and yoga can also be extremely beneficial for students who are prone to stress.

5. Reintroduce yourself and your students

Allow the chance for introductions of teachers and students if you go back to the classroom this school year or in the middle of next school year. Many students don't know all of their classmates and/or teachers due to being solely online (especially since some students have had their cameras off for every class period). Help make your students feel more comfortable by giving them a chance to get to know one another on an in-person level.

Learn more helpful tips for kids returning to school

So, there you have it! Some tips + tricks for teachers and school administrators to ease the transition of kids returning to school after COVID-19. If you’re interested in learning more about how to best support the socioemotional needs of your students, reach out to us today at Wellington Counseling Group.

Here’s to a great year ahead!

Friday, 12 February 2021 13:39

Your Guide to Chicago ADD Therapy for Adults

Approximately 4.4% of adults in the United States have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD for short). And studies suggest that many more adults with ADHD are still undiagnosed. In today’s fast-paced society, we’re exposed to an incredible load of stimuli every second of every day. If you struggle with an attention deficit disorder, then you already know how it can impact your ability to work, form and maintain relationships, and even manage daily tasks. The good news is there are treatment options available that can effectively help manage your symptoms. Today, we’re discussing everything you need to know about Chicago ADD therapy for adults.

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorder in the United States, affecting as many as 40 million Americans every year. Though they can undeniably be difficult to deal with, anxiety disorders are actually highly treatable. If you are struggling to manage your mental health, it’s important to seek treatment. Between talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes including focusing on mindfulness, finding lasting relief is possible. Here’s a helpful guide to help you find effective anxiety treatment in Chicago.

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