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Thank you for visiting our page. Do you have questions about our Center or how to get counseling? Here are some frequently asked questions.

Why should I have counseling? Anyone who would like to better themselves or enhance their relationships can benefit from counseling. Our therapists have tools that can guide you to improve the way you interact with others at home, at work, and other areas of your life. They also see people who have depression, anxiety, stress, anger issues, substance abuse, or trauma in their life.

Who will I be speaking to? We have 2 licensed therapist and have offices in Paducah, Benton, and Murray. Roger Thompson is our Director. He has a Master’s degree in Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Karen Diane Reed has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is Licensed Professional Counselor.

What can I expect from counseling? The first session we call an Intake or Diagnostic Interview. There is a lot of information gathered at that time about family, health, current issues and goals. The therapist will make an assessment and discuss a plan that meets your needs. Therapy is not a magic cure, and it requires that you are invested in taking steps to achieve your goals.

How much do I pay? Regarding fees, we are in network with many commercial insurance companies and programs available through employers. Your fee would depend on your Mental Health coverage. We also have fees based on income and there is an additional $15 off for self-pay clients paying at the time of service.

When can I make an appointment? At this time we are scheduling about 3 weeks in advance for new clients, but after the initial visit we will do our best to arrange multiple appointments so the wait is not as long in between. Someone is available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in Paducah; on Tuesday in Benton; and on Friday in Murray.

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If you are struggling with the direction that you are going right now, stop and take the first step in discovering how things can be better. Call our office at 270-442-5738 to make an appointment.

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My Granny Ray had two sayings that I am reminded of quite frequently: “Life gets tedious”, and “This too shall pass.” She didn’t necessarily use these together on the same occasion, but I have found that you can count on both. She used the saying about life being tedious to let me know that whatever I am going through is just part of life and that each person will go through difficulties in life.

Paul Faulkner, in his series, “Making Things Right when Things go Wrong”, sets the premise that things do go wrong. And life is the process of making things right when things have gone wrong. So what can you do about a bad situation?

  • Re-frame your thinking. Look for a positive aspect to the situation. Sometimes it is not what actually happens to us that matters as much as how we react to what happens. The Apostle Paul suffered a thorn in the flesh. But when he re-framed his thinking he was able to say, “When I am weak, then I am strong”.
  • Act better than you feel. Actions seal your commitment to something. While you cannot will yourself to feel a certain way, you can will yourself to act a certain way, which will cause your feelings to follow along. Faulkner says most of the good that’s done in this world is done by people who don’t feel like it. They are people of faith because faith is acting on something you cannot verify with your feelings.7bc994a82a277dc98a861bb33488415d.jpg
  • Cut your line when it is tangled. Experienced fishermen simply cut the tangled line, pull out a new line, and get on with their fishing. The line of life sometimes gets tangled by guilt and resentment. The way to survive and make things right that have gone wrong is to live one day at a time – today.
  • Keep cool, even when you are hot. Once you lose control of your temper, you are no longer capable of making things right. The problem goes unsolved and you must also deal with the damage that your anger has caused.

Life does get tedious. So maybe you find a solution to your difficulty. Maybe you find a way to live with it. Maybe you just start over. I think that Granny Ray was trying to tell me that it is up to me to change my life when things go wrong. But we can also rest assured, this too shall pass.

Cookie Adams

 

practiceIt seems to me that often times we limit ourselves by saying something to the effect of, “I am just not good at that.” This probably starts early in life to protect us from the vulnerability of failing. It, however, also blocks us from success. Natural talent is not the only way to achieve greatness or success.

The late Steve Jobs–a highly regarded innovator and founder of Apple Computers–was also nearly as famous for his ability to present and market. His keynote speeches for Apple became famous and often imitated. But, his public speaking skills were not always superb. A video of an interview he gave early in his career was uncovered decades later. He is visibly nervous and even verbalizes his fear of becoming sick. This is not the same Steve Jobs who entertained while unveiling his most recent product. So what gives?

Jobs put in hours and hours of practice. He honed and developed his presentation skills spending hundreds of hours on one presentation.

Dr. K. Anders Ericsonn published a research study that looked into this idea of hard work and practice. He said excellence depends on more than mere practice but deliberative practice. His definition of this is, “improving the skills you have and extending the reach and range of those skills.” So Dr. Ericsonn takes into account natural talent but suggests excellence does not rest there.

So, when we consider our personal well being are we focusing daily on improving our  skills and extending them? In marriage, hone the abilities and strengths so that they cover a number of aspects in relationships. Parent in a way that sees possibility to attain skills rather than give up on that possibility.

The takeaway is this: because you view yourself as, “just not good” at something now, does not mean you can’t be proficient in that area. If you have skills in an area, they can always be improved.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

 

Building one’s esteem or self value is an important part of functioning as a person. Obviously, positive esteem is what we are striving for, rather than having what is often termed, “bad self-esteem.” What we think about ourselves is going to determine how we act which determines much of how our life will play out.

In this post I want to focus on what I see as the three levels of building esteem.imgres

The lowest level of building esteem depends on other people. This is allowing the thoughts, opinions, and statements of others to determine how we feel about ourselves. Just as we should not let other people’s negative comments bring us down, we do not need to depend on other people’s positive comments to build us up.

The next level of building esteem is feeling good about ourselves based on our accomplishments or our abilities. While it is appropriate to do the best we can and take pride when we do well, this cannot be what our esteem is built upon. Our accomplishments and abilities will fade over time. Seeing the good in ourselves has a higher, more mature meaning.

The highest level of esteem is “God-esteem.” When we are able to see ourselves the way God sees us, as a good person just because we exist. To be able to consider the fact that we are loved by an almighty God to the extent of sacrificing his son, then we will reach the highest appreciation of ourselves. We will see the good in ourselves and feel free to be the person God created us to be, no matter what the feedback of others is or how many accomplishments we attain.

Let us work towards moving past needing to gain positive esteem by other people’s words or by our accomplishments and abilities. May we climb onto the level of “God-esteem.”

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

The following is adapted from Living Affinity by Hsing Yun

Good friends can help us discover our capacity for connection. Get some wise guidance about the true nature of healthy friendship here–and then pass it along to your friends.

Kinds of Friends to Cultivate

  • Friends that help us tell right from wrong. They let us know when our conduct is admirable and are not afraid to tell us when we behave poorly. Such friends help us to stay on the right path.
  • Friends that are compassionate and caring. They give us moral support during our trying times. They are also happy for us when we are doing well.
  • Friends that are always ready to extend a helping hand. They are pillars of strength. They help us stay focused and come to our aid when we are lost.
  • Friends that share our aspirations. Such friends provide us with encouragement and are not hesitant to share their time and resources.

Kinds of Friends to Avoid

  • Friends that never show their true intentions. These people are not trustworthy or sincere and take advantage of others with no remorse.
  • Friends that are envious of others’ good fortune and success. They constantly wallow in bitterness and resentment.
  • Friends that have hearts of stone. They only think about themselves and fail to see or care about others’ predicaments.
  • Friends that do not acknowledge their own mistakes. They are quick to place blame on others, instead of being willing to learn and grow from their own foolish conduct.
  • Friends that refuse to accept advice from others. Their minds are closed and their character is arrogant.

Although we should still show kindness and compassion to all of these people it is not wise to keep their company. Friendships should be based on mutual affinity, not one-sided effort. Real friendships are an actual and resounding expression of true joy.

I have used air travel a number of times. Each flight is a little different. Whether it is the distance, movie, food or the seat there is always something different about each flight. But, there are also some things exactly the same. One of these things is the pre-flight safety instructions. Included in this is the direction of what to do in case of a loss of cabin pressure. If this happens masks fall from the overhead compartments to wear over a person’s mouth.

Each time the instruction is given they are careful to include that one should put on their own mask before helping anyone else out, even children. This surprised me the first time I heard it and I even thought to myself, “of course I would help someone else first, especially a child.” Then as I thought about it more, I realized that if I am not full strength I am not going to be of use to anyone else.

I believe that there is a direct application to our daily lives. We all need to have the appropriate amount of self-care. Sometimes we find ourselves running ragged trying to be everything to everyone else and forget to “put on our mask” first. Eventually we are going to tire out and not only will we become harmful for ourself, we will be of no assistance to others.

So, it is important to recognize ways to “put on your mask.” What is it in your life that has been pushed out to make room for other people? How do you get that back in?

It is vital to respect yourself and realize that your needs are just as important as anyone else’s. When you have established this mindset it will be easier to “put on your mask” to save your life, so that you can save others.

Some ideas of “putting on your mask”

  • Spend time in prayer
  • Spend time doing things that are of interest to you
  • Find what energizes you and participate in those things

It is important for you to learn what it is that recharges you and allows you to be healthy so you can be of assistance to others. Remember, if you are not taking care of yourself, you will not be able to help others appropriately.

Justin P. Lewis, MA

 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”

Psalm 23

This is the beginning of an in-depth series of articles of things to consider before marrying. These are found on focus on the family website and are written by Glenn Lutjens


So, you’re in a relationship. It’s a pretty exciting time of life, huh?

Perhaps you recently met someone who caught your interest, and you’re hoping that with time you’ll be able to discern if the relationship should move toward marriage.

Or maybe you’ve been dating for quite some time now. You’ve identified the other person’s strengths, but have also discovered some traits that leave you scratching your head.

In either case, you have probably found that many forces push you forward in your relationship.

Time can seem more like an enemy than an ally. You may fear that you’re not getting any younger. Well-meaning friends and relatives might be inquiring about your love life, wondering when you plan on taking “the plunge.” Your own sense of loneliness and that God-given desire for connection can nudge you further in a relationship until the steps toward the altar just seem to get easier and easier. Let’s say you’re already in love. Talk about an influence that changes behavior! Few factors have more horse power than romance. Even books on the subject of dating and marriage can convey a subtle expectation to keep moving forward: “Trust God,” “differences are good,” and “hey, nobody’s perfect.”

All of that’s true. The forces that compel you to move forward are not out to destroy you. But with so many of them urging you toward marriage, it’s wise to pause and ask yourself some questions that might prevent heartache down the road. You need to decide what to do with this relationship; no other person can make that decision for you. As a counselor, I’ve spoken with people who didn’t take the time to think through their relationship. They acted solely on their feelings and tied the knot. Once married, they wanted to be faithful to that covenant, but they experienced difficulties that could have been avoided.

I’m grateful for their commitment to marriage and the desire to be faithful “till death us do part.” Once a couple has committed at the altar – short of a few biblical exceptions – that is indeed the true path of faithfulness. But how would their lives have turned out had they taken the time to explore the red flags that were at least partially visible? Facing pain can certainly refine us, but we don’t get extra credit for walking into it, especially when it can be avoided.

Marriage is great; it’s a fantastic gift from God. My hope is that many of you do move forward and make that promise for life. But I’ve heard it said: “I’d rather be single and wish I were married, than married and wish I were single.” It’s one thing to be lonely alone, it’s an even more distressing experience to be with someone and still be lonely. Now is the time to look carefully at who you will marry – not after rings are exchanged! Even if you’re in a great relationship, asking yourself the tough questions now will only create a greater level of confidence and appreciation if you do decide to marry.

Every potential mate has a deficiency. It’s called sin. Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Every single romantic relationship has been impacted by the foolishness of two rebellious hearts! If you’re looking for the perfect mate, stop. You won’t find him. She doesn’t exist.

Some will say, “Since no one’s perfect, it really doesn’t matter who I chose to marry. We’re all flawed.” Some will even take it a step further and say, “It’s about being the right person, not finding the right person.” Yes, there’s some truth there, but the Bible makes distinctions between the foolish and the wise. Though we all are a mixture of both, there are some qualitative differences between people. It does matter who you marry!

When we’re excited about a relationship, it’s easy to overlook the red flags that at least need to be explored. We want to be married; this special person makes us feel wonderful (at least most of the time). We know some things about this person, but we sometimes fill in the gaps with what we want him or her to be like. Yet we often don’t fill them in accurately. As you continue to read, please do so with an open mind. You just might find that some of the red flags actually relate to you, not your significant other.

by:  Susan Kuchinskas

Loneliness can hit at almost any time. When Amity Brown separated from her husband of 11 years, for instance, she felt — understandably —  isolated and sad. “The hardest thing is not having someone with that deep emotional knowledge of me to catch me when I fall,” says the 41-year-old photographer based in Oakland, Calif.

It’s almost inevitable that losing a spouse or moving to a new town can make you feel lonely; but loneliness can strike even without major life changes. You can be alone without being lonely, or you can feel lonely in a crowd. True loneliness is simply a feeling of being disconnected from others; 5% to 7% of middle-aged and older adults report feeling intense or persistent loneliness.

“Loneliness is what you say it is. You can’t tell somebody you shouldn’t be lonely,” says Louise Hawkley, PhD, senior research scientist with the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

The next two posts will deal with loneliness and illness & the loneliness cure

Get to the heart of the matter. People who have endured a crisis and use the setback to further a cause–such as a mother who works tirelessly to raise funds for the illness that took her child–find that this newfound direction and energy can add dimension to their lives.

Reorder your priorities. Ask yourself: How do you plan to spend your time differently now? Who are the people you want to spend time with? Are there new ways you can use your strengths in the service of what’s important to you now?

Think about what you would do if you had only a year to live. Write down what you’d want to do, what conversations you’d want to have, the person you’d want to be. Read it over and consider the steps you can take to achieve those goals.

10. Prioritize. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have multiple tasks crowding your mind. Make a list and finish your most dreaded duties first to avoid the anxiety caused by procrastination. Make a list and check off each task as you complete it. At the end of the day, a list of accomplishments is a great visual reminder of how productive you were.

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  • Learning how not to do for others what they can learn to do for themselves is one of the golden rules of adult maturity. 2 years ago
  • In an effort to avoid the feeling of failing people often don't put forth effort.By doing this they will not experience their full potential 3 years ago
  • The ability to successfully handle conflict is more important than the amount of conflict in a marriage. 3 years ago
  • Weekend challenge: Tell your spouse something you love about them and expect nothing in return. 3 years ago
  • Word Wed:Don't be anxious about anything,but in every situation,by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving,present your requests to God.Phil4 3 years ago

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