Murrell Counseling Service, LLC - Consulting, Evaluations & Therapy
My Blog

Improving you chances of a good outcome with your first Therapist.

I am often asked by friends and acquaintances how they should go about finding a mental health professional to work with that will be helpful to them.  The following is a list of suggestions that in my opinion greatly improve the probability of a successful outcome so you get the help you need.

1.  You may choose to work with a variety of different types of therapists that can be of service if you are experiencing emotional distress.  You may wish to find a Life Coach on your own who specializes in whatever area you have a need.

Srategic Self-Hypnosis: The Past aids the Present

One of the first things that I found as a psychologist who specializes in working with anxiety clients was that they focused on the most negative moments in their lives and obsessed about them.  I don't in any way mean this in a judgmental fashion because I have been in outpatient therapy myself for anxiety on several occasions.  My point is that it seems that a significant portion of the client's lives were spent thinking negatively about themselves, other people, or the expectations of the future.

Understanding Depression and it's Treatment Video

As you may or may not know we have a big problem with depression in this country.  It has been estimated that on any given time there is between 10%-20% of the total U.S. population is suffering from some form of depression or another.  Here is a video that summarizes some of the basic characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder.  I hope this cartoon gives you some insight as to the symptoms and treatment of this disorder.  The most important take home message is to be aware that if you have these symptoms you may need to have a check up from your health care professional.

Very Sensitive People are often Clients

For quite some time I have been aware that many of my clients all had something in common that lay well outside of what was a conventional diagnosis of anxiety or depression.  Many of them were deeply emotional people who had an exquisitely high level of sensitivity not just to stressful situations but also to other people's sufferings, to music, art, and literature. In fact, a number of them were in fact artists, writers, and musicians who used their extraordinary sensitivity to not just appreciate the beauties of the world around them but to add their own contribution to the milieu they so much enjoyed.

The Two Most Important Elements in Counseling

Much has been written about counseling, coaching, and psychotherapy.  For someone seeking help from a professional the quest to find the right person who is a good fit can be confusing and frustrating.  Most clients have health insurance and they may search a long list of psychologists in vain because they all seem to be offering essentially the same service.  So what makes the difference? What makes counseling with psychologist A a better experience that psychologist B?  The answer based on many research studies may be surprising.

Understanding our "Fight or Flight Response" of our Limbic System

Many of you have asked me to explain in more detail why we have anxiety issues and in furthering our understanding what are the basic strategies for controlling anxiety.  The most important element in controlling anxiety is to have a firm grasp of the physiology involved in the anxiety reaction that is often referred to in popular literature as "the fight or flight response".  I will give you a broad understanding of this important but very primitive reaction that we all possess by directing your attention to a specialized part of the brain known as the limbic system (it is the area colored in red in the illustration below).

Understanding Ego State Therapy

Ever wonder why you act differently when you are in different situations?  For example, let's suppose that you are at a party with close friends and there is allot of laughter; chances are you will feel free to laugh and tease each other much like you might have done as a child.  If you are in such a friendly nurturing atmosphere you might say,"I'm free to be myself today." You might find yourself dancing around, making faces, telling jokes and in general having a good time.

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

Much of the work with my clients is directed at their understanding of the importance of introspection and thought monitoring.  By this I don't mean that my clients are supposed to withdraw from the world and spend all their time sitting under a tree like Budda without interacting with other people.  But the sad fact is that many of my clients suffer from crippling levels of anxiety and fear about what may happen to them if they "get a life" and move from simply surviving to thriving.

Understanding the Power of Thought

Dr. Michael Murrell in his offices at 1358 E. Kingsley, ste. B, Springfield, MO 65804.Ever ask yourself the question, "What am I thinking and how does it effect me?"   If you haven't asked yourself that question then I would invite you to do so right now.  The reason for my suggestion to begin this self observation is that your thoughts are very powerful and have a great impact on the quality of your life.  As a psychologist I have come to believe that your thoughts play a very large part in not only what you think but also what you feel.   Consider the possibility that every thought you entertain in your mind has an emotion attached to it.

Desensitization for Anxiety

Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to treat anxiety is what is called desensitization or exposure therapy.  Simply stated this simply means that you overcome your fear by first of all clarifying what you are afraid of and then design a program with your psychologist to do establish a list of steps to overcome your fear.  For example, let's suppose that you were in a severe car wreck and as a result have a great deal of fear about driving.  This is not an uncommon response.
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