There is no single cause of depression and/or anxiety, and sometimes differentiating between the two can be confusing. Often a root cause is some kind of loss or unmet expectation, and this can send us reeling.

Both Depression and Anxiety are complicated and can be debilitating, so it is important to talk through feelings and thoughts with someone who cares and understands. There can be thinking errors, or cognitive distortions that are causing problems, and sometimes causative factors are many.


How wonderful to have children, and even grandchildren! How exasperating they can be when they act just like us!

The joys and complexities of dealing with children, no two of whom are exactly alike, will challenge anybody who thinks there is a formula that works for everybody! While a formula is elusive, it greatly helps for parents to discuss issues of concern with one another, as someone has likely encountered a similar problem. Why should each parent be saddled with “reinventing the wheel?”

Seniors’ Concerns/Caregiving

Older adults (of whom this counselor is one) have concerns their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, never think about. Whether it’s retirement, increased medical issues, loss of mobility, change of roles, or an increased sense of mortality, it helps to talk about these changes in life.

Some people are thrust into the role of caregiving, and it’s very common for parents to be in the midst of raising their own children, when they are called upon to care for an older relative, maybe a parent. This process is difficult for those giving the care, as well as those receiving the care.

Relationships/Dealing with People

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone’s opinions and behaviors matched yours? Probably not! As there is great strength in diversity and the utilization of others’ gifts, we learn we greatly need each other, and that’s never more true than in the Church and the Family.

A big hurdle is crossed when we realize we are not responsible for changing other adults. Being able to get away from “all-or-nothing thinking,” (“he’s all wrong, I’m all right”) into a more flexible approach is one hallmark of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This allows us to love people that are different than us, a necessary characteristic of anyone who wants to love life. Sometimes much relief is achieved when appropriate boundaries are set.

Finding Purpose/Identity

It’s certainly more fun waking up in the morning if we have a reason to do that! Believing we are part of God’s Big Plan goes a long way in helping us find contentment in the niche He has carved for us.

Understanding one’s identity and living it out is far more than grudging acceptance of another’s authority over us. It is rather joyful and wholehearted giving of our lives in service for a mission far bigger than ourselves. We all need to know where our own identity stops, and another’s identity begins. And it will be important for us to discover, and be satisfied, with the place God has put us, and when it’s time for us to make any changes, so our “role” doesn’t become a “rut.”

Emotions/Emotional Intelligence

Some people profit from a greater understanding of feelings, not only their own, but those of others. Being able to understand emotions, (in ourselves as well as in other people), and knowing the consequences of those emotions, increases one’s empathy and understanding of others. One important skill taught in DBT is Emotion Regulation.

Emotional Intelligence is a combination of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management. Most business leaders consider EQ to be a greater predictor of success in life and work than IQ. One ray of hope: Emotional Intelligence can be improved, contrary to what is believed about Intelligence Quotient!

Cancer/Serious Medical Concerns

According to the Cancer Research Institute, 1 in 3 women will face a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives, as will 1 in 2 men ( That is many of us! And when we get that report, we can be terrified. Add to this the people affected by heart disease and stroke, and you probably rub shoulders with somebody affected by a serious medical concern.

Correction: maybe YOU are affected! Treating these issues tends to be a physical process, but the emotional and relational and spiritual difficulties dealing with them are immense!

Maybe we should talk about these things.


All of us will suffer losses at some point, and these can be devastating. Nobody likes these, whether it is the loss of a person through death, (something highly visible), or something like a dream (that may be invisible and private). Either loss is real, but they both can send us spinning out of control.

In between there are losses such as a job, a marriage, one’s health, a house to fire, etc., and these all cause grief. It is helpful to grieve these losses properly, and there are ways to do this right, and ways to do it wrong. While not everyone grieves the same way, it generally is unhelpful to pretend the loss did not occur, and to ignore it.

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