Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do for my depression besides or in addition to taking medication?

You can help yourself treat your depression with physical and mental exercise. Research shows that physical activity can reduce the symptoms of depression and improve your mental health. If you find it hard to get going, begin slowly with a short, slow walk and build up to more vigorous activity. Mental exercise involves working on negative thinking that may contribute to your depression. Identify pessimistic or hopeless thoughts that cross your mind then ask yourself if these are true and rational. Identify a more positive and realistic alternative thought and practice thinking the new thought to replace the negative.

How long will it take to fix my child?

First, your child is not broken. He/she may be experiencing difficult emotions and not know how to express them. It is helpful that many adults realize their child may need counseling. When given this chance, children usually shine. They are much more aware of what is going on in the(ir) world than many adults think. Remember, children learn what they are taught. For them to be respectful, they must be taught respect. Further, it is extremely important to set limits and have follow-through. After all, what good are the rules if they are not enforced?

How do I get my husband/wife to come to counseling?

The reality is you can’t make your spouse go to counseling. You can’t make anyone do anything they really don’t want to do. In fact, the more you encourage, nag, yell and demand, the more resistant they may become. The best thing you can do is to begin individual counseling yourself. You will start to examine your behavior in the relationship that may be contributing to the difficulties. The resulting change in your behavior in the relationship may cause the other partner to look at his/her behavior and make changes as well.

I have been abused. Can I heal from this?

Often, people who have been abused begin to think that they are worthless and stupid. The truth is, you survived the abuse by being creative and strong, and doing what you had to do. You not only heal from this, but you can also come out the other side with wisdom, self-assurance and the ability to understand and help people who have had similar experiences. With support or treatment the memories of the abuse won’t go away completely, but they will stop ruling your life.

How does counseling help?

We are all emotionally involved with ourselves and therefore are not always the most objective source to assess our actions and behaviors. When we are having problems many of us seek advice from our family, friends or church. However, in some instances, friends, family and clergy are not enough. Simply stated, counseling allows an objective outside 3rd party to help you sort out your feelings and then view and assess your situation. Counseling involves listening and reflecting. It may involve some prodding or confrontation. Overall, counselors work with you to help you learn to better help yourself.

How can I make counseling successful for me?

Do some research and then make an appointment. You would be surprised at how many people never take that initial step of researching and scheduling an intake appointment. Second, show-up. Many people miss sessions because of poor planning, avoidance of issues and/or not prioritizing their counseling sessions. To make your counseling sessions productive you must be willing to: feel, risk, hurt, work, trust, make choices and ultimately change. You need to be open, honest and insightful. Finally, realize that you are making an investment in your well-being.

I am thinking about getting counseling. What should I do?

Do some research. Look through the phone book, ask friends and visit web sites. Call the agency or therapist and ask if they treat your problem or concern. You don’t have to go into great detail, just say for example, marital difficulties, relationship problems, drinking/drug problems, anger issues, stress, loss of loved one, etc. Ask how long they have been in business, are they state licensed, how quickly can you be seen and can they accept your insurance. Finally, go with someone who you feel comfortable with.

Someone told me that cigarette smoke contains not only chemicals but also heavy metals which are harmful to me and may cause behavioral problems with my child. Is that true?

Tobacco crops are sprayed with insecticides, which contain compounds of lead-arsenate. In addition, cigarette smoke is a source of cadmium as well. Many welders, who worked in a closed environment and breathed cadmium fumes from the metals from the welding rods they used, developed uncontrollable hypertension as a result. Studies have found that heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and aluminum are associated with aggressive and violent behavior, as well as learning disorders and the very popular Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD about which we hear so much.

I have been diagnosed as having clinical depression. What does that mean?

All of us have episodes of depressed mood. We may feel depressed on Mondays or over losing our job. These mood disorders of depression come and go. These normal variations of mood are quite common among all of us. The term clinical depression, however, generally relates to a much more serious mood disorder which may produce a depressed mood most everyday. There may be a diminished interest or pleasure. A person may lose weight without really dieting, a severe sleep disturbance, fatigue, or agitation everyday. People may express feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, with difficulty concentrating or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

How would you define 'addicted?'

The term ‘addicted’ is used in so many ways in our society that it is common for people to be confused about it. There are many substances and activities that people can become seriously addicted to. There are two basic characteristics of having an addiction. The first is that someone continues to use a substance, or do the activity (such as gambling) despite the occurrence of severely negative consequences. True addiction is characterized by denial, a loss of control and the repetition of negative behavior that results in negative consequences.

I was recently diagnosed with depression, but it was called dysthymic disorder. What is dysthymic disorder?

Dysthymic Disorder, or Dysthymia, is a ‘milder,’ less disabling form of depression than Major Depressive Disorder, but one in which the depressed mood is experienced, more days than not, for a very long period of time—at least two years. Dysthymic Disorder also has many of the other symptoms of major depression, such as appetite changes, sleep cycle changes, lowered energy levels, lessened self-esteem, increased difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and feelings of hopelessness.

Even though the nature of Dysthymic Disorder is milder (in that the symptoms are not quite as severe and are somewhat less disabling in everyday life) it is very important to note that this condition can be a serious disorder, and many people who suffer with Dysthymic Disorder will also experience a Major Depressive Disorder at some point in their lives. The good news is that the treatments for clinical depression are often very successful and Dysthymic Disorder generally responds well to these same emotional psychological and pharmacological interventions.

My child has been withdrawn and sad during the past weeks. What can I do as a parent to help him or her?

A change in a child’s behaviors can often be linked to a significant life change or event. Children need support as they go through difficult times. It is important that children are able to talk about what is making them feel sad. They need to be given hope that they will get through the difficult period. Children can benefit from parents who openly and effectively demonstrate that they are able to handle their own problems and emotions. When parents engage in problem solving, the child will learn that problems happen, you deal with them, learn from them, and go on with your life.

How can I get the most out of my therapy sessions?

You will gain the most from your therapy sessions by being open and honest and completing any between session “homework”. The best ways to ensure successful treatment are to stay open to the process, be aware of what you are feeling, share your feelings with your therapist, ask questions (there are no dumb questions), ask for clarification if you don’t understand something, and participate in assignments generated by you and your therapist. Most of all, recognize you deserve to have a healthier, happier and more functional life.

What are some clues my child might have ADHD?

Some signs/symptoms of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are: making careless mistakes in schoolwork, poor/low attention, not listening when spoken to, not following rules, poor organizational skills, forgetfulness, fidgeting, always “on the go”, interrupting others, and excessive talking. When these characteristics occur in various settings (i.e. school, home, sports groups, while shopping, etc.) it might be a good idea to take your child to their Doctor for an evaluation. If the signs/symptoms only occur at home, or in a single setting, it might indicate that something other than ADHD is occurring.

What is marriage and family therapy?

Often times there are patterns of behavior within a marriage or family that influences the behaviors of individuals within the family. Therefore, treatment focuses on the dynamics and relationships within the family or marriage. Marriage and Family Therapy is usually focused on setting goals for change and finding solutions for problems. Therapy should not be for blaming or “digging up the past”. Marriage and Family Therapy can treat a variety of problems such as: depression, anxiety, conflict and communication difficulties, children and adolescent conduct problems, substance abuse, and mental disorders.

What is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is an anxiety disorder in which the defining characteristic is an individual re-experiencing or “reliving” a previous traumatic event in their lives. This reliving includes feeling the fear and discomfort of the original event, and occurs in the forms of flashbacks (the sense you are nearly completely back at the original traumatic event), nightmares, and increasingly intrusive thoughts. Nearly any event that involves actual or threatened harm and where the person’s reaction includes intense fear, helplessness, or horror can be a cause for the disorder. Experiencing some level of PTSD is actually quite common, with about 15% of people likely to face it at some point in their lives.

What are some things that can cause PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

War, domestic violence, sexual or physical abuse, and automobile crashes are some examples of events that can lead to PTSD; earthquakes, floods, storms, and fires are some naturally occurring events that could be associated with the disorder. Other symptoms of PTSD include persistent avoidance of things associated with the previous trauma (such as activities, people, places, or even thoughts that arouse recollections of the trauma), a sense of emotional “numbing” (such as feeling detached from others, feeling unable to experience loving feelings, or significantly decreased interest and involvement in life activities previously enjoyed), and persistent arousal such as sleeplessness, increased irritability and anger, being very easily startled, or a constant sense that danger is near.

My child has been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. What can I do besides put my child on medication?

Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have difficulty sustaining concentration. They need to have instructions broken down into segments or stages. Providing a child with a chart of tasks may help a child keep track of what is expected on a daily basis. Children with ADHD need to have frequent breaks when working on a project or homework. It is important for parents to have frequent contact with the child’s teacher. A daily tracking card monitored by the teacher and parent may also be a helpful tool

I thought I was having a heart attack but then minutes later I was pretty much fine again. What happened?

Make sure your heart is sound medically by checking with your physician; however, most likely what is happening in instances like this is called a panic attack, or what some call an “anxiety attack.” Panic/anxiety attacks can come directly related to a significant stressful event in your life or come seemingly “out of the blue.” There are many ways panic attacks can be reduced: learning relaxation techniques, better acceptance and understanding of the experience, identifying and replacing the accompanying terrifying thoughts, and possibly taking anti-anxiety medications.

What is a panic/anxiety attack?

A panic/anxiety attack is a relatively short period of intense discomfort, usually reaching its peak within 10 minutes. Some symptoms are: increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, the feeling of choking, chest pain, nausea, lightheadedness, tingling sensations, chills or hot flashes, thoughts or fears of such things as having a heart attack, losing control, “going crazy,” or dying. A panic/anxiety attack is not a “diagnosis” in itself, but is usually a part of some other disorder like panic disorder, depression, PTSD or social anxiety disorder.

My 12 year old son has suddenly become angry and moody. What can be causing this change?

Any time there is a marked change in your child’s behavior it should be of concern to the parents. Any number of things could be happening. Depression can look very different in adolescents than it does with adults. Children often experience irritability, anger, sleep difficulties and loss of pleasure in activities that they used to enjoy. They might look like they are having fun when they are with their friends, yet become sullen and quiet when they are at home. Substance abuse can also bring about many changes in your child that include these same symptoms. If behaviors continue, have your child assessed by a qualified therapist.

What is New Perspectives Center? What services do you have?

New Perspectives Center is an outpatient behavioral health facility and is licensed by the Addictions and Mental Health Division for the State of Oregon. We are covered by most insurance plans and have therapists on most managed care panels. In terms of counseling, a multi-disciplinary team of therapists provides comprehensive services to children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Working in an atmosphere of safety and acceptance, individuals, couples, families and groups are encouraged to explore and confront the issues affecting their lives.