Mental Health services
(Individual Therapy • Couples Therapy • Family Therapy • Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) • Children Therapy with Play Therapy Techniques • Coping with Medical Illness and Caregiver Support • Parenting Skills • Training, Supervision and Coaching • )Get Help Now
The Staff at G&A Counseling is committed to improving the mental health of our community through, advocacy, community education and resources for both adolescents and adults. As a locally owned and operating agency, we’re are focused on helping people in Richmond and surrounding areas by giving a voice to people without one, helping people help themselves and changing how people think about mental illness and mental health.
Building the therapeutic relationship between a therapist and an individual is one of the most important features for effective treatment. Our providers view therapy as an individualized and collaborative process with tailored treatment to incorporate each individual’s needs and goals.
We are prepared to treat a variety of issues from general anxiety, depression, trauma, grief to specific events or life stages like adolescents, life adjustment, perinatal, issues marriage, etc…
Mental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable and many people do recover. Mental disorders involve changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices. Reaching a level that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function as a result of the disorder. For example:
Serious mental illness is defined by someone over 18 having (within the past year) a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
For people under the age of 18, the term “Serious Emotional Disturbance” refers to a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder in the past year, which resulted in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.
Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.
The coexistence of both a mental health and a substance use disorder is referred to as co-occurring disorders. The National Institute for Mental Health’s Mental Health Information page has information about specific conditions and disorders as well as their symptoms.
Although adults often say things like, “He was so young when that happened. He won’t even remember it as an adult,” childhood trauma can have a lifelong effect. And while kids are resilient, they’re not made of stone.
That’s not to say your child will be emotionally scarred for life if he endures a horrific experience. With appropriate interventions, adults can help kids recover from traumatic experiences more effectively.
But it’s important to recognize when your child may need professional help with dealing with a trauma. Early intervention could prevent your child from experiencing ongoing effects of the trauma as an adult.
What It Is There are many different experiences that can constitute trauma. Physical or sexual abuse, for example, can be clearly traumatic for children.
One-time events, like a car accident or a particularly severe natural disaster (like a hurricane, for example), can take a psychological toll on children as well.
Ongoing stress, such as living in a dangerous neighborhood or being the victim of bullying, can be traumatic, even if it just feels like daily life to an adult. In fact, nearly any event can be considered traumatic to a child if:
- It happened unexpectedly
- It happened repeatedly
- Someone was intentionally cruel
- The child was unprepared for it
Childhood trauma also doesn’t have to occur directly to the child; for instance, watching a loved one suffer can be extremely traumatic as well. Exposure to violent media can also traumatize children.
Just because an experience is upsetting, however, doesn’t make it traumatic. Parental divorce, for example, will likely affect a child but it isn’t necessarily traumatizing.
It’s also important to remember that just because a child endured a tragedy or a near-death experience, doesn’t mean he’ll automatically be traumatized. Some kids are much less affected by their circumstances than others.
Many children are exposed to traumatic events at one point or another. While most of them experience distress following a traumatic event, the vast majority of them return to a normal state of functioning in a relatively short period of time. Between 3 and 15 percent of girls and 1 to 6 percent of boys—develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event. Children with PTSD may re-experience the trauma in their minds over and over again. They may also avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma or they may re-enact their trauma in their play.
Sometimes children believe they missed warning signs predicting the traumatic event. In an effort to prevent future traumas, they become hyper-vigilant in looking for warning signs that something bad is going to happen again.
Children with PTSD may also have problems with:
- Fear · Depression
- Anger and aggression
- Self-destructive behavior
- Feelings of isolation
- Poor self-esteem
- Difficulty trusting others
Even children who don’t develop PTSD may still exhibit emotional and behavioral issues following a traumatic experience. Here are some things to watch out for during the weeks and months after an upsetting event:
- Increased thoughts about death or safety
- Problems sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Anger issues
- Attention problems
- School refusal
- Somatic complaints like headaches and stomachaches
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Development of new fear
Traumatic events can affect how a child’s brain develops. And that can have lifelong consequences.
Studies show that the more adverse childhood experiences a person has, the higher their risk of health and wellness problems later in life. Childhood trauma may increase an individual’s risk of:
- Coronary heart disease
A study published in 2016 in Psychiatric Times noted that the prevalence of suicide attempts was significantly higher in adults who experienced trauma, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, and parental domestic violence, as a child.
A child’s relationship with his caregiver—whether his parents, grandparents or otherwise—is vital to his emotional and physical health. This relationship and attachment helps the little one learn to trust others, manage emotions and interact with the world around them.
When a child experiences a trauma that teaches him that he cannot trust or rely on that caregiver, however, he’s likely to believe that the world around him is a scary place and all adults are dangerous—and that makes it incredibly difficult to form relationships throughout their childhood, including with peers their own age, and into the adult years.
Children who struggle to maintain healthy attachments to caregivers are likely to struggle with romantic relationships during adulthood. An Australian study of more than 21,000 child abuse survivors age 60 and older reported a higher rate of failed marriages and relationships. Reference: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-effects-of-childhood-trauma-4147640
We use a variety of methods to help with childhood trauma including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) techniques, play therapy techniques, and family therapy.