Has stress been an on-going part of your life? Have you tried to bury it but it just won’t go away? Do you cringe at the thought of going to therapy because of things that happened to you in the past? Do you find yourself resisting or just plain scared to death about being asked about your horrible childhood, memories or if you have PTSD? Have you been trying so desperately to avoid having to deal with these “dark” memories including recurring or frightening nightmares? Do you feel trapped and in despair, sad about your life? Do friends or family tell you that you seem “jumpy” or on edge over seemingly typical life events or interactions with others? Does the idea of improving your outlook on life as well as change seem so far out of reach? Have you ever imagined a life without chaos, intense drama, or walking on edge? Would you consider getting better and even functioning well with the release of these overwhelming thoughts and feelings?
You have a lot in common with many of our clients who have come to us for help. Whether anxiety mixed with depression, social fears, phobias, childhood abuse, childhood chaos (like parents divorcing, alcoholic or drug addicted parents / caregivers, being involved in or witnessing terrible things), having survived traumatic events (like war, rape, being attacked, being in or witnessing a car accident to name a few), as well as many other chaotic activities and / or relationships, you are not alone. With years of counseling experience, training and life experiences, we are helping people through their own distinctive experiences and situations to a more whole and healthy self. We recognize each person, each family is unique in their responses and perceptions in their lives yet many people experience similar thoughts and feelings given various stressful events and relationships. There is hope…hope to work through and overcome the mayhem, the stress, and the fears in order to come to clarity and peace of mind and calm emotions.

Ugh!  The massive brick wall

Unfortunately, many people with a history of trauma (no matter how little or much it may be bothering them) miss out on mental and emotional healing through the process of counseling due to either fear of the unknown (as counseling is new to them), bad experiences with talking to other so called “trusted” friends, or anxiety about having to talk about their traumatic memories. Furthermore, some people who have attempted to open up about their horrific, scary and traumatic past in therapy may have gone away with a bad experience, or they were not quite ready or without good “therapeutic tools” to cope with their chaotic thoughts and emotions. This may compel them to be more likely to drop out of counseling way too soon. Facing the wall with an accepting, empathetic, caring, and trusted counselor is a start to facing that wall. Together, with the counselor you can overcome it.

There is hope

Over the past few years, newer treatments for PTSD and other related anxiety issues have generated much anticipation and optimism not to mention positive results. With these approaches, the time spent in therapy is reduced significantly (in comparison to older, traditional methods) and the results optimistic and positive. Counselors here with Pathways Counseling Services have been trained in newer treatment approaches allowing us to address your distress confidently and competently.

If you feel emotionally stuck, afraid, have racing thoughts associated with being out of control or distressed in chaos, or you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again without positive results, there is hope, there is help for you.  Muster courage and regain stability in your life through the help and assistance that counseling can bring. The idea of change with bravery, recognizing that mental and emotional healing is invaluable to your overall health and well-being, and considering that it will take a risk…a risk to be free, to be vulnerable — to letting go of past pain and sorrow, you can prepare yourself by identifying some important components in the healing process that can lead to a better and more whole you.

The cost of staying stuck

Many times people with intense, overwhelming stress, depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem will stay stuck in the rut…in their well-known “crap”. It may be because it is familiar to them or they may blame others for their life circumstances, or they may have not taken the opportunity to invest in their own well-being. Remember: you are worth it!   The cost of getting well may seem huge at first. We get questions like…how long will therapy last? How much do the sessions cost? When will I see results? Is therapy really worth all the time and effort? As counselors, we recognize how much time and energy it is taking from you. Imagine what your life would be like as the weight of the anguish is lightened and you begin to release the stress, learn to cope and improve your outlook on life. That’s the value of going through counseling with a counselor who comes alongside of you mentally and emotionally…walking you through the healing process. You are valuable and worthwhile. When you are unstuck, free to make the choices you want to make without the past haunting or taunting you, that will create many new possibilities. Breathe the fresh air once again.

Preparing for a time to heal


Trust is a big part of the beginning toward your healing. Trust starts with you believing in yourself. Accepting that your thoughts and feelings matter and no matter what you have experienced in the past or currently, you matter and deserve to be heard and understood.

In counseling – Trust is established in the process of connecting with an objective, kind, and compassionate counselor who is a trained professional listening with empathy and insight to your story, your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions, and attitude while guiding you through the counseling process toward inner healing. This takes time and it is up to you with your counselor to determine how much time you may need.

The counselor – Trust is earned in a way that you and your counselor get to know each other — your counselor learning about you as a person, what it is you would like to address
in counseling, aligning his/ her skills, knowledge and wisdom with your needs as a client; and for you to get a sense of whether you feel comfortable to trust your counselor with the telling of your story and much of what you have experienced as well as confidence in him / her to help you in this journey. The counselor, endowed with his or her empathy, experience and education in addressing your concerns, provides unconditional regard and acceptance, listening to you while asking sometimes tough and difficult questions in order to help you with the letting go of the past while encouraging new ways of coping, effective strategies to live by, and positive, optimistic feelings.

The process – Counseling is a process that may become emotionally painful at times and many times be exhausting. Several of our clients have experienced these things which are normal and this is where the counselor has many other techniques and “tools” to help you to a more sense of comfort and well-being.

The change – Trusting the change may feel awkward initially as it may be a bit new or different to you. As you move toward feeling hope, thinking positively, and regaining a sense of well-being this will be the change to embrace.  This happens as you go through the process of facing your hurts, pain, and vulnerability and applying the skills and techniques you learn throughout the counseling process.

Finding courage – This may seem like a “no brainer” yet at times difficult to get or keep.  As you gain hope, acceptance, understanding, and motivation courage grows. As courage grows, so does strength. As the little yellow engine that could said, “I think I can, I think I can”.

Resources – What are your resources for change? What are your strengths? When we ask clients about their strengths, they at times give us a blank stare or simply say, “I haven’t really thought about them”.  It may prove to be helpful to ask other trusted people in your life what strengths you have that they see.
Resources can be either internal or external. Internal resources for example, are ones that may be visceral…such as courage, knowledge, patience, love, kindness, understanding, determination, or being strong-willed. Also, assurance from a memory when you were happy with yourself, or a feeling you get when you are “lost” in a hobby or activity you appreciate; satisfaction in work, qualities of you as a person of which you find enjoyment or are proud of can be internal resources as well. External resources, however, can be from God, people in the community, supportive friends or family, pets, church, co-workers, internet sources, and role models.

Embrace hope – Remember there is life…life beyond tragedy. Hope for a better day, hope for peace of mind, hope for rest assurance in feeling well.  Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel…starting with a willingness, getting professional therapeutic help, hope for a brighter tomorrow, and with positive momentum you can get through this.

Counseling for stress, childhood memories, trauma, or PTSD can be life changing and finding a counselor who will connect and empathize with you as well as one who understands the challenges you face is vital. We as counselors are here with years of experience equipped with various skills and therapy tools to help you through these challenges.

Feel free to read over other articles we have here on the website, review our counselors further, give us a call at 520-292-9750, or send us an email at joel@pathwaystucson.com.