Are you lacking confidence? Do you find yourself in unhealthy relationships?
There is no trick or secret to counseling. Counseling is simply a means of acquiring the insight and self-awareness you need to make changes in your life that will move you forward in positive ways. Counseling provides tools and techniques that enable you to explore and investigate the things in your life that are not working and helps you to understand why.
There is a reason we do what we do even though it does not work!
In my counseling practice I have seen hundreds of people struggling with all sorts of issues who have found their way out from underneath the beliefs and reactions that are affecting their lives and relationships in negative ways. It is our thoughts that create the havoc in our lives. Change the way you think and you will change the way you feel. A peaceful life begins with a peaceful mind! If you will clean up the inside, the outside will take care of itself. You can change your life, your circumstances and your relationships.
Our thoughts and beliefs come from a myriad of childhood experiences. No child comes away without some sort of wounding that often affects them as an adult. There doesn’t necessarily have to be some sort of traumatic event for a child to come away with fears, insecurities and low self-esteem. We ALL struggle in these areas. Why? Because we are human! But we don’t have to let these common issues control our lives and relationships.
I believe that people can identify and solve their own problems if they have a counselor who will truly listen to them without judgment or criticism; a counselor who will provide a safe and private place where they can share their deepest thoughts and concerns; a place where they can learn to look at themselves and their mistakes or failures with love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness instead of criticism and self-condemnation.
Counseling will lead you where you need to go to make the changes you choose to make. It is the most healing and freeing experience! So think about it. Might counseling be an avenue for you?
If you would like a little more information concerning a specific area you are dealing with, please click on the topics to the left and then give me a call to discuss your issues and concerns.
Barbara Schutte, M.S.
A large segment of my clients are those battling eating disorders. For them the focus is always on food: either over eating or binging (Bulimia), restricting and denying, or refusing to eat (Anorexia). For some each day revolves around thoughts of food, weight and body image. Victims of eating disorders often have difficulty asking for help. They wish desperately to receive support from others, but do not feel themselves worthy or fear they will be judged. Their precious gifts become buried under layers of self-loathing and shame.
Know that an eating disorder is a powerful disorder. It can kill you or permanently damage your body. Some of the many devastating effects of an eating disorder are: malnutrition, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, muscle atrophy, damage to teeth, damage to the esophagus, insomnia, chronic fatigue, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, hair loss, liver damage…even infertility.
Begin to think about the internal issues that could be causing this self-destructive behavior. Facing your inner thoughts and feelings is a critical step to healing. Giving yourself a voice is just as important. Learn new ways of eating and taking care of yourself and your body. Dare to dispel the lies, irrational beliefs and misperceptions that “feed” your eating disorder. Dare to open up to your full potential. Dare to choose life, one day at a time. Call me and together we can put you on the path to healing. Call 307-673-4804.
Individuals struggling with OCD experience irrational thoughts that create paralyzing fear and anxiety. Hours and hours of their day are spent engaging in compulsive behaviors that serve to reduce the fear and anxiety. This disorder demands a whole different approach as it is a dysfunction of the brain. It is kind of like the old record players; sometimes the needle would get stuck and the song would just keep repeating until someone nudged the arm. Today there are new behavioral techniques that help a client to recognize this type of brain disorder and then empower them to move that needle. By using these techniques, in conjunction with cognitive therapy, OCD can be reversed, allowing clients to take control of their thoughts and thus reclaim their lives.
If you are battling the dibilitating affects of O.C.D, I recommend a wonderful book titled, Brain Lock. This book provides information about this type of brain disorder and gives you a four-step process that will help you conquer your obsessive/compulsive thoughts and behaviors. Give me a call at 307-673-4804 and lets begin the process together.
Just as a traffic light turning red signals us to stop, our anger is also a signal for us to stop in order to move forward safely. Anger is a valid emotion. It is our response and the way we deal with our anger that can cause negative consequences. Neither venting our anger nor stuffing it will solve the problem as acting “out” anger injures others and acting “in” anger injures ourselves. Unresolved anger can create resentment, bitterness and even depression. If left unattended, anger has the capacity to destroy not only our relationships but also our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Anger is often a mask covering up more painful emotions. It is a cue that something powerful is occurring within us. Kind of like the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone Park. It is all about the things occurring UNDERGROUND that cause the eruptions seen above ground. Anger is a defense mechanism and like all defense mechanisms it’s main function is to protect and build walls. But at the same time it serves to protect, it also works to keep others at an emotional distance.
The next time you feel angry, find a safe and quiet place, take ten deep breaths and go within yourself. Begin to identify
Are you struggling with anger? Through counseling you can begin to identify and understand the source of your anger. Often a person’s anger is more about past experiences than the here and now events. Counseling helps you to know the difference. Do you want to figure out the roots of your anger? Do you want to begin to heal the hurt underlying your anger? Give me a call to set up an appointment and begin to learn new ways to respond to life’s events that build self-esteem and loving relationships. Call 307-673-4804.
No one deserves to be abused. Unfortunately we live in a world where abuse and neglect are prevalent. It is difficult to imagine why such pain happens, however denying it does not remove the hurt or heal the soul. Sexual abuse leaves victims with devastating emotional and psychological wounds. They often feel bad about themselves and believe something is wrong with them. They blame themselves and think they did something to deserve it. They begin to think they are “bad” and unlovable. All types of abuse cause damage to the “self”, but sexual abuse and incest strike at the core of who we are and often result in a person feeling worthless and innately “sad”.
You can survive abuse but it is important that you deal with it in order to live a normal life. I do extensive counseling with those suffering from the wounding effects of incest and sexual abuse. These clients experience guilt, shame and blame as well as fear and anxiety. They have poor boundaries and very low self-esteem. The healing process begins by sharing the secret with someone who is understanding and compassionate. Someone who will not judge or condemn you while providing the tools needed to heal.
If you believe that you are bound by painful memories of childhood abuse, counseling can provide a safe place to share your secrets and pain. With a caring and encouraging counselor you can heal the wounds of abuse and move forward in your life with victory. Call me today at 307-673-4804.
Depression is an illness, like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. It is not your fault! It is nothing to be ashamed of. Millions of men and women suffer the debilitating effects of depression. You do not just "snap out of it" or "cheer up" or "pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with your life". Depression is not overcome through sheer willpower. It is an illness. But have hope! Depressive illnesses are serious but treatable disorders. Depression is among the most successfully treatable of all serious illnesses. You can restore your emotional well-being!
Treating the brain and the mind together is the most effective way to heal depression. It is a two-fold process.
Signs of depression to watch for:
Is anxiety robbing you of quality of life? Is it affecting your relationships with family and friends? Are you isolating more and more; afraid to go out? Are there activities you no longer enjoy because of your anxiety? Has your anxiety become debilitating?
Learn techniques that will help you to get through an anxiety attack. Discover the "triggers" that lead to repeated episodes. Explore the original sources of your anxiety. Identify vulnerable situations and emotional traps. Find out the appropriate medications that can help you. Learn to catch the early symptoms in order to take control of your life.
If you need help conquering your anxiety or panic, consider counseling with an experienced therapist. I can give you the tools. The sooner you begin the process the quicker you can find inner peace. You deserve it! Call me at 307-673-4804.
Most people experience loneliness at one time or another and describe it as a feeling of isolation, desperation or abandonment. Loneliness may be the result of divorce or the death of a loved one. Or you may have recently moved to a new environment or be away at college, missing family and friends. Some of you may be moms at home with small children and minimal adult contact or interaction. You could even be a business executive and find it "lonely at the top".
For those experiencing the pain of loneliness, it can be helpful to reach out and connect with others. Or it may be that you need to give yourself permission to grieve. Or maybe just give yourself time. But if feelings of loneliness persist you could be experiencing depression. Consider talking to a caring professional. Give me a call at 307-673-4804. Victory can come when you learn how to respond to feelings of loneliness.
Most of us have failed at some point in our lives. Whether our failure is internal and spiritual or external and observable, it is how we respond that is important. How do you respond to failure or mistakes? Do you immediately feel a sense of worthlessness? Do you believe you have disappointed others? Do you begin to blame others or justify and rationalize the event? Might you experience feelings of guilt or shame? Or do you get angry at yourself and others?
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” Agnes Reppler.
When you examine your life and inner self, do you feel like a loser? Are you caught up in the world’s ideas concerning how you should look, how you should be, what you need to possess in order to “fit in”? Striving and straining to find happiness through external means will never work. Looks, position and wealth cannot fix feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. One must go within to find healing from painful feelings and faulty beliefs. Our childhood experiences can have a tremendous and powerful effect upon us. We can develop negative “self-talk” tapes about ourselves that then become embedded belief systems. The way you see yourself will determine how you respond to your life and the world around you.
Ask yourself...do you like you? It is imperative that you do as you are with yourself 24 hours a day. How long would you hang around someone you did not like? How we feel about ourselves is a determining factor in our success in life and in our relationships because if we don't get along with ourselves, we won't get along with others. Self-rejection creates insecurity and self-doubt leading to the inability to trust ourselves or make healthy decisions. It also creates a sense of fear; fear that others won't like us; fear that we might say or do the wrong thing; afraid to just be ourselves.
Each of us is a work in progress. Not one is perfect or without faults, but there is so much good in all of us if we are willing to acknowledge it. Accept who you are! Learn to laugh at and enjoy your quirky habits and idiosyncrasies. Start loving and caring for yourself with no ifs, ands or buts and you will be more lovable and enjoyable to yourself and the world around you.
Self-esteem entails forgiving yourself, having compassion for yourself and accepting yourself. Counseling will help you to catch negative self-talk and learn new skills and techniques that will change how you perceive and feel about yourself. Stop blaming yourself and putting yourself down for mistakes and failures. Acknowledge your limitations but wholly claim your unique gifts. See the good in you! The more you like and respect yourself the more others will like and respect you too!
If you are filled with self-loathing or if you are struggling with a negative self-image and low self-esteem, call me at 307-673-4904 and begin learning ways to love and appreciate yourself.
The dictionary defines burnout as “an exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” Just like an old and worn out tire, you can begin to feel like you are about to burst apart at the seams. When this happens it is time for you to stop and ask yourself some important questions:
What is absorbing all of your attention and energy? Are you carrying a lot of emotional baggage? Do you have too much on your plate? Are you trying to be everything to and for everyone? What are your expectations of yourself and others? Are you striving for approval or perfection?
Counseling can help you find the answers to these questions so you can get your life back on track. It is time to take care of yourself! Call me at 307-673-4804 to learn how.
MARRIAGE & COUPLES COUNSELING
I know it is a cliche, but whatever the problem a couple is experiencing, communication is the key to dealing with it. When communication breaks down in a relationship hurts begin to build; layer upon layer. If not dealt with these hurts can often turn into anger and resentment. And then, look out!
It isn’t the differences or conflicts that destroy a relationship but how each person responds to the differences and conflicts. And since forever, men and women have different ways of dealing with these things. Counseling helps you discover how and why YOU react the way YOU do and then to learn new, affirming ways to deal with differences and conflict that build a relationship up rather than tearing it down. Call me at 307-673-4804 and begin the steps toward saving your relationship!
I remember dreading Valentine’s Day as a young person; so afraid I would not receive as many valentines as my friends….or maybe none at all! Rejection, or the fear of rejection, can be triggered by any number of events. Perhaps someone has strongly disagreed with your suggestion. Maybe you have been left out or ignored. Rejection can come from parents, a spouse or friends. But the pain we create with our thoughts is often worse than the actual event. When you experience rejection, are you devastated? Do you tend to “catastrophize” the event? Do you withdraw or isolate? Or do you get angry and lash out?
The next time you are hurting because of rejection, real or imagined, step outside of yourself and listen to the “thinker” inside your head. What do you hear? Identify your thoughts and inner dialogue. Whose voice are you hearing and listening to? Might this event be triggering another memory and time of rejection from childhood? Revisit past events and reframe them for yourself (or that child within) with tenderness, love and compassion. Then ask yourself, “Is this current event really about me? Could it possibly mean something else other than a negative about me?” Begin to develop self-affirmations and repeat them over and over to yourself. Changing the way you think about yourself will change the way you feel and respond to life events.
If it is difficult for you to identify your inner dialogue and self-defeating tapes, work with me and together we can create affirmations that will give you self-confidence and assurance. Call me at 307-673-4804.
Shame and guilt are destructive forces in our lives. They work together to create low self-worth and a lingering sense of inadequacy. A person may become passive, insecure and unwilling to risk. Or they may develop defense mechanisms to protect themselves agains the pain of toxic shame and guilt by blaming, people pleasing, care taking, perfectionism, rage or withdrawal.
Whether you are caring for an ailing spouse, a sick child or someone suffering from Alzheimer's, being a caregiver can take it's toll. Having to juggle assorted schedules, doctor visits, transportation or various special needs can turn any caring relationship into a logistical nightmare! In addition, there is the emotional toll that occurs when we have to switch roles with someone who once cared for us; or when we "lose" a spouse who no longer recognizes us; or when we see our loved one enduring pain and painful procedures. A caregiver can begin to feel so helpless and inadequate.
Common issues for caregivers are:
These feelings are normal! The key is to acknowledge them. Don't feel ashamed of your emotions, they are universal! Learn new ways of communicating with your loved one that will help the care giving process. Learn that it is just as important to consider your needs and to do other things that bring you joy and fulfillment and a time of respite. Being a caregiver is a labor of love, but one that gets easier to manage when you remember to take care of yourself. Find out about the organizations that provide a wide range of useful services at (Eldercare Locator--1-800-677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov).
The danger is that when you are overburdened, exhausted and stressed, you can become the second patient. If caregiving is taking its toll on you, it can be helpful to talk with a caring, compassionate professional. Give me a call at 307-673-4804 and begin to enjoy life outside of the caregiver role.
DISARMING YOUR CRITIC
Everyone has a critical inner voice, but people with low self-esteem tend to have a more vicious and vocal critic. This negative voice will compare you to others and always find you lacking; set impossible standards of perfection; beat you up for the smallest mistakes; keep score of your failures but never remind you of your strengths or accomplishments. The critic will zing you, guilt you, call you names and convince you that you are unlovable. Sadly, this inner voice is so insidious you begin to buy into it, believing its poisonous, toxic lies!
Begin to ask yourself, what is the price you pay for listening to your critic? What toll does it take on you and your relationships? Begin planting new seeds of thought. Create new affirmations and then water and cultivate them so they can take root and become the new habit of your soul.
Fighting your critic and rebuilding your self-esteem alone can be difficult. Meeting with an experienced professional can help you obtain the tools that will dispel the lies and build a new sense of self-worth and confidence. Give me a call at 307-673-4804 and let us begin the process together.
All of us carry with us emotional baggage. Baggage that results in traits and behaviors we can’t see in ourselves but which keep getting in our way; the source of all those mistakes we make over and over again; the things we do that make situations worse but can’t seem to stop. Some struggle with guilt over things they have done in the past, or live with feelings of fear, self-doubt and insecurity. Others carry feelings of resentment because someone hurt them years ago and they have never forgiven them. Many are angry, lonely or sorrowful but insist on keeping their heartache to themselves and in the process they lock away an important part of themselves.
Letting go of emotional baggage can be a painful process, but it is an avenue to true freedom. Begin the path to freedom by doing something about it. Meet with me and learn how to shed that emotional baggage. Call me at 307-673-4804 and begin to lighten your load!
Men, do you have a close freind to share your life with? Someone with whom you can truly be yourself? In his book, "Living A Life That Matters", Harold S. Kushner writes that "one of the saddest commentaries on American life is that we have made it so hard for men to have male friends. We have taught men that all other men are potential rivals or potential customers, and that they should never expose their vulnerability to another man." Men are constantly told to "act like a man" and "be macho!" They live under the constant dread of being labeled a sissy or weak if they open up emotionally and share their sensitive side. Thus, the closest relationships most men end up with are those organized around sports or their career.
I remember being home for a holiday several years ago. I woke up to the sounds of my mom yelling at my dad about some trivial thing. As things continued to escalate, I immediately got involved (just as I did as a child) and things went from bad to worse. Mom and I had words and I retreated back to the bedroom. My husband, just waking up, said “Good morning, Sweetheart!” I gave a short, brittle reply and headed right back out into the fray. The rest of the day I was emotionally upset, hurt and angry. Everything seemed loud and chaotic. I remember catching my mom as she was getting ready for bed and apologizing for my behavior and asking her why this holiday had turned out so badly. She responded that this was the way things always were! That our family was always loud and raucous, carrying our emotions right out there on our sleeves. But that we all knew one thing for sure….that we loved one another.
So maybe we need to let go. Let go of the myth that if things don’t align neatly with our preconceived notions and expectations that the time together is a failure. Let go of trying to make everyone else happy. Let go of feeling the need to get involved with the affairs of others. Let go of trying to change others. And instead, begin to love each other…just the way we are.
Is it difficult for you to let go of the “shoulds” and high expectations? How about meeting with a trained therapist now so you can enjoy your next family get-together. Call me at 307-673-4804.
Each of us has felt the temptation to buy something beyond our purchasing ability: a shiny new car, a new wardrobe, a certain size home located in a specific neighborhood. In our society, at every turn, we are met with the enticement to spend money in order to find happiness or be accepted. Credit card companies offer us low interest rates and automatic credit. Checks come in the mail coaxing us to cash them for money NOW! Television ads shout, "Let us help you get out of debt!" But deals that look so wonderful usually have hidden clauses that bring indebtedness and, in the end, loss of financial freedom.
Fee for individuals-$75.00/hour
Payment upon service. Sorry no credit cards. Insurance forms available for you to send in for reimbursement.
I have been counseling adults and couples for over 20 years. I began my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Eastern College near Philadelphia, my home town. I married Pete Schutte (married 25 years this past June!) and moved to Laramie, Wyoming where I finished my Master's degree at the University of Wyoming in 1992. I did counseling at the Mental Health Center there before moving to Sheridan, Wyoming in 1999. I opened up my private counseling practice in Sheridan that same year. My husband opened Peter D's R. V. Park in Sheridan a few years later.
In my counseling practice I work with individuals and couples (18 years or older) dealing with such life concerns as: Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Couple’s Conflict, Low self-esteem, Poor Communication and Spirituality. I have extensive experience working with those battling: Eating Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder and Sexual Abuse and Incest.
I chose counseling because I believe that deep within each of us is the desire to be whole and healthy. We have the capacity to change! Counseling helps to identify the "toxic thoughts" that not only affect all our relationships but also cause sickness to the mind, body and spirit. Once these unhealthy thoughts are revealed, and healed, we begin the process of creating and planting new seeds of thought which are uplifting, positive and loving. This builds a new sense of self-worth and the confidence necessary to make healthier decisions and choices. You can make the choice to change and grow today!
Call Barb Schutte, a Licensed Professional Counselor, at 307-673-4804.