Therapy &Counseling

26 10, 2016

The Benefits of IOP: Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment in Arizona

2017-02-22T02:07:01+00:00 October 26th, 2016|0 Comments

For many people, getting help for an eating disorder isn’t a matter of admitting that they have a problem. The issue is getting the right amount of support that can be flexible enough to accommodate a busy schedule. Inpatient eating disorder treatment isn’t always necessary, and it’s not the right option for most people. Even so, traditional outpatient treatment can leave participants feeling as though they need more than just a meeting or a group one or two days a week.

Intensive outpatient programs offer the perfect level of treatment for most eating disorder patients, and these programs carry many benefits.

Plenty of Time for Counseling in Arizona

Counseling is an integral part of eating disorder treatment in every case. It’s essential for you to be able to work one on one in a therapy environment and discuss the issues that could have led to your eating disorder. When you choose IOP, you’re giving yourself plenty of time to work with your counselor without having to wait a long time between your appointments.

Availability of Eating Disorder Groups

Research has shown that participating in group therapy has been instrumental in helping people recover from eating disorders. When you have an eating disorder, you typically feel as though you’re all alone in your struggles. You may feel depressed when you see others who are living their lives normally, and you wish you could achieve that goal for yourself. In a sense, the weight of your eating disorder and the isolation it brings can drag you down. Eating disorder groups reinforce the truth – that you’re not alone, and there are others who have struggled the same way that you are struggling. In addition, you’ll reap the benefits of hearing others tell their stories, and you’ll help many people through their own struggles too.

Health Insurance Companies Prefer Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Arizona

If you have ever tried to begin an inpatient treatment program for your eating disorder, you may be familiar with how difficult it is to get some health insurance companies to approve your stay. The fact is that for most people, inpatient treatment isn’t necessary, and yet, traditional outpatient treatment doesn’t provide enough support for recovery.

IOP offers an excellent middle ground for eating disorder treatment, which health insurance companies prefer. Many times, their reimbursement rates are much higher for intensive outpatient programs than they are for inpatient treatment programs, and you’re able to get started much faster. Choosing IOP relieves a lot of financial stress, and gives you the excellent support you need.

Intensive Outpatient Programs in Arizona are Flexible

One of the biggest reasons people tend to shy away from going to inpatient treatment is that they don’t have the time to commit to such a program. Some of these programs are thirty days long, or even longer in many cases. Life is busy, and if you work full-time or have a family to care for at home, inpatient treatment is probably out of the question for you.

With IOP, you can get the level of support you need on a schedule that fits into your busy life, and allows you to take care of all of your responsibilities.

IOP in Arizona at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling

At Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, our approach to eating disorder treatment is a holistic one, and our goal is to get to the underlying root cause of your eating disorder so that we can promote healing and recovery.

Our intensive outpatient program is an eight-week program for men and women who are age 18 and older. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with our treatment team, and other patients in a group setting several days during the week. The flexibility of our program allows you to continue going to work or school during the day and receive the help you need during the evening hours.

How can Empowerment Treatment & Counseling help you recover from your eating disorder? Contact us today to learn more.

19 09, 2016

Living with Bulimia: My Story

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 September 19th, 2016|0 Comments

Here at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling near Phoenix, Arizona, it always tugs at our heartstrings when we get to experience our clients’ recoveries from eating disorders, such as bulimia. We’d like to share one with you today.

I can remember the exact moment my eating disorder began. At the time, I had no idea I was toying with becoming bulimic, but to be honest, I really didn’t care. I’d look at myself in the mirror in the morning and I’d hate what I’d see. People would complement me on my outfit, and I’d be sure they were lying to me just to try and make me feel better about myself. I dreaded getting up in the morning because I knew I’d have to face that mirror and the horror of what I saw there.

It was a terrible place to be.

One day, I made a decision. I was going to take charge of that image in the mirror, and I was going to change it. I had heard of people eating a lot of food, and then taking diet pills or laxatives. Some people even forced themselves to vomit. That seemed like the quickest way to get what I wanted, so I gave it a try. The first time was hard, but after that, it got a lot easier. Soon, bulimia nervosa became a way of life for me.

Contemplating Bulimia Therapy Near Phoenix, AZ: Bulimia Side Effects

It wasn’t long before I started experiencing some physical changes, but they weren’t the ones I was expecting. The image in the mirror really didn’t change much, but my health did. My teeth started to get a lot of cavities, which I found out later is one of the most common bulimia symptoms. A few months in, I developed stomach ulcers. I went to the doctor to get treated for them, but still continued on in my bulimia nervosa behaviors.

About six months later, I developed pancreatitis. I started having pain in my stomach, and I was admitted to the hospital so they could stabilize me and give me the treatment I needed. It was then that I decided I should find out more about bulimia symptoms and what else could potentially happen to my body.

I learned that one of the other bulimia side effects was developing heart problems, and that it could even cause heart failure. I had reached the point where I was scared of continuing in the behaviors, but I really didn’t know how to stop doing them. That was when I reached out for help.

Bulimia Counseling Near Phoenix, Arizona: Changing the Course of My Life

To be completely honest, I was ashamed of what I had done. I had put myself through so much physical stress, and I was afraid to admit that I had bulimia nervosa. It was hard for me to open up about my behaviors to the staff at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, but once I did, I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. They didn’t judge me at all. Instead they focused on helping me overcome bulimia nervosa in a way that was focused on my body, and on true healing.

Today, those urges to binge and purge are gone. Now that I have the support I need from bulimia counseling, I’m confident that my healing will continue.

Are you in need of bulimia therapy near Phoenix, Arizona? This story is just one of many, and we’d love to give you the chance to share your success story. Please contact us to get the help you need.

Quiz: 5 Signs You have an Eating Disorder

21 07, 2016

4 Tips for Finding the Right Therapist Near You in Arizona

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 July 21st, 2016|0 Comments

“Shopping for therapist should be approached in the same way as looking for a new pair of shoes. They should FIT well, feel COMFORTABLE, and you should be HAPPY with their look and STYLE, or you will never feel completely satisfied.”

~Mary Jane Warr, Finding the Golden Key – Making Sense of Depression

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona, area and are having emotional problems for which you feel the need to talk to a professional, you are lucky enough to have a plethora of choices. No matter what your particular issue is –trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, emotional eating – you will find a qualified therapist.

But too many choices can also breed confusion – with so many options before you, which one is the right one for YOU? Trying to find the right therapist through trial-and-error can be expensive and take months. To make it easier, here are some helpful tips that can make your search for the right Phoenix therapist that much easier.

Start with the Resources You Already Have to Find the Right Therapist in Phoenix

Even if you think that you don’t even know where to begin to look for a therapist in Phoenix, you probably already have some resources that can at least point you in the right direction:

  • Your Insurance Company

    –Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, you probably already have insurance. Contact your carrier to see which therapist and counselors in the Phoenix area are included as part of your coverage.

  • Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    –Many companies have a wellness program in place that provides confidential counseling and support for employees as part of the benefits package. You may be entitled to a limited number of free sessions, after which you can receive a referral for a local Phoenix therapist.

  • Your College/University

    –Most schools have a Counseling Center as part of Student Affairs. As with an EAP, you can receive short-term assistance, and if you need ongoing counseling, you can be referred to a qualified and licensed mental health specialist in Phoenix.

Narrow Your Search in Arizona, but Don’t Limit Yourself

When you are looking through listings of therapists in Phoenix, you will most likely focus on those counselors who (a) specialize in your specific issue, and (b) are close to where you live or work. That can be an efficient way to conduct your search, but don’t paint yourself into a corner. Keep an open mind.

Even though most therapists in Phoenix offer counseling for specific types of problems, many areas of practice overlap, and you might be able to get the help you need from unexpected sources. For example, if you are being troubled with low self-esteem and are having a hard time finding a therapist with an opening, perhaps a disordered eating counselor might be able to assist you, since often, the two conditions go hand-in-hand.

Also, it might be a good idea to expand your geographical boundaries a bit. If you limit yourself to only therapists in Phoenix, you might miss an excellent counselor in Glendale who would have been able to help you work through your issues.

Know What Questions to Ask Your Potential Therapist Near Phoenix 

Many people feel uncomfortable asking their mental health professional any questions about their qualifications, experience, and expertise – but that’s exactly what you SHOULD do. For therapy to the effective, you have to have complete trust in your counselor, and you can’t have that trust if there are any lingering doubts or unanswered questions.

  • Are you licensed in Arizona?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What are your areas of expertise?
  • I’m here because of ____. How do you typically treat this problem?
  • What are your success rates in dealing with this issue?
  • Do you accept direct payment/billing from my insurance company?

How Does Your Therapist Make You Feel?

The right match between you and your therapist is extremely important. If at any point – the initial consultation or even after a few counseling sessions – you feel uncomfortable or that the “fit” isn’t right, don’t hesitate to say so.

Sometimes, the rapport just isn’t there. It’s not something that can be researched, and if you need to move on to another local Phoenix therapist, the professional you’ve been speaking with won’t take any offense. It is understood that for you to get better, you have to feel perfectly at ease with your mental health provider.

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona, Metro area and need any type of counseling, the trained professionals at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, located conveniently in Glendale, are ready to work with you to restore peace of mind and hope to your life.

28 05, 2016

How Therapy Saved My Marriage

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 May 28th, 2016|0 Comments

My marriage had reached a dead end, and we were in trouble. Even now, it bothers me to write those words, but it was a FACT. I still loved my wife, but I didn’t like who WE had become.

The Signs Were There That Our Marriage Needed Help

We had been living in denial for a while, but the truth was, we just weren’t happy. Over the course of 11 years, so much had changed:

  • We never really TALKED anymore
  • We didn’t spend quality TIME together
  • We were pursuing SEPARATE agendas
  • We ARGUED over petty things
  • Our SEX life was non-existent

I’m lucky that my wife still cared enough to bring up the idea of couples counseling. One night, she told me that she had been looking into a local program in Glendale – not far from our home in Phoenix, Arizona – that offered relationship therapy. At this point, I was ready to try anything, so I agreed.

My Wife and I Begin Couples Counseling

I’ll admit that I was apprehensive when we attended our first session. I didn’t know what to expect and I dreaded the idea of simply rehashing every old argument and airing our dirty laundry to a total stranger.

But when we met our counselor, she surprised me with a very simple question – “What are some goals you want to achieve with relationship therapy?”


I wanted to save my marriage. Wasn’t that why we were here?

It was explained to the two of us that a troubled marriage was merely a resultant symptom, because the root of our problems really lay elsewhere – poor communication, divergent goals, or issues with intimacy, for example.

That made a lot of sense to me, because what I missed most was how my wife and I used to talk for hours – about everything. It occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time we had just sat down and had a meaningful conversation.

The therapist explained that she would be working with us every step of the way as we tried different approved approaches that would help us REESTABLISH our marriage as a priority, REPAIR any damage our behaviors may have inadvertently caused, and RECONNECT as a couple.

She stressed two things –

FIRST, it was going to be a process that would require a lot of patience on our part. We hadn’t arrived at this point overnight, and it was going to take some time to get back to where we wanted to be.

SECOND, it was going to require real work on our parts, because our marriage was the most important relationship either of us would ever have with another person, and something that valuable was worth the effort to maintain it.

And then she smiled, and said that we had already done the hardest part, just by showing up.

What I Learned From Couples Counseling

Over the next several sessions in Glendale, our therapist guided us through different therapies designed to identify our biggest issues, so we could start focusing on solutions. Sometimes, there was even homework.

  • Emotional therapy – We learned how to honestly express our real emotions and needs to each other WITHOUT resorting to negativity like blaming, arguing, or shutting down.
  • Behavioral therapy – We worked on breaking bad habits and dysfunctional ways of thinking that contributed to our marital problems.
  • Mindfulness therapy –This was especially helpful to me. I learned how to be more “emotionally present” at any given time. During positive moments, I could be more aware and appreciative. During negative moments, I got better at separating what was REALLY bothering me from my own fear-fueled assumptions and insecurities.

One common theme that ran through each type of therapy was the need for better communication – open sharing of our feelings, “active” listening, and “fair” fighting that focused on resolving the conflict, rather than extending the argument.

I have to say that all of the sharing and communication helped my wife and I rediscover the love for each other that we had never lost – we had only buried it under too many bad habits. We are now closer than we have ever been.

We owe it all to Empowerment Treatment & Counseling.

23 04, 2016

Finding the Right Eating Disorder Therapist in Arizona

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 April 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

“One of the most difficult challenges in approaching eating disorders is understanding what is actually happening in the minds of these sufferers. Our understanding must begin with an appreciation of the complexities of our normal relationship with food. From this starting point, we can begin to unravel the interwoven psychological and physical abnormalities that define these eating disorders.”

~ Drs. Jim Kirkpatrick, M.D., and Paul Caldwell, M.D., CCFP(C), Eating Disorders: Everything You Need to Know

If you live in Arizona, it is entirely possible that someone you know and care about is struggling with an eating disorder. Even when they agree to get help, there are so many so-called “experts” in the state that finding the right eating disorders therapist can be difficult.

How Serious Is the Arizona Eating Disorder Problem?

According to a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Arizona ranks #2 for teenagers who have attempted to control their weight by “purging”, with an incidence rate that is twice the US average.

Those statistics mirror the pervasive scale of the complete problem in Arizona –

  • One out of every five teenage girls in Arizona ages 13 to 18 and one out of every 10 teenage boys intentionally starve themselves daily to maintain or lose weight.
  • One out of every five female adolescents in Arizona will refuse to eat on any given day because they feel “too fat”.
  • Nearly a third of teen boys in Arizona are dieting at any given time, and 10% of those intentionally starve themselves daily.
  • One out of every 10 under age Arizonans either use laxatives or make themselves vomit so they won’t gain any weight.

 By any measure, it is easy to see that there is a need for the therapy and counseling that come along with recovery from such disordered eating. But because the spectrum of eating disorders is so wide and can manifest in so many different ways– binging, purging, laxatives, starving, bulimia, anorexia – finding exactly the right sort of help can seem daunting.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist in AZ Will Have the Proper Level of Education

Because of the seriousness of this disorder, you first want to look for help from a professional with the proper level of education– ideally, someone with a Master’s Degree or above, preferably in psychology, mental health counseling, or a related discipline.

The Right Arizona Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have Specialized Training

Not every “counselor” is necessarily adept at treating individuals suffering from disordered eating. It takes extensive education and specialized training to understand the nuances of treating the various illnesses on the eating disorder spectrum.

The best eating disorder therapist should have completed post-graduate work that included addiction issues with a focus on aspects particular to the treatment of eating disorders.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have the Proper Certifications and Licenses in Arizona

To make sure that your therapist has met established professional standards, you will want to look at their certifications and licensing.

Desirable certifications and licenses include:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • National Certified Counselor
  • Certified Addiction Specialist
  • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in Mental Health (CEDS)
  • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Nutrition (CEDSN)

The Right Eating Disorders Therapist Can Tailor Treatment to the Individual

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to mental health that will work for 100% of patients 100% of the time. Every person has their own unique needs, and the best therapists are adept at utilizing multiple treatment strategies.

The Right AZ Eating Disorder Therapist Will Offer Trauma Therapy

Although eating disorders are not definitively caused by bad life experiences, traumatic incidents and one’s life can contribute to dysfunctional behaviors and interfere with healing. The best therapists will help you deal with past traumas so you can recover faster.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have Extensive Experience with Disordered Eating

This illness is about more than just symptoms – is about people and personalities. Your therapist needs to have a proven track record of helping people just like you.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Work with Other Services

At its worst, disordered eating can be life-threatening. The best therapists will work closely with other medical professionals to ensure that your total health and well-being is protected.

If you live in Arizona and you or someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, contact Empowerment Treatment & Counseling today. Located conveniently in Glendale, they have the RIGHT professionals to help you, whether you live in the Phoenix area or anywhere else in the state.

23 04, 2016

Finding the Right Trauma Treatment in Arizona

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 April 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

We need to slowly make our way to the heart of our wounds, develop an embodied and experiential consciousness of how they play out in our lives, and find new and healthier ways to relate to them. We cannot do this alone.”

Dr. Daniela F. Sieff, PhD, Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma: Conversations with Pioneering Clinicians and Researchers

Emotional trauma—and the scars it can leave—is one of the most common causal factors that can contribute to the development of disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and distorted body image.

According to data accumulated from 2013’s National Survey on Children’s Health, nearly half of all children in the US—almost 35 million children—have experienced at least one type of serious trauma that could negatively affect  their future mental or physical health as adults, and approximately one-third have experienced two or more.

Arizona Scores Poorly for Childhood Trauma Exposure

Arizona ranked in the worst group—states with a proportion of children with two or more traumatic experiences that was significantly higher than the US average.

What does this mean?

It means that there is a real need for trauma counseling and therapy in every part of Arizona—from large cities like Phoenix or Tucson, to suburbs like Glendale and Chandler, to rural areas across the state.

Advances in Trauma Therapy

Luckily, behavioral science has advanced considerably in the past few years, giving rise to several types of trauma therapy that can be tailored to the individual.

Dr. Terence M. Keane, PhD, a Boston University psychologist serving as Director of the Behavioral Science Division of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, said, “The advances made have been nothing short of outstanding…Having this many Evidence-Based Treatments allows therapists to use what they’re comfortable with from their own background and training, and at the same time to select treatments for use with patients with different characteristics.”

Here are some trauma treatments that have proven to be effective, according to the American Psychological Association:

  • Prolonged-Exposure Therapy—In a carefully-controlled and gradual manner, the therapist helps the patient in recalling memories of traumatic experiences, enabling the patient to regain control of their emotions about the past trauma.
  • Cognitive-Processing Therapy—The therapist helps the patient correct any mistaken beliefs they may hold as a result of the past trauma—that the event was “their fault”, they “let it happen”, they are no longer safe, etc.
  • Stress-Inoculation—Through counseling, the therapist teaches the patient several anxiety-reducing techniques, such as breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and positive self-affirmation.
  • Cognitive Restructuring—The therapist helps the patient how to work past distorted or dysfunctional thinking such as blaming, labeling, overgeneralization, minimizing/maximizing, or “all-or-nothing” thoughts.
  • EMDR, or Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing—The patient is guided by the therapist through this adaptive coping mechanism, and over the course of several sessions, the goal is to weaken the effect of negative emotions.

During a typical therapy session, the patient will be asked to recall a past trauma, while simultaneously engaging in lateral eye movements corresponding to the therapist’s finger movements, rhythmic tapping, or musical tones.

Over time, the thoughts are shifted from negative past traumas to more positive experiences, which are then associated with the movements. The patient can then learn to cope by initiating the physical movement whenever needed.

  • Medication Therapy—There are several medications that are useful in trauma treatment, specifically for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, and nightmares. Typically-prescribed drugs include Zoloft, Paxil, and Prazosin.

The takeaway is this—if you live in Arizona and need counseling or some other therapy for trauma, there IS help and hope available to you. Recovery from past trauma is uniquely personal, and so must be your treatment strategy. If you need help, the trained professionals at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling will work with you to help restore your peace of mind.