Mary-Michael is pleased to share two of her articles.
What is Counseling? is an explanation of the reasons for and process of counseling.
A Message To Families emphasizes the importance of family togetherness.
For answers to specific questions, please be sure to see
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is Counseling?
By Mary-Michael Levitt, Ed.S., LPC, LMFT
So often clients are faced with an unexpected
crisis or emergency and are left to fend for themselves, until someone
recommends that counseling is available to help them through their
immediate situation. The question arises "How can counseling help me
now?" "What can counseling do that I can't do for myself?"
First let's examine what might bring a person to consider counseling.
Any life situation such as the loss of a loved one, a child in trouble
at school, a marital affair or domestic abuse, loss of employment/
financial distress, a family member abusing alcohol or drugs or
suffering from an eating disorder, separation/divorce, parenting stress
or any situation that results in overwhelming feelings of depression or
anxiety. Counseling is recommended when a person is not able to feel
the joy of their life, take care of themselves emotionally and
spiritually, or cope with the crisis or emergency without support.
Clients may need assistance making the transition to college, learn
more about maintaining healthy relationships, make career choices or
learn more about stress management.
The process of counseling begins when the counselor cultivates a
relationship with the client based on trust and confidentiality. In
this secure environment the counselor and client develop an
understanding of the stressful issues facing the client, explore and
determine strategies designed to help the client and cooperatively
engage in a dialogue that will restore confidence to the client in
managing the issues at hand. Counseling helps people who are
experiencing difficulties in life that cannot be remedied with out the
caring support and professional guidance in problem solving that the
counselor can provide. Clients who find themselves in need of
counseling can be in a vulnerable state and need to be reassured that
their situation can be improved by discussing a host of possible
solutions and engaging in a plan of action. Counseling is successful
when the client is no longer confused about what to do and is restored
to a foundation where their life is meaningful and the presenting
problem is now manageable.
A Message To Families
By Mary-Michael Levitt, Ed.S., LPC, LMFT
Families are struggling with complicated social and cultural issues
which have broadened the generation gap and left members feeling
anxious, confused and uncertain. Parents used to enjoy introducing
their children to a rich culture, now they try to protect them from a
technology and media culture that socializes their children in ways
that conflict with their own family values. Families are under pressure
to have more influence on shaping their children's future with
positive, meaningful and sustaining experiences.
Our family system has lost access to neighborhoods, extended family,
playtime and a sense of community. Mom and Dad are split between
balancing employment schedules which include longer hours and increased
travel time, their children's athletic competition schedules, household
responsibilities, that leave them exhausted and distant. The fact is
the culture and society has changed so rapidly everyone is racing just
to keep up.
While families benefit from the advances in technology, they need to
adjust to those changes in order to maintain a consistent sense of
togetherness and kinship. As the culture becomes more frightening, the
parents become more anxious to protect their children. The dilemma of
providing more structured parenting to a generation that has grown more
independent and unfazed by parental restrictions is indeed a daunting
However, research shows that making some simple and manageable
adjustments to family life has led to far reaching success in
maintaining a cohesive sense of family.
The main culprit, which is only a click away, is the TV. Researchers
all agree that the visual impact of having a TV on when family members
are congregated in one room, takes away from the level of closeness
those members can experience together at that given time. TV used to be
close family time when there was only one TV in the home and everyone
gathered for that weekly show to relax and enjoy. Not any more, TV is
now background noise that has to be talked over. Experiments with
families where they have committed to turning off the TV for one month
proved that measures of closeness and enjoyment of each other's company
increased as families looked to ways to fill that TV time. Couples
reported their communication improved once the TV had been turned off
during crucial quiet times such as before sleep and during and after
Try This Family Experiment:
Agree to watch one hour of TV per night. If the family cannot agree the TV will have to stay off.
Observe the family process and talk it through.
The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families by Mary Pipher, Ph.D
A Grosset/Putman Book 1996
Find at your local Library
A frank discussion about what families need to thrive, succeed and nurture its members.
Mary offers an honest and well researched overview of contemporary families and the issues they face. The Shelter of Each Other...
concentrates on understanding the demands facing families today and how
to preserve a cohesive healthy family unit. Her passion on the behalf
of rebuilding the family as the backbone of society speaks volumes of
meaning and wisdom.
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