Depression, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common and uncomfortable emotions that we can experience at some point in our lives. Through counseling and treatment, we are able to help you recover motivation, perspective, and joy that you once had in your life.
Relationships can be a challenge at times.
Starting a love relationship is one thing, maintaining and growing a relationship is another. We all have needs and expectations of how we want to be loved.
As a member of the Marriage Counseling Hall of Fame, Dr. Dan speaks from decades of experiences.
Millions of people (an estimated 15% of the population) suffer from devastating and constant anxiety that severely affects their lives, sometimes resulting in living in highly restricted ways.
An estimated 30 to 50 million or more people suffer from depression in the United States. Depression has been called the nation’s most widespread and under-treated emotional problem. Some maintain that every person will suffer from some form of depression some time in their life.
Combining a Career Assessment with Coaching is helpful for individuals looking for career direction or career transition. Whenever we are in a transition period, we can be in a state of turmoil and in need of a new direction.
With effort and time, everyone can improve their mental game and your mental game is essential to your overall game. Cognitive Sports Training for Performance Enhancement Sports can be reduced to two key components: PREPARATION and PERFORMANCE.
Counseling addresses a problem area that requires a solution or healing. The problem may be related to behavior, marriage, relationships, or emotional conflict.
Dr. Dan Trathen offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for issues related to individual, marital, premarital, and family concerns. He has over 45 years of experience with children, adolescents, and adults dealing with a wide range of issues.
Dr. Dan utilizes a broad range of therapeutic techniques that emphasize solution-focused, CBT and DBT therapies in order to provide quality care in as short a time frame as possible.
Areas of Emphasis
Marriage and family counseling
Blended family issues
Recovering from an Affair
Children and adolescents
Depression and bipolar disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Trauma and acute stress disorder
Physical and/or sexual abuse
Oppositional defiant disorder
ADD and ADHD
How do you know if you need counseling?
The following conditions or situations are widely experienced and may indicate the need for professional counseling. Consider counseling services -
Counseling can also be helpful for those with excessive job stress or an inability to keep jobs, parents having trouble dealing with a child’s misbehavior or school problems, and individuals experiencing sexual dysfunction or physical ailments for which no medical cause can be found.
When our expectations are not met we can become hurt, frustrated and angry. These feelings are very real to us. We don’t feel cared for, respected or loved during these times and we can lash out at our partner or store these feelings and look at our partner though an ever-increasing clouded filter. Some of us fall into invalidating each other. Others withdraw and avoid discussing issues. Frankly, we have learned some unhealthy habits and patterns of relating. As we maintain these negative habits, we find that they don’t work and neither does our relationship. We wonder, how we got to such a negative place and how can we get to a better one? Understanding the issues and patterns is a good place to start. If in your relationship you are experiencing any or all of the following 10 issues, contact Dr. Dan and he will connect with you to discuss the next steps with you.
● Increased disagreements and arguing
● Periods of prolonged silence
● Mind reading each other’s intentions
● Negatively interpreting each other’s words and motives
● Increased conflict accompanied by diminished efforts to resolve issues
● Discouragement, disillusionment, and decreased confidence
that your relationship will make it
● A decreased feeling of “safety” to be vulnerable with your partner
● A fear of being ridiculed privately or publicly
● A lack of trust, respect and love in your relationship
● A lack of forgiveness and letting go of relationship issues
With 45 years of experience, Dr. Dan Trathen seeks to first discover a couple’s strengths and growth areas before tailor-making a counseling/coaching plan. This process can be conducted in Dr. Dan’s Parker, Colorado office or through his HIPAA compliant video conferencing, email, and HIPPA compliant online forms and storage. Clients can do video conferencing from the convenience of their own home with a computer equipped with a camera and microphone. As a follow-up, each plan requires the couple to do reading and homework assignments designed to assist them in their growth areas and transform these changes into lasting ones. Relationship assessments and a family history questionnaire are also used in establishing a Relationship Growth Plan for each couple. So, please contact Dr. Dan today to discuss your couple counseling/coaching needs.
Every human feels anxiety on occasion; it is a part of life. All of us know what it is like to feel worry, nervousness, fear, and concern. We feel nervous when we have to give a speech, go for a job interview, or walk into our boss’s office for the annual performance appraisal. We know it’s normal to feel a surge of fear when we unexpectedly see a photo of a snake or look down from the top of a tall building. Most of us manage these kinds of anxious feelings fairly well and are able to carry on with our lives without much difficulty. These feelings don’t disrupt our lives.
But millions of people (an estimated 15% of the population) suffer from devastating and constant anxiety that severely affects their lives, sometimes resulting in living in highly restricted ways. These people experience panic attacks, phobias, extreme shyness, obsessive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors. The feeling of anxiety is a constant and dominating force that disrupts their lives. Some become prisoners in their own homes, unable to leave to work, drive, or visit the grocery store. For these people, anxiety is much more than just an occasional wave of apprehension.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
An anxiety disorder affects a person’s behavior, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. The most common anxiety disorders include the following:
Social anxiety or social phobia is a fear of being around other people. People who suffer from this disorder always feel self-conscious around others. They have the feeling that everyone is watching them and staring at them, being critical in some way. Because the anxiety is so painful, they learn to stay away from social situations and avoid other people. Some eventually need to be alone at all times, in a room with the door closed. The feeling is pervasive and constant and even happens with people they know.
People who have social anxiety know that their thoughts and fears are not rational. They are aware that others are not actually judging or evaluating them at every moment. But this knowledge does not make the feelings disappear.
Panic disorder is a condition where a person has panic attacks without warning. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, about 5% of the adult American population suffers from panic attacks. Some experts say that this number is actually higher, since many people experience panic attacks but never receive treatment.
Common symptoms of panic include:
• Racing or pounding heart
• Sweaty palms
• Feelings of terror
• Chest pains or heaviness in the chest
• Dizziness and lightheadedness
• Fear of dying
• Fear of going crazy
• Fear of losing control
• Feeling unable to catch one’s breath
• Tingling in the hands, feet, legs, or arms
A panic attack typically lasts several minutes and is extremely upsetting and frightening. In some cases, panic attacks last longer than a few minutes or strike several times in a short time period.
A panic attack is often followed by feelings of depression and helplessness. Most people who have experienced panic say that the greatest fear is that the panic attack will happen again.
Many times, the person who has a panic attack doesn’t know what caused it. It seems to have come “out of the blue.” At other times, people report that they were feeling extreme stress or had encountered difficult times and weren’t surprised that they had a panic attack.
Generalized anxiety disorder is quite common, affecting an estimated 3 to 4% of the population. This disorder fills a person’s life with worry, anxiety, and fear. People who have this disorder are always thinking and dwelling on the “what ifs” of every situation. It feels like there is no way out of the vicious cycle of anxiety and worry. The person often becomes depressed about life and their inability to stop worrying.
People who have generalized anxiety usually do not avoid situations, and they don’t generally have panic attacks. They can become incapacitated by an inability to shut the mind off, and are overcome with feelings of worry, dread, fatigue, and a loss of interest in life. The person usually realizes these feelings are irrational, but the feelings are also very real. The person’s mood can change from day to day, or even hour to hour. Feelings of anxiety and mood swings become a pattern that severely disrupts the quality of life.
People with generalized anxiety disorder often have physical symptoms including headaches, irritability, frustration, trembling, inability to concentrate, and sleep disturbances. They may also have symptoms of social phobia and panic disorder.
Other types of anxiety disorders include:
Phobia, fearing a specific object or situation.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a system of ritualized behaviors or obsessions that are driven by anxious thoughts.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe anxiety that is triggered by memories of a past traumatic experience.
Agoraphobia, disabling fear that prevents one from leaving home or another safe place.
Most people who suffer from anxiety disorders begin to feel better when they receive the proper treatment. It can be difficult to identify the correct treatment, however, because each person’s anxiety is caused by a unique set of factors. It can be frustrating for the client when treatment is not immediately successful or takes longer than hoped for. Some clients feel better after a few weeks or months of treatment, while others may need a year or more. If a person has an anxiety disorder in combination with another disorder (such as alcoholism and depression), treatment is more complicated and takes longer.
While a treatment plan must be specifically designed for each individual, there are a number of standard approaches. Mental health professionals who specialize in treating anxiety most often use a combination of the following treatments. There is no single correct approach.
The client learns how to identify and change unproductive thought patterns by observing his or her feelings and learning to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts.
This treatment helps the client alter and control unwanted behavior. Systematic desensitization, a type of behavior therapy, is often used to help people with phobias and OCD. The client is exposed to anxiety-producing stimuli one small step at a time, gradually increasing his or her tolerance to situations that have produced disabling anxiety.
Many people with anxiety disorders benefit from self-hypnosis, guided visualization, and biofeedback. Relaxation training is often part of psychotherapy.
Antidepressant and antianxiety medications can help restore chemical imbalances that cause symptoms of anxiety. This is an effective treatment for many people, especially in combination with psychotherapy.
The treatment for an anxiety disorder depends on the severity and length of the problem. The client’s willingness to actively participate in treatment is also an important factor. When a person with panic is motivated to try new behaviors and practice new skills and techniques, he or she can learn to change the way the brain responds to familiar thoughts and feelings that have previously caused anxiety.
A man and his wife were traveling west and stopped at a full-service gas station to fill up their tank. After the station attendant had washed their car’s windshield, the driver of the car told the man, “It is still dirty. Wash it again.” So the station attendant washed it again only to hear a similar angry reply, “It’s still dirty. Don’t you know how to wash a windshield?” Just then the man’s wife reached over and took her husband’s glasses from his head and cleaned the lenses with a tissue. When she put them back on her husband’s head the windshield was clean! The moral of the story is that our mental attitude acts as a filter and has a great deal to do with how we look at things. The whole world can appear depressing if we ourselves have a depressed mental and emotional attitude.
This may be a humorous example, but the scope and effects of depression are no laughing matter. An estimated 30 to 50 million or more people suffer from depression in the United States. Depression has been called the nation’s most widespread and under-treated emotional problem. Some maintain that every person will suffer from some form of depression some time in their life. Many famous people have suffered from depression. Abraham Lincoln suffered from bipolar disorder. Winston Churchill said his depression followed him like a “black dog”. Charles Surgeon, one of England’s greatest preachers of the 1800s experienced a life long battle with depression.
What exactly is this so-called emotional epidemic we call depression? Depression is an emotional and mental state whereby everything in one’s life is seen in a negative light. A simple definition is a specific alteration of our mood downward. Therefore, consider depression on a continuum from mild to severe. At one end are people who are discouraged, sad, or suffering from a loss. As we experience more intense feelings of depression, we more toward the other end of the continuum.
The National Association for Mental Health has complied a list of ten danger signs identifying whether a person is suffering from depression. As you can see, many of these signals can be normal reactions to major changes in our lives. Only when a person doesn’t bounce back, when the ability to function normally is impaired for long periods of time, is the problem considered clinical depression. The ten danger signs are:
10. Extreme dependence on other people, leading us first to feelings of hopelessness, then getting angry because of our hopelessness feelings.
There is no doubt about it, depression is very debilitating. If you find yourself suffering from several of these danger signs, call your family physician and/or call a professional like myself for a depression screening appointment. You may find that it will help to clean your lenses.
© Daniel W. Trathen
Combining a Career Assessment with Coaching is helpful for individuals looking for career direction or career transition. Whenever we are in a transition period, we can be in a state of turmoil and in need of a new direction. These assessments are for students wanting more clarification to choose further education, workers who are downsized, and those who are unsatisfied or burned out with their current careers or are going through a transition. Dr. Dan Trathen provides career services for individuals ages 14 and above. All of us work hard to create our life and earn a living. Dr. Dan Trathen wants to help you succeed, achieve your goals, and experience your greatest potential through assessments and coaching. A parent of a high school or college student may want to have their child tested:
• Determine the student's abilities
• Determine how those abilities might be career possibilities
• If there is a lack of direction
• If their child is unable to decide on a major
• When there is dissatisfaction with college or high school classes
• To have better clarity regarding choosing a college
Coaching is used by people who want to enhance their lives. Coaching can differ from psychotherapy in that it is more growth-oriented and helps people move forward with their lives or deal with present issues. Coaching can also be done by telephone or Zoom video conferencing which can be done right from your home using your computer. The first step is to take the free Personality Assessment and then receive your report and feedback by Dr. Dan in person, or by using our HIPAA compliant video conferencing. Many clients choose to start with individual coaching to work on individual goals and strategies. Career Coaching is also provided for people who do not want to take assessments but want to make life or career changes. Sample topics to explore and process in Career Coaching are:
• Understanding of abilities for career redirection, change, retiring
• Choosing a match in colleges and vocational training
• Making changes, seeking job leads, starting a new business
• Developing and implementing an individualized strategy to meet your life goals and aspirations
• Being held accountable for reaching goals
• Meeting weekly or bimonthly with sessions on the phone or in-person
• Finding what it takes for a balanced life that gives a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction
Some potential benefits of Career Coaching:
• Clarity of your personal and career goals
• Having Someone to ask you the right questions
• Having accountability and a support system to help make changes
• Engaging in a growing process that will give you lifetime benefits
With effort and time, everyone can improve their mental game. The mental game is essential to performance.
Performance Enhancement Sports can be reduced to two key components:
Preparation involves both mental and physical preparation
Performance involves both mental and physical performance
An athlete must put time and effort into both physical and psychological development; each building off each other and necessary to complete at high levels. Too often athletes do not devote enough time and training to mental skills, in turn, it is the mind that is to blame. Cognitive Sports Training hones psychological and physical processes, enhancing performance. Listed below are some of the keys we use to help athletes perform at their highest levels.
DEVELOPMENT OF PHYSICAL, PERCEPTUAL, AND COGNITIVE SKILLS
Athletics are the pinnacle of Mind-Body unification. An elite athlete must have a skill set which includes both physical and psychological abilities. Athletes develop specific and general skills like coordination, speed, strength, stamina and agility. However, just as important are skills like anticipation, spatial reasoning, visual perception, memory, habitual reactions, and attention. Each sport develops a unique profile of acquired skills, and in one way or another involves the nervous system. Understanding which skills are important and how to develop them is integral to athletic success.
ANXIETY REDUCTION OR AMPLIFICATION
Anxiety or nervousness is often one of the factors involved in both successful and unsuccessful performances. The trick is finding the right balance between too much anxiety and not enough. Too much anxiety causes an athlete to lose control, allowing reflexive actions to take over when smart-conscious decisions are needed and conscious worries to take over when non-conscious reflexes are needed. Just as detrimental to performance and similar in consequence is a lack of anxiety or motivation. A lack of anxiety can cause athletes to miss opportunities in both practice and performance, making their tasks more difficult. An athlete must know how to stay optimally motivated during both preparation and performance to reach their full potential.
Successful athletes have incredible control over their minds. Attentional training is employed to attain better control of mental and physical processes, allowing quick conscious and non-conscious actions. In particular, attentional training allows an athlete to modify and exploit the psychological and physiological consequences involved with how our nervous system learns. The nervous system is wholly integrated, and constantly adapting to our behaviors. The more we practice, the greater our control becomes. Continued practice allows an athlete to increase or decrease activation or concentration levels when necessary. For example, top performers have to maintain concentration and execution when faced with stressful or mundane situations (i.e. practice); this is much easier with well-trained attentional skills.
MENTAL REHEARSAL AND IMAGERY
Practice does not have to involve the exact behaviors you are practicing for. Mental rehearsal helps to develop the same neural networks controlling motor movements and cognitive processes. It can teach athletes how to control their anxiety levels during intensive performance situations by placing them in similar situations. Mental rehearsal allows an athlete to learn without performing every aspect of the task of actually being in the specific situation. This approach highlights the importance and benefits of “pregame” or “pre-performance” mental and/or physical routines, something to help normalize the situation and put the athlete at ease before performing.
POSITIVE THOUGHT HABITS AND SELF TALK
Both successful and unsuccessful athletes have an internal dialogue going on in their heads. The difference between success and failure is often the ratio of positive and negative thoughts. Positive self-talk helps motivate an athlete during both preparation and performance. It is important to monitor this dialogue, striving to increase positive thoughts while decreasing negative ones.
Goal setting is a major component of performance and encourages an athlete to establish specific, measurable, and time-targeted objectives. Goal setting provides motivation, attentional focus, and guidance. It is best to combine short-term goals with long-term goals; this allows immediate gratification or consequence to help propel an athlete through the rigors of attaining long-term goals.
Regardless of your methods, there is no substitution for practice. The successful athlete must learn to practice like a champion, developing both their physical and mental game.
EDUCATIONAL AND CONSULTING SERVICES
Dr. Trathen has been a mental health clinician and educator for over four decades. He has been a Therapist, Licensed Social Worker, Pastoral Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Life, Business and Executive Coach, Teacher, Professor, Seminar Leader for 23 years in conjunction with being a Licensed Clinical, Family Psychologist in Colorado for the last 23 years. As he continues to practice, he observes that one of the major concerns of people seeking help is “who do I see and how do I find the right therapist” and “How do I clarify what I need?” Most people go online to research clinicians in their geographical area and look for education and expertise. Others will look at their insurance coverage and research those clinicians in these areas on their insurance panels. Others seem to shop for cost for a session and availability of convenient appointment hours. Each and all of these questions are valid concerns, but wait, there are more questions. Do I (we) need to see a PhD, PsyD, MA or MSW level therapist and what do all these letters and degrees mean? What level of education would be best for my issues and concerns? Do they need to be licensed in my state? Do I need individual, couple, family or group therapy? Some even wonder if the gender of the therapist is important. One wonders if all these choices and questions interfere with the decision to make an appointment with a therapist at all. As one client explained her experience as she wrote to “Ask Amy”,
“I lucked into a great therapist years ago, but she moved away. Since then, I’ve tried a half a dozen therapists and haven’t found one who I click with or who for my schedule. I’ve given up on therapy because starting with a new therapist is arduous and I’ve been burned before.”
A right therapy “fit” is very important. Like this woman, Dr. Dan has heard many of his patient’s stories and experiences of therapy that didn’t go well. For some it has been a “trial and error process” before they found the best therapist for them. Help eliminate the frustration and the process of serendipity. Dr. Dan will guide you through the Mental Health Maze utilizing his HIPPA secure video conferencing service. In so doing you will see for yourself the benefits of Teletherapy and whether or not you are comfortable with this modality or would prefer in office therapy sessions. Through this process you may choose to continue with Dr. Dan as your therapist or coach. If so, feel free to discuss this option with him.
These are all common and valid questions and concerns. In an effort to be of help in these areas, Dr. Trathen has developed a Therapy/Coaching Consulting Service to assist individuals or couples who find themselves in these types of dilemmas by providing tools, expertise and experience to bring clarity to this process. This is a consulting service, not therapy. By choosing this service you are not committing yourself as his patient(s). Instead, you will find answers to your questions and be an informed consumer. This service will help you to be time and cost effective as you interview prospective therapists. You will know what questions to ask as you begin the process of therapy and clarify your goals for therapy before even meeting your new therapist, you will be prepared to know what you need and how to collaborate with your therapist for your desired outcome and only pay for what you need. You will be taking responsibility for yourself with your issues and addressing concerns for the therapy process. You may even feel empowered as you start your therapy journey. This is an educational and consulting process consisting of 2 appointments while using several HIPAA educational forms to assist in the clarifying process. All information is confidential. If you believe this service could assist you as you prepare yourself for your therapy/coaching experience along with a potential better outcome, then contact Dr. Trathen for more information.