For too long the stigma in America has been that people only go to therapy if they have a mental health issue, and that if you do have to go to therapy it is embarrassing and should be kept quiet. In 2019, a study was done by the American Psychological Association which showed that only 19% of adults in America had gone to counseling in the past year. That same year, less than 17% of children in America had gone to any type of counseling. These very low numbers can be due to accessibility and affordability, but is in large part due to the negative stereotype that surrounds mental health issues in our culture today.
Virginia Satire, an influential American psychotherapist suggested, “Life is not the way it’s supposed to be; it’s the way it is. The way you cope with that is what makes the difference.” Breaking through the stigma, accessing support, and learning new coping skills can be one of the boldest and most life changing choices an individual or family can make. The following are just a few reasons why someone may want to seek additional support:
- Behavioral Challenges
- Substance Abuse
- Blended Family/Co-Parenting/Parenting Support
- Relational Concerns/Divorce
Gateway to Prevention and Recovery believes that the mental health of the family is extremely important to support and nurture. That is why over the summer, Gateway expanded its Children and Family Program to offer mental health services to children, adolescents, parents and children, couples, and the whole family system. Whether its substance abuse, trauma, struggling mental health, or declining relationships, each person in the family is affected and has the power to create growth, change, and healing. Brooke Runion, Program Director, and her colleagues Charles Hawkins and Mitchell DeShazer, passionately provide professional, quality services for the betterment of children and families in this community. Brooke reflects, “Going to therapy does not mean that a person or family isn’t ‘normal’. It simply means that they are looking at their situation honestly and recognizing that more support and tools could provide greater understanding, relief, and possibilities.” Services offered through Gateway’s Children and Family Program include:
- Individual therapy for children, adolescents, and adults.
- Couples therapy
- Family therapy
- Family groups
- Parenting/co-parenting counseling
- Parent and child therapy
- Play therapy from a Registered Play Therapist under supervision
- Attachment-based therapy
- Reunification therapy
The mental health of a family is very important. Things do not have to get to rock bottom before someone needs to come to therapy. Individuals, couples, or families can sometimes get stuck or caught in a cycle they do not know how to get out of, and counseling can help them figure out what that next step is and how to work things out. One participant shared, “Our time in family therapy at Gateway has helped us feel like a family again. My son has really turned a corner and is back to his happy self, and even his grandparents have seen the change. He’s thriving in school and at home, and the boys are happy kiddos enjoying life. It feels pretty amazing just to live a happy life again.”
Anyone interested in learning more about Gateway’s Children and Family Program can contact Brooke Runion at 273-1170 x121 and visit www.gatewaytoprevention.org.