Counseling For When Being an Adult Feels Like Too Much
Whatever brings you to counseling, here you are. You may be dealing with the stress of being a parent or caring for a parent. Or maybe your career has been your primary focus, and you can see that you need to find a better work-life balance, but you don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you’re still trying to find your career path after a unique or unconventional work history. In general, you’re trying to find some meaning and purpose in your life and looking to improve your relationships with others where you can feel accepted for who you are, just as you are.
Complicated Childhood and Adolescence
Being an adult can feel exhausting sometimes, and the reasons for this vary depending on your unique life experiences. In some cases, you might not have had positive adult role models growing up, and as a result, you had to learn things and navigate the world alone without much guidance from others. Looking back at your life, you may now recognize that some habits that helped get you to this point are no longer serving you. With this, you might also want to change and release the negative thoughts and beliefs you’ve been holding about yourself because of your childhood experiences.
Late Diagnosed Neurodivergence
In some other cases, you might feel exhausted because you are now suspecting as an adult that you are autistic or have ADHD or some other form of neurodivergence. Before this realization, your life may have felt difficult because of sensory processing issues, undiagnosed learning disabilities, executive functioning or communication challenges, and/or simply having a different worldview or perspective, which left you feeling like an outsider. While it feels validating to have a label that captures your experiences, you may now be processing what that means to you in terms of who you are. You may need to find ways to accommodate your sensory needs and structure your life so you can live your life as your best self.
You Are Not Alone- Counseling Can Help
If you see yourself in any of this, read on to learn more about how I work with adults seeking counseling to improve their lives. I know that change isn’t easy, but you don’t have to go through this alone. Joining you on the journey, the counseling services I provide can help you:
Work Through and Resolve Childhood Wounds
Work through and Resolve Childhood Wounds
Many people have experienced some form of trauma while growing up. Your family experience may not have been the quintessential loving family. Things may have happened to you during your childhood or adolescence that have left you feeling damaged.
For whatever reason, there was no trusted adult at the time you could confide in about what was going on. But now you’re ready to express, examine, and move through the pain. You’re ready to grow into your stronger, authentic self.
I’m here to help you in this growth; you are more than your past
Work with Transition and Change in Ways that Serve You
Nothing in life unfolds EXACTLY as you intend. While you can visualize what you want and are striving to create, you can never be 100% sure of the result. Things change. The constant flux of life can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, or confused.
Meaningful relationships in your life may have ended, or you may recognize that some relationships need to end. You may be diagnosed with challenging health conditions that require significant lifestyle changes. As you get older, you could be confronting reminders of your mortality, leaving you unsure of how to move forward.
Working together, we can find ways to move you forward.
Have more meaningful, harmonious relationships
Healthy relationships take work. Healthy relationships take work. For a relationship to thrive, you need to be able to communicate effectively. Sometimes the need to blow off steam can lead you to say things to someone you don’t mean. Other times you may find yourself at a loss for words.
Until you can connect with your own needs, you’ll be unable to communicate them to others. At the same time, you can’t fully recognize the needs of others without knowing your own.
Through the counseling relationship, you can discover what you need and learn how to communicate your needs to others.
Counseling can help with these things because the counseling relationship and the counseling process can support you in engaging in self-exploration and self-reflection. For example, incorporating mindfulness techniques can help you slow down and reconnect with yourself. Doing this can help you get in touch with your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present moment. From there, you can better understand yourself, examine other perspectives, and experiment with different ways of being better aligned with who you are and who you want to be.
Likewise, using music in our work together can help you go deeper into yourself and your feelings around situations in your life. That is because, by its nature, music is expressive and non-verbal, which can have a personally meaningful impact on people. As a result, you may come out of therapy with a new understanding of who you are and what you can accomplish.
Specific ways that you can benefit from integrating music therapy as part of your counseling work are:
Find Out What Is Important to You
Clarify values, boundaries, and needs
You may feel like you’re getting nowhere in life. If so, check in with yourself to see if you are in alignment with your values. Some questions you can ask are: What are your values? Are you allowing others to overstep your boundaries? What are your boundaries? How aware are you of what you’re creating in your life? Is your subconscious running the show?
Music provides a creative way to explore these thoughts and feelings.
Improve Your Communication
Learn how to express yourself effectively
Bottling up your thoughts and feelings can make your life more difficult in the long run. You may find yourself in unwanted or undesirable situations. When you feel stuck or trapped, you can experience feeling resentment, which can negatively impact your relationships.
Music therapy can help you express what needs expressing. At the same time, the insights you can gain from therapy can help you to express yourself clearly and respectfully. One way we can use music to do this is through improvisation. Improvisation can include role-playing and voicework. Music listening, discussion, and even songwriting can also be helpful.
Reconnect With Your Feelings
Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel
There is nothing inherently good or bad about feelings. Feelings are just natural responses to situations and experiences. Sometimes these responses have a basis on past experiences that can color your experience.
Your emotions have something deeply personal to tell you. Music therapy can help you hear them and receive the message. A few ways that music can do this is through improvisation, songwriting, or music discussion.
Gain New Perspectives
Learn to See Things Differently
There are no guarantees in life. Relationships end. Our carefully laid out plans can collapse. With this comes opportunities to learn and grow.
Maybe the experience is offering you an opportunity of some sort. Can you see what it is? Perhaps there are different perspectives at play. Is yours the only “right” one?
Music therapy provides a safe space for exploring these thoughts and ideas. At the same time, this safe space also fosters creativity. That is because engaging with music can lead to new awareness and insights. While at the same time, the therapeutic use of music through actively making it or listening to it allows for exploring different perspectives.
How People Have Benefited: Snapshots From My Work
Below are vignettes highlighting the counseling work I have done. These stories are composites of client experiences within therapy. As such, they do not represent any particular client. Instead, they illustrate ways that adults have benefited from working with me.
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth
Client with a history of sexual abuse
The focus of our work together was on helping them find their voice. My background in voice was a key reason they wanted to work with me. Yet, at the same time, they were reluctant to express themselves through their voice.
Initially, they would express themselves through improvising on the piano or percussion instruments. Sometimes they would ask me to play along, and other times they needed me to hold space and witness them playing. Eventually, they began to use their voice. In connecting with their voice and their breath, they reconnected with their body. Through our work together, they could identify a healthy, positive outlook for themselves.
Managing Feelings of Anxiety and Grief
Client with anxiety who recently experienced the ending of a relationship
For clients experiencing anxiety, breathing activities and vocalizing or singing can be helpful. And this was especially true in this situation. These activities helped the client to express their grief and manage their anxiety. They could do this because they could reconnect with their breath and body in the present moment.
Selecting meaningful songs was also helpful for the client. These songs helped the client to be able to process the relationship. Additionally, musical improvisations and music listening explored themes of empowerment and growth. These experiences helped them to envision and create their new life.
Finding Self-Worth and Meaning in Life
A client struggling with feelings of low self-worth after a divorce
As a result of their divorce, the client was questioning their relationship. They were seeking help in reclaiming who they were as a person worthy of love. Listening to music was a significant component of our work together. It helped them to gather their thoughts and process their feelings. They had things to say that needed to be heard by someone who wouldn’t judge them.
Music was also something that they wanted to reintegrate it their life again. We did this through playlists that facilitated life review and fostered empowerment. As well they began to play music again. Reconnecting with this part of themself provided them with a renewed sense of purpose. Through our work together, they became more self-assured and confident.
FAQs About The Counseling Services I Offer
I understand that you may still feel unsure and have more questions about counseling or music therapy. Because of this, here are some questions that people often ask me about my work with adults:
Logistics About Therapy
How long does therapy take, and how much does it cost?
The length of therapy varies by person and different factors, including their unique situation of what they’re looking for help with and schedule. Usually, there is a period of a few months wherein weekly therapy sessions are necessary. That is because we need to establish rapport and develop a treatment plan for starting the work together. Once that is in place, and we’ve made some progress together, sessions can taper off to meeting every two weeks to once a month.
Eventually, sessions will no longer be necessary. Although sometimes people find occasional check-ins to be helpful. While at other times, they find reward in transitioning to music lessons.
Generally, we will need to work together longer if your situation is complicated. Regarding payment, if you don’t wish to use insurance, music therapy and counseling services are $130 an hour. If you want to use your insurance, I am in-network with Aetna, Anthem BCBS (HMO and PPO), Cigna, Friday, Kaiser, Medicaid (through CCHA and Colorado Access), Triwest, and United Healthcare. If you have Aetna, Cigna, Friday, or Triwest, I will need to set up an account for you with SonderMindthat you will need to complete with your insurance and payment information for any co-pays or coinsurance that are part of your insurance plan.
Why I Work with Change and Transitions
Why do you do this work?
In my life, I have come to embrace change and transitions, although that is not to say that it’s not daunting at times. However, experience has shown me that finding ways to embrace change can lead to profound growth. I know it isn’t always easy to embrace change, and I recognize that it takes courage, but being able to live as one’s authentic self is worth it. Because of this, I honor the process my clients go through in our work together, and I love being able to help others get to the point where they can be their authentic selves.
How could music make therapy more effective for me?
Music can “amplify” the skills and insights gained from therapy. That is because music impacts us in many different, multifaceted ways. We are neurologically and physiologically hard-wired to respond to music. Moreover, music can connect us to unrecognized thoughts and feelings. At the same time while also serves as a means of communication and self-expression. We can create and investigate new ways of being by engaging with music.
I'm not musical. Can I benefit from music therapy?
Musical knowledge or ability isn’t necessary to benefit from music therapy. Therapy work focuses on the process rather than a final product, and music therapy isn’t necessarily about a performance. If needed, I will suggest accommodations or adaptations that make it easier for you to make music and embrace your creativity.
How is music therapy different from taking music lessons?
Music therapy and music lessons have very different goals and focus. The focus of music therapy is on achieving specific therapeutic goals unrelated to music. Music serves as a tool, a vehicle for personal exploration, growth, and development.
On the other hand, the focus of music lessons is musical development. Although, that isn’t to say that a person may not find music lessons therapeutic. Because of this, SoundWell provides adapted music lessons to those who may benefit from an adapted approach. See our Studio Policy for more information.
“Ok, I’m Convinced. I Want to Work With You. What Are the Next Steps?”
Congratulations on taking this first step in acknowledging that you might need help navigating your life right now. It takes courage and self-awareness to do so. Because of that, you deserve credit for getting to this point. I hope this information has been helpful, but you can contact me by email if you have more questions.
Otherwise, let’s schedule a time to talk. I offer a free 15-minute consultation by phone or online that you can schedule here. At this time, we’ll talk in more detail about your situation and how I might be able to help you.