Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stages of Change

The process of change can be very difficult. Knowing where you are at in your change process can be a helpful tool in understanding your level of readiness and how to move forward to support your desire to change.

Stages of Change:

Precontemplation: You are not considering change at this stage. Other people may be encouraging change, but you may not see any need for change at this time.

Contemplation: You are thinking about a change, but are not ready to do anything about it yet. For example, you may think you need to lose weight but are not planning to make any behavior or dietary changes yet.

Preparation: You are beginning to develop a plan for change, but have not yet acted upon it.

Action: You have indicated the desire to change, made a goal for change, and created a plan which you are now implementing.

Maintenance: You have been implementing your change plan for a period of time and are achieving consistent, positive results. You continue to work at your plan and make any minor adjustments to support long term change.

Relapse: You revert back to old, unhealthy behaviors. You may re-enter at any stage when ready to begin the change process again.

Where are you at in your stage of change? Consider getting support at any stage to help fuel your success. For more information about how Open Doors Counseling can help you on your path to change, please call us at 602-499-9952 or visit our website at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Preventing Suicide: There is Hope

With all of the recent media coverage about the devastating loss of Robin Williams, we at Open Doors thought it would be helpful to provide some resources from the Suicide Prevention Center to help prevent suicide and support those individuals who deal with mental illness. Mental illness is a recoverable disease and there is always hope, help, and support to manage symptoms and lead a healthy and happy life. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please reach out!

*The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

*Some Suicide Warning Signs according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center are:
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Other behaviors may also indicate a serious risk—especially if the behavior is new; has increased; and/or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
Here are some ways to help someone who may be at risk for suicide:

1. If the danger of self harm seems imminent call 911
2. Stay with the person or make sure the person is in a safe place until you can get further help
3. Call the Lifeline or Maricopa County Crisis  (602-222-9444) for further guidance
4. Ask for a referral to a mental health provider
5. Stay in contact with the person and check in with them to see how they are doing, listen without judging and encourage them to follow up with a mental health professional

For more information or resources, please contact Open Doors Counseling at 602-222-9444.

Source: Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Power of Changing Our Thoughts

Our thoughts are very powerful in our lives. They can shape our emotions and play out into how we live our lives. Here are some common types of thinking errors that can lead you astray from the positive life you want to live:

-"All or Nothing" Thinking: Looking at things as black or white, and discounting the "grey" areas. Feeling like a failure if you can't do everything, instead of seeing the smaller accomplishments.

-Using the Word "Should": Focusing on what you didn't do and adding a layer of guilt.

-Catastrophizing: Creating a "mountain out of a molehill" and looking at things as a crisis or the end of the world when it is something small.

-Fortune telling: Focusing on the fact that if one experience was negative, then all experiences like that will be negative. Predicting the future to be negative.

-Using a Negative Mental Filter: Focusing only on the negative aspect of something.

Changing the way you think can have a profound effect on the way you feel. If you find yourself battling one (or more) of these thinking errors, try shifting the focus to the positive in the situation, looking at things from a different point of view, and asking yourself "does this thought make logical sense?" These techniques can help support a more positive way of thinking and change how you feel.

For more help in creating positive thoughts and emotions, contact Open Doors Counseling at 602-499-9952 or check out our website at

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coping with Anxiety

Anxiety is associated with symptoms of excessive worry that is difficult to control, restlessness, fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, muscle tension and sleep disturbances. It can affect many areas of life, including work, school, home and relationships. Managing anxiety can be a challenge, but here are a few tips that can help bring the symptoms down:

1. Grounding techniques help you focus on the "here and now" instead of the worry. Try using meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery and/or progressive muscle relaxation exercises to help "ground" you.

2. Develop a list of things that trigger your anxiety, and associate each with a strategy that helps decrease the stress. For example, if you have a big test, use a study or time management plan to help you proactively feel prepared.

3. Ask yourself "What can I control right now?" and tackle that task. This may help increase feelings of empowerment over the sense of worry.

4. Redirect the "what if's" to what you have evidence of. For example, if you are feeling "What if I fail?" redirect that to "I have had success in the past."

5. Develop a consistent healthy routine that includes nutrition, exercise and regular sleep routine.

If you are experiencing anxiety and want to seek professional assistance, please contact Open Doors Counseling, Coaching and Consulting at 602-499-9952 or visit our website at

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to create a well balanced and happy life

Ever see those people walking down the street, smiling and appearing truly happy? Are you one of those people? If you aren't one of them, here are some tips to create a happy and well balanced life:

1. Take a look at your level of happiness in the following areas: Personal, Family, Relationships, Work,and Health. Use a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the happiest and 1 being the lowest and rate each of these areas. Which areas were high, and which were low? With the low scoring areas, create a plan  with a few small goals to help bring more happiness and balance to that part of your life. For example, if you scored low in your relationships, look at what makes a relationship healthy for you and set healthy boundaries to respect your needs.

2. Take a look at whether your passions are present in your day to day life. Brainstorm what you are passionate about and include it regularly in your routine. If you love to sing, go to karaoke weekly! If you are a foodie, check out a new restaurant monthly. Be creative on how your passions are lived in your daily life.

3. Be around happy people. They will inspire you as well!

4. Focus on the good in each day instead of everything that went wrong. This goes back to the idea that what you pay attention to is what you get more of.

5. Create a "happy place." Make your environment a place that you enjoy being and that you can use to take a mental time out from the hustle and bustle. Whether it is a room in your home, a class you attend regularly, church, a vacation spot, or even a place you visualize in your mind-use you happy place to take a break when needed.

Getting started with these tips will help you jump start your journey to creating a well balanced and happy life! To learn more about counseling and coaching services that can take you even further on this journey, call Open Doors Counseling at 602-499-9952 or visit our website at

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Myths About Counseling Answered

As the first month of 2014 passes, many people have already given up on their New Year's resolutions. It is difficult to create change, especially if the patterns you are working on are deep rooted. Counseling can be a great way to understand the origins of these patterns, and develop healthy thoughts that support feelings of wellness and positive change. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about counseling that prevent many people from seeking assistance during their change process:

1. Going to counseling means I am crazy.
- Many people experience life situations and symptoms that make coping difficult, but it does not mean you are crazy. Your counselor can work with you on identifying coping skills to fit your particular unique situation in a non-judgmental environment.

2. I should be able to do it on my own.
- While you have many amazing strengths you bring to the table, it is hard for many people to make permanent change on their own without a support system. Counseling can provide a fresh perspective and positive support to help kick start your change in a new way.

3. They can't understand me if they have not been in my shoes.
- Because you are unique, no person can have the exact same experience as you. While your counselor may or may not have personal experience in the area of change you have identified, they can bring new thoughts, insights, and strategies that can apply to a wide variety of situations.

4. Nothing is going to change anyway.
- Change is created when energy is put into a new way of thinking or approaching something. While your counselor can help you through this process, you will also have to bring energy and effort into the process to create long term change. Together, you and your counselor can create a plan to help you reach the change you desire.

5. Counseling is too expensive.
- At Open Doors we strive to make counseling affordable to everyone. We contract with a variety of insurance plans and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP's) to be accessible through your health care coverage. We can also be creative with session length and frequency to make services affordable on any budget.

Don't give up on your New Year's Resolution just yet! Why not give counseling a try to see if you can find a new path toward creating the change you want in your life? Call us today at 602-499-9952 or visit us at to see how counseling can help you reach your goals for change.