Focusing in Couples Counseling, Mood Disorders, and Anxiety

Couples Counseling
 

The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. Caitlin has currently completed the level one training for Gottman Therapy and is planning on completing level two in the next year.

Interventions are designed to help couples strengthen their relationships in three primary areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. Couples learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts. Interventions designed to increase closeness and intimacy are used to improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals. Relapse prevention is also addressed.

Caitlin specializes in couples counseling for both heterosexual and non heterosexual couples. The state of Oklahoma recommends four sessions of couples counseling before marriage and will wave the marriage licensing fee if this is completed. Caitlin is currently booking these one month long, once a week sessions. Insurance will not cover these sessions.

 
Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are a category of mental disorders that describe a serious change in one's overall emotional state. Illness under mood disorders include: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder (mania - euphoric, hyperactive, over inflated ego, unrealistic optimism), persistent depressive disorder (long lasting low grade depression), cyclothymia (a mild form of bipolar disorder), and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

In treating mood disorders it is important to note that many people believe that they must live up to certain expectations in order to be accepted. In challenging this and similar beliefs, you will be able to come to terms with your symptoms and change your perceptions. Employing cognitive behavioral therapy techniques you will learn how to identify your core beliefs that are negatively impacting your thinking, learn how these beliefs are not always true, and ultimately change your thought process to reflect more positive and healthy thought patterns. 

Anxiety
 

Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations. This type of steady, all-over anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks (severe episodes of anxiety which often happen in response to specific triggers) and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is marked by persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsions to carry out specific behaviors (such as hand-washing).

Anxiety is first treated by establishing a trusting and collaborative relationship so that therapy sessions are not stressful. Techniques that focus on mindfulness and breath are used to help calm the body and keep the mind focused on the present. In many instances anxiety worsens when we focus on past events or future concerns. By learning about your own thought process you can rewire the way in which you perceive situations, lowering your anxiety.

LGBTQ+ Affirming
 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness "LGBTQ people with mental health conditions may also find themselves fighting a double stigma. Many will experience prejudice based on their sexual and/or gender identity as well as the stigma associated with mental illness. Confronting these challenges and mental health symptoms with an LGBTQ-inclusive therapist can lead to better outcomes, and even recovery." Caitlin is open and affirming to all within the LGBTQ+ community and especially enjoys working with couples within this population. 

Contact Me

For any questions you have, you can reach me here:

Caitlin Stensrud MS, LPC, NCC

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