We’re Moving!

LifePaths’ blog is moving to a new web address.  I’ve incorporated the blog in with my main website.  All of the same content that is here has been moved, and from here on out, new information will go on the new blog.  You can find it at:


If you are a subscriber here or just came here to subscribe, I hope you will follow the link and subscribe at the new location!



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Trauma in Female Veterans



(photo shared from article at link above)

PsychCentral posts a number of great articles but this one (link above) caught my eye today.  The article cites some startling statistics on sexual assault against women in the military.  What really got me though is that the young woman portrayed in the article saw horrific things while deployed in Afghanistan, was in a vehicle that was struck by an IED, but the trauma that was most difficult for her was the sexual assault by her commanding officer that she couldn’t talk about.  She felt she couldn’t talk about this because of an enduring atmosphere in the military that blames the victim and discourages reporting.

This is sad of course, and I know officially the military is trying to change this.  A social problem as big as this often feels hopeless and it leaves you wishing you could do something while you also believe that nothing you do will make a difference.

I’m really going to ask the question though anyway.  What could you do?  I’m interested in your thoughts on this but I’m also going to add a few ideas as well.

If you are a counselor like me, you could sign up to provide pro bono therapy at http://www.giveanhour.org.  Check them out, they are a great organization.  As a counselor, this may give you an opportunity to make a difference, one person at a time.  It may be someone who was the victim of a sexual assault.  It may even be a perpetrator, consumed by guilt or shame.

Any of us could make a difference – one person at a time.

One “thank you” to a veteran or person active in the military.

One moment when you can vocalize support in some way for victims of sexual assault in the military to speak out.

One offer of support to someone you know who is or has been in the military, whatever that support may be…a listening ear, an acknowledgment of a job well done, or ??

by Catherine Wilson MA LPC NCC

LifePaths Counseling




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Why You Might Consider Group Counseling

 If you’ve never been in a group for counseling, you may be wondering what it would be like and if it would be helpful to you.  Group counseling can be a great benefit for many reasons.


 Support from others with the same goals.  Groups are usually centered on a specific issue such as self-improvement, grief, depression or anxiety.  When you work on an issue that is challenging you with a group, you are not only working with a skilled counselor but also with others who want to improve their lives in the same way.  You are all working towards the same goals and offer support to each other.  Group members often feel that the compassion and empathy they feel from others in their group carries a lot of weight because it comes from people who really know what dealing with that issue really means.


There are multiple perspectives to learn from.  The others in the group are often at different stages in their work – this brings in the perspectives of people who have been where you are, allowing you to learn from what worked for them or didn’t.  You may also be further along than others, allowing you to share what has worked for you and reminding you of how far you have come in your own work. 


You help others, too.  Group members will often feel a sense of satisfaction from being able to help others as well as feeling helped.


Lower cost than individual counseling.  Group counseling usually is a lower fee than individual counseling, making it easier to afford this type of counseling, and allowing you to possibly participate longer than you would have otherwise.



You might have some concerns about being in a group for counseling.  A common concern is that it will be difficult to talk and share information with a bunch of strangers.  I have noticed that it doesn’t take long before you realize that each person in a group is searching for ways of coping with the same type of things you are and it doesn’t take long before the group is talking about sharing with ease.  The process of giving and receiving acceptance from others overshadows this concern within a short time.


A second common concern is the time commitment.  Groups are often set up on a specific day and time and you are expected to participate in a minimum number of sessions if you join.  You can always search for groups of a relatively short duration (we run groups that are six week commitments) for the topic you are interested in.  You also may simply go ahead and join – group members often find that the structure and expectation of a group is helpful, and that the commitment to self growth actually fuels a sense of accomplishment and self esteem.


A topic of interest may already be on your mind, or you may be searching for a general self improvement group.  Searching for a group through http://www.meetup.com, or with a Google search may be one of your first steps.  If you are in the Denver area, sometimes groups will be posted on the events page at The Denver Post.  And if you do have a specific topic in mind, you may find websites that deal with that topic, that list groups in geographic areas for you to choose from. 


If you’ve been able to find groups at a specific site, feel free to leave a comment and let others know how to find it.  I’d also be interested to hear of specific groups or any thoughts you have about groups in general.

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Tips for Parents of College-Aged Children

I just ran across this succinct and valuable set of tips for parents who are struggling with “letting go” when their children go to college.  It is tough to make this transition – I hope the ideas she shares are helpful!

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What’s missing in your weight loss strategy?

We have all heard this over and over – from friends, family, on television, in ads, and more.  People struggle to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.  They have the science of it down – and it’s as simple as can be for most people – eat less, exercise more.  And yet, the extra pounds stay or they come back much too soon.

What is often missing is important changes in our mental state, whether that is our thoughts, our beliefs, or our emotional patterns.

You have some choices on how to approach this.  Many people approach it from a self-help perspective and read books or get advice from others.  Sometimes a person uses a particular diet or treatment.  One thing you may not have thought of though, is to add counseling to these other methods to help achieve your weight management goals.

I’m not talking about nutritional counseling, which is greatly beneficial and a valuable part of any weight management plan.  Many diet, weight loss and wellness centers have a nutritional counselor available and learning from this person helps you to understand the science of weight loss and weight management.  It is information you need to succeed.  In this article I’m actually talking about getting to the heart of what is holding you back.   Working with a counselor can help you uncover what is blocking you from reaching your goals and learn ways to overcome it.  This also gives you information you need to help yourself succeed at managing your weight for the rest of your life.

You may be wondering what kind of things you would talk about with a counselor when you are trying to lose weight.  Let’s talk about this in terms of thoughts, beliefs, and emotions as I mentioned above.

Thoughts:   Discovering our common negative thoughts or distorted thought patterns can help change perspective in a healthy way.  For instance, if you have a tendency towards using “all or nothing” thinking, you might chastise yourself after a small break from your weight loss strategy by saying to yourself, “I am NEVER going to lose the weight I want!”  A more realistic and healthy way of talking to yourself is to say, “Okay, it was just one slip and it doesn’t mean I have completely derailed my strategy, I will do a little better tomorrow.”

Beliefs:  It is a very unfortunate part of human nature that we tend to more easily believe negative thoughts, and the negative opinions of others, than we do the positive ones.   It is as if negative thoughts are on a superhighway right to our core beliefs.  Positive thoughts take a lot more effort to instill as beliefs about the self.  The power our beliefs have is amazing.

Emotions:  This one packs a lot of punch.  Emotions sabotage our best efforts at weight loss in many ways.  The term “emotional eating” is often used, and it describes the way we often eat because we are bored, angry, frustrated, lonely, sad, or any of the other uncomfortable feelings.  It is very easy to get into a pattern of not being aware of whether you’re even hungry, and yet eating something – anything! – to soothe the discomfort you are feeling emotionally.

A counselor can help you discover where emotions, thoughts or beliefs may be blocking your weight loss goals.  Working with a counselor can also help you stay motivated, provide someone to be accountable to, and he or she can also provide a compassionate and non-judgmental place for you to explore options that will work best for you.

Working with a counselor might also include talking about the following ideas:

Coping skills and self-care – Learning coping skills and self care are particularly important to combat emotional eating.  We have a self-care handout on our website at http://www.littletonweightlosscounseling.com which may help you find ideas for self care that appeal to you.

Self-control – Learning self-control may be an area that could use some work, too.  First take some time for introspection…which areas of your life are working well, and which are not?  Can you identify differences that may be important – for instance if you can identify what helps you maintain self control in getting work done in your career, can you apply some of that to your weight loss efforts?  You can ask others what works for them in areas that you struggle with.   You can also try to gradually increase your ability to maintain self-control in difficult areas for you, a little at a time.

Other types of therapy/counseling – You may be a candidate for alternative types of counseling.  Not every type of therapy works for every person, and there are many options.  For instance, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) has traditionally been used for trauma recovery such as with military veterans but in recent years the use of this type of therapy has been expanded to many other uses.  Our counselors sometimes use a type of EMDR called Performance Enhancement to take a person to a higher achievement level in reaching their goals, whatever those goals may be.  Another option may be engaging in a group for weight loss counseling, or a general self-improvement group.

Self-esteem – One area that is closely tied to thoughts, beliefs and emotions is self-esteem, and this alone has a powerful effect on a person, often in many areas of life.  If you decide to work on self-esteem in counseling, you may find that this alone changes your outlook on weight loss and weight management, while also improving your sense of self-worth and self-confidence.

Any of these ideas may become a part of counseling for you.  Your situation is unique

Catherine Wilson, LPC

LifePaths Counseling



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Building Self Confidence

I ran across a YouTube video the other day about building self-confidence.   I love TED talks – they are usually about 15-20 minutes and are delivered by speakers who are considered an authority on the topic they are discussing.  Dr. Ivan Joseph makes a couple of great points in this talk.  One of these is that repetition is necessary to build self-confidence.  No one just decides one day to have it, you have to practice and take steps to create it.  It is a skill!  The second is that self-talk is extremely important.  You need to make a conscious effort to eliminate negative self-talk and create more positive self-talk for yourself.

I hope you enjoy it too!

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LifePaths is now offering groups!

LifePaths has just begun offering group counseling on several topics.  You can find more information at our website, and the current groups starting in June are focused on:

Self Improvement

Goddesses in Every Woman

Soul Image Renovation

Domestic Violence Recovery

More information at:  http://www.lifepathscounseling.com/groupcounseling.html


Posted in Counseling, Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence, Life Transitions, Relationships, self esteem, Stress, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment