Depression and Anxiety Help: Deep Wounds?

Depression and anxiety are all too common in our society with our busy and demanding life-styles. Despite having so much available to us and easy connection to more and more people with the click of a button, complaints of both continue to rise. Though depression and anxiety are triggered by current stressors and circumstances, the cause may be rooted in deeper emotional wounds. These wounds most often originate early in life as we attempt to cope with and navigate experiences in our homes and environments that are out of our control, hurtful, scary, chaotic, embarrassing, and possibly traumatic. We begin to develop beliefs about ourselves and the world around us that influence the way that we think and perceive new experiences, and thus the way we respond to events and challenges in our lives.

The beliefs we develop based on early emotional wounds may make it difficult to accept that life is going well and so worry about when things will fall apart. We may even self-sabotage, or get in our own way, our happiness, success and goals with procrastination and other behaviors because of fear or underlying beliefs about self-worth. We may notice that we tend to get stuck in a hole of feeling down and disconnected and find it almost impossible to crawl out. The feeling may be just a general sense of not feeling well and at our best which can be frustrating to say the least. We may or may not be able to point to a cause of these feelings and so feel overwhelmed with life.

Early emotional wounds, when triggered, impact our lives in many ways and we respond automatically without a conscious decision. These automatic responses are based on beliefs such as “I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough, I’m a fraud, I’m not safe, I’m not in control, I’m inadequate, I’m weak, I can’t trust others” and a host of others. We may not be aware of these underlying scripts but are all too familiar with the ways they affect our lives.

Memory includes the body and our experiences, especially negative and traumatic ones, are stored in our nervous system. When similar feelings as early emotional wounds are triggered, our bodies respond to the perceived threat, real or imagined. We all tend to have our go to response. For some, this is the sympathetic nervous system that activates the fight or flight response and body sensations related to anxiety. For others, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated which causes us to freeze and shut down. The symptoms here, when stuck, are related to depression. We do not have to remain stuck in either shock response and can learn how to better regulate our emotions and emotional response.

In therapy, we can begin to identify and heal early emotional wounds connected to trauma or negative life experiences. This permits us to move toward a fuller and more adaptive way of viewing ourselves and relating to our life. We may not have considered that our depression or anxiety is driven by our childhood, adolescent, or early adult experiences. Healing and relief of symptoms can be found through such an exploration. Therapy can help us to be aware of the thinking and beliefs that limit us and help to remove these limiting beliefs by healing the emotional wounds and opening ourselves to a more integrated and fulfilling life. This healing will connect us with our own strengths and resiliency that is ever available to us and open us to new possibilities of being.

The Boca Raton therapists at Morgan Center will work with you in uncovering, identifying, and healing possible emotional wounds from trauma that may contribute to your depression or anxiety. We want to help you move beyond both depression and anxiety. Morgan Center provides a safe and empathetic space in which to heal and grow and our therapists are skilled in treating trauma and the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Individual counseling can help to alleviate these difficult conditions. Seek help and get relief by calling (561) 366-2476 or book an appointment online now.


Impact of Perception on Depression and Anxiety

When we are rigidly fixed to any one role, the loss or fear of loss can bring us depression, fear and anxiety.  The anticipation of change and its uncertainty can consume us.  Depression is lamenting about the past and anxiety is fretting about the future. Neither allows us to touch our lives here and now and connect with a more extensive view and understanding of ourselves.  Depression and anxiety tend to keep us stuck.  They can fuel an inner dialogue that limits our potential, creativity, and openness to life.  This inner dialogue stirs emotions that are real, because we feel them, but not true because they are most often based on incomplete and false narratives that we allow to define our reality. Our perceptions color our reality.  This means that much of our reality, our life, is based on how we define it within ourselves.  We have all experienced days when we have felt down, melancholy, and see the positive in nothing.  On the other hand, when we wake up feeling positive the day is bright even if it brings challenges.  If we can see ourselves from the broader and deeper perspective we learn that we are much bigger than any one role. We begin to be available to learning opportunities in every experience, whether we perceive it as good or bad.  We begin to tap into our inner resources and strengths when we permit ourselves to access them.  The obstacles are the stories we tell ourselves and these stories, again, fuel depression and anxiety. For some they become a habitual loop that plays over and over again.

Life is constantly fluid and evolving.  Change is inevitable.  The roles we play today may not be the ones we embody tomorrow.  How we respond to change can result in suffering, fear, and anxiety. However, if we change our perspective we can be open and receptive to life and the ever-present opportunity for growth.  We often experience significant stress (including fear and anxiety) when we experience something we perceive as a loss.  We may experience a form of loss as retirement, loss of a job, a divorce or break up, the loss of a loved one, or illness.  In these circumstances, some feel helpless, experience fear, and suffer with anxiety.  Those who seek to find opportunity in difficult times often begin to have new and refreshing experiences. They may experience the transformation of sadness into joy, sickness into health, fear into gratitude, and anxiety in to peace. Change allows plants to ripen and fruit, children to grow and learn, adversity to turn to victory, and pain to transform once again to happiness.  We can remain present even during unstable times and become aware of a deeper part of ourselves that allows us to live full lives despite how we perceive the twists and turns of life.  It is important to understand that regardless of what we have lost, or what has changed, we are still whole at our core; we are not simply the roles we play. Through this learning, depression and anxiety may be reduced.

How do we do it? One way we may see ourselves as more than the roles we play is to embark on a journey of increasing self-awareness that leads us to better understand ourselves in an ever-changing world.  Such a journey requires us to seek that constant part of ourselves that remains steady despite outer circumstances and allows us to draw from inner resources and strength.  To foster this journey of self-awareness, we only need to ask ourselves the questions that help to guide us toward deeper meaning and purpose, however we define that.

Such questions help to expand and deepen our awareness of ourselves in the world.  They lead us to uncover blocks that prevent us from living our true purpose, such as rigidly held views or old patterns of thinking.  Make space for some quiet time apart, get in touch with the breath, and quietly explore these questions.  Listen without expectations and allow your inner resources to come up in their own time.  You may want to journal any insights that arise.

“Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.” -Viktor Frankl

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is, “Who am I?” As we ask this question, typical answers arise, such as, “a mom” or “a lawyer.” And as we keep asking this question and listening for the answers, we start to realize that we are more than a parent, a sibling, our career choice, and more than our past mistakes and successes.

When we keep asking the question and start to get beyond the obvious answers, what happens? Answers start to come. First, we identify the external anchors of our identity. But as we keep asking the question, “who am I?” the true answers become clearer. Our internal truth starts to arise.

Answers to this question can allow us to begin exploring our individual wants, needs, and authenticity to create a more meaningful life.  Exploring this question allows us to open, even when we are afraid, to the greater reality that we are, to question the inner dialogue, and connect with our true selves.  Are you willing to ask the question, “who am I?”

Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress – Managing to Enjoy the Season

Holiday stress aside, this is an exciting and inviting time of year.  The atmosphere is vibrant with the colors of celebration with family and friends.  The spark of our inner child shines with the warmth of the season and the joy it represents.  As a child, this simply meant soaking it all in and enjoying the lights, food, sweets, and gifts.  As an adult, it can be stress inducing.  We are aware of the time, preparation, and stress that comes with the season.  The holidays, though wonderful, can bring about anxiety and tension if we are not diligent in managing our time, setting boundaries, and taking good care of ourselves in the process.  The holidays can remain a fun and loving experience if we do not lose ourselves in the expectations and angst that often come with trying to create the ideal holiday experience.  Selecting gifts, cooking, attending holiday parties, hosting guests and being with family for extended periods of time can take a toll.  Old wounds and tensions can arise and we may get caught up in the physical and emotional pressure and exhaustion.  So, it is important to take time in advance to consider how you can create a loving and peaceful holiday season that is enjoyable and jolly.

Practical Guide to Managing Stress

Following are some ideas that may help you to better manage the season to avoid holiday stress and maintain peace in your heart!

  • Leave politics at the door. We’ve just been through a contentious election process and we are indeed sensitive to the opinion and position of others.  The country appears divided but that does not mean that we should be!  There is plenty of time throughout the year to voice your thoughts and no one’s opinion will change over a dinner discussion that very well may alienate someone and hurt feelings.
  • If feelings have been hurt, forgiveness and acceptance may be the way. Setting healthy boundaries and not letting them push your buttons will help you more easily deal with uncomfortable and trying situations.
  • Plan your season and decide what you want and don’t want to do. You can say “No” so that you can better manage time and tasks and not be left exhausted.  Maintain your energy so you can enjoy the most important parts of the season.  You are not obligated to participate in everything and you can bow out early if needed.
  • Expect that things will not be ideal. As much as we plan and labor, things do not always live up to our expectations.  The holiday does not have to be perfect and neither do you!
  • If family is far away and you’re unable to join them, get out and about and enjoy places where lights, music, and cheer are waiting. You can also take advantage of the season of giving by helping those in need.
  • Remember the reasons for the season: friendship, family, love, and cheer.  You don’t have to overextend your wallet to enjoy the company of others.
  • Rest and take time for yourself. Exercise and use healthy coping skills to manage your mood and attitude.
  • Keep it simple! The holiday does not have to be elaborate or complex, neither do the gifts, to be enjoyable.  Simplifying allows you to relax into the season in a calmer and more thoughtful way.
  • Be mindful! Not just in meditation, which is a sure way to reduce stress and anxiety but, in daily activities like moving, eating, and shopping.
  • As the holiday winds down, be aware of changes in mood as you get back to life as normal. Plan some personal time at the end of the season and recuperate and regenerate.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Season

These tips can help you to slow down and have space to enjoy the season and the time you choose to spend with others.  Think about what makes the holiday special for you and make sure to include these fun and heartwarming gifts to yourself.  May your holiday season be warm and full of joy.

Jody Morgan is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. He focuses on treating those affected by trauma, depression and anxiety. He is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and an EMDR Certified clinician. Contact Morgan Center at 561-366-2476.

Living an Affirmative Life – an LBGTQ Discussion

The LGBTQ community faces many unique concerns . As a therapist who understands these concerns, I am honored to help you live an affirmative life and remove barriers to living your full potential. The LGBTQ community faces issues that deserve to be addressed in a responsible, supportive, and affirmative way. Whether an adolescent coming to terms with his or her identify or a committed couple trying to navigate family issues, Morgan Center can help.

LBGTQMorgan Center offers a safe place in which clients can relax in a welcoming environment – one that is supportive and understanding. Judgment is left at the door.  We understand that clients want to feel comfortable with a therapist who understands them.

Clients may seek counseling when dealing with coming out issues, intolerance and bullying at school or work, economic and workplace inequality, relationship and family dilemmas, substance abuse, rejection and violence, aging and the needs of older adults, and health related issues.  Because LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers, it is important to develop healthy coping skills.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

Maya Angelou

The experiences of LGBTQ people vary as do their responses to those experiences.  The ability to manage and cope with stress is an important skill in day-to-day living.  Messages about sexual orientation and gender identity often become internalized and can develop into negative beliefs. These beliefs can color perceptions of one’s self and the world.  These beliefs can generate shame and constrict life experience. Further, self-limiting beliefs can hinder authenticity and thus one’s ability to reach full potential.

If you are seeking support, know that there is a place that affirms who you are and will treat you and your family with dignity.  The therapists at Morgan Center are available to help you and your family in both individual and couples counseling to overcome obstacles and live the life you deserve.  Call today – (561) 366-2476.

Happiness as a goal?



Happiness – we all want to be happy.  A common thread that unites people worldwide, happiness is a lifelong journey. How do we define happiness and what does it look like?  It is certainly big business.  We see this in the many self-help books that are available as well as the bombardment of television and radio advertisements that sell their idea of happiness.  Yet happiness is often elusive, especially when based on the acquisition of some “thing”.  We feel it in the moment and then a sense of dissatisfaction slowly creeps back in.  In the culture of instant gratification, we find that happiness is short-lived without some external stimuli to replace the one we’ve grown bored with.  So how do we develop skills to nurture a more enduring sense of happiness?

“Happiness is not a goal:  it is a by-product”.  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

It is often said that happiness is subjective.  The subjectivity refers to satisfaction with life, or how we assess our own life.  The emotion of happiness is related to that assessment and what we do to maintain and increase our level of satisfaction.  So, simply said, happiness is in the doing.  We create our happiness by our actions which influence the way we think and feel.  This is the classic cognitive behavioral connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they influence each other.  If we engage in behaviors that add meaning and purpose to our lives, then the way we think and feel will be positively affected.

Happiness Within Reach

So here are some practical activities we can put into practice that can generate a more lasting sense of happiness and create a more fulfilled life:

  • Gratitude – Developing a sense of appreciation refocuses our attention on what we have as opposed to what we lack. It helps us to be thankful for the goodness we have in our lives in the present moment.  Many studies link a greater sense of happiness and wellbeing to gratitude ( Also, watch this interesting TED Talk on this.
  • Forgiveness – This is an act of kindness we offer ourselves. It allows us to let go of resentments and free ourselves of the burden we are carrying with us.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean to forget or allow others to mistreat us, but it does provide space to move forward in a more flexible and open way and allow room for joy.
  • Service – Doing something for others, even simple actions, adds meaning and fulfillment to our lives and fosters personal growth.  Find ways to give of your time such as volunteering, helping a friend, or supporting a cause.
  • Fun – Take some time to consider what you like to do and take action. Increasing fun activities such as creative hobbies, socializing, sports, reading, or whatever it may be makes us feel more positive and gives a sense of accomplishment.
  • Stay connected – Nurturing friendships and other relationships, including family, can provide an enduring sense of wellbeing and pleasure. It allows us to feel supported.
  • Manage stress – We cannot control all the factors in life and challenges will certainly arise. So, it is important that we find meaningful and helpful ways to manage the stress effectively.  Find what works. Consider activities such as exercise, talking to a friend, creating personal time, meditation, or any other self-care tool that maximizes wellbeing.
  • Strengths – Acknowledge strengths that help you to be your best. Spend time developing them and putting them into practice in new ways daily.  This will help you to increase self-esteem which makes you feel better.  Using your strengths in new ways also lends energy to better manage our weaker areas.
  • Spiritual practice – Being spiritual does not only apply to religious practices. It can also be a way for us to care for our soul/spirit the way we would care for our body.  These can be as simple as a relaxing day at the beach, a walk in nature, reading an uplifting book, journaling, yoga, meditation, or any other practice that opens the heart and uplifts the soul.
  • Acceptance – We are human beings and we are not perfect. When we let go of the self-judgment and guilt and begin to practice forgiveness, understanding, kindness, generosity, and compassion with ourselves, we bring about more peace of mind and validate our own innate worthiness.  Recognize that life is journey of becoming.

And don’t forget to smile, a lot!!

The Boca Raton Therapists at Morgan Center for Counseling and Wellbeing are available to help you manage any challenges and increase your happiness and wellbeing.  For more information call (561) 366-2476.

Anxiety Counseling, Depression and Self-Talk

anxiety counseling

Anxiety counseling and stories we tell ourselves

Stories are the fabric of reality. They permeate our very existence. We crave stories on a daily basis. Stories told in our conversations, the books we read, and the movies we watch. Stories form the myths of all civilizations and reveal something about the psychology and worldview of a people. We too tell ourselves stories. These stories flow up from the roots of our being based on our culture and background, our life experiences, and our joys and fears. They color our perceptions of every experience we have. They reveal an inner dialogue that we may not be consciously aware of. Waking up and listening to the stories we tell ourselves can help us better navigate the ups and downs of life and provide more choices in how we respond. When we look to resolving negative emotions through various forms of anxiety counseling, we can consider these stories and how they might be affecting our lives and moods.

What are these stories?

Using a simple scenario, let’s say you are dating someone. Your partner decides to end the relationship. You feel devastated and begin to question everything about yourself. You may say “I’m not pretty or handsome enough” or “I’ll never meet someone like him/her.” You may even say “I’m not good enough and s/he wanted someone better.” Imagine the impact that has on an already hurtful (in most cases) situation. The event is the breakup and the story drives how we respond to it. In this case it would most probably increase the period of depression and recovery. Our stories are often told in the negative and filter down to an idea of lack. In other words, we question our worthiness and often believe, though unaware, that we are not good enough. These stories may actually have nothing to do with the scenario that occurred.

Why do we tell ourselves these stories?

Our underlying story comes from our life experiences, the impact they have had on us, and our own insecurities that are the result. The story is automatic and runs on continuous play unless we intervene. It has been blown out of proportion as social media has taken hold and we see the lives of others on display at every turn. We compare ourselves to those who we believe to be more successful, better looking, more popular, and seeming to live life to the fullest. The comparison enhances the story in a “see I told you so” tale. The problem is that we see only what they want us to see. We are more likely to display our life when things are going well and keep private the struggles we face. So our stories of not being good enough, of lacking, continue to unfold and further damage our self-esteem. In short, they are unnecessarily self-defeating. These stories project themselves to the past as we judge ourselves for things we did or did not do which can lead to depression. They also flow out into the future as we create a narrative of worst case scenarios and failure which increase anxiety. From the “I’m not good enough” root we come up with “I can’t”. Sometimes “I can’t” is a healthy statement when setting boundaries, but not when it comes from a self-limiting form of thinking. Believing our negative stories can certainly limit our choices.  Consider how you would react if a friend or family member told you that you are not worth it, not good enough, or stupid. I can only imagine! So why are we so keen on believing our own inner dialogue that most often is not reasonable, not helpful, not based on facts, and is unrealistic? We can see how this flow of negativity fosters depression, anxiety, shame, fear, and many other feelings.

Anxiety Counseling and Narrative Therapy – Changing the story!

Consider that we have an internal experience and an external (environmental) experience. Emotions, thoughts, and judgments are internal experiences and all that we do, see, hear, et cetera are the external. The external event is what it is. How we perceive it and how it impacts us is driven by our story or stories. Changing the story requires us to slow down and become aware of the internal dialogue that is subtly, or not so subtly, taking place. We listen for the words we are using to describe ourselves. It requires a vulnerability which can be an uncomfortable place. We like to move past that vulnerable place as quickly as possible. Vulnerability is a strength. In that space the inner story most often reveals itself and where our work takes place. It is a place of discovery. We need to know what we are working with in order to change it. So vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. It means being open, in touch, and flexible with yourself. Some find journaling a great conduit to help reveal the story. We can then start asking ourselves important questions about the story. Is it relevant? Is it helpful? What proof do I have that substantiates it? What are other, more empowering, stories that are available to me? There are many available perspectives on any given situation. So I ask, is the one you are using to describe yourself and the world a hindrance, increasing depression and anxiety, or is it a useful tool moving you toward a healthier, more dynamic idea of who you are?

We are the authors of our lives. We write the prose of our relation to self and the world. The words you choose have great significance on how we live and operate in the world. We co-create our reality in each moment. Challenges arise and our story shapes whether they are a barrier or an opportunity. It affects whether we remain a victim or empowered. It influences our ability to move forward with optimism. Narrative therapy is a method of changing these stories. The Boca Raton therapists at Morgan Center offer anxiety counseling.

Anxiety counseling with the Boca Raton therapists at Morgan Center for Counseling and Wellbeing are available to help you increase self-awareness and manage underlying self-talk that may increase and prolong depression and anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression consider contacting the therapists at Morgan Center for Counseling and Wellbeing.

Marriage Counseling – Can it Help?

marriage counselingMaking the decision to seek marriage counseling is often a challenging process. Fear kicks in with the uncertainty of outcome, losing control of self and partner, disclosing your personal feelings, and even admitting there is a problem. These fears are common but do not have to stop you from getting help.

In my experience, couples enter counseling with fear as the underlying culprit. Fear can hinder communication, clouds our perception of issues, keeps us in a protective stance of defense. These reactions prevent us from feeling heard and appreciated and certainly prevent us from hearing our partner. They also obstruct change and lock us into negative cycles that stifle the relationship and increase overall frustration. And communication is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy relationship.

The time spent in marriage counseling should be a safe place for each of you to explore the issues, find common ground, recognize the negative patterns, and seek solutions. Marriage counseling is not about blaming or changing your partner but learning to be accountable for your own growth while, at the same time, reconnecting to the common values you share and to what is working in the relationship. You each have strengths and differences that can, and should, enrich your relationship.

Marriage counseling can help you to see how each of you contribute to the issues and how each of you can be part of the solution. Therapy should be solution-focused and not just problem oriented. We focus on specific actions each person can take to improve communication and become more fulfilled in the relationship.

We too often lose sight of what we love and appreciate about our partner and it is alright to say we need help. No relationship is perfect. However, achieving a vibrant, loving and mutually respectful relationship requires attention and dedication.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
– Maya Angelou

Do not let fear stop you from improving your relationship and quality of life. Marriage counseling can help you gain a new perspective and thus a new opportunity for change and growth together.

What to Expect in Marriage Counseling

Here are a few things to expect in marriage counseling:

  • A safe and empathetic environment to share feelings and issues
  • Returning to the basics of appreciation and gratitude
  • Temporary feelings of vulnerability as issues are discussed
  • Learning skills to be supportive during this process
  • Improved ability to communicate and listen to one another
  • Understanding core emotions and how to communicate one’s needs
  • Personal growth by being accountable and responsible for yourself and your own happiness
  • Increased understanding of negative cycles that keep you stuck and ways you can make lasting changes
  • Get in touch with your core values – knowing what is important to you
  • Reduction in relationship pitfalls such as criticism and generalizations
  • Building on friendship and things that are working in the relationship

The Boca Raton Therapists at Morgan Center use the latest therapy modalities to help you address your relationship issues and achieve a happier life. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at (561) 366-2476.

ACT Therapy (Acceptance and Commitment)

ACT Acceptance and Commitment TherapyWhen faced with unpleasant experiences resulting in anxiety, depression, and emotional pain, it is only natural for a person to attempt to avoid such feelings and fight against them. Research has shown that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. Each can, and does, influence the others in both positive and negative ways. Feeling depressed influences how we perceive, or think, about the world in a negative and pessimistic way and can lead us to isolate. Accomplishing a difficult or exciting task, on the other hand, may foster a joyful feeling and thoughts of competence. Fearful thoughts bring anxiety and precipitate avoidance of many mundane activities. It is generally when our internal experience causes suffering that problems ensue.

It is difficult for many of us to “get out of our heads.” The internal experience of thoughts and emotions are so powerful that they can, when negative and chronic, subdue and limit us. The way we think and feel so color our perceptions of ourselves and the world that we tend to identify with them and allow them to create our reality. The problem that arises from thoughts and emotions is not the form and intensity, but their excessive literal quality. In other words, the internal self-talk may not accurately reflect what is happening externally – yet we believe it.   Cognitive Behavioral Therapy proposes challenging and changing the negative thinking which can be difficult.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, takes a different approach. It suggests that we accept these internal experiences, though distressful, and continue to actively work toward desired goals. In this understanding, we learn that we have the power to find fulfillment and make changes in the midst of suffering and not wait indefinitely until the absence of it.

“Life is a process of becoming, of conditions arising and passing…”
– Joseph Goldstein

ACT researchers have emphasized the benefit of acquiring new behaviors, rather than eliminating symptoms. Thoughts and emotions are impermanent, though in the moment we feel as though no relief will come. Through action, however; we can facilitate change even in the most difficult of circumstances. The idea is to remain present with the experience. ACT proposes that our attempt to avoid unpleasant experiences only perpetuates the suffering. Remaining present, however; allows for behavior to be more flexible and in tune with the world around us. Avoidance only provides temporary relief and we often find ourselves engaged in the same struggle over and over again.

The acceptance aspect of ACT does not mean that we simply accept all circumstances apathetically. It is more accurate to say that we live and act despite difficult circumstances. This process allows us to recognize the constricting and limiting aspect of problematic thinking that have the power to dominate and obscure other aspects of our lives. This thinking is often inaccurate and self-fulfilling. ACT works to help us recognize that our internal experience does not have to hinder our commitment to engage our lives in meaningful ways. Thoughts have no inherent meaning in and of themselves other that what we ascribe them. We have the power to define our reality.

Values that give us personal meaning to life are more defining of our reality. ACT helps us to explore what is important to us and then connect these to goals that motivate us to enhance, maintain, and live by these values. In order for personal goals to be achieved, a commitment to action is needed. As we continue living in a desired way, we further understand the distinction between the internal and external experience and further recognize the strength we have to enhance our lives and empower ourselves.

Finally, it is important to understand that we are not our problems or our problem-thinking. When we separate ourselves from an experience, we gift ourselves the opportunity to remember that there are other parts of our identify beyond the restrictive and self-limiting aspect of any thought, belief, or circumstance. This broadening allows us to identify with any number of life experiences allowing us to develop an alternate story that is more in line with who we want to be. These internal processes are impermanent and as such arise and fall. It is we who cling to them and attempt to have them define our entire being.

Boca Raton Therapists at Morgan Center use ACT techniques and want to help you live a full and meaningful life. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Jody Morgan, LCSW at (561) 366-2476.

Anxiety Counseling

Hope for Fear and Anxiety

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” – Pema Chodron

Life never stands still. It is a river of moments flowing in time. It twists and turns seeming to hide what is just around the next bend. It dries up, becoming monotonous, and the floods with unexpected storms. Its highs and lows create a constant flux that can energize and motivate, empower and enrich, or far too often, confuse and frustrate.
anxiety counseling
The issues and challenges we face are not when we feel energized by life and things are going as expected, but during periods of transition and turmoil. Whether a breakup, loss of job or loved one, illness, retirement, major move, or any other innumerable detours that life can take, we are sometimes unprepared to face the problem at hand. This can result in fear and anxiety. The good news is that there is help.

Depending on our past experiences and coping abilities to deal with difficulties, we may handle the unexpected with ease or find ourselves crippled emotionally and feeling inadequate and groundless. We don’t have to be impeded by fear and fall into the traps of anxiety and depression. We can draw strength and face adversity in the midst of troubling emotions. Here are a few that may be helpful:

  • Get in touch with your feelings and see if they are appropriate to the situation. Identify and acknowledge what you are feeling.
  • Recognize and challenge negative and biased thinking (I can’t handle it, I’m a failure, I’m no good, I can’t do it, etc.) and challenge it. We do not want to feed the internal monster of fear, anxiety, or depression that prevents us from thinking and acting clearly.
  • Change the storyline. We too often create stories that are disempowering and biased. Say “no!” Begin empowering yourself with a more truthful narrative.
  • Focus on what you can control. Let what is out of your control go. You will make more progress identifying and attending to your own behaviors and reactions.
  • When possible, recall how you handled difficult situations in the past and write down the steps you took to resolve it successfully.
  • Think about the desired outcome and your values. What is important to you?
  • Make a plan with realistic goals and commit to action despite distressful feelings like fear, anxiety, and depression.
  • Be kind and gently with yourself, not hard and critical. Engage in self-care that nourishes and strengthens.
  • Seek guidance when needed. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

You can increase your ability to manage distressful emotions and better cope with life’s twists and turns, even the flooding of an unexpected storm that causes anxiety. We are strong and resourceful and far more capable that we give ourselves credit for.

Contact the Boca Raton therapists at Morgan Center for Counseling and Wellbeing at (561) 366-2476 for more information or need help. We offer anxiety counseling and other forms of therapy.

Meditation for Anxiety

meditation for anxiety

Meditation and Mindfulness, a form of meditation, are now well established in the American lexicon and can be heard in almost all areas of life from television advertisements to corporate America. Meditation, in all its forms, is a growing trend as people seek to live healthier and grounded lives in a busy and stressful world. So what is meditation and how can it help you?

Many strange and fantastical images may arise when we think about meditation so it may be easier to begin with what meditation is not. Meditation is not just some exotic man in robes meditating in a remote cave abandoning the world. It is not difficult, inaccessible, or a means to escape from life’s problems. It is also not only practiced in the confines of religion or spirituality though it can be if that is what you are seeking.

Though some of the images that arise may be accurate, it is not complete without including images of business professionals who need to reduce stress and increase clarity, or an athlete wanting to improve performance, or even a friend who wants to reduce anxiety and be more present in life. Meditation is a means of transforming the mind that goes back at least 5,000 years. It encourages and develops positive qualities like concentration, clarity, positive emotions, and calmness. It is a means to take responsibility for our own states of mind and improve them by acting as an antidote for our fears, anxieties, and confusion. Meditation also cultivates positive thinking in negative situations which helps to increase coping skills. It also fosters awareness, being present with life as it is, and being open to life as it unfolds.

“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.”  -Sharon Salzberg

There are many meditation traditions that use different skills to help the meditator relax and be still. You are welcome to explore the traditions or simply learn to follow the breath and just “be.” Whatever the method you use, meditation trains you to be present with whatever is happening as well as observing thoughts, feelings, and sensations in a nonjudgmental way. This process helps experience thoughts, emotions, and situations with more balance and acceptance.

The benefits of meditation are inclusive of the mind/body dichotomy. It has to potential to increase our physical and mental health. Physical health benefits founded in science include lower blood pressure and hypertension, lower cholesterol levels, restful sleep, increased oxygen intake, and increase in the anti-aging hormone DHEA.

Meditation – Backed by Research

Cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation and mindfulness meditation backed by research are improvements in memory and stress regulation, provides a sense of calm and peace, and brings new perspectives on stressful situations. Meditation, including mindfulness meditation, also helps us to be more present and let go of distressful thoughts, prevents “worry” while increasing “problem-solving,” and help to manage anxiety, depression, and pain.

Mindfulness meditation has been researched extensively and is now included in many clinical interventions and becoming more popular in clinical settings. Boca Raton therapists find that Mindfulness can enhance the tools learned in the therapy session and is a skill that brings its own rewards. One of the many goals of meditation, or mindfulness meditation, is developing “witnessing awareness” which means to watch our actions and thoughts as an observer. This is beneficial because it allows us to take a step back and look at the larger picture. It helps us to recognize negative patterns and behaviors so we can make more nourishing choices.

Meditation is a gift that keeps on giving. It is an oasis in an increasingly busy world. Invest in your own wellbeing and reap the benefits. Whether anxiety, depression, or other difficult situations in your life are leading you to seek assistance, be open and know that change is possible.

Mindfulness is one of the many skills that Morgan Center teaches to enhance a client’s capacity for change and wellbeing. For more information about our treatment approaches, visit Morgan Counseling. For more information about mindfulness or therapy in Boca Raton, contact Jody L. Morgan, LCSW or visit