Open Door Counseling Services is a respectful, safe, and supportive environment for making positive changes in yourself and your life.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscape,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

- Mary Oliver

What is counseling?

Simply stated, counseling is a relationship in which an individual consults and requests assistance from another individual to better understand and manage a problem. There are many types of "counseling" relationships, e.g., a friend, parent, advisor, or mentor. Counseling provided by Open Door Counseling Services, however, differs from other types of counseling relationships in that a licensed mental health care professional has specific training and expertise in psychology and human behavior, and can provide a structured approach to resolving problems and developing coping strategies for dealing with psychological distress.

How does counseling help?

The mind, emotions, and spirit are integrated in the body, and are aspects of mental health. While many physical symptoms have other causes, psychological distress alone can cause very real physical symptoms that contribute to disease processes; and the emotional and mental aspects of physical illness should not be ignored.

While most people experience significant psychological distress at some point in their lives, it is advisable to seek treatment when symptoms interfere with the accomplishment of developmental goals, and affect relationships at home, school, at work, and with friends.

Psychotherapeutic treatment can help people change the way they feel and react, reduce stress, and allow for greater satisfaction in relationships and in life.

When should someone seek counseling?

Although all people show signs of psychological distress at times, when there is a noticeable increase in the number and level of symptoms that negatively affect relationships, it may be time to look for professional counseling. Some signs of psychological compromise include:

  • depressed mood
  • insomnia
  • sleeping more than usual
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble remembering
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • isolating oneself
  • exaggerated alertness
  • difficulty collecting thoughts
  • difficulty communicating thoughts
  • feeling that you are unreal
  • feeling that your life is unreal
  • rapid movement and speech
  • slowed movement and speech
  • increased irritability
  • angry outbursts
  • uncontrollable painful thoughts
  • uncontrollable painful memories
  • avoidance of painful thoughts
  • avoidance of painful memories
  • flashbacks
  • stomach and digestive problems
  • headaches
  • back and neck pain
  • self-injury

In children:

  • anger
  • defiance
  • hyperactivity
  • trouble with eating
  • trouble sleeping
  • toileting problems
  • difficulty being comforted
  • slowed activity level
  • withdrawal
  • repetitive play
  • frequent accidental injuries
  • learning disorders

In teens:

  • substance abuse
  • self-injury
  • sexual acting out
  • excessive risk-taking
Open Door Counseling.org copyright Laurel Sylvan 2011.
Header photo © Charles Knowles, used under Creative Commons 2.0
Contact the webmaster if you have any issues with the site.