By: Lorrie Jackson | Category: Other | Issue: December 2006
Lawrence Gilbert, LPC, LADC of Shalom-Rapha lends a listening ear to help individuals and families face problems and resolve conflicts.
Happy Holidays. During the month of December, this phrase is as common as the word “hello.” For some people, however, the holidays are anything but happy. According to Lawrence Gilbert, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor, the celebratory mood at Christmas does not stop mental health and substance use problems from cropping up. In fact, the hustle and bustle of the season may intensify the problems.
“Holidays are often especially stressful due to many factors; visitors, financial stressors and the loss of love ones,” states Gilbert. “Sometimes depression and anxiety can be exacerbated by the demands of the holidays due to underlying issues from the past.” At Shalom-Rapha, treatment for depression and anxiety focuses on identifying triggers and developing strategies and coping skills to help decrease and manage the symptoms. Treatment may also include medications if indicated.
Depression is only one of the many problems individuals and families face on a daily basis. Shalom-Rapha Behavioral Health was established for the service of adolescents and adults with mental health and alcohol/drug issues. Services include individual therapy, marital counseling, family therapy, alcohol/drug education classes, parenting classes, anger management, depression/anxiety treatment, DUI assessment and smoking cessation.
Shalom-Rapha are two names of God in Hebrew, which mean Peace (Shalom) and Healing (Rapha). This sums up the philosophy of Lawrence Gilbert’s practice. “We believe that through the traditional treatment of psychotherapy, medication and the belief in a Higher Power, people can have peace in current situations and healing from past events,” says Gilbert. “Research in the health field indicates significant outcomes for individuals who adhere to spiritual beliefs,” says Gilbert. Assessment, treatment and referrals to primary care physicians and psychiatrists are utilized for medication if needed.
Gilbert encourages people who have been denying or avoiding their problems to consider facing them in the New Year. Do you have conflict within your family unit? You could visit Shalom-Rapha for either family or parenting classes, depending on your need. During marital therapy, Gilbert helps couples explore the roles of husband and wife and identify problematic areas so they can work together to resolve and improve those areas. Parenting classes help develop and incorporate structure for their children using the concept of “policy and procedures of the home”. This is more traditionally noted as a behavioral contract. Chores, responsibilities, inappropriate behaviors and consequences are outlined. Guidelines are established such as curfew, bedtime, study time, etc. One of the main features of parenting is getting both parents to implement and follow through with the structure that they establish. When parents are not in agreement with the structure of their home, one of the parents becomes the “weakest link”. Children are like sharks, they will circle and attack the “weakest parent” to continue to divide the parental authority. This leads to severe disruption within the home.
Often family or individual problems can be traced to alcohol and/or drug abuse. In fact, Gilbert points to one research article that indicates 52 percent of outpatient mental health patients also have a substance abuse problem. “Alcohol and drugs are mood altering chemicals that can contribute to problems we experience,” Gilbert explains. “Their neurological effect on the brain causes thought pattern disturbances and behavioral problems.” Gilbert also points out that many parents are unaware their children are using mood altering substances until problems start to arise, usually taking form of behavioral problems at home and school disturbances. “In my experience, kids have usually been using substances for six to twelve months before problems manifest,” says Gilbert. “So we do a special class for parents to help identify chemical abuse symptoms in adolescents.”
Alcohol and drug abuse causes problems not only in the home, but also in the workplace, school and on the road as well. Gilbert is DOT certified to present manager and employee training concerning substance abuse in the workplace. He is a state certified DUI assessor and has the ADSAC (DUI) school at Shalom-Rapha.
Another issue that can lead to serious problems is anger. Anger management is offered at Shalom-Rapha to help identify triggers that lead to anger, symptoms of anger and to develop coping skills to decrease and manage anger. “In my experience, some of the patients with aggressive/explosive anger have an underlying mood disorder. Psychotherapy along with medication can improve this condition tremendously,” says Gilbert.
The clinic also offers Auriculotherapy for smoking cessation. This is a non-invasive procedure of using electrical stimulation of acupuncture points in the ear to decrease and eliminate the cravings for nicotine. “The results with patients so far have been very impressive,” Gilbert reports.
So if you are facing difficulties and feel that therapy could help you cope with your problems, but also make lasting changes in your life and behavior, give Lawrence Gilbert at Shalom-Rapha a call.