Christina’s Training and Experience–One of a Kind
Christina Unruh, MSW, LCSWA is a committed believer in Jesus Christ AND she is an intensively trained Dialectical Behavior Therapist (DBT) through Behavioral Tech, LLC. She has a strong Biblical Foundation through intense personal Bible study and involvement in her church ministries, and she has an excellent clinical background in community mental health and substance abuse treatment settings in which she has worked with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. Christina also has spent years being a family member of loved ones with mental health challenges.
Emotion Based Treatment
We were “fearfully and wonderfully made” with thoughts and emotions. Emotions inform decision-making and they help us experience life to the fullest. Problems happen when emotions are in charge AND when we try to avoid feeling them. Most of the time we are not aware of how emotions are driving behavior or how emotional avoidance is increasing despair or leading to anxiety or depression. Often we come to counseling or psychotherapy when we sense that our emotions have caused us to behave in a way that is inconsistent with our values or beliefs.
Emotions and Mental Illness
For centuries mental health symptoms were mystified and even demonized. Even in this new millennium, a mental health diagnosis is still often whispered about in families and churches. Popular movies and television programs continue to misrepresent people who have mental health symptoms.
Some mental health problems are the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Research also points to a possible genetic component with regard to certain mental health disorders. However, many mental health symptoms are the result of a mismatch between a person’s inner experience (thoughts, emotions, and physiological sensations) and their skills to manage that experience. This can lead to tremendous emotional suffering.
Paul writes in Romans 7:15-16: “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” This phenomenon is nothing new. It is actually common, especially if chemical changes are happening in your brain, your mood is shifting, your emotions are heightened, and you have no idea how to bring down the emotional intensity. When we get “out of sorts” emotionally, we often make bad situations worse, and we may even be identified in our families as the one who is “sensitive” or “difficult to handle.”
Here are just a few problems that generally lead people to seek help:
- Relationship conflicts
- Feeling unable to solve problems
- Sudden trauma symptoms such as flash backs, panic attacks or nightmares
- Racing thoughts
- Constant worry
- Automatic angry responses
- Feeling paranoid or jumpy
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Feeling numb or feeling overwhelmed
- Engaging in reckless and/or impulsive behaviors
- Feeling suicidal or wishing you were dead.