Benefits of Therapy

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Benefits of Therapy

Life is difficult. It is full of disappointment, loss, hurt, stress, and joy. During the jolts and emotions of everyday life, we develop coping styles. Hopefully, the way that we cope not only helps us, but also helps those around us. We seek comfort from those we love, or exercise to get the endorphins flowing. But sometimes the old tried and true does not leave us feeling like we are moving ahead. We bog down. In those moments, we might consider outside help.

Before you dismiss the idea of therapy, consider this: Scientific research shows that those who engage in therapy experience positive changes in their brain ( We are made to connect with one another. Getting things out in the open, especially with someone who has training, is a good thing for our wellness. How?

Therapy helps a person better define problems. The complexity of life can be overwhelming.  The old adage of “not being able to see the forest for the trees” rings true. When we talk things out with a trained therapist, it helps us to clarify our values, behaviors, and goals. Clarity often brings relief and movement.

Emotions are a strange and normal part of our makeup. Emotions seem to have a life of their own. They come from nowhere and pop-up at the oddest moments. Intense emotions are particularly difficult to deal with. At times the only thing we understand about our emotions is that they are confusing. Talking with a therapist about our emotional journey can place our jumbled emotions into an understandable context.

Lastly, therapy brings a unique perspective. It is not the perspective of someone with whom you have a long history, and therefore has already decided who you are and what you should do. Your therapist is an open book. A person who desires to learn your story without judgment or preconceived notions.

Here at The Refuge Center, our concern is the person. Their values, beliefs, emotions, and struggles. We endeavor to create a safe and secure place so you can discover what it means to be uniquely you, and we are available to anyone who wishes to better understand the journey of life.

Mild Social Anxiety, Vulnerability, and Personal Growth



Mild Social Anxiety, Vulnerability, and Personal Growth

There’s a crowd of people effortlessly mingling and chatting.  Many of us will walk right over, giving no thought to the act.  However, if you suffer from mild social anxiety, part of you may want to join them, while a much larger part of you will want to run away and hide in the comfort of your home.

For those who identify with the latter, communicating with new people or even in groups of people seems unnatural and impossible.  It comes with awkward feelings, fear of stumbling, and the almost certain possibility of saying the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.  You want to avoid what you perceive to be judgement.  You’re not charismatic; you’re not a “people person.” Therefore, you make excuses for not being able to commit to social gatherings, and you learn this avoidance keeps you from experiencing those feelings of inadequacy.  Ultimately, you avoid vulnerability at all cost, and you find temporary relief.

The problem is, one day, you wake up and realize this avoidance of vulnerability has cost you far more than expected.  It has kept you from meeting new friends; it prevented intimate relationships; and it may have damaged existing friendships.  All of this may have left your life empty, and you alone.

It turns out that the vulnerability you’ve avoided is essential to human connection.  We must be vulnerable for others to truly see us and effectively connect with us.  The fact is, your uncomfortable feeling among a new group of people is a good thing.  It means you’re stretching your limits, exercising your social muscle, and exposing yourself to an uncomfortable situation that will likely encourage personal growth.  It means you are putting yourself out there, letting down your guard, and learning to accept the perfectly imperfect version of yourself.

To help you prepare for social interaction and reap these benefits, here are a few simple tips to curb your anxiety:

1. Restructure your thoughts from positive to negative.

Instead of worrying whether people will like you, think about the amazing individuals you will have the opportunity to meet.  Instead of allowing the uncomfortable feeling of anxiety to keep you from social interaction, embrace it as a sign that you are challenging yourself and growing as a person.

2. Manage your symptoms of anxiety.

Use a mindfulness activity to calm yourself before leaving home.  Several can be found on this

website, or you may find this four-step exercise to be helpful. 

3. Watch

Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability.

  Brown gives a down-to-earth talk based on her social work research and her own personal quest.

4. Seek professional help.

A certified therapist can work with you one-on-one to overcome your anxiety in such situations and help you establish the connection for which you long.

Expansion in 2016

The Refuge Center has grown! On January 4th we added six new counseling offices and a new group therapy/training room to our current location. We also updated one of our play therapy rooms. We are thrilled to be able to serve more clients here and to enhance our mission of affordable, excellent counseling services.

We are also grateful to Chisel Workshop, which donated many hours of in-kind interior design services to create beautiful, warm and nurturing spaces for our clients. Here’s a note from Amanda McCreary of Chisel, “I worked with Amy on a prior project; during that time we talked a lot about The Refuge Center. I loved that The Refuge Center “seeks to provide a place where people are able to find hope and healing from the storms of their daily lives.” We’re both very passionate about believing in our clients’ individuality. Just like here at Chisel we want to meet someone’s needs and create a home or office that is uniquely theirs, The Refuge Center takes each client’s unique situation and seeks to provide a safe haven to assist people. I feel privileged to have played a small part in helping make their vision a reality.”

If you would like to come for a tour and learn more about The Refuge Center for Counseling, please contact us at 615-591-5262.

Coping with Anxiety


    Coping with Anxiety

           Written by Refuge Center’s Richard Sanders

Everyone experiences anxiety. Anxiety might come as feeling in a tightening chest as you walk towards the front of the room to address a group of people. Anxiety can be the worrisome sensation as you view your paycheck and compare it to your monthly bills. The stress of life makes everyone anxious. However, for some people anxious feelings begin to pervade every moment of a day. When those feelings begin to disrupt our activities and relationships, it can become so upsetting that it leads to greater anxiety. Excessive anxiety is overwhelming. It can alter a person’s thoughts and life. Some may have feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Some have shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, nausea, and heart palpitations.

People who are attempting to cope with excessive anxiety do not have a character flaw or a personal weakness. It can happen to anyone of any age. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (, anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States. The reasons are numerous and can include uncommon but significant life events, and changes in the brain. Oftentimes, it is confusing for someone to make sense of their experience.

The good news is that therapy has proven to be successful in reducing intense feelings of anxiety. Simply sharing anxious thoughts with a person who is trained to help is in itself calming. Here at The Refuge Center, we have a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of anxiety, and utilize proven techniques that reduce the intensity and occurrence of unwanted worry. If anxiety seems to be taking over your world, the caring and capable staff of The Refuge Center are available to help you change your life.

Going to Battle

Happy woman standing on long road at sunset


Going to Battle, written by Refuge Center’s Stacy Klimkowski.

She rises up weary, getting ready to leave the room. What has just taken place feels no less than warfare- having taken up her sword in the midst of combat. Wielding weapons of bravery, truth, and the very hope that brought her here, she continues to call out to the lions of depression and anxiety that threaten to consume her. She brings to light her darkest thoughts, thoughts that relentlessly burn at daybreak, and learns to shatter them with truth. Negative self-talk threatens, and she overtakes them here in this room, carrying with her the munitions that she needs to rise above the ashes of this battle in her world. Slipping on her coat, she quietly exits the room, saying goodbye to her counselor.

Have you ever considered the process of counseling to be that of pure battle?

The first half of John 10:10 says that the enemy of our lives lurks in the shadows waiting to kill, steal, and destroy us. False thoughts, feelings of negative self-worth, and guilt ridden accusations that skip in our minds may seem like pebbles among boulders, but they are the very tools used to sneak in and oppress the power that we possess in Christ to overcome and conquer the battles in our lives. Perhaps you are not taunted by anxiety or self-defeating thoughts, but rather overcome with loss- grief that leaves you wondering why and how your heart continues to beat. Or, an unexpected transition in your life has left you bewildered and disoriented. Maybe you are feeling lost, abandoned, forgotten, confused. Each of these scenarios presents us with a question- how will we choose to fight this battle?

The good news is, is that you don’t have to do it alone. Counseling offers a unique and sacred space where our deepest needs are affirmed. It is a place where we can go to combat against what we know is wrong in our world, lay waste to that which robs us of our joy, and reclaim our territory of clarity and a more meaningful life. However, the best news lies in the second half of John 10:10. Though the enemy of our lives may lurk in the shadows, the verse does not surrender on this thought. It goes on to say that our redeemer has come to give us an overflowing, abundant life! A life lived to its fullest potential.

This kind of life may seem far off. You might feel as if the battle is too difficult, too overwhelming. However, you can do this, and we are here to help. Call us at 615-591-5262. You don’t have to fight this battle alone!