Focused therapy

Counseling for Empaths

If you’re an Empath, ask yourself if you’re experiencing any of the following:

What is an ‘Empath’?  An Empath is an individual who feels the emotions of other people as keenly as they feel their own.  They are highly intuitive and usually have an uncanny ability to read others.  They approach life with a kind and compassionate heart.  But even though it can be a blessing, being an Empath can also feel like a curse.  

 

That’s because Empaths’ kindness can leave them vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others.  It can also be overwhelming for Empaths to feel the emotions of other people and to live in a society that doesn’t fully understand or appreciate their special gift.  Because of this, Empaths can experience hardships other people may not be aware of.  

 

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  1. Are there times when you feel or take on other people’s emotions more deeply than you feel your own?  
     

  2. Do you find yourself often overwhelmed or drained by other people and their energies? 
     

  3. Do you compulsively say “yes” to others at the expense of your own thoughts and feelings? 
     

  4. Is it difficult to say “no” when someone else asks you to do something you’re not comfortable with?  Does saying “no” make you feel guilty?
     

  5. Do you feel like you have to hide your feelings and thoughts from others so as not to make them feel uncomfortable, upset, or burdened?  
     

  6. When things go wrong, does it feel like your fault somehow no matter the circumstance?
     

  7. Do you constantly feel like something is wrong with you?  That you’re a burden?  
     

  8. Do you use a lot of your time and energy taking care of other people’s emotional or physical needs
     

  9. Do you take care of others to the point where you have little energy left to take care of yourself?  
     

  10. Do you ever find your kindness taken advantage of by others?  
     

  11. Do your relationships feel one-sided because you do all the work?  Do you feel stuck in a pattern of these types of relationships?
     

  12. Do you gravitate towards and attract partners, friends, or even coworkers that end up being narcissistic, selfish, or cruel?  Do these people tend to use you for their own advantage?    
     

  13. Do you suffer from the anxiety that people are mad at you, don’t understand you, or that you did something wrong in their eyes? 
     

  14. Is it hard to show your true self to others?  Do you suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation because of this? 
     

  15. Do you often hear the negative feedback that you are ‘too sensitive’ or ‘too emotional’?
     

  16. Do you suffer from low self esteem and anxiety

If you answered YES to at least 2 of these questions, then Empathic Counseling could be the right fit for you.  As a fellow Empath and Highly-Sensitive Person, I understand these struggles and offer Focused Therapy to help alleviate some of the difficult hardships you’re experiencing.  


And because Focused Therapy was specifically created with the Empathic Client in mind, the above questions also translate to the other issues addressed by Focused Therapy.  Please see scoresheet below:

QUESTIONS

1 - 5

Possible difficulties setting personal boundaries
 

Please visit:
Boundary Work

QUESTIONS
6 - 7

Possible perfectionism impacting self-esteem

 

Please visit:
Chronic Perfectionism

QUESTIONS
8 - 12

Possible caretaking habits impacting ability to care for self
 

Please visit:
Caretaker Burnout
 

QUESTIONS
11 - 12

Possible relationship struggles in various facets of life
 

Please visit: Relationship Struggles 

QUESTIONS
10 - 16

Possible symptoms of experiencing narcissistic abuse
 

Please visit: Surviving Narcissistic Abuse 
 

*Some questions address multiple issues and may be listed more than once.*


Feel free to save your results or make a list of the numbers that felt important to bring to your Free Consultation 

Boundary Work

Personal boundaries are the invisible edges that separate what is you from what is ‘other’.  There are two forms of personal boundaries: Physical and Emotional.  

 

Physical boundaries encapsulate your body, the small sphere of physical space extending around your body, and your personal property.  Think about the feeling you get when someone touches you in a way you didn't want.  Or if someone stands too close to you.  Or uses your possessions without your permission.  That feeling you get is telling you your physical boundaries have been crossed.

 

Emotional boundaries contain your feelings, your thoughts, and your identity.  Similar to physical boundaries, you can tell when your emotional boundaries have been crossed when you become angry, uncomfortable, or fearful.  Examples of people crossing your emotional boundaries are when someone: dismisses your feelings; tries to change your mind about an issue that is personal to you as if you are in the wrong; or attempts to shame you about something fundamental to your identity (for example: your gender, sexuality, religion, or race).   

 

And to be completely honest, society has not always done the best job teaching us how to act on those feelings when our boundaries are crossed or how to protect ourselves from boundary trespassing.  In fact, most people struggle with knowing how to draw healthy boundaries with others in a way that feels respectful to themselves as well as the other person.  

 

Questionnaire about Personal Boundaries:

  1. Is it difficult to speak up when someone is making you feel uncomfortable, irritated, or hurt? Do you try to let it go so as not to hurt their feelings or to avoid escalating a conflict?
     

  2. Do you avoid confrontation because it makes you nervous
     

  3. Do you compulsively say “yes” to others at the expense of your own thoughts and feelings? 
     

  4. Is it difficult to say “no” when someone else asks you to do something you’re not comfortable with?  Does saying “no” make you feel guilty?
     

  5. Do you find yourself emotionally drained at the end of the day but aren’t sure why? 
     

  6. Are you everyone’s go-to person when they are upset but have trouble reaching out when you’re the one having a bad day? 
     

  7. Do you experience difficulties in making up your mind about even small decisions and tend to ask others for the answer so you don’t get it wrong? 
     

  8. Do you feel other people’s anxieties?  Do you tend to take on their responsibilities for them as a way to help alleviate those anxieties? 
     

  9. Do you make a lot of sacrifices for others but rarely get the same in return?
     

  10. Do you feel like you let people in your life “get away with too much”? Or that they “walk all over you”?
     

  11. Are you scared if you draw boundaries and speak up that you will lose the people you love?  That they will abandon you
     

  12. Is it extremely distressing when you experience rejection of any kind? 
     

  13. Do you suffer from low self esteem and anxiety
     

  14. Do you feel like you have to hide your feelings and thoughts from others so as not to make them feel uncomfortable, upset, or burdened?  
     

  15. Do you often find yourself in relationships with the people in your life where you do all the heavy lifting?  Are these relationships draining you of energy?  
     

  16. Do you often feel like people make you question your own reality of a situation?  Or make you question yourself?

If you answered YES to at least 2 of the questions, you could benefit from Empathic Counseling’s Focused Therapy designed to help you develop a healthy skill set for boundary-setting. 

Feel free to save your results or make a list of the numbers that felt important to bring to your Free Consultation.  

Caretaker Burnout

Caretaking is an act of love.  Caretakers are often natural healers who desire to help others and do good in the world.  If you are a caretaker, you’re likely a very selfless person who is deeply invested in your relationships and who cares immensely about your loved ones, your community, and the world at large.  

 

But the yang to this beautiful yin is that sometimes you care and tend so much to others, that there’s nothing left over for yourself.  This can make you feel burnt out, drained, and possibly even resentful. That’s when our caretaking can become overactive.  

Empathic Counseling wants to help bring some focus back to you.  You deserve to heal and to spend some energy on yourself.  You deserve to fill your own cup so you can get back into the world refreshed, invigorated, and happy.  Because let’s face it: the world needs more people like you! 

 

Questionnaire about Overactive Caretaking / Caretaker Burnout:

  1. Do you use a lot of your time and energy taking care of other people’s emotional or physical needs but rarely feel the same in return? 
     

  2. Do you take care of others to the point where you have little energy left to take care of yourself? 
     

  3. Are you everyone’s go-to person when they need help or reassurance but then find it difficult to reach out when you are the one who needs help or reassurance? 
     

  4. Do you feel other people’s anxieties?  Do you tend to take on their responsibilities for them as a way to help? 
     

  5. Do you have trouble identifying your own needs and then acting on them? 
     

  6. Do you find your kindness taken advantage of by others?  
     

  7. Do you feel like no matter how much you do, it’s never enough?
     

  8. Are you experiencing symptoms of burnout (loss of meaning / joy in life, persistent fatigue, inability to focus, anxiety, depression, anger, etc.)?
     

  9. Even though your intentions are good, do people grow irritated or resentful towards you when you’re just trying to help?
     

  10. Do you find yourself growing irritated and resentful of others because all of your efforts to help aren’t appreciated
     

  11. Do your relationships feel one-sided because you do all the work?  Do you feel stuck in a pattern of these types of relationships?
     

  12. Do you gravitate towards and attract partners, friends, or even coworkers that end up being narcissistic, selfish, or cruel?  Do these people tend to use you for their own advantage? 
     

  13. Do you feel like you have to hide your feelings and thoughts from others so as not to make them feel uncomfortable, upset, or burdened?  
     

  14. Is it hard to show your true self to others?  Do you suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation because of this?

If you answered YES to at least 2 of these questions, then Focused Therapy could be right for you.  Remember, you deserve care too!  
 

Feel free to save your results or make a list of the numbers that felt important to bring to your Free Consultation.  

Relationship Struggles

Let’s just name the elephant in the room: relationships are hard.  For everyone.  And the well-meaning advice to avoid taking your ‘emotional baggage’ into a new relationship is usually easier said than done.  In reality, relationships are the meeting point of all our issues, our joys, our traumas, our personalities, and our lives where they mix, mingle, and sometimes collide with another person’s.  That’s what can make relationships so exciting and meaningful yet, paradoxically, so complicated and difficult at times.

 

Empathetic Counseling’s Focused Therapy uses a combination of the research-backed theory of Attachment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) in order to understand a person’s relational style and help them build stronger, healthier relationships with the people already in their lives or who are about to be in their lives.  

 

Questionnaire about Relationship Patterns:

  1. Do you feel “unlucky in love”?  
     

  2. Is it difficult to find or sustain relationships that feel safe, healthy, and fulfilling?  
     

  3. Does it feel safer and easier either:

    • To be alone instead of being in a relationship?  Do you value your independence so much that it sometimes sabotages your romantic life?
      OR

    • To be in a relationship instead of being single?  Do you stay in relationships even if they are unhealthy, toxic, or abusive because you don’t want to be alone?  
       

  4. Do you often find yourself in relationships that are draining you of energy where it feels like either: 

    • You do all the work emotionally, physically, and mentally to sustain the relationship? 
      OR

    • Your partner is in full control and taking care of you? 
       

  5. Do you often find yourself either:

    • With partners who cheat
      OR

    • Compulsively cheating on your partner even when you love them and don’t want to hurt them?
       

  6. Do most of your relationships end up feeling “toxic” somehow?
     

  7. Do you feel stuck in a pattern of unhealthy relationships with people who treat you poorly?
     

  8. Is it difficult to find solid relationships whether friendship or romantic?  
     

  9. Once you’re in a relationship, is it difficult to maintain it?  Does it always end up badly or seem to crumble towards the end? 
     

  10. Do you gravitate towards and attract partners, friends, or even coworkers that end up being narcissistic, selfish, or cruel?  Do these people tend to use you for their own advantage?  
     

  11. Is it extremely distressing when you experience rejection?  Do you avoid relationships or end them prematurely in order to avoid being rejected? 

    If you are currently in a relationship: 
     

  12. Do you feel unsure of yourself, confused by what’s going on in the relationship, and/or stressed about the other person?  Do you feel less confident and more anxious than you did before the relationship began?  
     

  13. Does something feel very wrong about the relationship but you can’t put your finger on what it is?  Were things going really well in the beginning but have taken a turn for the worse and you can’t figure out why?  
     

  14. Does your relationship feel abusive or unhealthy but you’re having difficulty either fixing it or leaving it?  

If you answered YES to at least 2 of these questions, then Focused Therapy could be right for you.  A few of the questions also translate to another issue addressed by Focused Therapy.  Please see Scoresheet below:

Questions
12 - 14

Possible symptoms of narcissistic abuse in the relationship


Please visit:
Surviving Narcissistic Abuse

 

Feel free to save your results or make a list of the numbers that felt important to bring to your Free Consultation.  

Surviving Narcissistic Abuse

The term narcissistic abuse is used to categorize the way a person experiences emotional abuse and manipulation when in a relationship with someone exhibiting narcissistic behavior.  This “relationship” does not necessarily have to pertain to a romantic partner.  It could also be with a family member, a friend, a coworker, or any other important relationship that is impacting your life.  It's marked by feelings of low self-esteem, confusion, and mental distress.  That is because the purpose of the narcissistic abuse (whether the abuser knows it or not) is to make you question yourself so the other person can control you. 

Questionnaire about Narcissistic Abuse:

How to know if you suffered from narcissistic abuse over your lifetime:
 

  1. Do you struggle with chronic shame, low self-esteem, and/or feeling like a burden to others? 
      

  2. Do you have trouble identifying your own needs and then acting on them? 
     

  3. Do you struggle with drawing healthy boundaries with others?
     

  4. Do you feel stuck in a pattern of unhealthy relationships with people who treat you poorly?
     

  5. Is it difficult to experience feelings of inner satisfaction, personal pride, or fulfillment even when you accomplished the thing you were working towards?
     

  6. Does hearing compliments or praise from others make you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or hollow? 
     

  7. Were your needs as a child (including the need to be soothed when sick, sad, or angry) treated as unimportant, burdensome, or shameful?

    How to know if you are experiencing narcissistic abuse in a current relationship (non-romantic or romantic):
     

  8. In the relationship, do you feel unsure of yourself, confused by what’s going on, and stressed about the other person?  Do you feel less confident and more anxious than you did before the relationship began?  
     

  9. Does something feel very wrong about the relationship but you can’t put your finger on what it is?  Were things going really well in the beginning but have taken a turn for the worse and you can’t figure out why?  
     

  10. Do you find yourself excessively doing things for the other person or going out of your way constantly for them even if they don’t ask you to directly?  Does it feel like you have to “chase” them for their love and attention?
     

  11. Does this person treat you differently in front of other people than they do when you’re alone with them?  Is there a marked difference between the two? 
     

  12. Does the other person criticize you, even in a joking manner, and then make you feel stupid or overly sensitive for taking offense?
     

  13. Does the other person never apologize and/or do they make it seem like your fault somehow when they do or say something that hurts you? 
     

  14. Does the other person shame or embarrass you even over little things you do (like wearing a certain sweater or the way you eat cereal as examples)? 
     

  15. Do you always take care of their needs but your needs are mostly ignored?
     

  16. Are your needs in the relationship treated as if they are unimportant, inconvenient, or shameful?
     

  17. Does drawing healthy boundaries with this person, even small ones, provoke them to become cruel, angry, or disrespectful?
     

  18. Do they gaslight* you?  

    *Gaslighting is when the other person tries to make it seem like it's you who’s at fault or that you’re being “crazy” or “too sensitive” when you notice their abusive behavior.  They may also lie / rewrite history in order to pretend something didn’t happen.  Ultimately, gaslighting is an attempt to make you question your own reality so that you don’t realize you’re experiencing narcissistic abuse.


    How to know if you may be suffering from the aftermath of being in a relationship where you sustained narcissistic abuse:
     

  19. After the relationship ended or during the relationship, did you exhibit symptoms of PTSD?
     

  20. Are you having trouble trusting other people again? 
     

  21. Are you having trouble trusting yourself and your own judgement?  Do you doubt your own experience of what happened in the relationship?
     

  22. Do you feel like your self esteem and mental health have decreased significantly because of the relationship?  Do you feel like you have lost your sense of self?
     

  23. Even though you may be hurting after the end of the relationship, was there also a sense of relief?  As if you’d escaped from something?
     

  24. Did the person in your relationship become more cruel, malicious, or potentially dangerous after you tried to leave or distance yourself from them?  Did they try to turn other people against you?
     

  25. Does it feel like it was all your fault somehow even though you tried your hardest and you’re still not sure why the relationship turned badly?

If you believe you are currently or have previously experienced narcissistic abuse, first of all please know you did not deserve it.  And also know that being free of narcissistic abuse and its aftermath is possible.  If you answered YES to at least 2 of the questions then Empathic Counseling’s Focused Therapy could be the right fit for you.  


In addition, the first 5 questions of this questionnaire were designed to identify additional issues addressed by Focused Therapy.  Please see the Scoresheet below:

Feel free to save your results or make a list of the numbers that felt important to bring to your Free Consultation.  

Chronic Perfectionism

We all feel the pressure to live the perfect life.  Maybe it’s to find our dream job that pays well and treats us fairly.  Or to have a family with the perfect partner and well-behaved children.  Or live in a big house on a tree-lined street. Whatever it is, we all have some image of “the perfect life” that’s deeply ingrained.   

 

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the pressure to have the perfect body with a beautiful face and amazing hair.  To magically never show any signs of aging or suffer from any health ailments.  To never wrinkle or dimple or sagg anywhere.   

 

It’s a lot to live up to.  And quite frankly, impossible.  

 

Because the perfect life, as we know logically, isn’t real.  It’s a fantasy.  But that doesn’t relieve the pressure we feel to chase after it.  Or stop the feelings of shame and worthlessness we experience when we don’t think we’re living up to all those excessively high expectations and unrealistic standards.  

 

In this way, society practically conditions us to start fixating on everything that isn't “good enough”.  To focus on our every flaw, mistake, unattained goal, or whatever else that needs to be “fixed” so that we can be “perfect”.  As this perfectionism becomes more and more chronic, we simultaneously begin to lose sight of all our accomplishments, successes, personal strengths, and the parts of our life that do bring us joy, regardless of how imperfect they are.  Chronic perfectionism can creep in and begin to take over without us even realizing.  

Questionnaire to help determine if chronic perfectionism is impacting your life:  

  1. Do you get feedback from others that you are too hard on yourself?
     

  2. Do you obsess over mistakes you make, even small ones? 
     

  3. Do you procrastinate to the point it causes you extreme stress
     

  4. Do you make endless “To Do” lists, workout regimes, or life goals that are so overwhelming it’s difficult to stick to them? 
     

  5. Does hearing compliments or praise from others make you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or hollow?
     

  6. Is it difficult to experience feelings of inner satisfaction, personal pride, or fulfillment even when you accomplished the thing you were working towards? 
     

  7. Do you feel a constant need to “prove yourself” or to "improve yourself"?   
     

  8. Are you constantly searching for “IT”: that one thing you believe will finally change your life for the better (like a soul mate, dream job, or spiritual awakening of some kind)?
     

  9. Do you expect a lot of yourself and/or other people in your life?  Do you become disappointed and highly critical when those expectations are not met? 
     

  10. Does social media trigger you when you look at other people’s lives that appear better, happier, or more successful than yours?  Do you avoid social media, social gatherings, or certain people due to not feeling like you are attractive and/or accomplished enough?
     

  11. Is it easier to pick out your flaws over your strengths?  Do you focus more on your missteps instead of your successes
     

  12. Do you suffer from feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, or excessive worry about not being able to accomplish all your life goals or everything on your “To Do” list?
     

  13. Are you plagued by feelings of intense striving, fear of failure, or worthlessness?  
     

  14. Are you consumed by fears of not being “enough”: attractive enough, successful enough, healthy enough, spiritual enough, etc.?  
     

  15. Is it extremely distressing when you experience rejection of any kind? 
     

  16. Do you constantly feel like something is wrong with you
     

  17. Do you believe the people in your life won’t love you if you fail, make mistakes, or aren’t able to live up to your potential? 
     

  18. Does love feel conditional?  
     

  19. Does your life feel governed by fear?

If you answered YES to at least 2 of these questions, you may be experiencing chronic perfectionism. The real test is to see how you’re perceiving your YES answers.  Are they being mentally tallied as further examples of areas in your life you’re “failing” at and need to “fix”?  If so, know that could be the chronic perfectionism talking.  So are you ready to talk back?

Empathic Counseling’s Focused Therapy is designed to help you explore and engage with your inner critic so that you can come to find some freedom from its incessant chatter.  And to eventually come to honor both your successes and your struggles with equal measure.

Feel free to save your results or make a list of the numbers that felt important to bring to your Free Consultation.