Celebrating LOVE on Valentine's Day

Card sticking out of an envelope on a wooden background with two hearts on sticks next to it. Card had a stick figure holding a giant heart. Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 is available to Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606. You can also get online therapy in North Carolina!


It’s a four-letter word everyone’s talking about with Valentine’s Day approaching. But the true meaning of love is complex. It’s an emotion perhaps more powerful than any other emotion!

Love is about setting priorities…
Love is about respect and trust…
Love is about respect and kindness…
Love is patient…
Love is SO many things!

Love Is Not Dependent On The Outcome

“Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon reciprocity”

C.S. Lewis

It’s hard when people don’t return your love the way you hoped. It requires you to be courageous, resilient and hopeful. As hard as rejection can seem, it’s important to know that love is never wasted.

Love is patient which means you can’t get too caught up on someone’s response to your love and generosity. Give love freely to better someone else and not in a desire to make yourself feel better. It means that your care is not dependent on their response. Loving well is never a waste.

We don’t need to look to the past regretfully, but we can look back with gratitude for the opportunity we were given to love at all.

3 Different Types of Rest You Can Try Today

Trees with fall leaves on ground. Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 is available to Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606. You can also get online therapy in North Carolina!

Now that the chaos of the school year is well underway, many families view rest as a luxury.

Thoughts of putting your feet up and reading a good book or dozing off on a Saturday noon are quickly overshadowed by soccer games, baseball practice, and other after-school activities.

Our demanding schedules and “busy culture” prevent many people from getting the proper rest they need to recharge. The good news is proper rest isn’t always about taking an expensive vacation or hitting up a spa. Here are some ways you can carve out a little time for a little rest and relaxation every day.

Do something unproductive

A break from your regular routine is good for your health and happiness. Carve out some time to do something that makes YOU happy…even if it’s binge-watching a Netflix series. Take a much needed physical and mental break by doing something that’s not on your “to-do” list.

Connect with nature

Fall is a great time to find peace by connecting to nature. Go for a walk and soak up the beauty around you. Nature can help you disconnect from technology and tune into the peace and beauty of the world around you.

Carve out “me time”

Solitude can really help you recharge! This is especially true for parents who expand almost all of their energy and attention on their children. Make time each day to do something for you. Try setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier each morning to ease into your day with the right mindset.

Of course, it’s not always easy to just hit pause if you suffer from depression or anxiety. Our busy culture can easily drive people into burnout. If you feel overwhelmed by everything in your life, our team is here for you!

How To Talk To Your Teen About Mental Health

Group of four teen boys sitting on a wall. Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 is available to Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606. You can also get online therapy in North Carolina!

Teen depression and anxiety are on the rise.

In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 3.2 million 12- to 17-year-olds have had at least one major depressive episode within the past 12 months. Many of these teens don’t get the help they need which can cause even more problems.

So how do you talk to your teen about counseling and mental health in a world full of stigma, peer pressure, and judgment?

Discuss Normal Emotions

The teen years are a time of great transition. You might find your son or
daughter exploring their independence and developing a framework for how they view the world. Teens begin to “try on” different values and question why they believe the things they believe. This is a time of great potential but also a time of great stress.

Talk to your children about changes. From hormones to social pressures, teens can experience a wide range of emotions each day. Talk to them to help normalize the conversation around how they’re feeling. Setting up an open plan for communication can provide the support and guidance they need.

Talk About Depression Symptoms

Did you know that about 20% of adolescents will experience depression by the time they are an adult? It’s important to seek treatment for depression as quickly as possible if you are concerned about your teenager. Your teen may feel more overwhelmed than they ever have before. In fact, they may begin to feel hopeless.

As teen counselors, our staff has seen the healing impact of depression treatment. We know your teenager can get better. Therefore, we can communicate this to your child and help them on their path to feeling better.

*It’s important to note that any reference to suicide should be taken seriously. If a teenager has referenced suicide, it is important to seek professional assistance. If you are worried about your child’s safety, please error on the side of taking them to the nearest Emergency Room for an evaluation. The National Suicide Hotline also offers a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Respect Their Privacy

As parents, you want to know that your teenager is OK. On the other hand, teens might have a lot they don’t want you to know about. In fact, most teenagers have some secrets from their parents.

If your teen thinks that their therapist is going to report everything they say in counseling back to their parents, counseling will be ineffective. While our counselors understand your desire to know what’s going on, we also know that the best way to help your teen is to hold their secrets in confidence. Establishing trust is a solid foundation for any relationship.

Foundations Family Therapy offers a variety of mental health services at our Raleigh office. We want to help your entire family thrive.

Places to Practice Self Care in Raleigh to Improve Your Mental Health

Photo of a Large Tree | Christian Counseling | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC 27606

Most of us have heard the phrase “self-care” whether we have accessed support with a mental health provider before, or not. We read about it in magazines (especially ones that are trying to sell us products) – how we should ‘treat’ ourselves because we’ve worked so hard, and we’ve ‘earned it.’

I get it… because I do it too sometimes.

Sometimes I think things like: I earned that piece (er, three pieces) of dark chocolate

I should schedule some self-care time, like a massage or something…’, but then I don’t because life, parenting, work, {insert excuse} gets in the way.

True self-care is an intentional practice, not a quick fix or something we always schedule. It’s about nourishing ourselves.

In her groundbreaking book, Daring Greatly, Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW says, “I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits.”

Self-care does not equal selfish. We, as humans, have to do it in order to survive.

In grad school, my professors drilled ‘the importance of self-care in the care-giving professions’ into our brains. In fact, if we put our own health and wellness as the last item on our list of priorities, it usually means just the opposite where someone else needs to step in and help take care of us.

Why do we resist or avoid self-care?

Replenishing our energy is essential not just to preventing burnout, but in allowing us to thrive. So why is it hard to do?

We receive messages about what it means to be a ‘good human’ from different places including our social group, family of origin, the media, our partner, and we internalize our own narrative about what we do and do not deserve. Whether it’s feeling guilty about wanting to turn down an invitation to a party to have much-needed quiet time, or skimping on sleep in order to get those last few notes typed because you know you just
can’t (or is it “won’t”?) make it happen when everyone in your household is awake. I know- I do it too.

What are the essential elements of self-care? Yours may be different, but I’ve thought a lot about mine and here is what I’ve come up with: connection, setting good boundaries, and listening to/loving my body. I try to remember it is a practice, not a perfect.

Self Care Tip: Connect

Engage in a meaningful relationship with your community.
• Try some meet-ups!
• Get moving! Join a run, walk, or hiking club in your town.
• Volunteer with a great organization like Habitat for Humanity.
• Consider supporting BackPack Buddies or organizing your own local food or clothing drive in your neighborhood. Check out ideas on the Inter-
Faith Food Shuttle

Self Care Tip: Set Healthy Boundaries

Saying ‘no’ sometimes allows us to recharge and to make sure we are living authentically in line with our values. Here are some tips…Listen to and love your body
• Schedule a massage!
• Or better yet, have a massage therapist come to you.
• Listen to that pain in your neck/back, and visit the chiropractor.
• Check out a yoga class and remember to breathe.

Remember: we can’t sustainably support others and bring our whole self to the table if we are depleted.

Shannon Haney-Jenkins

4 Spots In Raleigh That Can Help Reduce Anxiety

Teen with Blue hair and Glasses | Anxious Teens and Adults can get therapy in Raleigh, NC

You know the signs…

Rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, and racing thoughts… are all signs of anxiety.

When anxious feelings arise, it’s time to reconnect.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health symptoms, and, for those who suffer, you are truly not alone in your feelings. Some of the most typical treatments for anxiety involve ways to be present in your environment by engaging with your surroundings. This includes using your five senses, deep breathing, and grounding techniques.

So, what does that really look like here in the City of Oaks? Use these local resources and businesses to calm your anxiety.

NC Museum of Art: Whether you are a lover of art or not, this museum truly has something for everyone. On a humid, Raleigh day, you can mosey around the portraits, statues, and expressive artwork at your leisure. Spend time focusing on the colors, textures, and design of each piece. Reflect on your emotional state when looking at the artwork. What is the artist portraying and how do you feel looking at it? If it’s a cooler Raleigh day, spend time strolling in the outdoor art park. Check out the massive Gyre rings and the spacious amphitheater. On your walk, stop and listen. What do you hear? Be mindful of nature all around you. This outdoor park is connected to the Capital Area Greenway System which has trails all over the Triangle so chances are, there is one near you.

JC Raulston Arboretum: This local arboretum has 10 beautiful acres to explore of botanical gardens. Take some deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth and chances are, you will smell something floral near you. As you walk, focus on the weight of your foot pressing down on the ground beneath you and feel connected, centered with the earth. What can you touch around you? A soft petal, a prickly pinecone, or the weight and feel of your camera in your hand capturing the scenery. It can feel refreshing to wander through the gardens but if you’d like more direction, check out the tours and workshops provided there to socialize with others or learn something new.

Cameron Village Regional Library: Although there are many wonderful local libraries around the Triangle, this one located in the Cameron Village Shopping Center, stands out. Explore the shelves of different genres, peruse the artwork, and say hello to the massive knight sculpture greeting you on the 2nd floor. As you meander through this open, two-story space, feel the sun’s rays shining through the large windows and see if you smell a new book calling your name. Pick up a book, feel the texture of the pages, and be reminded of the way it feels to get lost in a good story. This library as well as others in the area offer a wealth of knowledge in not only books but artistic programs for adults as well as storytimes for the youngsters.

Cinemark Raleigh Grande: Sometimes it can be beneficial to take a break from everyday life and immerse yourself in someone’s else’s story. What better way than the movies? Choose where you want to sit online before you come for optimal space and comfort. Stretch out in a cushy recliner with your feet up and enjoy the ultimate surround sound experience. Grab some yummy food to really engage your senses and take time to savor each bite, each flavor. Try to really slow it down and be present with your meal as well as with the show in front of you. Sometimes simply gaining a new perspective can shift your own.

Give one of these ideas a try the next time you’re struggling with anxious thoughts or feelings, and see if engaging your 5 senses at some great Raleigh attractions helps you to feel grounded and calm.

You may also find that anxiety therapy is helpful in reducing your anxious thoughts. We’re here to help, and we want you to move from surviving to thriving in all areas of your life.

Renee Pugh, LCSW

The 3 Rs of Vacation Everyone Should Know

family at beach

It’s that time of year again…summer fun is officially underway! And, for many families, that means a vacation. Whether it’s a trip to the sandy beach shores, a restful mountain retreat, or a fun staycation, there are many ways a break from your regular routine can benefit your health and wellness.


One of the BIG goals of a family vacation should be to reconnect. We live in a busy world where it’s sometimes hard to unplug. A family vacation is a perfect time to unplug and reconnect with the ones you love. Try planning a hike, a game night, or any fun activity that helps strengthen your connection all while creating lifelong memories.


Even if you’re a family who loves to be on the go, make sure you build in some time for quality rest and relaxation. For many people, vacation is about letting go of the mental and emotional stress we carry with us. Find ways to tap into your inner peace and relaxation that can translate to everyday life (you don’t have to spend money on fancy spas or meals).


Vacation is also the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Use your time away from your regular schedule to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Focus on the small things in life that are easy to overlook. You’ll probably realize that these things are BIG in many ways.

Above all, use vacation as a time to bring positivity and relaxation to your
everyday life. Vacation should be about reconnection and relaxation- not running away from the stress of your 9-5 job. Find ways to bring incorporate a little piece of vacation into your everyday life.

How To Go From Surviving To Thriving

Photo of a girl who has overcome anxiety symptoms. Find help for your anxiety! Anxiety Counselors in Raleigh & Fuquay Varina, NC at Foundations Family Therapy.

Wake up.
Go to work.
Soccer practice, dinner, bed….repeat!

Throw in a few extracurricular  activities, a late meeting or two, a trip to the drive-thru and that describes the general outline of your week. Sound familiar?

At Foundations Family Therapy, our mission is to take clients from just surviving to completely thriving. From just going through the motions to truly living. We walk with our patients through life’s challenges to help navigate difficult times, celebrate the good, and heal from the bad.

Living on ‘Autopilot’

There are lots of great benefits about having routines in life. Routines help people feel anchored, stable, and rooted. Routines can help decrease anxiety by providing comfort and security. There’s nothing wrong with being organized and having a healthy daily routine. But, the trouble starts when you live on autopilot.

When you’re living in autopilot mode, you are just going through the motions. Autopilot is the exact opposite of mindfulness. When you aren’t focused on the moment at hand, you’ll never be able to thrive!

Studies show that people are living on autopilot the most at home. Have you ever made a decision about what to wear, eat, or even watch on television just based on your mindless routine? This is autopilot. And, it’s time to change!

Thriving Techniques

Sometimes it only takes a few small changes to move from surviving to thriving in life. Luckily, there are a few things you can do each day to thrive and it starts with cultivating a positive mindset. When you wake up in the morning, set small goals for the day. Don’t overwhelm yourself and cause unnecessary stress. Make a list of three things you’d like to accomplish during the day. Write them down- writing and journaling are therapeutic.

Unplug for a minute or two and enjoy the stillness. Get lost in a book or in a
conversation with a friend. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s a positive action that contributes to your happiness and overall wellbeing.

If you don’t feel like you’re thriving, give us a call! We’ll put together a customized wellness plan to help YOU transform from surviving to thriving. Don’t let your outlook, your decisions, your abilities, your energy, your motivation, and the perception of your own value hold you back.

3 Ways To Practice Self-Love You Can Start Today

Woman smiling. Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606 provides family counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526. Online therapy in North Carolina is also available with an online therapist in North Carolina from Foundations Family Therapy!

It’s hard to ignore the red roses, teddy bears, and balloons that line the store aisles this time of year. So, love is in the air…or, maybe not?

Regardless if you are in a relationship or not, self-love is imperative to the way we form relationships and interact with others. If we struggle with loving our self, it can be difficult to love others. I would suggest that when we begin to truly love ourselves, we attract those that love themselves as well.

So, how do we learn to love ourselves?

Reflect on your positive qualities.

It is easy for us to be self-critical and focus on our faults but our perspective shifts when we reflect instead on our positive qualities. I will often have clients choose their top five positive qualities from a list. The list includes qualities such as: accepting, friendly, creative, confident, determined, funny, patient, independent, reliable, organized, focused, cooperative and balanced. Next, spend time thinking about how you exhibit these qualities in your life and how that quality was developed over time. Perhaps there is a specific experience that you overcame where that quality was helpful or maybe a role model in your life exhibited that quality which guided you to strive for that as well. When we can focus on our strengths, we can often use them to overcome a weakness.

Create self-affirmations.

The thoughts that you think about yourself are powerful. They hold weight. If internally, we are saying that, ‘I’m a failure’ and ‘I’m never enough’, that is having a tremendous impact on our daily life. However, it might be difficult to jump from saying ‘I’m a failure’ to ‘I’m a super star.’

Think about a neutral response if that is true for you. A self-affirmation may be something like, ‘I am doing the best I can.’ It could also be ‘I can take things one step at a time.’ Another one is, ‘I am enough.’ Find a couple self-affirmations that speak to you and write them down on an index card. Put it on your mirror, in your car, or at work where you see it as a visual reminder of your worth.

Start a gratitude journal.

Studies show that having a consistent practice of acknowledging gratefulness in life helps with reducing depressive symptoms. When is the last time you thought about what you are grateful for? If you already journal, it may be helpful to add a line each day related to gratitude. Prompts are also helpful to reflect on gratefulness. Some ideas are ‘one good thing that happened to me today was…’ and ‘today I smiled when…’ There are many self-care journals that have prompts included for those that want more guidance and focus.

Remember the importance of self-love during this season and try one or all three suggestions. If self-love or self-confidence has always been a struggle for you, let us help. We are here to walk with you through this self-discovery time.

Let 2019 be your year for self-love!

Renee Pugh, LCSW

New Year, New You!

Woman sitting in a park journaling | Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 is available to Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606. You can also get online therapy in North Carolina!

The best way to start your 2019 is in the right direction!

Mental Wellness might not be as popular as dieting or saving money, but it’s just as important to your overall health. With all of the noise surrounding New Year’s resolutions, we’re providing a few tips to help you thrive in 2019…

Focus on baby steps

Don’t get overwhelmed by unrealistic goals! Find a way to take a small step in the right direction instead of a big, unrealistic leap and you’ll be off to a great start.

Try something new

Whether it’s a Pinterest project, new hobby, or journaling, try something new in 2019. New hobbies and activities can spark creativity and encourage growth and connection. Refocusing your energy and efforts on something you enjoy can also give you a much needed boost of self-esteem.

Find the good in life

Even on the worst day, there’s always something to be thankful for. Start there. Laugh more and smile often. Tap into your spiritual side and try things like prayer and meditation for holistic healing.

Spend time with your furry friends

Many studies have shown the benefits of having a pet. Their unconditional love and passion can lower the stress hormone cortisol to boost happiness. Bonus if you can get outside for a walk to enjoy the outdoor companionship together!

Write it down

Stress, happiness, downfalls, and mistakes all happen. Some are easier to get over than others. Also, some people are more resilient than others! Try to journal your day for better or worse. Writing something down can be therapeutic. Make lists to help gain control.

Let our comprehensive wellness team at Foundations Family Therapy help you create a plan mental wellness plan for the entire family in 2019! Start Here