3 Important Qualities To Look For In A Child’s Therapist

Boy with cape and glasses looking at the sky. 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!

Children have a different way of looking at the world.

They’re learning to communicate, process emotions, and develop new coping skills. We know how hard adolescence and young adulthood can be. There are so many life changes happening at the same time as physiological changes that are normal for this developmental stage.

But oftentimes, the combination creates confusion, fear, anxiety, anger, and sadness. Therapy can help worried adolescents and young adults manage their fears and increase their confidence. Finding the right therapist for your family can also help address these issues and work through any trauma that may be contributing to their feelings and behaviors.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when looking for a children’s therapist in Raleigh, NC…


A good therapist understands the importance of trust between both the child and the parents. During therapy, families must share information that’s personal and sometimes sensitive making trust an important pillar of your relationship. It’s also important for a therapist to respect the confidentiality and privacy of the family at all times- this includes connecting and coordinating with coaches, educators, and others outside of the office.


Successful therapy requires a teamwork approach. Your therapist should understand you are ally’s working together to help your child thrive. It’s also important that family members work under the recommendations and guidance of their therapist. By working together, you can create a nurturing environment for your child to work through issues and move forward with new communication and coping skills.


As we said before, children view the world differently. They think differently….communicate differently… and act differently than adults. This is why it’s essential to find a therapist who understands the specific issues that a child may face.

Our Family Therapists help families learn to communicate better and reconnect. We treat the entire family as a unit to help each individual feel heard and valued within the family system. Through family counseling, you can move through a difficult time and come out on the other side even stronger as a family.

5 Date Night Ideas From A Raleigh, NC Therapist

Couple sitting at a Raleigh, NC bar table for date night for relationships, couples therapy and marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC and Fuquay Varina, NC

Too busy for date night?

It might be time to rethink your priorities! Couples who commit to spending time together build greater levels of intimacy and trust, better communication, and higher marital satisfaction in general.

The good news is you don’t have to go on an expensive trip to even leave Raleigh. Here are 5 creative date-night ideas that will help you reconnect.

Videri Chocolate Factory

Did you know there’s a Chocolate Factory in Raleigh that’s free to visit? Make a day date to take a self-guided tour through the factory during their chocolate-making hours (M-F from 10am -3pm). Sit down for some conversation at the chocolate counter and enjoy a hot or frozen hot chocolate from the coffee bar.

Sarah P Duke Gardens

Book a trolley tour and ride along the winding paths of the beautiful gardens. Take in all of nature’s beauty in a romantic setting where you can let the stress melt away while you can reconnect and learn more about the rich history of a local treasure. Don’t forget to take a selfie to hang on your fridge to remember the day!

Lafayette Village

If you’re looking for romance For a more romantic setting, stroll down Lafayette Village and take in all this village-style shopping mall has to offer. Have a leisurely lunch and hit up some of the great local shops.

The Rialto

You can’t go wrong with the classic date night of dinner and a movie! The Rialto is the perfect place to check out indie movies in a vintage-style theater. Kick back with some popcorn and enjoy the theater.

FRESH. Local Icecream

Who doesn’t love icecream? FRESH ice cream is the perfect treat any time of day. They produce ice cream right here in their store for you to enjoy. Even if you can’t carve out time for a long dinner date, try carving out 15 minutes to enjoy a cone together.

Whatever you decide for your next date, approach your couples time as an opportunity to connect no matter how briefly.

How To Maintain Your Identity When “I” Becomes “We”

couples counseling for high conflict | Foundations Family Therapy | Raleigh, NC 27606

If you’re in a monogamous relationship, then you know how wonderful it can be to find someone you love so deeply.

Often times, especially through marriage, couples become a unit which can be a good thing! You might enjoy the same activities, hang out with the same people, and finish each other’s sentences.

Being in a loving relationship is an amazing thing. But sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself when every new decision you make suddenly affects another person. The good news is every couple can learn to maintain their individuality while still growing together.

Start with these tips!

Do What Makes You Happy

Relationships are all about compromise, but remember that your personal happiness is still important.

Make time for healthy hobbies that you enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to schedule a little “me” time to take care of yourself.

Make an effort to spend time apart when possible. This will help maintain other relationships in your life. it will also keep you from putting too much pressure on your partner to be your everything.

Set Healthy Boundaries Within Your Relationship

Every couple is made from two unique individuals sometimes with different opinions, thoughts, and beliefs. You have to have a good understanding of your personal self when you’re in a relationship in order to set boundaries accordingly.

You don’t have to change who you are to meet someone else’s standards. Saying “no” can help prioritize yourself and your feelings.

Ask For Guidance

No matter where you’re at in your relationship, couples therapy can help you identify what’s working and what’s not. Through couples counseling, we want to help you connect with your partner and for you to feel supported and validated. You can get that “loving feeling” back again and in a deeper way than ever before.

Couples Counseling can help couples build a firm foundation before their wedding day, help couples resolve a specific conflict or help save a marriage after infidelity. Right now, your problems seem overwhelming. But our therapists have seen other relationships in crisis. We’ve worked with other couples who are tired of arguing.

Whether you are trying to work through something small or on the brink of divorce, counseling can help. If you and your partner are ready to work on your relationship as individuals and as a couple, we’re here to support you!

3 Ways To Build Self-Acceptance In Swimsuit Season

counseling for self esteem | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Summer is here!

Kids are out of school; the North Carolina humidity is upon us and pools are open! This can be a time of year where we are (whether we want to or not) bombarded with messages about how our body should or shouldn’t look.

You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing images of perfectly chiseled abs and flat stomachs on the magazines at self-check-out. So, with all this influence swirling around us, how do we view our bodies in a healthy way and how do we build body confidence? Let’s talk about it.

Explore what is driving your negative thoughts about your body. If it’s fashion magazines, let’s dive in and ask a few questions. Do these people look like people you know? What percentage of those photos are Photoshopped? (Probably all)

It can be easy to compare our bodies with ‘perfect’ bodies that are not real. It could also be that social media is driving your negative thoughts. Maybe a friend posts a swimsuit selfie and you wish your arms looked like hers.

Sometimes we can channel negative thoughts about ourselves into tangible, healthy goals. If you want to work on your arms, can you make goals to do gym exercises that work on tone or building muscle? It’s important to see your own personal growth with those changes and not comparing your growth and progress to someone else.

We all have different body types and it’s important to celebrate them. Check out positive body conscious companies like Aerie that promote all body types instead of having one ideal for beauty.

What do I do for myself versus for others?

This question can be tied to the previous example as well. If I want to start working out my arms, am I doing it for others and appearances or am I doing it for myself?

When you wear make-up or get a pedicure, does it feel good for you or for others? Does it make you feel confident to dress up in a suit and tie or to work out at the gym? When you choose healthy food choices, is that for you? It’s important to evaluate your body self-care and the purpose behind it.

Think about what your body can do. We often focus on what we don’t like about our bodies that we forget all the amazing things that our body can do. Some examples are: run, hike, swim, breathe, touch, experience the world, give birth to a child, build a house, create, paint, etc. We can dance, jump, play sports, yoga, and kickbox. What does your body let you experience, or feel or see?

Staying with the above example, you start working out your arms and now you can do 5 pull-ups when at first, you could one. Embrace everything that your body can do.

Hope these tips are helpful in your journey in building healthy body confidence for this summer and beyond. Need additional support in developing positive self-image? Connect with me at FFT.

Renee Pugh, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Weakness, Incompetency & Lack Of Manhood: The Dangerous Stigma Surrounding Men’s Mental Health

A close up profile of a man looking down with a blank expression. Men's therapy in Raleigh, NC can offer support for men experiencing depression. Contact a therapist for men in Wake Forest, NC to learn more about therapy for men in Fuquay Varina, NC and more! 27606 | 27526 | 27857

You run like a girl…Man up!… Real men don’t cry…”

A man in camo and dog tags sits as he covers his face. Men's therapy in Raleigh, NC can offers support with therapy for men in Wake Forest, NC. Contact us to learn more about therapy for men in Fuquay Varina, NC and other services. 27606 | 27526 | 27857Unfortunately, you’ve likely heard one of these stereotypical insults before.

They might seem benign on the surface. But, gender stereotypes are very limiting. They can be quite harmful to our personal health and happiness. Women are supposed to be nurturing and men are supposed to be strong. Society does a great job of telling us what we’re supposed to be, how we should act, and what roles we should play in life. This type of thinking is toxic and can cause people to hold back their feelings and interests to “fit in.”

No one may understand this better than our own therapist Steve Cline.

“Being in the military for 20 years, mental health was always something that was a double-edged sword and the civilian world is no different”, Steve explained. “The expectation was to always be fit for duty and that implied your mental/emotional health but if you struggled with it (as everyone does from time to time) your competency was called into question”, he continued.

Steve also explained a lie that propagated throughout the Army. It was that mental health issues were a sign of weakness. Your worth and ability to do your job would get called into question. You may even lose your security clearance. Then, your track towards promotion could grind to a halt.

In other words, being open about your thoughts, feelings, and mental state could cost you your job. Or, a promotion.

“My final years in the Army were in special operations. We had the highest rate of deployments and time away from families in the military,” Steve said.

Unfortunately, many believed that they’d have to go it alone. Vulnerability and humility are also signs of weakness, incompetence, and lack of manhood.

Yet, this type of thinking about men’s mental health is part of civilian life, too. Men feel like they can’t reach out or communicate their feelings in an open way. They see it as a sign of weakness, not strength and stability.

A close up of a military member's hand as they sit on a couch in a therapy office. This could represent men's therapy in Raleigh, NC. Contact a Raleigh, NC therapist to learn more about therapy for men in Fuquay Varina, NC and more! A therapist for men in Wake Forest, NC can tell you more! 27606 | 27526 | 27857As Steve continued his journey into Delta Force, he needed to do a psychological exam. He said they wanted to test their emotional intelligence since it was as important as physical fitness. It was to ensure service members could identify, label, and regulate their thoughts and feelings. This was due to the mental and emotional strain that they would face with the type of missions they would carry out.

This toxic mindset and lie lead to many struggling men, husbands, fathers, and families. To help, The US Special Operations Command put out a video. This was to combat the stigma of mental health because of the misunderstanding associated with getting help.
(watch video: here)

Now, Steve Supports other men overcome this toxic mindset

Despite his uphill battle during his decades of service, we’re thankful that Steve is a part of our Foundations Family Therapy Team! He is able to help people through life’s struggles. We honor his resilience and openness about his first-hand experiences over the years. As Steve says so perfectly, “You can’t have peace without conflict; you can’t have victory without struggle; you can’t have bravery without vulnerability and most importantly, you can’t have wholeness and completeness without mental health.”

We’re here to walk with you!

Begin Men’s Therapy in Raleigh, Fuquay Varina, or Wake Forest, NC

Learning to open up to your emotions is much easier said than done. But, the team of caring therapists at Foundations Family Therapy would be honored to support you in doing so. We offer support in Raleigh, Fuquay Varina, Wake Forest, and across the state via online therapy. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
  1. Meet with a caring therapist
  2. Start connecting with our emotions!

Other Services Offered with Foundations Family Therapy

Therapy for men isn’t the only service we offer our Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Fuquay Varina locations. Our team also offers therapy for teens, young adults, families, and couples. We also offer Christian counselinginfertility therapy, therapy for anxietygriefdepression, online therapy, and recovery from trauma. Feel free to learn more by visiting our blog, FAQ, or about page. You can heal, enjoy life once again, reconnect with family and move from surviving to thriving!

5 Ways To Cope With An Anxiety Attack

Stressed Anxious Woman | Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 at Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606 | Video therapy in North Carolina

Having an anxiety attack is an awful experience. It is obviously very bad for the person experiencing the attack and also for people around a loved one going through the experience. When you or someone you love starts to feel an anxiety attack coming on, the first thing to do is breath.

Take a deep breath in, hold it for a moment, then release it out.

This can be done a few times until the person catches their breath.

After that, there is a “5-4-3-2-1 Method” to remember.

This is a five-step process that will help keep a person grounded and connected to their surroundings as opposed to focusing on the anxiety. Here’s the process:

5 Things You Can See

The first step is a small one to start the process. Take a look around you and identify 5 things you can see. Wherever you are, small items, big items, people, things, anything to begin the process of stopping the focus on your anxiety and connecting you with the moment and the outside world.

4 Things You Can Touch

As you build to the next steps, find things that you can touch. It can be something on your body like your clothes or your hair or simple things around you such as a pen or a toy. Reach out, touch the object and think about how the object feels and your connection to it.

3 Things You Can Hear

Tune in to your surroundings even further by finding 3 things you can hear. They may be obvious things like the noise of traffic or people talking or they can be things your not usually in tune to like the hum of the air conditioner or your computer working. No matter how big or small, listening to things you may not have been in tune with when your anxiety started will help focus on what is going on around you.

2 Things You Can Smell

The next step might be little more complicated but that’s a good thing because it will force you to think even more about connecting to things outside of your thoughts. You can, literally stop and “smell the roses” if you are outside, smell the furniture you are sitting on or even give yourself a quick smell check.

1 Thing You Can Taste

This can mean acknowledging the taste in your mouth in the given moment like the last thing you ate or your toothpaste. It can also involve you taking a sip of coffee, popping a stick of gum or walking to the fridge to get some food. Any of these things will connect you to your fifth and final sense. After this, take another deep breath or two and your anxiety will have subsided on some level.

Anxiety attacks can be alarming to some. Help prevent future attacks by seeking proper medical care. Work on identifying your triggers and don’t forget about the 5-4-3-2-1 technique to help you through.

We’re here for you!

Living Well: How To Adjust To A ‘New Normal’ In Life

Anxious Teenager | Anxiety Treatment | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

There’s no way to prepare for a challenging setback in life.

You don’t really know how a life-changing diagnosis will affect you until you are faced with it head-on. For some people, the uncertainty is almost as bad as the diagnosis itself.

Maybe you just received a diagnosis that you were not expecting, or perhaps you’ve been living with it for a while. It’s not the path you would have chosen. But here you are trying to navigate your “new normal” while balancing physical symptoms, doctor’s appointments, treatment plans, and schedules.

As you continue to navigate the waters of your ‘new normal’, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to feel. Everyone experiences change differently. These tips will help you stay grounded during difficult seasons of change and adjustment in your life…

Adjust Emotionally

A life-changing medical diagnosis often comes with a wide range of care and support from your healthcare team. It’s likely your physical health is in good hands, but too many neglect their emotional wellness.

Allow yourself to feel. Someone dealing with a life-changing diagnosis might experience periods of shock, numbness, denial, anger, disorientation, and emotional pain. Recognize your feelings and be kind to yourself!

Maintain Your Routine

Don’t let a diagnosis keep you from thriving in life! You don’t have to give up everything you once enjoyed…you just have to find new ways to enjoy them!

For example, you might really love your morning walk around the neighborhood with a friend. If you’re adjusting to a ‘new normal’ that prevents you from continuing your walk with a friend, invite them over for morning coffee on the porch. You can find ways to spark joy in life even if it requires change.

Accept Change

Acceptance is a process of ups and downs. Don’t expect your adjustment to happen overnight. It’s a transformative process that takes place over time. And, even thought you might not have control over your condition, you do have control over your reaction.

You can still live a rewarding and fulfilling life! Your ‘new normal’ might not be the path you would have chosen, but you are in control of what you’ll do next.

Life is a beautiful gift and each day is worth living. If you or a loved one needs support in navigating the waters of change in life, our team is here for you!

Freedom From Anxiety & Depression Weekend Intensive

Woman looking up in the sunset. 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!

Foundations Center For Trauma Recovery is pleased to announce our upcoming weekend intensive. Lead by Foundation’s Sharon Sheppard, LMFT, CCPT, join us to pave the way for a brighter 2019 by learning how to alleviate depression and manage anxiety and stress by learning new ways to respond to your own thoughts and feelings.

Learn how to stop living on autopilot! We’ll work to align your thoughts with your realty and accept unpleasant experiences as part of life. It’s time to learn how to treat yourself with kindness!

Friday, March 22 6:30-8:30 pm

Saturday, March 23 10-4

Friday, March 29 6:30-8:30 pm


Sign Up Here

3 Ways To Help Older Adults With Depression

Depression is not biased. It impacts all ages, races, and cultures. Unfortunately, depression in older adults is often overlooked and sometimes explained away by physical ailments or general symptoms of ‘getting older’ by others.

Sometimes older adults are hesitant to talk about the way that they are feeling with others due to fear of looking weak or feeling like a burden. If you know an older adult that may have depression, here are three ways to be helpful.

Listen to stories of loss.
Loss is a common theme in the lives of older people. We think of the loss of other loved ones or friends which can have devastating impacts on support systems. Loss often makes older people fearful of their own death or scared in general of what the future holds for them. Listen to them and provide a space to share memories about those important people.

Loss can also be a factor in terms of losing abilities. For someone who was always active to have a knee replacement or have a stroke, it can be hard to mourn that loss of functioning and find ways to blend hope with realistic expectations. It can be helpful to remind them of their strengths that they do have and that even though they can’t garden the whole afternoon like they used to, they can take breaks and still enjoy the activity.

Engage socially and connect.
Loss of others and loss of functioning level can also increase isolation in the older population. Although, we have so many ways to connect with others through the phone and internet, having face to face conversations is so valuable. Help older adults connect with others through community events, churches, and local parks/recreation centers.

Help them learn a new skill. Sometimes even interacting with their pet or visiting a friend with a pet can help reconnect to old memories and improve overall mood. Laugh together. Humor helps us connect and refocus on joy even in difficult times.

Move and Get Outside.
When mobility is limited, moving can feel like an enormous feat, but studies show that even minimal movements such as going for a short walk can reduce mental health symptoms. Movement will look different for everyone. Some older adults may be able to engage in aerobic classes or yoga while other older adults may be more limited to simple stretches within their home.

Celebrate whatever movement looks like for them. Sitting outside together on the porch while drinking morning coffee is another great way to pair socializing with getting that Vitamin D.

Do you know an older adult with depression or are you an older adult who is thinking that you have depression and would like additional support? You are not alone.

Let our Therapist Renee Pugh help! Schedule an appointment today

How Healthy Relationships Contribute To Mental Wellness

Couple looking happy and snuggling in a field | Couples therapy in Raleigh, NC and marriage counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC | online therapists in North Carolina can help at Foundations Family Therapy

This week is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Week and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is helping spread awareness with their theme, ‘The Power of Connection.’ This is a wonderful theme considering we connect as humans through meaningful relationships.

Connection at a deeper level in a healthy relationship plays a huge role in your ability to thrive in life for many reasons.

Healthy relationships provide support and connection.

They build over time which helps people grow stronger together. They provide security and stability which can give us a great sense of purpose in life. True relationships help build our wellbeing by acting as a safe haven for our thoughts and feelings. As a result, a good relationships helps us know we are understood. This helps us to open up about both positive and negative experiences in life.

Relationships also inspire compassion.

Good relationships generate feelings of compassion and empathy. We learn to care deeply for those we love. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, then you know it’s a two-way street. It’s great to have someone to confide in but it’s equally important to listen. Your compassion in a relationship can help your loved one find optimism and relief.

Happiness is another great benefit of being in a solid relationship.

Science actually tells us that giving freely creates joy! Studies show that giving is one of they keys to happiness. In fact, when you give your time, energy and love to someone you care deeply about, you’ll feel happy and fulfilled in return. Your happiness will help you function well and, chances are, it might even spread to others in your life.

Of course not all relationships are healthy and happy. Some experience rough patches that need a little guidance. We are all imperfect individuals coming together trying to connect, engage, and balance multiple goals, dreams, and demands.

What we really crave in a healthy relationship is connection, support, love, and acceptance. Let a member of our team help you start thriving in life and the relationships that matter most. Give us a call today!