Ask The Doc

How does marriage therapy work?

Most marriages simply need some coaching, encouragement, a bit of interpretation, and accountability. Marriage therapy works because I am not a part of you, and am not on either person’s side. I am able to be objective, unlike friends and family. When commitment is not an issue, progress is fast in marital therapy. Very small changes make significant differences. When commitment is an issue, hope is lifesaving. One session will help you decide if marital therapy can help you.

How do you know when you’re depressed?

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when feeling down lasts more than two weeks and you begin to feel despair or numbness, depression may be a concern. The lows of depression make it difficult to function and enjoy life like you once did. Depression causes you to lack meaning and purpose in your life as you isolate yourself from those around you. You may feel stuck, not being able to lift yourself up by your bootstraps. You are not alone.

When is worry considered anxiety?

Worry is something we all do. Worry that takes over and makes life seem like more of a chore, is anxiety. Anxiety may rob you of peace and joy. It may take up a lot of time. It may cause your ability to work to diminish or be sluggish. Anxiety can interfere with sleep, eating habits, patience, and even your health. Anxiety is not necessary, and can be helped. Life is worth living and can be filled with peace and joy. If you are living with anxiety, give yourself a gift and get some help.

What about teens who text too much? Last month our bill was really high! Our daughter is sending several thousand texts every week! How do we deal with it? All the kids have phones now. Where do we draw the line?

Phones for teens have become more of a right and less of a privilege. For some, phones have been no problem at all. For others, they are a source of constant conflict. Some teens are getting in trouble at school, having auto accidents, withdrawing from family time, and becoming absorbed in a world of their own. Parents can learn to set limits and have boundaries regarding phones, texting, cars, TV, and free time. If you are struggling with your teen, and want help defining the boundaries, such that you don’t become the enemy, therapy can help.

How much homework help should I give my child? My son seems to have more homework than he should, and sometimes, he’s up to all hours of the night trying to finish! Can I help?

Homework is, by definition, to be done at home, and home is where parents live. Parents do have a role with homework, and finding the balance between too much and too little can be challenging. The age and ability of your child help determine the amount of help they need with homework. Some children do a good job of being self-motivated. They will get their work done with little encouragement. Those who are challenged with attention issues may need more help or encouragement. The goal is for your child to feel successful. Parents partnering in their child’s education is a win-win situation.

Do you prescribe medication?

I do not, as my license does not allow. Usually, psychiatrists prescribe psychiatric medication, though any physician can do so. I do help clients know if medication may be helpful with their treatment. I also act as a liaison between them and their physicians when needed. I can refer to a physician, confirm diagnosis, and help with the monitoring of taking psychiatric medications.

Are there alternatives to medication?

Very often there are other things that can help including changes in diet, sleep routines, and resolving emotional and relational issues through therapy. In many ways I am a health psychologist. I hope to help my clients to have long lasting progress with their overall health, mental and physical.

Does ADHD go away as you age?

Sometimes, ADHD is outgrown, and sometimes not. More often, hyperactivity is what is outgrown. Often, it is maturity, job choice, and expectations that change as we age. If a good fit is established with respect to job choice, lifestyle, and mate choice, those with ADHD can live a rewarding, fulfilling life, free of stigma and disappointment.

Are you a Christian Psychologist?

I often explain that I am a Psychologist who happens to be a Christian. I am not a pastoral counselor, nor do I impose my values on my clients. Because I am Christian, I believe I am better able to understand people in the context of their values, Christian or not. I know that everyone has values. When our lives are incongruent with our values, we are uncomfortable. Becoming congruent with our values is the road to psychological health. When spiritual issues are at issue, I am willing and able to discuss them. If needed, I will refer some issues to spiritual advisers in line with a client’s values.

How long does counseling take?

The length of treatment in counseling depends on a number of factors. Sometimes, issues can be handled in a very short amount of time, even a single session. Other times, a longer term therapy is needed, usually due to the severity of problems or depth of pain. Most of the time, I do short term therapy, which is often between 5-20 sessions. The more ready and willing clients are to address issues and work toward change, the faster progress will go. I often assign homework, things to do between sessions. When clients follow through with homework assignments, progress is faster.

***As with any psychological disorder, do not consider information found on the internet sufficient in diagnosing or managing your condition. It can be used to find appropriate treatment from a healthcare professional. If in need of help, please call Dr. Austin at 972-986-0150, or if an emergency, always call 911.

Karla Austin, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist

2701 W. Irving Blvd # 170189 • Irving, Texas 75015 972-986-0150

Conveniently located in Irving, between Dallas and Fort Worth, and near Coppell, Grand Prairie,
Grapevine, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Lewisville, Arlington, Keller, Richland Hills, and the DFW Airport and now remote due to Telehealth.