The Candid Counselor

Helping individuals overcome anxiety, depression, and life's issues

Dr. Julia Becker

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Licensed Psychologist
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Serving the greater Waco, TX area, including Woodway, Hewitt, Lorena, Bellmead, Robinson, and China Spring.

My Own Worst Enemy: Part I

Posted by Dr. Becker Monday, February 21, 2011 0 comments

Everyone has experienced periods of self-doubt and that nagging question, "Am I good enough?" People with low self esteem are often their own worst enemy. They often feel that they are not good enough, and have many other negative thoughts about themselves.

What is self esteem?
Everybody has a self esteem. Self esteem is one’s general evaluation and feeling about oneself, and can be positive or negative. Self esteem is also referred to as self-image or self-worth. It is natural to have self doubt and insecurity from time to time. This does not necessarily mean that you have low self esteem. There are many things that influence and are influenced by self esteem, such relationships, body image, and performance. The extent to which a person values each of these domains will determine how much they affect self esteem. For example, a person may place a lot of value on relationships and a smaller amount on performance. This person’s self esteem may suffer more after a rejection from a friend than from failure on a test. Cultural and family values often impact an individual’s values.

Self Esteem…Fact and Fiction
MYTH: Less accomplished people have lower self esteem than people with many accomplishments.
FACT: Research shows that self esteem is not based on circumstance. Many successful, attractive people have low self-esteem
MYTH: People who have had a good childhood, supportive family, and friendships should not have a low self-esteem.
FACT: Self esteem is complicated and is influenced by many factors. While self-esteem can be influenced by family interactions, individuals with good family and peer support can struggle with low self esteem.
MYTH: People with low self esteem are always shy and withdrawn.
FACT: While low self esteem can cause people to withdraw socially, it can create an opposite reaction for others. Some people may act out with aggression or try to show off to impress others. Additionally, others work hard to hide their low self esteem and show others that they are just fine.

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.

How to Choose a Counselor

Posted by Dr. Becker Monday, February 7, 2011 0 comments

When choosing a primary care physician, many people first get a list of providers from their insurance, and then choose a name randomly from this list. This is not a good way to find a counselor.

Counselors greatly vary by education, experience, personality, counseling style, and specializations. When choosing a counselor, consider the following:

Education: What kind of degree does the counselor have? Where did she get her degree? The American Psychological Association has specific standards that psychology doctoral programs must meet in order to be accredited. These programs are certified to have the highest standards for education and training. Always choose a counselor who graduated from an accredited program.

Experience: How much experience does this person have treating individuals with your particular concern? A person with an eating disorder may feel confident seeing a counselor who has 10 or more years of clinical experience. However, it is possible that this same counselor has never even treated a person with an eating disorder, and therefore would not be a good fit for this person. Additionally, you may wish to ask the therapist what populations they worked with before starting a private practice. Have they spent most of their career in a hospital, university counseling center, nursing home, or addiction rehab setting? This information may help you determine if the counselor is a good fit for you or your loved one.

The Relationship: Research has shown that the counselor-patient relationship plays a large role in the success of treatment. People who trust their counselor, feel a personal connection with the counselor, and feel understood by their counselor have the best therapy outcomes. Many people find that a short phone call helps them decide if they feel comfortable talking with this counselor. Many counselors are willing to provide a free phone consultation to people interested in counseling. These counselors understand that this contact is very important to help a person decide if the counselor is a good fit.

Psychology Today: At, you can find a list of counselors in your area. You can read descriptions of the counselors’ services, and send an email or call the counselor to find out more information.

Physicians: Physicians generally have a list of several counselors they routinely refer patients to. Always be sure to check the credentials and experience if you follow up with these referrals. Doctors often refer patients to large counseling clinics, and they are so busy that they do not have time to keep up with changes in the staff at these clinics.

College Counseling Centers: These centers have lists of counselors who treat students and have a lot of experience working with young adults. If you are a recent college graduate or young professional, contact your local college counseling center for a list of counselors in the community.

Remember that cheaper is not always better. Many therapists are limiting their acceptance of insurance in order to devote more time and energy to patient care and continuing education. The right counselor for you may not accept your insurance. If this is the case for you, consider paying a little bit more to see a counselor who is out-of-network. Remember, your counseling is an investment in your happiness, well-being, and future.

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.

Stress Management Counseling

Posted by Dr. Becker Tuesday, February 1, 2011 0 comments

Stress is a normal part of our lives. As the demands of life keep increasing, people are finding it more and more difficult to manage stress. Having excess stress can be damaging to your health, your relationships, and your happiness. Many people who are overly stressed do not even realize that they are stressed. They have gotten used to the constant pressure and fast paced lifestyle they have been living. Do you have too much stress in your life? Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you get enough sleep each night?
Do you take time each day to relax and enjoy yourself?
Do you rely on high doses of caffeine to stay awake and stay productive?
Do you experience frequent headaches or muscle aches?
Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands in your life?
Do you feel guilty when you are not working?

Answering no to one of the first questions and yes to one or more of the following questions may indicate that you are overly stressed. Stress counseling usually involves two major components:

1. Practical changes: Practical changes include changing one’s environment and behavior in order to help reduce workload and stress. These changes may involve one or more of the following:

a. Reducing procrastination
b. Improving time management
c. Evaluating priorities
d. Learning relaxation methods

2. Changing perception: Changing your perception means changing the way you think about things. An overly stressed person may need to develop confidence and begin to believe that they have the ability to complete important tasks. People often feel stressed when they believe that they do not have the resources to deal with the demands of life. Counseling may involve one or more of the following:

a. Recognizing negative thinking patterns
b. Learning to use strengths.
c. Improving self-esteem and self-confidence

Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.