How to choose a therapist in Madison, WI

The idea of starting therapy can be a daunting one. Therapy is a very personal process and after a client's readiness for change, your therapeutic relationship can be one of the most important factors on whether or not psychotherapy/counseling is successful for you. Choosing a therapist is not like choosing a primary care doctor. It is someone that you will plan on seeing weekly for months and possibly years. So what should you look for when choosing a therapist? Here are some important things to look for when choosing the therapist that is right for you.

1. Initial Interaction-  From the initial phone call how does this person make you feel?  Do they return your message when they say they will? How do they act on the phone? In person? Is this someone that you can see yourself opening up to? Is this someone you want to spend time with? When you are in their office are they giving you their full attention? Are they engaged?

2. Experience-Has the therapist worked with the issue that you are seeking help for? Have they been successful at helping clients? How can they help you?

3. Cost/Investment- Have you thought about how you will pay for your sessions? Do you need/want  to use insurance? Do you know what  your mental health benefits are?Do you know what your deductible is? If you are not using insurance have you thought about what therapy might cost?  Are you prepared to make an investment in your self?

4. Therapy style- This may be their style of therapy ( e.g., theories they draw upon) but I think that even more important than this, is approach. Are they direct? Are they collaborative? Are the sessions going to be therapist led or client led? What theory or style of approach will work for you and make you most comfortable. Can they provide you with what you need? You may want a therapist that is gentle and client led sessions..but is that what you need?

5. Availability-Is this someone with a full practice and a line outside the door? Will this person be able or willing to respond to you if you are in crisis or have a need to contact your therapist outside the session. Does that matter to you?

Each therapist is very different as is each client and in Madison, WI you have plenty to choose from.  I encourage you to contact a few therapists before making a choice on who you want to see on a regular basis. Over and over I have heard clients say that yes they have been to therapy before usually years ago but that their therapist wasn't a match. Please take the time to find someone that is a good fit for you.

For more information on finding the right therapist or for therapy resources in Madison, WI please contact Kull Counseling, LLC.



5 tips for handling a panic attack

A panic attack is an intense period of uncontrollable anxiety that can last up to ten minutes. Symptoms include increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweats, chest pain, and can mimic those of a heart attack. Panic attacks can be very intense and scary.

Here are 5 things you can do when experiencing a panic attack:

1. Remove yourself from the situation if possible. If you are driving pull over. If you are in a crowd step to the side.

2. Take a deep breath. Whether this is your 4 square breathing or your yoga breath it does not matter. Find one that works for you and stick with it until the feeling subsides.

3. Remind yourself that you have been here before. You have gotten through these feelings before and you will get through them again.

4. Relax. Find the places in your body that are tense and relax them.

5. Get help! Once that panic attack subsides and you are okay, find a therapist that can help you decrease or stop panic attacks.

For more information on panic attacks or panic disorder please contact me at

Being present this holiday season

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I have always loved this season because there is just something magical in the air that brings me back to being a kid. It also doesn't hurt that my birthday is 3 days after Christmas, so for me it has always been a back-to-back celebration. However, as I get older I find it harder to slow down and simply enjoy the holidays. Perhaps it is all the build up to the holidays or the fact that as an adult I am now responsible for making sure everything runs smooth. Either way, it just seems hard to be present and be in the moment. 

Now that the prep work is (almost) done, here are five ideas to stay present and enjoy the holiday season.

1. Lower your expectations - We live in a world where we want everything to be perfect or just right. By lowering our expectations and going into the holidays with an open mind we immediately have a better chance of enjoying the holidays.

2. Be grateful - Perhaps it is the family in the room or perhaps it is enjoying a quiet holiday by yourself. No matter how you are celebrating, take time to think about what you are grateful for.

3. Avoid the drama - Let's face it, holidays can be stressful. If you don't get along with someone or are upset about how someone is acting save it for another day. Remember this isn't just your holiday and how you act sets a tone for everyone at your holiday.

4. Be mindful - Take a moment to bring awareness to your senses. What do you hear, smell, see, feel and taste?

5. Reflect - Take time to reflect on the holiday once it is over. Whether it is in a journal or in your head, record what you want to remember and how it made you feel.

For whatever holiday you choose to celebrate this season, here's to being present at your holiday and a Happy New Year!

What is Anxiety?

What is anxiety and how do I know if I have it?

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. Anxiety is your body's natural response to a perceived threat. Anxiety becomes a concern when you are experiencing it so often that it is interfering with your daily functioning.

Anxiety manifests differently in each person. Here are some common symptoms of anxiety that you may be experiencing:

  1. Racing thoughts, feeling like you cannot turn your mind off
  2. Racing heart beat, feeling like you just sprinted a mile
  3. Feeling keyed up, on edge, irritable
  4. Trouble sleeping
  5. Change in appetite
  6. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness
  7. Persistant muscle tension
  8. Difficulty concentrating

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? Contact Kull Counseling, LLC to find out how I can help.