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.



How to survive high school and maybe even enjoy it

For some of us, high school is the best years of our lives. However, for most of us, this does not hold true. High school is a difficult time for most, myself included. It has taken me a good 10-15 years to really appreciate my high school experience and what I learned both in and outside of the classroom.

High school can be a difficult time in your life. High school means bigger schools, more kids, different schedules, and a lot of uncertainty. It is a time of heightened anxiety because it brings about a lot of change and self-discovery, and at the same time adolescents are experiencing a lot of changes physically and emotionally. 

Even if you have the best bag of coping skills, most adolescents have feelings of anxiety, and even some social anxiety, trying to navigate the world of making new friends and finding out who ‘you’ are.

Here are 5 tips for surviving high school (and perhaps, maybe even liking it a bit more):

1. Get Involved - Get involved whether it is playing a sport, acting in a play, playing in the band, or joining a club find something that makes you happy and takes away from the stress of school that you can be a part of outside of the classroom. You will make friends with people you never thought you would connect with.

2. You Are Not Alone - It is important to remember that you are not alone. Many of your peers are in the same boat, going through similar changes and having the same feelings. Some of your peers may appear to love school and have carefree lives, but just remember that everyone has stressors in their life and no one has a perfect life. You do not have to be in the same social group to relate to others.

3. Move your body - You are at school 8 hours a day, if not more, sitting and learning in class. Bodies are meant to be in motion. Find a type of exercise that you like and do it most days a week. Exercise reduces anxiety and improves mood. It also helps you to focus later on that homework that still needs to get done.

4. Teachers Care About You - Your teachers really do care and are there for you with your best interests in mind. Find that teacher that you really connect with and let them support you. Teaching is not glamorous or lucrative. Your teachers are there because they care about you and your education.

5. It's Not Forever - Remember that high school does not last forever; however, you may form relationships and learn things that do. Whether you like it or hate it, it is only 4 years of your life and then you move on. There is a great big world out there waiting for you and you can be whatever you want. You can do this!

For more information on surviving high school and decreasing anxiety please contact Kull Counseling, LLC at 608.239.4807.



National Eating Disorders Association Eating disorders awareness week

The National Eating Disorders Association eating disorders awareness week is February 21-27. The theme this year is 3 minutes can save a life. Neda is focusing on early intervention and encouraging everyone to take this 3 minute assessment.

Eating disorders are the 3rd leading chronic illness among adolescent females. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The focus on early intervention is an important one. The longer a person has an eating disorder, the harder it is to treat and the less likely that a person will go into full remission. As a clinician it is our hope to see clients before they meet the criteria for a full blown eating disorder. Screening early can save lives! I hope you will take 3 minutes out of your day to do this assessment and to pass it on. Please help raise awareness for an important cause!

To learn more about eating disorder treatment 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.