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GRAND OPENING: Family Matters Counseling Group

Raleigh, North Carolina

On April 17, 2018, at 10 am, the Family Matters Counseling Group will host its grand opening in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina!

Attending the event is Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, PhD, MFT, CRS, CMFSW — the CEO and Founder of Family Matters Counseling Group, PLLC.

Dr. Bates-Duford has engaged in extensive work and research on familial relationships, family trauma, and dysfunctions. She is known for her work with traumatic experience and symptom re-emergence. With nearly 20 years in the field of behavioral sciences, she has been instrumental in her work with stabilizing families, helping individuals and families navigate the challenges of mental illness, as well as victims of abuse/trauma, reprocess the memory of the trauma in a manner that no longer paralyzes nor interferes with daily functioning. She is an accomplished author of children’s books covering topics such as conduct disorder, ADHD, parenting a child with special needs, and trauma.

Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford has extensive experience as a separation and divorce mediator. She also has had many years of experience as a therapist working with couples and families. Dr. Bates-Duford has earned the distinct designation as a Certified Relationship Specialist with Diplomate Status (advanced standing). Her experience and extensive research on relationships has earned her the distinct recognition as a relationship expert with American Psychotherapy Association, which very few mediators have achieved.

LOCATION: 4801 Glenwood ave, Raleigh, NC, 27612

DATE: 17 April 2018

TIME: 10-2 pm

This is the 2nd location opening for Family Matters Counseling Group, which works extensively with issues such as Depression, Social Awkwardness, Failed Relationships, Blended Families, and Mental Illness.

As we briefly look at these issues, it becomes easier for us to recognize them as they occur in our own lives or the ones we love. Once we know what to look for, we can quickly and easily get the professional help needed to make our lives better, happier, and more enjoyable.


Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
  • Postpartum Depression: Much more serious than the “baby blues,” which typically clear within two weeks after giving birth. Women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
  • Psychotic Depression: Occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • Bipolar Disorder Although different from depression, it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression (called “bipolar depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”

Examples of other types of depressive disorders include Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), which has been diagnosed in children and adolescents and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death/suicide or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few but distressing symptoms may benefit from treatment of their “subsyndromal” depression. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.

Therapy that can Help

Several types of psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy” or counseling) can help people with depression. Examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy.


Social awkwardness is the feeling we experience when we believe our desire for being accepted by others is threatened in a given situation. This feeling incites us to turn inward, increase our self-monitoring, and attempt to behave in ways that will better our chances for acceptance.

People who are consistently socially awkward have certain traits in common. Socially awkward individuals:

  • Fail to notice minor social expectations
  • Find routine social situations difficult to deal with
  • Can have unusually intense focus, particularly on topics governed by rules, such as logic or mathematics
  • Often show enthusiasm for taking things apart, studying the components, then methodically reassembling the parts differently
  • Are less intuitive when it comes to social graces

If you, or someone you love, suffers from social awkwardness, Dr. Tarra-Bates-Duford can help. With in-office visits or online therapy, social awkwardness can be a think of the past.


Think your relationship is in jeopardy? Here are some telltale signs your relationship is over and an indication you and your partner could use professional counseling to help you get through this difficult time.

You’re Fighting More When your relationship is on the verge of ending, you may find yourself arguing more and more with your significant other not only about the big things but also the little things. Nitpicking and criticism often surface in these arguments too, with no care for the kind of hurt you’re inflicting on the other. If you can’t seem to come to an understanding about anything, this is a sign the relationship is on its way out and you may need/want help.

You’re Communicating Less Are you and your partner not talking about personal or everyday things regularly anymore?

You’re No Longer Talking about the Future When you’re in a healthy relationship, you and your partner are constantly thinking about building together. If the future was an active part of your dialogue with your partner, and the conversation begins to sound more short term, this is a major indicator your minds are now in different places.

Distance Have you noticed you or your partner becoming increasingly more withdrawn? If you or your significant other would rather spend time away than together, this is a major indicator of trouble.

You’re Feeling Progressively More Depressed If you find yourself feeling more depressed, especially on the account of the relationship, this is a major warning sign that the relationship is not only on the verge of being over, but that it’s time to walk away. Your relationship shouldn’t bring you down. It should build you up.

You’re Bad Mouthing Your Significant Other When you’re not around your partner, do you find yourself talking negatively about him/her, with family and friends? When your relationship is on its way out, there is often a shift in the language used related to the one you once loved. If you’re saying something about them that they wouldn’t be happy hearing you say, especially to others, this is a sign that you’re becoming increasingly more emotionally withdrawn.

Your Significant Other Looks Like a Different Person Does your partner seem to be acting out of character — talking to you differently, becoming more anxious or aggressive, wanting to do things they’ve never wanted to do before excluding you? When your significant other doesn’t seem to be themselves, this “act” shouldn’t be ignored.

You or Your Significant Other Constantly Threatens to Leave These threats are usually signs of desperation in the relationship. When the relationship is on the verge of ending, these threats will begin surfacing more and more. If they’re said a lot, they can seem like empty threats but these usually indicate where your head and heart are, which is most likely somewhere else.


A blended family or stepfamily forms when you and your partner make a life together with the children from one or both of your previous relationships. The process of forming a new, blended family can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. While you as parents are likely to approach remarriage and a new family with great joy and expectation, your kids or your new spouse’s kids may not be nearly as excited. They’ll likely feel uncertain about the upcoming changes and how they will affect relationships with their natural parents. They’ll also be worried about living with new stepsiblings, whom they may not know well, or worse, ones they may not even like.

Making your blended family a success

Trying to make a blended family a replica of your first family, or the ideal nuclear family, can often set family members up for confusion, frustration, and disappointment. Instead, embrace the differences and consider the basic elements that make a successful blended family:

How the Family Matters Counseling Group can help make your blended family a success:

  • Help Create a Solid Marriage
  • Help Create a Civil Environment
  • Help Ensure Relationships are Respectful
  • Instill Compassion for Everyone’s Development

To give yourself the best chance of success in creating a blended family, it’s important to start planning how the new family will function before the marriage even takes place.


A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.

A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.

Recovery and Wellness

One in five adults experience a mental health condition every year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing the mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.

Half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. The normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition. Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.

6. Conclusion

Life is a challenge! For some, it’s much more difficult to navigate and requires the help of a professional to steer you in the right direction.

At the Family Matters Counseling Group, we have a staff dedicated to helping individuals, groups, and families struggling in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.

If you, or someone you know and/or love, is struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this article, please call Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford and her staff at 919-756-4451 for help.