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1:43 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Counseling can be key in getting through recession stress

Recession-caused money trouble, layoffs and cutbacks at work bring more people into counseling lately, said Sue Horst, an independent counselor with Trinity Lutheran Church in Prescott Valley.

Horst said she sees more career women who face foreclosure on their homes because of layoffs or cutbacks at work. They say it's hard to find a new job, so they think about moving down to Phoenix to see if that helps, but leaving family and friends brings up depression issues, Horst said.

"When a person experiences loss, whether it's a job, a person, or a house, the resulting emotion is grief," Horst said.

Stress hurts people who are still in the workforce as well, Horst said. Layoffs and cutbacks mean one person often does work that used to be done by two or three people, and the added stress and workload may make them consider quitting, Horst said.

"The primary thing I do is give people hope," Horst said. "You move from 'This is over' and 'I don't know what I can do' to finding solutions."

Couples who come in often have trust issues intertwined with their financial problems, so Horst works with them on communication and relationship skills.

"Communication skills can be used within the relationship to build a tighter bond so that it's the two of you facing the world together," Horst said.

Horst uses a three-pronged counseling approach involving traditional talk therapy, teaching of life skills, and reinforcing a person's spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be.

Horst said she often directs people to job-seeking, food, and health resources in the area, but usually they've already sought them out and what they need most is emotional support. Although she works with the Lutheran church, she supports all faiths and helps clients reconnect with their own faith.

"Many people are feeling disconnected, so we get them in touch with spiritual resources, which helps provide hope," Horst said.

Horst said the number of clients she counsels each week varies. For now, she meets with about 10 people every other week for about an hour each. She has a sliding scale for fees.

"People may be reluctant to seek counseling because they think they can't afford it, but if you have the desire, we are here to help," Horst said.