By Connor Beach
Nobody’s life is perfect, and for those looking to make an improvement or solve a problem in their marriage or family life, there is help available.
Marriage and family therapist Baine Dawson offers a place where clients can work on problems, or just find someone to talk to, on Main Street in Huntington.
“The goal of therapy is to make your client have a safe, supportive environment where they feel that they can open up,” Dawson said. “Many times people don’t have that safe place, so the first and most important step is to create that environment.”
Dawson, who earned her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Hofstra University, said that when working with clients, especially children, it is important to address how the family “is contributing or working around” individual issues like anxiety, depression or behavior problems.
In addition to working with children and families, Dawson said she also specializes in dealing with marital issues or couples in distress.
“Anything from infidelity, thinking about a divorce, tragedy in the marriage, excessive fighting and alcohol or substance abuse,” Dawson said.
Dawson originally opened her own practice on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station, but moved to her current office on Main Street in Huntington in 2015.
Although she sometimes faces resistance to the changes that she recommends for families and couples, Dawson said it is rewarding to eventually see people work through their difficulties and grow.
“I love meeting people, hearing their stories and seeing them change and grow,” Dawson said.
Dawson said she has seen the negative stigma around therapy begin to decline in Huntington and more people are willing to seek help in overcoming obstacles in their marriage or family.
“It is a good thing to want to go and get help, or if your family is struggling why not get some guidance,” Dawson said.
People can seek the guidance of a family therapist for issues ranging from difficulties disciplining children to more drastic issues of arguing or fighting within the family, according to Dawson.
“The major goal of therapy for couples is communication and understanding because sometimes you are coming from two completely different points of view, and can’t understand that their partner is seeing things a completely different way,” she said.
For families, Dawson said it is important for parents to maintain a position at the top of the structured family hierarchy.
In children, she said it is important to teach coping mechanisms “to help manage their feelings and cope with them in a healthy way” as opposed to using drugs, alcohol or self-harm as a form of coping.
Whatever issue a client is trying to address, Dawson said there is always hope if they are willing to put in the effort.
She said, “You can always make things better… the key is putting the work in. I believe that if you put the work in you will absolutely see some changes.”