Although anxiety is a common reaction to certain situations some people experience it more frequently and more intensively. People who come to therapy because of their anxiety frequently report that they don’t know why they become anxious when there doesn’t seem to be anything to be anxious about.
My approach to anxiety looks for the unconscious issues that are creating and feeding the anxiety. When these underlying issues are understood, the anxiety disappears. Anxiety disorders are very treatable with psychotherapy.
Depression is different than sadness, although many people say they feel depressed when they really feel sad. Sadness is normal and expected in certain life situations. When the sadness is not relieved when the situation improves, or continues for more than a few weeks, or effects sleep, eating, work or school, it may be time to talk with a psychologist. A family history or depression, certain chronic illnesses, trauma and stress may increase the risk of depression. Some people report feeling depressed for no cause for which they are aware.
Psychologists help to identify and process the underlying issues leading to depression. Healthier ways of dealing with these issues are explored and implemented so the sense of despair is relieved.
Unlike "career counseling", talking to a psychologist can uncover the possibility of self-defeating behaviors and thoughts that may be interfering with achievement. Sometimes people choose a career that they don't really want because of others' successes or because of parental pressures. Psychotherapy can help to clarify and work through the negative self issues so that full potential can be reached.
Relating with others can be fraught with problems. Relationships may be heterosexual or same sex. They may be co-workers, friends or family. Psychotherapy can help identify the sources of conflicts, concern, worry and difficulties with all kinds of relationship issues.
- Marital Relationships
Most people need to learn how to be married. One's parents are usually role models for how a marriage works and how partners behave. This results in most people either acting like their parents, or going to great lengths to be different, without quite knowing how or why. Issues of vulnerability, abandonment and intimacy usually play a part in marital problems. Talking to a psychologist can help identify problem issues and actually develop and reinforce new, healthier and more productive and loving behaviors.
- Partner Relationships
Same sex partner relationships are most frequently similar to heterosexual relationships. The underlying ways that couples think of and treat each other is (similar to marital relationships) frequently modeled after one's parents. Understanding underlying dynamics brings to light issues that are often interfering with a mutually healthy relationship.
Dealing with infertility can be very devastating to couples. Activating fears of inadequacy, inferiority, and abandonment the couple often copes using methods that are destructive to themselves and the relationship. Anxiety and depression surrounding the sense of inadequacy increases the likelihood of failure, causing more and more conflict within the individual and in the marriage. Medical requirements and treatments make sexual intimacy very technical further decreasing the sense of love, closeness and enjoyment of the relationship.
Parenting, like relationships, needs to be learned. Well intentioned parents can frequently slip into frustration and modes of behavior that are destructive to the self-esteem and emotional wellbeing of their children. Knowing what to expect from children, what to expect from your spouse, and most especially from oneself can be a strong basis for healthy parenting. Various ages and stages in the lives of children and teens brings new and unexpected joys as well as frustrations and dilemmas. Talking to a psychologist can help clarify these difficult times and provide help to the entire family.
- Separation and Divorce
Dissolution of a marriage is similar to a death. Very strong emotions are felt and are often acted out. Depression, anxiety, loss of concentration, inability to function in a usually competent manner is often even more distressing. Feelings of inadequacy and failure are experienced. Psychotherapy is most useful in reducing psychological symptoms and in developing new personal growth and strength.
Women in menopause are experiencing changes in hormonal balance resulting in changes both physical and emotional. The worries and concerns about aging add to these natural changes often resulting in anxiety and depression. Sleeplessness may come from nightsweats or from the emotional depression. Changes in sexual desire may also be a combination of physical changes, hormonal balance and psychological concerns about loss of youth. Psychotherapy helps to master this life transition.
- Aging Parents
Difficulties with aging parents often occurs just as people have arrived at a time of their life where "things should be easier". Often the couple has just arrived at the "empty nest" period and is looking forward to more freedom, a second career, travel or just plain relaxation. When couples with young children experience problems with their aging parents they (the young adult couple) are referred to as the "Sandwich Generation". They are "sandwiched" between two generations in need; their children and their aging parent. Caretaking of older adults frequently rests with the adult daughter causing her extreme distress in trying to manage everything. The entire family suffers unless there is adequate psychological professional help.
Read the following article in which Dr. Rodino is quoted: Dealing With Caregiver Blues on the Better Homes and Garden website, >> reprinted here.
- Breast Cancer
A diagnosis of breast cancer is devastating. A psychologist can help in learning about treatment options, communicating with doctors, managing fear, anxiety and depression, coping with treatments and communicating with loved ones. Psychotherapy helps cancer survivors feel better and stronger about themselves and about life.
- Heart Disease
A heart attack or cardiac event can dramatically change one's life. Often there is constant worry that one will never recover. There are feelings of helplessness. Psychologists help cardiac patients deal with stress, depression, lack of confidence, unhealthy behaviors, sexual concerns, family adjustments, anger and work demands.
- Chronic Illness
Being diagnosed with a serious illness creates a sense of helplessness and fear. Psychologists help with anxiety, depression, helping to make more effective decisions, helping to create a strong functioning support network, creating new visions for the future and enhancing communications between patient and other family members.
- Dental Fears
Dental fears, anxiety and phobias lead to avoidance of dental treatment. Dental conditions are created and exacerbated by stress. Temporomandibular Joint Disease (TMD / TMJ) and bruxism is caused by clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep. Cosmetic dentistry is sometimes disappointing. Good oral health is important to overall physical health and longevity. Talking to a psychologist can help with stress, anxiety, and fears.
- Life Transitions
Sometimes life transitions are happy times. These include the birth of a child, a graduation, a new position, a relocation, a new home. Although these are basically happy times, even such happy events can create stress and anxieties. A psychologist can help to clarify uncertainties, fears, and help to promote a positive and optimistic view.