SELF ESTEEM, ANXIETY and DEPRESSION
It’s debilitating. You may feel incapable of making decisions, or feel like you are always the target of someone else’s bullying. Anxiety can keep you from sleeping, eating or enjoying the things in life you see other people doing. And depression can be exhausting, causing you to question why you are even here and leave you wondering how you’ll get through another day.
Yet there is more determination in you than you are probably aware of. You have found your way through the fog and you are looking for a lifeboat. I know it’s hard to put your trust in a complete stranger, but I will be with you throughout the process.
How will we do that? It really depends on you, and your specific situation. You may need to work in a somatic way, and then we can process emotion through your body. You may need to talk or cry or scream, in which case we will use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and relational psychotherapy to process events in your life. Or you may not know what you need, or what is even wrong. This is also ok, because throughout the course of our work together you will find a safe haven where you can begin to figure out what you want and how you can achieve it.
It may not be comfortable for you to identify with the word “trauma". You might think this word is reserved for others who may have had it much worse than you did. Or that PTSD is only reserved for soldiers who fought in a war.
If you think it’s possible you may have experienced trauma, you are probably right. Be it through childhood sexual abuse, childhood physical or emotional abuse, a verbally or physically abusive relationship, or a one-time traumatic event (such as a rape, car accident or earthquake), this trauma stays in your body. Unfortunately, it can sometimes dictate your present-day happiness. Trauma does this by actually hijacking your body, and forcing you to respond to people or situations based on your trauma memory.
It’s bad enough that you had to live through this event, now it’s running your life? Maybe it’s time to let it go.
You might wonder if you have to talk about “IT” when you come to therapy…the thing that happened. It may have been so traumatizing to you that even thinking about it brings up intense anxiety for you. The answer is no. You don’t have to talk about it. We can work in a very slow and gentle manner, sometimes working through the body to see where you are holding the trauma, and then learning how to release it.
My goal is to make you feel safe, and you are always going to be in control and empowered in our work together. We will work in a collaborative manner which will allow me to support you in the ways you need to be supported, as well as provide you with the tools you will need to combat the shame and terror that accompanies trauma.
If you are suffering from OCD, I understand how this disorder can actually take over your life. And if you are watching your child or other loved one suffer with their obsessions and rituals, I can understand how helpless you must feel.
The good news is that there really is help! Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven to be extremely effective in identifying the thinking patterns that allow the obsessions and rituals to thrive. It can be absolutely terrifying to even think about giving up your rituals. The obsessions have become a way of life, and have reduced your anxiety enough to enable you to get by. Unfortunately, the anxiety reduction lasts for a very short time. Then the cycle starts all over again, and usually it actually gets worse over time.
The compulsions, unwanted thoughts, images, avoidance techniques and doubts tend to require even more rituals to control them. The shame, embarrassment and distress that accompanies this can become completely debilitating. If you or someone you love is suffering like this, we can work together in a way that will allow you to view your thoughts differently, and ultimately you will have the strength to move past your rituals. But you don’t need to do it alone.
I will be by your side the entire way, and when we finally start to practice some Exposure and Response Prevention techniques, you will feel ready and excited to enter this new chapter of your life. You can let this go, and you will be surprised to see that it will be easier than you ever thought!
If you are have been thinking about marriage counseling or counseling for you and your partner, I commend your decision. It can sometimes feel like acknowledging the fact that you need help means your relationship is in trouble. However couples counseling is really the healthiest thing you can do for your relationship. It means you care enough to do better! And when two people care enough to understand one other better, there is no limit to how strong their relationship can become.
I work with both the Imago method and the Gottman method, two forms of psychodynamic therapy which will help develop a new way of listening and actually hearing what your partner is saying. In turn, your partner will hear you in a new way, and this opens the door for compassionate teamwork between the two of you.
Fighting, screaming, ignoring, shutting down and defensive behaviors will no longer be the way the two of you operate. No matter how angry or betrayed you may feel in your relationship, a new form of communication filled with respect, understanding and love is possible for the two of you.
EMDR is a treatment for trauma and anxiety, which involves retrieving memories from the hippocampus and bringing them to the pre-frontal cortex. The two structures of the brain interact and update the memory, and then re-encode it into the hippocampus. It may sound strange, but it is a gentle technique that has been proven to reduce distress and activation resulting from past trauma.