Professional counseling for adolescents, adults, couples and families struggling with depression, anxiety and traumatic stress.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
~ Lao Tzu
You could be suffering from any one or a combination of these three disorders.
People in this kind of pain and disruption from healthy, everyday living are not worried about a diagnosis. They want help to get well. That takes competent treatment and professional mental health counseling. I understand what you need and want.
Your job is to get started in therapy.
Symptoms of “depression” in America are the most common mental health challenges that get in the way of enjoying life. Perhaps you've already investigated your symptoms and given yourself a diagnoses. Whatever you’ve attempted to do such as ignore, explain away, bury your feelings, you need an objective and competent therapist to help them move out of the depression.
The traditional treatment for depression is a combination of talk therapy with a qualified therapist and the use of psychotropic medication under direction of a psychiatrist. Regular body movement, such as gentle exercise or walking is also recommended. I like to take a little different approach in that I use therapy as a first line of defense unless the depression is life threatening. Most people respond well to this tact and find that they can recover and feel good.
Major depression is more serious than the everyday sadness everyone feels from time to time in the face of the ups and downs of life. It is normal and therefore healthy to experience emotions that sometimes are called “down” or “blue” such as sadness, low energy or discouragement. You may feel bored, hopeless or simply bummed out. We call these feelings “depression,” but when compared to a diagnosis of clinical, major depression, there are significant differences.
The fundamental differences have to do with the degree of intensity and the longevity of the depressive symptoms. A clinically depressed person has lost interest in things that used to give them pleasure, have difficulty with concentration, experience disruption in sleep and appetite, may have suicidal thinking or even have attempted suicide. In addition, symptoms such as these have persisted for several months, even years
Having said that, I work with many clients who have experienced many different types and degrees of depression and find therapy helpful during those periods in their life. You need not be diagnosable with major depression to seek out counseling. In fact, getting counseling early when you first experience depression can keep things from getting worse.
What is “anxiety?” Symptoms of anxiety disorders cause distress that interferes with your ability to live a normal life. Panic attacks, social anxiety disorders and phobias are three of the most typical categories of anxiety troubles. The most frequent type of anxiety is called “generalized anxiety disorder” (GAD), characterized by persistent, anxious thoughts and worry about most everything. This can be not only disruptive of a healthy lifestyle, but it can lead ultimately to exhaustion and fatigue with concomitant physical symptoms.
"The distinction between an anxiety disorder and just having normal anxiety is whether your emotions are causing a lot of suffering and dysfunction," says Sally Winston, PsyD, co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorder Institute of Maryland in Towson. Dr. Winston identifies what I often see in my clients: not addressing their anxious thought patterns before they become a major source of pain and disruption of joy in their life.
As with depression, early identification and intervention of anxiety disorders is highly recommended. If you have any doubt about the anxiety you struggle with, don't question yourself or try to talk yourself out of getting help. Denial and minimizing of your symptoms is a surefire way of making recovery more prolonged. Therapy certainly will not make things worse and most likely will be a turning point in relieving your pain. Dealing with anxiety disorders all by yourself is not fun.
Traumatic stress should certainly not be minimized or overlooked. Issues can be a "BIG T" trauma such as near death experiences, rape, abuse, abandonment etc. or a” little t” trauma such as the seemingly small events in life that don’t even seem to be traumatic but end up affecting us in profound ways. This “stress” which results from a traumatic event or situation in a person’s life often appear as anxiety and/or depression along with disruption of normal, healthy functioning. Left untreated, even little t traumas can affect our lives in negative ways. More severe forms of traumatic stress can develop into major dysfunction - commonly called “post-traumatic stress disorder” or “PTSD.”
Physical and or sexual abuse of children is one of the most common sources of the symptoms of traumatic stress disorders. Many people attempt, on their own and in a variety of self-help ways, to deal with symptoms resulting from childhood trauma. This may include suppressing symptoms with self-medication with alcohol or other drugs. Overindulgence in other kinds of activities such as exercise, sex or eating can be attempts at addressing traumatic stress symptoms. Usually, these attempts to feel better do not work and create other issues.
Trauma always involves loss and injury. Violation of boundaries, physically and emotionally, results in the loss of the sense of safety and trust of other people. Physical injury due to accidents and other violent acts can increase a person's level of anxiety and feeling vulnerable. Worry, anxious thought patterns, depression, inappropriate acting out and addictive behaviors all can have their origins traced to one trauma or another.
Despite the American cultural traits of “gutting it out”, “grin and bear it” and not showing what some consider signs of weakness by asking for help, you and I are still human beings and a wound is a wound. Whether it is emotional, physical or relationship healing you need, recovery from trauma always goes best with early intervention and outside professional therapy.
How I Best Approach These Major Emotional Disorders
My approach to dealing with these three important categories of emotional and psychiatric wounding (depression, anxiety and traumatic stress) is to help you quickly get back on your feet by using effective treatment techniques tailored to your unique situation. With the appropriate strategies, you can find the healing and wellness you need.
I use a variety of evidence-based techniques and approaches to work with you in your therapy. These include family therapy, behavioral counseling, hypnosis, and EFT. I have found emotional freedom techniques (EFT) to be very effective in dealing with stress, trauma, depression, anxiety and many other emotional and physical issues. Therapy addresses dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors that play out in our lives and create misery and an inability to function fully.
Give me a call today at (803) 787-3130 and let's begin your journey away from feeling bad. There is relief from the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress and you deserve to feel your joy in living as soon as possible.