Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety is characterized by a sense of doubt and vulnerability about future events. The attention of anxious people is focused on their future prospects, and the fear that those future prospects will be bad. Anxiety is characterized by a variety of symptoms involving anxious thoughts, unexplained physical sensations, and avoidant or self-protective behaviors.
A person, whose primary problem is depression, rather than anxiety, generally doesn’t show the same fear and uncertainty that people do with anxiety disorders. Depressed people are not so preoccupied with worrying about what might happen to them in the future. They think they already know what will happen, and they believe it will be bad; the same bad stuff that’s happening to them now. The key symptoms of depression include:
* Feeling sad, and/or hopeless
* Lack of interest and enjoyment in activities that used to be fun and interesting
* Physical aches and pains without physical cause; lack of energy
* Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
* Changes in appetite and weight
* Unwelcome changes in usual sleep pattern
* Thoughts of death and suicide
Depression may come on as a relatively sudden and severe problem, or it may consist of a longer-term set of symptoms, which are less severe.
Stress, Pain, Anger Management
All three conditions can be managed by learning self-regulation skills i.e. improving your control of the mind-body system. Yoga and mindfulness meditation are specifically emphasized as ways to increase self-regulation. Assertiveness training and conflict resolution are useful for anger management.
Infidelity is increasingly recognized as a form of trauma due to the shock from finding out that your partner had been unfaithful. Therapy involves initial stabilization of emotions followed by various techniques to repair and actually improve the relationship if that is deemed appropriate.
Although one usually associates grieving with loss due to death, there are in fact various reasons for grieving; one relatively frequent reason is loss due to the end of an intimate relationship. For uncovering road blocks to successful grieving, existential and supportive therapy are usually helpful.
There is evidence that any behaviour can become a true addiction if practised intensely enough over a long period to cause homestatic alterations in brain structure and or function. This includes substance abuse, alcohol, eating disorder, gambling, sex, and love. Techniques utilized include psycho-education, behavioural therapy (e.g. stimulus control), social skills training, stress management, and discussion and support of using the 12 Steps for clients who are in a 12 step group. Clients are also taught how to learn from relapses and prevent them.
An integrative therapeutic approach is taken (i.e. an integration of biological, psychological, relational and contextual information). This bio-psycho-social approach has been found to be helpful in treating sexual problems such as lack of desire, erectile dysfunction, and problems achieving orgasm. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual (LGBT) issues are often helped by counselling aimed at empowering the individual to lead a fulfilling life in the face of stressors such as social stigmatization and discrimination.
Parents often second guess themselves if they are doing the right thing. This is even more so for parents who are faced with children displaying difficult and challenging behaviours. They can be helped through psychoeducation to understand a child’s developmental stages and the unique character of each individual child. Issues of the parents’ own attachment and sense of security will be explored in order to help them tune in better to the attachment needs of their children. Cognitive methods of intervention will also be applied to challenge self-defeating thoughts about their own parenting skills and enable a more positive, pro-active and energetic approach.
Providing care to a spouse, elderly parent or family member suffering long term illness or dementia is often a distressing experience. The caregiver has to endure high levels of stress, lowered sense of well-being and a host of negative emotions. The practice of mindfulness has been found to be helpful in enabling caregivers to be more reflective thereby allowing them to tap into a wider range of coping skills. Mindfulness based exercises leads to the individual being less reactive to and judgmental about upsetting thoughts and emotions. This can be combined with a cognitive-behavioural approach to enhance problem solving abilities, challenge their negative thoughts and assumptions and reengage in positive aspects of life.