Anxiety & Anxiety Spectrum Disorder
Anxiety can present itself in many different ways. Sometimes it is so intense that we might find ourselves experiencing a panic attack and for some, this might feel like shortness of breath and racing heartbeat. Anxiety can also show up as general worry and concern over just about anything. Sometimes the thoughts become relentless, catastrophic, and at times, obsessive. Other times anxiety can be situational; for example, feeling anxious about a big move to another state. Anxiety can also take the form of phobia- where the thought of a specific object or action makes your heart start racing and your only thought is how to avoid the object or situation.
Anxiety can show up in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can also show up in our bodies and physical experiences. Therapy can provide a space to better understand and identify how and when anxiety symptoms might be showing up and how it impacts the quality of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. And how to reduce the impact of our anxious feelings on the quality of our day-to-day life. Therapy can also help to ease the physical component of anxiety by learning mindfulness techniques such as grounding and progressive muscle relaxation.
Depression can hit us at any point in time and sometimes, unexpectedly. Depressive symptoms can present in many different ways - perhaps we’re feeling constantly exhausted, over or underwhelmed, and disinterested in engaging (even in enjoyable activities). We might also feel irritable, distant from those that we love, and self-critical to the point of self-loathing. And we might feel hopeless and helpless all at once. Depressive symptoms can be recurring and something we are used to managing. Other times, we may experience it for the first time - perhaps in relation to something that has happened in our lives. Either way, it can feel scary and relentless.
Just like anxiety, depression can show-up in our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and in our bodies. Therapy can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to explore difficult feelings and self-critical thoughts. It can be an opportunity to learn more about how depression impacts us and what we can do to manage the symptoms and minimize the impact they have on our day-to-day lives. Often therapy can uncover faulty thinking patterns that if altered, can lead to new and brighter perspectives that lift the heaviness of depression and hopeless thinking. And also similar to anxiety treatment, therapy can help ease the physical burden potentially caused by depressive symptoms through the practice of mindfulness techniques.
Life transition refers to any big changes that might happen in our lives whether these changes are anticipated or sprung upon us. For example, we graduate from college and feel we “should” be happy, but really we are feeling anything but that. Maybe we get married or divorced and our relationship status changes. Maybe it’s becoming a parent for the first time, or losing a parent. Or entering retirement after a life-long career. Change of any kind, whether we want it or not, can be hard to deal with it and can often bring up feelings of anxiety, depression, or often a mix of both.
Therapy can help by offering a safe space to talk through the changes that are happening to us while helping to identify the feelings that accompany them. Even if we embrace the next stage in our life and look forward to the gains, often we might not realize that we are grieving “what was”. Change is hard and often just having this validated is a necessary step in moving forward.
Grief & Bereavement
There is no doubt that losing a loved one can be the most challenging and devastating time in one’s life. The range of responses to loss is endless, and no one journey looks the same. Common feelings for those that are mourning might include agitation, apathy, betrayal, fear, guilt, sadness, hopelessness, numbness, relief, shock, shame, weakness, strength, isolation, etc. One might notice changes in concentration ability, self-esteem, decision-making skills, preoccupation with details of the loss, and a shift to self-destructive thinking. Mourning is not a linear process - this means we might feel okay one day, or for several days at a time, and then return back to a time period of feeling sadness and difficult emotions all over again. The non-linear nature of the grieving process is normal.
Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. Therapy can be a useful and reliable space to work through these often complicated and intimate emotions. Oftentimes, people might feel that through counseling they have been able to work through the pain of grief, feel more adjusted to life without their loved one, maintain a meaningful connection to their loved one while moving forward, and feel closer to acceptance. Sometimes having the space to just sort through complicated emotions becomes meaningful as well. Or simply, therapy can provide a stable, supportive environment during a time of chaos and unpredictability.
One of a Kind
My approach is eclectic, and I utilize several techniques including Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Mindfulness Practices, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Trauma-Informed Therapy, and Strength-based Interventions. I tailor my approach to meet the needs of the individual client.