For the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has done a number on our mental health. Many of us may have experienced, heightened anxiety: hardship, like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one and everyone, has been forced to dramatically alter how they live, work and do even such mundane things like shopping. We all worry, just a little more (a lot more ) than usual right now...Anxiety is your body's natural response to stress. The problem is, people suffering from above-normal anxiety tend to have intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. They can feel agitated, restless, want to control people or events, over-plan. They may have trouble concentrating, experience muscle tension, sleeping problems, avoid social situations, suffer from irrational fears, and even experience panic attacks (sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that can reach a peak within minutes). Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD), social anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Good news, anxiety is highly treatable.
When you experience depression it may feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel: you can't get out of bed and are tired all the time, irritated, constantly ruminate, you overeat, or have lost your appetite altogether, you may even wonder about the purpose of it all. Or, maybe you suffer from extreme mood swings (bipolar): sometimes you are on top of the world, don't need sleep, dance all night, think you can do anything, get yourself in trouble, then you crash and become depressed for weeks. As the name indicates, mood disorders are a category of illnesses that describe a severe change in mood. If you have a mood disorder, your general emotional state or mood is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances and interferes with your ability to function. Other mood disorders include dysthymia (a chronic form of depression), SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and a variety of other mood disturbances that may be caused by a medical condition or drug and alcohol abuse.
Trauma and PTSD
Whether it stems from a personal tragedy, natural disaster (such as this pandemic), violence, war, or any other disturbing event, trauma can take a huge emotional toll and your body may go through a series of different actions to cope with the event. Symptoms may include shock, confusion, anger, mood swings, fear, guilt, or withdrawing from other people, numbness. A traumatic event may be a single experience or even a series of experiences. It often occurs when our basic life assumptions are shattered (such as “the world is safe,” “I can trust people,” “I am in control”). After a traumatic event, an individual may experience feelings of powerlessness, fear, or hopelessness.
A person can be traumatized via early childhood trauma or neglect, physical/sexual/emotional abuse, domestic violence, complex trauma (long periods of traumatic events), war, multi-generational trauma, terrorism, or natural disasters. Trauma can also result from long-term exposure to situations such as extreme poverty, or enduring racism, discrimination, and/or oppression.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following any (traumatic) event that makes you fear for your safety. Most people associate PTSD with rape or battle-scarred soldiers but any event, or series of events, that overwhelms you with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and leaves you emotionally shattered, can trigger PTSD and can leave you feeling stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories.
And while there is no right or wrong way to feel after a traumatic event, there are strategies that can help you work through feelings of pain, fear, and grief and regain your emotional balance.
You may be addicted to substances such as alcohol, inhalants, opioids, cocaine, nicotine, uppers downers, or behaviors such as gaming, gambling, shopping, thrill-seeking, sex, plastic surgery procedures, or social media/ addiction.
The term "addiction" can mean many things to many people. A general definition:
Addiction is the repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was (and may continue to be) pleasurable and/or valuable.
I look at addiction as a set of narrowed and interlocking cognitive and emotional habits, reinforced by brain changes that emerge with continued use. Helpful themes include re-framing and transforming these psychological and biological habits, understanding their origins, improving the internal dialogue, and finding new ways to connect with other people.
I help people who want help reducing their addictive activities, quitting, remaining in control, or avoiding negative consequences.
ADHD and ADD
Do you have trouble with any of the following?
Finishing work on time
Many people have heard of ADHD. It may make you think of kids who have trouble paying attention or who are hyperactive or impulsive. Adults can have ADHD, too. About 4% to 5% of U.S. adults have it.
In psychotherapy, I offer a person with ADHD a place to process feelings and develop strategies for dealing with the effects of ADHD. ADHD often results in broken friendships, poor relationships, and plunging self-esteem.
Anger Management Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. But it’s unhealthy when it flares up all the time or spirals out of control. Chronic, explosive anger has serious consequences for your relationships, your health, and your state of mind. The good news is that getting anger under control is easier than you think. With insight about the real reasons for your anger and these anger management tools, you can learn to keep your temper from hijacking your life.
The first signs of a personality disorder usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood. PD's are deeply ingrained, rigid ways of thinking and behaving that result in troubled and dysfunctional relationships with others and often cause much distress for the individual who experiences them. Ten different kinds of personality disorders fall into three clusters, although there is known to be much overlap between the disorders, each of which exists on a spectrum:
Couples come to seek therapy for many reasons: communication problems, money issues, sexual differences & desires, infidelity and major life changes such as getting married or starting a family, or empty-nest syndrome. And some people feel just stuck or bored with each other. More often than not, the presenting issue is not the real issue.
During our first session, I get to know the couple and hear what they would like help with. I may get to witness some of their problems first hand. Both parties need to feel heard, respected and cared for by their partner and me, so that we can create a fair, trusting and safe environment for each partner to explore.
I help partners analyze communication patterns and emotional styles of relating and then help to replace them with feasible and more effective and healthy ones. These are all worked out collaboratively with the couple and within the context of their every day life. Some clients benefit greatly from just a few sessions while others need many months of therapy.
My clients appreciate leaving with their customized “toolbox” to solve their problems on their own, effectively, passionately, and mutually satisfying.
Being able to help as a trained psychotherapist and life & executive coach
depending on my clients' needs has proven immensely helpful.
What Is Holding You Back
Your thoughts profoundly impact your moods and shift your emotions, your behavioral choices, your self-confidence, and self-worth in all areas of life. Changing those thoughts can lead to powerful positive life changes.
Your Attachment Style
Your attachment style (a pattern of relating to others) is established in early childhood with parents or primary caregivers. It continues to function as a working model for how people continue to form close relationships and pick romantic partners. Knowing your attachment style can be a game-changer! What is yours?
Psychotherapy or coaching can be outside of one’s comfort zone. Challenging one’s edge makes people feel excited and maybe even a bit scared at the same time. I offer a safe and enlightening, even fun place where you get to know yourself on a different level and can take risks that organically lead towards strength and incredible self-knowledge and, ultimately, self-growth. Visualize yourself getting unstuck!
Your Body & Your Brain
Our nervous system drives automatic reactions to life and relationships, and all of our psychological patterns are deeply held in the body. Learning how your brain influences your well-being and working from a body-centered and somatic experiencing awareness is another vehicle for changing old stuck behaviors.
Clearly defined goals speed up positive change. As well, some occasional "homework assignments" can give you a chance to hone in on what you have learned during a session and gets you closer to those goals faster.
Yes, You Can
Having witnessed so many people working through smaller and bigger issues successfully has repeatedly shown to me that everyone has a place to tap into and produce incredible strength, pull-through, and wisdom to create a fulfilled, healthy and happy life.