There are many issues in life which can be improved with therapy. Here is how I help older teens (16 and up) and adults navigate the following areas of life:
- Family Life Cycles and Life Transitions: The family life cycles are coupling, families with new children, families with older children, families with children who launch, families in middle age and retirement, families in old age and transition. Each of these family life cycle stages brings its own set of circumstances (stressors) which bring about a host of mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and ambivalence to people who are otherwise leading productive and normal lives. No two stages are completely alike, and no two people work through the stages in the same way. Accordingly, parents with small children have different needs than parents who are also caring for their aging parents. The stressors of the family life cycle sometimes bring awareness to the need to change or adjust, which is very difficult without support. Support through therapy can help clients figure out the next steps as they navigate the unchartered territory of the family life cycles.
- Depression, Anxiety and Mental Wellness: Depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms can occur separately and together. The symptoms can happen because of life circumstances or biology. Either way, the symptoms are uncomfortable and need to be addressed holistically so that they don’t become worse and so that mental wellness can be established and maintained. I find that talk therapy is very effective for mental wellness, especially when incorporated with cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and psychodynamic therapy. Sometimes therapy is not enough, and clients need support to understand the role medication can play in their wellbeing. In that case, I offer my clients the necessary education, advocacy, referrals, and support in tandem with therapy to help reduce symptoms and enhance wellbeing.
- Low Self – Esteem: Low self – esteem is one reason many clients seek therapy. Research finds that true self esteem is developed by doing. Accordingly, I help my clients envision what they want to be doing, and then help them find ways to reduce the obstacles (procrastination, time management, secondary gains) which get in the way of just doing it. Once my clients can get past the obstacles which hold them back, they are able to complete tasks toward their goals and experience increased self-esteem.
- Communication and Assertiveness: Communication happens in many negative and nonverbal ways. The most effective form of communication is assertive communication which is the ability to express positive and negative thoughts and feelings in an open, honest and direct way. Many clients are not aware of their negative communication patterns and the way their communication impacts others in very important areas of their lives. With therapy, they become able to identify their negative communication patterns and learn the tools to steer their communication toward assertive communication. This helps in all situations ranging from family to work to everything in between.
- Relationships: Improving relationships is often a focus of therapy. Folks come to therapy to improve and repair several their romantic and other relationships. Friendships, working relationships, family relationships and mother-daughter relationships are some of the relationship issues successfully addressed in therapy. Many people are not aware that relationships can often be improved through individual therapy. I encourage clients to look at the patterns they might be bringing to relationships. This awareness usually goes a long way in improving relationships. I also work conjointly on relationships by employing systemic therapy to understand and reduce the negative patterns at play.
- Coping with children’s therapy/mental health: Parents are often worried about how to deal with their children who are receiving therapy for eating disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD, and a host of other mental health issues. They spend the money and time to get them to their appointments and often feel left out of the process, not knowing how they may help or hinder the process. Support for parents is crucial for many reasons, namely because the child spends more time at home than anywhere else AND because the parents often do want to learn how to help. Parents also need support for their feelings of guilt, responsibility, helplessness and hopelessness.
- Loss, Divorce, and Transition: Losses come in many forms and each must be acknowledged at the level of their own influence and merit. Losses can be narrowly defined, such as loss of a loved one to death or tragedy. Losses can also be more broadly defined, such as loss of income, loss of lifestyle, loss of loved ones through a move, and loss of loved ones through transitions. Whatever the loss, I help my clients come to terms with their losses through meaningful rituals and establishment of new healthy patterns of coping.
- Stress and Adjustment: While stress and adjustment are a part of life, constant states of stress are physiologically damaging due to the constant release of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. I work existentially with clients to discern how much control they have over events in their lives – usually it is not much. From there, I use therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness, CBT, breathing and medication, and solution focused therapy to reframe and reduce stress so that physiological wellness can be restored.
- College Students and Young Professionals: Adulting is a very dynamic part of life laden with its own unique set of challenges. In this generation, it is taking longer for young adults to establish their independence and sense of purpose. This understandably impacts the necessary development of identity and psychological wellbeing. Through therapy, I help young adults establish their sense of identity through psychoeducation and their experience so that they are equipped to visualize solutions to their challenges and make decisions for an authentic and fulfilling future.