Toward Lightness: Depression Therapy

Toward Lightness: Depression Therapy

How We Help You Treat Depression

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Depression, the most common mood disorder, is probably a factor for most people who seek counselling therapy – whether their main concern is depression or not. Depression sometimes is the result of situational factors, such as external threat and stress, racism, pace of life and many other environmental factors. In some cases depression can be rooted in people’s inability to deal with existential issues, such as grief and lack of meaning, or in people experiencing a spiritual void. A wider variety of therapies and non-pharmacological treatments than ever before have been proven effective for treating depression. Successful therapy will involve your therapist matching the best treatment to your particular situation. It is not a one size fits all matter. Therefore, it follows that the therapists that are most successful at treating depression will have the widest repertoire of treatments and ideas. Your therapist should discuss with you some of these options and discuss with you the pros and cons of medications and medication in combination with counselling therapy.
Why not use medication alone?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. There is a saying among therapists that ‘pills don’t teach skills’. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
NIMH research on depression treatment is clear, even when someone has a major depression that responds to medication, psychotherapy is a useful tool that helps people find new ways to think about their lives and approach difficulties they face.  Working with your medical doctor we can determine what’s best for you, and although in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is a good option, we always encourage all possible therapy-based approaches.  There are many people for whom depression has clear biochemical foundations, and for them, medication can be a very useful aid in getting through the acute phase of an illness. There are others who need to remain on an antidepressant for longer periods of time. But even for those whose treatment includes medication, therapy is important alongside the medication to maintain healthy lifestyle factors.What happens in Treatment for Depression
Treating depression absolutely needs to start with a warm, welcoming, and  accepting rapport. Nobody wants to be depressed. Nobody decides to be depressed. So, we start with compassion and understanding.

Treatment typically operates on three levels: 1) the behavioral level where we examine the situational factors; stresses at work or extended family that might be burdening a person; and also selecting new behaviors to implement that have beeen clinically proven to improve mood; 2) the emotional level where we look for sources of negative emotion, unresolved grief for example, and also selecting strategies that have been clinically proven to directly change emotional states; and 3) the cognitive level where we examine faulty, self-defeating and pessimistic automatic thought processes and change those with more adaptive, accurate and life-giving thought processes. .
Further, in our work together we will likely:

  • Use a problem solving approach to figure out what your stressors are and how to address them
  • Look at the things that work and don’t work for you in managing your mood
  • Target practical and more importantly doable steps you can use to improve your outlook on life
  • Carefully assess the coping skills you have and those you would like to develop
  • Investigate the underlying meaning of your mood as it connects to other aspects of your life

Depression certainly gets a person’s attention and should serve as an opportunity to slow down and take stock—to figure out what is going well and what might need to change in one’s life. It is also an opportunity to learn new skills.
The therapists at Russell & Associates know that research has identified that depression looks different in children than adult depression; and depression in men frequently looks different than depression in women.
The most important message here is that it is key to reach out for help for treatment for depression from a trained therapist and reach out to your social network for support. Help is available and the sooner help is accessed the less the life impact of depression.

Reach out today and lets work together to turn things around!

 

Toward Calm: Trauma Treatment

Toward Calm: Trauma Treatment

Healing From Trauma and Abuse

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Trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are much more familiar concepts these days. Most people are familiar with the terms and many people understand the signs of trauma. Fortunately, research has advanced also in understanding at a neurological level what is happening in the mind of a traumatized person. And perhaps more importantly within the past 10-20 years, we have a much better understanding of how to treat and bring about relief and possibly resolution of trauma symptoms. For example;

  • We know that a person who has suffered trauma can not simply ‘get over it’. Their mind is stuck in a loop of thing, feeling and reacting they can’t get out of by themselves.
  • We know that the looping the mind is doing is the mind trying its hardest to heal itself by making sense of an experience – except that the trauma experience does not make any sense.
  • We know that anxiety always accompanies trauma and depression very often accompanies trauma too.
  • We know that trauma symptoms can be caused by a traumatic event (Acute trauma); a traumatic pattern in early life (developmental trauma); or by a traumatic event very early in life, before the person has developed language, in which case the trauma is stored in the body and emotions, but not in words.
  • We know that trauma typically has to be treated with talk therapy. But talk therapy usually isn’t enough. Therapies that target and heal the body and the emotions are required for full healing and recovery.
  • We know that trauma is about an experience that was profoundly unsafe. That profoundly unsafe feeling carries on long after the traumatic event has ended. And so, trauma treatment must, first create a felt sense of safety in the therapy office.

Trauma requires a competent therapist to accurately tease out these issues so that the person receives the best treatment. Effective treatments for each of trauma exists, but it is very important that you work with a therapist who is astute and up to date on treatment options. The competent clinician who treats a traumatized client needs to have a general perspective on how trauma undermines a person’s basic assumptions about how the world and their own life operate in order to help a person re-establish a coherent perspective. It is also important to take into account the cultural perspective of traumatized clients.

Acute Trauma
Acute trauma is the ‘normal kind of trauma that comes to mind when we hear the term. A dramatic event that the person didn’t see coming rocked their world and left them shocked and reeling. The event might be a motor vehicle accident, sexual assault, robbery or some other form of criminal violence. Treatment of this kind of trauma is frequently relatively brief and efficient since the trauma is constrained to an event or a small period of time.
Developmental Trauma

In contrast to acute trauma that is discrete and contained in terms of when it happened, developmental trauma occurred as a pattern of behavior and interactions over a long period of time, in childhood. These patterns aren’t abusive in the way we normally think of that term, but they are still damaging. For example, a parent who is not able to reliably regulate their own anxiety, may unintentionally communicate to their child a) that the world is not a safe place, b) being a grown up is a scary thing, and c) that it is the child’s role and responsibility to regulate the parent’s emotions. These kinds of dynamics can create trauma effects in the child, such as a distrust of others and apprehension toward ‘being adult’ and an over-developed sense of responsibility for other’s feelings. Not the recipe for a full and abundant life.This creates a few challenges for treatment. The individual may not immediately recognize that the behaviors and interactions were dysfunctional, because the person wouldn’t know anything different.

Childhood Abuse
Childhood abuse can take a variety of forms: some obvious and some more subtle. Obvious abuse like physical violence and sexual exploitation need no explanation. Other forms of childhood abuse such as verbal violence, emotional manipulation and emotional neglect can be equally damaging, but more difficult to recover from since the wounds aren’t apparent.

Vicarious or Secondary Trauma
Vicarious or secondary trauma is equally potent but much less understood and accepted than the kinds of trauma described above. Police officers, firefighters, other emergency responders as well as counsellors and social workers witness and hear stories of traumatic events that have happened to others. But witnessing and hearing about can have the same effect as experiencing it oneself.
The symptoms can be similar, including hyper-arousal, numbing out, flashbacks or intrusive thoughts and collateral effects including substance abuse. What makes vicarious trauma more difficult to deal with is that the helper may have difficulty accepting that witnessing can have a traumatizing effect since they were doing their job helping others.

Spiritual Abuse
Since one’s spirituality is so central to who we are as people when one’s spirituality is exploited and hijacked for someone else’s advantage, the effects can be particularly damaging. This makes spiritual abuse is a special case of the abuse of power, and particularly difficult to recover from. The therapist’s at Russell & Associates can bring a reasoned perspective and an empathetic response to this kind of abuse and facilitate the recovery and healing from spiritual abuse.

How We Can Help
The therapists at Russell & Associates ca caring, patient and skilled in identifying the factors involved in these forms of abuse and they are highly skilled treating trauma and abuse with clinically proven techniques. Call us today to get started on your healing journey.

 

Toward Freedom: Anxiety Therapy

Toward Freedom: Anxiety Therapy

How We Help You Treat Anxiety

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Does it feel you feel that your worries are taking over your life? Do you find yourself rehearsing difficulties from the past as if that will protect you from problems in the future? Are you noticing your anxiety is preventing you from engaging in, and fully enjoying your life?
If these questions strike a chord with you, we have good news!
Anxiety, the kind of anxiety that starts to get in the way of life is very common, in fact about a third of the population will have a diagnosable anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Since anxiety typically shows up with unpleasant and frightening physical symptoms, many people with anxiety find themselves in their doctor’s offices on a regular basis with physical complaints such as stomach aches and headaches. Anxiety can lead to social and professional withdrawal. People with anxiety often complain of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, physical tension and sleep issues. The not-so-good news is that left untreated, anxiety tends to grow and take over more and more ‘space’ in a person’s life. Part of this is because anxiety tends to trick people into doing things that maintain or even grow the anxiety, instead of reduce it. That’s why some people say, ‘I’m trying to get a grip on this, but it just seems to get worse’.
Anxiety issues are among the most common issues that brings people to the therapist’s office. The good news is that anxiety is also among the most treatable disorders.
The therapists in our group are very familiar with how anxiety works and familiar with what helps and what doesn’t. With recent advances in interpersonal neuro-science, we know more than ever what helps and why it helps.So, whether it is panic, of a trauma-related anxiety; whether it is a fear of flying, or public speaking or small spaces, let us help you get your life back.
What Can you Expect in Anxiety Treatment?
Your therapist will listen carefully to your description of anxiety so we can understand together the history, context, the triggers and the impact anxiety is having in your life. We will also listen to hear what resources and strategies you already have in place that are helping. Then will will begin treatment by working together to help you develop new strategies to manage worry and stress in your life. Likely, we will address beliefs about the protective value of worrying. In anxiety disorder treatment, we will engage in active problem solving and the development of applied relaxation techniques, mindfulness techniques, and perhaps guided imagery exercises. For some people and situations, a more advanced technique of EMDR will be offered to repair the dysfunctionally stored information processing that is maintaining the anxiety. Anxiety disorder treatment will help you implement evidence-based techniques for managing anxiety and worry in your life. Treatment for anxiety disorders will help you develop productive worry and preparation techniques, and learn to keep excessive anxiety in its place.
Contact us today to get your life back from anxiety!