The Individual and Therapy
People enter therapy for a variety of reasons. Some people feel isolated and unable to talk with people involved in their lives. Others may feel that the nature of their concerns goes beyond the ability of family or friends. Others are referred by their physicians when emotional problems complicate physical health.
Some of the most common problems addressed in therapy include:
- Grief and Loss
- Anger Management
- Adjustment to challenging life events
- Chronic Illness
- Life Planning
- Low Self Esteem
- Dealing with Depression
Depression drains energy, hope and drive, making it difficult to do what one needs to do to feel better. Recovering from depression requires action, yet taking action when depressed is hard.
Depression can be devastating in all areas of a person’s everyday life, affecting their relationships with family and friends, impeding their ability to work or go to school and even disrupting their normal eating and sleeping patterns. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness; people with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better.
Therapy assists the person in examining what may be contributing factors to their depression and works with them on developing a plan for coping with the stressors uncovered.
Often medication is a first step and a helpful tool but it brings its own issues, including compliance and side effects. Therapy is often recommended in combination with medication. For many people, the combined treatment is more effective than either one alone.
Most people have some experience with feeling anxious, often in anticipation of events like taking a test or speaking in public, sometimes the result of financial stresses or transitions from one phase of life to another.
For some, however, anxiety becomes overwhelming, interfering with daily life functioning. Excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep and nervous habits are all symptoms of anxiety that respond to therapy. More severe symptoms, such as panic attacks, compulsive behaviors or symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are often treated with a combination of medication and therapy.
Dealing with Grief
Grief is not simply related to death. It can be for someone else or for a function you had but lost. It could come from a job loss, illness or separation from someone important in your life. One can also grieve for a role you previously had and no longer have now, for example, the loss of a long held job.
Grief counseling helps people to find the natural and necessary steps they must undergo to free them to move forward with their lives.
Each person moves through the grief process at their own pace. There is always a mourning period that must be acknowledged first. Grief therapy can help support and incorporate changes in a person’s lifestyle so that they can adjust to the changes brought on by their loss.
Dealing with Anger Issues
Anger Management work involves allowing an individual to first identify where the anger is coming from. Most often, anger is an emotion that is masking other emotions that are difficult to identify.
Through the therapeutic process, an individual is able to again explore the roots of their anger, identify what the underlying feelings are and link them to past and current behaviors. They can also explore a variety of techniques for coping with their anger in more effective ways.
Dealing with Chronic Illness
Chronic illness can burden your life, focusing all of one’s energy and blocking all else in an attempt to cope with it, leaving little time or energy for anything else.
In therapy, the individual can examine:
- what is possible for them to do
- what can still give them pleasure
- where to look for needed and healthy support systems
- the advantages of meeting others who have other chronic diseases and ideas to share
- In therapy, they can work to develop a plan for coping and for dealing with others.
Life Planning offers a creative and holistic approach to accessing and engaging the healthy dimensions of yourself during times of school, work and life transition. With a focus on self-esteem and interpersonal effectiveness, individual therapy helps the participant recover from setbacks in life by finding new ways to connect both to self and to others at the same time.
The aim is to bring vitality, dignity and meaning to lives in transition. As the psychologist, Erik Erikson has said, “The richest and fullest lives attempt to achieve an inner balance between work, love and play. To achieve all three is to make possible a life filled not only with achievement but with serenity.”