When we are having emotional difficulties, we suffer because external events trigger painful unresolved vulnerabilities. Therapy can help us turn our suffering into growth as we revisit and rework these stuck places in ourselves.
Young adulthood can be a challenging time: you are on your own in so many ways, while much of life’s direction is unresolved. Young adults come to see me with worries about work, home and love life.
Sometimes the difficulty is in separating from families of origin, where family roles and messages get in the way of finding your own identity and path. Despite being bright, motivated and successful, these messages may lead you to doubt your abilities, cause problems insetting realistic expectations for yourself and cause maladaptive patterns in relationships.
Sometimes the problem is in establishing an intimate relationship. Fears about your value, or fears about being hurt or trapped may lead to holding back from socializing. At other times the struggle is in finding a vocation that gives expression to your talents and passions.
Working together, we notice the difficulties you are encountering in coming into the person who you are and want to be, and the sources of the uncertainties you face. We look together at attitudes and patterns, which impede coming into your own. Young adulthood can be a time of discovery as therapy helps you grow into your fullest potential.
Depression can have many causes, including loss of a loved one or life events, which lead to feeling helpless, frustrated, isolated or not worthwhile. Depression often stems from feelings we have about our effectiveness, our lovability, and our value. For example, you may feel ashamed about or deeply injured by your family of origin, feeling that you are destined to be forever ashamed or that you are unlovable.
Depression may also result from maladaptive ways of coping with these painful internal states, which can cause us to underachieve, use substances, to have unsatisfying relationships, and to be isolated.
Psychotherapy gives us the chance to examine both how we feel about ourselves and how we behave, freeing us to feel and act in ways that bring us greater happiness.
To read about symptoms of depression and types of depression, click depression symptoms .
Anxiety is our mind and body’s way of signaling that we are in a threatening situation, requiring alertness and readiness to protect ourselves. Anxiety can be a useful signal if we are actually in a dangerous situation, say, walking down a dark street in a dangerous neighborhood. Anxiety becomes problematic when it is excessive and no longer appropriate to the situations in which we find ourselves-it can be detached from reality and have an internal life of it’s own.
For example, you may feel anxious that you are fraudulent, that you will be found out and fail at your endeavors, or you may feel convinced that if you were really known, you would not be loved. These worries originate in deeper feelings about yourself, your sense of who you are and of your value.
Therapy can help to explore what our internal signals are trying to communicate, what vulnerabilities we carry inside, and help us evaluate internal worries in the light of day so that we are not ruled by them.
To read about anxiety symptoms, click anxiety symptoms.
Balancing Independence/Individuality with Connection
For most people, fulfilling relationships provide the foundation for a satisfying life. You may have problems sustaining a relationship, difficulties being open and present, or having recurrent conflicts or imbalance in your relationship. You may be afraid to be alone, a problem in your relationship with yourself. People with these difficulties can lose track of themselves in a relationship, where others’ needs eclipse their own, as they feel overly concerned about others’ feelings and blame themselves for whatever goes wrong in relationships.
Often this way of being is driven by excessive concern about the stability of the relationship, and feeling undeserving or self-conscious when you need or want something for yourself. People can feel that differences or conflicts will harm relationships, so they are overly accommodating. Exploring these worries about your place in important relationships, and about needing something for yourself, can help you to replace the feeling of safety and being in control that comes when you focus on others’ needs, with being more comfortable with having needs yourself, shifting to more balanced and less anxiety laden relationships.
Difficulties being present, involved, and moving forward with your life
I help people who feel unable to involve themselves fully in their relationships, work, and life endeavors. Many of the people I work with describe having a sense that something is missing in their lives. You may feel that you can’t make connections with others that are meaningful and sustaining, or that you can’t bring your potential to your vocation or other life endeavors.
I have found that the key to moving forward is understanding internal fears that lead you to choose strategies to feel safe, but which actually inhibit and constrain you from making rich connections with others and with your potential.
For example, you might think you are staying safe by being distant, but you could be perceived as inaccessible, or you might feel that you are protecting yourself from humiliation by not taking risks in your profession, but you are not as successful as you wish. You may feel fearful of things getting out of control, and find that in your work or life endeavors you are constrained.
I provide a safe relationship where we can explore how you feel and examine the presumptions that inform your actions. Loosening up the ways we see ourselves, and the world, can create new freedom and confidence.
Parenting is the most challenging job any of us ever take on. In addition to the awesome responsibilities of overseeing the safety and well being of our children, feelings from our own childhoods are often triggered in our relationships with our children, making interactions stormy, distant or confusingly close.
We face external challenges: school situations, internet stimuli, our children’s social worlds. We can see some of our own difficulties in our children and feel unequipped to help. In addition, interactions may be distressing as we set limits, which may lead us to question our parenting.
Working with a therapist can help embattled, entangled or estranged parents develop a clearer picture of their child’s inner struggles, which are often obscured by behavioral fireworks. We can then work to find ways for parents to position themselves to accomplish what they most want to accomplish, which is to help their child to be successful in school, home and social life, and to feel realistically confident in him or herself.