Specializing in Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Anger, and Complex Mental Health
Anxiety is related to overwhelming physical sensations and fears of past and future events. Anxiety makes us avoid situations where we feel fear. No matter the type of anxiety you face, there are many different effective treatments.
Anxiety can take on many forms and can make many aspects of life very challenging. For people with anxiety, things that seem easy for other people like going to work or school can be very hard. Some people have a hard time meeting new people or avoid going out of the house because of crowds. Some people experience extreme physical symptoms that feel like they are having a heart attack, can't breathe, or may be dying for no apparent reason.
There are also specific fears that people have, called phobias, that prevent them from doing things they want to. For example, a common fear is flying, and this can stop you from going on a vacation or even going home to visit family. Other people have a fear of germs or of using public washrooms and this can limit them from being in public.
Depending on the type of anxiety you have, treatment will be tailored to specifically address your problem. For example, treatment for anxiety can be gradual exposure to a feared situation or challenging your ideas about your fears. The specific course of your treatment can be discussed in the initial session.
Depression can feel overwhelming and hopeless at times. Even small tasks can seem too hard. You may no longer have fun doing the things you used to like. Or you may have no energy to do the things you need to do. Getting help from a professional can ease the pain you face alone.
Depression can feel like the world is a dark place and there is no hope for things to get better. People often have a lack of energy and stop doing things that used to make them feel happy. Sometimes depression can also affect intimacy in relationships. Very troubling thoughts can be hard to stop. Often others tell us to "think positive" and this will make everything better. Chances are you would do that if you could. The treatment of depression involves both finding ways to get active again and challenging our thinking patterns that keep us feeling down. There are many positive long-term effects from this type of treatment for depression.
Trauma can happen at any stage of our life and can have long lasting impact. Sometimes it is expressed in ways we don't even realize, like anger. Processing trauma can be important for many reasons, especially if it continues to affect your day to day life.
Sometimes months or years after an event has occurred a person can continue to be affected. There may be changes that have happened in relationships or feeling angry much more than you used to. Some people have strong feelings of being unsafe in situations where there is no apparent danger. Sometimes the change is very drastic and you may feel like you can't handle being in public, or even being around people you used to be comfortable with. While some of the symptoms may seem to be in your body, others are related to the way you see the world and fears that you can't seem to face. Trauma that is untreated can have a lasting negative impact on your way of living and how you relate to others. While it may take several sessions, trauma can be very responsive to therapeutic interventions and this can lead to a positive outcome for life moving forward. I provide treatment for complex trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Anger can start as a small issue but it can then start to cause problems in many areas of our life, such as with colleagues at work, in relationships and with our family. When anger becomes something you're feeling too often, you begin to miss out on the feelings you want, like peace and happiness.
Many people have difficulties with anger and knowing how to express anger in healthy ways. This also effects effective communication and resolving conflict. Anger management difficulties can lead to problems with relationships, and in some cases leads to involvement with the law.
The root of anger is complex and is often related to our previous life experiences. The first part of therapy is to help people recognize that anger is a healthy emotion, and it is necessary for survival and healthy relationship. Healthy ways to manage anger are possible for anyone, even if this has been difficult in the past. Finding out what is underlying the anger can also be a helpful part of therapy. Processing some of these difficult topics can help a person feel lees angry overall. After therapy, anger reactions are usually less intense, and managed more effectively based on a number of different tools that a person has learned over the course of therapy.
Child and Adolescent Therapy
Mental health concerns can be as much of a struggle for youth as they are for adults. For example, youth can stop doing things they used to enjoy because of overwhelming fears or loss of interest. Often youth get caught in a habit of using electronics to cope and avoid life. This can lead to missing out on a number of important life experiences that are necessary for healthy development.
Children and adolescents can experience a lot of problems surrounding mental health. Anxiety and depression can sometimes be expressed in behavioural outbursts or irritability. Emotional expression can be difficult for kids. Treatment for children and youth is tailored to their ability to sit and talk in sessions. Some children prefer to engage in a non-direct approach to therapy, sometimes while engaging in another activity. In some cases I provide therapy in a less formal environment, such as on a beach or walking outside. While in this situation confidentiality can not be guaranteed, it is usually possible to find a space for discussions where others are not close enough to hear.
When I work with children, there is often a component of parent consultation that may be required. In these cases, parents may be offered their own individual sessions with my colleague, so that we can provide the most helpful approach to working specifically on the child's difficulties. For example, there are many ways that parents can help children with anxiety, yet they may not know how. Also, sometimes these ways of helping are counterintuitive and require professional assistance.
Often parents bring their adolescent to therapy. However, it is very important that the youth wants to be there for themselves. As with adults, this is what will make therapeutic interventions effective. It is very important to me that each client's goals are the focus of treatment, regardless of age. While treatment is focused on the youth's goals, there is sometimes the involvement of parents during the therapeutic process as this may be helpful for both the youth and their parents.
Complex Mental Health Concerns
Mental health can be confusing. We don't always know what is going on, or feel like we don't fit into a specific category. Sometimes there are many things going on at once and it's hard to figure out what the main issue is. I have experience with many complex issues and can help figure out what treatment is best for you. Psychosis, Bipolar Disorder and other serious mental health concerns can be particularly difficult to manage on your own.
If you are unsure about how to describe what is going on, I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to determine if psychological services may be appropriate for you.
In addition to the specific disorders listed, there are many other issues and individuals with specific concerns that I have experience in treating. This includes stress management, sleep disturbances, workplace related issues, individuals with personality dysfunction, emotional coping skills, behavioural issues in children, and issues related to abuse in relationships. I have a specialization in forensic psychology and work with Law Enforcement and Police officers, and individuals who have been involved with the law. Referrals based on these issues are also welcomed.