Traditional therapy (or at least the stereotypes of traditional psychotherapy) involve the concept of someone lying on a couch, talking about their most intimate details with a nodding or silent therapist. While a therapist's office might indeed have a couch, rarely are you encouraged to lay down and actually kick off your shoes. Please, keep them on in that setting!
Unfortunately, there are many barriers to seeking treatment. For some it's just that the time commitment is too high – you need to commute to the office, arrive early in case of unexpected delays, and commute back to home or work. Depending on your location this could be hours of time devoted that aren't even the therapy itself.
For others, the barriers are the very thing that therapy is intended to remedy – social anxiety. If you suffer from a fear or reluctance of being in a public setting then it's unlikely that you will want to put yourself in the position of actually going to a therapists office. Public transit, walking through crowds, a busy waiting room – it's too much!
Technology allows us to have therapy from the comfort of your own home. You can wear shoes (or not) and you can sit on your own comfy couch. There is no need to lose time in the commute, and you can avoid some anxiety provoking triggers. You can even do it on you lunch break if you can find a conference room at work!
Telehealth may be an ideal solution for those who have difficulty leaving the home or interacting with others in person.
What is social anxiety? Well, social anxiety can take many forms. In some more common circumstances, it might be that you feel anxious when approaching a crowd of people you don't know or have difficulty when speaking in front of a large group. Most people can relate to this. Sometimes, social anxiety can be debilitating in that it prevents social interactions entirely. One can feel isolated and alone, but the fear of judgement is so overwhelming that you might not even risk approaching someone.
Telehealth can be a great option since it is a comfortable, judgment-free space where a client can express their fears and work on social and relaxation skills with an expert who is warm and supportive.
Some individuals may also experience the fear of being in places from which there is not clear or easy escape, or where you might feel embarrassed or trapped. Some of these places might include concerts (open spaces) or a subway (enclosed spaces). The first step in working on this is to work with an expert, but getting to an office can be quite a challenge! Here, telehealth is the first step toward freedom and the ability to do what you want.
Typically we start treatment with assessing your individual needs and what causes you the most fear. Once we identify this, we take active steps toward understanding the root cause. We can identify your automatic thoughts, negative themes, and triggers. Upon understanding these, we can work on changing your cognitions and engage in behavior change.
Reach out to us today to take your first steps toward freedom!
Why do I feel on edge? Why am I jittery? How can I feel worried when I'm not worrying about anything specific? I'm not anxious, I just have genuine concerns about the world!
Anxiety. We all experience it in different ways. Sometimes we worry about something right in front of us (I'm worried about my rent payments!) and sometimes we worry about things that we cannot control (I am worried about whether I will die in a fiery crash!).
Worry can often focus on something legitimate or on possibilities, creating a sense of dread or a constant sense of unease. Sometimes, we can experience a heightened level of anxiety around practically any topic.
Anxiety can be physical, behavioral, or cognitive. This means that we may experience stress and anxiety in a variety of different ways. Some may experience it physically (sweating, heart racing, muscles tension), or emotionally (I feel like I'm about to burst!), or cognitively (Everything is going to go horribly, horribly wrong!).
Here are some common signs that you might have anxiety:
Anxiety CAN be productive in limited amounts as it can help motivate you through a difficulty or stressful situation, but it can also be counterproductive and harmful when the anxiety is overwhelming. For example, fear of performing poorly on a test may motivate you to study harder; however, if that fear becomes overwhelming, you might feel paralyzed and be unable to concentrate in order to study effectively.
Anxiety can also be an underlying component of many treatable disorders including social phobia, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder along with multiple others.
Once diagnosed, anxiety is very treatable. Again, we all have experiences with varying levels of anxiety due to different circumstances. Reach out to our team of experts for help and support today!
Why am I feeling so sad? Why do I lack energy? Am I depressed? How would I even know if I'm depressed?
No one experiences depression in the same way. Depression is one of the most common experiences that we share. If you feel like you're alone, know that you aren't! Believe it or not, 1 in 3 people will experience depression at some time in their lives.
This knowledge alone may not make you feel better, but it does mean that others can be empathetic. Depression can even present itself in a variety of ways. For some, it might be a lack of motivation and feeling sad. For some, it might be no emotion at all or even irritability. Some may also experience a feeling of hopelessness, low energy, and changes in behavior. Some people may stop doing their favorite activities, and might even have changes in appetite or sleep (too much or too little!) Even everyday activities such as showering and getting dressed can be difficult. Many people will also tend to spend more time alone.
In children, depression can look quite different. Children may look quite anxious and have difficulty identifying how they feel.
The causes of depression are variable, but not limited to one specific cause. It could be anything from just a family history of depression, or something more noticeable like experiencing trauma, or a significant life change.
Can it be treated? Yes! Many people want immediate relief but it usually will take a little bit of time and effort. The first line of defense for depression is psychotherapy. We can work on talking it out through one of the many scientifically validated treatments for depression. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapt, mindfulness, and emotion focused therapy. Therapy is an effective treatment, the hardest part is starting! If you’ve been struggling with depression it may seem like this is just you, but it doesn't have to be that way. Most people find a significant improvement after taking the tough first step.
Fortunately, when getting out of bed or out of the door can seem overwhelming, our treatment can come right to you! Inquire about our telehealth options today!
Searching for certainty - dealing with anxiety while stuck at home
So many of us are struggling with anxiety. For those of us with persistent anxiety, daily functions can be an obstacle. But today's hurdles are much, much bigger. With recent events, even those of us with the most stable temperaments have trouble feeling at ease.
Anxiety can be productive- it's not always bad. It can help you accomplish tasks and keep you safe when you find yourself in a compromising position. It can also encourage behaviors that promote health and well-being (WASH THOSE HANDS, PLEASE!) Yet when anxiety becomes worry, it is no longer valuable.
It isn't so much what is going to happen today (for most people, it will be more of the same). What we're wondering is "What will tomorrow look like?"
Human beings are creatures of habit and routine. Although we like to shake things up a bit here and there, we don't like it when the whole shaker gets turned upside down.
So what to do? Panic? Freak OUT? BUY ALL THE TP????
Probably not. The focus should be on managing the anxiety in an appropriate way. We all prefer certainty, but right now, the only thing that is certain is .... (drum-roll please).... UNCERTAINTY! So we have to what we can to get comfortable with it.
Just breathe. Take a little time to turn off the panic button. Do a little meditation, check in to see where the tension is in your body.
Focus on the present. Can I control what's bothering me? If so, great! Do something about it. Is your concern out of your control? Let it go and refocus on something you CAN control. Learn to accept the uncertainty and focus on the here and now.
Just move! Keep yourself active both physically and mentally, which can be a positive distraction and increase serotonin, the happy mood booster!
Conflict in confined quarters
Sometimes, normal people get placed in abnormal situations. Having the whole family working from home and going to school online (you know, like a pandemic) probably counts. Most of us generally love being around each other and sharing time together but work, school and other responsibilities get in the way.
Well guess what? Now you get to spend all the time in the world with the ones you love! Hooray!!! Right... Oh, but not by choice? Maybe I have to rethink this...
The contact you once craved can now be a source of stress. That cute little habit that you adored now makes you want to scream. So how to keep your friendships/romantic relationships/family flowing when all you want is some space? Read the tips below!
Carve out a specific space to do work. This can be for students at home now taking online classes or anyone working from home (that folding table is now the least comfortable desk you've ever worked at). This will create a clear boundary between work and relaxing activities.
Make the space as comfortable as you can - you're going to be spending a lot of time there. Also limiting visual distractions enhances productivity.
Take some alone time. This is tough in a small space, but you can go into another room for a few minutes, put on some headphones to zone out to your favorite music, read a book or watch TV. If it's safe/advisable, go out for a socially distant walk. As much as we need interconnectedness, we need solitary time too.
Engage in open communication. Don't pick on every single thing that annoys you (there will be many!) but do not allow frustrations to build up to a point where it bubbles up uncontrollably. Express your concerns in a compassionate, empathetic way.
Have an agreed upon strategy to allow for some cooling down time if someone does get overwhelmed or frustrated. Come back to the situation later rather than allowing it to continuously escalate. Often times we need to allow our emotions to settle before we can have a constructive conversation.
Try to be understanding and see things from the other person's perspective. You are probably not the only person who is irritable or uncomfortable at times (even though it may feel like it!) Recognizing that we're all in this together will help us get through this together.
Conflict is not always negative. Use this time to learn more about each other and to grow and strengthen relationships. If you're struggling, we can help facilitate effective communication - we have experts in couples counseling and stress management. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Right now, everyone wants to know what they can do to keep themselves safe physically and emotionally. Almost every client I see shares this concern. In this moment in time, we are both more alone and more together than ever before. Social distancing, quarantine, and the loss of jobs is probably impacting you or at least one person you know/care about.
Humans are social beings that thrive on interpersonal connections. I have had countless clients focus our recent sessions on what they should do to keep their spirits high and manage the stress of limited social interaction. Here are some tips to manage the COVID crisis:
1. Eating well
3. Limit Screen Time
5. Mindfulness and meditation
6. Find new hobbies or activities
7. Stay Social
I know that these times are stressful but taking some small steps to take care of your mental well-being can go a long way. Stay safe!