Areas of Expertise

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Anxiety

Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).

These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last for extended periods. You may avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Having difficulty controlling worry

  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Therapy can help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears; learn how to relax; look at situations in new, less frightening ways; and develop better coping and problem-solving skills. Therapy gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to integrate them into your daily routine.

Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It commonly affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, helplessness or hopelessness

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities

  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort

  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain

  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Therapy offers you the opportunity to identify the factors that contribute to your depression and to deal effectively with the psychological, behavioural, interpersonal, and situational causes. 

Interpersonal & Relationship Concerns

Relationships can be complicated. But for some people, they feel impossible. If you feel discouraged about family life, friendships or romantic relationships, therapy may be the answer. 

Often, healthy relationships require compromise and forgiveness. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or you can embrace forgiveness and move forward.

 

Family dynamics, acquaintances, friendships and romantic relationships are all ways in which we, as humans, relate to one another. For some people, these relationships are always a struggle, or seem doomed to eventually fall apart.

Are any of the following scenarios familiar to you?:

  • Difficulty keeping friends or maintaining healthy relationships

  • Relationships feel more strained, or have always felt that way

  • Struggling with your role within your family — whether as a parent, caregiver, partner, sibling or child

  • Feeling explosive anger toward others, or can’t stop yourself from arguing with them

  • Avoid starting new romantic relationships or ending ones you know are not healthy

  • Difficulty with coworkers and bosses, and find yourself changing jobs frequently

  • Avoiding certain social situations or isolate yourself from others

  • Reliant on drugs or alcohol to “help” in certain situations
     

If you answered "yes" to any of the scenarios above, know that those difficulties are very common. But that doesn’t mean you have to continue living without healthy, nurturing relationships. Therapy can help you develop the skills to create more satisfying connections with the people in your life.

Self-Worth Issues

It's easy to brush off low self-esteem as a character trait, or mistake it for humility. But low self-esteem has long-term damaging effects, ranging from smaller-scale occurrences – not speaking up in class or work meetings, for example – to longer-term threats, like relationship problems or self-damaging behavior. 

Recognizing the signs of low self-confidence is an important first step in growing confidence; recognizing your own worth is the next one. Therapy can help you rebuild your sense of self, and gain confidence within yourself throughout the process.

You may be experiencing self-worth issues if any of the following statements sound familiar to you:

  • There’s nothing I truly like about myself

  • I’ll never do well enough at school or work to succeed

  • I’m not worthy of seeking things that interest me

  • Other people are more deserving of happiness

  • No one wants to hear about my life or the issues I’m facing

  • It’s all my fault I can’t seem to find people who are good to me

  • Good people wouldn’t want to be with me, anyway

Stress Management

Life can be stressful - and often times unavoidable! Stress management offers a range of strategies to help you better deal with stress and adversity in your life. Managing stress can help you lead a more balanced, healthier life.

Stress is an automatic physical, mental and emotional response to a challenging event. It's a normal part of everyone's life. When used positively, stress can lead to growth, action and change. But negative, long-term stress can lessen your quality of life.

Therapy may enhance your stress management skills by the following:

  • Learning skills such as problem-solving, prioritizing tasks and time management

  • Enhancing your ability to cope with adversity (e.g. you may learn how to improve your emotional awareness and reactions, increase your sense of control, find greater meaning and purpose in life, and cultivate gratitude and optimism)

  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and autogenic relaxation training