Therapeutic Services

Depression

The guises of depression are many. It can be a mild persistent state of low energy, a profound load of emotional heaviness, a cratering despair from existential anxiety, lack of interests or low self-esteem. It can be brought on by circumstances we find ourselves in, and/or by biological/chemical factors. It can be experienced suddenly or slowly. It can also be a one and done, mild and long lasting, or episodic.  The experience and suffering in depression is a complex, and highly misunderstood to the point that it sadly lends itself to be laden with stigma. There are many symptoms of depression, but everyone’s experience is quite unique due to a combination of symptoms, onset and duration. 

The signs and symptoms to look for in depression:

 

  • Feeling depressed throughout each day on most or all days

  • Lack of interest and enjoyment in activities you used to find pleasurable

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Trouble eating, or eating too much, coupled with weight gain or weight loss

  • Irritability, restlessness, or agitation

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Unwarranted or exaggerated feelings of guilt or worthlessness

  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions

  • Suicidal thoughts or actions, or thinking frequent thoughts about death and dying

The good news is depression is very treatable and can be done so by drawing from many available forms of interventions. Research using many different treatment types has shown that regular therapeutic intervention can result in recovery and even prevent relapse.

 

 Therapy helps you on the path to wellness by helping you learn to:
 

  • Improve mood with better sleep, heightened life interests, and energy

  • Become a more effective communicator through assertively expressing your self-identified needs

  • Express your thoughts and feelings by engaging in healthy, creative outlets

  • Increase sense of hope, gratitude, and optimism 

  • With improved insight and freedom of symptoms, better self-care can occur such as more mindfulness, exercise, nutrition

  • Understand and come to peace with yourself and your past

  • Embrace your strengths and core values

  • Create your vision for your future without “oughts”

  • Feel more grounded and at peace, even in moments of chaos 

  • Be more intentional and engaged within your life and relationships

  • No longer be puzzled by adversity in life through identifying meaning in them that builds inner peace and enlightenment.

  • Enhance connectedness with others to alleviate any sense of loneliness

  • Be mindful and enjoy the small things in life

  • Improve perspective-taking and metacognition skill

  • Accept yourself and others with compassion 

 

Issues of Adolescence

As teens become more independent, they look to form identities by experimenting with new behaviors and roles. During this budding independence they also endure puberty related changes that bring about unfamiliar physical growth and emotional experiences. As if all of this were not hard enough, they are also faced with ever increasing responsibility and expectation thresholds.  This massive transition can understandably make coping with life stressors that much more difficult. Keeping in mind the previously described combination of factors, teens can find themselves struggling to understand their new world and to cope with the many challenges to which they have little to no experience. New independence and coping behaviors may go beyond pushing boundaries and become problematic.  Their emotional highs and lows may also persist. As a result, problems may arise such as anxiety, depression, strained parent-teen relationships, school performance, self-esteem, and faltering peer relationships. 

 

Psychotherapy helps adolescents in a variety of ways. When a supportive trusting bond is made with their therapist, they can work to resolve conflicts with people, understand feelings and problems, and experiment with new solutions to old problems.

Benefits of Treatment:

  • Awareness and normalizing of feelings

  • New strength-based solutions to problems they encounter

  • Feeling more hopeful about the future

  • More understanding about expectations for themselves and their place in the world

  • More security in their perception of relationships

  • Clarity of their role in relationships and life

  • Improve communication

  • Improved skill in metacognition and gaining perspective

  • Mutually fulfilling relationships and the role their behaviors play in them

  • Comfort with how they feel about their body and intellect

  • Mindfulness of emotions and the nuanced experiences that come with them

 

Issues of Middle Adulthood

The experiences you face in midlife can be a stressful as they are new. Many people can find themselves feeling discontented and restless as they struggle with aging, mortality, and holding onto a sense of purpose.

In this period of your life you may take on a change in careers, add professional responsibilities, deal with aging parents, new personal health challenges, changing relationships and transitions within your own family.  It is here that you may feel a compelling draw to pause, look around and reassess where you find yourself in life and make meaningful changes while you feel there is still time. Fortunately, the majority of people do not experience a severe crisis during middle adult years, but it does not mean challenges faced in this period do not result in some individuals experiencing conditions such as depression and anxiety that come from very natural questions – “Who am I?”, “Where am I going”, “Is this all there is?”,“Have I failed?”, “Why am I here?” and “How much time do I have? “

These thoughts and feelings slowly creep in as you age and become more aware of the realities of life. It can be described as minor doubts and worries that lead you into maladaptive directions due to their persistent nagging.  As a reaction you may find yourself pursuing profound and seemingly irrational actions that ultimately result in dramatic change.

The experiences in this period may include:

  • Greatly decreased or increased ambition

  • Exhaustion, boredom, or discontentment with life or with a lifestyle (including people and things) that previously provided fulfillment

  • Feeling unfulfilled, restless and wanting to do something completely different

  • Questioning yourself on decisions made years earlier and the meaning of life

  • ​Confusion about who you are or where your life is going.

  • Daydreaming

  • Irritability, unexpected anger

  • Persistent sadness

  • Increase in alcohol and drug use, food intake, and other compulsions

  • Significant decrease or increase in sexual desire

  • Sexual affairs, especially with someone much younger

 

Benefits of pursuing wellness:

  • Examine life’s changes and find meaning in them

  • Ability to talk about the disappointments and challenges you've faced in life

  • Decrease in worry

  • Improved energy and focus

  • Regain a sense of control over life

  • Establish better relationships with adult children

  • Reconnect with old friends

  • Identify and pursue new interests for self-development, healthy living, volunteering, hobbies etc

  • Improve interpersonal relationship functioning

  • Identify and pursue new goals and decide what you want the future to look like

 

Grief and Loss

Loss can come in a variety of ways.  You can lose relationships, loved ones, objects, jobs, physical abilities, connectivity with yourself and purpose, to name a few.  The human reaction to this is grief. Although grief reactions do overlap between individuals, your experience is truly your own.  In grief counseling we will work together to  process these experiences and ensure there is a natural and healthy adaptations by successfully addressing the tasks of mourning.

Sometimes, this suffering can last longer and be more severe than what is typical due to problematic factors related to the loss.  When this happens, it manifests itself by going beyond expected symptoms of grief, and you may experience extreme anxiety, clinical levels of depression, problems functioning in day to day activities, self-destructive behaviors, medical ailments and unyielding denial.  When this occurs the treatment will enter into grief therapy to address these underlying barriers to completing the tasks of mourning.

 

Typical grief symptoms:

  • Feelings: shock, numbness, relief, emancipation, sadness, despair, loneliness, fatigue, yearning, guilt/self reproach, blame, regret, shame, anger, feeling resentful, anxiety, helplessness, insecurity, fear.

  • Behaviors: crying, disturbance of sleep, dreaming of who/what was lost, social withdrawal, avoiding reminders, distracted behavior (absentminded), searching/calling out, sighing, eating disturbance, treasuring objects/reminders and visiting places that remind.

  • Cognitions: disbelief, confusion, preoccupation, sense of presence, hallucinations

  • Physical sensations: nausea, weight loss or gain, aches and pains, night sweats, heart palpitations, feeling faint or lightheaded, insomnia, oversensitivity to noise, chest tightness, throat tightness, shortness of breath, depersonalization, hollowness in the stomach, lack of energy, muscle weakness

These reactions are generally felt in ups and downs where you may experience going in and out of them through the cycle of mourning.

This suffering doesn’t have to linger. Grief counseling and grief therapy can support you to address your overwhelming emotions as you work through the healing process.  It works by helping you move through the core tasks of mourning, which are: accepting reality of loss, processing through the pain, and beginning to adjust to life without who/what was lost in a way that honors the memory and maintains a forever connection.  

 

Grief work benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Increase the reality of the loss and allowance of the grieving process.  You are not sick, but you may be stuck

  • Increased mastery of the expression of pain associated with the loss

  • Identify and conquer obstacles to adjusting to life after a loss

  • Increased comfort while remembering who or what was lost with active reinvestment in life

  • Increased self-esteem

  • Decreased feelings of guilt

  • Less experience of physical and emotional pain

  • Thinking more positively about who or what was lost

  • Less searching behavior

  • A decrease in avoidance of reminders

 

Issues of Young Adulthood

As a young adult, it is very common to be confronted with many unpleasant concerns and issues that are specific to your stage of development.  These many issues you encounter can very naturally provoke tremendous anxiety and insecurity.  Another set of factors you should keep in mind are that today's generation of young adults face significant differences from previous generations furnished by the enormous digital and technological advances made within the last 10-20 years.  Rapidly shifting cultural, political, sexual, religious, marital, and economic practices and ideas are real and are unavoidable for young adults.  Not to mention, you must do it in the absence of experiences, traditions, and wisdom of previous generations to call upon since these changes are so relatively recent. 

 

To address the young adult experience, therapy largely focuses on:

 

  • Learning to challenge the critical internal dialogue, insecurities, and the need to be perfect through accepting yourself and applying principles of compassion

  • Identifying internal and external boundaries along with comfort of putting them into action

  • Seeking your internal strengths, values and passion and empowering you by living them

  • Becoming resilient by exploring and working through life’s transitions such as school, career building, relationships (new, old and/or ending), and others

  • Successfully navigating interpersonal relationship conflict in ways that are mutually satisfying

  • Enhancing your mindfulness of all experiences and feelings, and learn to treasure it as the true journey it is

  • Building perspective, on what is, rather than what should, to enhance your focus and direction about your present and future

  • Countering self-criticism, perfectionism, or insecurity with self-acceptance and compassion

  • Navigating social change and advocacy and manage the conflict, confusion, and fatigue associated 

  • Clarifying your focus, direction, and future vision

  • Harnessing a sense of gratitude, joy, and mindfulness

  • Empowering you by learning and living your strengths, values, and passions

  • Managing interpersonal conflict and creating satisfying relationships

Life Coaching and Personal Development

Therapy can be a beneficial tool for anybodyIt isn’t necessary for you to be deeply suffering from life struggles and emotional struggles to want to pause, look around you and take the step to move forward with your own development. Taking the brave step into therapy opens you to a wonderful resource for self-exploration to find purpose, building mindfulness of experiences, and processing day to day emotions in a way that leads to insights to serve you every day.  You will make lasting changes, build even more resilience and grasp an understanding of who you are and what you really need.

​Life throws a lot at you, and it is always good to hit the pause button from time to time to check in with yourself to ensure you are defining your own path and following it.  Utilizing support in a safe and reflective environment that looks at you as the expert in your own life, will ensure that the meaning to your life is your own and you are the master of your most authentic life.

Therapy can be supportive compassionate companion to help you focus on:

  • Becoming empowered by slowing down and being mindful in the moment of thoughts, feelings, environment and really understand your experience

  • Empowerment through insight into your relationships, feelings, thoughts, and values.

  • Defining mutually satisfying relationships, creating new ones, and deepening/improving current ones.

  • Identifing your hidden talents and creativity to begin pursuing them

  • Becoming resilient by exploring and working through life transitions such as school, career building, relationships (new, old and/or ending), and others

  • Defining your life’s focal points and develop meaning that gives, purposeful direction, and creates future vision

 
 

Anxiety 

To feel anxious at times is a completely normal experience in day to day life. It can come from a life transition, a new job, a new relationship, starting school and many other typical life events. It can feel unpleasant and uncertain, but it can serve the purpose of motivating you to focus on hard work to achieve your goal(s).  Day to day anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes, but does not interfere with your everyday life.

Unfortunately, more severe anxiety can weave its way into your life. These feelings are much more intense, intrusive and pervasive to the point they can register as an anxiety disorder.  This is often described as a fear that refuses to leave and can even be incapacitating to the sufferer.   It can impact work, relationships, and even rob you of your ability to do things you once loved.  Anxiety disorders are one of the more commonly treated disorders, and respond well to treatment, but left untreated they tend to worsen.

 

 Other Common symptoms include:

  •  Restlessness

  •  Uneasiness, nausea, or cramps

  •  Sleep related problems – excessive sleep or sleeplessness

  •  Cold or sweaty hands or feet

  •  Numbness in the hands or feet

  •  Shortness of breath

  •  Increased heart rate

  •  Chest pain

  •  Dry mouth

  •  Hot flashes or chills

  •  Sudden trembling

  •  Dizziness

  •  Panic

 

There are several types of ANXIETY DISORDERS:

Panic Disorder: experiencing recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. A person with panic disorder may live in fear of the next panic attack.

Phobia: excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity

Social Anxiety Disorder: extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: recurring irrational thoughts that lead you to perform specific, repeated behaviors

Separation Anxiety Disorder: fear of being away from home or loved ones

Illness Anxiety Disorder: anxiety about your health (formerly called hypochondria)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): anxiety following a traumatic event

 

 

I use many tools from my preferred modalities to help identify the source of the anxiety and work to unravel the anxious thinking and suffering. My approach is designed to help you reassess anxiety provoking thoughts and situations to help you identify your control and take it back.

 

Some of the benefits of treatment with my preferred Therapy Modalities:

  • Improved self-esteem and worth from a life that is no longer defined by your anxiety

  • Identification and acting on the things you can control in life and a release from what you can’t

  • With improved insight and freedom of symptoms, better self-care can occur such as more mindfulness, exercise, nutrition

  • Ability to slow down and be present in the moment free of nagging worry

  • No longer puzzled by life's adversities by acquiring the ability to identify meaning in them that builds inner peace and enlightenment

  • Positive outlook on the future that is not fearful about what is coming around the next corner, but rather being excited about the opportunity

  • See your uniqueness as something to be celebrated with a new confidence in knowing and being your authentic self

  • Life goals will be achievable with a hopeful outlook and improved energy to pursue them

  • Improved relationships including those you already have and new ones

  • A decluttered mind that will enhance work performance and any other area that was once clouded by the chaos of anxiety

  • Improved mood with better sleep, heightened life interests, and energy

 

© 2020 by Rollie Elizondo, LCSW - www.escpsychotherapy.com