In order to truly change, we need to understand the patterns that have led us to our predicament and learn the skills to actually make a difference. To accomplish this, I use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Here are some of the most common issues I work with.
ADHD / Attention Deficit Disorder
Not everyone struggles with distractibility, impulsiveness, inattention or restlessness. But for those suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD), it can damage your work, relationships and your personal goals. While these chronic issues can come across as self-centeredness, laziness or disrespect, ADHD is a neurological condition and is not due to a lack of personal integrity.
Anxiety & Uncontrollable Worry
The key element behind anxiety and worry is an intolerance of uncertainty. Over time, our excessive worry becomes persistent, repetitive and uncontrollable. We rush around trying to find solutions, yet we never end up finding any sort of relief.
When we worry, we tend to predict that bad things will happen to themselves or other people. These fears may even be based on real events. We try to figure out one or more solutions to what we fear will happen. However, since the “bad” event still hasn’t actually happened yet, we never end up being able to use our solution. As a result, we still continue to feel uncertain and anxious.
So why are some people able to go about their lives without being overwhelmed with anxiety and uncertainty? People without an anxiety disorder may not like uncertainty, but they generally tolerate it. They generally believe that if bad things happen, they’ll be able to cope.
Those of us who struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are different. We believe that it is unacceptable to be uncertain or to have any ambiguity. We are afraid that this uncertainty or ambiguity will lead to something bad happening or cause even more problems. In fact, we might feel it is irresponsible if we don’t try to fix the uncertainty.
So let’s look at some of the myths surrounding Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
- It’s not that other people have uncomplicated lives. We all have things that pull us in all directions, and no one lives life without complications.
- It’s not just personality. While some people are more easy going and content, there are tons of people who still struggle.
- It’s not luck. These are skills that can be taught and learned, and no one is born with these abilities.
What makes someone be able to survive anxiety is that they are able to tolerate uncertainty and feel that they are capable of tackling things that are thrown at them. In fact, this intolerance of uncertainty is believed to predispose people to Generalized Anxiety Disorder and maintain it once it develops.
Assertiveness & Boundaries
At its core, assertiveness is a way of sharing your thoughts or feelings with others in way that allows both people to be respected and valued. Assertiveness is not the same as being aggressive. Assertiveness ensures that everyone’s rights and points of view are respected while still communicating important information. Read more…
Many of my couples say they want to learn better communication tools. However, good communication is just a by-product of having a healthy relationship. Learning how to grow closer and replace toxic patterns of conflict are often the most critical first steps. However, no one can make the two of you become friends; that’s why going into therapy to “change” your partner rarely works: You have to assume 100% of the responsibility for the problem – at least for now – in order to benefit the most from therapy.
Codependency is defined as doing all the work, never getting what you need and suffering all the consequences. Often we just put other peoples’ needs ahead of our own. We never seem to be respected or valued by others, no matter how much we do. Breaking this cycle is critical in order to gain healthy relationships where mutual respect, appreciation and reciprocation can exist between equals. Left unchecked, codependency can cripple us.
We all go through times of feeling sad or unhappy. But depression happens wWe all go through times of feeling sad or unhappy. But depression happens when these feeling are out of control to the point of damaging our work, relationships and personal goals in life. I especially worry more about clients who struggle when they are intelligent, responsible and well-put together. It’s important to recognize depression for what it is and examine how we can change the direction of our life even if the rest of our life really does suck.
Discernment Counseling for Couples
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Should I stay or should I go?” Discernment Counseling is designed to help you make a clear and informed choice about whether you and your partner should try to stay together or not. It generally takes about one to five sessions. During this time, you won’t be solving problems or learning new skills — that’s not the point of this process. Rather, discernment counseling helps you decide whether or not to attempt one last ditch effort to save your relationship.
Emotional/Verbal Abuse & Toxic Relationships
“You only hurt the ones you love” is the most dangerously subtle statement that exists today. It is hard to understand why our loved ones want to control and dominate us. We cannot understand them because we assume that they think like we do. Instead, they have their own “private logic” which is totally different from how most people view the world. It is important to learn how to be assertive and effectively set boundaries.
Perfectionism & Procrastination
In our attempt to be “the best that we can be,” we risk falling into perfectionistic traits. We end up taking on too much, and over time we become impatient, angry, hostile and irritable on the inside. We feel that we must have things done a certain way. It drives us to work all the time, making it difficult to relax and have fun and relationships.
Procrastination is often the ugly step-child of perfectionism that no one truly understands. Everyday tasks seem daunting, things are left unaccomplished and you’re at a loss to understand why you can’t seem to get motivated. While this can be due to poor habits, more often it is simply a side effect of having overly-high standards.
Self-Compassion & Self-Esteem
“I’m my own worst critic,” we might say in a sudden moment of insight. Learning to be less critical and more compassionate towards ourselves can often be a challenge. Self-compassion involves being aware of our own pain and suffering, and understanding that this is a hard, but normal human experience. Feelings of kindness and care towards ourselves seem almost impossible to accept. In fact, we struggle to accept our own humanity.
Then there’s self-esteem: People talk about it all the time. Yet somehow, phrases like “I’m a good person” or “I’m worthwhile and valuable” seem disingenuous. These aspects of self-esteem lack two crucial elements: First, they’re not believable. And second, they don’t address the real question, buried down deep: We really do feel that we are unlovable, worthless, or permanently stuck because of who we are.