Specializing in Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, and Chronic Pain

 
Anxiety

Feeling nervous and worried at times is both a normal and helpful part of life. However, for people who suffer from an anxiety disorder, the intense, excessive, persistent worry, and fear can lead to anxiety symptoms that seriously impact their lives. Rest assured that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. Anxiety disorders can affect anyone at any age and are the most common mental health problem. Common anxiety signs and symptoms may include:

  1. Emotional: feelings nervous, out of control, having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom, etc.

  2. Cognitive: difficulty concentrating or being able to think about anything other than what is worrying you, trouble sleeping, difficulty controlling worry, and having the urge to avoid things that trigger the anxiety, etc.

  3. Physiological: restlessness or tension, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, feeling weak or tired, gastrointestinal problems, etc.

 

Treatment for Anxiety: An effective form of therapy for anxiety is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT teaches you how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours work together to cause and maintain anxiety symptoms. CBT focuses on teaching different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting in order to break the underlying causes of anxiety.

 
Depression

9 to 17% of the population in North America and Europe will experience Major Depression Disorder (MDD or Depression) at some point in their lives (Wittchen, Beesdo, Bittner, & Goodwin, 2003). Depression is much more than just a temporary state of being and cannot simply be overcome by sheer will. Unfortunately, people tend to be judgemental of themselves and of others by saying things like, “get over it already”, and “just get it together”. 

 

Experiencing feelings of sadness is a part of regular mood changes. While we may feel down at times, Depression is different from regular feelings of sadness - it lasts longer, is more intense, and leads to significant impairment in a person’s personal and professional life. Symptoms of MDD are characterized by changes in a person’s previous functioning that lasts for a minimum of two weeks. This can include some of the following symptoms:

 

  1. Emotional: feelings of sadness most days and most of the time, increased crying and tearfulness, loss of interest or pleasure in things the person used to enjoy, feeling guilty, worthless, increased anger and irritability, etc.

  2. Cognitive: thoughts of death or suicide, difficulty concentrating, deficits in short-term memory, etc.

  3. Physiological: changes in appetite and weight, under or oversleeping, fatigue and loss of energy, etc.

 

Treatment for Depression: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) understands depression as the product of the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Meaning, when we feel depressed we have less energy, motivation, interest, self-confidence, and much more. Consequently, we may end up neglecting our responsibilities (e.g., paying bills, household chores, keeping in touch with family and friends, etc.). As a result of this neglect, we feel guilty and ineffective in our lives causing a sense of hopelessness, which in turn feeds into the feelings of depression. This example is one of the countless ways in which these factors maintain a person’s depression causing them to get “stuck” in a repetitive pattern. CBT treatment of depression focuses on identifying and changing these patterns by changing the way that we think and behave in order to help the person become “unstuck” and restore functioning.

 
Trauma

When bad things happen to us it can lead to trauma symptoms and tremendous suffering. These symptoms can include but are not limited to: difficulty dealing with upsetting emotions, feeling a constant sense of being in danger, or bring back terrifying memories. The resulting psychological and emotional impacts after experiencing a traumatic event can overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope causing people to feel unsafe, helpless, vulnerable, and alone. Your trauma is real, and your brain is telling you that you’re hurting and need help. When the thoughts and memories of the traumatic event don’t go away or worsen, they may lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can cause serious consequences to a person’s ability to manage their emotions and maintain healthy relationships. Symptoms of trauma may include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Emotional: anger, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, fear, feeling sad, hopeless, disconnected, numbness, guilt, shame, self-blame, etc.

  2. Cognitive: shock, denial, disbelief, confusion, difficulty concentrating, etc.

  3. Physiological: insomnia or nightmares, fatigue, being startled easily, racing heartbeat, edginess, agitation, aches and pains, muscle tension, etc.

 

Seeking help after experiencing trauma is essential to the healing process. One of the best places to process your pain and start healing the trauma is with a trauma-informed mental health professional. Therapy focuses on helping people to understand and work through past events, to work towards living empowered and fulfilling lives. Trauma therapy is explicitly focused on helping people who have experienced unfortunate events.

Treatment for Trauma:
A traumatic event may change a person’s beliefs about themselves, others, and the world. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps with processing and addressing thoughts and emotions related to the traumatic event. 

Another form of treatment is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR works by helping a person process the trauma by accessing the uncomfortable memories, physical sensations, and emotions attached to a traumatic event. It has been found to effectively help the brain process the attached symptoms by successfully accessing and reprocessing any memories related to the traumatic event. Through the use of EMDR, a person is able to work through their trauma so that over time they think, feel, and remember the trauma in a healthy, adaptive, and less intrusive way.

 
Chronic Pain

Typically when we have physical pain in our bodies, we are only treated for those physical symptoms, i.e. - surgery, medications, topical agents, etc. In actual fact, chronic pain is an experience that not only includes physical pain, but also sensory, psychological, and emotional factors that make up the overall experience of pain. Research on chronic pain has provided overwhelming evidence on the importance of addressing these factors simultaneously. The problem with the experience of pain is that the longer it exists, the more changes to the central nervous system are likely to occur, i.e. - it can turn into a chronic condition physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Once the central nervous system has changed, suffering, impairments in functioning, reduced quality of life, and recovery can be very difficult. It is common for people suffering from chronic pain to also experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Accessing therapy for chronic pain issues allows you to empower yourself to live a happy and fulfilling life, aside from your pain. 

 

Treatment for Chronic Pain: Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts, behaviours and emotions that contribute to the experience of pain. Studies indicate that CBT for chronic pain is as effective as other forms of treatment while presenting fewer risks and side-effects than medications and surgery.

 
Other Topics I Specialize In (But not limited to)

Relationship Problems

Parenting Problems

 

Parent-Teen Conflict

 

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

 

Trauma

 

Grief and Loss

 

Life Stage Issues

 

Stress Management and Relaxation

 

Procrastination

 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

 

Panic Attacks

 

Anger Management

 

Motivation, Coaching and Weight management

 

Bullying

 

Self-Esteem Management