for depression and anxiety disorders.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the first line treatment for mood and behavior related problems. CBT is a therapeutic approach that focuses on our perceptions and behaviors. It emphasizes the connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Our emotional state influences our thoughts, and our thoughts influence our behavoir. For example, when we feel anxious or afraid, we think: "what if something bad is going to happen?". Then we behave in away that will keep us safe and protected from the potential harm. This is a normal behavior if the threat is real, but when the threat is not real and you engage in avoidance behavior to keep yourself from feeling bad, you will end up overtime feeling worst. Unlike talk therapy, where you can talk to your therapist about whatever comes to mind, CBT is more structured, and sessions evolve around your treatment goals, focusing on the key issues that brought you to therapy at first place. Following a structured treatment plan supports a more rapid recovery since we are not getting distracted and staying on task. CBT can help you to think and feel differently. It can help you get unstuck, feel happy, and gain self-confidence.
To learn how to change your thinking and utilize tools to help you feel empowered
Depression should not be treated like a minor nuisance in your life. In fact, depression can range from a low negative mood to a life-threatening condition. When we are feeling depressed we tend to think that there is something wrong with us, with others, or with the world. We draw conclusions that lead us to think less of ourselves, and we get caught up in a down spiral of self loathing and shame. These negative thoughts feel real even though we have no evidence backing them. As a CBT therapist I have powerful tools that will make you feel happy, worthy, and connected to other people in your life. It takes a collaborative effort, and I am willing to be there with you every step of the way.
At times, combining CBT and Medication treatment is recommended (prescribed by an MD). Learning tools to change the way you feel can be life-changing and lead to a more positive holistic life.
Anxiety is a state of fear or terror that interferes with your daily functions. That fear or anxiety is difficult to endure, and you might find yourself avoiding places and situations that might trigger that state. Our avoidant behavior gives legitimacy for our anxiety to grow, and people who struggle with anxiety get stuck in a cycle of avoidant behavior that makes their anxiety worst.
Anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), social anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and more. When anxiety symptoms interfere with daily functions, it is important to get help and work on skills that would help you live anxiety free.
Trauma & Prolonged Exposure
Trauma is an emotional and psychological response to a distressing event that is life-threatening or could cause serious injury, including exposure to violence that is physical, emotional, or sexual. Trauma can be experienced immediately or can have a delayed onset. It often evokes feelings of guilt and regret and can cause psychological disturbances like anxiety and depression. Prolonged Exposure (PE) is an evidence-based treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It helps process the trauma and reduce trauma-related psychological disturbances.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-related disorder where a person experiences intrusive, unwanted, and distressing reoccurring thoughts (obsessions). Obsessions can also present as pervasive doubts, leaving one in an intolerable state of uncertainty. The attempt to stop the distress leads to ritualistic behavior, also known as compulsions. Pure 'O' is a term for people who experience obsessions but seem to have no compulsions. In other words, no physical actions taken to reduce the distress. Nonetheless, having no compulsions is rare, and pure 'O' clients often engage in mental compulsion/rituals. For example, mental counting, or repeating mentally some word over and over to make the discomfort stop.
PANDAS is a Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder associated with Streptococcal Infection in children (even when Asymptomatic). It is characterized by a sudden flair of OCD symptoms and/or a sudden flair of Tics. PANDAS symptoms best treated with anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the child's pediatrician.
OCD affects both adults and children and can be debilitating and time-consuming. Exposure Response Prevention (ERP, or EX/RP) is the most evident base treatment for OCD. During ERP, cleints learns to resist the urge to compulse and thereby, reduces both obsessions and compulsions.
Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) can also reduce OCD symptoms and is sometimes used in conjunction with ERP. (SSRIs' are prescribed medication that could be provided by your primary physician or psychiatrist).
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is a treatment of choice for various anxiety-related disorders and is the treatment for OCD. To prevent a state of overwhelm, Exposure can be applied gradually. Gradual Exposure helps build a sense of competence and enhances tolerance to the discomfort. With the support of the ERP therapist, clients learn to 1) expand their ability to cope with the distress. And 2) restrain their need to respond to the urge. Clients learn to face the discomfort and tolerate it instead of avoiding it until they see that it's powerless.
Child and Adolescent Therapy
Just like adults, children are also affected by anxiety and Depression. A depressed child may act irritable, struggle with low self-esteem, and lack motivation. An anxious child may display excessive worry, perfectionism, and disproportional shyness. I have powerful tools to help you and your child cope with such challenging emotions. A healthy parent-child bond is an important piece of children's mental health. I, therefore, employ skill training and psychoeducation for parents as part of the treatment plan. I further use the Supporting Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) treatment modality to help reduce anxiety-related disorders in children.
Contact me to discuss potential options for you and your child's unique situation.
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE), is an evidence-based treatment modality that addresses a variety of anxiety disorders in children and young adults. Using SPACE we examine parental accessive support as a factor sustaining the child's maladaptive behavior. Supporting a child in distress is something that every good parent does. As a SPACE-certified clinician, I will help you attend to your child's emotional and developmental needs without nurturing their anxiety.