If you have encountered challenging experiences and you would like to talk about them in a safe and confidential setting, psychotherapy may be right for you. The list below identifies topics often addressed in counseling sessions. There are, of course, many more topics that are appropriate for counseling.

+Depression, anxiety or bipolar issues

Although everyone has some days of feeling down and blue, clinical depression lasts longer than just a few days, and can have a major negative impact on a person’s well-being. People with depression cannot just “snap out of it”, and often feel even worse when they expect themselves to be able to do so. Depression is not a weakness in character. It is not laziness. Depression is an illness which leads to changes in mood, thinking and behavior. Some people inherit a risk to develop depression, while others become depressed when stress or low self-esteem leads to the physical reaction that accompanies depression.

Some common symptoms of depression include depressed mood over time, loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable, appetite and sleep changes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of worthlessness, and recurrent thoughts of death and/or suicide. Often, people with depression become more irritable, angry, withdrawn, tearful, and inactive. They tend to think negative thoughts and feel hopeless about anything improving. As you can imagine, depression can affect all aspects of someone’s life. It is hard to function well in relationships, at work, and with day-to-day tasks when even the smallest chore seems overwhelming.

Combined treatment including talk therapy and anti-depressant medication can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. Talk therapy, depending on the person’s individual needs, can involve challenging negative/destructive thinking, setting solid goals for healthy activities, building self-care and a more confident self-image, and making changes that may help reduce or manage stress. Often a person with depression feels very alone. Therapy can help the person become more active, feel part of their world again, and have more hope.

Anxiety (sometimes called stress or worry) is common to everyone, to one degree or another. Anxiety is a state of apprehension or fear about the possibility of something negative or undesirable happening. At times a person cannot even determine exactly why they are anxious or afraid. Avoidance of feared situations often results from intense anxiety, which then can lead to restriction of choices and experiences. There are several disorders which include anxiety as a central feature, including: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

+Grief and loss

Often people benefit from psychotherapy or talk therapy following a loss. It can be helpful to discuss painful and sometimes confusing feelings that death and loss bring with someone who understands these feelings. While therapy obviously cannot return the person, it can aid in adjusting to a satisfying life after the loss and help the grieving person move toward a life without their loved one.

+Life transitions

Real life is not like in the movies. People change, grow up, become smarter, have accidents, become sick or disabled, become step-parents, and so on. Our children may join other children in `blended families.’ We might see our future selves in aging parents who want both independence and involvement. Some people may wonder how to continue the `parenting’ relationship when divorce and separation end the `spousal’ relationship. Life changes us and those around us. Even wonderful opportunities confront us with decisions and choices. How do we navigate these `rough seas’ while making the best decisions, using our best judgment? Therapy can help you negotiate the transitions in the life of your family.

+Fertility/infertility

Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together. The long term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples. If you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, out of control, or isolated, you are not alone.

Everyone has feelings and emotional ups and downs as they pursue infertility treatment. Feeling overwhelmed at times is a perfectly normal response. You may benefit a great deal from working with a mental health professional on fertility issues.

+Parenting and families

Many of us find that models of parenting passed down to us from our parents and family are not effective enough to meet the challenge of rearing our own children. Children are exposed to influences and pressures that are often too much for them to understand, manage, or cope with. Sometimes children or adolescents, when upset, act out their feelings without realizing the real-world consequences of their choices or actions. How do you steer a headstrong youth in the right direction with the minimum of battles, power-struggles or childhood anxiety and depression? Discussing your parenting concerns with a psychotherapist may help you improve your parenting skills.

+Divorce/custody

Relationships that are expected to last a lifetime sometimes become a casualty to conflict, the stresses of work, children, illness or even too much success in one area of life. It is difficult to make one’s way through this challenging transition. People may ask themselves: “What effect will a divorce have on children? Is it better or worse for the children for the marriage to end? Are our problems so big and complex that we do not see a way out?” Problems that are not `fixed’ in a present relationship have a way of surfacing again in future relationships. Taking the time and energy to be thoughtful and deliberate about such life-changing decisions is important.

+Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and related issues

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) individuals and their families may seek therapy for a variety of reasons. Some who experience depressive or anxiety symptoms, relationship issues, or difficult life transitions not directly related to their sexual orientation may feel more comfortable working with an LGBT-friendly psychotherapist. Others may have specific LGBT issues such as self-acceptance, starting a family, or coming out to family members or other important people in their lives. Psychotherapists who are knowledgeable and sensitive to these issues can play an important role in supporting LGBT clients in addressing their concerns.

+Sexuality

It can be used by individuals or couples, whether to work within current relationships, potential relationships, or alone. This type of counseling is helpful when there are sexual concerns (difficulty reaching orgasm, impotence, sexual incompatibility, etc.) as well as for people who are interested in expanding their sexual horizons (exploring different forms of sexual expression and play, returning to a sexually experimental lifestyle after a long period of abstinence or monogamy, etc.)

+Deaf identity

Coming…

+Addictions

We offer help for those with substance abuse problems by assisting with the psychological and relational aspects of recovery. For initial treatment of substance problems, we are happy to provide assessments and referrals to substance abuse treatment centers.

+Domestic violence

Domestic violence, sometimes called battering, relationship abuse, or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence is a crime that can include physical abuse, emotional/verbal abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse. Batterers use threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to maintain power over their victims. Domestic violence impacts everyone, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion. Domestic violence also affects same-sex relationships and men as victims.

Our psychotherapists work closely with Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN). We are compassionate and experienced and our goal is to ensure that you and your children are safe. We understand how painful it is to live with abuse and how difficult it can be to talk about your situation. You might feel hopeless, desperate, confused, and alone. You may not want to tell people about your situation because you feel afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

+Legal issues

Coming…

+Meaning of life

Some people have wondered about some of the larger questions in life. Some people are searching for the answer to the meaning of life, or for the specific meaning and purpose of their life.

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