Hilary K. Robison, LCSW
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Anxiety

Anxiety is usually characterized by excessive worrying and a pervasive sense that things are just "not right". Sometimes anxiety is accompanied by panic attacks, which occur in a discrete time frame and usually are experienced as a very intense feeling of dread, often in conjunction with physical symptoms such as a racing heart. Other symptoms of anxiety include: restlessness, feeling easily fatigued, feeling irritable, muscle tension, and trouble sleeping. Anxiety can also be expressed as a phobia, such as social phobia — a fear of engagement with new people.

People with anxiety are constantly studying themselves and are exquisitely aware of their own thoughts and feelings. They often compare themselves to others and wonder if they are measuring up to an imagined standard. Ironically this constant worrying can impact focus and concentration leading to impairment in one's ability to achieve success. Now the anxious person may have created a real problem to worry about!

My treatment of anxiety uses a supportive therapeutic relationship to help clients feel safe and understood, exploration of their underlying fears, and the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques. These techniques include learning how to change unproductive or harmful thought patterns by examining feelings and learning to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts.

Depression

Depression is often experienced as an overwhelming sadness or numbness. This is often accompanied by disturbances in sleep (either too much or too little sleep), appetite (again, eating too much or too little), feelings of lethargy and apathy, poor concentration and low self-esteem. At its most extreme, depression can cause thoughts about dying or suicide. If someone is having suicidal thought, it is imperative that they seek help. Depression is a curable disease.

There is a common misunderstanding that people with clinical depression ought to be able to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" While healthier people can use positive thoughts to turn their mood around, severely depressed people have been robbed of their own brain's ability to get themselves out of this very painful state. It has now been shown in numerous research studies that therapy, as well as medication, can actually change the way that the brain works, and enable a depressed person to utilize healthy coping skills.

People can also suffer from less intense but more pervasive and longer lasting forms of depression. Individuals who are depressed tend to think negatively. Therapy can help you to identify and challenge these negative thoughts. Depression can also be connected to negative emotional relationships or unresolved traumas or losses in your past. Exploring your current and past relationships can give you a new perspective on how you choose to live your life today.



 
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