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Why you should find a therapist TODAY!

Why you should find a therapist TODAY!

Millions of Americans can benefit from seeing a therapist, but for one reason or another they don’t. Those who finally do decide to find a therapist usually wait until things get really bad. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are over 43 millions adults (18% of the population!) suffering from mental illness. That is 1 in every 5 people.

The sad part about this is that the statistics for teens and kids suffering from mental illness don’t fall far from the numbers for adults. One in every 5 teens also suffers from mental illness.

As a mother, as a psychotherapist, and as a human being, reading these statistics brings tears to my eyes. I felt compelled to write about this because I wanted those of you who are suffering quietly to know that there are many incredible professionals out there who can help and support you. If you’re thinking, “Well, therapy is expensive,” you aren’t wrong. Yes, it can be, but there are also many places where you can get support for a very low fee. Also, I will let you in on a small secret that few know: Many therapists are willing to be flexible. If money is the only thing stopping you from seeing someone, I urge you to not let that deter you.

Mental health illnesses affect us all because even if you yourself aren’t suffering, you inevitable know someone who is. So it’s important to educate ourselves about the mental illnesses that are affecting millions of people and be aware of risk factors and signs. There are always ways for you to get involved either by helping someone you know who is need of a therapist or learning about ways that you can help with the promotion of wellness and the prevention of mental illness. You might not suffer from mental illness today, but you must know at least one person who does and can use some support. Am I right?

Mental Health Facts in America

If you relate to any of the below signs or notice that they apply to someone you know, it’s time to find a therapist.

# 1 You Feel Alone or Isolated

If you are feeling alone or isolated and this is something that is out of the norm for you, then I suggest that you find a therapist. Many people feel isolated and don’t know what to do about it. Sometimes these feelings are precipitated by a traumatic event. Other times, you have no idea why you suddenly started having these feelings. After my miscarriages, I felt sad and all I wanted to do was isolate myself and not see anyone. Of course, dealing with something like a miscarriage is going to make you feel sad, but at the time, I didn’t realize that there were other more healthy ways to cope with my feelings — besides shutting everyone out. I remember feeling so alone and refused to let anyone try to help me. I actually thought about asking a friend to help me find a therapist, but I was too sad to do anything about it. Looking back, I wish that I reached out to a professional for help because it would have reduced the time that I isolated myself from the world. It was such a lonely time for me.

Whether you know the cause of your lonely feelings or this is something that is new to you, I want you to know that you don’t have to continue to suffer quietly..

#2 You Are Having Negative Thoughts

While negative thoughts can be productive at times, they might also lead us to act in destructive ways and leave us feelings down. You might not be aware, but your negative thoughts affect the way that you are feeling, which in turn affects your behavior. First, it might be helpful to define what healthy thinking is. Healthy thinking will allow you to know the difference between what is helpful to you and what is not. With healthy thinking, you are able to problem solve. Positive thinking is a different way of looking at healthy thinking where your thoughts can keep you happy, but at times this is unrealistic. It is important to have both negative and positive thinking but if you find yourself thinking negatively for long periods of times and you are not able to shift your thoughts into positive more productive thoughts, that’s when it becomes problematic. From years of working with clients who struggle with negative thinking and helping them redirect their thoughts, I found that when people stop the negativity, they are able to better care for themselves and handle life challenges. People also feel much better emotionally and physically.

The good news about both healthy thinking or positive thinking is that with practice, you can learn to think in a more constructive way that will encourage you instead of constantly battling negative thoughts that leave you feeling discouraged all the time. According to Psychology Today, humans have as many as 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts each day and the nature of those thoughts will eventually make up your outlook on life. They found that it is important to have both positive and negative thoughts, and that using them properly is of utmost importance. Working with a professional to reduce your negative thoughts will allow you to better care for yourself and handle life challenges in a better more effective way.

# 3 You’re Going Through Some Big Life Changes and Need Support

Life changes, whether big or small, affect different people in different ways. Sometimes when you are going through major life changes you think that you are the only one who is going through such events. But the truth is, many other people are most likely going through similar changes, and even just knowing this fact can help and support you in different ways. While some people feel that they continue functioning well after big life events, others might need more guidance and support. Big life changes can include events like marriage, giving birth, or the death of a loved one. I found that people often don’t know what to do and what to say when they need help.

After I moved to the United States from Israel at the age of 20, I had to adjust to a whole other culture and language, and I was also struggling with eating disorder. This major life event in my life actually excelerated my eating disorder and caused me a great deal of distress. I am not sure if at the time I knew that I needed professional support or how to find a therapist in my area, but looking back I wish I reached out for support from either a friend or a professional.  I hope that if you are reading this and feel that you or someone you love who is going through some life changes and needs some professional support, you will know that there are professionals out there who can help and support you through this process. You are not alone.

Anxious Teenage Student Sitting Examination In School Hall

# 4 You Feel Anxious or Depressed

The most common psychological disorder in the US is Anxiety Disorder, with over 40 million adults over 18 suffering. I am not going to bore you with the different psychological disorders, but I do think it’s noteworthy that there are 12 anxiety disorder that share features of excessive fear and anxiety and behaviors that are related. The five most common anxiety related disorders that are also associated with immense healthcare costs are panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.

Let’s focus on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) because it is the simplest form of anxiety to understand and I can make my point using this example. In order for anyone to be diagnosed with GAD they need to have excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities. You might wonder what distinguishes GAD from non pathological anxiety. The simplest answer to this is to ask yourself whether the anxiety interferes with your everyday life and prevents you from doing what you are suppose to do — like working, socializing, eating, etc. If you wanted to know the exact criteria that a therapist will use to diagnose you with GAD, you you will have to have the following:

  1. Excess of anxiety and worry for more days than not for at least six months

      2. Difficulty controlling the worry

      3. The anxiety or worry are associated with at least three of the following symptoms:

              -Restlessness

              -Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank

              -Being Easily fatigued

              -Irritability

             -Muscle tension

            -Sleep disturbances

     4. Important areas of functioning such as social and occupational are affected by the anxiety or worry in a clinically significant way.

     5. The anxiety is not attributed to medical issues or substance use.

     6. The disturbance is not better explained by another disorder.

If you find this a bit confusing, then don’t worry as once you meet with a mental health professional they will help you with the diagnosis. I am only giving you a bit of information so you can have a sense of how a disorder is diagnosed. If you want to know how to find a therapist for your depression or anxiety don’t hesitate to ask someone for advice.

# 5 You Feel Out of Control

From time to time we all feel like we lose control of our thoughts and actions, but then we can bring ourselves back to a place where we feel like we have power over what we are doing. When you can’t return to this place of control, that’s when it becomes a serious issue. Losing control of your thoughts and actions can be expressed in many ways, and it can be quite dangerous. Lots of things can trigger these feelings and it’s important to understand why we feel like we do. This is where a therapist can really help you. Feeling like you don’t have control over your mind is a scary feeling and often one we can’t really describe but if you feel like you can’t move forward, you need to reach out for help.

I hope that reading this has inspired you to think critically about whether you could benefit from a therapist. I suggest reaching out and at least exploring the options that are available to you. Reaching out doesn’t always mean that you will find a psychologist the same day, but at least you are taking a step towards a happier, more fulfilling life for you or your loved one.

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists or dietitians, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!

5 Insider Tips On Finding The Right Therapist For You!

You’ve decided to see a therapist? Amazing! Now you just have to pick the right one and that’s the hard part. CBT? DBT? Psychologist vs Psychiatrist? Hypnosis? Sand tray? Dance Therapy? With so many types of therapy and practitioners, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you are dealing with the thing that made you want to go to therapy in the first place! We are here with insider tips to help you make sense of all the conflicting information out there and find the right therapist for you!

Overcoming Fear: Dealing With Anxiety

5 Actions to Take When Anxiety Is Near

 

Action # 1 : Normalize Your Feelings

The first and most important thing to do when experiencing anxiety is not to freak out and let it overcome you — this is easier said than done. However, a good first step is to tell yourself that it is normal to experience anxiety. Sometimes, letting yourself feel anxious is the best thing that you can do to help yourself overcome it. Before I continue, I want to convince you that anxiety can be a positive and constructive thing. (Yes! You read that right…don’t worry — I’ll explain more, so keep reading.)

Anxiety is a feeling characterized by intense fear, worry, and apprehension. So far, all of this sounds negative, scary, and overwhelming — and it can be. When you feel anxiety, it is expressed not just emotionally, but also physically. For many, this can be debilitating. These symptoms are typical for millions of people who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, including panic disorder. In the DSM 5 (considered the bible of psychology) there are 12 types of anxiety disorders. I will not include them all, but will briefly mention the criteria that is required to be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Before you tell yourself that you have a “disorder,” you might find it helpful to know that, in order to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder, you have to experience the following symptoms for a certain amount of time. Of course, you will need a professional to help with the diagnosis, but I am including this here so you can understand that what you are experiencing might not necessarily be a disorder, but rather a feeling that many experience. If you allow yourself to experience the anxiety, it may actually dissipate.

When should I seek a professional depression and anxiety therapist near me?

  • You experience excessive anxiety more days than not about several topics, events, or activities for at least 6 months.
  • The anxiety and worry that you experience is accompanied by seeking reassurance from others.
  • The anxiety can be related to work, health, financial matters, or other life circumstances.
  • The anxiety and worry are associated with at least THREE of the following symptoms:
  1.  Edginess or restlessness
  2. Tiring easily; more fatigue than usual
  3. Difficulty concentrating
  4. Irritability
  5. Increased muscle aches or soreness
  6. Difficulty sleeping

It is important to note that one can be diagnosed with GAD only if his disorder is not better diagnosed as a different disorder. Also, GAD cannot be diagnosed if the individual is abusing medication or alcohol.

Action #2 : Practice Mindfulness

Before you go any further, I challenge you to try the following exercise. Read the following instructions, and then pause for 60 seconds while completing the task:

  • Look at the palm of your hand.
  • Focus on your breath while looking at the palm of your hand.
  • When you feel that your thoughts are distracted by the many things you have to do (or whatever else you might be thinking about) gently bring your thoughts back to the palm of your hand.
  • DON’T judge yourself for being distracted. Simply notice the distraction, and bring your attention back to your hand.

How was this experience for you? (If you didn’t actually take 60 seconds to do this, please do it now…:-) )

I must say that when I first tried this exercise, it was extremely challenging for me. When I was first asked to do it in school, I found it difficult to focus my full attention on staring at the palm of my hand. (Who has time to do that?) Besides the fact that I had never actually looked at the palm of my hand or realized how many lines existed (kind of fascinating, no?), I was surprised to find out how challenging it was for me to just be mindful and quiet my mind for five very long minutes.

So, before I continue, it might be helpful for me to define mindfulness in a very simple way: Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present moment without judging your thoughts and feelings. Instead of letting your life pass by, mindfulness means that you are living in the moment with full awareness of your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.

Many people practice mindfulness meditation to help with the reduction of stress and anxiety. There is a lot of evidence about the effectiveness of mindfulness, but I will include some studies that may convince you to be curious about mindfulness if you are not already familiar with it. My wish for you is that by the time you finish reading this section, you will have practiced at least 60 seconds of mindfulness exercise.

Can you think about the last time you experienced anxiety? What was the anxiety about? What was your first instinct to do when you felt it?

I have worked with many clients who, for a variety of reasons, are terrified of being anxious. We will all experience anxiety at some point in our lives. When we think about the word anxiety, we are most likely to associate the word with something negative that we must remove from our lives. While anxiety can create challenges for many people, it is important to also remember that anxiety serves a purpose to help and protects us in certain situations.

Action # 3 : Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings

If I told you that writing down your thoughts and feelings would reduce your anxiety, would you at least try it? Many studies have shown that writing down your fears eases overall stress, and helps you perform better in life’s stressful situations.

A University of Chicago study that was published in the journal Science found that test takers who wrote down their worries before the test had higher scores than students who did not write down their anxieties and fears before taking the test. The researchers concluded that identifying and getting out all of their concerns helped to ease tension, and allowed them to free up brain power for more important things, like actually responding to the questions on the test!

Writing in a journal every day or two is a great way to release some of your tension. Write about happy things, as well — write about whatever you want! The important thing is to write. You may be happy to have those journals years down the road. Or, if you’re worried about leaving a paper trail, write things down and recycle the paper — it doesn’t have to be a precious keepsake! The point is, write down what’s bothering you, what scares you, what makes you nervous, and then move onto more important life things! Stop letting it take up space in your brain.

Action # 4 : Know That You Are 100% In Charge Of Your Thoughts And Feelings

This one took me a long time to actually understand, believe, and practice! Once I understood that I had the power to control my thoughts, though, my life changed and I was much happier. Let’s assume that you are reading this and believe that you INDEED have the power to change your thoughts and feelings. First, can you acknowledge how awesome it would be if you could have full control over your thoughts and feelings? So? What would you actually do with that? Understanding/awareness is only the first step towards achieving the desirable behavior (=reduction in anxiety). Basically, some event happens and you tell yourself something that it is causing you to feel/experience anxiety.

I am going to include some psychology terms, but feel free to ignore the terms and just understand the ideas behind them. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are the two treatment modalities that helped change my life and many of my clients’ lives. The simplest way to explain CBT is that our thoughts affect our emotions and behavior, so if you can change your thoughts or learn to redirect them, you will feel better and will be able to change your behavior. DBT is a specific form of CBT that emphasizes acceptance of what cannot be changed.   

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly practiced forms of psychotherapy today. Its focus is on helping people learn how their thoughts color and can actually change their feelings and behaviors. It is usually time-limited and goal-focused as practiced by most psychotherapists in the U.S. today. DBT seeks to build upon the foundation of CBT, help enhance its effectiveness, and address specific concerns that the founder of DBT, psychologist Marsha Linehan, saw as deficits in CBT.

DBT emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment — how a person interacts with others in different environments and relationships. The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations — primarily those found in romantic, family, and friend relationships. DBT was originally designed to help treat people with borderline personality disorder, but is now used to treat a wide range of concerns.

The basic logic is that your thoughts affect your emotions and behavior. So, if you take the example of you looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking that you are fat and ugly, the associated emotions will be sadness, anxiety, and other negative emotions.

Now, let’s remember that you have the full control of your thoughts and the ability to redirect your thoughts to a more positive place. With this in mind, you will look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am ugly, fat, and I have the worst sense of style…” Then look at yourself again, this time with love and compassion, and tell yourself that you are a beautiful, healthy looking individual who is doing the best you can in order to be happy (or any other positive things you want to say to yourself). How do you imagine you will feel telling yourself these positive things? I am hoping better than you feel when telling yourself that you are ugly and fat. This might take some time and practice, but once you learn how to redirect your thoughts to a more constructive place that helps change your behavior and drives you to a more desirable behavior, your will feel so much more happy and healthy. It’s not about lying to yourself, it’s about acknowledging your thoughts and redirecting them to a positive place.

Action # 5 : Reach Out For Professional Help

Should I look for a therapist near me for depression and anxiety?

Asking for help is not always easy, but there is nothing wrong with asking for support. Whenever possible, I suggest that you use whatever resources you have to get the support that you need. It might help you to know that there are over 43 million people in the U.S. suffering from anxiety (that’s 1 in 5 adults!!!). Unfortunately for many people, there is a stigma associated with seeking support for mental health, which prevents them from getting the support they need. Many also wait until things get worse, which makes it more challenging to treat. Seeking and finding the right therapist near you to help with your anxiety issues can also be anxiety-provoking, but it doesn’t have to be. Prior to finding the right therapist, you can educate yourself and find out the best treatment for anxiety. There are also self-help books that you can read to help you better understand what you are experiencing.

Are you wondering, “Is it time to find a therapist for depression and anxiety near me?” Then why not talk to someone? Why not make your life less anxious? Hold yourself accountable for asking for help. Especially in today’s fast-paced world, it’s entirely normal to feel stressed, worried, and anxious, but we don’t have to live this way.

Search for a therapist near you who treats anxiety, ask friends and family for a recommendation, and if you have any questions, please feel free to call us for a free consultation!  At LW Wellness, we help match you with the right therapist who fits your needs and provides you with the care and attention that you deserve.