I provide individual and couples psychotherapy to individuals ages 18 and up. Many of the clients that I see are struggling with the issues described below, along with additional difficulties not described here for the sake of space.
Depression & Anxiety
Symptoms of Depression
Depression can feel like you are stuck in a hole so deep that you cannot possibly dig or drag yourself out of it. You may have problems sleeping or eating, not want to do things that you used to enjoy, find that you cannot focus on anything, or have thoughts of committing suicide.
You might have felt this way pretty consistently for years, or you may have periods of time where you feel this way and then feel better for awhile, before sinking back into depression again.
Symptoms of Anxiety
If you have ever found yourself worrying non-stop about events outside of your control, you have an idea of what anxiety feels like. Similarly, if you have ever felt your heart racing and had difficulty breathing, hot flashes, dizziness, sweating, and numbness in your extremities, then you are familiar with the symptoms of a panic attack.
Anxiety disorders are made up of many different symptoms, including frequent worrying, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behavior, problems concentrating, feeling "on edge," difficulty sleeping, problems focusing, muscle tension, and fatigue. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting and very uncomfortable to be stuck in an anxious state.
Triggers for Depression & Anxiety
Depression can seem to come out of nowhere, or it can be brought on by a specific trigger or a stressful life event, such as giving birth or the loss of a loved one. Similarly, symptoms of anxiety can come on with no specific trigger, or be brought on by specific events. Significant life changes, stress at work, school, or home, and relational difficulties can all lead to feelings of anxiety.
Psychotherapy for Depression & Anxiety
The important thing to know is that therapy can help reduce symptoms of both depression and anxiety. It has been shown repeatedly in the research to be effective in treating these symptoms. You do not need to experience these feelings forever, or suffer through them thinking that there is nothing that can be done.
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Trauma comes in so many forms, and can consist of chronic childhood abuse or a single incident that occurred as an adult that you just cannot stop thinking about. For some people, the trauma will lead to the development of symptoms of PTSD.
Some of these symptoms include intrusive thoughts and memories, nightmares, avoiding places associated with the trauma, developing a lack of trust in other people, anger and irritability, suspiciousness, hypervigilance, a negative mood, and sleep problems.
While not all people who experience trauma develop PTSD, even people without full blown PTSD often still need help understanding what has happened to them, and finding ways to cope.
I have extensive training and experience in treating trauma using several methods in psychotherapy. One of these methods is EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing) treatment. Research has shown that this method of treatment is quite effective in treating symptoms of PTSD. For more information on EMDR, please see the Resources page.
There are different types of trauma described below which can lead to a variety of psychological difficulties, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Treatment can be helpful in reducing these symptoms, and in helping to restore some sense of control over your life.
Psychological & Emotional Abuse
Psychologically and emotionally abusive behavior may start small as many abusers are testing limits at the beginning of a relationship. As the abusive behavior progresses, it can turn into something much more threatening and frightening. This type of abuse can happen to men or women. Examples of psychologically and emotionally abusive behavior includes:
Mocking the other person
Ignoring or giving the "silent treatment"
Yelling, screaming, or swearing at the other person
Attempting to humiliate the other person
Threatening to take something important away from the person
Threatening with physical violence
Degrading a person's physical appearance
Making derogatory comments about someone's level of intelligence
Isolating someone from their family and friends
Physical Abuse & Trauma
When we think about physical abuse, we tend to think about men physically abusing women. However, there are a fair number of women who become physically violent toward men, or same-sex couples who become violent toward each other.
Physical abuse in relationships can range from slapping or pushing, all the way to breaking bones and knocking someone unconscious. In the worst case scenarios, it can end in murder. Similar to psychological and emotional abuse, this type of abuse tends to start off more mild, and become progressively more aggressive.
It is important to never ignore this type of behavior, and to never brush it off for fear of "making too big a deal out of it."
Physical trauma encompasses any type of traumatic event that results in a physical injury. This could include car accidents, medical injuries, and accidents that result in serious physical damage and near death experiences. These traumas can lead to PTSD because of how close someone may have come to death or severe injury, and their fear that it may happen again.
Sexual trauma can occur at a young age, such as when a child is molested by a family member or babysitter. At this point, people may be too young to even understand what is happening to them, and may not fully put the pieces of this event together until years later. Sexual trauma can also occur as adolescents or adults in the form of molestation, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.
If this has happened to you, it is important to know that you are not alone. The numbers vary, but according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network--the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization), one in six women have been victims of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, while one in thirty three men have been the victims of attempted or completed rape in his lifetime.
Line of Duty Trauma
Line of duty trauma refers to the traumas that are experienced by individuals who work in dangerous occupations, including those within the military, the police force, firefighters, and paramedics/EMTs. These individuals are exposed to many life threatening and traumatic situations, often on a daily basis.
One less frequently understood fact about PTSD is that the symptoms can be developed by repeated exposure to details of traumatic events. For this reason, first responders and police officers who respond to the scenes of violent crime can develop PTSD, even though they did not directly experience the trauma.
Postpartum & Parenting
Becoming a parent is a commonly experienced transition, and also can be an extremely challenging one. While starting a family can bring joy to our lives, the transition to parenthood can be difficult if our new role as a parent does not line up with our hopes of what it should or could have been. We also have to navigate parenthood just doing our best, since we are never given any sort of parenting handbook that teaches us what to do.
I work with parents of all types going through the transition to new parenthood. In addition, I work with women experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. According to Postpartum Support International, one in seven women will experience postpartum depression or anxiety during their lifetimes.
It is also not uncommon for men to experience feelings of depression and anxiety after the birth of a child, and I work with these men as well. Therapy is an important part of treatment for individuals struggling with these feelings and this transition.
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness brings many changes to peoples' lives, including changes in their ability to work or go to school, as well as changes within their relationships. Adjusting to the physical and emotional changes brought on by chronic illness can be so hard, and often people feel alone in going through this process. Therapy can provide support to people going through these experiences and a place for individuals to process the overall experience.
Although most people look forward to their retirement, often once it arrives, people feel lost without the structure that their work provided for them. They may struggle with feelings of purposelessness, and often become isolated from others as they no longer see the people that they had connected with on a daily basis while at work. Therapy can address these issues, both in helping people adjust to this change, and in developing strategies for maintaining an active and social lifestyle.
Grief & Loss
Grief and loss are a part of life that we all will experience as we age. Loss can mean the loss of a person, or the loss of a significant relationship, loss of a job, or of any meaningful role that we had held. These different types of loss bring on a variety of feelings and thoughts, and often people need to seek out support when going through these types of transitions.
Relationships are crucial to our well being, and the quality of our relationships has a direct impact on our mental health. Individuals often struggle with forming and maintaining relationships which can occur for a wide variety of reasons.
I enjoy working with individuals in therapy to help them discover their relational patterns, and how these patterns influence the types of relationships they are able to form. Therapy can also involve realizing ways in which clients may want to alter their relational patterns, and assisting them in finding ways to make and maintain these changes.
I work with heterosexual, LGBT, and polyamorous couples, both married and unmarried. I see couples who want to improve the health of their relationship, or work on difficulties that have arisen during the course of their relationship, or both.
Throughout the course of therapy, couples can improve their communication skills and their ability to empathize with their partner. Additionally, they will increase their understanding of how the way they interact with others has been influenced by the interactions in their family of origin.
Unfortunately, not all marriages work out. For those couples who have decided to part ways, I provide a variety of services. If a couple has children, often they will seek treatment in order to improve their co-parenting relationship with each other. I am also available to provide therapy as a means of emotional support to individuals as they go through the difficult process of divorce. Finally, I also provide divorce mediation services as a way of helping couples separate in a more civil, less expensive, and less time consuming manner. For information on my divorce mediation services, please visit https://www.gwinnettmediation.com.