What is Depression?
Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and/or adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women and tends to display differently in women than in men. People tend to suffer higher rates of depression after giving birth and in late fall. Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.
Depression is a mental illness which is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:
It can be helpful to work with your primary care doctor to rule out any biological causes of the symptoms you are experiencing. A person must have been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression. Every case is unique and requires individual attention, but there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression, including:
- Talk therapy
- Lifestyle changes (exercise, diet, considering medication, more adaptive boundaries in relationships, etc.)
What is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?
Acute Stress Disorder (the "other" ASD) & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is getting a lot of attention and we think that's great! The more we talk about it, hopefully the more we will understand it. Talking about it also provides an opportunity to talk about how to help. An important point in starting (and continuing) the discussion is to be clear on the definition.
What is PTSD really?
**Please note that this definition is not being provided for the purposes of self-diagnosis**
Criterion A (one required): The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):Direct exposure Witnessing the trauma Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)
Criterion B (one required): The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced, in the following way(s): Unwanted upsetting memories Nightmares Flashbacks Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders
Criterion C (one required): Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma, in the following way(s): Trauma-related thoughts or feelings Trauma-related reminders
Criterion D (two required): Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s): Inability to recall key features of the trauma Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma Negative affect Decreased interest in activities Feeling isolated Difficulty experiencing positive affect
Criterion E (two required): Trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s): Irritability or aggression Risky or destructive behavior Hypervigilance Heightened startle reaction Difficulty concentrating Difficulty sleeping
Criterion F (required): Symptoms last for more than 1 month. Criterion G (required): Symptoms create distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).
Criterion H (required): Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness. Remember, you are not alone. You can have a life that you love to show up in.
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Not all Clinicians at Full Life Counseling are paneled with insurance plans. Dana Strickland is currently paneled with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of AZ and Tricare (Tri-West/Humana).
If your plan includes a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) you may be able to utilize those services to cover the cost of your care. To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders requires therapists to report to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.