I have found in counseling practice, that Depression and Anxiety are often-times different sides of the "same coin". And I use similar strategies to treat both.
Symptoms may include:
- lack of energy
- lack of interest in the things you used to like
- lack of interest in people
- Negative self-talk
- guilt for things you are not responsible for
- crying jags
- weight and appetite changes
You may also have thought of hurting yourself, with or with out a plan to actually do it. (If you do have a plan to hurt yourself you should tell a loved one and go to an ER or call 911 immediately).
- Racing thoughts
- Intrusive thoughts
- Chronic worry about many things, for a good part of the day
- You may also have racing heart
- Feelings of choking or suffocating
- The thought of a need to flee
- Additionally you may have head aches or stomach problems accompanying your worry.
The following are some of the counseling interventions and an explanation of those strategies that are used in working with people with anxiety and depression problems.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that starts by taking a look at one's thought life first and determines how that impacts behavior. For instance, depression may be a mood state, but the behaviors such as isolating, negative self-talks and angry outburst, would be the behavior.
In CBT we look at distorted thought processes (Cognitive Distortions) and attempt to figure out where they came from (usually a coping strategy that somebody picks up along the way) and in counseling we attempt to re-frame/re-write/re-wire that thought process. This is done through practice in session, home-work and most especially, in your every day life.
Rationale-Emotive Therapy (RET) takes a look at emotions first, how those emotions impact thought life and how that thought life plays out in one's mood, behavior, relationships, etc. RET is useful for people who are intuitive, view the world through an "emotional lens" and use "feeling words" when describing life events or relationships, rather than analysis or logic.
Expressive Therapy can also be a useful tool in sorting through mood problems. This can include art, music or movement. Often-times "home-work" will be assigned for you to create and bring that experience back into session to explore mood states, coping strategies, triggers and barriers to getting better and reducing symptoms.
Every client is different, and the above tools are just a small sampling of what counseling work looks like. Studies have shown that what really matters for an effective counseling experience, is the relationship that you have with your counselor. If you are able to connect with your counselor and build a good rapport, healing will happen and life will start looking up no matter what counseling "strategy" or intervention is used. Counseling is a conversation with a goal: to improve your over all satisfaction in life and relationships, by helping you sort through emotional, mental, behavioral and developmental problems that are holding you back from living in your potential.