For many, depression is the disorder of our century, as well as an outcome of modern life and its ordeals.
Sometimes, in therapy, we have to take the depressive client to a time before the depression and understand what happened in order to activate new behaviors. If depressive mood has been with the client for as long as they can remember, the work is about exploring in detail the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of this feeling, before any changes in the client’s habitual relationship patterns.
As a species, anxiety is a defense pointing us to signs of what can threaten our wellbeing.
When these signs seem to multiply beyond a reasonable limit, there is an overall feeling of discomfort. The psychologist works with the person with a view identifying and understanding the signs of discomfort, until the client is able to discern these signs by themselves while putting the strategies in place. Learning how to be in the world in a calmer and relaxed way is a sign of maturity and often an outcome of therapy work.
Low selfesteem is a chronic condition, more than a reaction to present circumstances. The feeling of not being enough, or not being good enough, is something that can stay with the person for a long time, even a lifetime. Low selfesteem often translates in selfsabotage behavior confirming the person’s low value. In these cases, the work of a psychotherapist focuses on helping remove the traps which stop the person from establishing harmonious relationships or achieving professional objectives.
Anyone going through a mourning process goes through different emotional phases
until accepting the reality of life without the lost person, or people.
The process of ‘normal’ mourning can be made easier in psychotherapy by working through the different emotions associated loss, over time. In turn, the process of pathological mourning, i.e., when the person seems completely unable to let go, requires specific intervention, so to allow the person to do the mourning tasks and find meaning in life after the loss.
Couple and Family Stress
The key to improving personal relationships isn’t always individual work. Sometimes, both members of a couple are required in the therapy office at the same time, or work with both parents and children simultaneously is in order. The aim is to give voice to difficult things easier said in a therapy office and to start changes for which more than one member of the family is required. In my practice of couples and families I work with a set number of sessions and clearly formulated objectives, so to make the assessment of the therapy and its effects easier and open to the various members of a family or couple.
More than a psychological problem in itself, occupational stress (or work stress) seems to be a condition of modern life. In these cases, therapy can become a space to minimize the person’s anxiety in the search for specific professional objectives, or even a space of exploration of a new professional life, with its anxieties and risks.
The advent of the internet has brought with itself one of the greatest generational gaps known in recent history. We are now facing a generation of parents that has lived predominantly in the ‘offline world’ versus a generation of children for whom the internet is second nature. These adolescents tend to organize their emotional crisis in terms of values and behavior which parents can’t always identify or accept. Working through adolescent crisis often means working alone with the adolescent and other times with the adolescent and family.
Migration brings with it a great potential for rebuilding lives, but also a series of added difficulties. For couples and families, it often means losing a support network, an even bigger stress factor when there are children involved. For everyone, individuals and families, it involves the learning of a new culture. The stress of cultural adaptation can have an impact on the psychological health of families and individuals, therefore requiring specific interventions.