Here are some examples of the issues that I often encounter in my practice:
ADD/ADHD is characterized not by a deficit of attention but by hyperfocus and difficulties regulating and shifting attention and emotions, inhibiting impulses and ignoring distractions. People with ADD/ADHD often experience great difficulties planning, prioritizing and sustaining efforts towards a goal.
Anxiety disorders all involve mental, emotional and physical discomfort, worry, nervousness, fear and rumination but can vary greatly in their specific triggers, expressions and consequences to daily life.
Depression is characterized by significantly lowered mood over several weeks, feeling hopeless about the present and the future, a severe lack of interest, motivation and energy, not enjoying activities that used to be enjoyable, disturbances in sleep and appetite and sometimes but not always accompanied by suicidal thoughts. Depression can be triggered by specific adverse events, by stress over a longer period of time or might seem to have come about for no particular reason.
People with bipolar disorder experience cyclical patterns of depression and manic episodes in which their mood is abnormally elevated, sleep and appetite are disturbed, and the sense of reality is distorted.
We sometimes experience recurring problematic dynamics in our relationships and friendships. Other times one particular relationship might be difficult for us to comprehend and cope with. In therapy we work on the understanding of these patterns, of what we bring to the relationship and of our interactions and dynamics with significant others, and we work on how to change patterns that we are unhappy with.
Pregnancy and the life after birth can challenge us mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. Many parents struggle with what they see as discrepancies between their values, intentions and hopes on the one side and then their own imperfections, limitations and shortcomings on the other side. Donald Winnicott’s concept of “the good enough parent” is central to my work with parents.
We are often rewarded for our perfectionism because it helps us achieve at school, at work and in our relationships. Perfectionism is, however, also often accompanied by a lack of self-compassion and we might be prone to overstepping our own boundaries in many spheres of our lives. This can lead to anxiety, depression and relationship issues.
Many of us struggle with a deeply-rooted, inner suspicion that we might not be worthy of love. Stable self-esteem has to do with trusting our skills and competences. Self-worth is more about a deep acceptance of who we are as people, the acknowledgement of our needs, and a self-compassionate approach to ourselves.
We feel stressed when the demands that we ourselves or others make of us are greater than our mental, emotional and physical resources. If we feel stressed for a longer period of time, our resources will diminish and we will experience an increasing discrepancy between what we can cope with and what is expected of us. This might in turn make us feel inadequate, self-critical, anxious, and depressed.
We might experience trauma in the form of one extreme adverse event or a series of overwhelmingly difficult events or interactions. Trauma can affect many aspects of our lives negatively from our memory and ability to focus, concentrate, and work, to our ability to look after ourselves, connect with others and engage in meaningful and intimate relationships.
Addictions are characterized by the inability to stay away from certain activities (e.g. gambling, online pornography, news websites, video games, social media), from certain objects or substances. Addictions are accompanied by legitimizing thoughts and can be detrimental to the person’s life and well-being, as well as the well-being of significant others.
People with autism or other neurodiversity issues might experience a range of cognitive, emotional, and social difficulties. The aim of therapy is to understand these challenges and build a life in respect of them.