Both depression and anxiety are common problems that most individuals will encounter to a greater or lesser extent at some point during the course of their lifetime. It is possible that there may be one or more biological factors driving your symptoms, so at the beginning of treatment I encourage a consultation with either your primary care M.D.(medical doctor) or N.D. (naturopathic doctor) who will examine you and run tests to rule out any underlying physical causes such as a faulty thyroid, a hormone imbalance or a vitamin deficiency.
A Few Words about Psychotropic Medication
Many people choose to go to their medical doctor to request medication that will alleviate their symptoms so they can feel and function better. However, although psychotropic medications can certainly help, they often simply mask underlying psycho-social causes and stressors. In addition, they can have negative side effects such as reduced sex drive and weight gain. Futhermore,my understanding is that these types of medications were never really designed for long-term use, and from what I have observed, over time their effectiveness can wear off too. Having said this, I do believe there are occasions where a person’s symptoms are severe enough (not in every case by any means) that medication is helpful and even necessary in order to make more effective use of therapy. Even so, it is entirely possible there will come a time later on in your healing journey when you will be able to cut back or even come off your medication entirely and that is always my hope.
As a mental health professional, where medication is indicated, I encourage my clients whenever possible to be evaluated by a specialist in prescribing these types of medications, namely a psychiatrist.
Traditional Psycho-Therapeutic Approaches to Treating Depression and Anxiety
In addition to recommending psychotropic medication, many therapists employ a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other what I call ‘regular talk therapy’ approaches to treating depression and anxiety. These are effective and well-respected approaches which I endorse and also often utilize as well. However, my training as an EMDR therapist has provided me some unique and highly effective additional tools. See below for more details.
EMDR: A Unique Approach
Using the same bilateral stimulation of the brain (BLS) that is used in EMDR trauma processing, I employ a series of guided imagery exercises that are often highly effective in alleviating the symptoms of both depression and anxiety. BLS puts a person in what I call ‘right brain mode’. This means you will be working out of the right hemisphere of your brain and at the level of the unconscious. As a result, the work we do together is very rich. It produces often subtle but nevertheless profound shifts in attitudes and behaviors in addition to the resolution of previous negative symptoms. And, even more good news, these changes will occur way faster than in regular ‘talk’ therapy and are truly life-changing in that they positively alter the basic neurocircuitry of the brain. One example is that I have you imagine a ‘peaceful place.’ This is often somewhere you have been in real life and when you imagine yourself in this place, it is as if there is not a care in the world and everything is exactly the way it should be. Focusing on these types of memories and situations using BLS can be highly beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety as the body learns to relax and the mind reminded of more positive experiences.
These are creative and even fun exercises that all individuals can benefit from and most of my clients say they have enjoyed this aspect of our work together. Afterwards, I will suggest we move on to do some EMDR trauma processing, once you let me know you are ready to work on the underlying causes of your depression and anxiety.
To learn more about how the depression and anxiety treatment services I provide can help you, I encourage you to contact me today, while you’re thinking about it, and schedule a free initial consultation. I can be reached by phone at 650-704-5111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to speaking with you and helping in any way I can!