Anxiety and Depression
When fears interfere with your capacity to live your life the way you want to and you have to pass up opportunities you would like to take, then it is useful to address them. It is possible to teach people to cope with fears, to manage the symptoms, but I believe that by seeing these fears in the context of the life a person wants to live, working actively with the occasions in which they arise and teaching a range of practices to relieve the normal platform of anxiety a person lives with that through working with the fears a person can transform the happiness they have in life and get a real perspective around the fears that are there to protect them.
Fear and its partner anxiety are part of a natural and useful human response. Originally it helped to protect us from lions, tigers and other human predators. As is well known, there are two modes of response, the decision to fight or to flee from danger and these involve psysiological changes, including changes in the rate of breathing, heart beat, shaking, sweating, stomach churning, and movement of the blood from the head to the body. All these responses prepared us for a physical and active response to danger.
Now it is usual that the things we are afraid of are not physical predators, they are people, events, situations, potential dangers, judgements, guilts, objects that we see as fearful. But our fear response is still the same as it was for lions, and the fear response is ill understood and usually leads to further emotional anxiety as to what is happening. A person believes they are going to lose control, go crazy, pass out or die.
In the counselling process we can make sense of what is happening in the sitution you are afraid of and help you to address it and any underlying concerns you have. Fears take place in the context of your other life experiences and we need to do work around your general levels of confidence and motivation in order to get an overall healing process.
Obsessions are a set of control behaviours which a person learns in order to avoid fearful consequences. These are usually based on unusually high expectations of cleanliness, safety, appearance, body shape, achievement or accuracy. A person is involved in checking to see whether they have achieved the standard set and it is so high, they do not achieve a feeling of having done it properly, so the cycle continues.
Counselling is helpful, because the control ideas need to be both challenged and understood. The context to work in is the life a person wants to live and clients need to understand what they really want to do in their life and then from this secure base start to challenge the ideas which underpin the obsessive behaviour. People can see a reduction in the anxiety which surrounds obsessive behaviour. It is long term work, but it can be very successful in releasing a person so they can go forwards and do what they want to in life. These clients are very able people and can be high achievers if they will take the time to re-assess their priorities.
Trauma covers a huge range of emotional and physical events which have been overwhelming for the person when they occurred and working with trauma involves tracking the responses which the person would have liked to have made, but were unable to do so at the time and exploring the consequential thinking which may have restricted a persons capacity to act in their normal circumstances. There may be anxiety and hyper arousal, the readiness to get away, or there may be dis-association from the event, as if a person has escaped through reducing consciousness of what was or is happening. Sensitive working is required to help a person address the situation in a way that is tolerable for them.
I have seen clients achieve considerable reduction in the extent of the fears they experience and in their capacity to get on with their living without the overshadowing effect of fear. It is hard work and I appreciate the consistent effort they put into living differently. I would be glad to support you in taking some positive steps in this area.
Depression happens when we have tried everything we know to cope with our situation. When fear and anger have not protected us and we feel we cannot go forwards then we may sink into depression. But all is not lost and working together we can revive your personal energy and find a way forwards which honours the best of your intentions.