Below are concerns I am trained and experienced in helping people address.
Adjustment: Stressful life events or changes that may be causing you difficulty, discomfort, and problems such as restless sleep, poor appetite, emotional distress (see emotional distress), chronic headaches, and more.
Alcohol Abuse: Using alcohol in excess to the point that you experience negative physical, emotional, and social consequences, regular hangovers, sickness, excessive anger, depression, impulsivity, poor performance in work and school, decreased ability to function normally, loss of friends, engaging in high-risk behavior, etc.
Anger Issues: Experiencing excessively expressed, uncontrollable, or mismanaged anger that creates conflict in your personal and professional relationships. An individual seeking anger management may have experienced negative consequences resulting from their anger, including strained relationships. Individuals with anger issues may also be concerned about their potential to act abusively towards others, whether through physical violence, yelling, breaking objects, or even road rage.
Anxiety: A state of arousal that causes nervousness, distress, fear, apprehension, and worry. These feelings may also appear as physical symptoms, including chronic muscle tension, dizziness, nausea, shaking/trembling, crying, sweating, and fainting. Individuals may experience mild to moderate anxiety that is primarily unsettling, distracting, and occasionally debilitating, or more severe forms, which may prevent an individual from functioning.
Assertiveness: Individuals who struggle in this area may find themselves communicating passively (not standing up for themselves), aggressively (not showing regard for others), or passive-aggressively (indirectly expressing aggression), all of which are communication styles that may negatively affect one’s mental/emotional health and relationships with others.
Attachment Issues: Characterized by unhealthy relationship dynamics, patterns, and outcomes, often resulting from our experiences with caregivers during infancy and early childhood. Individuals with attachment issues may experience any of the following: difficulty connecting with others, a need for close relationships, clinginess, feelings of worthlessness, high levels of independence, avoidance of close relationships, pushing away from others, avoiding getting close to others for fear of being hurt, mixed feelings regarding emotional closeness, difficulty trusting others, and keeping feelings from others.
Bipolar Disorder: Sometimes referred to as Manic-Depression. Bipolar mood disorder is characterized by shifts in mood, from a manic state with distinctly elevated mood, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, and distractibility to a depressed state with decreased interest or pleasure, change in appetite, sleep disturbance, tiredness, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, poor concentration, or thoughts of death or suicide.
Career Issues: These may include concerns related to one’s occupation, including disinterest in current work, desire to change careers but unsure what career path to take, and a general sense of hopelessness or uncertainty regarding one’s occupational future.
Conflict Issues: Individuals or couples that struggle with conflict may either avoid it altogether, struggle to resolve it, or experience it in unhealthy or nonproductive ways. When addressing conflict issues, individuals learn how to manage conflict by communicating civilly and effectively, improving listening skills, identifying common ground, thinking creatively, negotiating, and coming to healthy and productive resolutions.
Dependency: Characterized by a strong need to depend on others for help managing one’s life, specifically meeting one’s physical and emotional needs. Individuals who experience dependency may avoid being alone, avoid responsibility, become easily hurt when criticized, fear abandonment, act passively in relationships, have difficulty making decisions without the support of others, and have difficulty expressing disagreement with another.
Depression: Can be experienced as a mild case of “the blues” or more intensely, often involving feelings of emptiness and despair that take hold and feel like they won’t go away. Depression may cause any of the following experiences: depressed mood or strong feelings of sadness, hobbies, and friends don’t interest you like they used to, a change in appetite, difficulty sleeping, anger and aggressiveness (especially in men), feeling exhausted all the time, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty focusing, or thoughts of death and suicide, and in general, just getting through the day can feel overwhelming. Depression may be something you feel you have struggled with your entire life or show up only during challenging times.
Dysphoria: A dysphoric mood is a mental state in which a person has a profound sense of unease or dissatisfaction. You can think of it as generalized unhappiness. It is often brought on by high stress and is confused with depression. While not a mental health diagnosis, dysphoria is a symptom associated with various mental health diagnoses, including anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.
Emotional Distress: An experience of mental anguish and suffering. Any negative shift in your mood that is causing you distress.
Fear: This distressing emotion results from the belief that one’s safety, security, or livelihood is being threatened.
Gender Identity Issues: When someone has a sense of unease because of a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity or how they experience themselves. Individuals often describe feeling like they are living another person’s life or not themselves, which may result in depression, anxiety, frustration, unsatisfying relationships, low self-esteem, or self-loathing.
Grief/Bereavement: The emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away, or a significant life change occurs. Grief is often associated with the death of a loved one, which can cause the most intense grief experience. Still, any loss can cause grief, including relationship break-ups, declining health (in self or others), a miscarriage, financial or job loss, death of a pet, loss of a cherished dream, selling your family home and moving, children moving away, changing jobs, retirement, or ending friendships. Individuals experiencing grief may feel all kinds of difficult and surprising emotions, including shock, denial, emptiness, depression, desperation, frustration, doubt, deep sadness, anger, and guilt.
Guilt/Shame: While these emotions are similar, there are subtle differences. Feelings of guilt are generally associated with regret resulting from something one has or has not done. Guilt may be helpful sometimes, as it can motivate us to make healthy life changes. Shame, however, is more destructive than constructive, can be a very painful emotion, and may be experienced as a feeling of being bad, unworthy, disgusting, inferior, or despicable, which often promotes self-hate.
Highly Sensitive Persons: Highly sensitive people are the 15 to 20 percent of the population who process stimulation deeply, from sights to sounds to emotions. Also called Sensory Processing Sensitivity, being an HSP means you experience life “turned up” more than others. A highly sensitive person will likely “feel too much” and “feel too deep,” which can make life colorful and distressing.
LGBTQ Concerns: Any concern or troubling issue experienced by an individual identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning their sexual orientation. These concerns may include discrimination, hate crimes, identity development, homophobia, heterosexism, access to healthcare benefits, equity, and legal rights, relationship concerns, coming out, and social isolation, among other concerns.
Loneliness: An often painful emotional feeling of being disconnected, cut off, or isolated from the rest of our world. It is a feeling that something is missing from our lives. Many factors contribute to feeling lonely. Making a major life change, such as leaving home, ending a relationship, changing jobs, or moving to a new geographical location, can put a person in a position to experience loneliness. People experiencing loneliness often feel depressed, anxious, or angry. Some may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pain, and reduced energy. They are often overly self-critical and self-absorbed in their unhappiness.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: An anxiety condition characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. Repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed to prevent obsessive thoughts or make them go away. Unfortunately, these behaviors often only provide temporary relief, and the thoughts and compulsions soon return. These experiences may cause significant distress, investment of time, or impact one’s ability to live life or maintain relationships.
Panic: Often referred to as panic attacks or a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Panic attacks often result in shortness of breath, heart racing, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, nausea, fear of losing control, or death. Panic can often be triggered by specific situations, such as flying, speaking in public, crowded places, elevators, being around animals, or any other situation that has caused previous panic attacks.
Personal Growth: Often achieved by making personal, occupational, relationship, and, in general, life evaluations to learn more about oneself and make subtle to significant life changes that lead to growth.
Phase of Life Problems: Problems or concerns that occur during specific transitions or circumstances in your life, such as entering school, leaving home, starting a career, or experiencing changes related to marriage, divorce, or retirement.
Phobias (also see fear): Intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. When confronted by a situation or object you fear due to a phobia, you may experience intense anxiety, a sense of dread, or a panic attack (see panic). Most people know their fear is excessive; however, they take great care to avoid whatever is causing their fears, even if it significantly interferes with and inconveniences their lives.
Self-Esteem: Sometimes referred to as self-worth, it refers to how we view ourselves. Self-esteem generally answers, “How do I feel about myself or who I am?” Not enough or low self-esteem can cause an individual to feel depressed and fall short of their potential or perhaps tolerate abusive situations or relationships. On the other hand, too much self-esteem can be off-putting to others and may foster a personal sense of entitlement and a refusal to accept or learn from failures.
Sexual Identity: Often refers to our sexual preferences or who we are emotionally or physically attracted to. A person’s sexual identity or orientation may be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or questioning. Individuals experiencing sexual identity concerns may feel confusion, guilt, doubt, low self-esteem, and depression, among many other emotions.
Shyness: The awkwardness or apprehension some people feel when approaching or getting approached by others. Not to be confused with being introverted (feeling energized by alone time), shy people often desperately want to connect with others but don’t know how or can’t tolerate the anxiety that comes with human interaction.
Sleep Problems: Most people will occasionally experience a sleepless night; however, when sleep problems become a regular occurrence, they may interfere with one’s ability to function and maintain one’s daily routine. Poor sleep can cause many emotional and physical changes, including low energy, emotional imbalance, irritability, poor concentration, lack of productivity, and poor health. Sleep problems may indicate an underlying medical or mental health problem and may be treated medically, psychotherapeutically, or by a combination of both forms of treatment.
Social Anxiety: An intense fear of certain social situations, especially unfamiliar situations in which you feel you’ll be watched or evaluated by others. At the root of this experience is a strong fear of being humiliated or embarrassed in public. This fear can be so intense that some people may have difficulty participating in group activities or going out in public.
Sports Performance: Athletic performance can drastically affect mental and physical health. Further, a decline in one’s mental health can often affect one’s physical health and vice versa. Athletes struggling with performance on the field may be experiencing difficulty learning new skills, coming back from an injury, believing in themselves, coping with competitive pressures, maintaining a competitive edge and high level of mental awareness, and staying focused amid the many distractions both on and off the field, all of which may result in coaches reducing their playing time. Reduced playing time may cause depression, self-doubt, and frustration – feelings that can contribute to continued poor performance.
Stress: Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. Some stress is good and can increase and improve your performance on tasks. The experience of stress can cause your heart to race and muscles to tighten, blood pressure to rise, breath to quicken, pupils to dilate, skin to sweat, moodiness, irritability, depression, loss of sex drive, isolating behavior, the use of alcohol or drugs to relax, procrastination, poor judgment, anxiety, and constant worry.
Substance Abuse: Using mind or mood-altering substances to the point that you begin experiencing negative physical, emotional, and social consequences, including sickness, excessive anger, depression, impulsivity, poor performance in work or school, decreased ability to function normally, loss of friends, engaging in high-risk behavior, etc.
Time Management: Maybe something you are seeking if you find yourself often saying, “there is just not enough time in the day.” Time management involves planning and utilizing time effectively, with greater satisfaction and productivity.
Trust Issues: As social beings, we may regularly rely on the assistance of others to meet our physical, occupational, social, and emotional needs. Trust refers to our willingness to place our well-being in the hands of others, whom we expect to act with our best interests in mind. In other words, when we trust someone, we relinquish control over their actions. If our expectation that the person(s) we trust is/are looking out for us is violated, that is, they disappoint, betray, injure, or harm us, one reaction may be to protect ourselves by withdrawing our trust and learning to distrust others. Learning to trust others, or specific people, may take time and is often harder for those with long histories of trust violations.
Trauma: An emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock, and denial are typical. A trauma experience will often accompany intense anxiety, depression, or grief.
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