As co-author of the book There Goes the Bride – which deals with the “why,” “how,” and “now what” aspects of broken engagements – I believe that I offer a special perspective in helping individuals through the many difficult challenges of dealing with their relationships and determining whether or not to move forward in them. I also work with couples who would like to explore this together in therapy – both prior to making a commitment to one another and, as is often the case, after they have already done so and are encountering severe obstacles along the way.
Do you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, sometimes so acute it might be experienced as panic attacks? I work with many individuals suffering from assorted types of anxiety problems – some who may also be taking anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drugs, but many who are attempting to deal with their symptoms without medication. My approach combines insight-oriented techniques with some cognitive and behavioral strategies. In simpler terms, I work with people to better understand the source of their anxieties, to identify the thinking and ideas that underlie the anxious response, and to develop techniques and skills to reduce the anxiety as well as handle it when it is experienced.
Are you confused by what direction to take in your life? Is decision-making becoming more difficult for you? I help people sort through their desires and needs, which often conflict with one another and make it impossible to take concrete steps forward – whether about education or work, a possible geographical change, taking over additional family responsibilities, and so on. After first identifying the individual's specific needs, desires, or goals, my therapy approach then clarifies which part is truly conflictual, and finally helps the person understand how his or her own emotional/psychological make-up may be contributing to the inability to reach some resolution. It is often this psychological component that is the culprit and requires some further therapy work.
Most people have experienced some periods in their lives in which they feel chronically sad, “down in the dumps,” discouraged, and lacking in energy or motivation to do much of anything. While these emotions can (and sometimes should) occur as a natural reaction to a particular event – loss or some external change in one’s life – they sometimes last for much longer periods and can lead to a complete disruption of a person’s functioning. When this occurs, whether or not it is in response to an external trigger, a person is considered to be clinically depressed. There are currently some excellent antidepressant medications available to assist the physiological changes that occur in the body when a person is clinically depressed. However, it is equally important to address the psychological confusion and turmoil a person suffers when depressed – and this is most effective when done in combination with medication. I work with people who are struggling with the very contradictory and overwhelming feelings that often underlie the depressed mood – to help untangle the various issues, understand and accept themselves for having these feelings, and then work toward resolving some of these conflicts.
Do thoughts about eating consume your daily life? Whether you are struggling with losing weight, gaining weight, or sustaining your weight, are you preoccupied with the matter to a degree that takes over your life? There is a great deal written about this area of dysfunction, referred to as eating disorders. These include (1) anorexia – a condition in which people are severely underweight and yet persist in restricting their food intake; (2) bulimia – a condition that leads to regular vomiting or “purging” behavior, which serves as a release in and of itself; and (3) compulsive eating or “binging” behavior. In working with individuals who struggle with any kind of eating issue, the first step is to understand the purpose of the behavior (whether restricting, binge-eating, and/or purging). Most people who suffer from eating disorders are attempting to gain some sort of control over their lives, even if the result appears counter-productive. In order to relinquish the practice of restricting, binging, or purging, one has to develop a more effective way of managing their life. This exploration and development becomes the primary work of the therapy.
Wendy W. Roberts
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