Counselling and Psychotherapy
Anna Gaffney Jones BABCP; MBACP ACC
Anna Gaffney Jones
Identifying your Problems
How might therapy help?
Depression relates to a low mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities alongside impaired function in social, occupational, educational areas of your life. At least 5 of the following symptoms would be present nearly every day: Most of these can be helped with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Depressed mood or irritable
Decreased interest or pleasure
Significant weight change or change in appetite
Change in sleep patterns
Change in activity levels
Fatigue or loss of energy
Feelings of guilt/worthlessness
Suicidality: Thoughts of death or suicide, or has suicide plan.
Note: In an emergency you should speak to your GP, your local NHS Mental Health Crisis Line or call the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital. Do not delay.
Anxiety can be diagnosed in many different ways but the underlying process remains the same. You are overestimating the danger and underestimating your ability to deal with it and as a result you may be experiencing some very uncomfortable physical feelings. Here are some of the ways in which we describe anxiety disorders:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder where you are worrying about all aspects of your life to the extent that it is affecting your mood and you are unable to manage your feelings of anxiety. This is underlined by a fear of uncertainty.
Panic and Phobias where you experience extreme anxiety symptoms in specific situations which have a strong physiological response that you are unable to cope with so you are most likely avoidant.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where you have intrusive and repetitive thoughts that something terrible will happen and are compelled to carry out rituals or specific behaviours.
Health Anxiety where your worries and fears all relate to your health and you might be seeking constant reassurance from health professionals or alternatively, avoiding any contact which can also be problematic.
Social Anxiety where your fears relate to how you are seen by others, particularly in a social setting. This is usually accompanied by a specific fear such as shaky hands or blushing and can also trigger Presentation Anxiety where the fear relates to how other people might notice you when you are in meetings or presenting to others.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will give you strategies to help with the feelings of anxiety and set out to help you challenge your fears in a gradual and supportive way.
Childhood Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event in your life such as an accident, assault or difficult childbirth can result in fear, flashbacks, sleeplessness and a poor quality of life if not treated. The CBT treatment for PTSD involves talking about the traumatic event in a particular way so you no longer experience the fear when you are reminded of the experience.
Finding yourself with a lack of purpose in your life can result in the depression and anxiety symptoms discussed above. Acknowledging this and finding ways to create meaning and manage change can be a very powerful experience during therapy.
As human beings we need to be in relationship in one way or another throughout our lives and this can bring with it feelings of rejection, loss, fear and doubt which manifests in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Therapy can help you to become aware of how you connect to others and be responsible for your participation in those relationships.
It may be that it is a very specific relationship that needs attention so Couples Therapy will look at your individual histories to understand what each brings to the relationship. By focussing on specific problem areas such as communication and values it is possible to identify the challenges and make improvements if you are both committed to change.