Anxiety

One of the most common and normal emotions we have is anxiety, also known as fear or worry. For most of us, we can remember a time when we felt "stressed out," or were worried about money, our health, children, an unfamiliar situation, or what other people think. Usually, anxiety acts to protect us from harm and to keep us motivated in certain ways.
Fear, Worry, Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic

For some of us, normal anxiety can become constant and/or excessive to the point of disrupting our quality of life, our daily routines, or our relationships. In some cases, anxiety can lead to panic.

Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, an estimated 19 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Another source indicates that 1 in 10 people will suffer some sort of anxiety problem at some point in their lives.

Symptoms of a problem might include excessive worrying, feelings of panic, or changes in your body (such as restlessness, being tired very easily, inability to concentrate, irritability, muscle aches or tension, and/or problems with sleeping).

Anxiety problems can often be effectively treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. For many people, cognitive-behavioral therapy alone will be enough to overcome anxiety problems. In some cases, however, medication might be added as a complement to the therapy. Although anxiety problems are highly treatable, only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder seek treatment.


Fear and Worry

Chronic worry that is excessive, unrealistic, or difficult to control, whether the worry is about health, money, or career, could be a problem called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. People with this problem often feel that worrying about things will prevent them from happening in the future.

This problem is usually associated with a range of physical symptoms, including muscle aches, soreness, tension, irritability, difficulty with concentration, restlessness, and sleep problems.

Generalized Anxiety can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and, in some cases, medications.


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Panic Attacks

Fear, Worry, Anxiety, Phobias, and PanicPanic attacks are sudden, short-lived (5-10 minutes) episodes of intense physical sensations that come from out of the blue.

You feel like you could be going crazy or having a heart attack because your heart races, your breathing becomes very rapid, you might feel tingling or numbing sensations, you get hot or cold flashes, you might sweat or tremble, and you feel like you might pass out.

These are some of the symptoms of a panic attack, which is a normal reaction to a potentially catastrophic situation, but is abnormal when there is no danger present.

Eventually, you can begin to fear the possibility of having another attack, which can then become a cause for another attack. It's a vicious cycle, and when it interferes with your daily life, you should seek assistance from a professional.

Panic can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and, in some cases, short-term medications.



Shyness, Social Anxiety, and Social Phobia 

If you think of yourself as shy, it does not necessarily mean that you have an anxiety problem that needs professional treatment. Most of us feel shy or uncomfortable in certain social situations, for example, when asking someone out for a date, or when thinking about public speaking. Shyness can be more severe for some people.

When intense feelings of discomfort cause you to avoid doing things that are important to you, or if your ability to carry on with daily activities (work, school, etc.) becomes impaired, then you might be developing a problem we call social phobia or social anxiety.

People with social phobia have specific fears of social situations, such as public speaking, meeting strangers, initiating and maintaining conversations, being observed by others, and talking to people in authority. These situations produce extreme fears of being embarrassed or humiliated.

Social anxiety is characterized by extreme fear about being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or ridicule. Physical symptoms associated with this disorder include heart palpitations, faintness, blushing and profuse sweating.

A number of treatments are available for social phobia or social anxiety, and the chances are good that a person with this problem can find relief and overcome their anxiety. In addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy, you might also consider relaxation, social skills, and group therapy training methods.

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Other Anxiety Problems

Anxiety

If you are plagued by persistent, recurrent thoughts that reflect exaggerated fears and have to take actions to relieve these feelings, you may have a problem called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

People who have survived a traumatic event sometimes relive the event and/or feel emotionally numbed, and may need help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

An intense fear reaction to a specific object or situation, for example, fear of the dark, could be a Phobia.


Treatment and Outcomes

The good news is that anxiety problems can be effectively treated for most people.

Worry, anxiety, and panic are treated most effectively through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and sometimes a referral for medication can also be useful.

I help people with anxiety feel relaxed, calm, and confident in all areas of their life. 


Drug and Alcohol Problems
Drug and Alcohol Proglems

It's not easy to control everything in life, and sometimes experimentation with drugs or alcohol can have disastrous result

If you have tried to control drug or alcohol use, but failed, you might have a problem. Drugs and alcohol can be alluring and may even seem to help you cope with difficult problems in life, and you can get hooked. 

Symptoms of drug or alcohol dependence include tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance means that it takes more and more of the drug to get the same 'high' (for example, drinking much more to get the same buzz you used to get from a smaller number of drinks).

Withdrawal means that when you stop using the drug, you have specific (and usually very uncomfortable) physical symptoms in your body.

Treatment and Outcomes 

Fortunately, there is treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. Therapy and self-help programs (for example, Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-step programs) can help you.

If you already have some recovery time under your belt, therapy can help you expand and strengthen your sobriety.

I help people with addictions become free from the grip of substances, whether you want to cut down your use, give up drugs and alcohol altogether, or strengthen your ongoing personal recovery.


Sobriety

Sobriety and Recovery

Living sober is about building a new identity that accepts the past and integrates the future to form a more complete sense of self. 

As you overcome an addiction, you might feel ready for insight-oriented therapy to complement your recovery program, or some spiritual exploration to establish and strengthen faith.

Treatment and Outcomes 

I help people in recovery continue to build on their sobriety and enhance self-understanding, supporting their recovery efforts through my understanding of 12-step programs and the role of their sponsor, and an understanding of the spiritual development that occurs in the recovery process.



Stress ManagementStress Management

Stress may be the cause of many forms of illness and distress and isn't going to disappear any time soon. There are few of us that haven't been under stress, even severe stress, at some point in our lives.

The staggering pace of change, feeling overloaded and pressured at work, and coping with daily nuisances like noise and pollution can wear you down.

Stress can lead to ineffective coping behavior, such as smoking, drinking, or overeating. Stress can be a factor in our physical symptoms as well as our emotional distress. Ironically, many of our most severe health problems stem from our own ineffective attempts to find relief from the tension of everyday stress.

Treatment and Outcomes 

There is help for managing stress. Learning how to counter the effects of stress, and how to prevent the future impact of stress is possible through the techniques of relaxation training, building a sense of personal control, and developing techniques for self-renewal.

I help people with stress to feel more empowered, cope more effectively, manage their time well, and develop strategies for self-renewal. I help you develop an approach to life based upon health and wellness.


Work-Life Balance

Work-Life BalanceWork-Life Balance is a strange phrase because it assumes that work and life are two separate things, rather than work being a subset of your larger life picture.

Nevertheless, it's a phrase that's gained a lot of currency, and it does communicate the necessity of keeping work in perspective.

It's easy to throw yourself into your work when things at home aren't going so well. It's also common to feel good about yourself because of the work you do, rather than having a positive sense of self-esteem independent of your career.

We are who we are, and we are what we do. That doesn't mean that what we do is all that we are.

If you have children, work-life balance takes on a whole new perspective!

How do you balance demands at home with your career and financial needs? It's a complicated scenario, and most of us muddle through as best we can.

Treatment and Outcomes

I can help you develop a plan for work-life balance. We will begin with establishing your goals in career, home, and leisure areas.

I'll help you learn how to prioritize goals and establish action plans for achieving those goals.

We'll also explore ways to manage the areas of your life more effectively.

You can create the life you want, and I'm here to assist you in that process.


Career Issues and Transitions

Dr. Eric Nicely, Psy.D. - SpecialtiesA significant part of life is spent working because it's a necessity in order to get the things you want.

Perhaps you're not in the career field of your choice, or maybe you've tried one career and are ready to begin another... Maybe it just hasn't turned out to be as satisfying as you thought it would be.

If you find yourself complaining frequently about your job, feel bored most of the time, consider yourself 'burned-out' at work, or wonder what your next career move might be, then you might want to consider a career transition.

Treatment and Outcomes

I can help you explore your experience and interests, make a gameplan, work with you while you test the waters, and help you develop attainable goals with specific action plans to achieve them.

I help you identify your passions in the work arena, encouraging you to take control and find a career that is both satisfying and fulfilling.


Personal Growth

What is personal growth? Personal Growth

I think about it as a combination of things including learning, experiencing, and relating.

Growth can be defined in a number of ways, such as developing an increased level of self-understanding, exploring spiritual questions, finding a meaning in life, or dealing with existential questions such as "Who am I?", or "Why am I here?".


Treatment and Outcomes

There are many avenues to personal growth - from physical activities like rock climbing, to exploring completely different interests through reading, to sitting in a room and meditating - and therapy is one of them.

In the therapy relationship, you are free to explore your deepest, innermost thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.

You are also free to examine spiritual and existential questions.

I help people with the process of searching, finding answers, and achieving a new level of self-understanding, whatever the questions may be.

Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
Self-Esteem

How we feel about ourselves is often reflected in both how we see ourselves and how others see us.

Where does self-esteem or confidence come from? How do I go about increasing my confidence and feeling better about myself?

These are important questions, and you can get help with them in therapy.

Feeling low about yourself or having a lack of confidence can be expressed in many ways - you might feel disconnected from people or from a purpose in your life, you might stop caring about your appearance, you might seek out approval from others to feel better, you might believe you're not worth it, you could think negatively about yourself, or you could be self-destructive in your behavior (overdoing it with alcohol or drugs, for example).

Treatment and Outcomes

Therapy can help you begin to understand and change your self-image.

In therapy, you can explore the causes and develop solutions to self-esteem and confidence problems.

I help people build their self-esteem and self-confidence so that they can learn to feel better about themselves and their lives, and work through fear to reach goals that are important and might have been unreachable before.



Other Issues

If you have a problem that is not listed here, please contact me to discuss how I may be of service.

I've tried to highlight some of the most common problems that people encounter, but this list is by no means comprehensive!