Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes (e.g. increased blood pressure). People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat.*
Clients can use therapy sessions to understand some of the underlying causes of anxiety. Increasing knowledge about situations that trigger anxiety is also an important part of the process. Clients and therapist work together to determine ways the client can respond to or prevent anxiety. There are a variety of responses including acceptance of symptoms, visual/guided imagery, self-talk, and relaxation techniques.
Depression is more than just sadness. People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.*
Depression is the most common mental disorder. Fortunately, depression is treatable.
Individuals experience depression in a myriad of ways. Insight oriented strategies are used to understand the origins and triggers of depression. Histories of trauma, family conflict, learning challenges, and chronic medical problems may all contribute to depression. First and foremost, therapy is used to provide support and empathy. The therapist helps the client recognize depressive symptoms and develop a plan to reduce and respond to those symptoms. The therapeutic plan is tailored to the clients’ needs and may include a regimen of physical exercise, increasing communication with loved ones, self-care, and transforming depressive thoughts. Therapeutic goals include a delicate balance of methods that promote both acceptance and change.
*Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology published by the American Psychological Association (APA). More information can be found online at the APA’s Psychology Help Center.