★★★★★GOOGLE REVIEWJennifer Dixon: Tweed Heads The counselling session I had with Ghita was just what I needed. I feel a shift going on now and and my questions answered about my marriage. Life looks brighter and I feel less anxious. Thank you Ghita.
Depression and Feeling Stuck
Separation and Divorce
Grief and Loss
Major Life Changes
1. Anxiety Anxiety is a responses that is triggered by an event. It can also be accumulative stress. Anxiety is your body's way of telling you that it is not safe, is ready for the fight or flight response and that it would like you to relieve that fear or tension and return to normal (homeostasis). Stress and anxiety are not always bad. In the short term, they can help you overcome a challenge or dangerous situation. Examples of everyday stress and anxiety include worrying about finding a job, feeling nervous before a big test, or being embarrassed in certain social situations.
Chronic Stress Chronic stress causes frustration, agitated nerves, anger and muddled thinking. When the nervous system is constantly on edge, the adrenals produce cortisol with very few triggers. Our ability to handle stress can reduce over time. In fact, high cortisol will deplete serotonin - which helps with concentration and the ability to cope with stress. On a long term basis, low serotonin can lead to both anxiety and depression.
Consequently, frequent anxiety is designed to tell you that it wants you to change something about your life. If you know what is causing it, you can adjust your lifestyle to reduce your anxiety. However, anxiety has begun to interfere with your life every day, it may indicate a more serious issue, such as childhood trauma, value conflict or limiting beliefs. If you are avoiding situations due to irrational fears, constantly worrying, or experiencing severe anxiety - such as panic attacks, it may be time to try counselling. Together we can work out what it is that triggers your anxiety and make a plan with strategies to reduce the discomfort.
3. Anger Issues Why do we get angry? Anger is often associated with frustration – things don’t always happen the way we want and people don’t always behave the way we think they should. Anger is the by-product of not feeling in control and not have our needs met. You may be feeling protective, frightened, disappointed, worried, embarrassed or frustrated, but may express these feelings as anger. Anger releases tension but only gives relief in the short-term.
In fact, men and women often express anger in different ways. With men, anger may be the primary emotion, as many men believe that anger is a more legitimate emotion to express in a situation. Often men find it harder to express or understand the feelings underneath the anger, like hurt, fear, sadness or grief. For women the reverse may often be true – the anger gets buried through internalisation, emotional eating, ruminating, or other coping methods of expression.
When is Anger a Problem?
Anger becomes a problem when it creates trouble for you with other people, your work, your health, day-to-day living or the law. Anger is also a problem when other people arAnound you are frightened, hurt or feel they cannot talk to you or disagree with you in case you become angry.
Anger involves verbal, emotional, physical or psychological abuse.
Anger is triggered easily.
People close to you are worried about your anger.
Anger is leading to problems with personal relationships and work.
You think you have to get angry to get what you want.
Anger seems to get bigger than the event that set it off.
Anger is chronic: It lasts well after the triggering event has passed.
You are becoming anxious or depressed about your anger.
You are using alcohol or other drugs to try to manage your anger.
You are getting angry with the people who are closest to you, not the people who sparked off your anger in the first place.
Why am I angrier than ever before? The human nervous system (threat system) is part of the reptilian brain and part of our survival design. The fight or flight response in humans is automatic. When anger gets set off more often than in the past, it is because you have become hypersensitive and the mind has created shorter short-cuts to anger. This can be because of worn neurons (stress) and fatigued adrenal glands, a lack of serotonin, a bad diet, or new automatic highways designed to protect you quicker. However, those highways will need retraining to change.
4. Depression and Feeling Stuck While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a serious condition that affects your mental and physical health. Depression affects how you feel about yourself and makes life more difficult to manage from day to day. It is like living with a negative nagging person who only sees your faults. This internal critic is very destructive and easily triggered once the brain routes thoughts down the same neurons that are lacking in the right levels of dopamine and serotonin.
The encouraging news is that there are a range of treatments available to help with depression, such as counselling and serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI's), as well as mental exercises that you can do to help yourself. Furthermore, one of the best anti-depressants is actual physical exercise.
"We all have this inner-critic in our heads that has automatic phrases. These start with 'must' and 'should' statements that compare us with impossible standards. However, people with anxiety and depression have the negative self talk (or monkey chatter) occurring more than most. Counsellors can teach you skills to disarm the critic." - Ghita
7. Unforgiveness It is not uncommon for clients to come to me with conflicts regarding infidelity, problems getting over separations/ divorce, not being able to forgive ex-partners etcetera. This is because there is trauma attached to feeling betrayed or disappointed. This can cause stuck thinking or ruminating when we wish we had done things differently. The result of this is not being able to let go, to forgive and to have our Internal critic constantly telling us things that make us unhappy. We have regular thoughts and statements from this internal critic: Statements such as: "I Should, I Must, I Will Never, I Can't," etcetera. This internal critic can be quite a nag. It causes suffering which reveals itself as depression, anxiety, new relationship problems, insomnia, major self-doubt and other issues.
Most of us struggle with beliefs that fate, or someone, has wronged us in some way. Moreover, when we water and nurture these beliefs over time, it causes massive suffering. As a counsellor, it is my job to break down these beliefs one at a time, so that you can happily move on with your life.
Reasons why we can't forgive:
Feeling Stuck: Life Hasn't Turned Out How we Wanted
Can't Get Over Infidelity, Failure or Betrayal
Moral Disapproval of Self and Others
Long-Term Anger and Resentment
Choosing Unworthy Partners (Pattern)
Love Morphing into Hate From Rejection or Pain
Using the Children to Get Back at Your Ex-Partner
Grievances (Unforgiveness) With Family Members
8. Major Life Changes Life can be fantastic one minute, and devastating the next. A major life change may not seem so bad to others, but it will be, for whatever reason, enormously significant to you. Society also teaches us that it is undesirable to be unhappy. Sometimes we just need to sit with the feeling and process it, or to be validated in our feelings - even if no one else can understand our fear and insecurity.
Not only that, but when we become depressed our ability to logically process information becomes impaired. We are more likely to see things in negative light, when normally we might not. This creates a depressive cycle - because once depressed, our ability to see the positive side is diminished and we create a skewed reality about our circumstances.
Subsequently, even generally optimistic people can lose their positive outlook on life when they have a series of difficult events - in succession. It is a normal human reaction to be disheartened by the loss of familiar spaces, relationships and routines and it is also likely that depression may develop. But you do not have to go through it alone. We are social creatures and we all need that 'Rock of Gibraltar' strength from others from time to time. Talking things over with a non-judgemental third party such as a counsellor will help.
Major Life Changes include:
Growing older and moving from one life stage to the next
The end of a long-term relationship - separation and divorce
The loss of a loved one
Job loss or retrenchment
The end of dreams and aspirations
A mid-life crisis - where one evaluates every aspect of life
Empty nest syndrome
The diagnosis of a terminal illness or other significant illness
An operation or accident that leaves you immobile or in pain
Did you know? Depression and anxiety strike twice as many females as males
9. Low Self Esteem Self-esteem is everything. It is the natural vibe around you that promotes your identity. It says, I am worthy, I can do this, I deserve what I want, I can have this. Indeed, the view you have of yourself skews your world to being either positive or negative. In psychology we call this thinking 'attribution theory.' An example of this is how some people are always broke or sick. You can bet that their external and internal narrative is negative, and that they literally push away many avenues for getting support, love, abundance or wellness. By talking about something, you reinforce it. The same goes for thinking about something over, and over. A basic idea becomes concreted into the mind and then the automatic pilot (attribution) takes these thoughts as short cuts and runs with them without any effort at all.
The old phrase, "What you think about comes about' is actually scientific. The mind creates, controls, destroys, rejects, loves, hates and ignores before it is even conscious thought. However, you can control the mind with practice and reinforcement. It is not about looking to others to find our self-worth. NO. No one person can or will give us 100% of what we need. Therefore, we have to get it for ourselves. I am not saying that you will never doubt yourself again, or never feel intimidated by someone better than you, that is impossible. But, you can weed out a good percentage of of this automatic control system; and when you do feel that you have more control over the outcome of events in your life, there is less frustration, less doubt, and fewer people can take away your power. Counselling methods for increasing self-esteem 1. Regression: Look at the specific moments in time that caused the self-doubt (we will get nowhere if the hurdles aren't eliminated) 2. Exercise these events, speak of them until they matter no more than a mild annoyance. (I use a combination of NLP, Gestalt Rehearsal, and CBT for this.) 3. Look at the methods you used to stall or sabotage the progress before (this can then be used in strategies) 4. Exactly specify the goals or life dreams 5. Create a strategy for achieving the goals at a pace that is comfortable (baby steps work too) 6. Keep up the momentum for the work. Check in, reassess, tweak, tweak, tweak...
10. Childhood Issues It's abundantly clear that childhood experiences are often at the root of adult problems. Every person who's walked through the therapy room door suffering from depression, anxiety, relationship or work problems, low self-esteem or addiction, has a history of adversity in their childhood. When I listen to these stories, I can hear that were it not for these painful events, the person wouldn't be struggling as much as they are, today.
Childhood Issues Leading to Addictions The relationship between childhood trauma and susceptibility to addiction can be best understood when one knows how a chronic lack of safety influences a child's brain’s development. Many associate childhood trauma with child abuse, but other stress-inducing and traumatic experiences are linked to an elevated vulnerability to addiction. These include neglect, the loss of a parent, witnessing domestic, or other physical violence, and having a family member who suffers from a mental illness.
When a child is neglected, it often leaves them feeling unworthy of affection, attention and love. This cycle follows on into adulthood. In fact, attachment-related trauma will continue to impair the adults ability to form healthy interpersonal relationships.
Those who had experienced such things such as neglect, loss of a parent, unhealthy attachments to a parent, or sexual, emotional and verbal abuse during childhood have shown an increased tendency to become dependent on stimulants or maintaining compulsive behaviours. These effects carry into adolescence and adulthood, leaving the victims of neglect and abuse struggling in relationships, abusing alcohol and drugs, and/or engaging in other compulsions.
Addictions can be:
Food (Binge eating or undereating)
Marijuana, Prescription or other drugs
Internet/ Video Games
Sex/ Pornography (*This requires a specialist psychologist)
OCD behaviours and rituals. Eg: Excessive cleaning
'Acting-out’ may also begin as a form of stress management or a way to cope with emotional pain, but because tolerance grows with addiction, the behaviour will generally increase in order to obtain the same level of satisfaction. Research suggests that there is a "high" obtained from the release of chemicals in the brain from the act of smoking, binge eating, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, and from gambling.
Please note, that there is an initial free 10 minute phone consultation. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Call, or SMS Ghita today on 0439 888 070
Copyright 2019 Ghita Andersen. Images by Ghita Andersen