Therapy for Anxiety & Depression

Therapy for Anxiety & Depression2024-02-14T14:57:00+00:00

Anxiety and depression can affect you in many ways.

Do you:

Feel irritable and find it difficult to relax?
Drink or eat too much?
Have trouble making decisions?
Spend money that you don’t have?
Have trouble concentrating and completing everyday tasks because you can’t turn off negative thoughts and fears?

Anxiety and depression can make you feel stuck and hopeless. Therapy can help you move forward.

Why psychotherapy? Can’t I read a book, or talk to a friend?

Friends, family, and co-workers can be good listeners, and a source of support. But they’re not objective, and they are not trained to discern when a seemingly ordinary worry or conflict becomes a problem that needs professional attention. In addition, no matter how close you are and how much you trust those people, there are some things you probably are just not comfortable sharing with them — and they might not feel comfortable hearing.

Anxiety and depression also manifest in many ways that we don’t recognize at first. For example, everybody has a bad day now and then, and you may think that you just need to “get over it.” You might feel sad or discouraged, or disappointed about something that just seems to be part of life.

Young woman feeling anxious and depressed in need of therapy for anxiety and depression in New York

“Things do not change; we change.”

~Thoreau

Perhaps you didn’t get the job you interviewed for, or a good friend has moved to another city, or you and your partner seem to be arguing a lot. But when feelings of sadness become overwhelming or persistent, or they interfere with your ability to take of yourself, it’s time to seek help. You might notice that the occasional lack of energy has become debilitating fatigue and hopelessness.

No matter how much sleep you get you still feel exhausted all the time. You lose interest in things you used to enjoy. You don’t have the energy to face the day and go to work, take care of your children, or be fully present in your relationships. You judge yourself harshly and feel as if nothing you do it good enough. It could be depression.

Anxiety is similar. A certain degree of anxiety or anticipation can serve as a motivator in some situations, such as studying for a test or preparing for a performance. Many people feel a little apprehensive or nervous at the prospect of meeting new people or trying new activities. But if you become so anxious that you are afraid to leave the house or feel paralyzed by things that other people seem to manage, it could be anxiety holding you back. Shortness of breath, stomach pains, sweating, and losing your words could all be symptoms of anxiety.

It’s true that everybody worries at some point about ongoing life issues: relationships, health, money. But if you can’t sleep or concentrate on other things or get work done because you are preoccupied with these thoughts, it’s an indication that anxiety is taking up too much space in your life.

Young man looking at a laptop for online therapy for anxiety and depression in New York

I don’t think therapy will help me.

You might find the idea of therapy to be intimidating or believe that it’s good for some people but not for you. It is natural to be nervous or skeptical of something that you have not experienced before. It’s useful to see therapy as a way of taking care of yourself. For instance, if you were suffering from persistent pain or an infection, you would seek medical treatment to identify the problem and restore your health.

The same is true with your mental and emotional well-being. If there are conflicts or troubling feelings that you are having difficulty resolving on your own, seeking guidance from a trained professional can help you work through it and bring relief from what’s holding you back. Identifying and understanding the origins of fear and sadness is the first step toward developing skills to help you cope with them.

I don’t like the idea of needing a therapist’s help.

I feel ashamed even thinking about going to therapy.

Woman clasping hands experiencing anxiety and depression

Many people think that therapy is only for very disturbed or mentally ill people. They might associate it with melodramatic scenes in old movies in which therapists are portrayed as omniscient, domineering figures who uncover deep secrets and miraculously cure their patients. Or the doctors are well-meaning but eccentric characters who utter platitudes and speak in psychobabble.

Maybe you are blaming yourself for your problems, for not being able to control the negative thoughts or just snap out of your depression. Perhaps you’ve tried to talk yourself out of your moods, but the fear and worries are so persistent that you just can’t stop them. Actually, anxiety and depression are some of the most common reasons people seek therapy. These problems are not your fault, and understanding the source of the feelings is the best way to finding relief. The desire to develop a deeper understanding of who you are and how you engage with the world is a natural and healthy impulse and something to be proud of.

Let’s take the medical example again. If you experience physical symptoms such as fever, coughing, or somatic pain, you know that something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is or how to address it. A doctor can examine you, form a diagnosis, and recommend a course of treatment. Mental health challenges are similar. By listening and asking appropriate questions, a trained therapist can help you articulate your problems and identify the source.

When you are no longer burdened by the symptoms of anxiety and depression, you can move forward in life. You have more energy to live fully because you don’t feel drained by worry, procrastination, sadness, and isolation. You will be better able to focus on changing patterns of thought and behavior that have been holding you back.

Maybe medication will make it go away.

Medication deals with symptoms, but it can’t fully take care of the problem because it doesn’t get to the source. A band-aid can help protect a small cut or wound, but it doesn’t clear up an infection. Over-the-counter medication can help with the cough and runny nose that are symptoms of the flu, but they can’t cure the virus. Anxiety and depression also need to be understood at the source. They are signs that something needs to be resolved, and it can take time and exploration to determine the right approach.

It may seem that your symptoms came out of the blue, but usually emotional issues have deeper roots and may be connected to events or influences from early in life. Therapy with a trained professional can help you develop insight into these issues and learn how to do things differently. In fact, many people who have relied on medication to deal with the symptoms of anxiety and depression — such as insomnia, excessive worry, sadness — find they no longer need it after they have made some progress in psychotherapy.

Glass of water and clock for medication. How can I get rid of anxiety and depression?

Doesn’t therapy take a long time, and cost a lot of money?

The real question is: Can you afford not to do this? What is the cost of depression and anxiety in your life? Take some time to reflect on the ways in which your problems have held you back and limited your perspective. Professional opportunities you didn’t reach for because you were paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Social activities you wanted to engage in but avoided because of anxiety and self-consciousness. Projects and daily activities you were unable to accomplish because the lethargy of depression interfered with your concentration and ability to make decisions.

Yes, therapy takes time and effort, but ultimately it is an investment — in yourself.

Why Dr. Thomson?

I have specialized in insight-oriented interpersonal therapy for over twenty years, helping people to challenge and change the behaviors and beliefs that are holding them back. Therapy is a process of getting to yourself better. Many people want to make changes in their life but don’t where to begin. It can feel as if life is a big map and you’re not sure how to locate your individual path. As your therapist, I can guide you on this journey.

I will help you to put words to the fears, desires, or anger that you have trouble articulating. You will develop a better understanding of what is causing you to feel anxious, depressed, or isolated. In therapy, you can find your voice, determine what you really want, and develop healthy strategies for meeting your goals. Together we can build a more satisfying future.

You don’t have to struggle alone.

Peggy Thomson, PhD, Therapy in NYC

Take the Next Step

Please call at 212-666-0332 or send me an email to set up a consultation.

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