Sometimes counseling professionals use words and phrases that are unfamiliar to clients and people thinking about trying counseling. Here is a list of problems and issues that people commonly seek help with. Feel free to explore these topics to see if any of them seem similar to something you've been dealing with. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive; these are just a few of the common issues that people seek help for...
Emotional Distress: Sadness, anxiety (fear, stress), anger, hopelessness - while most people feel emotional pain at times, sometimes it is intense and long-lasting to the point where it interferes with your daily life. You may not even be able to pinpoint what is causing these feelings.
Depression: This is more than just a feeling of being "down in the dumps" or "blue". Depression can affect both your mind and your body and permeate all areas of your life - sleeping, appetite, working, relationships, hobbies, and how you feel about yourself. Symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if untreated.
- Anxiety (excessive worry)
- Persistent and unexplained physical complaints
- Memory problems/trouble concentrating
- Increase or decrease in appetite - weight loss or gain
- Lack of attention to personal care
- Sleep disruptions or insomnia/excessive sleeping
- Feelings of hopelessness or discouragement
- Loss of pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
- Prolonged grief after loss
- Loss of self-worth/feelings of worthlessness
- Reduced energy/fatigue
- Isolation/withdrawal from relationships
- Excessive guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
Anxiety: In normal amounts, anxiety can be helpful. Most people experience anxiety in their daily lives - when facing a deadline at work, when preparing for an exam, or when facing a new experience or life change such as moving, getting married, or becoming a parent. However, excessive anxiety, or the irrational dread of everyday events, can become debilitating and interfere with your daily life. Anxiety can also occur as excessive or irrational fear. Such anxiety can have a negative impact on your sleep, work, and relationships.
How does anxiety occur? Anxiety can occur after a traumatic event or for seemingly no reason at all. Symptoms include:
- Dread of everyday situations
- Constant worry about your health, your family, your job, or nothing in particular - even when there is seemingly no reason to worry
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Fatigue/reduced energy
- Tension/cannot relax
"The key to change...is to let go of fear." ~Rosanne Cash
Grief & Loss: After the loss of a spouse (death or break-up), family member, friend, or even pet, it is normal to grieve. Grief affects people in different ways. For most people it is a way to adjust to life without the person they lost, and eventually they do adjust and move on. However, some people get "stuck" in their intense feelings of grief and are unable to move on to the point where their life is disrupted for a prolonged amount of time. They also may become seriously depressed or anxious.
Relationship Distress: Conflict in a marriage, parent-child conflict, workplace conflict - it happens to everybody at times. However, if such conflict is distressing your relationships to the breaking point it is beyond time to seek help.
Reasons for relationship distress include:
- Inadequate communication skills - unable to ask for what you need
- Individual emotional problems, depression, or anxiety
- Wounds carried from the past - "baggage"
- Parenting conflict
- Life changes - moving, change of job, becoming parents, retirement, aging
- Loss of "that spark"
- Health issues
- Job stress
- Blended family issues
- Economic stress/debt