::: Therapies ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic Manual (DSM IV) describes nine characteristics of major depression:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as reported by the individual or reported by others;
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in many activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  3. Significant weight loss or weight gain, or a decrease in appetite nearly every day;
  4. Insomnia nearly every day, or sleeping excessively nearly every day;
  5. Restlessness or lower activity levels nearly every day, as observed by others.
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt nearly every day.
  8. Diminished ability to think/concentrate, or indecisiveness nearly every day;
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide plan or attempt.

Depression can be diagnosed if five or more of the above symptoms occur during a two-week period, with at least one of them being depressed mood or a loss of interest/pleasure. The person must experience significant distress or impairment in their functioning in social, occupational or other important roles. Other possible causes must be ruled out bereavement/grief, substance abuse, or another medical condition.

If untreated, this kind of major depression can result in severe family disruption, deterioration on the job to the point of disciplinary action or job loss, and sometimes suicide. The individual's pain and discomfort is palpable and unrelenting.


Are we destined to perpetrate on our children that which traumatized us in childhood? This is a question that has plagued parents and professionals since Freud highlighted the influence of childhood experiences on adult personality and psychopathology. Help is just a phone call away. Remember, you only get one chance to raise a child.


  1. I often feel tired even though I have had a good night's sleep.
  2. Sometimes my heart seems to race out of control even though my doctor says I don't have a heart problem.
  3. I often have insomnia.
  4. I have bouts of backaches that hit me for no apparent reason.
  5. Indigestion, diarrhea, or headache frequently keep me from functioning at my best.
  6. I can face some situations in my life without hyperventilating or "going all to pieces" only with the help of a tranquilizer or good, stiff drink.
  7. I have one or more relationships that cause me to feel nervous at times.
  8. I frequently work later than my co-workers and often bring work home.
  9. I have at least one bad habit that I have not been able to break.
  10. Secretly, I just don't believe I measure up to other people I see.

Did you find most of those statements to be true about yourself? If so, you could be suffering from the beginning stages of Anxiety or Panic Attacks. The first step toward achieving freedom from it is to recognize that you need to change. The second is to realize that you can choose to change. And the Third is to make a commitment to change. You deserve happiness, peace, success, good health, and self-esteem. All it takes now is a decision that you are going to change!


No matter how disengaged, or in conflict, two people may be, something hopeful can begin to happen when partners can create an honest conversation about the way they sound to each other. It takes courage, kindness, and even a sense of humor on the part of both the therapist and the clients to create the framework for that kind of conversation. With over 20 years of experience in the field, Laura Essen, M.S.W.; L.C.S.W. can help break down the barriers between you and your partner that may otherwise seperate you permanently.


Once children develop an assumption about themselves, such as that they are not good enough, it tends to become embedded in the bedrock of their personality. The mind begins to look for evidence to confirm that belief and discards evidence that disconfirms the belief. For instance, if someone says something complimentary to the child, the child will make some excuse to prevent that compliment from affecting the assumption that he/she is not good enough.

By the time we are adults, these assumptions and beliefs are hidden in our subconscious. We do not know where they came from and may not even know what they are. But they continue to influence how we see ourselves and how we think others see us. So we continue to discard any evidence that disconfirms our beliefs and to seize on evidence that confirms them, no matter how distorted and inappropriate. In order to change these assumptions, we need to unearth them through therapy.


As we all know, stress is a normal part of our lives. We experience different pressures at work, from other family members and from local and world events. There is no way to escape it! At times stress can even be beneficial. It can motivate us to work on projects we would rather postpone. It can even make us more alert and productive.

Medical evidence, however, continues to grow about the harmful effects of stress on our bodies. We have known for years that stress decreases our pleasure in life and is related to sleep disturbances, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems and headaches. More recent research is linking stress effects to coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and even cancer. These medical problems can be fatal.

Although we cannot eliminate stress, we can reduce the number of stressors in our lives. We can also increase our positive thoughts and activities, which reduce the impact of stress on our bodies. Most importantly, through proper training, we can improve the way we respond to stressors in our lives.


A persistent irrational fear of an object, situation, or activity that one feels compelled to avoid. And that is only the start of it. Phobias can interfere with your ability to work, socialize, and go about a daily routine. People who have phobias are often so overwhelmed by their anxiety that they avoid the feared objects or situations. For most people, the simple pleasures of life are striped from them.

Don't allow your phobias to control your life any longer. Help is available, and more importantly, effective.

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