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Frequently Asked Question

These questions represent a small range of concerns that may initiate an interest in seeking psychotherapy. Feel free to contact my office if you have a question or would like additional information about the professional services I provide in my private practice.

Is it normal to feel depressed and when do I know when I need to 
speak with a professional psychotherapist?

Yes, it is normal to experience depression at different times in our lives.  Feelings of depression may occur in response to a life change (divorce, loss of a loved one, financial or employment loss) or a traumatic event such as a car accident or health problem.  A good barometer for knowing when to seek professional help is to keep track of patterns over time; for example, how frequently or how long the depression has occurred as well as severity of symptoms, i.e. frequent tearfulness, changes in sleep or eating patterns.  Generally, if someone is concerned about us or we are not feeling quite right emotionally it is for a good reason and well worth speaking with a professional; consulting a primary care physician about your concerns is a good place to begin.

How can I tell if my pre-teen daughter has an eating disorder? She seems to be very concerned about her body weight and lately not eating meals regularly

There are a range of behaviors and moods that are associated with an eating disorder or related problems.  It is important to pay attention to any sign of concern regarding disordered eating and to consult a physician who can assess if there are any medical issues or a need for further evaluation.  Consulting an eating disorder specialist can be helpful in discussing your concerns and to consider how to best support your daughter.  Collaboration of specialists in the areas of psychotherapy and nutrition can provide a well-balanced support for someone battling an eating disorder.

I'm considering talking with a therapist about my marriage but my partner seems unwilling to join me, what do you suggest? 

It is not unusual that one partner is more willing than the other to begin couples therapy.  While a happier relationship is what most people want, it can be a bit daunting to someone who is not comfortable talking about their feelings to begin with.  I often suggest that seeking a consultation for couples therapy can be viewed as an opportunity to share more of the positive aspects of the relationship and minimize the negative differences.  Sometimes frequent conflict between couples can tend to result in a more distant and unfriendly relationship; perhaps telling your partner that you miss them might highlight your desire to be happier with them. Research on what promotes "a happier marriage" has indicated that a good friendship between partners can bode well for weathering difficult times.  Couples therapy can provide useful guidance for managing conflict and strengthening the friendship and bond with your partner.

How do I know if I am a binge eater? I have struggled with overweight much of my teen and adult life and at times eat too much but I often think it is because I cannot follow a diet plan. How can therapy help? 

These are all good questions that I am frequently asked.  Firstly, binge eating disorder (BED) is the most prevalent eating disorder and while many people experience periodic overeating, they do not necessarily have BED.  It is important to determine whether there is an eating problem or a true disorder and understand what may be most helpful for you in finding a balance in your relationship with food, emotions and your body.  Several research studies have revealed that an estimated 95% of people who diet are not successful in sustaining weight loss over time.  In part this is because feelings, that may trigger a binge, don’t disappear with a food plan.  While short-term weight loss may be the outcome of a diet plan, learning how to respond to true hunger and develop a healthy balance with food often requires self-awareness.  A therapist that is informed by current research and has expert training in this area can offer practical support and guidance to establish more effective strategies and improve overall self-care.

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