Mary Mills, MA, LMHC, SUDP |
600 N. 36th St. #217 Seattle WA 98103
Located in the heart of Fremont
Anxiety manifests in our lives in a number of ways. Perhaps you have been feeling irritable, easily agitated, restless, and sleep-deprived. You may be experiencing physical symptoms of pain and fatigue, or you may be struggling with other physiological responses that make it difficult to go about your life as you wish. Anxiety may affect your work and relationships, or prevent you from pursuing the work and relationships you desire.
How I work: Managing your anxiety with the help of counseling may involve gaining practical techniques to regulate physiological symptoms. It may also involve examining traumas or other difficult life experiences that have led to mal-adaptive fears. It may involve challenging beliefs about your anxiety and your ability to live with it in a functional way. First and foremost, it will involve gaining an understanding of your experience, and approaching it in a way that makes you feel safe and supported.
Depression can mean different things to different people. Perhaps you are just feeling sad, or perhaps you have become incapacitated by deep feelings of apathy or sorrow, or maybe you are somewhere in-between. Things that used to bring you joy may no longer be enjoyable, and life may seem hopeless and meaningless. Depression can also result in problems with sleep, appetite, and unexplained aches and pains.
How I work: Counseling for depression may involve examining patterns or events in your life that have exacerbated symptoms. Counseling may also help you examine sources of meaning, connection, and freedom that you may be neglecting, which, over time, can renew hope and generate a new sense of purpose in your life. Many individuals struggle with depression throughout their lives; treatment can take time and patience. The first goal of counseling is always to understand the nature of your unique struggle so that it might be addressed in a manner appropriate for you.
Anxiety, depression, and acute stress are often temporary symptoms associated with a life transition. Many individuals seek counseling to cope with transitions associated with employment, re-location, divorce/separation, grief and loss of a loved one, pregnancy/parenthood, or unexpected crises. You may feel like your reaction to a transition is out of proportion to the actual event, or has become prolonged and unmanageable. You may be having trouble imagining life in your new situation.
How I work: Counseling may help you become re-grounded as you adjust to your “new normal” following a transition. It may help put you in touch with your innate resilience and hidden resources. Transitions of any kind often involve grieving what we are leaving behind. Counseling can provide you with a space to express your grief and integrate your loss into a narrative of growth and empowerment.
Traumas big and small affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a number of ways. We may respond to trauma by turning against ourselves, even hating ourselves, and doubting our own thoughts and feelings. Maybe you find yourself paralyzed by fear or constantly trying to please others to gain a sense of safety. Maybe you’ve engaged in self-destructive behaviors as a means of escape.
How I work: However you’ve coped with your trauma, I honor what you have done to survive, even if it is no longer serving you. Trauma survivors often come to therapy after their ways of coping have become self-defeating, to find new ways of coping that are more adaptive to the kind of lives they want to live. I create space to explore how shame, stigma, and self-judgment may have emerged since your trauma, and how gaining a more compassionate understanding of your ways of coping might help you move forward.
Emerging from the other side of addiction can feel like entering a new world that lacks the comforts of your old home. You may struggle to navigate this brave new world, and to thrive and enjoy yourself in it. Recovery can be lonely, confusing, frustrating, and just plain uncomfortable. It can take time for your brain and body to heal and adjust to the new life you are creating. It can be scary to think about coping without what you are leaving behind.
How I work: Counseling may involve building courage to create the support system you need and to pursue a life congruent with your values and interests. It may involve exploring who you are beneath your pain and dependencies so that you can live a full life without them. Long-term recovery involves building a fulfilling life inhabitable to addiction – an authentic life wherein you have meaning, connection, and freedom.