Below are some examples of problems that people may seek therapy for.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem, affecting around one in four people in their lifetime. Anxiety can present in many ways, from panic attacks, social anxiety, frequent worry, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, and more. But, they all share a common factor of a sympathetic nervous system activation that leads to fear of and avoidance of something: thoughts, physical sensations, activities, objects, or people. Luckily, due to their ubiquity there is plenty of research that has produced some excellent evidence-based therapies that can work as well as, better than, and in tandem with, anxiety medications, depending on the disorder.
Depression is a mood disorder, and is the second most common mental disorder, experienced by around one in five people in their lifetime. It often co-exists with an anxiety problem. Decades of research has provided some excellent evidence-based therapies for depression that work well on their own or in tandem with antidepressant medications. Therapy for depression involves understanding the negative depressive spiral and how to start reversing it through your actions, your ways of engaging with your thoughts, the world, and others. Most people can make a good recovery from depression and therapy can help speed this up and equip you with skills to manage stressful events in the future to reduce the chance of a relapse.
GRIEF AND BEREAVEMENT
The universal experience of grief can be a real challenge to a person's sense of self and can lead to bleak predictions of what life will be like in the future. Some people become stuck with grief, with it staying raw and real for months stretching into years. It can look a lot like depression, and can affect our lives to the same extent. Grief cannot be erased or magicked away, but the goal is that a person can live their life around the grief, and eventually their life will extend out further than the grief, meaning it fills less of our time, even though it persists. Interpersonal Psychotherapy is an evidence-based therapy with a special focus on grief which can help for extended complicated grief.
ADJUSTMENT TO CHRONIC ILLNESS, LOSS OF MOBILITY, OR INCREASED CARE NEEDS
DISSATISFACTION AND DISCONNECTION
MAKING A DECISION / SOLVING A PROBLEM
Some life decisions are difficult and don't have an easy answer. These decisions could be around relationships, work and career, work/life balance issues, or health and wellbeing goals. Discussing these with a therapist can help to define the problem, generate and evaluate solutions, and make a plan for a preferred course of action. Having some external motivation provided by an encouraing therapist may also assist in moving through the problem solving process to get to your goal.
MANAGING LIFE TRANSITIONS
As we move through life we are confronted with a number of choice points that can lead our lives in vastly different directions. There is often not an easy answer and it can be a time of worry. Some of the more common transitions are starting or stopping study, moving out of the family home, starting or ending relationships, job or career decisions, issues regarding sexuality or gender identity, becoming a parent, caregiving for family members, moving to an assisted living facility, losing a partner or spouse, or retirement.
DISORDERED EATING AND BODY IMAGE
It's pretty impossible to escape cultural expectations about body shape and size. Desires to fit a certain body standard can lead to bad relationships with food and exericse. Negative thoughts about appearance and body size can be frequent and vicious and can lead to unhelpful and potentially dangerous behaviours such as food restriction, binge eating, excessive exercise, and vomiting or excessive laxative use. In general, the more we think about something, the more we think about it, and thoughts can become obsessive and intensely distressing.