Problems, Disorders, Situations

People who come to see me usually have some kind of problem they need help with. Much as we don’t like to define people by their problems, that’s the nature of things.

Usually there is some kind of distress or impairment that brings people in for a consultation. Types of distress include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Shame or Humiliation
  • Problems in relationships with intimate partner, family, co-workers etc.

These are a few of the basic ways people feel pain.

By impairment we mean some way a person’s functioning is diminished or limited. For example:

  • Inattention
  • Sleep problems
  • Relationship difficulty
  • Self Sabotage
  • Blocked creativity or work inhibition
  • Trouble managing impulses (anger, self-destructive actions)
  • Bad habits (substance abuse, sexual acting out, eating disorders)
  • Sexual difficulty
  • Stage fright

Sometimes the problem is with hitting a snag in developing in life. We call this developmental stress.

  • Becoming a parent
  • Growing into a leadership role at work
  • Leaving home Getting married/ getting used to being married
  • Adjusting to success (!)

And sometimes there is a stressful event that requires a big adjustment

  • Death of a loved one
  • Loss of function (e.g., mobility) through accident, illness or age
  • Divorce
  • Setbacks or failures in occupation
  • Trauma

You may note that I am much more concerned with understanding what the problem or need is than in speaking about a specific disorder. I find that once we have gotten a good understanding of what the distress, disability, or life stress is, it’s relatively simple to establish the right diagnostic label —  if it adds to our understanding.