Licensed Professional Counselor
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Helping people to heal and grow in their lives.
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Struggling with anxiety, depression, or relationship problems?

Anxiety, depression, and relationship problems can significantly impact all aspects of your life, disrupting your career and social life and fueling worry, fear, panic, and sleep problems.

You may be feeling sad and lonely or worthless and unfulfilled. Possibly you’re struggling with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence. Fear of rejection or disappointment from ongoing relationship challenges may leave you feeling hopeless and stuck. In short, anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles can erode your capacity to feel happy and fulfilled with your life.

Perhaps you've tried to avoid your pain through overworking, alcohol or drug abuse, relationship addiction, or other compulsive behaviors. Maybe you've done talk therapy or used prescription drugs, but only experienced partial or no relief, leaving you even more discouraged.

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Unresolved disturbing experiences, known as “trauma,” are a common source of anxiety, depression, and painful relationship patterns.

The types of major traumas that often underlie anxiety, depression, and relationship problems include:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Peer, social, or school trauma (e.g. bullying, teasing, learning disabilities)
  • Significant separations (e.g. adoption, foster care, hospitalization of self or caregiver)
  • Experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, serious injury, or the threat of death
  • Serious accidents, medical conditions, or surgeries
  • Any life experience that left you feeling helpless, powerless, or threatened

Even seemingly minor events can cause traumatic responses, leading to anxiety, depression, and relationship troubles. If you've experienced a pattern of subtle, but painful experiences or you tend to be sensitive by nature, less severe traumas can have a long-term negative impact on your sense of well-being. For example:

  • Infidelity, betrayal, or a painful relationship breakup
  • Public embarrassment or humiliation
  • Constant criticism or ridicule by an authority figure
  • Painful or hostile family relationships
  • Experiencing a significant letdown, disappointment, or personal failure
  • Never "measuring up" to the unrealistic expectations of a parent
  • Anxiety about a traumatic event experienced by a loved one

Traumatic memories are often the underlying source of difficult to resolve symptoms.

One of the main reasons that anxiety, depression, and relationship problems can be so difficult to overcome is because the memory of a traumatic experience can get “stuck” in your brain. Even well after a traumatic event has ended, the trauma can remain alive and active, creating painful symptoms that are highly sensitive to getting re-activated or "triggered" by current situations. For example, if you were painfully criticized by a parent in the past, you may notice those same painful feelings from childhood getting re-activated when you're feeling criticized by your spouse or your boss.

A specific type of trauma, known as an “attachment wound”, can significantly contribute to anxiety, depression, and painful relationship patterns. As a child, it was essential that your attachment needs were met by your parents (or caregivers) to help you mature into an emotionally healthy adult. Examples of attachment needs include safety, security, protection, nurture, affection, loving connection, positive attention, acceptance, and support. When these essential qualities are missing from childhood it creates deficits, or gaps, in your emotional development. Unfortunately, these unmet needs tend to carry over into adulthood, and can result in present day anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles. Examples of attachment wounds include:

  • Feeling shunned, rejected, abandoned, or neglected by a parent (or important caregiver)
  • Being invalidated by a parent
  • Having a parent who was unavailable, (e.g., distracted, ill, depressed, self absorbed)
  • Having a parent who put their wants (e.g., alcohol, relationships, etc.) ahead of your needs
  • Experiencing a general lack of support in childhood
  • Having a parent who enmeshed with you (thus blocking the development/expression of your sense of self)

Just like trauma, unresolved attachment wounds are easily and intensely triggered in the present, resulting in painful emotional reactions (e.g., anger, jealousy, shame, humiliation, sadness, hopelessness, fear, and panic). Thus, emotional pain that surfaces, for example, from feeling invalidated by a close friend or rejected by your partner is likely connected to not getting key attachment needs (e.g., validation, loving connection) met in childhood.

Trauma has two other far-reaching effects:

  1. Trauma is often at the root of negative thinking (e.g., pessimism, catastrophizing) and self-defeating beliefs (e.g., I'm not good enough, I'm powerless) - both of which are significant sources of anxiety, depression, and relationship problems.
  2. Trauma can interfere with the development of key self-care and relationship skills, which are essential for preventing and counteracting anxiety, depression, and relationship problems.

Counseling for anxiety, depression, and relationship problems — especially EMDR Therapy — can be an effective and lasting way to address your emotional pain.

Research indicates that counseling is most effective when it incorporates both the left and right sides of the brain. Trauma and attachment wounds are stored on the right side of the brain. Traditional talk therapy typically accesses only the left side of the brain and is not necessarily intended for processing trauma. My counseling approach is designed to engage both sides of the brain to help you address trauma and attachment wounds and the painful symptoms that they create.

In my approach to counseling for anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles, I use EMDR Therapy and other effective counseling techniques and protocols that are tailored for your individual needs, with the goal of helping you to:

  1. Address the emotional traumas and attachment wounds that are a source of your anxiety, depression, and relationship problems.
  2. Transform your negative thinking - which fuels fear, worry, and sadness - into a positive mindset.
  3. Develop the skills and behaviors useful for preventing and managing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles. For this, I utilize a holistic approach to skill-building that draws on physical, emotional, cognitive, relational, and spiritual resources.

If you've been struggling with anxiety, depression, and relationship problems, you've probably wondered a thousand times: “Is there some way to address this pain?”

The answer is a resounding YES!

It’s never too late to make positive changes in your life!

Imagine how it would feel to finally get unstuck and move your life forward. The goal of therapy for anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles is to help you to:

  • Feel more calm, relaxed, and present-centered
  • Feel happier and have a more positive outlook on life
  • Experience more fulfilling and satisfying relationships
  • Feel empowered to create positive change in your life
  • Experience greater self-esteem and confidence
  • Feel more relaxed and comfortable in social situations
  • Experience a deeper spiritual connection

If you’re curious about how we can work together to specifically treat your anxiety, depression, or relationship problems or if you’re interested in learning more about how trauma and/or attachment wounds may be fueling the symptoms that you’re struggling with, feel free to contact me to set up a free consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about the impact of childhood trauma on long-term physical, emotional, and mental health, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is a valuable resource. You can learn more by exploring:

For Counseling in Portland, feel free to call me today at (503) 887-3309, email me, or use my Contact Form to book a counseling session or to set up a FREE consultation.

Office located in NW Portland, Oregon. Serving the Portland metro area, including Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Tigard, West Linn, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Tualatin, Gresham, and Vancouver, WA.