Depression, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common and uncomfortable emotions that we can experience at some point in our lives. Through counseling and treatment, we are able to help you recover motivation, perspective, and joy that you once had in your life.
Relationships can be a challenge at times.
Starting a love relationship is one thing, maintaining and growing a relationship is another. We all have needs and expectations of how we want to be loved.
As a member of the Marriage Counseling Hall of Fame, Dr. Dan speaks from decades of experiences.
Millions of people (an estimated 15% of the population) suffer from devastating and constant anxiety that severely affects their lives, sometimes resulting in living in highly restricted ways.
An estimated 30 to 50 million or more people suffer from depression in the United States. Depression has been called the nation’s most widespread and under-treated emotional problem. Some maintain that every person will suffer from some form of depression some time in their life.
Counseling addresses a problem area that requires a solution or healing. The problem may be related to behavior, marriage, relationships, or emotional conflict.
Dr. Dan Trathen offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for issues related to individual, marital, premarital, and family concerns. He has over 45 years of experience with children, adolescents, and adults dealing with a wide range of issues.
Dr. Dan utilizes a broad range of therapeutic techniques that emphasize solution-focused, CBT and DBT therapies in order to provide quality care in as short a time frame as possible.
Areas of Emphasis
Marriage and family counseling
Blended family issues
Recovering from an Affair
Children and adolescents
Depression and bipolar disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Trauma and acute stress disorder
Physical and/or sexual abuse
Oppositional defiant disorder
ADD and ADHD
How do you know if you need counseling?
The following conditions or situations are widely experienced and may indicate the need for professional counseling. Consider counseling services -
Counseling can also be helpful for those with excessive job stress or an inability to keep jobs, parents having trouble dealing with a child’s misbehavior or school problems, and individuals experiencing sexual dysfunction or physical ailments for which no medical cause can be found.
When our expectations are not met we can become hurt, frustrated and angry. These feelings are very real to us. We don’t feel cared for, respected or loved during these times and we can lash out at our partner or store these feelings and look at our partner though an ever-increasing clouded filter. Some of us fall into invalidating each other. Others withdraw and avoid discussing issues. Frankly, we have learned some unhealthy habits and patterns of relating. As we maintain these negative habits, we find that they don’t work and neither does our relationship. We wonder, how we got to such a negative place and how can we get to a better one? Understanding the issues and patterns is a good place to start. If in your relationship you are experiencing any or all of the following 10 issues, contact Dr. Dan and he will connect with you to discuss the next steps with you.
● Increased disagreements and arguing
● Periods of prolonged silence
● Mind reading each other’s intentions
● Negatively interpreting each other’s words and motives
● Increased conflict accompanied by diminished efforts to resolve issues
● Discouragement, disillusionment, and decreased confidence
that your relationship will make it
● A decreased feeling of “safety” to be vulnerable with your partner
● A fear of being ridiculed privately or publicly
● A lack of trust, respect and love in your relationship
● A lack of forgiveness and letting go of relationship issues
With 45 years of experience, Dr. Dan Trathen seeks to first discover a couple’s strengths and growth areas before tailor-making a counseling/coaching plan. This process can be conducted in Dr. Dan’s Parker, Colorado office or through his HIPAA compliant video conferencing, email, and HIPPA compliant online forms and storage. Clients can do video conferencing from the convenience of their own home with a computer equipped with a camera and microphone. As a follow-up, each plan requires the couple to do reading and homework assignments designed to assist them in their growth areas and transform these changes into lasting ones. Relationship assessments and a family history questionnaire are also used in establishing a Relationship Growth Plan for each couple. So, please contact Dr. Dan today to discuss your couple counseling/coaching needs.
Every human feels anxiety on occasion; it is a part of life. All of us know what it is like to feel worry, nervousness, fear, and concern. We feel nervous when we have to give a speech, go for a job interview, or walk into our boss’s office for the annual performance appraisal. We know it’s normal to feel a surge of fear when we unexpectedly see a photo of a snake or look down from the top of a tall building. Most of us manage these kinds of anxious feelings fairly well and are able to carry on with our lives without much difficulty. These feelings don’t disrupt our lives.
But millions of people (an estimated 15% of the population) suffer from devastating and constant anxiety that severely affects their lives, sometimes resulting in living in highly restricted ways. These people experience panic attacks, phobias, extreme shyness, obsessive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors. The feeling of anxiety is a constant and dominating force that disrupts their lives. Some become prisoners in their own homes, unable to leave to work, drive, or visit the grocery store. For these people, anxiety is much more than just an occasional wave of apprehension.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
An anxiety disorder affects a person’s behavior, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. The most common anxiety disorders include the following:
Social anxiety or social phobia is a fear of being around other people. People who suffer from this disorder always feel self-conscious around others. They have the feeling that everyone is watching them and staring at them, being critical in some way. Because the anxiety is so painful, they learn to stay away from social situations and avoid other people. Some eventually need to be alone at all times, in a room with the door closed. The feeling is pervasive and constant and even happens with people they know.
People who have social anxiety know that their thoughts and fears are not rational. They are aware that others are not actually judging or evaluating them at every moment. But this knowledge does not make the feelings disappear.
Panic disorder is a condition where a person has panic attacks without warning. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, about 5% of the adult American population suffers from panic attacks. Some experts say that this number is actually higher, since many people experience panic attacks but never receive treatment.
Common symptoms of panic include:
• Racing or pounding heart
• Sweaty palms
• Feelings of terror
• Chest pains or heaviness in the chest
• Dizziness and lightheadedness
• Fear of dying
• Fear of going crazy
• Fear of losing control
• Feeling unable to catch one’s breath
• Tingling in the hands, feet, legs, or arms
A panic attack typically lasts several minutes and is extremely upsetting and frightening. In some cases, panic attacks last longer than a few minutes or strike several times in a short time period.
A panic attack is often followed by feelings of depression and helplessness. Most people who have experienced panic say that the greatest fear is that the panic attack will happen again.
Many times, the person who has a panic attack doesn’t know what caused it. It seems to have come “out of the blue.” At other times, people report that they were feeling extreme stress or had encountered difficult times and weren’t surprised that they had a panic attack.
Generalized anxiety disorder is quite common, affecting an estimated 3 to 4% of the population. This disorder fills a person’s life with worry, anxiety, and fear. People who have this disorder are always thinking and dwelling on the “what ifs” of every situation. It feels like there is no way out of the vicious cycle of anxiety and worry. The person often becomes depressed about life and their inability to stop worrying.
People who have generalized anxiety usually do not avoid situations, and they don’t generally have panic attacks. They can become incapacitated by an inability to shut the mind off, and are overcome with feelings of worry, dread, fatigue, and a loss of interest in life. The person usually realizes these feelings are irrational, but the feelings are also very real. The person’s mood can change from day to day, or even hour to hour. Feelings of anxiety and mood swings become a pattern that severely disrupts the quality of life.
People with generalized anxiety disorder often have physical symptoms including headaches, irritability, frustration, trembling, inability to concentrate, and sleep disturbances. They may also have symptoms of social phobia and panic disorder.
Other types of anxiety disorders include:
Phobia, fearing a specific object or situation.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a system of ritualized behaviors or obsessions that are driven by anxious thoughts.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe anxiety that is triggered by memories of a past traumatic experience.
Agoraphobia, disabling fear that prevents one from leaving home or another safe place.
Most people who suffer from anxiety disorders begin to feel better when they receive the proper treatment. It can be difficult to identify the correct treatment, however, because each person’s anxiety is caused by a unique set of factors. It can be frustrating for the client when treatment is not immediately successful or takes longer than hoped for. Some clients feel better after a few weeks or months of treatment, while others may need a year or more. If a person has an anxiety disorder in combination with another disorder (such as alcoholism and depression), treatment is more complicated and takes longer.
While a treatment plan must be specifically designed for each individual, there are a number of standard approaches. Mental health professionals who specialize in treating anxiety most often use a combination of the following treatments. There is no single correct approach.
The client learns how to identify and change unproductive thought patterns by observing his or her feelings and learning to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts.
This treatment helps the client alter and control unwanted behavior. Systematic desensitization, a type of behavior therapy, is often used to help people with phobias and OCD. The client is exposed to anxiety-producing stimuli one small step at a time, gradually increasing his or her tolerance to situations that have produced disabling anxiety.
Many people with anxiety disorders benefit from self-hypnosis, guided visualization, and biofeedback. Relaxation training is often part of psychotherapy.
Antidepressant and antianxiety medications can help restore chemical imbalances that cause symptoms of anxiety. This is an effective treatment for many people, especially in combination with psychotherapy.
The treatment for an anxiety disorder depends on the severity and length of the problem. The client’s willingness to actively participate in treatment is also an important factor. When a person with panic is motivated to try new behaviors and practice new skills and techniques, he or she can learn to change the way the brain responds to familiar thoughts and feelings that have previously caused anxiety.
A man and his wife were traveling west and stopped at a full-service gas station to fill up their tank. After the station attendant had washed their car’s windshield, the driver of the car told the man, “It is still dirty. Wash it again.” So the station attendant washed it again only to hear a similar angry reply, “It’s still dirty. Don’t you know how to wash a windshield?” Just then the man’s wife reached over and took her husband’s glasses from his head and cleaned the lenses with a tissue. When she put them back on her husband’s head the windshield was clean! The moral of the story is that our mental attitude acts as a filter and has a great deal to do with how we look at things. The whole world can appear depressing if we ourselves have a depressed mental and emotional attitude.
This may be a humorous example, but the scope and effects of depression are no laughing matter. An estimated 30 to 50 million or more people suffer from depression in the United States. Depression has been called the nation’s most widespread and under-treated emotional problem. Some maintain that every person will suffer from some form of depression some time in their life. Many famous people have suffered from depression. Abraham Lincoln suffered from bipolar disorder. Winston Churchill said his depression followed him like a “black dog”. Charles Surgeon, one of England’s greatest preachers of the 1800s experienced a life long battle with depression.
What exactly is this so-called emotional epidemic we call depression? Depression is an emotional and mental state whereby everything in one’s life is seen in a negative light. A simple definition is a specific alteration of our mood downward. Therefore, consider depression on a continuum from mild to severe. At one end are people who are discouraged, sad, or suffering from a loss. As we experience more intense feelings of depression, we more toward the other end of the continuum.
The National Association for Mental Health has complied a list of ten danger signs identifying whether a person is suffering from depression. As you can see, many of these signals can be normal reactions to major changes in our lives. Only when a person doesn’t bounce back, when the ability to function normally is impaired for long periods of time, is the problem considered clinical depression. The ten danger signs are:
10. Extreme dependence on other people, leading us first to feelings of hopelessness, then getting angry because of our hopelessness feelings.
There is no doubt about it, depression is very debilitating. If you find yourself suffering from several of these danger signs, call your family physician and/or call a professional like myself for a depression screening appointment. You may find that it will help to clean your lenses.
© Daniel W. Trathen