Santa Barbara Counseling Services ADD


ADD/ADHD | Anxiety | Depression | Parenting | Anger Problems | Codependency
Building Self-Confidence | Stress Reduction & Management | Relationships (including gay/lesbian)

Santa Barbara Counseling Services ADHD

People with attention deficit disorders (ADD and ADHD) are characteristically impatient, impulsive, easily distracted, and have problems focusing on tasks through completion - leading to problems in school, work and relationships. These disorders affect not only children, but adults as well, many of whom are undiagnosed and suffer without knowing their problems can be traced to a medical condition.

Fortunately, ADD/ADHD can be treated with a combination of therapy and medication, and most people find that the right combination can lead to a substantial decrease in symptoms.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services anxiety

Anxiety is a very uncomfortable feeling and can occur in various forms. Sometimes a general nervousness is felt which can seem permanent or can come and go. Often, a specific situation will trigger the feeling. Other forms of anxiety are (a) phobias which cause a person to fear specific situations such as flying or driving, going out or being closed in, or (b) obsessions, characterized by a person's obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts and related tasks or "rituals" that attempt to neutralize the obsessions. These can be strong enough to be debilitating. So much so that some people with phobias are severely crippled in their attempts to live life.

Some of the physical signs of anxiety are sweaty palms, palpitations or outright panic, known as a panic attack or anxiety attack. Usually people with a history of anxiety, especially panic states, have learned to avoid situations which tend to trigger the feeling and can lead quite restricted lives as a result.

Therapy can be a very helpful anxiety treatment for those suffering from anxiety and related disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services depression

Depression is a mood disorder. It can cause one to feel "down" or sad. Some depressed people often feel like crying for no apparent reason. Depression, like anxiety, can cause one to feel a decreased ability to enjoy life. Sighing and a feeling of listlessness are often seen in those who are mildly or moderately depressed. Pessimism is very often a sign of depression.

More severe depression can interrupt one's sleep or appetite, make one agitated and even cause a slowing of movement ie. walking, talking, thinking, etc. In extreme depression the personality of the person is affected, and they may become virtually incapacitated - unable to get out of bed, eat or to take any action to complete tasks one has to do. Depression is a major cause of "underachieving."

It is virtually universally agreed that therapy is the treatment of choice for depression. In the case of bereavement, grief counseling can be very beneficial.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services relationships

Relationships (including gay/lesbian)
Relationships are one of the greatest sources of both satisfaction and stress in our lives. Relationships can be intimate, as with spouses, family, friends and lovers. Or they can also be more casual as is often the case with professional and social relationships. No matter what the situation, all of our relationships are fertile ground for intense feelings. Frequently these feelings result in misunderstandings, anger, hurt, disappointment, distress, helplessness and despair. Our relationships are a sensitive source of personal pain as well as great joy. This is particularly so for couples and families, since interpersonal conflicts inevitably arise when two or more people share the same nest.

Therapy is a highly effective means of resolving relationship problems. Working with a therapist, either individually or with your partner, creates more understanding, and can improve your ability to resolve differences, develop better ways to form relationships, and enhance existing relationships.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services parenting

This area includes resolution of parent/child issues, divorce and co-parenting issues, and strategies for successful stepfamilies. Your children can be your greatest source of support, comfort and love. They can also be your greatest source of pain and grief. Teenage rebellion or the dynamics of divorce or a new stepfamily can tear parent/child relationships apart.

Therapy can help you weather the storm, repair strained relationships, and improve the quality of your relationship with your child.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services codependency

Codependency refers to people in a close relationship with someone who is engaged in self-destructive behavior (such as drug and/or alcohol addiction). The codependent person is typically overly involved with the other person and that person's problematic behavior, frequently to the other's detriment.

While the codependent person acts as a caretaker and invests in the welfare of the other person, emotions can give way to enabling behavior. This is when the codependent person unintentionally helps the other person continue their self-destructive behavior by repeatedly protecting the other person from his own behavior, such as by lying to cover up for them, paying their debts, or taking care of their basic needs to excess. While this helps the other person to get by in the short-run, it ultimately allows the cycle of self-destruction to perpetuate.

Although the codependent person suffers as a result of the other person's choices and behavior, it can be very difficult to break the pattern. Individual and couples therapy can help to put a stop to this vicious cycle of self-destruction and codependency.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services self confidence

Building Self-Confidence
Self-confidence is a major factor in feeling emotionally healthy. Lack of confidence often makes it difficult to take care of yourself and negotiate the stresses of daily life. It is hard to move forward when you are persistently unsure of yourself, have difficulty making decisions, let others take advantage of you, or when you just don't have the inner sense that you deserve to have good things happen to you. Therapy can guide you in learning about yourself and your negative self-view. This can make a big difference in helping you to change old patterns and enabling you to live your life with deeper personal satisfaction.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services stress reduction & management

Stress Reduction & Management
Stress is the physical or psychological response to an unpleasant external event that triggers the "fight-or-flight" reaction. Difficulties at work, rocky relationships, illness, and significant life changes such as the death of a loved one, can all cause serious stress reactions. While nothing can be done about an event that has already occurred, therapy can help you learn coping techniques for managing and reducing stress.

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Santa Barbara Counseling Services anger problems & management

Anger Problems
Anger is a complicated emotion and can be caused by a number of things. Fear often turns into anger or a perceived slight can cause it. Some people appear to always be angry. They may have a tendency to lose their temper and explode with very little provocation; others always seem to be seething underneath and walk around with clenched fists, or a tense facial expression and tightened muscles.

Criticism often causes anger. At work, sensitivity to criticism can be quite harmful to relations between a worker and his supervisor. Frustration, which is really a derivative of anger, can build when things don't go quite right, and can lead to an overt expression of anger. Another way in which anger is frequently expressed, although not frequently recognized, is a flat calmness that a person always seems to show. This is usually accompanied by a flatness in the tone of voice and often causes a person to appear boring in conversation or to frequently have accidents that result in some form of property damage.

Just as important is the discovery of what generated this tendency to get so angry. Sometimes a person will carry anger with him, but submerged, his whole life without even knowing that he is angry. His close friends and relatives usually know it, however. Anger is often a symptom of ADD, ADHD or Bipolar Disorder, all of which respond well to therapy. Early childhood abuse is another cause of this type of anger. There is always a reason and a cause.

When anger becomes a clinical issue the situations that cause anger are very often a function of the experience of the person who became angry. For example, one person may experience something as an insult while another may not even notice it. Consequently, it is not possible to look at anger as a particular symptom of some specific underlying cause. This is where therapy can help.

When trying to manage anger, the behavioral aspects need to be carefully assessed. When does it appear, how often, how intensely, etc.? How much control does the person seem to have over his anger? This, as one might expect, is very important for the proper approach to treatment.

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