Some common issues I work with when doing individual therapy with adults (including older teenagers):

Depression, including:

  • poor self-esteem
  • disturbances in sleep and appetite (increased or decreased)
  • social isolation, withdrawal
  • decreased energy and interest in activities
  • loss or lack of purpose, direction, sense of future

Anxiety, including:

  • chronic stress
  • social anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • fears, phobias
  • performance fears in sports, sex, dramatic arts, at work, etc.

Poor relationships, including:

  • inability to sustain relationships
  • patterns of conflict with lovers, partners, friends, colleagues, family
  • patterns of physical intimacy replacing emotional intimacy

Trauma and PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) both past and recent

Stage-of-life and transition issues, including:

  • marriage, separation, divorce
  • child birth/new child
  • death of a loved one
  • job or career change; retirement
  • midlife and other aging transitions

Procrastination/motivation problems, including:

  • starting and continuing exercise
  • tackling life management tasks (bills, taxes, paperwork, "clutter")
  • creativity blocks
  • large project (e.g.; dissertation, grant application) immobilization

Addiction and impulse control problems, including:

  • drugs, alcohol
  • food
  • sex and pornography
  • computer/internet

Gay/lesbian/bisexual issues, including coming out

Types of Issues

Most of us experience a range of types of issues. There are very concrete problems.

For example:

  • How to quit smoking
  • How to take an airplane flight without panicking
  • How to write my dissertation
  • How to deal with premature ejaculation
  • How to get in better shape

And there are deeper underlying emotional issues, such as:

  • I don't like myself
  • People scare me
  • My relationships don't seem to work
  • I can't find any sense of meaning or purpose in life
  • I'm always overwhelmed; I don't feel like I can manage my life

These two categories define the extremes of a spectrum of types of presenting problems. Many concrete issues have deeper roots, of course, and involve an interplay between the underlying issues and the more pragmatic way they might manifest day to day.  I like to work with this spectrum and interplay.  Ultimately, what level I work at will be up to you.