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Trauma can rob you of everyday joys; your body can get stuck in fight-or-flight mode, leaving you exhausted and unable to relax. It is not unusual for those who suffer the after effects of trauma to think there is something wrong with them; shame can make seeking help difficult. Therapy focuses on giving you control of your life back, and allowing you to live life according to your values and beliefs. Treatment is designed to address the consequences of your trauma and facilitate healing, allowing you to fully be with yourself and others. Skills are taught to allow you to gain control over the symptoms you developed in response to the trauma. PTSD symptomology is also assessed.
Being neurodiverse in an allistic or neurotypical world is not easy. While individuals on the Autism Spectrum often have exceptional talents, they often struggle with issues that impact their daily living including social skills challenges, executive functioning issues such as organizational deficits, and sometimes overwhelming anxiety. It can be exhausting, and many people do not understand daily challenges of living on the Spectrum. Dr. Hecker (with Dr. Rachel Bedard) is the editor of the forthcoming book Diverse Interventions for Clients on the Autism Spectrum: Treatment for Adolescents and Adults (Routledge Publishing), and regularly works with adolescents and adults on the spectrum.
In the U.S., nearly 40% of the population is overweight or obese, greatly increasing the odds of health-related consequences (e.g. diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer). The stakes are high for individuals to learn to control their weight. The good news is that there have been significant advances in behavioral management research, making psychotherapy a realistic tool to help you reach your goals. You are supported in your efforts to increase a healthy lifestyle, reconnecting with your true self as you begin to discover a different, achievable path to health. Weight loss in our food-centric society is very difficult; support in your efforts can help you gain mastery and control. Treatment occurs in conjunction with your physician when indicated. Learn more about our SHED weight loss program.
Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in the U.S. The good news is that anxiety is highly treatable using cognitive behavioral therapy coupled with establishing relaxation skills and yogic breathing techniques. We work together to establish a treatment program that works to decrease your anxiety. Brief assessment instruments are used to ensure that progress is being made in reducing your anxiety over the course of treatment.
Individuals who suffer social anxiety may find their anxiety occurs in specific situations (e.g. public speaking) or is generalized to where they experience debilitating symptoms in nearly all social situations. Symptoms can be physical (e.g. sweating, increased heart rate, blushing) and emotional (e.g. feelings of anxiety, worry, panic). Typically individuals have a strong worry about being negatively judged by others, which in turn feeds into their anxiety and causes them to avoid social situations. Treatment involves examination of these thoughts, and learning techniques to calm one’s self in social situations, allowing you to feel empowered and in control of your life. Ultimately, individuals learn to connect with others in a more authentic and comfortable way.
Many times a spouse is the first to suspect that their partner is on the Autism Spectrum. They may have noticed that their partner does not relate to others socially as others do, or they find that they themselves end up burdened with excessive emotional labor in the relationship, such as being primarily responsible for remembering birthdays, scheduling events, and organizing chores. The individual on the Spectrum often believes they can't ever please their partner, and constantly feel like they are doing or saying the wrong thing. Frustration can bloom in place of connection, and partners find it increasingly hard to understand the other person's viewpoint and feel connected.
Some couples try couples therapy, but find traditional "feelings-focused" therapy is ineffective. Neurodiverse relationships are cross-cultural relationships of sorts, and it is important for the therapist to understand what behaviors spring from the relational context versus from a disabling component of being on the Spectrum. Dr. Hecker helps couples where one or both individuals are on the Spectrum cross what can feel like a deep divide and learn to connect in ways that work for both people.
Oftentimes it is others who point out when individuals have a technology addiction; this is because technology dependence can severely interfere with relationships. Questions to ask yourself if you think you might be dependent on technology are: 1) Do I find myself pre-occupied with being on the internet or my devices? 2) Does time get away from me, or do I have the inability to control how much time I spend on technology? 3) Does my mood suffer if I do not get “enough” screen time in? 4) Do I spend time with my technology in spite of conflict I have with family or friends over it? 5) Has my social, work, or school life suffered as a result of my time spent with technology? Treatment focuses on reconnecting individuals with themselves and their significant others, while learning a healthier relationship with the technology that surrounds us in our everyday lives.
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