Take your #healingjourney to the next level

Many people still believe that you have to be “crazy,” desperate or having a mental breakdown to seek the help of a therapist. What most people don’t realize is that there are certain emotional and relationship problems that you can’t fix on your own, nor can friends and family help you with. Many suffer in isolation when experiencing bouts of depression, anxiety, disillusionment or despair when they could benefit from just a handful of sessions. The stigma associated with mental illness still gets in the way of people seeking help for themselves or their relationship.

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While there are many reasons that people seek therapy, here are a few of the signs you may need help:

#1 You aren’t able to shake feelings of “being down”

If you are barely getting through the day because of underlying feelings of sadness, anger or hopelessness, you are not alone. Depression starts as a feeling and then becomes a mood or even a temperament if not attended to in a timely fashion. Symptoms of depression include eating or sleeping more or less than usual, withdrawing from family and friends, or just feeling “down.” People find it increasingly difficult to be around you because they feel helpless to do anything for you.

#2 You use work to avoid relationships

You find yourself working long hours and using it as an excuse to not see friends or family. Being productive becomes the focal point of your life and you don’t like how you feel when you are not working. Everyone is complaining about your absences or when you show up late and don’t have any energy for them.

#3 You use drugs, alcohol, food or sex as a coping strategy.

Coping strategies are effective in the short term, but when you begin to depend on them to help you feel better, you need help resolving the underlying issues that are causing you to cope rather than thrive. The more you use them, the more difficult it is to stop, leading to negative consequences in your relationships, your work and in life in general.

#4 You can’t get past losing someone or something important to you.

Many people don’t allow themselves to grieve the loss of a loved one, a job or even an opportunity. Humans have a biological need to go through a grieving process and our culture tends not to honour this need. Psychotherapy can help you work through the grief process so that you are free to get back to your life.

#5 You haven’t dealt with past trauma.

While you may have survived your childhood, you are still using survival strategies and repeating relationship patterns that are associated with a traumatic childhood. Present trauma often triggers memories of past trauma and can be enough to disrupt your life.

#6 You are anxious most of the time.

Automatic negative thoughts have a way of generating fear and anxiety. Our brain doesn’t distinguish between what has happened from what we imagine could happen and our body reacts in a self-protective fashion. If you are limiting yourself in your career, relationships, travel, etc. because you imagine worst case scenarios and creating anxiety in yourself, psychotherapy can help.

#6 Your relationships are unfulfilling.

If you are fighting a lot without resolving conflict; if your sex life is unsatisfying or non-existent; if you feel lonely when you are with others, if you are belittled, abused or otherwise diminished by your partner, you don’t have to suffer alone. Hoping that it will stop only prolongs the suffering you keep yourself in.

#7 You have lost control of your children and your home.

You tried so hard to be a perfect parent and your children expect you to do everything for them and do nothing they are asked. They talk down to you and make excessive demands that you feel compelled to meet for fear they will be upset with you. Time to stop trying to be perfect and to take charge of your home life.


While you may be aware of and have insight into your own dysfunctional patterns and issues, you may still need help you develop a different relationship to your thoughts and feelings. Psychotherapy can help. While personality disorders and severe mental illness requires longer term therapy, most people benefit from short-term, cognitive or goal-oriented therapy to address specific problems and to alleviate emotional distress. The opportunity to talk to an objective, trained professional without fear of judgment or repercussions can be life-altering.

By: Dr. Anne Dranitsaris

Dr. Dranitsaris is a brain-based therapist and behavioral change expertanne dranitsaris | striving styles | personality type with more than 30 years experience in the field of psychotherapy, leadership and personal development. She works with individuals, couples, and families to help them understand their personality, needs and emotions. She helps change dysfunctional patterns of behavior, thinking or emotions in addition to treating anxiety, depression, impulse control, eating disorders, and relationship and family issues. Dr. Dranitsaris uses a combination of psychodynamic, cognitive and mindfulness approaches, to build self-esteem and change emotionally driven behaviors that gets in the way of satisfying relationships and careers.

A prolific and frequently cited writer on a broad range of topics on behavioral dysfunction, emotional intelligence and personality styles, Dr. Dranitsaris has been featured in a number of magazines including O, the Oprah Magazine and O’s Little Guide to Finding Your True Purpose.  She is the co-author of the popular book on the Striving Styles “Who Are You Meant to Be – A groundbreaking, step-by-step approach to identifying and achieving your true potential” and of more than 70 individual books on personality type. Anne is currently working on her upcoming book, Stop Being at the Mercy of Your Codependent Brain, due to be released in September, 2017.

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4 Responses

  1. Beth

    I think that counselors and therapists are just like any other health professional, you should see them when you need to. I think everyone can use a little help, and I’m glad that the stigma of seeing a mental health professional is lifting. My mom had severe depression when I was in college and no one would tell me what was wrong just that “she was in the hospital.” She had access to great therapists and although it was a lot of hard work, she is happy and has worked through a lot of the trauma of her childhood.

    • Amy-Lynn Vautour

      It must have been confusing and possibly scary as a child to experience that and not know what was going on. I can’t speak for you or your experience but I do think that when we hide these things we send messages to our kids that it is something to be ashamed of or something we shouldn’t about. Meanwhile, talking about it can be the biggest help. I think some parents are afraid of burdening their kids, but there is a difference between asking them to actually be a rescuer and just informing them of the situation and letting them know proper care is being found and that they don’t need to worry. Just my opinion.

  2. Katherine

    I love this post and it popped up in my life right now, for the right reasons. I always used to pride myself on being the “happy” child growing up. I was easy-going and my siblings had the “issues”. Now that I’m an adult, it’s taken a lot of time to accept the fact that anxiety and depression are a part of my life, too. Saying it out loud to my husband and my parents, has already helped immensely because I’m accepting what’s going on internally (and I let go of the fear of letting them down). I have great days and I have bad days, but therapy is my next step. And I won’t be afraid to admit it. 🙂

    • Amy-Lynn Vautour

      It takes courage to talk about these things with our families – I hope you patted yourself on the back for sharing that. The “happy” one in a situation where others are clearly struggling is often the one who has the most pressure to hold it all together. Even if it’s just pressure you place on yourself it can be a lot sometimes. That tough exterior can really just be the best way you CAN hold it all together. I’m the type of person who often plays that role as those around me have difficult things they’re dealing with – the caretaker so to speak. I find that I don’t realize the damage it does until after everything has calmed down and all of a sudden I’m the one who’s not ok, yet it doesn’t seem that there is a reason for me to not be ok. It’s taken a lot of work (some still ongoing) to get through tendency and find a better balance between caring for others and caring for myself. I’m not sure how similar your situation is, but I thank you greatly for sharing your comment on our website.


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