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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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Im wondering if I need therapy. I think my issues are with

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I'm wondering if I need therapy. I think my issues are with women, being social and possibly depression and anxiety. I think I might have issues with women because my parents got divorced when I was very young and I lived with my mother until I was 6 then she sent me to live with my dad and I haven't seen her since. By this time my dad remarried and he was abusive, most of the time just verbally to his wife's kids, my step brothers and sisters. Well since he did that to them my step mother took it upon herself to be verbally abusive to me and just be a generally awful step mother who was semi nice ever now and then. And she was pretty much that way until I moved out when I was 21.
I haven't really dated much, just a few girls and I'm 27. I think part of it is I've always been very shy but I don't know if I might be distrustful of women or have other issues towards them.
I've also felt like I've had some depression issues for a long time. So much so that I think my step sister noticed and probably other people too. I don't feel its that bad it comes and goes but seems hard to be subject on something like that. I've had some anxiety problems that started in college. I think it kind of peaked when I had what I thought were pretty bad anxiety attacks when I though my heart was going to beat out of my chest or something. I quit school for like 3 years after that then went back I seem to have it under control for the most part now that I'm a bit older.
I just wanted to know if it might be good to get some counseling and if so what type of counselor or therapist and wither they should be male or female etc. Any insight into the matter would be appreciated. Thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 3 years ago.

I'm Alicia - I'm a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. I'm happy to help you with your question today.

I commend you for reaching out for help regarding some of these issues, and it already seems that, if you decide to do so, you'd be a very good candidate for therapy because you have a lot of insight. Because of the tumultuous environment in which you grew up, and with so much of it focused on verbal abuse and, at best, XXXXX XXXXX relationship with the significant women in your life, it makes sense, on a certain level, that you'd experience feelings of shyness and a lack of trust around women. You did not exactly have the greatest role models, when it comes to women, when you were growing up, so feeling this way would not be so strange.

As far as the other issues you mentioned, such as feeling depressed and anxious, from what you're saying, they do not seem to be affecting you on a severe level - in other words, I get the sense that you can function in everyday life (you're not feeling like staying in bed all day, no appetite changes, sleep problems, feeling low all the time, etc), but it does sound like you might have some moderate depressive and anxiety symptoms. While I cannot provide a diagnosis here without meeting you in person, it does sound like you would benefit from therapy. I don't think medication is necessary, if that is what you were asking based on your comment about exercise being as effective as certain medications (this is true - exercise promotes the production of certain neurotransmitters and chemicals, like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine - that have an antidepressant effect). I would suggest that you do stay active, engage in moderate intensity exercise, practice stress management techniques (such as yoga, meditation, walking in nature, talking to friends - what's effective is different for everyone so you have to find what works for you) and seeking counseling. You're right when you say that people grow through their interpersonal relationships, and that's an important way that therapy can help you - if you have the right therapist and are able to make a good connection, then you can probably work through most of the issues you mentioned.

As far as what type of therapy is best, XXXXX XXXXX a few suggestions I can provide you with here. One is psychodynamic psychotherapy - so the type of therapy most people think of when they think of "therapy". You can read more about it here if you'd like some more information on the ins and outs of how it works:

Another type of therapy, known as interpersonal therapy, might also be beneficial to you, especially in light of the depressive symptoms and the issues you feel you have with women (as this type of treatment is mostly used on people with depression and for those who have interpersonal difficulties, as the name suggests.)
If you would like more in-depth information about this type of treatment to see if it appeals to you, you might want to read this article:

If you're interested in finding a therapist, you can also use this website to search based on your preferred treatment modality.

As far as whether your counselor should be male or female, it might not make such a difference, and it all depends on how comfortable you feel with the individual. You might think that, since a lot of the issues you mention, stem from women, then a woman therapist would be preferable. You should interview the therapist when you call to make an appointment, and see what your gut feeling is during your first intake appointment. A lot of men feel more comfortable talking to a woman therapist, so just listen to your gut and see what you prefer.

I wish you luck, and I hope this information has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions I can help you with.
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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