One of the worst things a parent can endure is seeing their own child (or someone else’s child) abused, whether physically, emotionally, or sexually.

As rare as we want to believe this phenomenon is, studies show that as many as one in four girls, and one in eight boys, is victim to some form of child abuse.

Doctors and teachers are mandatory reporters and must report any instance of suspected child abuse, but this doesn’t always get anywhere.

Children, too, are hesitant to speak out for fear of ridicule or shame. In many cases, the abuse comes from someone in the child’s family, and the child has natural instincts to protect them.

If the abuse can be stopped in childhood, then they’re better for it. But oftentimes, child abuse goes unreported and the children grow up with their childhood abuse.

The scars from childhood abuse are extremely long-lasting and require delicate care in treatment.

Read more

Loneliness counseling can help you.  Many people protect themselves from this painful feeling by keeping busy or finding themselves needing to check the next device. Loneliness may not always be obvious.

Others find themselves going from partner to partner without a break —pulled to seek out another relationship as fast as possible as soon as one ends. The feeling may just be a “need” to always be on the go; on to the next thing one “must-do”; or “shoulds” and “have tos” feel unbearably compelling. Loneliness counseling is a great way to deal with this.

But we are social beings. We need to connect deeply with others. Running frantically from thing to thing or person to person is a way to ensure that this will not happen.

On the other hand, you may feel your loneliness. You may feel like you don’t belong, or don’t feel connected to others .. maybe you’re feeling isolated, like an outcast, or just plain unwanted.

You may find yourself believing your friends don’t really care about you, or like you can’t seem to find people who will connect with you, or like you have no one to call on in a time of need.

Read more

woman with her back to you walking in garden

Anxiety is an emotion that lets us know something has happened to frighten us.  If you experience anxiety often or intensely, you are likely looking for relief. 

You may know that there are both healthy and unhealthy coping strategies and some that only help in the short run, and others that are long term solutions.

Sometimes when the waves of anxiety come crashing down, it is difficult to know which healthy path to choose. Consistent anxiety therapy can help to provide stability when these feelings hit and provide alternatives to the addictive or compulsive behaviors that can perpetuate the anxiety.

Anxiety, stress, and fear can also be tied to past trauma, and talking with a good therapist or psychologist can help you understand how your past is impacting how you feel today.

Read more

Many children, adolescents, and adults were subjected to child abuse in some form during their formative years, which is heartbreaking.

Child abuse is defined as “non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, kicking, beating, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child”.

Some parents justify their violent behavior by saying that it is just discipline, but true abuse can become extremely traumatic to children and stay with them for the rest of their lives.

If you or a loved one experienced trauma or abuse as a child, you can find hope and healing by talking with a child abuse psychotherapist in your area.

Reports of child abuse are handled by the Department of Social Services or Child Protective Services and may or may not become a part of the criminal justice system depending on the severity and frequency of the abuse occurrences.

Sometimes these agencies determine that it is best for the child to be separated from the parent or another adult figure who has perpetrated the abuse and put into group homes or foster care for a certain period of time or until their home situation has changed.

While the intention of foster care and group homes is to provide a safe place for healing and just living a normal life, that is not always the case and it is possible for further trauma to occur here.

Children who have suffered abuse might struggle to pinpoint the root of their childhood trauma because they might have suppressed their memories or they could have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The effects of PTSD can follow children into adulthood, but talking with a licensed therapist specializing in childhood trauma and PTSD can provide a path to healing. Some of the factors that contribute to PTSD are:

  • Degree of perceived personal threat
  • The developmental state of the child (younger children cannot understand and interpret the effects of the traumatic situation as easily as older children)
  • The relationship of the victim to the perpetrator
  • The level of emotional support the victim has in his day-to-day life
  • A feeling of responsibility for the attack is thought to exacerbate the changes of PTSD
  • The innate ability to cope
  • An elevated heart rate post abuse increases the likelihood that the victim will suffer from PTSD

Reaching out to a therapist for childhood abuse and PTSD counseling will help to reduce the effects of trauma and help the child or adult suffering to return to normal life.

There is hope and healing is possible, no matter how deep the wounds. There are people like Dr. Lynn Winsten in Berkeley who you can trust with your story.

Depression Therapy

Depression and anxiety are two quite common mental health issues, and while they are often referred to together, there are important distinctions between them.

They can often be present together and sometimes depression can cause anxiety or anxiety can cause depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Slowing of movement
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

People suffering from depression usually feel hopeless about the present and are unable to carry on with their daily lives.

Depression usually comes in waves, sometimes triggered by a memory or specific event but sometimes seemingly at random.

Most of the time, depression lasts for hours or days at a time without intervention, but if symptoms persist for longer than 2 weeks, it is advised that you reach out for professional help from a therapist specializing in depression.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Restlessness
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Muscle tension

People suffering from anxiety usually feel hopeless about the future and struggle to focus on what is in front of them because of their uncontrollable fears.

Anxiety can also be triggered (separation anxiety, panic disorders, or phobias) or come on randomly and it is recommended that you talk with an anxiety counselor if your symptoms last longer than 6 months.

Some symptoms like sleep problems, fatigue, irritability, and trouble concentrating are common among both depression and anxiety.

It is imperative to know that both depression and anxiety disorders are treatable conditions, and you should not be ashamed if you need to consult a psychologist for help controlling your depression and anxiety.

That is what they are there for and they are experienced in helping people just like you.

Perhaps you have been impacted by childhood trauma or you are currently struggling with life’s difficulties. You wonder if what you are feeling is normal or if you should be able to handle it on your own, but sometimes it all just feels like too much.

It has been 20 years since your traumatic childhood experience but you just can’t seem to get over it like you think you should.

Sure – you had to grow up fast and figure out how to get by when your parents were always gone or when one of them came home drunk again, but that was a long time ago.

Could it possibly still be impacting you?

The answer is “yes” and it is ok to admit that you are not ok. There is a trauma counselor in your area who is passionate about helping people just like you work through their childhood trauma and get on the road to healing.

As an adult, you feel like stress is just a fact of life and if everyone else deals with it pretty well, you can too.

But if you are really honest, you would say that you are overwhelmed and just surviving, barely making it through each day and unwilling to admit how you are really doing, even to yourself.

Deep down, you know that stuffing your emotions is not healthy, but what other choice do you have?

Why not talk with a licensed therapist who has helped many people in your same situation learn how to embrace their emotions and cope with stress in healthy ways, changing “surviving” into “thriving”?

Dr. Lynn Winsten is an excellent resource in Berkeley if you have experienced child abuse, neglect, trauma, relationship problems, or any other emotional imbalance in life.

She will help to analyze the root cause of the problem and create a plan for getting your life back to the way you wanted it to be.