Why depression requires special attention?
Every one of us has had days when just the thought of getting out of bed feels unbearable and the Los Angeles, California sunny blue skies peeking into our bedroom feel dull and grey. These days provide us with an excellent sense of what depression feels like. The combination of low motivation, lack of interest and pleasure, low energy, withdrawal from the world, emptiness, guilt, purposelessness, and worthlessness are just a few examples of the pain that comes with depression.
Situational depression is quite common and many of us have experienced short episodes of depression in response to a breakup, loss, or trauma. Depression is more common in the LGBTQI+ community and among gay men. The reason for greater rates of depression within the gay community is the additional burden of marginalization, discrimination, victimization, and social injustice the gay community tends to experience. Growing up gay in our culture carries a heavy burden of secrecy, guilt, and shame, which is exacerbated by social rejection, victimization, and bullying. These internal and external pressures add to the natural challenges of growing up and add to the risk of developing depression.
On the positive side, the commonly held belief that depression is chronic and difficult to treat is simply not true. In my online therapy clinic in Lo Angeles, California I have worked with numerous clients who came in suffering from depression. Nearly all were able to fully recover from depression and re-engage in life with vigor and enjoyment. Psychotherapy, counseling, and guidance of a seasoned therapist are essential in the process of recovery from depression and in restoring our sense of joy and well-being. The process of healing requires full dedication and engagement, however, the rewards of feeling alive and vibrant again are absolutely priceless.
What causes depression?
The complexity of our human experience can be divided into 4 aspects, or 4 planes of experience, starting with the most abstract and subtle Spiritual plane of pure Consciousness, and down to the most dense and tangible Physical plane of our 5 senses. So here are the 4 planes of experience:
Spiritual Plane – This is the plane of the infinite field of Pure Consciousness that gives birth to all things. In Quantum Physics this plane is called the Morphogenic Field. This is the plane of the Blueprint, the plane of the Essential Reality out of which all other realities emerge. The spiritual plane is the plane of the Absolute, which means it is not subject to change. Although the Spiritual plane has profound conceptual importance in our work, psychotherapy operates at lower Mental and Emotional planes.
Mental Plane – This is the plane of our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, ideas, memories, expectations, preconceptions, etc. Psychotherapy affects the mental plane through changes in beliefs and attitudes.
Emotional Plane – This is the plane of our feelings, including the emotional baggage of old unresolved negative emotions and trauma. Through such mind technologies as NLP, we are able to release the old baggage, effectively freeing ourselves from our past.
Physical Plane – This is the plane of our body and the five senses. Interestingly enough, our emotional baggage and past traumas are stored in our body’s nervous system and muscle tissue. As much as we try to divide our being into separate aspects, we are one integral whole and each plane of our experience is interconnected with every other plane.
Depression is a multilayered phenomenon that can originate from our past experiences, our limiting beliefs about ourselves, significant life events, loss, unresolved past emotional baggage, and much more. In psychotherapy we create change and foster the process of healing by addressing mental, emotional, and physical planes of our life experience:
Mental : Our Mind is a powerful tool that creates our subjective reality and enforces existing beliefs. Disempowering beliefs we hold, such as - “I’m not good enough,” “I am unworthy” etc., tend to create situations in our life that validate these beliefs. For example, the belief of being worthless and undeserving is likely to make us enter a relationship in which our partner treats us badly. By doing so our partner reinforces our belief of being worthless. The cycle continues until our beliefs are changed. This process of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy exemplifies how the external reality is a reflection of our internal reality – our Mind. Hence, in order to change our life experience we have to change our inner experience. There is much more to be said about these mind-bending ideas. The bottom line is that shifting our disempowering beliefs will change our reality.
Emotional : Emotional baggage is the unresolved feelings of anger, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, and hurt. This “baggage” is stored away in our unconscious mind and our body. This baggage re-creates life situations similar to those responsible for the initial emergence of the “baggage.” For example, unresolved trauma of abuse has the potential of recreating a pattern of abusive circumstances replaying in one’s life, until the trauma is resolved and released. Neurolinguistics (NLP) is highly effective in resolving past trauma and releasing old unresolved negative emotions, allowing us to start a fresh chapter of self-empowerment and fulfillment.
: Our daily routines, habits, food, exercise, weather, people around us, and even the colors and smells in our surroundings have a powerful impact on our well-being. Creating an environment supportive of your wellness is an important part of our work together.
How can we alleviate depression and are anti-depressants enough?
Our culture often resorts to the bio-physiological explanation of depression as a “chemical imbalance” within the nervous system (the Physical plane). Once depression is explained as a merely physical dysfunction, it makes sense to treat it with a physical remedy – medication. Anti-depressants aim to restore “chemical balance” in our body to alleviate depression. At times anti-depressants are an excellent 1 st step toward restoring our well-being, however, is it enough?
Allow me to answer this question with a question: Would you consider treating a toothache with pain medication only, without further medical intervention? Would you agree to treat the surface symptom, aka, – the pain, without addressing the root of the problem? Probably not, since it would likely lead to a worsening of the underlying problem. Pain medication would be an excellent first step to prepare the patient for treatment, however, it would not be considered treatment in of itself.
Depression is a psychological pain with roots reaching deep into our psyche. Numbing the psychological pain with anti-depressant medication might be an appropriate first step of treatment if the emotional pain is debilitating, however, medication in itself does not treat the root cause of depression. In other words, anti-depressants are excellent in numbing psychological suffering and preparing us for psychotherapy, however, medication cannot change the underlying causes of our depression. Psychotherapy and counseling are excellent tools to address the root cause of depression and restore our well-being.
How does therapy with you work, Dr. Harel?
Therapy for depression is focused on the individual. In my online therapy clinic in Los Angeles, California we will use the 3 phase ARC psychotherapy model, which incorporates Neurolinguistics (NLP) and elements of hypnotherapy, to create rapid and profound transformation within Mental, Emotional, and Physical plains of your experience:
The A-R-C approach:
Awareness – During the first Power-Step of psychotherapy we evaluate all aspects of your life that brought you to where you are right now. Here we aim to gain insight into the current situation and determine the root causes of current challenges. It is during this step that we also clearly define the ultimate goals for our work together, as well as the evidence procedure, which will show us that our work has been a total success.
Release – In the second Power-Step of the counseling process we use advanced mind-technology of Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) and elements of hypnotherapy to create a rapid and profound shift in your experience. Both NLP and hypnotherapy are tools to release the old emotional baggage of unresolved negative emotions and limiting beliefs and clear the path toward your well-being.
Co-Creation – The third and final Power-Step of psychotherapy is designed to provide new tools and resources to solidify your gains and establish your life trajectory toward all the things you desire. During this step, we create a vision of your ideal life and set you on the path of joy, purpose, and fulfillment.
I see my role as a guide. When you hire a guide to navigate an unfamiliar terrain, you hope that your guide takes you to your desired destination choosing the optimal route that is both efficient and safe. You also understand the unspoken agreement that the guide will help you find your destination as long as you agree to follow the guide and do the walking. As a Psychotherapist, I can help you find your path and support you in achieving all your heart desires, under one condition – you will have to do the walking.
Will psychotherapy work for me?
My online therapy clinic proudly serves the diverse and multifaceted communities of Los Angeles and California at large. Sometimes I am asked whether as a therapist I can guarantee results. When we talk about a guarantee, there are two key elements to consider – you and me. As a therapist, I can absolutely guarantee that my clients receive all of my knowledge, expertise, experience, attention, and support. I can also guarantee that if my total commitment to your success is met with the same commitment from you, our work will have a transformative impact on your life.
My 100% success guarantee comes with 3 necessary attitudes on the part of my clients:
1. Ownership of full responsibility for our life. Knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, we are 100% responsible and our life, including our relationship, is our making.
2. Willingness to let go of old baggage, including resentments, anger, grief, old beliefs etc.
3. Full commitment to making all changes necessary to achieve our goals.