At the office of Dr. Brian Atkinson Inc., we want to help you relieve your mental health issues any way we can. To begin the process, it may be helpful to identify some issues that patients bring up while speaking with us. Read on for some common themes that influence people to seek help. If you don’t see information on your specific situation, please call us and schedule an appointment to come in to the office.
When we are asked to help with this problem we take a broadly based approach because performance at school can be influenced by a range of issues. The first step is to conduct a thorough assessment which looks at general intellectual skills, areas of strength, areas of weakness, social skills, emotional resilience and conditions which affect learning e.g. ADHD. When a clear picture has been generated the information is shared with relevant resources (school personnel, family physician, pediatrician, parents) and a plan developed to lead to a healthier outcome. If part of the plan is to provide psychotherapy to the child and family, this is arranged.
This issue may be the most fundamental of all that are brought to our attention. Clearly we all have bad days when situations emerge and decrease our sense of pleasure. However, when the doldrums persist and it takes extra effort simply to get out of bed and manage the daily routines, something serious is probably happening.
When people come to us with these presenting problems we explore in detail the extent and cause of these feelings and look at the impact they are having on enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Clarifying the issues through the administration of psychological tests is a common undertaking. This exploration allows for the development of a set of procedures designed to help in lifting the depression. These can include individual psychotherapy, goal directed activities, medication and the involvement of others with a stake in your mental health. The underlying philosophy in treatment is to help you find the best you have inside you and use these resources in the most effective way possible.
Feelings of anxiety are common in all societies and learning to deal with them is one of the things that make us stronger. However, for numerous reasons we sometimes feel overwhelmed and come to believe we are trapped in a world that requires our constant attention in order to manage and survive. Common symptoms include excessive worry, rumination, extreme tension, panicy feelings and often physical symptoms.
In these circumstances our job is to help you to understand the causes of your anxious feelings and work with you to find ways to manage them more effectively. The exploration of causes is demanding and requires discussion, probing the past and formal assessment. When the issues have become clear positive effects are usually forthcoming through the use of individual and group psychotherapy, gently testing the sources of anxiety, medication, behavioral restructuring and the development of higher levels of resilience to cope with pressure.
A sense of drifting and sometimes disconnection is a common theme that couples identify when we discuss their issues and areas of concern. Building and maintaining healthy and satisfying relationships can be demanding. There are rarely simple solutions to be applied to recapturing the spirit of joyfulness that defined an earlier time. Often another point of view can be helpful.
One thing we have learned over the years is that we don’t promise to fix a relationship because we can’t. However, we do know how to help a couple, working individually and together, to explore the process of drifting, understand the changes that have occurred and establish a new path that has the potential to bring pleasure and fulfillment.
Since my accident I can’t think as well as before and I have serious problems in planning and organization
Recovery from physical injuries is stressful and we are fortunate to have excellent medical care to support us and guide us through the process. Sometimes even the best care doesn’t allow us to return to who we were before the injury and this can be confusing and extremely distressing.
The work we do with people who have suffered injuries on the job or been in automobile accidents has taught us to look for the ways that the mind influences the body and the body influences the mind. By exploring these relationships we can help in determining if the symptoms being expressed arise primarily from psychological causes, physical causes or a combination of both. This information helps to clarify the reasons for the presenting problems and gives direction to procedures which can help in providing relief and hope.
I have frightening memories that cascade into my consciousness and powerful dreams where I feel helpless
These presenting problems are extremely distressing and common in people who work as first responders (policemen, firemen, paramedics, corrections officers) and those who have been exposed to traumatic events earlier in their lives.
A significant amount of the work we do involves helping people to understand and manage the traumatic events which have occurred in their lives. There is no single treatment strategy that works for everyone and no magic wands that eliminate distress. There are sensible approaches that can make a difference. Our job is to find the ones that best fit you and work with you to build a more balanced and healthy life.
This is a common concern raised by parents. Unfortunately we normally don’t have instant answers to address these concerns. However, we do have ways to explore the issues, determine if a problem exists and if so, how to try to make things better for the child and other family members. Sometimes direct counselling with the child helps while at other times problem solving with the parents or parental leadership training is the treatment of choice. Occasionally, we encounter a serious disorder in the children we see which activates a more complex process of diagnosis and treatment.
As time goes by I find myself becoming more impatient with and less tolerant of people in general. I seem to have stopped liking people
Testiness, reduced tolerance and impatience are often signs of stress which may arise from various sources. Frequently the sources of stress are clear and action can be taken to reduce them and restore balance. Sometimes the stressors are not clear and it is difficult to determine what needs to be done to create a happier and more comfortable self. When clarity is needed we help by working with you to examine the cause of your discontent and assist in creating a better and more rewarding world.
During the past few years in particular we have been called upon by both individuals and government agencies to conduct assessments which are useful in guiding choices about training and job placement. The feedback received is that this information is useful and has helped people make rational decisions about the future. The real benefit is enhanced job satisfaction and an improved level of mental health.