How I can help

 
Anxiety

Anxiety is  a normal part of life. It can serve a healthy purpose such as motivating us to prepare before a job interview or exam.  Sometimes however feelings of anxiety can become intrusive, and negatively affect our day to day lives.  Anxiety comes in many forms including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, health anxiety, social anxiety, and phobias. It is not uncommon to experience anxiety alongside another condition such as depression.

 

Anxiety can effect us both physically and emotionally. Symptoms vary between individuals, but can include:

  • Constant feelings of worry and unease

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Withdrawal from relationships or activities that we normally enjoy

  • Overthinking things that we have said or done

  • Giving up on goals, relationships or dreams in order to avoid anxious thoughts and feelings

  • Excessive worrying about our loved ones

  • Excessive worrying about health and death

  • Insomnia/restlessness

  • A sense of hopelessness or despair

  • Dizziness and heart palpitation

  • Pins and needles/electric shock sensations

  • Headaches/body aches

  • Panic attacks

I have a specialist interest in working with people who are experiencing anxiety (generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic attacks, health anxiety, cyberchondria). As well as exploring behavioural techniques to help people manage symptoms of anxiety, I am passionate about helping people establish long term positive psychological changes through exploration and understanding of the underlying cause of their anxiety. This could include looking at how past life events or traumas could be impacting you in the present. 

 

 
Depression

Everyone has days where they feel sad or low. Depression is different, leaving us feeling sad for prolonged periods. 

It is important to recognise that depression is not a sign of weakness, or something that you can "snap out of", it is a recognised illness that can effect anyone. Sometimes depression has an obvious cause such as the loss of a loved one, redundancy or a health diagnosis. At other times there might appear to be no obvious cause.

Symptoms of depression are varied but can include:

  • Low mood/fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Difficulty sleeping/restlessness

  • Feeling restless/tearful

  • Finding no pleasure in things that you used to enjoy

  • Feeling empty, numb or stuck

  • Feeling suicidal

Counselling can provide extra support during difficult times. Talking to somebody impartial can help us to make sense of how we are feeling, and help us to recognise that we won't always feel this way. 

 
Relationships

Relationship difficulties come in many forms. For example, we might experience problems in forming healthy relationships with others, or we might find ourselves in conflict with family, friends, romantic partners or work colleagues. Sometimes we find ourselves repeating destructive relational patterns. 

Common relationship problems include: 

  • Affairs/betrayals of trust

  • Communication difficulties

  • Struggling to have satisfying relationships with others

  • Conflicts with family or friends

  • Step family dynamics

  • Issues around pregnancy and children

  • Sexual concerns

 

Counselling offers a non- judgemental space in which relational difficulties can be identified and explored.  The provision of a safe space gives us an opportunity to get in touch with our authentic selves, enabling us to examine what it is that we really want from our relationships. 


 

 
Grief/loss

Grief is a natural response to loss, and loss can come in many forms. We all experience grief differently, and it is important to remember that there is no "right" way to grieve, and there is no time limit on grief. Sometimes our relationship with the person who has died has been complicated and their death can bring up troubling or unexpected emotions for us. 

Grief can cause a range of symptoms including: 

  • Sadness

  • Anger

  • Guilt

  • Anxiety

  • Regret

  • Depression

  • Pain and distress

  • Insomnia

  • Loneliness  

  • Anxiety about our own mortality

Feelings of grief and loss occur in life events other than bereavement. For example we might experience grief through the loss of employment, or the end of a significant relationship. Or perhaps we will struggle with feelings of loss as we age and transition into a new stage of life. 

It can be difficult to talk to our usual support network when we are grieving. Sometimes people react to us differently, not knowing what to say about our loss. At other times our loved ones might pressure us to move forward when we are not ready to. Counselling can be useful during this time, offering a safe and caring space for you to discuss your feelings openly with somebody impartial. 

 
Trauma

Trauma can have a profound effect on our mental health and well being. There are well known causes of trauma, such as catastrophic events, abuse or injuries, but trauma can also occur in less well recognised circumstances, depending on how we experience them. We all respond differently to traumatic events, and what affects one person might not affect another.

 

Common symptoms of trauma can include:

  • Flashbacks

  • Anxiety

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Depression

  • Anger

  • Feeling detached 

  • Feeling helpless

Talking through our feelings and experiences in a safe environment with a professional can help us to process and acknowledge what has happened, and move forwards in our lives.

 

Other issues 

There are countless reasons why people choose to access counselling. Sometimes a life event such as a relationship breakdown or job loss can lead someone to seek help. At other times they may feel "stuck" or that something is not quite "right" in their lives. Whatever it is that is concerning you, I will listen without judgement and work with you to find a way forward. 

Contact Me

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For any questions you have, or to book an appointment, you can reach me here:

Lauren Smith MBACP

Tel: 07539366955 (please leave a voicemail if I am unable to answer your call)

Email: laurensmiththerapy52@gmail.com

I will endeavour to get back to you within one working day of receipt of your email or call. 

© Lauren Smith Counselling & Psychotherapy Leeds & Wetherby