People routinely use the umbrella terms “anxiety” and “depression” to describe psychological, as well as physical, symptoms. In my work as psychotherapist, I talk with people about what they and I think may be causing these symptoms. All of the following issues, for instance, will create symptoms of anxiety and depression: difficulties managing anger, frustration, stress, and time; creative inhibition; obsessional thoughts and behaviors; unexplored grief and mourning; unexplored trauma (sexual, physical, and psychological abuse): difficulties in relationships and or in a career; managing an illness; managing substance abuse and eating disorders.
Behind these issues are others that are more specific to a particular individual. Perfectionism, control, setting boundaries, separating and individuating within relationships, to name but a few, are often embedded behind the more apparent discomfort of feeling anxious or depressed. Often people are unaware of these issues and how they feel about them.
I believe that psychotherapy, through the process of mutually exchanging feelings and ideas and identifying issues in a supportive, private, and safe environment, allows for self-understanding and self-growth that ultimately allows personal creativity to develop. This includes the ability and tranquility to feel one’s own feelings and think one’s own thoughts. When this process is in place, a person may then develop the confidence and courage to deal with the reality of living in the world.