Depression is a serious mental health condition that is not to be treated as a sign of weakness or something an individual can just ‘get over’. Although it is not uncommon to go through short periods of feeling downtrodden or discouraged, someone who is depressed has likely been experiencing persistent sadness for a long period of time. It can impact people in various ways and affect relationships, health and career. Here is a list of some of the symptoms of depression:
- Continuous low mood
- Helplessness or hopelessness
- Withdrawal from group or social settings
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of energy
- Changes in appetite
- Disruption in regular sleep patterns (insomnia, sleeping too much, unable to fall asleep after waking up)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Self-harm thoughts
Cognitive-behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, schema therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy are among the most effective therapeutic approaches for the treatment of depression.
Our team is highly trained in therapies for the treatment of depression and will recommend the most suitable approach for you depending on their assessment of your challenges.
Anxiety is a natural human emotion that can arise when one is feeling unsafe or faces a threat in the environment. It can also be the result of insecurities, worry, or fear of the unknown. It is normal to feel such emotions when facing situations like exams or job interviews. However, a problem can arise with anxiety when the body and mind finds itself regularly in an elevated state of panic and extreme stress, which can result in you feeling overwhelmed, out of control and in distress. For some, this can be an all-consuming experience that takes over your entire life.
Through therapy, individuals can work on exploring their thought patterns during such occurrences and better understand how this can affect their mental state. Some existing behaviours might serve to maintain anxiety rather than manage it.
The most effective treatments for developing healthy coping skills for anxiety include Schema Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).
The Elephant team is highly trained in therapies for the treatment of anxiety and will recommend the most suitable approach for you depending on their assessment of your challenges.
For more on this, refer to a blog article on Workplace Anxiety written by a therapist from our team.
Stress plays a big factor in our everyday lives. In small doses, stress can be a motivating factor to push us to achieve. However, prolonged or intense periods of stress can have a negative impact on our work performance, personal relationships, professional relationships and more. In severe cases, stress can even lead to anxiety, depression or panic attacks. Common signs of stress include:
- Changes in appetite
- Problems concentrating
- Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
- Chest and body pains
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of energy or interest in sex
- Weaken immune system
- High blood pressure
- Stomach or digestive problems
- Social withdrawal
Through therapy, an individual can explore and discover the underlying reasons for their high stress levels and learn healthy stress reduction and management techniques. It can also be helpful to examine existing coping strategies or how the individual generally reacts in stressful situations to ensure they are not exacerbating stress levels. This can allow for a healthier, more effective and happier person.
Trauma is an emotional response to an event that has left you feeling unsafe, violated and helpless. After a traumatic event, it is common to have difficulty sleeping or adjusting back to day-to-day life. However, if symptoms persist for more than a month, you might benefit from trauma-focused therapy. In some cases, it can also lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some signs of trauma might include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Guilt and shame
- Withdrawal from others
- Helplessness or hopelessness
- Feeling disconnected and numb
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Muscle tension, aches or pain
- Increased heartrate
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocesing (EMDR) is an evidence-based approach that is shown to be among the most effective approaches to treating trauma and PTSD. Instead of talking, this method relies on the patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements to help them process the feelings and memories associated with the trauma.
Our team is highly experienced in working with clients who are struggling with trauma. Therapy can help an individual to process the traumatic experiences and move past it with a renewed outlook on life.
Human relationships are complex and complicated, regardless of whether they are personal, familial, professional or platonic. Modern life pressures have left us highly stressed and strung out. This can result in miscommunication, misunderstanding, fights and other breakdowns in relationships, all of which can leave us feeling rejected, lonely, disappointed and frustrated. Some issues people face in relationships can include:
- Change in life stage
- Disagreements and arguments
- Sexual problems
- Commitment issues
- Power dynamics
- Pre-marriage counselling
At Elephant, our team of individual, couples and family therapists can help to support you with your unique relationships issues and long term goals.
Emotion regulation is the ability to be in control of one’s own emotional state. As humans, our ability to be emotional is what sets us apart from other living beings on earth. However, when our emotions feel out of control, they can lead to destructive behaviour that can impact our work, personal relationships and overall quality of life.
The goal of therapy for emotion regulation is to manage both your feelings and the physiological arousal that an emotion causes. You cannot always avoid or remove the events or individuals that stimulate you, nor can you change them or their behaviour but you can learn to manage your emotions and control your reactions. Therapy can help an individual to explore, understand, accept and regulate their emotions in various situations to respond appropriately to good and bad stimuli in our environment.
Bereavement, also referred to as grief, is the intense sense of loss experienced when an individual loses or is in a state of deprivation of something or someone important in their lives. It could be a loved one that has passed on, a relationship that has ended or a job you have lost. You might experience these feelings alongside anger, anxiety, sadness, fear or guilt. Grief is an inevitable emotion that every individual encounters at some point in their lives. It can be an immensely painful experience that can affect us emotionally and physiologically.
Everyone reacts differently and might have unique self-soothing techniques in times of intense pain. Therapy can be an incredibly healing space for individuals to understand their loss and how it has affected them and their lives. Our team employs evidence-based therapeutic approaches to help clients handle and develop healthy coping and self-soothing techniques to deal with their grief.
Body image issues can occur at any age and to any gender or sexual orientation. It can be affected by media, culture, social environment or interactions with loved ones. A negative body image is often reflected by an obsession with one’s perceived physical flaws and imperfections. An individual struggling with body image issues might show the following signs:
- Emphasis on their weight, shape or size
- Eating disorder
- Binge eating
- Withdrawal from activities that bring them joy
- Lowered self-esteem
- Self-harm tendencies
Such activities can often lead to many long term physical complications including gastrointestinal problems, stunted growth (in adolescents), reproductive issues, high blood pressure, tooth decay and kidney damage.
Our team of therapists can help to treat body image issues through therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
Work-related stress or burnout is increasingly prevalent within our society. These issues can affect our well-being, work performance and our physiological health. Although endurance and perseverance are skillsets to be proud of, we must also be cautious not to push ourselves too far beyond our limits. If work-related stress levels are not managed, physiological and psychological problems can arise such as headaches, irritability, mood swings, muscle tension, high blood pressure and breakdown. Some workplace issues that employees face include:
- Interpersonal conflict
- High stress environment
- Communication problems
- Low motivation and job satisfaction
- Uncontrollable anger
- Lack of work/life balance
- Lack of confidence
- Imposter Syndrome
- Performance issues
- Poor job fit
Our team includes therapists who have varied experiences in different industries from the public to private sector. Hence, we can understand the pressures of high stress jobs, unhealthy work environments, impossible deadlines and demanding bosses. Our team can tailor the therapeutic journey to fit your individual needs and support you through your goals.
For more on this, refer to a blog article on Workplace Anxiety written by a therapist from our team.
Over the course of a lifetime, every person will find themselves in significant life transitions. No matter how big or small, planned or unplanned, it can be difficult to adjust to changes. Even exciting changes are coupled with some level of stress such as starting a new job, getting married, the birth of a child and starting school. Change requires time and energy to adjust to.
A person who is finding a transition difficult to navigate might be faced with heightened stress levels and experience the following:
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Low energy
- Digestive issues
- Decreased libido
- Change in appetite
- Alcohol or drug abuse
If you find yourself having difficulty coping with a life transition, it may be helpful to speak to a therapist.
Married couples facing conflict relating to miscommunication or differing expectations can feel stressed, confused which can lead them growing apart. It is common that the longer one waits to seek help, the more strained the relationship becomes.
Marital issues can be improved in therapy by working through reasons for conflict with a neutral, unbiased and supportive therapist. In couples therapy, you will work together with your therapist to outline goals specific to the relationship. Therapy can help couples re-learn how to effectively communicate, connect, trust, and strengthen commitment to the marriage.
Legally and emotionally, divorce is extremely complex. There could be many reasons that a couple has come to the decision to end their marriage. This can also be complicated if children or issues of infidelity are involved. At the core, the process is one of managing loss which can bring about intense emotions such as feelings of uncertainty, failure, shame, guilt and embarrassment.
With the proper support and guidance from our qualified therapists, individuals can learn to cope with overwhelming and confusing feelings throughout the process and develop hope for a better life.
Dealing with infidelity can be extremely difficult and it may be affected by culture, religion and familial pressures. Some commonly cited reasons for infidelity are unfulfillment, low self-esteem, sex addiction or revenge.
Therapy can provide a safe, non-judgemental space for couples or individuals to process infidelity and decide if they should continue to stay in the relationship. It can also be helpful for the person who has been cheated on to work through potentially deep rooted feelings of self-blame. Couples who come to therapy for infidelity can have more open discussions on the health of the relationship, relationship patterns, their commitment level and potentially work on repairing trust in the healing process.
Whether in the workplace, home or social settings, women may experience certain biological, environmental, and psychosocial challenges related to gender. These can have a significant impact on their mental health and well-being.
Women’s issues can refer to any concern that might impact a their mental health. These concerns might include gender stereotyping or assumptions regarding women’s health, but they are also likely to include other challenges faced by women that have nothing to do with gender. Some mental health concerns commonly experienced by women include:
- Postpartum depression
- Postpartum psychosis
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Borderline personality
- Mood-related challenges
- Low libido
- Self-harming behaviours
Men are often conditioned by cultural and social norms to abstain from showing emotions in fear of showing too much or the wrong emotion that can be perceived as not masculine, weak or inappropriate. Such emotions can include emotional vulnerability, fear, or sensitivity. However, suppressing these emotions may cause other problems, and those who attempt to conceal their feelings may find their physiological health affected in other subtle ways.
Recently, the role men play in society, the workplace and relationships have evolved from traditional expectations. This can lead to frustration and stress as they navigate their new place in society. Common issues reported by men seeking therapy include:
- Work adjustment issues (procrastination, avoidance, or success sabotage)
- Relationship issues
- Somatic pains
- Irritability or frustration
- Substance abuse, addiction and dependency
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dependency or addiction in other areas (internet, gaming, gambling, or sex)
- Depression (might present as boredom, lack of motivation, or feeling that one is blank or “stuck”)
- Low libido
- Body image issues
- Thoughts of self harm
Regardless of our sexual orientation, any one of us can find ourselves struggling with low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. However, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and non-binary (LGBTQN+) individuals, the underlying reasons of psychological challenges can be profound. Discrimination, facing homophobic attitudes, coming to terms with one’s sexuality, and suffering rejection from the ones we love or in our society are all concerns that have the potential to cause significant distress in various parts of life such as affecting our personal and professional relationships, self-worth and even our career. These factors mentioned can also have a long term impact on your emotional and physical well-being.
Our LGBTQN+-affirming therapists are able to provide a safe, non-judgemental and confidential environment for you to talk through and process the issues you face. By doing so, you can start to develop a strong foundation of support that can arm you with some healthy coping techniques to tackle the issues you face. The therapeutic journey can equip you with the tools to be able to cope effectively with events and situations that may cause pain or frustration, and help you make peace with the complex emotions while feeling safe and validated. In the course of this journey, your therapist can explore issues surrounding sex and relationships and also target other surrounding issues such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse to support you in achieving both your short and long-term goals.
In Pre/Post Natal Therapy, we provide extensive support for women, husbands and partners suffering from a range or mood and anxiety disorders. This can create a strong foundation for couples to build their relationships in parenthood. If the family deems it appropriate or beneficial, other family members can also be included in the therapeutic journey. Some concerns we can work through include-
- Anxiety and fear related to childbirth
- Complications in pregnancy or birth
- Miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss
- Fertility issues
- Infant with health issues
- Relationship, role and identity loss
- Anger management
There are times when life can be extremely difficult to navigate. Self-harm may be a behaviour developed as a method to deal with all-consuming emotions and deep rooted pain. Some people take to self-injuring activity to distract themselves from negative thoughts, or to feel a moment of relief or respite from the internal suffering.
There can be many reasons at the root of why someone self-harms. It has often been found to be linked to past trauma, depression and anxiety. Engaging in such activity can actually have the reverse effect of causing more distress in your life such as eliciting powerful feelings of guilt, loneliness, embarrassment, withdrawal from social settings and increasingly low moods.
Self-harm may feel necessary to manage your overwhelming emotions. However, psychiatric help supported by therapy can help replace self-harm tendencies with healthy and effective coping strategies for managing challenges so that self-harm no longer feels like the only option. The underlying psychological issues that make someone vulnerable to adopting self-harm as a coping strategy might subsequently be further explored using various therapeutic approaches.
We can introduce those suffering from the desire to self-harm to psychiatrists who specialise in this condition. If appropriate, we can play a supporting role in providing counselling or therapy.
Autism & Aspergers
Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD), including Asperger’s Syndrome, is a type of neurodevelopmental disorder. Although ASD has a lifelong diagnosis, people with ASD can still lead successful and fulfilling lives when given the right forms of support. However, there are particular areas of their lives where they experience genuine barriers :
- Social anxiety
- Difficulty in communicating
- Developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with others
- Accepting and realising how they are different from others
People with ASD may also find it hard to cope with sudden changes and adhere strictly to routines to manage their lives. Some have very intense interests in certain areas and dedicate most of their energy and time in pursuing these interests. Sensory sensitivities (e.g. sensitivity to light, sounds, textures) are also frequently reported amongst people with ASD.
Through therapy, our team can help your child learn to manage behavioural issues, learn new life skills and coping strategies. These tools can equip someone with ASD for social interaction. Play therapy is an approach that has been known to be effective for managing symptoms of ASD and Aspergers.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Diagnoses of ADHD have become more frequent in both children and adults. But symptoms show differently across age groups.
ADHD symptoms in adulthood may show up in different ways than how they did in childhood. ADHD can affect relationships and success in the workplace and in social settings. Hyperactive symptoms are often less prevalent in adulthood but symptoms of inattention and impulsivity often persist. Common symptoms of ADHD include:
- Difficulty coping with stress
- Hard time focusing on tasks or prioritising activities
- Mood swings
- Short temper
- Missed deadlines
- Missed social engagements
Identifying a child’s ADHD early is helpful. It can allow them to start developing healthy habits to manage it, leading to greater success as they start to attend school. How ADHD is addressed in a child may impact how they experience ADHD as an adult.
ADHD therapy is also helpful even if your child or adolescent has severe ADHD and is taking medication. While medication can help children manage impulsivity or hyperactivity, it doesn’t help teach them which positive behaviours they could choose. Working with a therapist prepares a child to have their own independent skills for the future when they might come off their medication. Proper support means your child is less likely to develop secondary disorders from the stress of coping with attention problems, or are more able to manage if these conditions are already present. These can include challenges like:
- Low self-esteem
If you or your child struggles with ADHD, therapy can be helpful in equipping you with tools and skills to manage any challenges in life you may have.
A phobia is an irrational, uncontrollable and debilitating fear. It can be related to a specific animal, object, situation or activity. Phobias can be very overwhelming, frightening and sometimes even debilitating. Some phobias arise from a negative experience with the feared object or activity. In serious cases, an individual may even plan their life to circumvent the specific object or activity that causes them to be in distress. Common phobia signs and symptoms:
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot (sweating) or cold flushes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint.
- Shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness
- Trembling, shaking, palpitations, or racing heart
- Feeling smothered
- Fear of losing control or going mad or of dying
You may recognise a specific phobia you have but find it difficult to overcome it on your own. Phobias can be treated through psychological therapy with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based approaches being the most commonly used for effective outcomes.