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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Who to see if I am suffering from anxiety and depression?

    I spoke with my GP who said I should see someone about my anxiety and depression. Although she referred me to a social worker, I did not actually feel like I received any treatment, I was just made aware of my anxiety and depression (childhood trauma, PTSD, mental abuse by partner). Is a social worker the person I should be seeing? I felt I did most of the talking, she said I should start by removing my partner from the situation, although this is easier said than done. But regardless of my partner, I have always had these underlying feelings of anxiety and depression. Who is the best person to see to seek treatment about this? I am a female and 24 years old, my anxiety gets so bad for no reason. I have to take time off work, I can't sleep and when I do sleep I have nightmares, which in turn makes me afraid to sleep. I also have a constant fear of being alone.
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  • 1


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about ... View Profile

    If you are seeking treatment rather than counselling, you may wish to seek a referral from your GP either to a psychiatrist (who has specialist knowledge in assessment, diagnosis and pharmacological treatment for mental health issues), and/or a clinical psychologist - they can also assess and diagnose mental health issues, and offer psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioual therapy and other evidence-based treatments. Counselling is a different process where you are supported to connect to and make sense of your emotions and experiences. Often when someone has a history of childhood trauma they can find this very difficult to do, and may require support to stay with and re-process difficult feelings and experiences, and it is likely that this is what you would have received if you had decided to stay with the social worker (who would also equip you with strategies to manage your anxiety and depression as part of this process).

  • 1


    Oliver Armstrong


    Unlike most practitioners, my focus is working solely with anxieties, fears and trauma. Nothing else. Only talking about problems often makes them worse or more ... View Profile

    Firstly good on you for reaching out, that's often the hardest step for many people.

    As an alternative to reprocessing or re-traumatising by talking about past emotional events; I highly recommend that you work with a practitioner whose modality (such as Clinical Hypnosis, NLP, EFT) is able to assist you to safely and comfortably resolve or neutralise underlying feelings and emotions, relating to past traumatic events, out of conscious awareness. You've already experienced that trauma once, you don't need to experience it again.


    Additionally I'd recommend that you learn preventive skills and techniques that will enable you to change unwanted problematic thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they come up. The same practitioner should be providing these as a matter of course.

    In my experience, once the past traumatic memories have been emotionally neutralised, the nightmares tend to stop. Sleep is vital for us to function day to day, not to mention our body uses it to heal and regenerate cells etc., so the sooner you can get some good sleep, the better.

    In the mean time, some general sleep-related advice I'll offer, is to stay off mobile devices at least one hour before going to bed, don't watch or read anything that is overly stimulating, and certainly don't drink any caffeine before going to bed, as caffeine stimulates the activation of the stress response [fight or flight] in the body.

    I hope this helps.

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