Dr. McConnell has done the majority of his previous work as a therapist for adult clients. Juggling responsibilities related to work, finances, family and health—a hallmark of adult life—is challenging and can be very overwhelming. Therapists are extensively trained to help clients understand their own story and to support and encourage positive changes in your life. When you reach out for help, a psychologist or therapist should collaborate with you in creating a game plan to address your concerns that is tailored specifically to you. Individuals have sought help from Dr. McConnell to resolve a wide range of concerns; the most common are highlighted below. In each case, his role as a psychologist is to work with you to identify your personal goals, and then create a plan to assist you in meeting them. Finding Your Way Psychological Services is committed to providing quality individualized treatment to the residents of Bakersfield, Delano, Taft, Oildale, and other surrounding areas.
Anxiety and Stress
While some level of stress is a fact of life; excessive anxiety can be debilitating and leave you feeling paralyzed. If you feel very overwhelmed in your day-to-day activities or if you, or others, think you worry too much, you may be experiencing stress or anxiety. Anxiety can focus on specific situations like being in social settings or crowded places. It can also apply to multiple areas of life. Besides worrying, people with anxiety tend to experience physical symptoms including sweaty palms, increased heart rate, muscle tension, agitation and rapid breathing. Anxiety may be caused by stress. When thinking of stress, most people consider stress to be negative, such as parenting difficult children, job demands, or stress related to partner/spouse relationships. However, “good” stress such as a job promotion, marriage, or birth of a child also affects people both mentally and physically. Therapists in particular can help with anxiety by working with you to build coping skills and understand how anxiety affects you to ultimately decrease the anxiety and stress that you experience.
Sadness is a normal emotion that everyone deals with in day-to-day life. But feeling down all of the time can interfere with your relationships and work, not to mention your personal happiness. If you have prolonged sadness, low mood, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or despair, you may be suffering from depression. Other symptoms include not being interested in activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed, feeling of guilt, and withdrawal from social relationships. Depression can also manifest itself physically, causing symptoms such as fatigue, tearfulness, loss of appetite, excessive sleepiness or insomnia. Therapists treat depression effectively with a type of therapy known as cognitive-behavioral therapy and sometimes, there may be a need for medication if depression does not improve with therapy. The most effective treatment is a combination of both and therapy can augment the impact of medication you already take for depression.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Many people associate ADHD with childhood, but symptoms of ADHD can carry into adulthood and impact all areas of a person’s life. Common signs of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, difficulty staying focused on tasks or accomplishing goals, and poor attention to detail. Most frustrating for many sufferers of ADHD is the tendency to lose things necessary to complete tasks, forgetfulness, and distractibility. ADHD can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and often requires medication due to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Therapists who treat ADHD can help you maximize your personal strengths and find creative ways of coping with the forgetfulness and distractibility.
Weight Management and Healthy Lifestyle
In our society, we tend to eat when we are happy, celebrating, mourning, down, tired, and bored. But individuals who struggle to maintain a healthy weight face a variety of serious health concerns, as well as the pain of being isolated, judged and discriminated against. Dr. McConnell provides support and assurance that you are not alone, and believes wholeheartedly in your ability to achieve your goals. Seeing a therapist can help you to explore the many factors and situations that may trigger you to reach for food as a source of comfort, and can further assist you in finding alternative methods to soothe yourself. Research shows that understanding the emotions behind your eating behavior can play a pivotal role in making permanent healthy changes. Dr. McConnell can help you unlock your personal motivation to change, and focus on your goals. If you have significant weight to lose, it is advised that therapists treat you in conjunction with a medical doctor, who can supervise your physical wellbeing. Dr. McConnell is happy to collaborate with you and a physician who can help set up a healthy eating plan and monitor your progress.
While everyone’s mood can change based on situations or even the time of day, extreme shifts in mood from euphoria to severe depression are the most prominent symptom of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar disorder affects about 1% of the population. Emotions exist on a continuum from severe depressive symptoms to extreme excitability. While most individuals hover somewhere in the middle, people who suffer from bipolar disorder gravitate from one extreme to the other. In times of elevated mood, some experience impulsivity, spending sprees, lack of need for sleep, racing thoughts, hypersexuality, and irritability or rage. They may be more likely to engage in activities that may threaten their safety, lack of ability to direct and complete goals, have excessively ambitious or unrealistic thoughts. They also face difficulties that prevent them from doing their job or interacting in social settings. When experiencing low mood, an individual with bipolar disorder may exhibit all of the classic signs of depression that may even lead to misdiagnosis. Psychologists are trained to take an extensive history which can help identify when the extreme shifts in mood began and how frequently they occur. Treatment of Bipolar Disorder is conducted by therapists, in conjunction with psychiatrists, using a combination of medication, cognitive therapy and what is known as interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT). IPSRT is evidence-based and focuses on sleep patterns and stressors in the environment that cause triggers for mania or depression. Medications are used to regulate the chemical aspects of mood, while therapy can help you learn coping strategies and behaviors that promote mood stability.