Monarch Wellness Specializations
Eating disorders, addictions, trauma, anxiety and depression can all feel like they rob you of your life. Monarch Wellness & Psychotherapy has specialists in many different areas of concern and several therapists who deal with overlapping areas of concern. Some mental health concerns require a specialist, whereas others are more like the “common cold” and you should be able to expect any psychotherapist to be able to work with.
Please keep in mind as we go through this list that the diagnoses are not written in stone anywhere. These are terms that mental health people use to communicate with each other and with the public. Many people fit more than one diagnosis, don’t clearly fit the criteria for a diagnosis, or ebb and flow between diagnoses.
Eating Disorders Treatment
People with binge eating have a large amounts of food in one setting, often while feeling somewhat dazed or out of it. Therapy for BED at Monarch focuses on understanding the deep emotional reasons that people engage in binge eating, which may be related to trauma or anxiety regulation. When the root cause is addressed, changing habits and behaviors to be more self-caring comes naturally. Therapy is successful when people feel supported and empowered by their therapist to deeply change their relationship with themselves and their food behaviors.
Emotional eating is another term for using food in order to meet emotional needs. Rather than having food all in one episode, as in binge eating disorder, the use of food is spread throughout the day.
Many people do not notice that their food use may be related to their feelings or thoughts at first, but a skilled therapists can help you to track if it tends to pop up more frequently when you are sad, lonely or angry or when you are comparing, criticizing or judging yourself (sneak preview: it probably does).
Once you have a deeper understanding of the things that drive you to seek out food in a way that doesn’t work for you, you are ready to address them. Monarch therapists help you to examine your assumptions and to support you while you experiment with new ways of being.
Bulimia is another term for taking in food and then trying to get rid of it in some manner. The heart of bulimia therapy often has to do with helping people to find other ways to regulate intense feelings. Bingeing and purging (or overexercising or restricting) often develop as coping tools for dealing with an emotional landscape that is overwhelming.
Monarch therapists work with you to develop the skills for dealing with your feelings, even when they are extremely intense such as when trauma is a piece of the picture. Successful therapy means that people feel free, empowered and in charge of their lives.
People with anorexia typically do not eat enough to fully nourish their bodies because they are very concerned about weight gain. Often the mind of a person with anorexia is preoccupied with thinking about food, calories and weight.
Sometimes it can be hard to feel like there is room for anything else, like really engaging in friendships, hobbies, or spontaneous joy.
Some people with anorexia can feel very irritable because their bodies don’t have the components for needed neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Some people can never feel reassured that they are restricting enough and feel as if they always need to check their bodies. As much as the anorexia can make a person feel like they are overcoming shame or keeping themselves safe, these side effects of restriction can make life miserable. Over time, anorexia can also start to take your health.
ARFID (Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder) is a situation in which the primary reason people have difficulty with food intake is sensory. Often people who have ARFID are highly sensitive to texture or taste, making it difficult to tolerate a wide variety of foods. There is some overlap between ARFID and neurodiversity, but there are also many times when this is not the case.
Successful treatment for ARFID is about having a knowledgeable guide as you acquire new skills and as you expose yourself to a wider variety of food. You dance at the edge of your comfort zone that your comfort zone can get wider and wider. With time and practice, people who have been successful in therapy for ARFID find that they are able to tolerate a wider variety of foods. This enables them to attend events regardless of the food situation, feel more comfortable when trying something different or new, and have a renewed sense of competence and trust in their abilities.
Body Image Issues/Body Dysmorphia
Many people have difficulty seeing themselves accurately. Body image issues and body dysmorphia make this task near impossible. With a skilled and caring therapist, you can learn how to know when your perceptions are being influenced by unrealistic ideas and expectations. Instead of trying to change your body to fit how you think it should be, you learn to change your attribution of yourself from one that is based in criticism and judgement to one that is truly loving.
Anxiety effects the bodymind on every level. Thoughts might feel like they are racing, going from one incomplete task to another. You might find that your thinking gets away from you so that you think things that are unrealistic at times, like predicting that small problems will result in catastophes. Some people with anxiety ruminate on the past, having trouble letting go of some perceived mistake. Others approach the future with worry and dread.
You might have trouble sleeping, heart palpitations, stomach issues, ulcers, muscle tension, muscle twitches, irritability, trouble concentrating. And any of these symptoms alone are enough to make anyone anxious!
Even if you know you have anxiety, you can’t think your way through it on your own. It requires an outside perspective to help you know when you might be seeing things differently from the way they really are, and skilled expertise to help you learn how to take charge of your nervous system.
A Monarch therapist will not dismiss or invalidate your anxiety, simply telling you to try to see it differently. They will simultaneously acknowledge the felt weight of the worry and learn to find ways to combat it. Many Monarch therapists not only teach mindfulness, but help you set up ways that you can remember to be mindful. We can help you learn to question your anxious assumptions and rewire your nervous system. Successful anxiety treatment can make people feel like they are in charge of their thoughts again (or for the first time).
Depression is always being thirsty because the glass of water is just too far away. Energy is often almost entirely depleted and little things seem next to impossible to do. It can also feel as if the meaning center of the brain is not functioning properly. Things that seem like a good idea in theory, like maintaining friendships or keeping up proper hygiene, are impossible to do in real time. It can feel hard to see the point and, even if you did, to muster the energy.
When you are depressed you don’t see possibility as clearly as you would otherwise. A therapist who is well-versed in depression can offer an outsider’s perspective but keep away from over-simplifying or invalidating your experience. We know that you aren’t an idiot. What’s tricky about depression is that all the things that typically improve mood – moderate exercise, appropriate sleep, time with friends, play – are hard to do when you aren’t feeling up to it. A Monarch therapist can help you to find small goals that do feel approachable, and build on those successes. After successful treatment people often feel as if the lights have gone on again. They can re-engage in work, play, and relationships and don’t feel burdened by these experiences.
PTSD, CPTSD & Trauma Treatment
Trauma is not about you, it’s about what happened to you. Whether it’s a single, overwhelming incident or an accumulation of experiences that has pulled the trigger, your nervous system reacts as if it is expecting threat. This might mean engaging the fight/flight system more than is helpful, leading to problems such as outsize anger or despair. It could mean that the freeze mechanism or the collapse mechanism are activated, making it difficult to meaningfully engage in relationships, work or play.
Sharing your history with a safe person is how your nervous system gets rewired. Trauma therapists are specifically skilled help you to process just enough material, in just the right context, that it actually moves you forward instead of throwing you back into your past. Healing after trauma is difficult and hard work, but it is immensely rewarding. People who engage in trauma treatment find that they are able to begin to treat themselves with kindness, soothe the reactive body so that relationships become easier and more rewarding, re-establish a creative or spiritual practice, and generally begin to live whole, meaningful lives.