Depression can hit you like a ton of bricks. Day to day activities might feel extremely difficult. Things that used to be pleasurable just don’t feel good anymore.
You may isolate yourself from your loved ones. Perhaps you feel like no one understands you. Maybe you’re wondering, “Will this ever end?
It is estimated that fifteen percent of the population will experience depression in their lifetime, and 1 in 6 are currently taking psychiatric drugs, mostly antidepressants. Depression is extremely common, and is on the rise. You are not alone.
You don’t have to live with depression forever. You can get help.
Counseling provides a safe place for you to express your thoughts, emotions and feelings. You will find support for what you are going through, and you’ll be given the tools you need to make a game plan that will help you feel better.
There is no magic cure but, with the right treatment and your participation, we can work together to find a way out of your depression.
My name is Lia Huynh. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been counseling others through depression for over 17 years in the San Jose and Milpitas areas. I have helped hundreds of people recover.
Let me explain how counseling works to treat depression.
The first step is building trust. You will be disclosing sensitive information, so I want to make sure you feel comfortable and safe working with me.
The next step involves digging into the causes of your depression. This may take some time. Some people been depressed for many years, but they don’t know why. Others may be experiencing their first episode.
Once we know what is causing your depression, we can work together to find a solution. I like to take a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to treatment. This means we tackle the depression from every angle. Our minds, bodies and spirits are all interconnected. We want to do whatever we can, using different modalities, to give you the best chance of recovery.
I don’t just use one treatment modality. Everyone is different, and each person requires a treatment plan tailored to their needs. Just like physical medicine and nutritional therapy, what may work for one client may not work for another.
Whatever the modality, I always use best practices based on the latest available research. I draw on my 17 years of experience working with depressed clients. You can rest assured that your treatment is based on recent developments in the field.
Many clients leave my office feeling “better,” more “at peace,” and “more hopeful.”
I have lots of experience in the field
I have over 17 years of experience counseling clients in the SF Bay Area, San Jose and Milpitas areas. I am not a newbie fresh out of school. I have worked in many different settings, including schools, hospitals, research teams, group homes, and drug and alcohol treatment centers. I have worked with many different populations, from homeless people straight out of prison to CEOs of big companies. See more about my work history here.
I am also a professor at a graduate school, responsible for teaching counseling students enrolled in a master’s degree program.
Why is this important? Think about what you need from a therapist, and you’ll see why it’s best to choose someone well-established in the field.
You want to feel confident that your therapist will not feel shocked or overwhelmed by what you will share. You want to know that he or she will be able to hold your information, take it in, and use it to help you process your feelings.
You don’t want to be fearful that he or she will judge you or violate your privacy. What’s more, you want to know that your therapist has already helped many other clients deal with depression.
I promise you a confidential, caring, service grounded in almost two decades of experience.
I am active in treatment
I don’t fit the traditional therapist stereotype. I don’t sit behind a desk with a pen and paper, taking notes and occasionally looking up to say “uh huh.” I am not simply a “good listener:” I take an active role in your treatment.
Of course, listening is a foundation of a good counseling session. However, I also understand that clients want direction. They want someone who is going to give them strategies and tools to use outside of the sessions.
I am strengths-based
The mainstream Western medical model believes that depression is something to be “cured,” so you can go back to leading a “normal” life. If you have depression, something is wrong with you and you must be “fixed.”
I don’t believe that. Yes, we need to get to a place where you don’t feel depressed anymore. However, I believe that the personality that caused you to be depressed is the same personality that enables you to be deeply compassionate and live a full life.
So, we don’t necessarily need to “fix” you, just redirect your energy and find new strategies for living. Also, I believe that if you have managed to live with depression, you are incredibly strong and resilient. It is one of the most painful illnesses to have, and the most misunderstood and stigmatized.
You are not someone who needs to be fixed, but someone to be redirected and empowered!
This is my passion
This is not my “default” career. I knew from a young age that this was my life’s purpose. I don’t dread getting up in the morning to go to “work.”
In fact, from my perspective, it is a privilege to help the many people that walk into my office every day. They are some of the most courageous, resilient, intelligent people I have ever met. The opportunity to be there as they to open their hearts to me, sharing their tears and hurts, is truly a gift that I do not take for granted.
It’s completely normal to have questions or reservations about starting therapy. Let me put your mind at rest.
“I am not sure if therapy will work.”
There is no magic cure for depression, and it’s sensible to keep your expectations realistic. However, depression very rarely “goes away” on its own. In fact, most of the time, untreated depression only gets worse. It may then manifest in many other comorbid disorders, like anxiety and substance abuse. Like any sickness or problem, it is worth trying to get outside help.
Some clients get stuck in patterns that they are not ready to break. In that case, no amount of therapy will help. (If you are reading this page right now, looking for a therapist, this probably doesn’t apply to you!) However, the majority of clients who commit to therapy find that their lives change for the better.
“Only crazy people go to therapy.”
This is simply untrue. If you could only see the people who come into my office! They are highly intelligent, highly educated, successful career people with families, businesses, and regular lives. In short, they are just like you and me.
They also happen to have problems, just as we all do. Not all problems are easily solved on our own. In fact, I’d say we all need someone we can turn to for advice. Not being able to ask for help often causes us to feel isolated and depressed.
“Therapy is expensive and time-consuming.”
Therapy does require time and money. However, it’s an investment in your life and happiness. In the same way you might make an investment in your share portfolio, education, or fitness, it’s smart to invest in your mental health and well-being.
Are you ready to conquer your depression and start enjoying life again? Contact me for a free 20 minute phone consultation to find out more.