Faith Szalay, Psy.D

Treatment Offered

Individual, Couples and Family Therapy

Depression

While depression may manifest in feelings of sadness and loss, it can, paradoxically, also manifest in an absence of feelings. It is often difficult for a person who is depressed to find passion for life and the motivation to work through the issues and address the mental constructs that are holding him or her back.  Everything can begin to feel pointless, detachment becomes a dominant framework for engaging the world, and negative expectations become embedded.  In this state, people often find themselves retreating from those aspects of life that could bring them joy, and making choices clouded by these negative emotions and unconscious ways of responding.

My therapy focuses on bringing these dynamics to the surface in a safe environment where they may be seen, understood and challenged. In the safety of our work together, I attempt to enable you to engage more constructively with feelings of sadness, and to develop new ways of anticipating and interacting with the world.  Through this process, we create more fulfilling patterns as you begin to feel comfortable and confident making new, and better, choices.

Anxiety

People often experience anxiety when there is a perceived danger or threat.  This can be a very adaptive reaction, as it can prompt one to react to the situation causing the stress; the problem arises when the danger isn't real or when the response is disproportionate.  Anxiety can run the spectrum from uneasiness or worrying all the way to full blown panic attacks.  Anxiety can become overwhelming.  It can inhibit us from participating in activities and situations that might otherwise help us to flourish.  Often, people find maladaptive ways to handle the anxiety, as anything can seem preferable to facing what we have grown to fear.

The fear can stem from a belief about oneself, or a fear of other people's judgment, or a perceived negative outcome in any given situation.  There is a wide array of maladaptive coping mechanisms that people employ in response to heightened or chronic anxiety; some people drink, or develop compulsive behaviors involving food or sex or drugs, or withdraw from friends or loved ones.  The common thread is a behavior or pattern that a person associates with distancing him or herself from that which feared.

All of this is exhausting.  Anxious thoughts can race around in one's head leading to other difficulties like insomnia, anger and frustration.  Often, having a safe relationship in which we can begin to examine these thoughts is a critical first step in beginning to release some of the anxiety.  The very act of identifying and understanding these dynamics can be relieving.  From there, we will be able to find new and different options.  We can slow the racing thoughts and find new ways of understanding the fears and anxiety and tending to them rather than being haunted and controlled by them.

Relational Issues

Our life experiences shape us deeply.  Through our relationships and experiences we all have organized complex belief systems and ways of being in the world with others. For example, someone who has been traumatized at a vulnerable time in life may be wary of others, or believe certain situations and people to be unsafe.  Or, perhaps, he or she may compensate by hiding or by being particularly controlling.  No matter what our lives have brought to us, we have all extracted a few lessons from it.  Some of these lessons serve us well.  The trouble starts when we outgrow the strategies we previously developed to cope with trauma. Perhaps hiding in one fashion or another once helped, but now it leaves one feeling isolated and lonely.  Similarly, while being distrustful or distant might have once served you well, now it only sets up self-fulfilling prophecies in which people disappoint you.

I work to help people understand their past, and reconnect to these vulnerable parts of themselves so that they can find new possibilities for the future.  We can identify the patterns in which you second guess yourself, or hurt yourself, or push other people away.  With careful and knowledgeable attunement we can use our therapeutic relationship to understand the complex feelings that surface around intimacy and vulnerability.  My therapy provides a safe place in which these old patterns can be examined and new choices can be implemented, ultimately allowing for much stronger and healthier relationships.

Other Issues

I help people overcome mental obstacles and self-defeating patterns.  Individual therapy is a journey of self-discovery and may be helpful for issues such as:

  • Grief and Loss
  • Relationship Issues
  • Fertility Issues
  • Cross-Cultural Conflicts
  • Shyness
  • Adolescent Issues
  • Sexual Problems
  • Creative Blocks/Writer's Block
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Anger Management
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Dream Work/ Nightmares
  • Trauma
  • Eating Disorders
  • Mood Swings
  • Substance Abuse
  • Addictions/Impulse Control

My therapy helps to deeply access the dynamics behind current issues as we occasionally visit the past.  This enables you to access greater awareness of the mechanisms that might be driving your decisions and reactions.  Then, we can learn to contemplate new and different possibilities.

                                           Couples Therapy

Relationship troubles often develop over time.  Feelings can become buried and hurts can become magnified and turn to resentment.  As couples lose the ability to connect and be vulnerable with one another, intimacy can be undermined.  I help couples to revalue their relationships by uncovering the unspoken contract, the breaches, and the ensuing disappointments.  In a safe environment where couples can begin to share and communicate, it is possible to reawaken empathy for one another as well as to uncover and rekindle what was previously valued.  The work may address aspects of emotional and sexual intimacy, resolving conflicts, improving communication and reconnecting with what once was, and may again be, treasured and loved.

Infertility

Facing difficulty conceiving a child can be devastating.  After years of research in this area, I have cultivated a particular expertise in helping men and women cope with struggles around infertility.  I am versed in the language, the science, the doctors, and the facilities in this field.  Often people find this helpful when they are able to process what they are going through without having to educate their therapist as well!

My treatment can help reduce the stress that arises around the fears connected to conceiving and carrying a baby to term.  Importantly, it can also help individuals and couples navigate difficult decisions on both an emotional and an intellectual basis, enhancing the ability to make decisions regarding options such as IVF, ICSI, adoption, or egg or embryo donation with clarity.  Moreover, I endeavor to help individuals and couples uncover issues that may be affecting their decisions, from trans-generational issues to personal definitions of what comprises a family, as well as concerns surrounding genetic issues.  My approach helps prepare people to make better decisions as well as to release stress or other beliefs that might be blocking them from achieving their fertility goals.

                                      Family Therapy

Family therapy is an art.  Our families become these "systems" that essentially have a life of their own. When a few of the intregal pieces of our family systems become imbalanced, there can be grave results that reverberate throughout the entire family.    It is my job to accompany you on understanding the various components that feed into this system.  Then, we can dismantle it and understand the system in a new and healthier and often more adaptive light. I pride myself on truly endeavoring to find a connection with every member, and hear the vision of the family so that the different members can become a more fulfilled and happier person within the framework of the family.

Website Builder