Every one of us has had days when getting out of bed felt like an impossible ordeal. We have awakened up in the morning, and the world seemed to be weighed down by a wet, heavy, gray cloth of tedious existence. The mere thought of our daily schedule and to-do list felt both overwhelming and meaningless. The bed might have seemed to be the only refuge from the hostile vastness or the world around us.
Fortunately, for most of us these days are extremely rare. Nevertheless, they give us an excellent idea of what depression might feel like. Feeling depressed goes beyond just being in a bad mood. Depression might be experienced as lack of interest in and enjoyment of the things we used to like, lack of motivation to engage with the world, withdrawal from people we love, sense of emptiness and void of meaning, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, etc. It is a dark and painful place. Even the sunny blue skies of my home town, Los-Angeles, are often not enough to lighten up the mood.
The commonly held belief that depression is chronic condition and is difficult to treat is simply not true. In my Los Angeles clinic I have worked with numerous clients, who were able to fully recover from depression, and re-engage in their life with pleasure and enjoyment. Psychotherapy, counseling and guidance of a seasoned therapist are essential in the process of recovery from depression and in restoring our sense of joy and well-being.
What causes depression?
Our human experience can be seen as comprised of 4 planes of experience. These planes of experience are listed and explained below, starting with the most abstract and subtle Spiritual plane of pure Consciousness, and down to the most dense and tangible Physical plane of our 5 senses. So here are the 4 planes:
Spiritual Plane – This plane has nothing to do with our common idea of spirituality or religion. The Spiritual Plane is the plane of Pure Consciousness. In Quantum Physics this plane is called the Morphogenic Field. This is the plane of the Blueprint of All-There-Is, the plane of infinite potentialities. It is the plane of Essential reality out of which all other realities emerge. Spiritual plane is not subject to change, and is out of reach for most of us in our daily life. It has profound conceptual importance in our work, however, no change takes place at this most abstract level of our experience and psychotherapy work begins from the Mental Plane and on.
Mental Plane – This is the plane of our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, ideas, stereotypes, preconceptions, etc. Our ability to exercise our Free Will and direct our life experience comes into play at the Mental plane and on.
Emotional Plane – This is the plane of our feelings, including the emotional baggage of old unresolved negative emotions and trauma we have been carrying with us.
Physical Plane – This is the plane of the physical reality accessible through our 5 senses, including our environment, our body, etc
Depression is a multidimensional human experience that can stem from our childhood, past traumas, disempowering beliefs we hold about ourselves, stage-of-life crisis, disappointments, grief and loss, etc. Just like every human experience depression has several important dimensions to address:
Mental: Our Mind is a powerful tool that creates our subjective reality and enforces existing mental patterns. Disempowering beliefs we hold, such as - “I’m not good enough,” “I am unworthy” etc., tend to create situations in our life that validate these beliefs. For example, the belief of being worthless and undeserving is likely to make us enter a relationship in which our partner treats us badly. By doing so our partner reinforces our belief of being worthless. The cycle continues until our beliefs are changed. This process is called Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Our experienced reality is a reflection of our Mind and to change it we have to change our inner experience. There is much more to be said about these mind-bending ideas. The bottom line is that shifting our disempowering beliefs will change our world. In my Los Angeles clinic we apply Neurolinguistics (NLP) and hypnotherapy to help my clients extract the old limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering ones.
Emotional: The emotional baggage is the unresolved feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, shame and hurt. This “baggage” is stored away in the depths of our Mind. As long as it remains unresolved, it will bring about and re-create life situations similar to those responsible for the initial emergence of the “baggage.” For example, unresolved trauma of abuse has the potential of recreating a pattern of abusive circumstances replaying in one’s life, until the initial trauma is resolved and released. Neurolinguistics (NLP) and hypnotherapy are highly effective in resolving past trauma and releasing old unresolved negative emotions.
Physical: Our daily routines, habits, food, exercise, substances we introduce into our body, weather, people around us, even the colors and smells in our surroundings have powerful impact on our well-being. Creating physical internal and external environment to support our wellness is a subject of great body of knowledge. For our purposes it is sufficient to point out the importance of the physical aspect of our experience in healing.
How can we to alleviate depression and are anti-depressants enough?
Our culture often resorts to the bio-physiological explanation of depression as “chemical imbalance” within the nervous system (the Physical plane). Once depression is explained as a merely physical dysfunction, it makes sense to treat it with physical remedy – medication. Anti-depressants aim to restore “chemical balance” in our body to alleviate depression. At times anti-depressants are an excellent step toward restoring our well-being, however, is it enough?
Allow me to answer this question with a question: Would you consider treating a toothache with pain medication only, without further medical intervention? Would you agree to treat the surface symptom, aka, – the pain, without addressing the cause of the problem? Probably not, since it would likely lead to a worsening of the underlying problem. If we do not feel the pain, it does not mean the problem that initially caused it has been resolved. Pain medication would be an excellent first step to prepare the patient for treatment, however, it would not be considered treatment as in of itself. We intend to numb the pain in order to better address the underlying root cause that created the symptom.
Depression is no different. It is a psychological pain that requires in depth intervention that goes beyond treating the physical aspect of changed brain chemistry. As discussed earlier, medication attempts to address the Physical plane – our biochemistry. Anti-depressants are excellent in numbing the psychological suffering and preparing us for psychotherapy. However, medication cannot change our mental and emotional experience. In order to effectively alleviate depression all planes of experience, including Mental and Emotional planes, must be addressed. Psychotherapy and counseling are excellent tools to address the non-physical aspects of our being and restore wellness.
How does therapy with you work, Dr. Harel?
When we will be working together to restore your wellbeing, we will use the 3 phase ARC psychotherapy approach, which incorporates Neurolinguistics (NLP) and elements of hypnotherapy to create rapid and profound transformation within Mental, Emotional and Physical plains of your experience. In my Los-Angeles based practice I have developed a 3 Power-step approach to help my clients:
The A-R-C approach:
A wareness – During the first Power-Step of psychotherapy we evaluate all aspects of your life that brought you to where you are now. Here we aim to gain insight into the current situation and determine the root cause(s) of current challenges. It is during this step that we also clearly define the ultimate goals for our work together, as well as the evidence procedure, which will show us that our work has been a total success. The Awareness Power-Step is a crucial step that identifies both the problem and the solution.
R elease – In the second Power-Step in the counseling process we use advanced mind-technology of Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy to create rapid and profound shift in your experience. Both NLP and hypnotherapy are tools to release the old emotional baggage of unresolved negative emotions and limiting beliefs, and clear the path toward your desires and dreams.
C o-Creation – The third and final Power-Step of psychotherapy is designed to provide new tools and resources to solidify your gains and establish your life trajectory toward all of the things that you want. During this step we create a vision of your ideal life and set you on the path of joy, purpose and fulfillment.
I see my role of a psychotherapist to be similar to that of a guide. When you hire a guide to navigate an unfamiliar terrain, you hope that your guide takes you to your desired destination choosing the optimal route that is both efficient and safe. You also understand the unspoken agreement that the guide will help you find your destination as long as you agree to follow the guide and to do the walking. I can help you find your path and support you in achieving all your heart desires, under one condition – you will have to do the walking.
Will psychotherapy work for me?
My Los-Angeles clinic serves large and diverse clientele and sometimes I am asked whether as a therapist I can guarantee my clients’ results. This is an important question to answer. Our time, energy and money are important resources and we want to make sure we allocate our resources wisely. When we talk about guarantee, there are 2 key elements to consider – You and me. As a therapist I can absolutely guarantee that you will receive 100% of my knowledge, expertise, experience, attention and support. I can also guarantee that if my 100% commitment to your success is met with your 100% commitment to yourself, there is a 100% guarantee you will achieve your goals and our work together will have a transformative impact on your life.
My 100% success guarantee comes with 2 necessary attitudes on the part of my clients:
I am 100% responsible for my life and my life is my making.
I am 100% committed to making any and all changes necessary for me to achieve my goals.
This single-minded commitment to your own success and wellbeing is the key component of our work. From my clinical experience at my Los-Angeles psychotherapy clinic I can attest that 100% of my clients, who showed up with 100% commitment to themselves, achieved remarkable life-changing results during our work together.
So what if you are not quite at 100% commitment yet? What if, let’s say, right now you are at 86% commitment to achieving your heart’s desire? Perhaps, despite the pain of depression, you are struggling to fully commit to your own well-being right now. If this is the case, you are not alone. Sometimes we need a little nudge to help us bring our intent and motivation into a single-minded laser-sharp focus. Consider what freedom from depression would feel like? What it would be like to wake up in the morning energized, motivated, excited about life and open to new experiences? How would it change your relationships, career, and your health? If these pictures in your mind create some movement within you and awaken curiosity or even excitement, pick up the phone and give me a call. Perhaps after talking to me you can find yourself either adjusting your goals and getting excited and committed to your new vision of what is possible for you. Or you can find yourself ready to make the 1 st step toward the new and empowered you. I am just a phone call away. If you are on the fence, pick up the phone and let’s chat. To make things even easier, we have added a telemedicine and online therapy option for you to be able to reach our services from the comfort of your home. For more information about online therapy please visit Online Therapy tab.