Therapy for Depression, Anxiety and Relationship Issues 

New York Psychotherapist Colette Dowling, LCSW

Psychotherapist Colette Dowling, LCSW, helps her patients resolve depression,  anxiety, and relationship issues.

For more information, or for a free therapy consultation, you can text or call 718-594-0201

Anxiety therapy includes treatments for panic anxiety, phobia, traumatic experiences, and anticipatory anxiety--fear that something bad could happen in the future. The brain can be calmed down by special breathing techniques. Mindfulness training helps the person stay in the present, which is highly helpful for the anxious, who tend to spend a lot of time focusing (usually negatively) on the past, or (fearfully) on the future. It's amazing to see how people can  enjoy life when they're no longer jittery and apprehensive. In fact it's not until they've been  treated that many anxious people realize how much of their time and mental energy has been devoted to incessant list-making, rumination, and general feelings of being agitated and ill at ease. They think this is just the way life is--until they find out that it isn't!

       EMDR (Eye Movement De-senitization and Re-processing) is one of the protocols I use in helping patients release their anxiety. Using mild brain stimulation we work to slow down the patient's agitation, allowing him or her to feel better and think more clearly.

        PTSD is a particular type of anxiety disorder that results from being forced to face something terrifying and feeling scared for one' life. Originally it was identified in war veteran who'd seen horrible things while fighting overseas. The definition then broadened to include rape victims. Now it includes those who've been in frightening car or train accident, or who have experienced what we call relational trauma--abuse, neglect. All these experiences leave victims with nightmares, flashbacks, fear of loud noises. PTSD also affects memory and cognition. It's a terrible thing to be living with, but the good news is that it's highly treatable with mindfulness techniques, special breathing techniques, and EMDR (Eye Movement De-sensitization and Reprocessing).  

Depression Therapy includes assessment of the type of depression, which is all-important in effective treatment. Is it pre-menstrual depression, perimenopaual depression? It is bipolar depression in which low moods alternate with unnaturally high ones? Treatment includes undoing negative or self-limiting beliefs that cause chronic depressed mood. Often, helping patients improve their relationships can relieve depression. Sometimes medication can be highly effective. In cases of serious or chronic long-term depression the optimal treatment may be the combination of psychotherapy and medication. For those who don't want to take medication there are good and effective non-pharmacalogic treatments available today, such as the Fisher Wallace Stimulator, an FDA approved device for treating depression in one's home. I make sure that my patients are aware of all the possible options.

Relationship therapy addresses a person's difficulties in forming and sustaining positive relationships and/or difficulty in leaving harmful ones. It's important for therapists to get patients' childhood, adolescent and young adult histories so we can begin to trace the roots of current problems in relating. Most such problems have to with inability to trust another person with one's deepest fears and longings. This willingness to be exposed and vulnerable--to talk about one's true needs and desires and fears-- is where intimacy comes from. Without it we  will always feel somewhat lonely and disconnected.

Often individuals turn to sex in the hope of feeling more intimacy and connection with their partners, but this works only briefly if at all, and sometimes even heightens feelings of loneliness.

So relationship therapy is all about helping the patient start to feel more comfortable with her deep feelings. Sometimes we can only learn what these are through dreams, but that is a great and powerful start. I have found sessions using  EMDR (Eye Movement De-Sensitization and Reprocesing) will help patients open up to their own inner processes. They begin to feel more interested in and less afraid of these processes. They begin, actually, to come to know and trust themselves. Having greater comfort within themselves they can begin to be more open, and to engage loved ones more deeply in their relationships. They start to feel more connected, less lonely.  When this happens it's very wonderful to see.          

Colette's Bio:

Colette Dowling is a graduate of The Smith College School for Social Work. She is a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker. Ms. Dowling is also a certified psychoanalyst. In addition she has training in EMDR for the treatment of trauma.

A writer and lecturer, Ms. Dowling is best known for uncovering women's psychological conflicts with independence in her best-selling book, The Cinderella Complex. She has also written, "You Mean I Don't Have to Feel This Way?": New Help for Depression, Anxiety and Addiction, and The Frailty Myth, which discusses the psychological effect on women of having been historically discouraged from developing the full strength of their bodies.

Colette Dowling has a private practice in the Flat Iron District of  Manhattan. For more information, or for a free therapy consultation, you can text or call 718-594-0201.

Read about Colette Dowling's therapy practice at the Psychology Today Directory of New York Therapists.

Colette Dowling, LCSW specializes in anxiety therapy, depression therapy and relationship therapy. Her Chelsea psychotherapy office is convenient to Brooklyn, Queens, Hoboken and Jersey City, as well as Manhattan.

For more information, or for a consultation, call 718-594-0201, or write

To hear Colette speaking about what it's like starting therapy with someone new, click the audio button.

Excerpts from Colette's books can be found here.

See Colette Dowling's website for her articles on anxiety therapy, depression therapy and relatgionship therapy.

Copyright Colette Dowling, 2006-2010