Angela P. Wu, LCSW

Therapist and Coach

Feel Better. Live Better. Start Your Journey Now. 

Flourishing colorful tree of life
Landscape of mountains and lake

More on Conditions and Issues

(listed in alphabetical order below)

Anxiety

Are anxiety and stress limiting you from living your life to the fullest?  Are you nervous, anxious, or on edge?  Perhaps you're tense and tired from the constant worrying or you're unable to stop the worrying.

Anxiety and stress can keep people up at night and can lead to health problems like headaches, stomach problems, aches and pains, and high blood pressure.  It can also lead to depression and other serious conditions.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I offer help to calm the fears, reduce the stress, and improve self-care.  I provide a safe and comfortable setting for the journey to a more balanced life.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety:

Excessive worry or fear

Apprehension or dread

Restlessness

Feeling tense, keyed up, or on edge

Anticipating the worst

Irritability

 

Feeling like your mind's going blank

Feeling of losing control or going crazy

Feeling detached or unreal

Chills or hot flashes

Increased heart rate, pounding heart, or chest pain

Sweating

Nausea, stomach upset

Shortness of breath

Trembling

Feeling weak, fatigued, or dizzy

Watching for signs of danger

Feeling of smothering or choking

 

Read my Blog for more on Social Anxiety and Anxiety
For an informational booklet from NIMH on the various anxiety conditions, click here: Anxiety Booklet

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects children, teenagers, and adults.  The signs and symptoms often include difficulty with attention, concentration, and impulse control.  Those with ADHD may daydream, and have difficulty sitting still and completing tasks.  Children and teenagers may have a hard time with homework and school, and may have behavior problems.  Often, they can repeat the rules and guidelines given by an adult, but still have difficulty following them.

Adults may have difficulty in their marriages or significant relationships.  They may also have trouble at work if they have not developed healthy ways to manage their symptoms.  Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I work with clients to identify their signs and symptoms of ADHD, and teach ways to cope and overcome the symptoms.


Helpful information on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be found in the following booklet from the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH): Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity

Anger Management

Anger management problems can lead to problems at home, work, and in relationships.  Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I work with clients to address the underlying issues that trigger outbursts of anger, and teach skills to safely contain and release the strong emotions at appropriate times.  I offer a non-judgmental
approach to help clients learn new ways to deal with stressors in life.

 

Adolescents (Teenagers)

The teenage years are a difficult time for many teens, and their family members.  This is a major life event and transition time filled with physical changes brought on by the hormones involved in puberty.  There are also mental, emotional, and developmental changes.  Teenagers often push their parents away during this time.  They are trying to be more independent, find their own identity, and fit in with the crowd.  This is the time that teens start to think more abstractly and rationally, and start to develop their moral code.

Teens have a lot to accomplish during this time, and their brain is still developing.  It's no wonder teens are described as moody and snappy, with their ups and downs.  Now, mix in mom and dad, or any parent or guardian, and you're sure to have conflict and arguments!  Roles are changing and there is a struggle for power and control.  The best way around this challenging time is to accept that this is normal, and then find a way to renegotiate roles and rules, and learn new communication skills.  Don't do this alone.  Get tips from a self-help book on parenting adolescents, join a support or discussion group, or attend parenting seminars.  A good therapist can also help the teen and family navigate this potentially rocky period of life.

Most families get through the teenage years without falling apart.  Some families, however, have significant conflict, yelling, lying, hitting, and other unhealthy behaviors.  Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I work with teens and their families to find trust and respect, and reconnect to what each person really wants deep down, the safety and closeness of a family.

 

Here is a booklet from The Anti-Drug offering tips for parents: Navigating the Teen Years

Additional information can be found in the following booklets from the National Institute on Mental Health:

Parents Guide- Bipolar Kids? Booklet

Autism Spectrum Disorders Booklet

Bipolar Disorder for Children & Teens

 

Burnout  (also see Stress)

Burnout can be defined as fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.  Exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.  Burnout typically occurs in hard-working, hard-driven, highly committed people.  It occurs where prolonged stress leads to loss of interest and motivation.

Burnout often involves jobs and work, but can occur in other areas of life too.  Some people suffer relationship burnout, caregiver burnout, and burnout in the helping profession. Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I work with clients to avoid burnout, manage stress, and reconnect to what's really important.

 

Are you at risk of burnout?

Do you find it difficult to say “no” to additional commitments or responsibilities?

Have you been under intense and sustained pressure for some time?

Do you have high standards that make it difficult for you to delegate tasks to others?

Have you been trying to achieve too much for too long?

Have you been giving too much emotional support for too long?

Do you find yourself being more cynical, critical, and sarcastic at work?

Have you become more irritable and less patient with coworkers or patients?

Do you feel underpaid, underappreciated, or criticized for matters beyond your control?

 

You may be at risk of burnout if you answered yes to any of the questions above.

 

Signs of burnout:

The signs of burnout tend to be more mental than physical.  They can include feelings of:

Powerlessness

Hopelessness

Emotional exhaustion

Detachment

Isolation

Irritability

Frustration

Being trapped

Failure

Despair

Cynicism

Apathy

 

Causes of job burnout:

Setting unrealistic goals for yourself or having them imposed upon you

Being expected to be too many things to too many people

Working under rules that seem unreasonably coercive or punitive

Doing work that frequently causes you to violate your personal values

Boredom from doing work that never changes or doesn’t challenge you

Focus of control is outside of yourself and in the hands of others, either supervisors or patients

Lack of control or decision-making

Poor job fit

 

Couples (Marriage, Relationships)

Are you at a stumbling point or crossroad in your relationship? 

 

Couples in marriage or committed relationships are individual people connected by a unique bond.  This strong bond often leads people to argue, use hurtful words, and push others away, even though the underlying desire is for closeness, connectedness, and love.


Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  My approach with couples is to create a safe and honest place where communication can be improved, needs met, and wounds healed.  I help people in marriages or relationships identify their roles, and relate to each other in healthier ways.   I work with couples identify and explore relationship needs, individual needs, improve open and honest communication, and reconnect with one another.  I help couples increase their understanding of common concerns in relationships, and offer tools to get through the tough times.

 

Children

Young children do not have the words to describe what's wrong and usually cannot explain why they feel the way they do, or act the way they do.  They do not fully understand what's going on and may not yet have learned effective ways to deal with worry, fears, sadness, anger, and stress.

Children usually show signs of problems through their behavior rather than words.  If your child is having behavior problems, talking back, throwing tantrums, or his/her school grades are dropping, it's important to get help.  If your child keeps having physical signs like headaches, stomach aches, and fainting or dizzy spells, he/she may be trying to tell you something.

 

My approach with children involves play and art to address emotional and/or behavioral problems.  I offer a gentle approach with children to assist with the healthy expression of thoughts and feelings, and learning and practice of new coping and social skills.  I also work with parents and family members to help support the child at home and continue healthy habits.

 

Additional information can be found in these booklets from NIMH:
Children Mental Health Treatment Booklet
Bipolar Disorder for Children & Teens
Autism Spectrum Disorders Booklet

 

Career

Are you having trouble deciding what career path to take?  Perhaps you're wondering what life would be like if you changed what you're currently doing?

Most of us have to go to work every day. Think of the great accomplishments you could have if you truly enjoyed what you were doing.  Think of how great you would feel while getting ready to go to work.  Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I offer guidance and information to help clients explore their natural strengths, interests, and potential career paths.

 

Caregivers

Caregivers are wonderful people.  They provide care to a spouse, child, parent, or loved one.  Often, as the medical condition or disability becomes more severe, the more energy a caregiver puts into caring for their loved one.

While caring for someone else, caregivers may begin to neglect care for themselves or put their needs on hold indefinitely.  They may stop taking time for themselves to see friends and family, and may stop their hobbies and other pleasurable activities.  There are usually strong and mixed emotions such as sadness, anger, and guilt. Though it may seem like there isn't enough time to get away, it is very important for a caregiver to find time for themselves. Caregivers can benefit from joining support groups, online communities, talking with friends and family, or just spending time to focus on their own needs and desires.  The time away helps to reduce stress and prevent burnout. Individual counseling can also be helpful for caregivers.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I work with clients to address the thoughts and emotions that can become overwhelming and unhealthy for a caregiver.  I help caregivers increase self-care, process the mixed feelings, and engage in healthier behaviors.

 

Depression

Do you feel down, depressed, or hopeless?  Perhaps you feel empty, tired, and have lost your motivation.  Maybe you're just going through the motions each day.


Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I offer a supportive and caring approach to help you back on your path to energy, passion, and purpose in life. Whether your depression is mild or severe, old or new, I am here to help you feel better, so you can get back to living a joy-filled life.


What is depression?

A condition that involves the body, mood, and thoughts.

A condition that can strike anyone regardless of age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender.

A condition that can last for weeks, months, or years without treatment.


Signs & Symptoms of depression:
The signs and symptoms of depression vary from person to person.  The number and severity of symptoms also vary over time.  Some people with depression don’t feel sad at all. Instead, they feel empty and lifeless, and feel as if they’re just going through the motions.  Symptoms of depression include:

Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood

Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism

Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex

Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

Trouble sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

Appetite and/or weight changes

Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

Restlessness, irritability

Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain, that do not respond to routine treatment

Read my Blog for more on Post Partum Depression 
Please click on the following for additional information on depression from NIMH:
Depression Booklet
Women & Depression Booklet
Men & Depression Booklet

 

Eating Disorders (Binge Eating, Obesity, Anorexia, Bulimia, Weight-loss)

Unhealthy eating patterns and disordered eating can start small and then get out of control quickly.  It's important to get help early on for issues involving food and emotions, food and control, and food and body-image.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful for those who are having difficulty losing weight.  Often, people try to lose weight by dieting and inconsistent exercise, but they don't work on the underlying thoughts and emotions that may be contributing to binge eating, overweight, and obesity.  If you have been unsuccessful in losing weight or keeping it off, it may be time to consider counseling.  I offer a caring and non-judgmental approach while helping clients develop a healthier lifestyle and positive view of themselves.  I work with clients to address the uncomfortable feelings that are often present with unhealthy eating patterns and eating disorders.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may also be helpful for those who are underweight or normal weight, and have frequent thoughts about thinness, body-image, control, or perfection.

 

Food and Feelings. . . What’s the Connection?

Food is needed for survival.  It nourishes our bodies to keep us alive.

Food is also often associated with feelings and emotions.

Some people are rewarded with food for behaving well or doing well.

Some people are given treats when they are hurt to help them feel better.

Food is involved in birthday parties, celebrations, and other experiences in life.

 

Some people use food and eating to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
Stress, frustration, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness, and loneliness.

Some people don’t realize what they are feeling and do this unconsciously.

“Emotional eating” can relieve uncomfortable feelings for a short time.

It can lead to more uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, self-loathing, shame, and helplessness.

Food can only resolve physical hunger.  Food cannot resolve emotional hunger.

The only way to feed emotional hunger is to face the uncomfortable feelings and practice appropriate coping strategies.

 

Separating Food from Feelings

How do you feel physically and emotionally?  Can you distinguish between your physical hunger and emotional hunger?

Keep a food and feelings journal.  This helps you become aware of your eating patterns and most importantly, your feelings.

Pay attention to your hunger.  Be aware of your hunger and learn to recognize the signs of true physical hunger.

Know what food can and cannot do.  Learn more about how food is used by our bodies to keep us alive.

Legalize food.  Remove the rules and judgments you have about food.

Practice healthy coping strategies.  Learn new ways to deal with uncomfortable feelings.

 

Read my Blog for more information on Failed Diets and Difficulty Losing Weight?

 

Grief and Loss

A loss of any kind can be difficult and no one may understand the significance and impact of the loss you're facing.  Grief is a normal reaction and there is no one right way to deal with loss, but it can be helpful and comforting to talk with an experienced therapist.  Sometimes people get stuck in their grief and are unable to move forward, or the feelings of grief are so intense that they interfere with everyday life.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I am here to help you through the bereavement, grief, and loss process.  I'll work with you to understand what has happened, give meaning, and move forward at your own pace.

 

Health Conditions

Did you know that having diabetes increases your risk for developing depression?  And having depression increases your risk for developing diabetes?  In fact, having any medical condition or health condition increases your risk of developing a mental health condition, and vice versa.

So what can you do?  Start by having a balanced lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep to help your physical and mental health.  Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful too.

For those who have already developed a medical condition, counseling can be a helpful tool in changing habits for a healthier lifestyle.  Counseling can also ease the adjustment to a new medical condition or diagnosis, and provide support for thoughts and emotions that develop from any loss associated with the condition.

You may feel as though no one else understands what it's like to go through what you're going through.  Some people find that relationships with family and friends change, and they may feel alone even if there are loved ones nearby.  This is when support groups or discussions can be very helpful.  Groups bring people with similar conditions or concerns together and encourage learning and sharing of thoughts, feelings, challenges, and successes.  Groups can even provide a place for humor and laughter.

Aside from group, individual counseling with a knowledgeable and caring therapist can also help you feel connected and understood.  The therapist can also assist with family meetings to help encourage understanding, acceptance, support, and communication about any desired or recommended changes.

I have worked in inpatient and outpatient medical and mental health settings, and am knowledgeable about many medical conditions and the healthcare process.  Most recently, I facilitated diabetes and chronic health conditions support groups.

 

The following information from the National Institute on Aging may be helpful for you:
Talking to Your Doctor
Understanding Memory Loss

 

Older Adults (Seniors)

Older adults and seniors face successes and challenges in the latter part of their lives.  Often, seniors are confronted with issues involving their health, independence, living arrangements, and finances.  Many seniors also undergo changes in their roles and identity as they retire, relocate, or loved ones pass away.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I offer guidance, support, and practical skills and techniques.

Helpful information from the National Institute on Aging can be found in the following booklets:
Talking to Your Doctor
Understanding Alzheimer’s
Understanding Memory Loss
Safe Use of Medications
Older Adults & Alcohol

Stress (Stress Management)  also see Burnout

Did you know that stress can be categorized as "good" or "bad"?

Eustress is known as the "good" stress.  Examples are circumstances such as a job promotion, marriage, birth of baby, etc.

 

Distress is known as the "bad" stress.  Examples include the impact of work demands, death of a loved one, car breaking down, etc.


Stress can also be acute (brief events) or chronic (long-lasting and ongoing).  Stress can be related to the job, relationships, family, school, and other areas.  Chronic stress in any area can lead to exhaustion and burnout.  The mind, body, and spirit undergo adaptations and changes in order to manage chronic stress.  A few examples of adaptations are
physical health problems, anxiety, and depression.

Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I teach clients stress management and time management techniques.  I work with clients to explore what's truly important for them, and help find a healthier balance in life.

 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

The most stressful jobs are:

Customer service departments in call centers

Production line workers, managers, supervisors

Jobs that increase work pressures or provide little decision-making

Low job control, high job demands, and low work related support systems

The major factors to stressful jobs include:

Lack of communication between employee & employer

Conflicting, unrealistic work expectations

Poor working conditions & environments

Lack of control or input over work or the pace of work

Frequent distractions

Excessive workload demands

Warning signs of stress:

Headache
Sleep disturbance

Overeating or eating less

Difficulty concentrating

Memory problems

Poor judgment

Seeing only the negatives

Anxious or racing thoughts

Constant worrying

Aches and pains

Nausea or dizziness

Chest pain

Feeling overwhelmed

Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax

Short temper

Upset stomach

Irritability

Exhaustion

 
Read my Blog for more information on Addicted to Work or Busyness and Taking Care of Our Selves
 

Self-Esteem (Self-Confidence)

Self-esteem can be defined as how we feel about ourselves.  It is mostly developed during childhood and continues to evolve throughout our lives.  Self-esteem is shaped by our successes and failures, and how we were treated by family, friends, teachers, peers, coaches, and other authority figures.

Self-esteem or self-confidence that is too high or too low may cause problems in life.  Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or coaching may be helpful.  I work with clients to address issues related to self-esteem, which are often linked to other conditions and issues.

 

Healthy self-esteem is developed with experiences that include:

Praise from others

Active listening by others

Respectful communication

Nurturance and attention from others

Success in sports or school

Trustworthy family and friends

 

Low self-esteem is developed with experiences that include:

Harsh criticism from others

Yelling, hitting, or verbal abuse from others

Lack of attention from others, being ignored, ridiculed, or teased

Unrealistic expectations by others, being expected to be “perfect” all the time

Failures in sports or school with messages that the child was a complete failure


Low self-esteem can lead to:

Anxiety, stress, loneliness, and depression

Problems with friendships and relationships

Problems with school or job performance

Underachievement and increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse

 

Conditions and Issues

  • Adolescents - Teenagers
  • Attention deficit (ADHD/ ADD)
  • Anger management
  • Anxiety - Social Anxiety, GAD
  • Asperger's
  • Behavior problems
  • Binge eating
  • Bipolar behaviors
  • Bereavement
  • Career
  • Caregiver stress
  • Children
  • Chronic Pain
  • Communication skills
  • Coping skills
  • Defiance
  • Depression - Dysthymia
  • Drug misuse/abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Empty nest
  • Fatigue - Exhaustion
  • Grief
  • Hallucinations
  • Health conditions
  • Insomnia - trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Life events and transitions
  • Lifestyle and habit changes
  • Loss - Change
  • Marriage Issues
  • Midlife
  • Obsessions & compulsions
  • Obesity
  • Panic or fear
  • Parenting and family issues
  • Personal growth
  • Pregnancy & post-partum issues
  • Professional goals
  • Relationship issues
    
    
  • Relaxation skills
    
    
  • Self-esteem
    
    
  • Self-improvement
    
    
  • Social skills
    
    
  • Stress management
    
    
  • Substance Abuse
    
    
  • Traumatic events
    
    
  • Weight-loss goals
    
    
  • Withdrawal - Isolation
    
    
  • Workplace issues
    
    

One-on-One sessions between you and me.  Individual sessions offer privacy and focus on your specific needs and goals.  E-therapy (online, virtual, internet) counseling and coaching also available.

Small group sessions consisting of no more than 6 clients. Group therapy, group counseling, or support groups allow clients to meet others with similar concerns, and offer a safe setting to gain insight and practice skills.

Sessions for partners in relationships or marriages.  Couples counseling or couples coaching sessions can help with communication,  heal past hurts, improve relationships, and identify resolution to problems.

One-on-One counseling, coaching, or psychotherapy sessions for kids and adolescents with mental health, behavioral health, or more common everyday concerns.  Family counseling or sessions for parents and family members.