San Jose psychotherapy

In working with many people of various ages and cultural backgrounds in the past 30 years, I have come to appreciate that each individual’s emotional and psychological challenges are unique. Therefore, in close collaboration with each client, I strive to use all my clinical training, experience, and the latest methods of psychotherapy to tailor treatment to address the particular issues of each client.

I have extensive clinical training and experience in the field of psychotherapy, and have been working with adults, children and adolescents for over 30 years. I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I am a licensed Marriage Family Therapist (MFC30570) and a certified Jungian Analyst/Psychoanalyst.

Quick Overview of Services Offered (for more detailed information go to Services):
  • Individual Psychotherapy for Adults, Children, and Adolescents
  • Jungian Analysis for Individuals
  • Couples Psychotherapy and Marital Counseling
  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Consultation for Psychotherapists and Interns
I have offices in San Francisco and San Jose. If you are interested in making an appointment, please contact me at one of my offices.


contact or make an appointment


The word psychotherapy itself comes from two words, psyche, which means 'soul', and therapy, which comes from the Greek word therapeuein, meaning 'to render service to'. So, psychotherapy is actually rendering service to the soul. When working with clients, I try to hold the complex psychological and cultural circumstances of the client in mind and strive to reach a deeper understanding of the particular issues that have brought that person into therapy. Along with a non-judgmental attitude of openness, acceptance and compassion, and flexibility in approach, this allows for a better attunement to the psychological needs of each client at the different stages of inner work.

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San Jose counseling

D. Steven Nouriani, Ph.D., MFT (MFC30570), has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist and a certified Jungian Analyst/Psychoanalyst, with over 30 years of clinical training and experience. Dr. Nouriani has extensive clinical training and experience with children, adolescents and adults in both in-patient and out-patient settings, as well as in private practice. He did his doctoral internship training at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco (a clinical institute for training in Jungian/Analytical Psychology). Ten years after he obtained his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, he went back to the Jung Institute of San Francisco and pursued advanced post-licensure training in Analytical Psychology and became a Certified Jungian Analyst. This additional advanced form of post-licensure training is very rigorous and in addition to proficiency on the theoretical knowledge and practice of Analytical Psycholog, it requires the therapist to undergo extensive analysis himself/herself in order to develop internally and have a deeper experiential understanding of psychotherapy and analysis. On average this type of advanced form of training can take anywhere from six to twelve years in addition to all the training requirements for licensensure as a psychologist or a psychotherapist.

Dr. Nouriani is in private practice in San Francisco and San Jose. He has a special interest in the areas of in-depth psychotherapy of various issues among adults and children, analytical psychology, addictions, alchemy, mysticism and dream analysis.

In addition to his practice of psychotherapy and analysis, Dr. Nouriani is a training analyst at the Jung Institute of San Francisco, is an international speaker, and has been presenting at various professional conferences and workshops over the last 15 years, where he has presented various papers in the field of Analytical Psychology and Depth Psychotherapy, the Treatment of Eating Disorders, Group Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy with Gays and Lesbians and cross-cultural issues. He has also been training other therapists and teaching as adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. He has conducted research on aging and development, eating disorders, Egyptian mythology and mysteries, as well as alchemy.

Education
  • Certified Jungian Analyst, Analytical Training at The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco
  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Doctoral Internship at The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco
  • M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Viriginia State university
  • B.A. in Psychology from George Washington University
Credentials and Affiliations
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC30570)
  • Certified Jungian Analyst
  • California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Association of Professionals Treating Eating Disorders
  • Adjunct faculty member at John F, Kennedy University
  • Adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
  • Analyst Member, The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco
  • Faculty member of the Analytical Training Program, The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco
Presentations
  • Global Crisis: Earth and Soul Consciousness. Presentation at the Where Are the Opposites Now Conference, San Francisco, 2013.
  • Exile, Return, Peacemaker: The Psychology of Exile. Presentation at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 2013.
  • From Mortification to Coniunctio: Attunement to the Anima Mundi. Presentation at the members meeting of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, 2013.
  • The Meeting of the Two Rivers: Analytical Psychology and Sufism. Presentation at the International Association of Analytical Psychologists Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013.
  • Embracing the Other and the Re-emergence of the Divine Feminine: Transformation of Darkness and the Evolution of Consciousness. Presentation at the North-South Conference of Jungian Analysts and Candidates, 2012.
  • Anubis: The One who Watches Over Mysteries. A special presentation in honor of King Tut, given at the Jung Institute of San Francisco, 2010.
  • The Re-emergence of the Divine Feminine: Transformation of Darkness and the Evolution of Consciousness. Presentations at the Jung Institute of Santa Fe, 2008.
  • The Role of Terrorism and Fundamentalism in the Corruption of Cultural Symbols and the Destructive Defense against Fragmentation. IAAP-IAJS Joint Conference of Jungian Analysts and Candidates at ETH in Zurich, 2008.
  • The Practice of Jungian Psychotherapy - Jung Institute of San Francisco, 2008.
  • One Thousand and One Nights. Presentations at North-South Conference of Jungian Analysts and Candidates and at the Jung Institute of San Francisco, 2007.
  • The Serpent and the Scarab in the Journey of the Sungod through the Netherworld: An Archetypal Foundation to the Mysteries of the Ego's Journey towards Individuation. Presentation at the North American Conference of Jungian Analysts and Candidates, 2006, and to the Friends of Jung in San Diego, 2008.
  • Treatment of Men with Eating Disorders. Presentation at A Major Conference on Eating Disorders in San Francisco, 2006.
  • Workshop on Culture and Diversity: Clinical Work with Persian Clients. Presentation at the Jung Institute Los Angeles. 2005.
  • Eating Disorders: Integrating Object Relations and the Jungian Approaches. Presentation to a group of psychologists at the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, San Francisco chapter
  • Treatment of Eating Disorders - San Jose State University. 2006.
  • Treatment of Eating Disorders from a Jungian Perspective. Presentation at the First Annual California Conference on Eating Disorders.
  • Eating Disorders and Gay & Lesbian Clients. Presentation at the Third Annual In the Family Conference.
  • Working with Children through Play and Sand Play Therapy: Integrating Object Relations and Jungian Perspectives - San Francisco Bay Area psychotherapists.
  • Integrating Jungian and Object Relations Approaches in the Treatment of Eating Disorders. Presentation to a group of psychotherapists in the Sacramento area.
  • Eating Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment with a Psychodynamic Approach. Lecture given to graduate students at San Francisco State University.
  • Gender, Masculine and Feminine: Ideas from the Jungian Perspective. Workshop
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Eating Disorders: Integrating Cognitive-Behavioral and Psychodynamic Approaches: Alternative Family Therapy Institute in SF
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Eating Disorders from Object Relations and Jungian Perspectives. Lecture to Bay Area psychotherapists
  • Couples Psychotherapy from a Jungian Approach: to Bay Area psychotherapists.
  • Humanistic Approach to working with Developmentally Disabled Adults: Behavior Modification Principles & Techniques: Washington D.C. Group Homes.

Research
  • 2012-present: Analytical Psychology and Mysticism
  • 2010-2012: Alchemy, the door to understanding the unconscious, and psychological processes
  • 2009-2010: Anubis, the Egyptian myth of the Afterlife, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead
  • 2007-2009: Various aspects of the Divine Femine: Isis, The Dark Feminine and Mary Magdalane. Also researched the Egyptian Mysteries.
  • 2006-2007: Egyptian mythology on the journey of the Sungod in the underworld and the archetypal foundations to the mysteries of the ego's journey towards individuation.
  • 1994-1996: Clinical research for Dissertation in Clinical Psychology: This research was an in-depth clinical study on binge eating and obesity. The findings indicated that severe binge eaters were a distinct clinical group within the obese population and differed from other groups by presenting a significantly distinct clinical syndrome.
  • 1982-1984: Clinical research for Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology: This research was on the clinical application of an alternative projective technique, called "The Thematic Apperception Technique", to the elderly population. This study explored various psychological factors related to development among the elderly and the findings supported the more recent theoretical views regarding continuous psychological growth and change throughout old age.
San Jose psychotherapy counseling

I offer the following services out of my San Francisco and San Jose offices: The word psychotherapy itself comes from two words, psyche, which means 'soul', and therapy, which comes from the Greek word therapeuein, meaning 'to render service to'. So, psychotherapy actually means to render service to the soul. Therefore, when working with clients, I try to hold the deeper complexity and the mystery of the psyche and the particular life and cultural circumstances of the client in mind and strive to reach a deeper understanding of the particular issues that have brought that person into therapy. In my clinical experience, this desire for deeper understanding and non-judgmental attitude of acceptance, openness and compassion in working with clients allows for a flexibility in approach, so that various treatment techniques can be utilized in order to remain deeply attuned to the psychological needs of each client at the different stages of inner work.

When working with clients, I try to hold the deeper complexity and the mystery of the psyche and the particular life situation of the client in mind and strive to reach a deeper understanding of the issues which have brought them into therapy. I utilize all my training and clinical experiences over the past 30 years to apply various techniques and blend several approaches to facilitate a deeper understanding and the process of change and transformation.

In providing in-depth psychotherapy or analysis, I use various approaches, which can range from psychodynamic and analytical ways of working, to relational, archetypal, developmental approaches towards understanding emotional and psychological issues. Treatment can include active imagination, dream work, sand play, guided imagery and other forms of creative art therapy. It can be any or a combination of above methods and include approaches from other schools of psychotherapy, such as self-psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and so on. In working with each client, I try to arrive at a deeper understanding of what their needs are which have brought them into therapy and support them in achieving a deeper understanding of themselves and their goal in therapy.

My specialties include:
The techniques that I use include:

I currently offer the following groups:
  • Psychotherapy Group for Binge Eaters
         An in-depth psychotherapy group for men and women who struggle with binge eating. In a safe and supportive environment, the group participants can explore the emotional and psychological factors underlying their binge eating problem. New and effective ways to cope with both inner and outer factors which lead to binge eating will be discovered and processed.
         Issues such as emotional stress, relationship difficulties, low self-esteem, isolation, body-image and self-image as well as self-management will be explored. Furthermore, the group participants will be supported in identifying individual tools and resources which would help them in their personal journey towards continuous recovery.

  • In-depth Psychotherapy Group for Gay Men
         An in-depth group psychotherapy for gay men focusing on relationship issues, sexuality, low self-esteem, isolation, fear of intimacy, difficulties in dating, HIV issues, dealing with loss, internalized homophobia, changing self-destructive behavior patterns, and coping with difficult emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depressed mood.
         Reading materials, dreams, and personal myths and stories will be utilized in the course of the group to enhance the depth and richness of the group process.

  • Men's In-depth Psychotherapy Group
         An in-depth psychotherapy group for men focusing on the psychological issues specific to men; relationship issues, sexuality, low self-esteem, isolation, fear of intimacy, difficulties in dating, mid-life issues, father-son and mother-son issues, and coping with difficult emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depressed mood.
         Reading materials, dreams, and personal myths and stories will be utilized in the course of the group to enhance the depth and richness of the group process.
San Jose psychotherapy

  • How to make an appointment
  • Office hours
  • Cancellation policy
  • Payment options
  • Insurance options
San Jose counseling

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San Jose psychotherapy counseling

Crisis Support Services:
  • San Francisco: (415) 781-0500
  • East Bay: (510) 849-2212

Woman Inc.: (415) 864-4722

HIV Mental Health Services:

  • San Francisco: (415) 476-3902
  • East Bay: (510) 655-3435

San Francisco AIDS Foundation:

  • Main Line: (415) 487-3000
  • Client Services: (415) 487-8000

Low-Fee Counseling Services:

  • Haight Ashbury Psychological Services: (415) 221-4211
  • Pacific Center: (510) 548-2192
  • JFK University Counseling Center: (925) 798-9240
  • Jewish Family and Children's Services: (415) 491-7960
  • Jung Institute: (415) 771-8955
  • Alternative Family Project: (415) 436-9000
  • New Leaf: (415) 626-7000

San Jose psychotherapy
  • Bates, Charles (1991) Pigs Eat Wolves: Going into Partnership with your Dark Side. Yes International Publishers.
  • Bly, Robert (1990) Iron John: A Book About Men. Vintage Books
  • Boldt, Laurence G. (1996) How to Find The Work You Love. Penguin Books.
  • Feinstein, David & Krippner, Stanley (1988) Personal Mythology. Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.
  • Grof, Stanislav & Grof, Christina (1989) Spiritual Emergency. Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.
  • Hillman, James (1996) Anima: An Anatomy of Personified Notion.Spring Publications.
  • Hillman, James (1979) .The Dream and the Underworld. Harper Perennial.
  • Johnson, Robert (1986) Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth. Harper San Francisco
  • Johnson, Robert (1989) He: Understanding Masculine Psychology. Harper & Row Pub.
  • Johnson, Robert (1989) She: Understanding Feminine Psychology. Harper & Row Pub.
  • Johnson, Robert (1991) Owning Your Shadow. Harper & Row San Francisco.
  • Johnson, Robert (1994) Lying with the Heavenly Woman: Understanding and Integrating Feminine Archetypes in Men's Lives. Harper & Row Pub.
  • Jung, C. G. (1963) Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Vintage Books.
    Krippner, Stanley (1990) Dreamtime and Dreamwork. Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.
  • May, Rollo (1981) Freedom and Destiny. Dell Publishing Co.
  • McKay, Matthew, Rogers, Peter & McKay, Judith (1989) When Anger Hurts. New Harbinger Publicatons, Inc.
  • Neumann, Erich (1994) The Fear of the Feminine. Princeton University Press.
  • Obson, Diane (1991) A Joseph Campbell Companion. Harper Collins Publishers.
  • Stone, Hal & Stone, Sidra (1993) Embracing Your Inner Critic. Harper San Francisco.
  • Viorst, Judith (1986) Necessary Losses. Simon & Schuster.
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1988) Babies and their Mothers. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
  • Woodman, Marion (1982) Addiction to Perfection. Inner City Books.
  • Woodman, Marion (1992) Leaving My Father's House. Shambhala.
  • Woodman, Marion (2000) Bone: Dying into Life. Viking Compass.


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Anubis: The One Who Watches Over Mysteries

D. Steven Nouriani, Ph.D., MFT

This Special Event Presentation was given in honor of King Tut at The Jung Institute of San Francisco.

Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead and the guardian of the Necropolis, is generally depicted as a jackal-headed god who appears in significant moments of transition in various ancient Egyptian religious rituals and ceremonies. A statute of Anubis was discovered at the entrance to the treasury chamber of the tomb of King Tutankhamun (King Tut), whose cause of death still remains a mystery today. Ancient Egyptians were preoccupied with their myth of the afterlife, as it psychologically helped them with important existential questions and the individuation process. The dark and the unknown world that the Egyptians archetypally projected onto as the afterlife, is what we conceptualize as the unconscious and the collective unconscious in Analytical Psychology today.

Anubis presided over the mystery of the transition of the soul’s journey from the moment of death in this world to rebirth into the afterlife. Furthermore, he had an important role in the ritual of embalming of the dead and presided over the important ceremony of the weighing of the heart, in which the deceased were judged before Osiris. Anubis had a paradoxical nature, served as a bridge between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and psychologically symbolized the transcendent function, bridging the conscious with the unconscious.

In this presentation we explored Anubis, the Egyptian myth of the afterlife, and the Egyptian mysteries associated with the transition of the soul into the afterlife. We drew from various images and themes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Book of Caverns, as well as the Amduat’s depiction of the journey of the Sungod into the Netherworld, to arrive at a deeper understanding of the journey of the soul in its transition into the afterlife. The rich imagery and complex ideas from these ancient texts reflect the Egyptians’ understanding of the development of consciousness several thousands of years ago. We looked at how this material reflects the psychological processes of transformation and individuation as we understand them today in Analytical Psychology.

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San Jose counseling

In working with individuals, I use my many years of educational training and clinical experience over the past three decades to combine various approaches from the field of depth psychotherapy to develop a deeper understanding of the unique challenges that you are faced with and to address these challenges more deeply to arrive at effective change and transformation.

While using a similar approach in working with couples, I try to maintain a neutral and non-judgmental approach and utilize various techniques in couples therapy to facilitate a deeper understanding between the couple, support each person in identifying, honoring and expressing their needs, discover unsuccessful patterns of relating which lead to conflicts ands teach and improve communication skills. Furthermore, I try to support the couple in determining ways in which they can find fulfillment in their relationship as they come to understand and define their own unique values in their relationship.

What is counseling?
There are many types of counseling and the type of counseling that you receive heavily depends on the level of the educational training and clinical experience of the counselor or therapist whom you work with. For example, doctoral level counselors have more educational training than master’s level counselors. In general, counseling involves a therapeutic approach towards emotional and psychological problems with a focus on problem solving and supportive emotional work. Depending on their level of education and training, different counselors use different techniques which impacts the focus and the depth of the work that can be achieved, as well as the amount of insight and consciousness that can be gained through the counseling work.

What is psychotherapy?
Depending on their level of education and extent of training, various psychotherapists define and approach psychotherapy differently. Some therapists use the words counseling and psychotherapy interchangeably. While this issue is controversial and is debated in the field, psychotherapy can involve deeper psychological approaches and techniques. In general, psychotherapy involves the use of one or more psychotherapeutic approaches, and can involve working with the unconscious as well as past family issues towards addressing various psychological and emotional problems. While providing emotional support, psychotherapy can help clients not only gain insight and consciousness about the problems which have brought them into therapy, but also obtain tools and learn ways to make necessary changes in their lives towards improvement and achievement of a more fulfilling life.

What is in-depth psychotherapy?
Depending on their educational level and training as well as years of clinical experience various depth-psychotherapists will define and approach depth-psychotherapy differently and there is a debate about this issue in the field. In general, in-depth psychotherapy is a more in-depth form of psychotherapy and it involves working with emotional and psychological issues at a deeper level in order to develop a better understanding of the roots of the particular emotional and psychological challenges that the client is confronted with. In-depth psychotherapy generally involves various approaches to working with both conscious and unconscious issues, it can involve an exploration of past family issues as well as present problems, dream work and other in-depth ways of working in order to develop a deeper understanding of oneself and to make long term effective inner change towards improvement and achievement of a more fulfilling life. Many people, even including some psychotherapists, do not know that the word psychotherapy itself comes from two words: psyche which means "soul", and therapy, which comes from the Greek word therapeuein , which means "to render service to". In essence, psychotherapy means rendering service to the soul. The more in-depth forms of psychotherapy, such as Jungian psychotherapy, can involve a deeper approach with a therapeutic attitude of supporting a client’s individuation process to achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and develop a better balance between their conscious and unconscious aspects of their psyche in their process of individuation and achieving wholeness.

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San Jose psychotherapy counseling

Jungian Analysis is an in-depth form of psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, based on the pioneering work of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who questioned the limitations of the Freudian approach, and through scientific research originated the school of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered one of the leading developers of the science and art of modern in-depth psychotherapy. Jungian analysis facilitates the development of consciousness and supports a deeper understanding and the development of oneself towards self-realization and wholeness.

In my experience of studying and practicing various methods of modern psychotherapy during the past three decades, the Jungian method is the most non-judgmental and compassionate approach towards working with people. It is a complex form of in-depth therapy, which can include other forms of psychotherapy. This mode of therapy can be relational, it can be archetypal, it can be developmental, it can be deeply spiritual, it can include active imagination, dream work, sand play, authentic movement, and other forms of creative art therapy. It can be any or a combination of the above methods and include approaches from other schools of psychotherapy, such as Self-psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and so on. Because it is the most comprehensive way of working with a person, it is also most adaptable to the needs and goals of the patient and is a very helpful approach towards a variety of emotional and psychological difficulties.

Among Jung's many major contributions is the notion of individuation, which involves the deeper process of self-realization, the process of becoming ourselves through inner integration and a deeper connection between the conscious and unconscious aspects of our psyche towards the development of wholeness. Another major contribution of Jung was the concept of the shadow and the integration of those parts of ourselves that we might reject or be unconscious of and experience as the despised, shameful, rejected, or annihilated parts of ourselves. The conscious process of acceptance and integration of these rejected or hidden parts of ourselves in psychotherapy can often lead to a connection to inner sources of creativity, self-empowerment, self-confidence, self-expression, integrity, wholeness and fulfillment.

One of the basic assumptions of the Jungian approach is that we all have the potential for growth and healing. Furthermore, the healing potential for growth and change is in the patient and it can also be experienced in the therapeutic relationship between the patient and the analyst. One of the goals of Jungian analysis can be a deeper understanding of oneself, through a deeper explorations of one’s dreams, fantasies, imagination and problems that one is faced with in daily life, especially patterns that are problematic, get us stuck and get in the way of being ourselves or growing further in life. This collaborative way of in-depth therapy can often lead to discovering our deeper potentials and then finding ways to express more who we are and become ourselves in our interactions with the outer world.

As Edinger, a Jungian analyst, has indicated, Jungian psychotherapy or analysis is both a science and an art. It is a science in the sense that it attempts to objectively and empirically address each client's emotional and psychological difficulties by applying various theoretical approaches and the knowledge that so far has been gathered in working with the unconscious. It is an art in the sense that it depends on the depth of the inner development of the psychotherapist or the analyst to empathize, relate and deeply understand the complexities involved in each unique individual. Of course, the more skilled and developed the psychotherapist or the analyst is, the wider the possibilities are and the richer the work is. In conclusion, Jungian analysis can help us discover the deeper purpose and the meaning of our lives and help us live our daily lives in ways in which we can be more aligned with the deeper purpose to experience the infinite, the sacred, or that which is meaningful or numinous to each of us.

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couples psychotherapy

In working with couples, I use my many years of educational training and clinical experience over the past three decades to combine various approaches from the field of depth psychotherapy to develop a deeper understanding of the unique challenges that you are faced with and to address these challenges more deeply to arrive at effective change and transformation.

I try to maintain a neutral and non-judgmental approach and utilize various techniques in couples therapy to facilitate a deeper understanding between the couple, support each person in identifying, honoring and expressing their needs, discover unsuccessful patterns of relating which lead to conflicts ands teach and improve communication skills. Furthermore, I try to support the couple in determining ways in which they can find fulfillment in their relationship as they come to understand and define their own unique values in their relationship.

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emotional difficulties

Anxiety Disorder:
Anxiety is a common experience and most of us might feel some anxiety at times because of worrying about a deadline we have to meet or performing on a task, like for example having to give a speech. People who have an anxiety disorder however, experience themselves as anxious most of the time, feel overwhelmed and have difficulty calming themselves down. Other cognitive symptoms such as excessive worry, negative thinking, catastrophizing, excessive fear as well as physical symptoms such as sweaty palms, heart burn or higher heart beat and higher pulse rate, sleep problems and muscle aches may also accompany the emotional experience of anxiety. People who suffer from severe anxiety disorder can not easily calm themselves down, feel that they can not control their symptoms, and worry excessively. In such cases it is important to seek psychological help, as chronic anxiety can lead to other severe psychological and physiological problems.

Depression:
All of us may at times temporarily feel sad, down or somewhat depressed. Individuals who experience major depression or another type of a depressive disorder may find themselves overwhelmed by deep feelings of depression or sadness which may interfere with their overall daily functioning, such as inability to go to sleep, waking up thinking or depressed in the middle of the night, inability to get out of bed, inability to go to work or complete daily tasks, inability to eat or over-eat, lack of energy, fatigue and lack of interest in themselves or their lives, they may easily become tearful or experience suicidal thoughts or feelings, find themselves unable to concentrate on tasks or enjoy life in general. There are various forms of depressive disorders such as major or clinical depression, dysthymic disorder, depressive disorder not otherwise specified or other related forms of depression such as psychotic depression, postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder. It is important to seek psychological help when such symptoms persist and address the psychological and/or physiological roots of depression.

Bipolar Disorder:
Bipolar disorder is a form of mood disorder which is indicated by experiences of abnormal mood elevations as in mania or hypomania and can be accompanied by episodes of depressive mood. In some cases of bipolar disorder a person may experience both manic and depressive episodes of mood variations and the cycles may alternate with various durations for each episode and vary on the bipolar spectrum. Other types of bipolar disorders include bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia. Bipolar disorders are complex and it is very important to seek psychological consultation to address the various complexities and challenges that can emerge from struggling with a bipolar condition.

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
OCD or Obsessive Compulsive disorder is a condition in which a person experiences intrusive thoughts or obsessions, which in turn lead to compulsive behaviors often in an attempt to reduce deeper roots of anxiety. Often a person who is struggling with OCD may feel out of control with the thoughts or obsessions and/or compulsions or behaviors which he/she is driven to do in order to cope with underlying feelings of anxiety. It is important to seek psychological consultation especially in more severe cases of OCD where symptoms may interfere with a person’s normal functioning and lead to other emotional or psychological problems. OCD can also develop as a form of a personality disorder.

Panic Disorder:
Panic disorder is a form of anxiety disorder in which individuals experience mild to severe panic attacks, occurring once or a few times or more often. Panic attacks are usually experienced as uncontrollable and may appear to be happening without a warning. Some of the symptoms of a panic attack are an intense rush of fear, a sudden strong heart beat, a sense of being overwhelmed, anxiety and dizziness. The experience of panic attacks are usually scary for people and sometimes people become afraid that they may be going crazy, loosing their mind, passing out or something terrifying happening to them that is out of their control and that they do not understand. What usually reinforces panic attacks is fear of having another panic attack, which may cause additional anxiety or bring on another experience of a panic attack. It is important to seek psychological consultation to explore and understand the deeper roots of panic attacks in order to address this problem more effectively.

Phobias:
The word phobia comes from the Greek word phobos, which means 'fear', and applies to many forms of fear that can arise in association with various emotional and psychological issues. Phobias are one of the most common forms of anxiety disorders, such as Agoraphobia (fear of crowded places and fear of leaving one’s home), Acrophobia (fear of heights), Claustrophobia (fear of being in confined spaces), or Aviophobia (fear of flying).

Social Anxiety Disorder:
Most of us may experience some mild nervousness when we are meeting someone new or important, or giving a speech in front of an audience. People who have social anxiety though, would experience moderate to severe anxiety in most social situations. They may experience excessive shyness, worry about what others think about them, worry that others are negatively judging them, often may feel rejected by others, become readily embarrassed and overwhelmed in everyday social situations and avoid all kinds of social situations at all costs to prevent experiences of anxiety. Most people who have social anxiety are aware of their problem, feel overly self-conscious about it, find themselves at a loss how to deal with the problem, avoid social situations and feel that their problem is out of their control. A chronic problem with social anxiety can also negatively affect and reinforce problems with poor self-esteem and low self-confidence. Problems related to social anxiety, poor self-esteem and self-confidence can be addressed through psychotherapy.

Adjustment Issues:
At various stages in life which involve some form of a major change or transition we can experience emotional distress and at times various stressors in our lives can become so challenging that we might experience depression, anxiety, fear, panic, anger, deep disappointment or a mixture of such emotions. Such mixed emotions can emerge and be experienced temporarily or last longer and require a period of emotional adjustment specially during challenging times which involve life transitions such as a major move, break up and separation with a lover/spouse/partner/friend, divorce, grief over the loss of a loved person or a pet, occupational changes or challenges such as job loss or demotion, scholastic difficulties and challenges, identity issues and various other life events which may involve a form of major change or loss. It is important to seek psychological help at these times to have emotional and psychological support during such critical transitions in order to make a successful transition to the next stage of life, as they can be invaluable opportunities for increased consciousness and growth.

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eating disorders

In general eating disorders involve various disturbances in eating behavior, such as a significant reduction in food intake or a significant increase in the quantity and frequency of food intake, accompanied by a wide range of emotional distress and psychological symptoms. Eating disorders are complex as they can involve emotional, psychological, social and physiological issues and affect a person internally and in their relationships with others. Although eating disorders tend to be exhibited more among women, recent research indicate that men also struggle with eating disorders and the rate of eating disorders are increasing among them. The various forms of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and night eating disorder. The following are a brief description of various forms of eating disorders.

Anorexia Nervosa:
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious type of eating disorder that sometimes can become life threatening. It is characterized by a strong desire and drive for thinness, an intense fear of weight or fat gain to the point that the person may be restricting all types of food intake and/or starving themselves for long periods. Anorexia is commonly accompanied by emotional difficulties, severe body image and self-image disturbances, mood disorders, unrealistic view of one’s body shape and function, a drive for perfection and disruption of menstrual cycle in women and reduced sexual drive in men. Anorexia Nervosa can be manifested as restrictive type or as binge eating/purging type. It is very important to seek psychological help when these behavioral and/or psychological symptoms appear and address the underlying emotional issues.

Bulimia Nervosa:
Bulimia Nervosa is a serious type of eating disorder that sometimes can become life threatening. Bulimia Nervosa can be manifested as purging or non-purging types. It is characterized by an underlying obsession with food, weight and body image concerns which drive an individual to engage in obsessive-compulsive cycles of over-eating or binge eating followed by compensatory thoughts and behaviors to undo the over-eating and prevent weight gain. The compensatory attempts may involve various forms of purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diuretics, and enemas. Non-purging forms of compensatory behaviors can also occur which may include excessive dieting/fasting and/or exercising. Such emotional and behavioral cycles are characterized by an extreme sense of lack of control over one’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors. They can become extremely emotionally distressing for the person who is struggling with bulimia and are commonly accompanied by depression or other types of mood disorders, self-hatred, feelings of guilt, shame and self-devaluation. It is very important to seek psychological help when these behavioral and/or psychological symptoms appear and address the underlying emotional issues.

Binge Eating Disorder:
The phenomenon of binge eating has been referred to in various ways in the psychological literature. As a particular form of eating disorder, binge eating disorder was first described in the 1950s as a particular form of overeating. Traditional psychoanalysis coined the term compulsive overeating and other terms such as emotional eating or emotional over-eating also commonly refer to the same phenomenon. Psychologically, an episode of binge eating is characterized by eating a larger than usual quantity of food that most people on average will consume in a 2 hour period as accompanied by a sense of lack of control over eating during this period. Usually individuals who struggle with binge eating disorder will experience a sense of loss of control and/or lack of awareness over what they eat during binge eating episodes. It is very important to seek psychological help when these behavioral and/or psychological symptoms appear and address the underlying emotional issues.

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dissertation abstract

Severe Binge Eaters: A Distinct Sub-group Among Obese People

Research study conducted by D. Steven Nouriani, PhD
California Institute of Integral Studies
© D. Steven Nouriani, 1996. All rights reserved.

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the phenomenon of binge eating among obese women, from the Jungian and Self-psychology perspectives. By comparing obese women who exhibited different levels of binge eating severity, the goal of this research was to determine if there was a relationship between binge eating severity, affect regulation difficulties, dissociation and negative attitudes/concerns expressed toward body shape among obese women. A total of 45 non-bulimic adult women who met the criteria for obesity completed a Self-Report Inventory, the Binge Eating Scale, the Dissociative Experiences Scale II, the Negative Mood Regulation Scale, the Body Shape Questionaire, and a few short essay questions. It was hypothesized that on the basis of binge eating severity, there would be significant differences between the participants in regard to the regulation of negative affects, dissociative tendencies and the expression of negative attitudes or concerns toward body shape.

Analysis of the data indicated that severity of obesity did not have an effect on the dependent variables. However, when the participants were classified into three groups (n=15) of non-binge eaters, moderate and severe binge eaters, significant group differences were found. The findings supported all three hypotheses, indicating that as compared to the non-binge eaters, the severe binge eaters had significantly (p<.01) higher difficulties in affect regulation, showed significantly (p<.05) more dissociative tendencies, and expressed significantly (p<01) greater negative attitudes and concerns toward their body shape. No significant differences were found between non-binge eaters and moderate binge eaters on any of the variables. In comparision to the moderate binge eaters, the severe binge eaters also showed significantly (p<.01) more difficulties in affect regulation and expressed significantly (p<.01) more negative attitudes and concerns toward their body shape. In conclusion, the findings strongly indicated that the severe binge eaters are a distinct sub-group among obese people and what sets them apart from other obese is the occurrence and severity of binge eating which appears to serve a variety of psychological functions. The treatment implications of these findings were also discussed.

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