Santa Barbara psychotherapist Anny Eastwood brings a unique perspective on the significance of anxiety and depression in our lives and has recently added this as a specialization in her private practice. She poses provocative questions like, what if depression is a soul call to a meaningful life? What if stress, anxiety, and panic attacks are our body's way of signaling us to slow down and pay closer attention to our experience?
This may sound easy enough to do, but from Eastwood's perspective unfortunately, it is not. "By the time most of us have reached adulthood, out of necessity we have mastered how to hide what we really feel, silence what we really think, and have stopped joyful, creative expression like singing just for the fun of it." says Anny.
When leading a presentation for a regional gathering of psychotherapists recently, Eastwood stressed the importance of acknowledging context in relation to the mounting statistics of adults and children seeking relief from depression and anxiety. She explains, "Like it or not, we have all been dropped into the white water of rapid change. Whether facing financial loss, health crisis, natural disasters, or feeling lack of connection on multiple levels, we are quickly discovering that authorities we turned to in the past and familiar approaches to problem solving often no longer apply. Where do we find our answers? Who can we trust? How do we cope with all the stress of uncertainty landing in our bodies, psyches, and relationships? The need for psychotherapy has never been greater!"
She talks about how so many of our schools have groomed us to develop a high tolerance for life without purpose or at least one that stirs our passion. “We find ourselves in vocations lacking challenges that inspire us to take risks toward what we love--to expand and be more of who we truly are. We live in a culture that urges us to medicate, amputate or ignore our pain. We are quick to shoot the messenger. Our protests are driven underground and must disguise themselves as symptoms.”
Anny is convinced that it takes courage and support to listen to our truth. “We sense that our lives could change. Effective therapy is a special kind of relationship that provides sanctuary, a safe space to learn how to build trust in relationships while grounded in one's own authenticity, to explore options that feel risky and also develop access to an inner kind of peace that is not dependent on our feelings, thoughts or outer circumstances.”
She believes, "When we feel safe enough to be honest with ourselves at deeper and deeper levels, doable choices emerge and we naturally make more satisfying choices. Through this process of psychotherapy---paradoxically-- depression, anxiety and addictions of all kinds become allies guiding us toward a more meaningful life. "I watch this happen all the time, and it never ceases to inspire me. That's why after 18 years in private practice, I still love my job!"
Santa Barbara psychotherapist, Anny Eastwood, MFT works with families, couples, and adults who want to improve their relationships, feel passion and purpose in their lives, release the pain of the past, stop destructive behaviors, build self confidence and self trust and gain access to inner peace.