For coping with depression, anxiety, and life's stresses
No clients have the same story or presenting issues. Though some might suffer from more severe disorders, most arrive in therapy seeking insight and relief from being overwhelmed by specific life stresses. These can manifest in depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and a host of other clinical symptoms. But this is the magic of psychotherapy: that just by talking through their problems and histories with someone who can provide clinical insight, context, and skills, clients gain the power to become therapists to themselves. Therapy can last from a few weeks to years. But in all cases, the goal is for clients to stop being clients
-- and instead transform into their own healers.
Substance abuse, gambling, sex, video games and other compulsive behaviours
It is a sad reality that addiction remains one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized mental health disorders. The vast majority of people see those suffering from addiction as having lax morals or a problem with "will power." Family members often view those with addiction as choosing their self-destructive "habit" over their loved ones. A recovering addict himself, Felix Vikhman knows that addiction is never something someone has chosen, and is rarely something he or she has the ability to control, moderate or stop on their own. The causes of addiction are as various as the genetics and histories of those suffering from it. But, it is never a product of bad morals and will power alone is nearly never enough to arrest it.
Complex mental health cases with multiple diagnoses
More than 50 percent of those suffering with substance abuse and addiction also suffer from another diagnosable mental health disorder. Many of these concurrent disorders tend to be more severe in their nature, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, a personality disorder, complex post-traumatic stress, and others that greatly complicate the process of recovery. It is impossible to treat concurrent disorders independently of one another. Each case presents with individual challenges, and requires knowledge, training and patience on the part of the therapist. It generally also often means working with a team of medical, clinical and family stake holders.
Deeply ingrained maladaptive patterns of behavior that interfere with relationships or ability to function in society
Generally, personality disorders are clustered into three groups: "odd, eccentric"; "dramatic, emotional, erratic"; and "anxious, fearful." Personality disorders are incredibly mystifying to the family, friends and partners of those who suffer from them. While in many ways the person presents as "normal," they are also capable of incredibly erratic, self-destructive, and/or manipulative behaviour that just makes no rational sense. What many don't realize about those with personality disorders is that they themselves tend to be as mystified by that behaviour as much as anyone else. This is perhaps the defining feature of personality disorders: persons suffering from one tend to have little comprehension that they are afflicted with maladaptive emotional, cognitive and behavioural patterns. Unable to distinguish between themselves and the behaviours that so horribly interfere with their relationships and ability to function in society, they lack the insight to learn from their mistakes or appropriately adapt to situations.
Painful and distressing memories that overwhelm a person's ability to cope
Psychological trauma is often broken into three types: post-traumatic stress, complex-repetitive stress and attachment trauma. The first refers to experiencing a life-treatening event or series of events, the second describes a group of symptoms stemming from abuse experienced at a young age and/or through development, and the third refers to those that had significant interference or issues related to their primary attachments. People suffering from any of those need to learn tools to regulate and stabilize themselves when overwhelmed, learn how to seek safety in those they trust, and eventually to "reprocess" memories of the events that caused the trauma.
Building and leading a team of health professionals and personal supports
When presented with complex, multifaceted cases, it is often necessary to build a team of professional, family and community stakeholders. Integrating a team with multiple moving parts, so to speak, often requires one person to be the central clearing house of information while directing all those involved to evolving goals or situations. Felix Vikhman has years of experience building and leading such teams. Over that time, he has built a diverse network of caregivers and community supports that can be called in as client cases require. These teams often comprise of psychiatrists, medical specialists, social and community works, peer-support workers, members of 12-step programs, and other mental health specialists. Felix also works closely with in-patient and out-patient treatment and rehabilitation facilites in Canada and the U.S.