My father was a psychiatrist in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Like many mental health practitioners of his time, he tended to define people by their supposed pathologies: “This one is a depressive,” or “That one is borderline,” and even “Oh, she’s got a paranoid personality.”

Thankfully, mental health services for depression awareness have progressed significantly since then. With anxiety and depression reaching epidemic levels, the movement to understand and prioritize mental health is gaining momentum, and people everywhere are embracing their diagnoses. The knowledge that they’re living with a health condition like “generalized anxiety disorder” or “major depressive disorder” helps them feel less ashamed and isolated in — their experience. Changing attitudes have also made strides toward destigmatizing treatment like therapy and medication.

However, the current conversation about anxiety and depression lacks a vital dimension: emotional awareness. We are now learning that many instances of anxiety and depression are actually symptoms of buried core emotions and unmet core needs. These types of symptoms — and the use of ineffective treatments to address them — could be prevented with more education surrounding emotions and trauma and by seeking depression counseling.

What Are Emotions?

Emotions are biological: they live in the body as much as the brain and evolve to perform essential life functions. We believe there to be seven innate or “core” emotions that are hard-wired in our nervous systems: anger, sadness, fear, joy, disgust, excitement, and sexual excitement. These emotions have a lifespan; when we allow ourselves to feel them (not necessarily acting on them, but allowing the emotions to express themselves), they move through the body and mind and naturally recede like a wave.

Depression counseling helps to understand that there are “inhibitory” emotions: anxiety, guilt, and shame. These emotions are designed to block core emotions when core emotions come into conflict with what pleases others (like our parents, peers, and partners). For example, Lauren, a 40-year-old mother of a three-year-old named Betsy, grew up in a home with lots of violence. As a result, Lauren grew to fear the core emotion of anger, and she learned to shut down her own anger, as well as Betsy’s, as it was too threatening for her to tolerate. When Betsy started to express anger at a toy being taken away, Lauren yelled at her: “DON’T EVER TALK TO MOMMY THAT WAY!!” This sudden explosion scared Betsy. As time passed and no room was ever made for Betsy to safely experience her anger, or have it validated by her parents, Betsy’s mind and body learned to suppress anger using muscular contraction and to hold her breath. Now instead of feeling anger, Betsy experiences anxiety.

Another reason we block core emotions with inhibitory emotions is to prevent us from being overwhelmed or “dysregulated.” When core emotions become too intense, we can shut them down using anxiety, guilt, and/or shame. For example, Tom was taught by his father that “crying and expressing sadness is for weaklings.” Now, as a grown man, he feels ashamed every time he feels sad. Feeling shame for his true and natural sadness has contributed to his depression.

Because most people don’t know about core and inhibitory emotions, they may feel they are “genetically defective” or “damaged goods.” However, symptoms of anxiety and depression caused by avoided and buried core emotions can be healed with therapy and even eased by simply understanding how emotions work in the mind and body. Counselors for anxiety and depression can help you know that the issue is that relatively few psychiatrists are taught about the science of emotions in medical school, so they risk misdiagnosing their patients and allowing the root cause of symptoms — the blocked emotions — to go unaddressed.

What Is Trauma?

Renowned psychologist Diana Fosha teaches that trauma and psychopathology are caused by experiencing overwhelming emotions in the face of unwanted, utter loneliness. Using this definition, it becomes clear that trauma is a universal human experience. How many of us have had to face our feelings alone for fear of judgment, abandonment, or retaliation?

Trauma often happens in families and relationships when there’s emotional neglect or abuse. But trauma isn’t limited to what happens in families and relationships: we live in a society and a world filled with violence, stress, and injustice.

Compounding our distress is the fact that parents and schools have, for the most part, not been given the proper tools to address this subject — and they are often unequipped when it comes to emotional health. As a result, they are not prepared to help children process overwhelming emotions — which is vital for raising calm, confident kids in the context of a chaotic, traumatic world.

Additionally, parents who don’t know how to deal with their own strong emotions are unlikely to be capable of helping their children deal with their feelings. Even the most well-intentioned parents can shut down their children’s emotions, and many schools lack the resources they need to help students thrive emotionally.

Thus, many children grow up feeling isolated and ashamed of their own emotions. Being shamed and left alone with emotions makes burying them the main strategy to deal with them. With little help for our growing anxieties, we are often left with simmering traumatic stress, which we numb with defensive behaviors, growing further addicted, distracted, and disconnected. Perhaps we develop a destructive relationship with food, alcohol, or drugs. Perhaps we isolate or lash out. That’s why, if you notice such symptoms with your child also, it’s time to look for child trauma counseling near me.

Healing entails processing these emotions, allowing our nervous systems to come back into balance and calm.

AEDP And The Change Triangle Tool For Emotional Health

After receiving my degree in social work, I trained in a healing-oriented, trauma-informed method called accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP). In AEDP, symptoms are the starting points to discover the underlying core emotions and needs so we can name them, validate them, honor them and move through them to greater peace and calm.

This process aims to move from our defenses through our inhibitory emotions to reach our blocked core emotions that are causing the symptoms. Once the blocked emotions are named and validated, people experience enormous amounts of relief, ultimately feeling more confident, calm, and connected with their authentic selves. The Change Triangle is a handy map to understand how to move from disconnected, depressed states through our core emotions to a more balanced state between our thoughts and emotions. Getting help from depression counseling can also help you comprehend how to move from a depressed state to a more balanced life.

Reforming Our System

Emotional awareness is the key to well-being, and moving through our inhibitory emotions is a tool we all need — not just psychiatrists and psychologists.

I believe that school health classes should include emotional education in their curricula, and teachers and counselor for anxiety and depression should receive emotional education in their own training. Parenting books should include this information as well to help parents learn to be emotionally available, neither threatened by nor frightened of their children’s emotions. On the contrary, they would learn to listen to their children’s feelings with interest but not react, modeling for their children how to validate and be with their emotions.

In this ideal world, adults are also better equipped to deal with stress and conflict in their own lives. Whether we are angry, sad, afraid, or joyful, those emotions are named, validated, and supported. And we would all learn about triggers — those events that evoke intense emotional experiences. We would rest assured that life triggers strong emotions and that that is entirely natural and normal. The knowledge, tools, and practice we’d have would enable us to respond to triggers in constructive ways.

A society with a strong foundation, like apt mental health services for depression and emotional awareness, is a society with high rates of physical and mental well-being. It’s a society that prioritizes authentic connection and collaborative community because it understands what it truly means to be human.


Hilary Jacobs Hendel is the author of the international award-winning book “It’s Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self” (Random House). She received her B.A. in biochemistry from Wesleyan University and an MSW from Fordham University. She is a certified psychoanalyst and AEDP psychotherapist, and supervisor. She has published articles in The New York Times, Time, NBC Think, FOX News, and Oprah, and her blog is read worldwide. You can find free resources and curricula on emotions and the Change Triangle tool for emotional health at and follow her work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.



In 2013, I was hospitalized — and my entire outlook on life shifted. My doctor diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. My mind was spinning; I didn’t think someone like me could have that illness. There’s no way I could be crazy, I thought, because I am not weak. Looking back, I can understand that I had been influenced by the tropes of people with mental illness as unsuccessful and fragile. Since then, I have developed coping strategies to manage my illness, stuck to a medication regimen, and received both inpatient and outpatient treatment with mental health counselor, therapist, and support groups. I soon discovered there’s strength in seeking and accepting help.

During this same period, I also experienced significant personal and professional success; I earned my master’s degree in public policy before I turned 23, won competitive scholarships and awards, published my writing, and given lectures, interviews, and legislative testimony.

I’m sharing my story as a reminder that everyday people living with mental health conditions are as capable of success as anyone else — and our identities range far beyond “person with mental illness.” Sometimes, admittedly, untangling my mental illness from my identity is hard. I see myself as a proud, Black cisgender woman who is also a daughter, writer, college graduate, sister, niece, friend, policy researcher, aunt, basketball fan, and avid reader, among other things. Over time, I have learned that I can be all these things and find success while living with a mental health condition.

Feeling comfortable with the wholeness of my identity took time with the help of counseling mental health services. Honestly, I’m still grappling with identifying as someone with a mental illness without letting it define me. I know this will take time.

Coping With Highs And Lows

A critical step in accepting my intersecting identities is not letting my mental illness take away from everything I want to be. There are days when I struggle to function — and I have found ways to accept that there will be tough days, but there are ways to ensure that they don’t take over my life.

For example, to be a writer, I need to rest to focus and think clearly. But there are days when I cannot get out of bed and other days when I can’t sleep; having a sleep imbalance makes producing essays like this a challenge. But when I use my coping skills, take my medication and, when necessary, contact my support team, I am stable and subsequently productive.

The phrase “three steps forward, two steps back” captures my experience. While engaging and being productive in life, I have also gone through dark days that resulted in hospital stays.

At the beginning of each hospital admission, I would feel crushed. I felt like I was moving backward — that my good fortune had reached the end of its road. But I discovered the same thing about my identity after each hospital stay, counseling, and mental health center: I am so much more than my mental illness.

Eventually, I could tell myself that being in the hospital was a mental tune-up, and I was there getting help to get back on track.

Finding Community

I have attended group therapy and outpatient programs at counseling and mental health center, where I’ve met people with similar mental health symptoms, and we’ve connected on a level I cannot with people who don’t have a mental illness. It feels like we have built an instant community.

Belonging to a community of diverse individuals who live with a mental illness and have different — and sometimes overlapping — identities makes me feel less alone and helps me to feel supported.

It also helps to see public figures joining our community. I was encouraged when National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion Kevin Love opened up about his life with mental illness and how he still finds success and joy on the basketball court. His story and many other athletes’ stories are a reminder that living with a mental illness is not a recipe for failure. Moreover, these stories remind us that it’s ok to be open about living with a mental illness and to allow it to be one piece of who you are.

Ultimately, I’ve found that having a mental health condition has added unexpected positives to my life; it has provided me with opportunities to build community and meet inspiring people and mental health counselors, therapists who have helped me to accept and celebrate myself.

 Looking Toward My Future


I am unsure what the future holds, which is both frightening and exciting. I am unsure how much my mental health will affect my life. But I will continue to cherish my identities, strengthen them and build a deeper connection with them.

I’ve accepted there will be obstacles to mental stability, but I’ve also accepted there will be more triumphs. I know I am a multifaceted woman who deserves to thrive today.

Next year will be ten years since I was diagnosed with a mental illness. Despite my humbling success, my personal trials, and my inspiring relationships, the real connection between my mental illness and my identity is up to me.


Brakeyshia Samms is a writer and policy researcher living with a mental illness. She has been published in The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin American-Statesman, among other outlets. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of her affiliations.

With the increasing digital interactions among individuals, more and more couples are switching to social media to post their feelings in front of strangers instead of communicating with their loved ones. Due to this, misunderstandings among couples begin to cultivate, and they develop negative feelings of loneliness, low confidence, and narcissism. Also, more individuals are so influenced by social media posts that they develop feelings of jealousy and unhealthy expectations, lose all their romantic emotions and envy others. All this show-off on the internet ultimately causes couples to lose their romantic connection.

That’s why our experts offering counseling for couples in Raleigh, NC, have outlined the ultimate guide to helping couples stay connected in the digital age.


Tips To Help You Avoid Your Self-Harming Social Media Habits 


Before blaming your partner for all the negative situations and feelings in your life, consider reading our top tips by our skilled professionals offering counseling for couples and helping couples maintain a long-term and prosperous relationship.


  1. Start Interrogating Yourself & Develop Self-Awareness


Before asking your partner to change their habits, consider asking yourself whether what you are requesting from them is worth compromising your relationship for or not. Become aware of the maximum hours you spend on social media watching relationship-related videos and gestures. Also, ask yourself if what you want from your partner will strengthen your relationship and make you truly happy. Finally, our experts offering counseling for couples suggest that you identify if you possess some kind of impulsive, unhealthy, or unsafe behaviors due to the influence of everything you see on social media.


  1. Make Time To Have Quality & Valuable Talks With Each Other


If we actually begin to analyze the hours we spend on the phone and view the activity spent on social media, we will be shocked to see how smartphones often affect our quality bonding time and affect our relationships in multiple ways. Once you start to monitor your social media usage and screen time, you can analyze if you are virtually addicted or not. This healthy exercise will help you and your partner get close again and reignite the spark of love and connection that’s been lost due to the highly interactive digital era.


  1. Maintain Distance from the Digital Tech Hindering Your Connection


Besides avoiding disrupting the privacy of your partner and their phones, start distancing yourself from the digital technologies taking much of your relationship space and time and creating communication problems in your relationship. Also, identify if you always want to check your partner’s smartphones. It may prove that you have specific trust issues, and it’s high time you think about having some honest conversations with your partner. Finally, experts offering couples therapy in Raleigh, NC, advise establishing certain boundaries with your partner and reminding each other to follow them respectfully.


Book Your Faith-Based Marriage Counseling Sessions Today!


If you are searching for professionals who can help you create long-term successful relationships and offer you faith-based marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC, upon request, contact Apex Clinical Counseling, LLC. Our expert counselors have years of experience delivering expert couple counseling sessions and helping you create a supportive and safe environment where you can communicate all your concerns and feelings with your partner. Visit us to explore more about how our licensed and trained experts can help you strengthen your relationship and reignite your passion and love for your partner.

Many individuals are comfortable joining hands with the in-network therapists because they know it would be more effortless and cost-efficient. Although the payment options with in-network therapists are countless and seamless, nothing can beat the perks of an out-of-network therapist. Investing in out-of-network therapists might initially feel like a risky task since individuals are not sure of their credibility and insured services. It proves to be a successful decision in the long run. If you are not sure about visiting an out-of-network therapist offering psychological counseling services, here are the most intriguing reasons to help you make your final choice.

How Can Out-Of-Network Therapists Help You?


1. Out-of-Network Are Skillful & Experienced Therapists
We all know that experienced and certification are the key elements of finding a therapist. Whether you are looking for an in-network or out-of-network therapist, you should look for someone with years of experience and expertise. However, surprisingly you may find various specialized therapists out-of-network than in-network. You will bamazed to discover how some out-of-network therapists offer expert psychological counseling services that speak directly to your individual needs.

2. You May Need Innovative or Personalized Services
Out-of-network therapists offer highly personalized services and some out-of-the-box treatments. Especially if you are tired of availing of expensive therapy and still making no progress in your recovery, it's time you make the switch. Out-of-network therapists might dedicate their attention to your mental or physical health professional and might even commit themselves to offering longer, more productive sessions catering to your health needs.

Also, these therapists provide best-personalized services when it comes to expert Christian marriage counseling.

3. Appropriate Privacy To Offer
Privacy might be a major concern for many individuals. It might be possible that you might be on your parent’s insurance plan, and you wouldn’t want to disclose to them that you are seeking therapy. Or otherwise, you may have to pay out of your pocket, which might be a costly affair. On the other hand, you may need to pass every detail of your therapy sessions to your health insurance company, which may again violate your privacy.

And, at last, your employers might learn about your health insurance when you seek therapy, which may again hinder your privacy. So, suppose you don’t want your parents, family, insurance company, or employer to get discreet information about how you are getting mental health therapy counseling. In that case, you may consider seeking help from professional out-of-network therapists. 


Book Your Out-Of-Network Therapists Today!

If you are convinced about knowing some of the benefits of out-of-network therapists and are searching for the same, you can contact Apex Clinical Counseling, LLC. Our skilled and affordable therapists for mental health are committed to offering individuals excellent services. Contact us today to book your sessions. You can also look for our effective Christian marriage or psychological counseling services.