Trying to find a therapist in Atlanta to help with my reaction to stress
April 27, 2011 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Can a therapist help me find a more productive (or at least less destructive) way to deal with stress? If so, can anyone recommend what style of therapy would address this best or, even better, recommend a specific person or practice in Atlanta?

I've been considering trying therapy for a few years, but I keep putting it off. I tried it briefly when I was 16, but wasn't really interested in doing the work, didn't have a specific goal, and never found somebody I meshed with. I'm in a much better place now (my last 20's) than I was when I was 16, and I think it might be time to try again. I have a specific goal now, which always makes it easier for me to go into a situation where I don't really know exactly what to expect.

About six months ago, I started a new job. I love the work, I love my co-workers, but the job is much more stressful than any I've had previously. I'm doing consulting now, so my working hours are very flexible, and I have to deliver a certain number billable hours each month. My reaction to stress is avoidance and a lot of negative self-talk. Oddly, avoiding my work makes trying to get enough billable hours done even harder, which stresses me out more. By the end of the month, I'm a wreck from working weekends trying to catch up, and spending hours sitting in front of my computer beating myself up for not getting things done but being too overwhelmed by everything I have to do to actually do any of it. So when the next month rolls around, I'm exhausted and have trouble getting up enough energy to get enough work done to not fall behind. It's a vicious cycle and I can't figure out how to break out of it on my own.

Is this something a therapist can help me with? It seems like it would be, since a lot of what keeps me from doing work is the feedback loop from my own reaction once I get stressed. What style of therapy would help the best with something like this? CBT?

Finally, do you have any specific recommendations of a practice or therapist in Atlanta? I'm worried about finding a good fit personality-wise, but I don't really know what I'm looking for since I'm new to therapy I actually want to be in.
posted by duien to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help you with the locale, but CBT can work wonders. It does take some time, so you have to be fairly committed to it on a daily basis for it to work.

Are you having trouble drawing boundaries between work and life because of the flexible hours? Are there things that you can let go of so you don't beat yourself up over them? I think sometimes we live in a culture where quitting is a bad thing, but it can bring so much relief. A therapist can help you develop self-care strategies too. I hope you can find a good match where you live!
posted by Calzephyr at 9:02 AM on April 27, 2011

I would look at this thread for ideas. I can totally endorse Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which has helped me tremendously. If you look at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, you come up with this guy in Atlanta who does ACT.

Good luck!
posted by la petite marie at 11:40 AM on April 27, 2011

Seconding what Calzephyr said. I'm seeing a CBT counselor now, and it's slow (two and a half months and no definitive diagnosis) but I have definitely noticed a difference in the way I engage with and process my anxieties, for the better.
posted by foulowl at 6:44 PM on April 27, 2011

Working on your own terms with deadlines may not be the type of work that you are suited for. However if you like your job and have the ability to do it, it sounds almost like you are a perfectionist and procrastinate because you aren't meeting the goals because your work is (as you perceive it) not good enough for submission.

Try working in one hour increments, planning each project meticulously. Set a goal for that billable hour, yet take a short break from your workstation even if it's to get a glass of water. Breaking it up into small, yet attainable tasks may take the pressure off your unreasonable standards. As you do this, you will see a marked improvement with your productivity and can extend the slices of worktime into larger blocks as you progress.

Be very disciplined about your hours. Do not work on weekends, you need your down time, if your work cannot be done during regular hours, it's not organized properly or your workload is too high, either way boundaries are the key to working in a job like yours.

CBT is good, but jumping into that is part and parcel of your inability to set a fence around reasonable goals and to panic mode. Best of luck and memail me if you have any questions.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 8:28 PM on April 27, 2011

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