Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety, or “stage fright,” can create fear in many people and in many situations, such as public speaking, social communication, public appearance, athletics, intimacy, and artistic performance.  For example, symptoms such as shakiness, trembling, sweatiness, dry mouth and distraction can interfere with thinking and behavior, propelling musicians to lose focus on technical performance and begin to panic about their ability to continue. While some performance anxiety puts us in a fight or flight mode, it can also put us in a “freeze” mode.
Performance anxiety can be eased if the therapist has an understanding of what the symptoms are and how they were “installed.” This relates to family of origin issues, our social culture, knowledge of our “mind state” (which includes physiology, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and emotions), and helping separate performance and identity.
As a performance pianist, Dr. Humphrey is particularly adept in assisting individuals in overcoming performance anxiety.

Read more about overcoming performance anxiety in this article, “Tips for Overcoming Performance Anxiety.”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a psychological issue that has been described by professionals as a “disorder of imagined ugliness.” BDD is a disorder characterized by a perceived defect or a minor flaw in one’s physical appearance that is obsessively worried about and compulsively checked, to the extent that it causes clinically significant distress or impairment in one’s social life, work life, or other areas of daily functioning. Although the official psychological diagnosis has been around for several years, it is often under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed by professionals due to lack of familiarity. Not all people who suffer from BDD seek repetitive surgeries to fix their perceived defect, but many do. If you have been pre-occupied with thoughts about some area of your physical appearance, have sought several treatments, assume that people notice it and make fun of it, and sometimes restrict yourself from being comfortable in public, these might be some signs that you may be suffering with BDD. Dr. Humphrey works with individuals to help them overcome this disorder and learn to love and accept themselves.

Issues of Abandonment

Abandonment is most easily described as a “primal fear” and “universal wound,” and includes an extensive array of symptoms, including unworthiness, insecurity, shame, emotional hunger, feelings of annihilation, self-sabotage, chronic emptiness, and repeated feelings of trauma. These symptoms are just an inkling of the emotions experienced by individuals with a history of abandonment. Some of the behaviors that emerge as a way to deal with these feelings include dependency and co-dependency issues in relationships, setting ourselves up for re-abandonment, and even self-medication through food, drugs, or alcohol.

Dr. Humphrey facilitates Abandonment Recovery Support Groups. Abandonment recovery group therapy is highly beneficial as this form of therapy connects individuals with others who are or who have experienced similar experiences and symptoms.
Learn more about abandonment recovery in this article: “Issues of Abandonment: An Interview with Dr. Denise Humphrey”

Learn more about the symptoms of abandonment: “Do You Suffer from a Fear of Abandonment?” and “Understanding Abandonment.”

Gay & Straight Couples Therapy and Mixed-Orientation Marriage

Dr. Humphrey has completed Advanced Training from the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington. The Gottman Institute has been conducting therapeutic, assessment, and intervention research on couples and relationships since 1975. In addition to straight married and non-married couples, Dr. Gottman’s research and results have also been applied to gay and lesbian couples. Dr. Humphrey’s psychotherapy experience extends to all types of relationships, including “mixed-orientation” marriages. All relationships are unique, and her treatment is tailored accordingly.

“Mixed-orientation marriage” refers to relationships in which one person is gay or lesbian, and the other person is straight. While society has become more accepting of gay couples, mixed-orientation relationships are less understood. When a gay spouse agonizes about disclosure, determining how to resolve the predicament can be petrifying. Upon divulging one’s homosexual orientation, profoundly traumatic issues for both partners usually arise, including loss of trust, depression, betrayal, shame, how or if to inform the children (if any), whether to remain together or depart, etc. Due to the delicacy and sense of vulnerability experienced by those suffering from this marital condition, Dr. Humphrey has developed a true in helping these individuals navigate the numerous complexities experienced in these situations.

Learn in these articles, “Living with a Gay Spouse” and “Understanding Mixed-Orientation Marriages.”