Behnan Maxwell, LCSW

Counseling for Individuals

I provide individual counseling to adults and teens.

In counseling, I treat my clients as whole persons with many identities.

I consider their physical condition, psychological strengths and stresses, as well as social, cultural and spiritual influences that shape who they are. 

Through this wide lens perspective, you and I could discover various complex contributors to your symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. You feel empowered and in control by becoming aware to the reasons of your unwanted behavior and thought patterns.

The sessions are 45 minutes long and held at least once a week. More frequent or back-to-back sessions could be arranged based on needs.

My clients are diverse in age, culture and gender identity but they share common problems:

You and I will collaboratively find ways to reduce your undesired symptoms.

We will explore your thinking and behavior patterns. We will reframe and see these thoughts and behaviors in a realistic and positive light. We will review your life goals and ways to implement them. We will also explore how your symptoms may be related to childhood or young adulthood experiences. Through the process, you will build more self-awareness, self-compassion, self-esteem and make healthier life choices that fit you well and bring you joy.

Anxiety is a feeling of excessive fear and worry.

The cause may be due to a real or perceived imminent threat. Usually, anxiety leads clients to experience behavioral changes. When faced with anxiety provoking circumstances, their bodies go through fight, flight and freeze responses. They may also feel irritable and behave more aggressively than what is appropriate to the situation. Clients may become cautious and avoidant of situations and people who cause them anxiety. Some clients may experience freeze and do not know how to act or what to say.

Anxiety could lead to panic attacks but not always. Panic attacks are intense; symptoms include racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, hot flashes or chills, nausea, numbness or tingling, shaking, stomach pain, and sweating. Clients usually feel out of control, like they are going crazy, detached from themselves and their surroundings and they may feel like they are dying. Some clients go to an emergency room believing they may be having a heart attack. Panic attacks are scary and come out of nowhere. Therapy is crucial to manage day to day anxiety so there is less likelihood of experiencing a sudden panic attack.

My initial goal in therapy to provide my clients practical tools to manage their day to day anxiety. I take a strengths approach and explore my clients’ coping skills and build on that foundation. There are many natural remedies to reduce anxiety such as physical exercise and deep breathing techniques.

Depression is a mood disorder when you experience persistent feelings of being down and stuck.

Most experience loss of interest in things they normally enjoy, changes in sleep patterns, energy level, appetite and concentration. There is a dominant feeling of worthlessness or questioning “what is the point of it?” They may need to supplement psychotherapy with antidepressants (e.g. SSRIs) to address the chemical imbalance. Most studies prove that antidepressants work best paired with regular psychotherapy to manage depressed mood.

Some people may experience suicidal thoughts. This needs to be taken seriously. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you must seek professional help immediately. You could call a friend and go to the nearest emergency room. There is 24/7 free National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline 1(800) 273-8255.

My approach in treating depressed patients is to evaluate depressive thoughts and behavior patterns that may be worsening the mood. My clients and I will work to reframe depressive thoughts into more realistic and optimistic way of thinking. We will explore alternative behaviors that are healthier and empowering to clients. The goal is to improve their depressed mood and help them gain lifetime tools to protect themselves from diving into depression in the future.

Anxiety and depression go hand in hand frequently. People who have excessive anxiety and unable to cope on their own could also become depressed.

Relational problems could be the root cause of anxiety and depression.

Human beings are social creatures. Most of my clients seek therapy would also like to improve their interpersonal relationships. Relational problems could be the root cause of clients’ anxiety and depression. Clients may not be happy or completely satisfied with their current romantic relationships. They may be still looking for that special someone and having troubles meeting people who are compatible. My clients and I often discuss relationship goals and come up with dating strategies. Clients who are already in a relationship, we collaboratively work on increasing open communication and improve their intimacy with their partners.

Some of my clients who seek therapy have complicated relationships with their family. There may be disagreements and past hurt feelings among family members. My clients and I will explore the family dynamics and understand client’s role within the family. The goal is to find ways to better handle hot topics within the family system and improve communication.

Clients will negotiate new boundaries with family members. They will find their voice and new role in the family system as they grow and change.

Career struggles are another common reason that clients seek therapy.

They may feel stressed about the job. The workload may be too much. Work and life balance may not exist.

They may be dealing with an abusive or hard to please boss. Clients may feel perhaps they are in the wrong industry, wrong position or the company. My clients and I explore individual struggles around career and come up with attenable goals that are in line with their skills set, values and expectations.

Therapy can help you cope with feelings of loss and grief.

When most people hear about loss and grief, they think of the deep sadness people experience after a loved one’s death. Loss and grief could be more complex. Grief could be experienced after a breakup, moving and immigration, even after normal life transitions such as having children.

My clients and I will explore various complex losses and process feelings and thoughts that are related to the loss.

They will get a chance to write a new healing narrative around their difficult times and how those experiences contributed to who they are.

Anxiety and depression could be related to past trauma.

There may be adverse life experiences from childhood or adulthood that may be contributing to the presenting symptoms. Trauma causes many people to experience irritability, anxiety, flashbacks, self-destructive behaviors, mistrust, excessive guilt, and shame.

What makes something traumatic to someone changes one person to another. Many people often describe an event as traumatic because it occurred suddenly. They did not expect it and they were not prepared. They could not protect themselves or other people. They were also not protected. There are extreme shame and guilt feelings attached to trauma, most people feel as if they could have done something to prevent it. My clients and I explore trauma in manageable doses, we talk about it when they are ready.

My goal is never to disregulate a client to a point their day to day function is negatively affected. I will go over many tools that will help manage negative symptoms and increase self-acceptance.

Schedule a 15-minute call & begin managing your stress.

Learn more about how therapy can help you manage the stress and anxiety and return to a more peaceful, joyful you.