Symptom Exploration


Anxiety can look different for different people. For some, it's feeling nervous all the time, for others it is feeling irritable. Some experience it within their bodies, such as with sweaty palms and a rapid heartbeat. Others experience it primarily mentally, with racing thoughts, insomnia, or being too self critical. 


Anxiety is a very common concern. Depending on what type of anxiety you have, we will offer different strategies on how to reduce it. Typical strategies include finding the source of the anxiety, addressing unmet needs, finding appropriate coping skills such as relaxation and mindfulness skills, rewiring the anxious person's anxious thought patterns, and increasing assertiveness skills. We can help you to figure out what you need for your specific kind of anxiety. 


Depression can also appear differently in different people and across age groups. It can effect some primarily mentally with concerns such as low self esteem, wanting to be alone more than normal, or suicidal thoughts. Physically, depression can look like poor sleep patterns (insomnia or sleeping too much), or poor eating habits (eating too little or emotional eating). Children sometimes show depression by acting out. 

Depression also has a variety of different treatment options. Some of the common strategies for reducing depression are identifying and learning to utilize one's strengths, finding one's purpose, increasing motivation, finding the root of the depression, addressing unmet needs, rewiring thought patterns that contribute to depression, safety planning, and finding ways to improve the person's support system. Because of the different ways depression can look like, we can help you to figure out the best plan to feel better. 

Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive and At Risk Behavior can include disrespecting or defying authority, not fulfilling school or work obligations, substance use, anger outbursts, aggressive communication, or disregarding the law or expectations.

Disruptive and At Risk Behavior in our society is typically met with punishments that tend to make the behavior worse, which is very unfortunate considering these behaviors tend to signal unmet needs. Treating Disruptive and At Risk Behavior can include strategies such as exploring unmet needs and making a plan to get those needs met, enhancing communication skills, enhancing anger management skills, and carefully offering education on the consequences of these behaviors. It is also important to help the individual with Disruptive and At Risk Behavior to find the motivation to communicate their needs in a healthier way. We can help you to figure out how to get your needs met in a productive and healthy way. 

Trauma Linked to Foster Care and Adoption

Foster and Adoption Issues can be present in children currently going through foster care or the adoption process, or those who previously experienced being in the foster care system or being adopted. Issues can include trauma responses, low self worth, depression and anxiety, abandonment concerns, and trust concerns. These issues tend to show up differently depending on the individual. 

Treating Foster and Adoption Issues can be treated with strategies such as processing one's experience with foster care or adoption, relationship and trust building, family therapy, and education for the parents about the foster care system and typical reactions to being fostered or adopted. We can help you to feel more confident in your identity as a fostered or adopted individual, or as the parent of a fostered or adopted child, and help you and your family to feel more connected.

LGBTQ+ Related Concerns

The LGBTQIA+ acronym includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer / questioning, intersex, asexual / ally, and many more! Identifying as LGBTQIA+ can increase an individual's chances of feeling outcasted, isolated, and misunderstood. Some issues that members of the LGBTQIA+ community frequently face are family communication struggles, homelessness, substance use, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and low self esteem.

Because of the range of issues that the LGBTQIA+ community can face, there are so many different strategies for reducing the above mentioned issues. Some key strategies are boosting awareness of strengths, boosting self esteem and sense of self worth, working on embracing one's queer identity, educating the LGBTQIA+ individual's family members, processing the effects coming out or transitioning on the individual and the family, exploring one's identity in regards to their gender and sexual orientation, and safety planning. We can help you and your loved ones in coming to terms with living a healthy, happy life with a LGBTQIA+ identity.

Substance Use

Substance use can include using illicit drugs such as heroin, meth or cocaine, or it can be using legal substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and prescription pills. Substance use that requires treatment is use that interferes with an individual's  life functioning in a noticeably negative way, such as sleeping more or less, eating more or less, isolating more than usual, lying or hiding information regarding one's use, not meeting expectations at school and work, tension in relationships, danger related to blacking out or taking risky actions one would not take sober, and many more. 

Substance use, like disruptive behavior, is generally met in our society with punishment, when it typically also signals an unmet need. Substance use is also usually a symptom of another mental health concern, such as distress, anxiety, depression or a reaction to trauma. Treating problematic substance use can include strategies such as identifying unmet needs and finding a way to meet those needs, increasing one's support system, finding appropriate and healthy coping skills, addressing the underlying causes of picking up a substance, and referring out to other supports such as 12 Step Meetings, a Psychiatrist or Inpatient Care as needed. Healing from substance use is not always a linear process, and many times the healing process comes with "ups and downs". Addressing substance use can be a challenging task, and we are here to help you to move forward into healing.

Trauma and Distress

Trauma is anything that overwhelms the mind and body's natural ability to cope. Trauma and Distress arise from a variety of different experiences in one's life, including but certainly not limited to the following: accidents involving injuries, having near death experiences, witnessing violence or the death of someone else, physical / emotional / sexual / financial abuse sustained from family members or others in one's life, being threatened, being involved in systems such as the foster care or criminal and juvenile justice systems, and many, many more. Trauma and distress can look like anxiety, depression, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, flashbacks, nightmares, substance use, feeling numb or feeling "spaced out", lapses in memory not due to substance use or a medical condition, and obvious changes in normal daily behavior. Some people have even mentally compartmentalized their trauma so well that they don't show these symptoms at all, but within the healing process these symptoms may come up. 

Trauma and Distress can be treated with a variety of strategies depending on the cause of the trauma and the person's unique set of symptoms. Some common strategies for healing are processing the trauma, sharing the narrative of the trauma with loved ones, increasing one's support system, rewiring unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs that resulted from the trauma, and increasing coping skills to use daily or when the individual feels triggered. We can help you to come to terms with your past with healthy coping skills for the future.


Contact Rae

Contact Angela

Rachel Amirian, LCSW #88573

28310 Roadside Drive, Suite 210 

Agoura Hills, CA 91301

​Tel: 818-309-5534

Angela Shankman, LCSW #88574

28310 Roadside Drive, Suite 210 

Agoura Hills, CA 91301

​​Tel: 818-309-5848

Rachel Amirian Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Angela Shankman Licensed Clinical Social Worker PC DBA Good Nature Empowerment Center