Ellen Dye, Ph.D - psychologist in Rockville

Services

  • Individual Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Parent Counseling
  • Premarital Counseling
  • Divorce Counseling
  • Relationship Communication and Development
  • Psychological Assessment

Areas of Specialty:


Anxiety Disorders

Most individuals suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives.  For many of these people, anxiety may become chronic or escalate to an unmanageable state.


Anxiety disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Phobias.  The first part of treatment of these disorders is an anxiety assessment in which Dr. Dye and the client work together to identify sources of anxiety, symptoms of anxiety, and situations most likely to evoke anxiety.  Based on the results of this assessment, treatment goals are established.


Some individuals are reacting to situations in their lives, including job stress, school difficulties, family problems, or other common stressors.  These individuals may benefit from cognitive and solution-focused therapy to gain control over their symptoms.  Discussion of stressors is also important to identify actions the client can take to address sources of anxiety in their lives.


Treatment for other anxiety disorders, especially Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Phobias,  must include behavioral interventions, such as placing oneself in the stressful situation to develop mastery over symptoms.  Medication may also be an important part of treatment, which can be stressful.


Some individuals may need to understand the roots of anxiety in their lives.  They may need to work on building self-esteem and recognizing the strengths and resources they have that can be utilized in overcoming anxiety.  Discussion of past negative experiences is important for the development of self-understanding. 


Depression

Dysthymia

Depression can be a short-term reaction to difficult life circumstances, such as divorce, loss, and problems at work or school.  A cognitive-behavioral or solution-focused approach is often effective for individuals struggling with these issues. 

 

Major Depression

Depression can also be a more serious long-term condition resulting from a combination of personal history, current stresses, and biological factors.  Individuals with severe depression require more active long-term intervention.  This may include a combination of psychodynamic and cognitive-behavior therapy, potentially including work with family members.  Medication can also be an important component of treatment.  Dr. Dye works with each client to develop a mood management program to insure that they learn to manage their depression and maintain a stable mood both during and after completion of treatment.

 

Childhood and Teenage Depression

Depression in children and teens is often overlooked by parents, teachers, and even mental health providers.  Kids with depression do not always present with classic symptoms of depression, such as sadness, lack of energy, and a poor appetite.  Because depressed kids often have periods when they appear happy, they can be misperceived as being lazy and unmotivated or as having behavior problems.  For example, it is important to rule out depression before treating kids for behavior disorders, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), family problems, and substance abuse.  If an underlying depression is overlooked, treatment for other problems may not be effective.

 

For children and teens, it is essential that family members participate in treatment.  All members of the family must be educated about depression and how to interact with individuals who are depressed.  With Dr. Dye, parents work on coping skills and receive emotional support in addition to learning effective methods of helping and interacting with their children.  Although teens and some children may prefer to meet with Dr. Dye individually, parent or family sessions are scheduled as needed.  Treatment can also include coordination with schools, including attending school meetings.

 

Common Symptoms of Depression

Depressed mood
Lack of energy
Inability to concentrate
Lack of motivation
Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
Feelings of boredom and hopelessness
Changes in appetite
Sleep disturbance
Irritability
Social withdrawal
A sense that life is meaningless
Thoughts of death or suicide

Individuals with depression exhibit many but not all of the symptoms above.  Additional symptoms may include inappropriate anger, self-injury, and substance abuse.  Adults often express a general dissatisfaction with their lives, including jobs and marriages.  Children and teens sometimes exhibit oppositional behavior, such as tantrums, school problems, or rebellion against family rules.


Bipolar Disorder:

Individuals with Bipolar Disorder suffer from biologically based wide fluctuations of mood. Most individuals struggle with both depression and mania.  Information about depression is included under the DEPRESSION tab on this website.


Most individuals with Bipolar Disorder suffer from severe depression alternating with periods of mania.  Depression or mania can occur for an extended period of time.  Bipolar individuals presenting primarily with depression are difficult to diagnose, as they may not show mania for many months or years.  Some people suffer from "rapid cycling"  in which mania and depression alternate frequently within the same day.  Others have "mixed states,"  during which aspects of both depression and mania are present.


Medication is essential for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder.  As with depression, clients must develop insight into the disorder and an ability to identify when they are at risk of mood swings.  Coping strategies such as taking a "time out," obtaining emotional support, exercise, and distraction are essential to control moods.  With Dr. Dye, each client develops a list of coping strategies that can be helpful when he or she is having difficulty with mood regulation.

 

Symptoms of Mania

Elated mood
Grandiosity
Impulsivity
Pressured speech
An unusual level of energy
Reduced need for sleep
Irritability and rage


Symptoms of Mania in Children and Teens

Children and teens may experience any or all of the symptoms above.  However, at times they present with behavior problems.

Oppositional and argumentative behavior
Rages and "meltdowns" when frustrated or when things "don't go their way"
Violence toward property and people
Verbal abuse
Hyperactivity and agitation
Disruptive behavior in school

Children and teens often have difficulty identifying changes in their moods and in using their coping strategies.  Parents and other adults in their lives must be educated in how to help children and teens best utilize their coping strategies.