Fear, worry, and anxiety come in many forms.
Feeling highly uncomfortable in social situations, worry about harm coming to ourselves or to a loved one, worry about things that may seem small to others, or something bad happening if we don’t do something a certain way are ways anxiety can show up. There are many ways anxiety can manifest; sometimes people can be afraid of sharing what they are thinking, feeling, or doing because it seems too “weird” or strange. Having a brain full of thoughts and feelings that just seem to spin like a hamster wheel and will not quiet is exhausting, upsetting, and highly stressful on the body and soul. Stress from the emotional load can seem unbearable, and shame and fear of judgment add to the torture. In addition, the stress of anxiety is very hard on the body as well as creating emotional turmoil. Scientific research shows tension and distress can create a host of physical symptoms.
We can be afraid of just about anything: bugs, elevators, heights, driving across a bridge, public restrooms. We can sometimes feel just general apprehension and a high level of tension and not even know why. Because of fear we may begin to avoid. We avoid people, places, things, and situations; our world becomes smaller and smaller because of fear. Panic can set in and debilitate us even more. Our internal security alarm – our fight or flight response – signals “danger” when really there is no danger, and the cycle of stress and anxiety continues.
A most upsetting situation is being a parent of a child who is tortured by stress and anxiety; we worry about our children’s worry and stress and it is excruciatingly painful. Parents, of course, will go into protection mode and do everything in their power to help the child or adolescent avoid the anxiety and stressful situation. We would do anything to protect our children from distress, however, often the approach of protection and avoidance leads to more anxiety and stress. We are inadvertently teaching our kids that they are unable to tolerate and manage distress, which is not true. We want children and adolescents to have the tools to manage distress and the knowledge, confidence, and resilience to know they can. I help parents as well as their kids focus on learning and using the tools need to reduce their distress. Parents become coaches and cheerleaders in the process of their child’s success.
I work with adults, adolescents, and children who struggle with anxiety, using an effective treatment approach with the most up-to-date research and success rate. More specifically, I specialize in using a CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and Exposure and Response Prevention approach in treating the following:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and OC Spectrum Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety
- Social Anxiety
- Specific Phobias
- Adjustment and Stress related issues
One of the biggest fears to overcome is the fear of anxiety itself. Franklin Roosevelt made an excellent point when he explained that fear itself is the biggest problem with being afraid. When we learn to face and tolerate uncomfortable feelings and not fear them, they become smaller and less intense. With an effective approach to the treatment of anxiety, I help people live in their strength and resilience, face “dangers” and distressed feelings, and recalibrate their internal alarm; overwhelming worries, fears, and anxieties eventually become small nuisances, or nothing much at all. And when stress anxiety and worry does show up, there are tools and a map to navigate them and get back to feeling steady again.
As human beings we also do not just exist in the cognitive realm. Building rapport, creating a safe space, empathy, and compassion as well as considering and tending to all the layers to navigate that life brings us is part of my work with any client.