OCD & Anxiety
If you are living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or clinical anxiety, you know what it's like to have fear holding you back from your best life. Friends and family can be sympathetic, but do not always understand how incapacitating and seemingly endless your worries are. Sometimes your thoughts seem completely irrational, even to you, but that doesn't seem to make the fear any less real, or less painful.
Clinical anxiety and OCD can interfere with the enjoyment of some of life's most basic pleasures, and even cause physical symptoms like gastrointestinal pain, shortness of breath, chest pains, sweating, and more. The good news is that in most cases, OCD and anxiety disorders are very treatable. With hard work, courage and patience, you can conquer your fears and get your life back under control.
I have extensive training and experience working with anxiety disorders and OCD. I specialize in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and in particular Exposure-Response Prevention (ERP) to work with clients experiencing these issues. My speciality training includes the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation's renowned Behavioral Therapy Training Institute (BTTI). Read on to learn more about how I may be able to be helpful to you.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects people of both genders in every culture around the world. The "topic" of the symptoms can be different for every individual, but the basic pattern is the same: unpleasant thoughts or worries (obsessions), which create high levels of anxiety that are only relieved by mental or physical rituals (compulsions). OCD tends to begin earlier in men (ages 6 - 15) than women (ages 20-29) and, left untreated, gradually gets more noticeable and intrusive over time. I encourage you to learn more about OCD here.
Evidence-based treatment of OCD involves a special branch of CBT known as Exposure-Response Prevention (ERP). I will work with you to identify your obsessions and rituals, and to discuss the meaning they have in your life. We'll talk about how OCD interferes with your life, and how it may have even become important to you. We will develop and rank a heirarchy of 'exposures' (calculted risks you will take to face your anxiety), and when you are ready, I will support you as you begin to face your fears.
Exposures can be conducted in my office, or in vivo (in real life). In certain cases, imaginal exposures (visualizations) are appropriate either before or instead of real-life exposures.
For some people, the process can be straightforward and intense, with noticeable results in 6-10 sessions. For others, OCD can present a challenge requiring longer-term management. Some people benefit from the addition of medication, while others do not. Everyone is different, and I am committed to work with your individual situation to find the best outcomes.
Anxiety disorders include a wide range of worries and fears that can disrupt life, undermine healthy relationships and create barriers to personal and professional success. From fear of flying to panic attacks, clinical anxiety disorders can be frustrating and sometimes incapacitating.
I help clients face and manage all types of anxiety, including:
- Generalized Anxiety - a basic, pervasive pattern of worry and fear that intervenes with life in many ways
- Social Anxiety - sometimes mislabeled as 'shyness' or 'self-centeredness,' social anxiety prevents individuals from experiencing full relationships and/or succeeding in professional situations. Social anxiety can manifest as fear of public speaking, difficulty making personal connections, hyper-concern about others' opinions, or even a sense of 'awkwardness' in social situations
- Panic Attacks - panic disorder is marked by episodes (attacks) of seemingly uncontrollable fear, and often includes physical symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pains
- Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia - individuals who have experienced intense or frequent panic attacks may begin avoiding certain situations to prevent the onset of panic, a condition known as agoraphobia. Sometimes this means avoidance to the point of feeling unable to leave the house.
- Specific Phobias - paralyzing fear of something specific. Can include fear of heights, confined spaces, driving, insects, snakes, needles, etc.
To find out if I may be able to help with your particular situation, please contact me at 770-380-1288.