Specializing in Anxiety
and Stress Management
Anxiety as with depression is the most identified emotional issue in our modern world. You would think not considering our world as it is and the support that modern society gives us in living a comfortable and meaningful life. But we are surrounded by it and often by things we have little or no control over like the obvious Corona Virus epidemic. Each of us looking into our own selves begin to identify the issues that trigger anxiety. However, we sometimes feel helpless in attempting to gain control over the emotions that are triggered by events or our internal responses.
There are many strategies for gaining control and managing our anxiety. No strategy fits all. We use a multifaceted approach and may utilize many approaches in tandem with each other. First of all we evaluate the situation and the circumstances and our responses to anxiety-provoking events. We differentiate both the internal and external triggers to our anxiety responses. We have to understand that our physiological and neurological makeup has as much to do with anxiety as the actual provoking events. In doing this we can gauge which intervention would be the most efficacious. Based upon this we can go into our grabbag of interventions that we know that work. There are many. Let me name a few: Talk therapy certainly has its place. To process and identify the many facets of anxiety, reframe its dynamic to establish a better and more realistic understanding of the influence of anxiety in our lives is important. CBT is a powerful approach to doing this. Progressive relaxation has demonstrated itself over and over in addressing the physiological manifestations of anxiety. Hence as the body relaxes, so does the mind. Biofeedback and Neurofeedback are outstanding methodologies that also address the physiological responses. Neurotherapy is an especially significant intervention that actually looks at the electrophysiology of the brain and identifies anxiety profiles. The brain can then learn to reregulate itself. Change happens! And it really works!
Other approaches have proven quite efficacious as well. Meditation quite effectively modulates the overly excitable brain. Buddhist monks and experienced meditators display a much different disposition toward the anxiety issues of their life.and in general toward life. Mindfulness training has been demonstrated as especially viable in treating anxiety. Deep breathing exercises, music therapy, and guided imagery have all demonstrated a powerful palliative effect. There are other strategies that we will discuss under other subclasses of anxiety.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Emotional and physical trauma are horrific events. The experiences can create a lasting impression on the human psyche. I never went to war but as a Marine, I had many friends who did, who experienced the ravages of war and suffered the emotional effects of those experiences. I have also worked with many who have suffered much trauma due to physical and emotional abuse. They live their lives daily with the memory of these events, and dream of them as well. Many have little memory of those events but subconsciously they affect many aspects of their lives. We call this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a type of anxiety that can take hold of our lives and influence how we live it.
Many other issues are linked to PTSD, an addictive problem is one of them. Anxiety, phobias, avoidant behaviors are others. One approach that has been particularly powerful is Neurofeedback. Once we have identified the electrophysiological correlates of PTSD, the brain can teach itself to reregulate itself through training. We call it Alpha/Theta Training. The training helps raise the power of the alpha and theta waves which are linked to a relaxation response. Over time this becomes the norm. The client is no longer saddled with the emotional content of these memories. In the case of comorbid addictive disorders, the cravings for substances is diminished.
When I was a little boy I was bitten by a dog. It was not serious. But from that moment I had always a fear that any dog that approached me would bite me. And I love dogs! A phobia! I am sure we all have had observed others who have had irrational and maybe not so irrational fears of certain events and so went through great pain to avoid these situations. Fear of flying, fears of public speaking, fear of social events, fear of going out in public, fear of driving. I can go on and on. Most of us see these as irrational fears. Whatever our view these fears prevent us from doing many meaningful things that our lives depend on, want or need. Our goal in therapy is to neutralize or eliminate the fear associated with these experiences. There are very good interventions that can relieve them hence eliminate avoidant behaviors. One that I have used over and over is called systematic desensitization. Essentially it is visualizing the fearful events in a hierarchy and engaging the client in progressive relaxation until they are able to visualize the event without anxiety. I have had a very high success rate with this intervention. In vivo desensitization, a form of exposure therapy has also been highly effective in treating phobias. I have utilized Hypnosis. Pairing a trance-like state with an irrational fear can again neutralize the anxiety-provoking thoughts..
Yes, we are going through a difficult time. Corona Virus is pandemic. The world is in a guarded state because of it, and the earth is on alert. Someday a cure will be found and what we are experiencing will be in history books. But there is another epidemic, it is quiet, it is subtle, it is insidious, and it is universal. And sometimes overwhelming. No one escapes its clutches. And there is no cure. I call it STRESS. We all are victims of it. For many it may have an unrecognizable effect, for others, it can lead to the most significant effect. In light of this, what do we do? Are we doomed to the ravages of it? No need to. We manage it. And that is what Stress Management is about. It is understanding the dynamics of stress in our lives, Its effects on ourselves and others. And take the appropriate steps to manage and control it. That is what we are all about: helping you understand the stressors in your life, the severity of them, and see their emotional and physiological effects. Then through our discussion develop the appropriate strategies that eliminate or reduce the effects of stress on our lives. We have outlined some of these strategies in the previous paragraphs. We will list more and there are many on the next page.
Anxiety and Stress Management Treatment Strategies
No size fits all. That certainly goes for the treatment of anxiety, phobias, PTSD, stress, etc. Each has its own nuances of triggers and symptoms. Here we will list many of the treatment strategies that have worked for us in addressing our clients' specific issues. They are all science-based and have proven efficacy:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In Vivo Desensitisation (Exposure Therapy)
We have worked with these approaches to address the specific issues of our clients. We have been very successful in doing this. We know this from experience. They WORK.
For an Initial Free Consultation, Please call our office for an appointment, 847 298-6446.