Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a well-known and extremely effective method for treating anxiety disorders. CBT is a broad theory of therapeutic interventions and involves many different approaches and strategies. In short, cognitive therapy focuses on better understanding and changing how we think; behavior therapy focuses on changing what we do.
For the purposes of treating panic attacks, OCD, phobias, and social anxiety, the most commonly used off-shoots of CBT are Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). While the bulk of our therapy sessions will focus on ERP and ACT strategies, we will also incorporate some more traditional CBT techniques.
Although I do use some cognitive interventions, I am careful to not place too much emphasis on trying to “get to the root of” why you think in a certain way or to “restructure your thoughts so they’re less upsetting.” Placing too much emphasis on a client’s anxious thoughts can make the problem worse. Instead, we will work together to solve the following dilemma: If you’re going to be human, which means you’re going to have thoughts, how can we free you from the struggle and the suffering?”
I consider myself primarily a behaviorist – let’s get you out into the world, trying new things, and trying new ways of interacting with your environment. I invite my clients to engage in their surroundings with curiosity and openness.
“Let’s experiment. Let’s throw it against the wall and see what sticks.”