“Anxiety” is a catch all term these days. Anxiety is usually made up of worry, fear, and avoidance of activities or opportunities, as well as, physical reactions such as, rapid heart rate, and changes in breathing. For many of you, these feelings and fears interfere with day to day living, but by developing skills to manage this intense reaction, you can tackle your worries and fears and conquer most situations. Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy or CBT for anxiety focuses on reducing the anxious symptoms and physical reactions and overcoming the uncomfortable feelings each time they occur.
I provide treatment for managing anxiety, including Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobias, and specific phobias such as School Avoidance or Driving Avoidance.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD, one type of anxiety disorder, deserves its own category. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts or urges that cause you to feel uncomfortable or anxious. Compulsions are the behaviors or actions you feel forced to take to get relief from the uncomfortable obsessive thoughts. These obsessions and compulsions can be distressing because of how urgent they feel, and how much time they take up. Often, these actions must be repeated many times to feel ‘just right’ again. As with anxiety treatment, CBT is used to target specific OCD symptoms. For OCD, CBT therapy is called Exposure Response Prevention or ERP. I provide manualized, empirically supported ERP where I help you to purposely expose yourself to the thought while choosing to prevent the compulsive reaction. This work has to be done carefully and with your full trust and support.
Professionals in Crisis
When panic or debilitating physical symptoms stop you in your tracks, it gets in the way of everything. If you have become ill and view it as impossible to get back on your feet and meet the demands of your typical day, I can work with you. I can help you make sense of the crisis, putting into context what might have led up to the emergency state and equipping you with strategies and techniques to manage and reduce ongoing symptoms. Often this involves panic attack treatment, but various forms of anxiety and overwhelm can get the best of capable adults at times. By designing a personalized approach to manage symptoms and predict pitfalls as well as working closely with your physician, I can help you regain your composure and return to work and/or full life activities.
As you can read throughout my profile, day to day management of symptoms is the focus of my treatment techniques. Therefore, distress and discomfort due to changes in day to day life or due to larger life transitions can also be managed by assessing thoughts and behaviors that occur in response to significant events. My treatment style gives you the skills to manage feelings and reactions to significant events, such as school adjustment, college transition, relationship break-up, separation, divorce, and family blending.
Sometimes physical health problems are the cause of hard to manage feelings and reactions. Behavioral Medicine or Health Psychology is the term when I provide therapy and support for medical/health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dysautonomia, and fibromyalgia. This can include helping you cope with adjustment to new medical diagnosis, treatment cooperation and compliance, pain management, anxiety associated with medical procedures, and managing symptoms caused by your physical illness. Often medical diagnoses can interfere with typical activities, such as school, work, or sport participation, adding to how difficult it is for your to live with the illness. My treatment style offers help with handling these disappointments and can include helping parents get their child back into age-appropriate activities when necessary.
LESS COMMON PLACE ISSUES of SPECIALTY
My treatment specialties also include a few less common issues, some you might not know of or know the treatment to manage them. Rest assured they were given names because you or your child are not the first to experience them. Finding a psychologist familiar with these issues and how to manage them can mean that you get valuable help when you need it most.
Toilet Training/Potty Issues
Failure to potty train to urine by age 5 (Enuresis) or stool by age 4 (Encopresis) can be treated. I provide toilet training help including progressive behavior-based steps to resolve pooping in the wrong place or holding in poop and I help re-train appropriate physical toileting behavior. This treatment includes working with your physician to rule out medical problems and ensure safe consistent use of the toilet. I have extensive experience in this area and boast a long list of success stories!
Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors or Habit Disorders
CBT strategies are effective in the treatment of common body focused habits, such as Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling), Thumb Sucking, Nail Biting, and Skin/Scab Picking. I provide treatment for these habits through progressive, behavior-based steps to change routines or triggers and replace habits with less destructive forms of soothing or sensation.
Sleep hygiene, or good sleep habits, are critical for consistent sleep patterns and restful sleep. If you have ever found yourself unable to sleep or if your sleep was interrupted because of a sleep troubled child, then you can attest to how difficult sleep is to “fix” once it’s not going well. I provide CBT-I treatment for sleep issues, including evaluation of factors contributing to poor sleep, and reworking of routines and management of symptoms that are preventing reliable sleep.
Situational mutism, or inability to speak in front of anyone outside of close family members, is also an issue managed in progressive behavior based steps. Often categorized as an anxiety disorder, the inability to speak can be reduced and patients can be helped to speak to teachers, friends, and others for necessary day to day interactions. This treatment involves progressive, incentive based steps to equip the patient to use his/her voice and increase their comfort with and ease of speaking over time.