Anxiety and Co-Dependency

A Sign of Co-Dependence: Compulsive Giving. Anxious people tend to be co-dependent, often possessing a great capacity for empathy, a strong sense of responsibility, and a longing to channel their acute sensitivity. Due to their sense of compassion, they often … Continue reading

Anxiety and the Sensitive Person

The Sensitive Person’s Level of Suffering and Need to Present Well Individuals suffering from anxiety are often highly sensitive people whose acute awareness has become an affliction rather than a gift. In an effort to mask their psychological pain, anxious … Continue reading

Automatic Thoughts

What just happened? (Just quickly relay the facts). Was I already in a difficult space before this even happened? How come? (What was the context?) What went through my mind immediately after I got triggered? If I was looking at … Continue reading

Cognitive Defusion and Mindfulness Exercises

Cognitive defusion is the technique of becoming untangled from our thoughts. While cognitive fusion is the process of believing that our thoughts are literally “true,” cognitive defusion is the ability to regard thoughts simply as thoughts. The result of defusion … Continue reading

Cognitive Distortions

Catastrophizing: You tell yourself that the very worst is happening or is going to happen. Overestimating Probabilities/ Underestimating Coping Response: You overestimate difficulty or danger while underestimating your ability to cope with the situation. All-or-Nothing (Black-and-White) Thinking: You view a … Continue reading

Cognitive Restructuring

This process is recommended to help you restructure your thoughts and gain some healthy perspectives when you are feeling anxious. It is best to do this in the moment when you first notice any symptoms, but you can also use … Continue reading

Coping With Ambiguity (And the Trouble with Affirmations)

I don’t believe in affirmations, but I do believe in coping statements. Affirmations are a form of magical thinking, a fervent wish that Reality be somehow different than what it is. Affirmations are used for the purpose of cancelling out … Continue reading

Finding the Compass in Compassion: A New Model of Caring for Others and Ourselves

When I first came to therapy as a client at the age of twenty-one, I worried at the end of my initial session that my suffering would burden my therapist in some way. “Isn’t it too much,” I asked, “to … Continue reading

Healing your Social Anxiety (Part 1)

Using Honesty to Heal Your Social Anxiety. Social phobia, essentially defined as a debilitating fear of negative scrutiny, can be one of the most devastating anxiety disorders. We are social animals living in a social world, and people are all … Continue reading

Healing your Social Anxiety (Part 2)

Using Skepticism to Heal Your Social Anxiety. Incorrect Reasoning. While the socially anxious can be their own worst critic, in the sense of being extremely hard on themselves – they can also be their own worst critic, in the sense … Continue reading

Healing Your Social Anxiety (Part 3)

Using Creative Hopelessness to Heal Your Social Anxiety. “I’m Too Nice!” and Anxious Chickens. I once saw a beautiful 12-year-old that came to her first session sitting very still next to her mother: back perfectly straight, a serious expression on … Continue reading

Healing Your Social Anxiety (Part 4)

Using Kindness to Heal Your Social Anxiety. The Double-Bind Challenge. Having completed the first three parts of this series, you are in an optimal mindset for change. In Part One, you used honesty as an alternative to deception—relinquishing the manipulative … Continue reading

How to Deal with the “Negative Review”

The negative review is the act of rehashing and embellishing conversations in our minds after an interaction has already occurred, while at the same time focusing on our perceived shortcomings. It is a shameful, demoralizing, and unproductive process. These following … Continue reading

How to Practice Willingness

Many psychological approaches based in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and other mindfulness-based therapies propose willingness as an effective technique for coping with a variety of symptoms. I agree that this paradoxical approach is the best way to address … Continue reading

Look — You Are Not Your Mind

“You are not your mind,” I tell my clients. “You aren’t.” This statement is usually followed by a mixed look of skepticism and pity: “She’s a psychologist, and she doesn’t understand that everybody is their minds! She seems misinformed. Everybody … Continue reading

Missing Pedophile OCD: Don’t Let This Happen to You

Don’t let what happen to me? Did I read this right? Now that my title has grabbed your attention, I hope you will allow me to explain: By “you” I am referring to you, the therapist; by “this” I am … Continue reading

OCD Distortions (And Who Says They’re Wrong)

Authorship Confusion. Daniel M. Wegner uses the phrase “authorship confusion” to describe how people mistakenly assume responsibility for causing an event, simply because the thought preceded the occurrence. Believed-In Imaginings. Theodore Sarbin offers the phrase “believed-in imaginings” to suggest that … Continue reading

Searching for Bad News: The Circuitous Path of Obsessive Thinking

I Believe Something Terrible. Many people are invested in “proving” the existence of something they are terribly worried about. Even though this would be the worst news imaginable – that something terrible is happening or has already happened – they … Continue reading

Suggestions for Supporting the Anxious Person

Dear Supportive Person, The following are some suggestions that may benefit both you and the anxious person during difficult times. Check in with your own feelings first, and notice your own responses as you begin to compose and comfort yourself. … Continue reading

Thoughts Anonymous

We admitted we were powerless over our thoughts, and that our minds had become unmanageable. Came to believe that a power greater than our minds could restore us to sanity. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives … Continue reading

Treating Insomnia with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Relaxation Techniques

Insomnia and other chronic sleep disorders affect more than 40 million people in this country, and studies have shown that anxiety and stress play a significant part in this problematic condition. Quality of life, general health, and performance at work … Continue reading

Treating Panic Disorder

TREATING PANIC DISORDER:  A COUNTER-INTUITIVE APPROACH. If you suffer from “anxiety sensitivity,” you may be interpreting certain arousal states in your body to be threatening when in fact they are not. This has to do with a common cognitive distortion … Continue reading

What Are My Coping Skills?

BE PRACTICAL Do you have directions? Contact numbers? A plan or goal? Money? The right clothes? Phone charged? Snacks/water? Enough time to get some place? And, do you need to be overthinking things (what can you reasonably let go of)? … Continue reading

Who Says I’m Wrong?

Cognitive-behavioral therapists typically present a list of “cognitive distortions” that describe the common errors we make at the level of our thoughts. (You are likely to find a list of those distortions in virtually every CBT workbook, and even in … Continue reading

Who’s Searching For Bad News: A Special Note to the “You Did Something” Group

As a follow-up to my article, “Searching for Bad News” – a piece I wrote about individuals who desperately try to prove something dreadful – I wanted to respond to a particular group of people who bravely reached out me. … Continue reading

Write a Letter to Your Suffering Self

Clients tell me that they have absolutely no idea how to have self-compassion, and while they easily demonstrate compassion for others, they just don’t know how to be compassionate with themselves. First, let me take some of the pressure off … Continue reading

Your Path to Recovery

Come over to the right side – your path to recovery. Don’t trade short-term relief for a long-term anxiety disorder. Instead, say “yes” to more things and remain in more anxious situations, without resorting to escape or avoidance. Choose the … Continue reading