Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT typically focuses primarily on thoughts, feelings, and issues in the present and how to cope effectively. The “cognitive” portion of the therapy refers to discussion of thoughts and how to challenge, modify, or ignore unhelpful, upsetting thoughts. The behavioral portion of the treatment addresses how a person’s activities (or avoidance), interactions, and environment may be contributing to distress. Treatment strategies include education about the nature of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations; problem-solving; assertiveness practice; acceptance of one’s feelings and experience; and often something called “exposure with response prevention” (see below).

CBT usually requires “homework” to be completed between therapy sessions. The therapist and client work together to design useful homework exercises for practice. Sometimes the treatment involves reading or using a workbook in conjunction with the therapy sessions.

Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP)
ERP is a strategy used to help a person “face fears.” Usually, at ABHS, this involves constructing a hierarchy of situations or experiences that trigger feelings of anxiety in the client.  Starting with the least anxiety-producing tasks, the client gradually practices “facing” the situation (that’s the “exposure”) and continuing to face it until the anxiety goes away (that’s the “response prevention"—not escaping the situation until the anxiety is over). For example, someone with high social anxiety might practice walking through a mall and making brief eye contact with strangers at first, until this feels easy; later, s/he might practice starting conversations with others. Someone having panic attacks might practice driving in different settings, or doing exercises that produce uncomfortable body sensations. The goal of such exposures is two-fold: 1) To experientially demonstrate that the feared consequences either do not occur, or are tolerable to the extent that they do occur.  When the brain learns this, it can stop setting off the "alarm system" in response to the situation.  2) To build confidence that one can tolerate and accept the body sensations and general experience of feeling afraid, which is a normal, inevitable, and temporary (but recurrent) part of living.

About ABHS | Dr. McCreary | Map & Directions | Types of Anxiety | About the Treatment | Forms

To Contact Us:
Phone: 614-436-5030

6797 N High Street, Suite 214
Worthington, Oh 43085

© 2007 Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services. All rights reserved.

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