We hear a similar question from many of our potential clients.
"I've been in therapy many times for my anxiety, how is your treatment different?"
To begin with, our therapists are specialists in anxiety disorders who understand the myriad of ways that anxiety can manifest itself in our patients. Whether it a strange thought, frightening body sensation, fear or compulsion, we have extensive experience in treating them. Our approach to treatment is time-limited and symptom focused and we will work with you to set up a treatment program that is designed with your particular issues in mind. Instead of focusing on your past, we give you tools to work within the present. Our main focus is on the here and now, identifying what is not working in your life currently, and working on tools to deal with them. We offer a step by step approach to begin the process of no longer avoiding uncomfortable situations. Life skills, such as assertiveness and problem solving, are only a few aspects of our comprehensive program for panic and anxiety disorders. We also have a strong network of professionals in the community should you need someone to monitor your medication, an understanding primary care doctor or other specialist that will be sensitive to your anxiety disorder.
As a participant in our program, you will receive the entire manual one lesson at a time, and these lessons are yours to keep.
Only one out of four people with phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder obtain competent help for their problems. While these disorders are very treatable and respond well appropriate interventions, unfortunately, very few therapists have had the training or the experience to be truly effective in this specialty. If you are considering a therapist, you may find it helpful to ask him/her the following questions.
Be a wise consumer! If you are suffering from any form of anxiety, make sure your therapist is a specialist!
- Do you specialize in treating people with agoraphobia, phobias, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder? If the answer is no then move on. If yes, ask what percentage of their client fall into these categories. (It should be at least 70%.)
- Does the treatment involve cognitive/behavior therapy?
- Do you do in-vivo desensitization? That is, do you actually take people into different situations which they are either avoiding or are uncomfortable in, i.e. driving, shopping, eating in restaurants etc? (A major component of recovery is actually doing the things you fear. It is helpful to have someone with you when you actually begin facing difficult situations.)
- Aside from your primary degree, what training and experience do you have in treating anxiety disorders? Do you have any SPECIALIZED training in treating these disorders? If so, please describe.
- Does treatment have any structure? Are there any educational materials you give out?
- Is it possible to speak with a recovered client? If the therapist has recovered clients he can easily obtain permission for them to speak with a fellow sufferer.
- Do you include support people (spouse, family, significant others) in the treatment program? (Many people find it significantly improves their recovery if support people are incorporated into the treatment.)
- Do you routinely confer with other professionals who specialize in treating anxiety disorders?
- What does treatment cost? Is it covered by insurance? After considering the information you received and are satisfied with all of the answers, you should set up an appointment to meet with the therapist in person. You may want to use the following rating scale to evaluate the therapist.
A total of 20 or below is unacceptable. Do not hesitate to see several therapists before choosing one to work with. Also, decisions are not irreversible. Don't feel that you have to stay with someone simply because you have been working with them for years. It is your time, money and well-being that are at stake. You should see some progress in a relatively short period of time. If you don't it may be time to switch therapists! Good luck.
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