Anxiety is a natural response to a perceived threat. Most of the time our anxiety is the exact thing that keeps us safe in the world. However, we can become anxious about things that are not really a threat to our safety but feel like they are. Normal anxiety is harmless and often adaptive. Abnormal anxiety occurs in absense of danger, and/or is out of proportion to the threat.
If the fear you have is significantly impacting your life either for you or your loved ones, it might be time to seek help. Common fears that affect people are:
- Fear of dogs
- Fear of bridges
- Postpartum anxiety - fear of taking care of a new baby
- Fear of snakes
- Fear of driving - especially after an accident
- Fear of flying
- Test anxiety
How these fears develop:
- Classical conditioning (traumatic experiences)
- Modeling (i.e. watching other people who fear dogs)
- Misinformation (movies or TV)
- Hormonal changes (postpartum depression) and life transitions
Most fears are bigger than the actual danger itself and can cause significant distress in life such as not being able to fly to see a loved one or not being able to take care of a much wanted newborn baby.
I am specially trained in Cognitive Behavioral Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy which has been proven to help people with anxiety disorders. CBT Exposure and Response Training works because it focuses on clients directly facing their fears. It is a gradual process that works at the pace of the client. It works because clients gradually work up the ability to tolerate the distress that comes with the fear.
I work very compassionately with my clients during the process and although we will spend some time talking through things and completing some of the beginning steps in the office, later we will go out of the office and approach the threat in the real world. Again, I go at the pace my clients are comfortable with and do not push or pressure you unless you give me permission, all the while checking in to see how you are feeling.
If your fear is keeping you from doing things that you want to do, or is controlling your thoughts, there is hope. Call me and we can set up an initial meeting to talk about what is going on and to discuss any questions or concerns you might have.