At Anxiety Solutions, it is important to us to do evidence-based therapy, which means that we only use treatment methods that have been proven to work in research studies. So all of the treatment methods below have been shown to be effective for anxiety and OCD in extensive research studies.
We take what research says works and use our experience and expertise to tailor it specifically to your needs.
Read on below to learn about the types of therapy that we do, and you can also check out our What to Expect page to learn more about what actually happens in sessions with us throughout the different phases of the therapy process.
Exposure Therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that make you anxious without engaging in typical avoidance behaviors. This process retrains the brain that the anxiety triggers are not actually dangerous, which decreases anxiety. The triggers you expose yourself to in Exposure Therapy may be physical (for example, going out to certain places that you fear may trigger a panic attack) or mental (for example, using a technique called “imaginal exposure” to purposely confront thoughts you are afraid of without trying to resolve them).
Exposure Therapy is considered the gold standard of care for all types of anxiety disorders and OCD, so it is the primary treatment method that we utilize. It is considered a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and you may sometimes also see it referred to as Exposure and Response Prevention, or ERP for short.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a broad umbrella term that refers to a number of types of interventions meant to address problematic cognitions (thoughts) and behaviors. CBT is an active, goal-directed form of therapy focused on practical solutions to problems based on changing problematic behaviors. Exposure Therapy is the specific CBT intervention that has been shown to be most effective for anxiety and OCD.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy promotes the idea that because we do not have direct control over our automatic thoughts and emotions, what works best is to practice acceptance of unwanted thoughts and emotions while committing to healthier behaviors. It is based on the idea that “what you resist persists”…the more you try not to think anxious thoughts, the more you will think them; and the more you try not to feel anxious, the more anxious you will feel. Paradoxically, acceptance works better. ACT puts an emphasis on being willing to experience unwanted thoughts and emotions while still engaging in meaningful behaviors based on your values (what is important to you in life and what kind of person you want to be) in spite of those thoughts and emotions.
We think of ACT as a form of “modernized CBT”. Traditional CBT often includes some methods that anxiety experts find to be ineffective or even counterproductive for anxiety and OCD, such as relaxation/breathing techniques and trying to come up with rational disputations to negative thoughts. We often have clients tell us they’ve tried some of these methods in previous therapies and found them quite frustrating. ACT takes a more pragmatic, realistic, and effective approach that we find much more compatible with the philosophy of Exposure Therapy. We consider ourselves to be “ACT-based exposure therapists”.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that focuses on persistently redirecting attention off of overanalyzing anxious thoughts and onto the present moment. Since letting go of trying to resolve uncertainties and coming back to what you are actually doing in front of you is such a critical skill for managing anxiety, we find mindfulness to be extremely helpful. It has been gaining more and more mainstream popularity recently because of how effective it has proven for a wide range of psychological problems, including anxiety and OCD. We often incorporate mindfulness practice into our treatments and we think a regular mindfulness practice is like exercise for your brain: a good, healthy habit that not only treats but is preventive of mental health problems.
To learn more about what our treatment looks like, click here: What to Expect In Therapy