Every therapist says they treat anxiety. Every therapist says
(and believes) they use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In fact very few do. There is only one therapy that
eliminates anxiety disorders. It's called Exposure Therapy. Feel free to email questions for a quick reply, or, if you are ready to start your recovery, you
can book an appointment now online by yourself or call 212-726-2390.
What is Exposure
Therapy? Exposure is the only therapy that is endorsed by all national anxiety organizations, whether it is OCD, social
anxiety, agoraphobia, panic disorder, PTSD, and phobias. If a therapist does not use exposure as their main technique,
they will not help you. It is not sufficient if they say they use CBT. CBT is a very general term that includes
dozens of techniques, including many that are not helpful to anxiety and some which will make it worse. Exposure is
a special CBT technique specifically for anxiety disorders.
Moreover, you've been doing exposure your whole life
and successfully overcome hundreds of fears. It's normal to be nervous or fearful in a new situation--the first day
at a new school or job, the first time you met your significant other, the first time you did a new activity. Yet you
overcame your initial fears by continuing to do the uncomfortable activity; that's exposure! Some have even become sources
of great joy---a new sport or career, a happy marriage, etc.
Exposure is the natural way people overcome
fear of anything. Even the most primitive animal organisms eventually habituate to uncomfortable stimuli through exposure.
We all know people who have phobias--flying, dogs, darkness, tall buildings. (I have a phobia of mice!) We
know that people overcome these common fears just by gradually getting closer to and spending more time in those feared situations
in small baby steps. But those baby steps eventually add up to a dramatic difference. Panic, social anxiety, and OCD
are no different from these phobias, except it's harder to avoid travel, people, and thoughts. But it's the same thing
and is equally treatable.
In fact, it is physiologically impossible to remain fearful of anything with
continued exposure to it. Think of firefighters, police, soldiers, doctors, and pilots. They weren't born fearless;
they slowly became that way by exposure to successive approximations of their occupations. Sadly, this is true even
of people in war torn countries. We are dumbfounded watching people go to work, school, hairdressers, and weddings while
bullets fly over their heads. They've been exposed enough times to become desensitized to it.
contrast, we know the more we avoid uncomfortable things, the more we become fearful of them. In fact, we could make
you afraid of anything simply by telling you to avoid it, even if you never actually encountered it. Isn't it surprising
how fearful people can be of others who are different from ourselves or who live in other countries, despite never even meeting
them? That's because they grew up being told to avoid certain types of people. Yet when we are exposed to them
long enough, we become more comfortable around them. In fact people can be quite comfortable with even negative people
and negative situations, for better or worse, simply through exposure and familiarity. As long as they know what they
are getting themselves into, good or bad, they're comfortable.
We cross the street every day without
thinking we could be hit by a car. Does that guarantee we can't be a fatality? Of course not. Accidents
happen all the time. We've learned to live with these everyday risks not because we've been reassured, but because we
simply are habituated to it. The good news is that if you've overcome fears of these everyday situations--learning to
ride a bicycle, learning to swim, etc.--then you WILL also overcome the anxiety that has put your life on hold. You, and millions
of people going through the same thing, can be hopeful of overcoming this problem once and for all!
Schedule an appointment now.