How is Anxiety Treated?
Many people, including a lot of therapists, think anxiety is treated with relaxation techniques. Relaxation is effective for reducing physical tension, but it does not address the core fear which drives anxiety disorders and OCD.
The best treatment for anxiety disorders involves exposure and response prevention (ERP). It is considered the “gold standard” for OCD treatment. If you have OCD, panic, phobias, and even generalized anxiety disorder and have not had ERP you have likely found that your previous therapy has not lead to reduced anxiety or time spent avoiding anxiety. ERP involves the gradual exposure to situations that provoke anxiety along with not trying to rescue yourself through rituals, reassurance seeking, avoidance, or rumination.
Men and Teenage boys
Much of my experience had been with treating men and teenage boys who have any of the above issues. While men die of suicide at higher rates than women, they seek out therapy at much lower rates. In fact, only about one-third of therapy clients are male. Yet, we know that men and boys struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, relationship issues, and more as much as women do.
If you are a man looking for help (or a woman looking to help a man in your life) I want you to know that counseling can be a comfortable place for you. What is a session with me like? First of all, it's confidential so you know that what you say won't get back to family, friends, or bosses. Second, I use a pretty active form of therapy which doesn't (unless you want to) focus on the past or depend on you naming the exactly right feeling. Your goals are yours, which means I'm not going to tell you what you have to work on or what you can't work on. In my experience, the vast majority of men get to the end of their first session and tell me how relieved they feel, how comfortable, and how eager they are to return.