News and Updates

OCD is the fear network of the brain sending a signal that something is wrong and needs to be done about it IMMEDIATELY. OCD only reports on feared consequences that are important to a person. For example, if somebody does not fear spilling water on the floor, OCD will not send the intrusive thought, “Oh no you spilled water. You must clean it up IMMEDIATELY”. On the other hand if someone does care about the safety of her family, OCD might say, “Oh no you left the stove on. You must go back and check IMMEDIATELY or the most important people in your life will die and it will be all your fault.” Similarly, if you care deeply about your family's well-being or your students safety, OCD may inject itself into your awareness with the thought “Oh no. What if I lose control and harm my children or students.”
Whether my patients have OCD, social anxiety, a phobia, panic, or are just generally anxious about life, they come into treatment wanting to be free of the uncomfortable feelings associated with anxiety. To rid themselves of their anxiety they have tried meditation, relaxation, yoga, different psychotherapies and medication, but overall they don’t feel a whole lot better. They ask me, “Why am I so anxious?” and “How do I get rid of this anxiety?” And I respond: “You need to allow yourself to be anxious and you don’t need to know why you are anxious.” I know it sounds counterintuitive. But when you actually move toward your anxiety and just allow yourself to experience it, without trying to flee the situation or reason your way out of it, those yucky anxiety feelings and bodily sensations tend to dissipate.
Between the constant messages in the news warning us of doom and gloom and an ever-increasing number of professional and personal obligations, life today is as stressful and anxiety-provoking as ever. Experiencing some stress and anxiety is not only normal but can be useful in small doses (e.g., keeping us alert, focused and ready to take action). Unfortunately, an increasing number of people report finding it so difficult to control stress and anxiety that it causes significant distress and interferes with their ability to function. 
Many Americans are experiencing a higher level of worrying since the presidential election.  Our country is in midst of a big transition and the stakes are high. We don’t know what will happen and uncertainty is worrisome for many. As an anxiety disorder therapist, I’ve worked with many people who worry. Can I apply what works with chronic worriers to political anxiety? Whatever the cause of your worry or level of intensity, the same part of our brains sets worry in motion. The limbic emotional brain perceives threats and alerts us to them. Because it is primitive, instinctual, and totally focused on survival, I call it the monkey mind.