Category Archives: Blog

“Am I Okay?”: Reassurance Seeking. What is it and why is it so hard to stop?

by David Ferenciak, LPC

Reassurance seeking, a behavior or mental act aimed to clarify or verify something that is typically already known, emerges through an inability to tolerate uncertainty. It is particularly significant in obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it can be found throughout each of the anxiety disorders. ‘Assurance’ is enough to satisfy many people, but the anxious mind is not easily satisfied. As one seeks out certainty – doubt begins to emerge again and the demand for ‘re-Assurance’ increases.
Maybe you know a friend or an acquaintance, or perhaps it is yourself, who repetitively asks questions that are aimed to provide relief or comfort. Examples of reassuring questions may include: Will everything be okay? Are you sure that I locked the door? Did I do the right thing? Are you sure I did not offend you? The amount of energy that someone can invest in obtaining certainty can be high, and it is not uncommon for someone with significant anxiety to feel defeated following their attempts to find reassurance. Continue reading “Am I Okay?”: Reassurance Seeking. What is it and why is it so hard to stop?

What the heck is “ERP”?

By Taylor Newendorp, LCPC

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), otherwise known as exposure therapy, is an evidence-based method of treatment within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ERP has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a wide range of Anxiety Disorders. These disorders include: Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Health Anxiety, and Specific Phobias.

When people struggle with anxiety and doubt the core component of OCD they tend to try and avoid the very things that produce anxiety or perform certain actions to try and “get rid of” uncomfortable feelings. Ultimately people do this to eliminate doubt and uncertainty. Unfortunately, research has shown that avoidance, distraction, and repetitive actions/rituals actually perpetuate and increase anxiety and stress over time. With exposure therapy, you are purposely exposed to a stimulus that produces anxiety or discomfort. The stimulus could be a place, a thought, an image, an object, a situation or something else.  Although this may sound strange, throughout the exposure process you are encouraged to actively resist engaging in your typical response to that trigger. Read on to find out why and how this works! Continue reading What the heck is “ERP”?

Parents Versus Defiant Children

By Diana Flores, LCPC

More often than not, I meet with parents who are frustrated with their children’s behaviors. They will say things such as “What have I done wrong?” “Why won’t he or she listen to me” In most cases, the parents have internalized their children’s behaviors and they see these negative behaviors as their children being defiant towards them on purpose. In reality a child might just be acting out due to being unable to express a feeling appropriately. Continue reading Parents Versus Defiant Children

Which one is more important Thoughts, Feelings or Behaviors?

By Diana Flores, LCPC

It is now well known that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all very important because they all influence each other. My thoughts can influence my feelings and behaviors and my feelings can influence my thoughts and behaviors just like my behaviors can influence by thoughts and feelings. This being said, for the purpose of exposure therapy one is actually more important than the other twocan you guess which one? If you guessed Behaviorgo you! But why??? Continue reading Which one is more important Thoughts, Feelings or Behaviors?

To Fear, or not to Fear?

By Diana Flores, LCPC

Imagine this scenario: a little boy is playing in his yard and suddenly a big dog runs up to the fence and starts barking very loudly. The little boy is caught off guard and he immediately feels scared and in a panic state. His “flight, freeze or fight” mechanism kicks in and he finds the ability to run into the house to seek comfort from his mom, his mom gives him a hug and tells him that he will be ok and his mom then tells him to go watch his favorite TV show so he can feel better. You will learn in therapy that this boy’s behavior is not unusual and most people when confronted with a scary event will learn to avoid the situation (run away from the dog), they will seek reassurance from others (mom saying to the boy that he will be ok), or they will distract themselves so they do not have to deal with the actual anxiety trigger (watch TV). Continue reading To Fear, or not to Fear?