“You treat perfectionism? What does that even mean?”

By Taylor Newendorp, LCPC

I received this question a few years ago when I started advertising the fact that I address the issue of perfectionism in my clinical practice. While it may still be a widely-held belief that striving for perfection is a positive thing, it can, in fact, become an incredibly detrimental problem in someone’s life. The problem with perfectionism is that, to the perfectionist, no matter how well he or she does at something or how much success that person achieves in life, it still never feels good enough. Therefore this ongoing need to always do better ultimately leads to feeling discontent and frustrated, and the very effort to be the best actually hurts the person’s sense of self-esteem and confidence.
Continue reading “You treat perfectionism? What does that even mean?”

“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?

How do I get rid of my anxiety?

Anxiety treatment chicago counseling centerAs a therapist specializing in Anxiety treatment and the treatment of  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the most common question I hear is, “How do I get rid of my anxiety?” My honest answer is, “You can’t.” However through anxiety treatment and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you can learn skills to manage symptoms of both disorders, and we can teach you how!

I don’t say this to be discouraging or pessimistic, but I have to be realistic. Anxiety is a natural and necessary emotion that all humans–and, in fact, most living animals–experience. Anxiety is the response that warns us of immediate danger and cues our reflexes to move us out of harm’s way. Without anxiety, we would not know instinctually to jump out of the way of a moving car or to duck if someone throws something at our heads. However, with an Anxiety Disorder, those cues get thrown off and people tend to interpret harmless situations–and even their own thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations–as immediate threats. So while you can not ever “get rid of anxiety,” you can learn to discern the difference between danger and discomfort, challenge your anxiety-provoking thoughts, and manage your physical symptoms of anxiety so well that it no longer interferes with your life in any way.

For this post, all I want to do is to extend the invitation to anyone and everyone out there struggling with any type of anxiety to send me your questions. If there is something I don’t have an answer for or a piece of advice on, I will be honest and provide you with additional helpful resources. A key component of overcoming anxiety and OCD is gaining as much education as possible about those subjects, and I am happy to share what I know to help out in that respect.

Even though you don’t know me, you have to believe me when Anxiety treatment chicago counseling centerI say that you are completely capable of mastering your anxiety. I say that because all the counselors at Chicago Counseling Center have personally witnessed hundreds of people do it, using the proven therapeutic methods that we have taught them. If you want to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Taylor Newendorp, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor