Tag Archives: CBT

Let’s Talk About the Coronavirus

 

OK, so things are a little weird right now. And it seems like things got that way pretty fast. Just a few weeks ago, we were following our daily mundane routines and now most of the world is in quarantine. How did we get here? Perhaps more importantly, where do we go from here? What should we do? How should we feel? 

During times of uncertainty such as this, we often look toward others as a barometer to gauge our own emotional responses. Unfortunately, what’s portrayed in the media is often the most extreme example of human behaviors. Should we be buying seventy-four rolls of toilet paper too? What kind of virus is this, anyway? Wait—now people are buying 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer?! (yes, this was a thing). 


But before following suit, let’s remember the basic principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on the mutual interaction between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In this case, anxious, fear-driven thoughts can cause the physical sensation of panic, making us feel like we are in fight-or-flight mode. These distressing feelings and emotions can then propel us to act in extreme ways, because this is the message that both our brain and body are sending. To put it simply: the way we interpret our environment has a profound influence on our emotional functioning. Makes sense, right? But the most important take-home message here is that the way we feel and the way we behave are influenced by our perception of events and how we interpret and think about a situation. 


So, great—but how does this relate to coronavirus? It means that we have the ability to understand the situation with a proportional amount of concern and consideration (which includes abiding by directions given by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization). And when if we feel ourselves begin to feel panicky, we can take a step back and examine whether it was at all influenced by flawed or inaccurate logic that is now only serving to exacerbate and prolong the distress. The bottom line is that prioritizing physical health does not need to come at a cost to your mental health. Take precautionary measures, stay informed and consult medical professionals when needed. If you are in treatment with a mental health counselor, inquire about telehealth services. Remember that the behavior you demonstrate has the potential to make a significant positive impact on others.

Carolyn Moriarty, LPC

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