Anxiety is a natural emotion that occurs throughout our lives, and is intended to motivate us for action, thereby allowing us to avoid potential threats and achieve our goals. Unfortunately, when experienced at high levels over a prolonged period of time, anxiety can have the opposite effect, paralyzing and overwhelming us with feelings of worry, fear, or dread.
CBT provides a framework through which the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that lead to and maintain this distress can be understood and addressed. The effectiveness of these interventions has been demonstrated through decades of extensive research on CBT’s impact on symptoms of anxiety, much of which was conducted by CBC co-founder Dr. Lata McGinn. Dr. McGinn has been internationally recognized as an expert in the area of CBT and anxiety disorders, and has received numerous accolades for her contributions to the field of psychology. Dr. McGinn and the team at CBC have worked together to develop anxiety treatment programs that incorporate the latest empirically-supported CBT treatments of anxiety, while also ensuring that each client receives treatment that is highly individualized, targeting their unique difficulties and strengths.
CBC clinicians adopt the philosophy that each individual brings with them a unique constellation of experiences. As such, treatment begins with a thorough assessment of the nature of the client’s symptoms of anxiety, as well as the way that these symptoms have led to distress or impairment in their lives. Research has shown that this assessment is an intervention in itself, as increased awareness of the nature of a problem is often accompanied by a change in our response to these difficulties.
Clinicians then apply this information to develop and share a personalized conceptualization of the client’s difficulties. This conceptualization includes psychoeducation on the nature of anxiety, and the way that different behaviors and thought patterns can either exacerbate or alleviate its symptoms. Provided that clinician and client are in agreement on their understanding of the problem and the way it can most effectively be addressed, they then begin the intervention stage of treatment.
While interventions will vary from client to client, all forms of CBT for anxiety are based on a shared set of principles regarding how these difficulties are developed and maintained. Broadly speaking, these principles propose that anxiety increases when we perceive a threat in our environment, and reduces when we engage in behaviors and thought patterns that reduce the saliency of this threat (e.g. checking to make sure that we turned off a gas stove, or avoiding writing an email that we believe will upset our colleagues). However, difficulties with anxiety arise when this perception of a threat is based on unhelpful thought patterns (e.g. unrealistic appraisals of the likelihood of upsetting our colleagues), or is maintained by behaviors and thoughts that reduce our anxiety in the short term, but exacerbate it in the long term (e.g. checking the stove each time we leave the apartment may make it difficult to leave without doing so). CBC’s anxiety treatment programs provide strategies for how to break these maladaptive cycles, and begin engaging in alternative behavior and thought patterns that will allow clients to regain control over their anxiety, and re-engage with their lives.
CBC offers a variety of wellness programs for anxiety including stress and anxiety management, insomnia, mindfulness and relaxation skills, and comprehensive treatments for generalized anxiety, panic and agoraphobia, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma and PTSD, specific phobia, test anxiety, school refusal, selective mutism, and more.
Please contact our Director of Intake Services at 212-595-9559 (ext.5) or 914-385-1150 (ext.1), or fill out the form above, with any questions regarding eligibility, for further information, or to make a referral. If you are a current patient at CBC, please speak to your individual therapist to see how this group may be of added benefit to you.