I specialize in helping people cope with anxiety and addictions. Here are the core goals I can help you achieve in therapy:
- Be Aware: Daily awareness of what triggers your anxiety or cravings.
- Be Willing: Effective responses to your anxiety or cravings.
- Be Inspired: Following your life passions, so you can do the things that matter to you.
On the foundation of a caring, compassionate, and close relationship, we work together on what is most important to you. In our first session, I will be listening carefully to assess your triggers for anxiety or cravings, how you have tried to cope with them, and what your problems have cost you, in terms of relationships, health, work, and other life areas. Together, we will set goals for where you want therapy to take you.
Over the course of our work together, there will be three core skills we are going to work on, with each skill set personalized to you.
Be Aware: Daily Awareness
Both and anxiety and addictions have triggers. They can be people, places, activities, sensations in your body, thoughts in your mind, or emotions. Learning your triggers will open new doors for us:
(1) We will look at how to change the triggers we can change and;
(2) Learn new ways to respond to them when they occur. I will show you some practical skills to keep track of your triggers.
Be Willing: Effective Responses
Once you attain expertise in spotting your triggers, we move onto acquiring a wide variety of skills in how to respond to them more effectively. Often this will entail learning a radically different approach to dealing with anxiety and cravings. As I refer to in my TEDx talk, I call this approach “willingness” and it comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Willingness means opening up to, being accepting of, and dropping the struggle with your triggers. Instead of fighting and trying to tamp down your anxiety or cravings, you see that it can actually take less effort to be willing. Most important, you will see that they eventually shift on their own like the ebb and flow of waves on a shore. Learning how to be willing takes daily practice and an openness to trying something that is a little different. As I mention in my TEDx talk, even I was skeptical when I first heard about so any hesitation you have is quite welcome in our conversations. I am going to show you some standard methods for being willing and I am also going to invent some new methods that fit your personal interests, learning style, sense of humor, and other personal strengths. Over the years, I have learned that the most effective skills are the ones created just for you.
Be Inspired: Follow your life passions
Having a broad set of skills for responding well to your triggers opens you up to new possibilities. Passions, hopes, and dreams that previously had been dormant now start to spring up. You are less pre-occupied with having to deal with anxiety and addictions and instead more interested in pursuing deep interests. This is the part of therapy where we work on naming what really really really matters to you: your relationships, health, work, spirituality, etc. Knowing what deeply matters to you will lead us to set up personal life goals, both short and long term. Those goals will lead us develop your weekly action plan. And that action plan will help us see some of the internal and external barriers that might get in your way. The skills you will have learned will be key for helping you overcome those barriers. This brief video shows my Five-Step approach to achieving your goals.
So this helps you see the overall direction your therapy will take together. Within a session, we can weave between these core goals according to your needs. And I say at the start of every session, “What is really important to you that you want us to work on today?” What this means is we tailor the therapy to your needs, to what is deeply important to you. We keep our eyes on the overall direction of your therapy goals while being sensitive and aware of what in your life needs attention right now.