I help clients who suffer from anxiety issues which occur on an ongoing basis. In anxiety counselling, my focus is on helping clients address the worrisome thoughts captured by the notion of “What if?”. I move clients from “What if?” toward “Then what” thinking by helping them develop psychological coping skills to handle those “What ifs” if they do materialize.
Clients who suffer from this issue are preoccupied with fears of rejection and criticism from others. My dual-pronged approach involves (1) helping clients accurately determine whether others are criticizing or rejecting them; (2) helping clients develop assertive internal responses to specific kinds of criticisms and rejections.
For clients who have anxiety related to specific situations, I focus on helping them gradually approach these situations rather than avoid them. By teaching my clients cognitive and behavioral coping skills, my clients gain the confidence to remain in these situations to the point that their anxiety diminishes.
For clients who have had a traumatic event such as sexual or childhood abuse or bullying, it is hard to enjoy the present because they are continually reminded of these events. In my role of Calgary psychologist, I help my clients heal from these events in two ways: (1) healing from the emotional effects of the events by reducing the impact of anxiety and other negative emotions; (2) healing from the negative effects on their thinking and beliefs by being able to view themselves positively and begin to rebuild trust of others.
Clients with OCD are distressed by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours such as hand-washing, counting and checking. I help these people to reduce the frequency of these beahviours so that they no longer interfere with their lives.
Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
Panic disorder is characterized by the individual experiencing the intense anxiety associated with panic attacks stemming from catastrophic misinterpretation of physical or mental sensations. The effects of panic attacks can be so devastating that some people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia—avoidance of public places because of fear of having a panic attack. I help clients with panic disorder use skills to reduce and ultimately eliminate panic attacks and overcome accompanying agoraphobia when it is an issue.
People with health anxiety, also known as hypochondriasis, worry excessively about their health to the point of adding significant stress to their lives. Preoccupation with possible symptoms and constant reassurance-seeking from medical professionals and others characterize this anxiety disorder. Clients with this issue learn and practice skills to reduce their anxiety and the accompanying behaviours I mentioned.