Exposure Therapy

Neuroplasticity: Hope and Cautionary Tale

Neuroplasticity offers hope. It has to do with our brain’s ability to reorganize connections in response to learning. Cognitive behavior therapy can help us reduce stress to life’s most challenging circumstances. One of the things I get to do about every couple of months or so is to talk with a group of women surviving…

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DISTRESSING INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS

Distressing intrusive thoughts about self harm may be the least known intrusive thoughts in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Most people think OCD pertains only to keeping things neat and orderly or compulsive hand washing. People don’t often share obsessive intrusive thoughts about self harm. This type of OCD doesn’t show up on popular media. One way they…

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INTRUSIVE, MORALLY REPUGNANT THOUGHTS

Have you ever had an intrusive, morally repugnant thought pop into your head? Intrusive means the thought was uninvited. Slapping a random toddler in a store, shouting an obscenity in church, jumping in front of a bus, stabbing a girlfriend, or hurling an insult at a waiter go against your morals. When these kinds of…

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Avoidance: A trap that makes anxiety worse

Events such as a rude remark, speaking in public, joining a group for the first time, using a pubic toilet, or taking a math quiz aren’t dangerous or emergent. When we avoid or quickly leave those situations because we feel anxiety, we strengthen the avoidance response.   Years ago, I came upon a bear foraging…

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How anxiety, irrational fear, obsessions and compulsions are maintained

How anxiety, irrational fear, obsessions and compulsions are maintained When we experience anxiety, fear, obsessions and compulsions that keep us from being our usual, charming selves, we are curious about “how we got this way?” Sometimes the answer can be obvious, for example, a trauma or the presence of a long-lasting stressful time could be…

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Facing Your Fears

Facing Your Fears Common sense seems to hold that we can best overcome fears by facing them head on. Admonitions like, “If you get bucked off, you got to get back up” encourage us not to give up due to fear. Recently, Jessica Cleveland and I presented a workshop to about forty other counselors on…

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