I specialize in the treatment of OCD and other anxiety disorders. I also offer Christian counseling for individuals who request it.

 

Treatment Specialties

Anxiety disorders include: panic, social anxiety, specific phobias, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder.  There are some common features across these types of anxiety.

  • Concern about the future, a sense of dread or forboding
  • Physical arousal such as racing heart, sweating, and upset stomach
  • A strong desire to avoid or escape the anxiety and anything that triggers it

Effective treatment for anxiety exists.  It includes identifying triggers, problem-solving, reducing stress, developing relaxation and mindfulness skills, changing thought habits, and exposure therapy.  PTSD and OCD involve more specialized treatment.  I do not treat PTSD but can provide referrals to therapists who do.  See the OCD page for further information about that type

Resources

Anxiety Disorder Association of America

Everyone feels down or blue from time to time.  If you have experienced several of the following symptoms for at least two weeks, you might be experiencing clinical depression.

  • Depressed mood.  This may be expressed as irritability or anger, especially in children or men.
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Helplessness
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities, including sex
  • Fatigue or decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, problems with memory, problems making decisions
  • Sleep problems or excessive sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Thoughts of death and/or suicide
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

The two most common and effective treatments for depression are medications and psychotherapy.  A combination also works well.

Hoarders, the reality show on A&E, has helped hoarding become a hot topic. CNN, Fox News, ABC, and Oprah have featured stories about hoarding. Since the 1990s, psychologists have been studying hoarding and developing treatments for this relatively common problem. Hoarding involves several components.
1. Acquiring too much stuff
2. Difficulty getting rid of stuff
3. Problems organizing stuff
Often the person is not aware of the serious problem his or her stuff has become. Yet it can limit the use of the home, social functioning, and may be a safety hazard.

Drs. Frost and Steketee have developed a cognitive behavioral treatment that helps many people with hoarding. Using their Compulsive Hoarding & Acquiring therapist guide and client workbooks, I have started working with people with hoarding problems. Please call for a consultation if you would like more information or help with this issue.

About 1 in 40 people suffer from OCD, a serious anxiety disorder.  People often use terms such as “OCD” or “obsessed” to describe perfectionistic tendencies or other common behaviors.  For example, “I’m obsessed with watching American Idol.”  This mostly likely is not OCD!

Obsessions

Obessesions are unwanted, repetitive thoughts that are difficult to control and cause anxiety or distress.  Obsessions often, but not always, fall into several categories.

  • Fears about germs, contamination, and cleanliness
  • Obsessions about order and symmetry
  • Intrusive thoughts, often religious or sexual, usually considered blasphemous or sacreligious
  • Fears about harming or killing people

Compulsions

Compulsions are behaviors — physical or mental — done to reduce the anxiety or distress associated with obsessions.  Common compulsions include:

  • Repetitive handwashing, lengthy showers, excessive cleaning
  • Rearranging items until they are “just right”
  • Canceling out thoughts with other thoughts, prayers, or sayings
  • Counting

The above obsessions and compulsions are common, but there is not a “typical” OCD.  Each person experiences it uniquely.

Treatment

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is the most effective treatment for OCD. ERP may be accompanied by other aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy.  It can be helpful to have an experienced professional guide and support you through ERP treatment.

Sadly, people with OCD may have had ineffective or insufficient treatment, so they become discouraged about seeking further treatment.  If you are in this position, you may want to call for an interview to explore whether more effective treatment is possible for you.

Resources

Obsessive Compulsive Foundation

Anxiety Disorders Association of American