Anxiety Disorders Treatment Category

5 Strategies for Combating Shyness And Social Anxiety Disorder: How to Build Social Skills: Part 1

By Matt Sandford, LMHC
In a previous article I provided some helps for sorting out the differences between Shyness, Introversion and Social Anxiety Disorder. This is a companion piece meant to offer suggestions for addressing the skills of the person struggling with shyness. I believe it can certainly be helpful for those who identify as introverts or those struggling with SAD as well. Let me here explain something specific concerning introversion. Unlike shyness and SAD, introversion is a personality trait, and therefore the goal, my goal, is not to change it. No one’s personality needs to change in order to be fulfilled and be their best self. Our goal should be to mature, to grow. We may need to become more comfortable with who we are, but we don’t need to change our identity. Maybe you need to understand and discover your identity, but that’s not changing it. My desire is to provide some helpful skill development, but what that means is simply developing and honing...

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3 Ways to Tackle Anxiety

Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


Everyone worries, but not everyone worries the same way. Everyone worries but not everyone is affected the same way. Some are more affected by events, or external issues or circumstances, some more so by negative thoughts, personal flaws, or wounds old and new. And when things happen in our world and in our community and in our personal lives the worries can pile up. My goal for this vignette is not to provide a way to eradicate all your anxieties, as wonderful as that sounds, for that would be aiming too high for a mere article. However, all of us can feel better if we can reduce the size or the intensity of the pile of worries. And that seems like a reachable and helpful goal.


1. Find a way to get at least some of those swirling thoughts out of your head. You know, the more that you ruminate on your anxieties that it doesn’t help. In fact, they grow, don’t they? They seem to take on a life of their own, as your mind finds ways to add to the possib...

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5 Strategies for Combating Shyness And Social Anxiety Disorder How to Build Social Skills, Part 2

By Matt Sandford, LMHC
This two part series on how to increase one’s social skills and confidence in social interaction is a companion piece to my article on Shyness, Social Phobia and Introversion. Part one proposed the need for trying new approaches in terms of social interactions, offered some places to look in making new friendships, and then provided strategies 1 and 2, which were, I Don’t Know What to Say, and I’m Afraid to Initiate. Here are the final three strategies.
3. What If They Think I’m an Idiot, or Something Worse!
We now have to consider the seemingly unpleasant prospect – that someone does respond poorly, or rudely or belittles you or your opinion or comment. There’s no getting around the reality that there are insensitive and small minded individuals in this world, who are self centered or just plain mean. But I think it helps if you can remember that if someone like that has a poor opinion of you, that it actually says more about the...

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Release Trauma and its Immoblizing Effects

   Traumas come in many forms. Some types of traumatic events that perpetually victimize a person's mind include rape, incest, childhood abuse, witnessing the death of friends or family, or fearing for life and limb in dangerous situations like members of our armed forces.   Additionally, accidents of various types (car, sports injuries), even being dropped suddenly by an ex (relationship break-up), can lead a person to code the event in their mind and body with self-destructive effects and consequences. Traumas have varying degrees of intensity, time frames, and complexity.  Even though the type of traumatic event differs from person to person, does not make what happened any less important or life-impacting. Unresolved traumas either immobilize a person or have a way of leaking into other areas of life.

   A trauma is the memory of an unpleasant, devastating event(s) associated with strong debi...

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Nutrients That Affect Mental Health

As a therapist,I have clients ask about natural methods for mental health.

The first recorded nutritional experiment is in the Bible in the Book of Daniel. As the story goes, the king of Babylon captured Daniel and his friends during an invasion of Israel. When the king invited them to eat his rich foods and wine, Daniel and his friends declined. They explained that they preferred vegetables, beans and water in accordance with their Jewish dietary restrictions. The king agreed to allow them their diet on a trial basis. Daniel and his friends ate their diet for 10 days. Afterward, the king compared their health to that of his men who had been on the richer diet of heavy meats and wine. The king concluded that Daniel and his friends appeared healthier and were allowed to continue with their diet.

Over the course of time, scientists have continually investigated the effect diet and nutrition have on well-being. By the 20th century, scientists had used nutrition in the treatment of every...

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Herbal Medicine and Mental Health

In developing countries, up to 80% of indigenous populations rely on herbs for primary health care needs. In France and Germany, 30 to 40% of all medical doctors -- including psychiatrist -- rely on herbal preparations as their primary medicines in mental health counseling. German physicians, for example, frequently prescribe ginkgo, hawthorn, St. John's wort, horse-chestnut, saw palmetto, echinacea, valerian, ginger, garlic, and cranberry.

In Europe, herbs and herbal products are regulated in a different manner than in the United States. In 1978, the German Federal Health Agency established the German Commission E to investigate the safety and efficacy of herbal remedies.The commission studied evidence from literature, anecdotal reports, and clinical studies. In response, they developed monographs on over 400 herbs. These writings are now used worldwide as essential references on herbal therapy. The commission also established indications of how an herb is used medicinally and dosage...

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Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Depression and Anxiety

More and more clients are requesting recommendations and referrals from psychotherapistfor complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These therapies, which range from nutrition to body work, are often done in conjunction medication, rather than as a replacement.

Harvard University researchers and psychologists found that more than half of those reporting anxiety attacks or severe depression used a form of alternative treatment such as herbal remedies, special diets or acupuncture in the past year, while only one-third visited a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or physician. With the exception of chronic back or neck pain, depression and anxiety were the conditions that most frequently led people to try alternative treatments, according to researchers.

People with anxiety or depression who are attracted to alternative therapies tend to like self-administered strategies. About 20 percent of the respondents in the Harvard study who used alternative treatments reported visit...

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Manage your stress with Mindful Moments

When I talk to people about meditation or how to be “mindful,” I often hear “I can’t do it”, “its too difficult” or “I can’t focus long enough to do it right.” It is called a “practice” for a reason! You can’t  expect to try it once and feel like it won’t work for you. It is something that involves lifelong practice and just like anything new, it gets easier the more you do it. The key is not to judge yourself when thoughts begin to filter in your mind. Recognize them and let them go. Gradually you will find that fewer and fewer thoughts enter your mind during meditation. The great part of meditation is there is a number of ways to engage with it. This increases your chances of finding a way that works for you.  Guided visualization is the easiest way for beginners to start because you can put on your headphones, close your eyes and follow the imaginary journey given to you.

Another way is to...

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THE DYNAMICS AND MECHANICS OF ALLOWING THE PSYCHE TO BE UPDATED

I've finally reached a place where I'm either confident or arrogant enough to write this, depending on your point of view. I offer it in the hope that it will help relieve human suffering and bring more peace.

Nothing in what follows is really new or startling. I've merely refined and simplified and amalgamated existing truths and modalities. It is however eminently practical and can be used by anyone who wants to be genuinely free of suffering.

The only real criteria for success is wanting to be free more than you want your personal story of you to be real.

The speed with which the programs let go of you depends on whether your love of truth and freedom is greater than your attachment and identification with the energy of the program and the identity it seems to give you and the secret pleasure derived from the negativity of it.

To be free of suffering you basically have to tell the truth about what you really want.

The Buddha is reported to have said that desire is the root of a...

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LIVING WITH ANXIETY: What am I so afraid of ? By: John Newmark, M.S., LMHC

Is it fear or anxiety?  Is there a difference?  Yes, there is a big difference…

In people with anxiety disorders, the brain’s “hard drive” that controls the fear response goes awry.  At the core of this part of the brain is the amygdala, a structure that flags incoming signals as dangerous or worrisome and communicates with other parts of the brain to put the body on alert.


Early life events, especially traumatic ones, can impact this circuitry so that it is oversensitive and sends out alarms too often.  We have to perceive real threats in order to survive, but those with anxiety see threats where there aren't any, perhaps because emotional memories or defective genetics color their perceptions.


Typically, those who suffer from prolonged anxiety experience a range symptoms, including:

•    excessive worry about health, money, family, work, or school—even when there are no signs of trouble
•    &nb...

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