by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 26, 2020 health anxiety, hypochondriac, online counseling, pandemic, treatment for anxiety0 comments
Health Anxiety During a Pandemic
Health anxiety is a term which identifies the cluster of behaviors around the physical body and its processes and specifically a preoccupation with preventing or experiencing disease or illness. Some of its symptoms are symptom checking, frequent trips to the doctors office, seeking reassurance that you are not dying or gravely ill. In the matter of weeks, health anxiety, fear and stress have infected the masses. These are certainly frightening times for most and for very good reason, we are faced with a highly contagious and potently lethal virus for which no vaccine or treatment currently exists. Yet, as with all things, the way that we encounter our fear and the way that we manage the new realities that we face has a measurable impact on our well-being and adjustment. It is worth mentioning that there are multiple forms of anxiety which are being inflamed, from health anxiety, to economic anxiety, there is much to fear and while most of us can relate to the fear of being infected with the corona virus, for anyone who has been diagnosed as a hypochondriac, their health anxiety symptoms are likely more inflamed. In general, people are quite emotional right now, the best that we can do is focus on what exactly we can control, by focusing on the sources of our own ability to impact change we find our grace, poise, patience and empowerment. Here are the best tips our wellness experts could compile to manage health and wellness during this pandemic.
Social distancing works, do it. It truly is one of the best ways that we can stop the spread and damaging effects of this virus. When your government starts to enact measures for people to stay away from public places, do it! There are a lot of tempting and exciting events and opportunities which have been temporarily suspended and even cancelled. Accept this with grace, for such drastic measurements to be taken, it is because the dangers are extremely potent. Try to find the silver lining in social distancing, use the time to take up a project, relax, and spend time with loved ones.
Use the extra time that you may have to focus on caring for your body, nourishing yourself with a healthy diet and lots of water, and getting in exercises are some of the best ways we can strengthen our minds, bodies, and immune systems.
Remember, that every cough or sneeze in yourself and others isn’t necessarily related to the pandemic. Of course if you do have the symptoms as indicated by the CDC you should follow their guidelines for gaining treatment and a diagnosis.
Keep your thoughts healthy, be cautious of what you consume with your thoughts. Don’t invest too much time in social media or the news. Generally, these places can created more tension and stress which we should all be focusing on limiting right now.
Try not to catastrophize and instead think measured thoughts. It is easy to go into the deep state of fear and hysterics, notice when you are feeling a high degree of anxiety and work through it with deep breathing and stress reduction techniques. Keep in mind, not every sneeze is Coronavirus and recovery for our bodies and civilization is much more than likely so do your best to remind yourself and others of this reality.
Be mindful to take in non-corona information regularly. Social media, the news media. You do have the ability to choose what you take in, do a meditation with positive affirmations, read a book, or even Netflix when you are noticing that you have seen enough of the C-word for one day. You brain and body will thank you for switching it up.
And, as we all know, wash those hands! That is the medical advice that has every good citizen marching off to the toilet paper isle at their local Costco only to find that everyone else seems to have beat them to it. Hand washing with soap and warm water for 20 seconds at a time is proven to remove viruses from our skins and reduce the spread.
This folks is what we have that we can do while we wait for the most vicious winds of this storm to pass, until there is a proven vaccine, we can focus here, and now, on ourselves, on our breathing, and on caring for ourselves and those around us…
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by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 20, 2019 counseling monroeville, how to overcome social anxiety, social anxiety treatment0 comments
Mindfulness for Social Anxiety, A Skills Group
This group is focused on helping clients practice mindfulness and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) interventions for the treatment of social anxiety in a warm and accepting group environment. With the help and facilitation of Steven Mollura, LPC participants will address the impact of social anxiety on one’s thoughts, physical sensations, relationships, emotions, and behaviors and then learn skills which will teach them how to overcome their social anxiety. The skill group will meet for 90 minutes each Sunday for 8 weeks beginning August 18th.
Outline of Goals:
Decrease Shame around social phobia and self-identity.
Go from avoiding social anxiety feelings to going towards them.
Social skills training and practice.
Skills to decrease distress in social situations.
Identify and pursue valued social goals
Mitigate self-sabotage thoughts and behaviors
Age: Over 18. No upper limit to age
No Gender requirements
Readiness for Group work: While the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh is glad to work with all individuals who are experiencing a range of clinical diagnoses, some individuals who meet the diagnosis or criteria for personality disorder, severe mental disorders, avoidant or aggressive personality style, Autism Spectrum Disorder will not be the best fit for participation in this particular group. Please keep in mind, the interventions and processes are appropriate for the specific needs of those who hold the diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder or who experience some degree of social anxiety. Additionally, no one whose anti-anxiety medication effects will interfere with group processes will be allowed to participate in group, please call and speak with Steven Mollura LPC, NCC directly to assess whether this might be true for you.
All clients will in advance agree to;
Confidentiality; No talking about others in or outside of session.
Attendance; Clients will attend all sessions and arrive on time.
Participation: Clients will participate in session.
Clients will not come to session high or drunk, not under disruptive effects of anti-anxiety medication.
Outline per week.
Introduction, psychoeducation on the topic of irrational beliefs.
Psychoeducation on social anxiety and social connection
Discussion of irrational or disruptive beliefs.
Psychoeducation and Challenging Irrational beliefs,
Process: 1.Social Situation 2. Identify Belief/s Triggered 3. Identify Feelings Experienced 4. Logical and compassionate reframes
Skill focus: eye contact and posture
Challenging irrational beliefs and reframing.
Skill: Assertive communication
I statements, eye contact, posture, firm body movements.
Assertive communication continued
Explain and practice assertive communication techniques
Mindful Acceptance: Describing VERSUS Evaluating. Acceptance of all experiences. Internal and external. Reframing.
Behavioral Flexibility (freedom to choose one’s behaviors despite noise of the brain/emotions)
Minimize suffering while doing so
Run Towards the Fear. Social Fitness Training
Use of fear as a tool to move towards goals.
Mitigating social self sabotage.
Review of course.
If this is of interest to you, please call our center at 412-856-WELL
All participants will speak with Steven in advance for processing prior to groups start. Steven does accept United, Highmark, and UPMC insurance. Self paying clients will be charged 50.00 per group of 400 for all 8 weeks if purchased in advance.
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by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 16, 2018 anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, counseling, counseling pittsburgh, educational, generalized anxiety disorder therapy pittsburgh, licensed therapist monroeville, licensed therapist pittsburgh, psychology, psychotherapy, therapist, therapist in murrysville, therapists, therapy, therapy for anxiety, therapy pittsburgh, wellness, wellness center monroeville, wellness pittsburgh0 comments
A phobia is a fear or anxiety response of heighted arousal, ie rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, and thoughts of intense worry and this most likely leads to avoidance of the situation or object. Some examples of typical phobias are fear of public speaking, fear of choking or vomiting, fear of spiders (arachnophobia), fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), fear of bridges, fear of tunnels, fear of large crowds, fear of blushing, fear of water or other natural environments, fear of contamination or germs. Phobia is distinct and much more severe than a natural aversion, for instance in the example of arachnophobia, many people do not like spiders and insects but wouldn’t qualify for a disorder because this doesn’t interfere with their functioning and enjoyment of life. A person who simply doesn’t like spiders may sheik if they encounter one and quickly try to remove it from their environment. A person who has a phobia of spiders may feel anxiety if they think about a spider, they may never go into a forest or stay away from other natural environments, they may start to take precautions like spraying repellant everywhere and have continual intrusive thoughts about the possibility of encountering spiders and even stop leaving home or developing agoraphobia because their wish to avoid the spider is so powerful.
The Diagnostic Criteria for A Specific Phobia are;
- A continual, persistent, and excessive fear caused by the presence or anticipation of the situation and or object, examples may be choking, bridges, tunnel, flying, insects, fainting, speaking, blushing.
- When exposed to the object or situation an anxiety or hyperarousal response is invoked. This is also a different response in children.
- In panic disorder the persona experiencing the disorder does recognize that the fear is unreasonable and the response is excessive.
- The situation or object may be faced or endured but only with very visible and tangible fear, anxiety and distress.
- This fear and anxiety interferes with the enjoyment and participation of life, limiting professional, occupational, social, relational, and academic performance and functioning.
- This can be diagnosed only in individuals who are over the age of 18 and it must be experienced for longer than 6 months.
The best way to treat a phobia disorder is with psychotherapy, your licensed counselor can help you by using a very specific kind of therapy called Exposure Therapy. This is a behavioral therapy which a licensed therapist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders will be able to guide you through. In other instances, medication including anxiolytic medication, anti-anxiety and SSRI’s are best used medication therapy to treat and manage panic disorder. Other forms of therapy which may help to manage specific phobias including meditation, mindfulness, exercise and other integrative options like nutrition counseling and acupuncture.Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 15, 2018 anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, Certified Nutritionist, clinical herbalist, cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, counseling for anxiety, counseling pittsburgh, generalized anxiety disorder therapy pittsburgh, licensed therapist monroeville, licensed therapist pittsburgh, mindfulness, Nutrition Counseling, Nutritionist, therapist, therapist in murrysville, therapy, therapy pittsburgh, wellness center monroeville, wellness pittsburgh0 comments
Treatment for Anxiety
Treatment for anxiety takes many forms, there are generally three main agreed upon and clinically verified methods to manage and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Counseling or Therapy with a licensed counselor or therapist is the first treatment route. The treatment route for this form of help can vary from short term, brief solution-focused counseling interventions as well as long term treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy and even existential therapy. Only you and your counselor or therapist can determine which method will be best for you.
Other ways to manage symptoms related to anxiety are to enhance total wellness, this includes integrative medicine, nutrition counseling, acupuncture, fitness, meditation, and mindfulness. Some people experiencing anxiety find that a holistic approach suites their lifestyle best, in turn they explore clinical herbalism and integrative interventions to learn how this can support positive emotional health and wellness. Holistic therapy is best utilized along with counseling or psychotherapy from a licensed counselor which is therapy which will focus on finding triggers and changing the cognitive response to anxiety. The final way to treat anxiety is to use medication therapy. Medication has many different options including SSRI’s which must be taken for several weeks before taking effect and then other anxiolytic medication which is more short acting, talk with your psychiatrist or prescribing PCP to explore which form of medication therapy is the best for you to treat your anxiety. Medication often works best to diminish anxiety when it is paired with counseling and therapy which can change the thought patterns, discover underlying causes of anxiety and mange the full way in which it effects quality of life.
Remember that the worst way to manage your anxiety is by doing nothing at all in the hope that your symptoms will disappear. Managing anxiety is done best when we treat it early and completely with solid medical and therapeutic interventions.
Seeking Treatment for an Anxiety Disorder? 3 things to look for in a Therapist to Treat your Anxiety
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 4, 2018 anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, counseling pittsburgh, free therapy pittsburgh, generalized anxiety disorder therapy pittsburgh, licensed therapist monroeville, licensed therapist pittsburgh, searching for a therapist in monroeville, searching for a therapist pittsburgh, social anxiety therapy, therapist in murrysville, therapy for anxiety, therapy pittsburgh, treatment for anxiety disorder0 comments
3 things to look for in a Therapist to Treat your Anxiety.
If you are noticing that there has been a shift in your mood, energy, sleep cycle, appetite, digestion, or overall quality of life, or maybe you have recently been diagnosed with a chronic health condition and have a more recent onset of anxious feelings. You may be wondering if you meet the criteria for the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, or one of the other major diagnosis which make up this category. Sometimes too, an individual may be suffering from one of these disorders but without realizing it because the patterns of thought associate with the disorder have become so entrenched in the sufferers thinking and way of being that the symptoms which perpetuate the disorder are automatic. A professional assessment and then therapy to treat your anxiety is the next step to healing. In searching for a therapist to help you treat your anxiety you will find a variety of options and treatment styles so many that you may ironically become anxious in the process of choosing. A few things to help you choose the therapist or counselor.
- Check their credentials, choose a licensed therapist who has experience in treating your specific potential anxiety disorder. There are lots of people on line who advertise as life coaches coaches, counseling ministers, or counselors without a license. You owe it to your health and wellbeing to treat your anxiety with a well-trained and licensed therapist.
- Expect to pay for services or use your insurance, if a therapist is offering free counseling or free therapy assessments, this is probably not a good sign. Most qualified and licensed therapists who treat anxiety disorders will expect to be paid for their expertise in helping you to recover from your anxiety disorder. Offering free services is a way new therapists might try to get business if they are very slow or new to the business of therapy.
- In your first appointment and all other appointments, pay attention to how the process feels and what you think about their interventions. Do you feel understood? Does the therapist offer skills and interventions that are relevant to your needs in treating your anxiety? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you are likely well on your way to a solid therapy path and recovering from your anxiety disorder.
Be Well Pittsburgh and Monroeville,
412-322-2129 Call to reach a therapist to help you to treat your anxiety disorder.
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by Stephanie McCrackenApril 30, 2014 counseling, mindfulness, personal growth, psychology, psychotherapy0 comments
Who among us has not suffered from feelings of anxiety at some point in his or her life, it is common enough to be among the more often seen symptoms which bring an individual into a therapist’s office. Even for the most staunchly healthy psyches anxiety is a typical benchmark which exists in a range of degrees within the human emotive process. Depending upon you as the individual and the technical approach of your clinician you may be offered a multitude of conflicting remedies to intervene upon that which is ailing you.
There are the wildly popular pharmacological interventions such as Xanax or Valium, while widely popular these interventions do nothing to examine the “how’s” or “why’s” of an anxious feeling. These interventions assume that an increased cardiovascular response, heightened worry, tense muscles, sleepless nights, feelings of agitation are all in the physical realm yet quite mysterious. Indeed anxiety in its more insidious form is a grave health concern so it is with accolades that I note the vast number of humans seeking treatment to escape its grips. There is something inexplicably disconcerting about the hyper arousal of anxiety which compels one towards a greater risk for many other issues health issues such as addictions, depression, coronary heart disease, even eroding the erectile function of both the male and female, to name but a few.
Most of us recognize that there are yet other forms of anxiety which are our “bon amie,” the kind which compels our actions for good causes such as self and social betterment. Without a touch of anxiety one may hit the snooze button each and every morning and drop out of society all together. Yet for our purposes we will consider the more sinister form with its wanton undesirability which causes many to seek its avoidance at all costs. There are vastly varied approaches within the medical community in terms of treatment of anxiety, there are folk remedies, homeopathic remedies, new age methods, each with their unique utility. Yet most all of these interventions lavish attention upon the amelioration of physical symptoms but may from sheer neglect, fail to examine the psychological underpinnings of anxiety itself. For those who do experience the necessity of utilizing anti-anxiety medication it is an empirically validated fact that the best therapeutic outcomes exists for individuals who make use of psychotherapeutic settings simultaneously. It is within the psychotherapeutic setting that the focus is cast specifically upon the unique psychology which may be breeding and offering sustenance to an overabundance of anxiety. Allow the remainder of this small essay to offer a rudimentary overview of some of the more typical sources of psychological anxiety.
Significant Life Changes
This form of anxiety is a reaction to some looming occurrence which has skated its way across your horizon, it may be adaptive and is completely natural. Many of us thrive upon constancy, as much as this tendency is at odds with the nature of the universe, inevitably we experience some anxiety while changing jobs, graduating, marrying, divorcing etc. While it is normal to exhibit some emotional reaction to such transitions be mindful to give extra care to yourself even during those joyous transitions. For any anxious feeling that continues to gnaw at your innards, give yourself some time to thoroughly examine all of your thoughts surrounding the (fill in blank) transition. This reflection affords the opportunity to hone in on any ways your emotional self may be beckoning you towards a closer look at something that your conscious awareness is not seeing completely.
The more that we attempt to repress our emotional experience the more that they tend to rupture forth in greatly unmanageable ways. Perhaps you are a product of early learning which valued emotional repression and lack of expressiveness. In some way you may have learned early or later in life that it is dangerous or taboo to talk about feelings or even notice that they exist for you, yet the vast and unstoppable torrent of the feeling state will not be escaped. This form of anxiety or panic urges the person towards understanding and experiencing of inner awareness and emotional expression.
The exactitude and finite nature of time is stated by some to be the source of all anxiety. What is it that you will you do with your precious earthly allowance? By becoming more aware of lapsing time, acknowledging that life proffers beauteous opportunity, love, and abundance still too, how will you cope with mounting defeats, losses, and unrealized potentials? Ones highest hope is to make father time ones friend, utilizing our human energies to compel feats which contribute to human progress. For you that may mean many things, to raise a family, build computer software, tend the forest, love deeply, the myriad meanings for the human riddle.
For some of us it is alarming to consider doing something that risks ones perceived control over ones surroundings. That could mean riding in an airplane, making interpersonal changes like developing new relationships, people are the ultimate unknown variables full of competing needs and possibilities. Will you be able to extend the risk of letting go of the known order to enjoy the potentials?
While this is in no way an exhaustive exploration of that powerful human indicator named anxiety it is something that may compel one to begin to relate to it in a slightly different manner. Perhaps it is time to consider its possibilities, its latent messages, it may one with greater respect for behoove one to not simply extinguish an anxious feeling with a pill or an exercise but to sit with it, even for just a moment, entering its heart palpating, dizzying sensation, in reverential respect for its utility and possibility as an psychic indicator. There is an understanding that in most cases, under the layers of any symptom are a fortunate beckoning towards the best version of yourself, the unrelinquishable layers of consciousness which insist that ideals will be felt and known.
In good health and energy,
Stephanie McCracken MSPC
Reviving Minds Therapy
1010 Western Ave
Pittsburgh Pa 15233
*This article does not intend to diagnose, treat, or in any way address an anxiety disorder or supplant psychological or medical advice. This is intended for your consideration only.