When Anxiety Takes Over

Michelle’s Story

Michelle, now 31 years of age, came into my office to learn how to manage her anxiety more effectively. Michelle grew up with a very anxious mother, who constantly worried about everything. To shed some light on what this anxiety looked like, Michelle informed me of the worries that would take over her mother’s life: overwhelmed about having to go get groceries after work, to wondering if she is going to have time to take a shower quick enough, to not being able to sleep unless her husband feel asleep first, etc. These worries were modeled and then practiced by Michelle on a day to day basis. These worries eventually took over her life, impairing her functioning at work and in her social life. She had a difficult time concentrating at work because she was worried about all the things she had to do before and after work. With friends, she noticed she couldn’t stay present, but instead was in her head, thinking about all the other things she has to do. Panic attacks then began, making Michelle realize that she needed to seek help.


Treatment for Michelle
I referred Michelle to get a Medication Evaluation. People with heightened anxiety may sometimes benefit from the use of psychotropic medications.  The main focus of therapy with Michelle was to identify the source of anxiety and improve her coping skills. One technique used frequently with Michelle was identifying the factors contributing to her anxiety. Michelle learned to notice what was triggering her anxiety, brain storm various choices in dealing with the anxiety, make a decision and follow through with it. Michelle was stuck on just worrying about the problem but didn’t think of ways to manage it. Her worrying about the problem constantly lead to her panic attacks.
 Stress Management Techniques

To cope with her anxiety, Michelle learned the following techniques:

–          Developing flexibility in responding to change

–          communicating more effectively to improve problem-solving

–          building mutually supportive relationships

–          Self Care

–          Deep Breathing

–          Progressive Muscle Relaxation

–          Time Management skills

–          Meditation

–          Utilizing her support system

–          Disputing unrealistic thoughts and worries


Feel free to visit my website at http://www.PasadenaTraumaTherapy.com for more info!


About Pasadena Trauma Therapy

​I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Certified EMDR therapist in Pasadena, CA. I have provided outpatient individual and group therapy throughout the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley areas to teens and adults on a variety of issues, ranging from trauma, sexual abuse, physical abuse, incest issues, dissociation/dissociative disorders, anxiety, depression, gang affiliation/involvement, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. I work predominately with adult trauma survivors (sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, dissociation, etc). I also help clients work through issues of anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, attachment disorders, codependency issues, etc. I am trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidence-based treatment approach shown to help children, adolescents, and their caretakers overcome trauma-related difficulties. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing ( EMDR) and Trauma Resiliency Module(TRM) are a big part of my practice. Both are very effective in treating traumas. EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that has been successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, nightmares, etc. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements or tapping) while the client attends to past memories and triggers, in efforts to decrease or eliminate emotional distress connected to the memory. TRM helps clients with traumatic stress reactions learn skills to help stabilize the mind and body. Clients will learn to track body sensations and bring balance back to the nervous system.
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