Anxiety Therapy in Philadelphia

One of the primary goals of my job as a Philadelphia psychotherapist is to help patients search for the causes of their distress. Psychodynamic therapy is especially well suited to this task, because it is principally concerned with rooting out the unique personal experiences that may have given rise to the patterns and behaviors which hold us back in the present day.

Recently a controlled study attempted to determine the value of psychodynamic therapy in treating panic attacks, or paralyzing episodes of anxiety whose terrifying power can level otherwise productive and healthy individuals. The results were clear. Psychodynamic therapy proved an effective treatment:

“All treatments showed improvements in patients with panic disorder, but it was noteworthy that psychodynamic psychotherapy showed promise in treating this disorder,” lead investigator Barbara Milrod, MD, professor, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, told Medscape Medical News.

It isn’t hard to imagine why analytic therapy could have shown strong results. Human anxiety doesn’t arise in a vacuum; often it is the consequence of the emotionally resonant experiences that have shaped our lives. Surfacing and exploring these stories head-on can go a long way toward resolving the anxieties they feed. My experience is that while cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can provide essential tools to alleviate the immediate physical symptoms of panic attacks, psychodynamic therapy is necessary to reduce the prevalence and power of these attacks in the long-term. As a result, I am a firm believer in employing both approaches in tandem.

I am proud to offer experienced and compassionate psychotherapy for patients who struggle with the symptoms of anxiety. To begin a course of therapy with an experienced Philadelphia psychotherapist today, please contact me.

The Roots of Perfectionism

If you chew your nails, tug at your hair, or otherwise fidget incessantly, there may be something more than idle nerves at play. Many psychology experts believe that such behaviors are tied to a deeper and more complicated impulse: perfectionism.

Although it’s popular these days to call someone a perfectionist in a casual way – not unlike our culture’s widespread adoption of “OCD” as an offhand jab – true perfectionism is often paralyzing and deeply distressing. Patients with perfectionistic impulses often find themselves unable to finish what they start, and scared to compete with others in any meaningful way.

Now a new study has linked perfectionism to anxious habits that may seem mindless at first glance. The study shows a strong correlation between repetitive tics such as nail-biting and their underlying psychology. As this article asks, what can be done?

Currently, there are two possible avenues [of treatment] – a behavioral treatment that involves replacing the habit with a competing action, and a separate approach that focuses on the underlying factors that create tension, such as perfectionism and other negative beliefs, according to O’Connor.

As an analytically trained therapist, I believe that our habits are never random, and that they are often symbolic acts designed to help resolve or relieve an underlying issue. Surfacing that issue and understanding its origins is one of the cornerstones of a successful psychotherapy.

My approach to psychotherapy is integrative in nature, meaning that I consider a patient’s current thoughts and behaviors alongside the past injuries and narratives which may be driving them. Treating the whole patient means incorporating the whole history, and my patients tend to see good results from this deeper look at what drives their habits.

If you’re looking to find a Philadelphia therapist who offers successful therapy for perfectionism, please don’t hesitate to contact my practice today.