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Why CBT for Anxiety in Brooklyn?

Why CBT for Anxiety in Brooklyn?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, known as “CBT,” is considered the gold standard psychological treatment for several mental health conditions. CBT is especially effective for anxiety. At Flourish Psychology, we believe in creating a personalized approach to treating all mental health conditions, but for many of our patients, CBT is the best primary treatment choice.

But why is CBT so effective?

Benefits of CBT – What it is and Why it Works

CBT has been extensively researched by universities across the United States. It has been the primary therapy choice on the West Coast for decades. Other therapeutic modalities remained more popular in places like NYC and Brooklyn, like psychodynamic theory, but recently CBT has overtaken them as well as the top choice for most psychologists.

Cognitive behavioral therapy isn’t one specific approach, but rather many different strategies that are all related to addressing cognitions (thoughts) and behaviors. Guided by your therapist, you’ll use strategies that include:

  • Identifying behavioral patterns.
  • Challenging thought accuracy.
  • Creating goals and problem solving.
  • Activating emotionally healthier behaviors.
  • Learning relaxation techniques.

Within these are even more techniques and strategies, such as reducing “fortune telling” behavior, journaling, interventions for emotional reasoning, and more.

What makes these techniques so effective is that they are directly related to the thoughts and patterns commonly associated with all forms of anxiety, and they provide those solutions with other benefits that include:

  • Faster – While there is plenty of benefit to seeing a psychologist for ongoing treatment, CBT itself can provide faster results than almost any other studied form of psychology.
  • Goal Oriented – You and your anxiety therapist will be specifically trying to reach measurable goals, and will be able to see and track your progress along the way.
  • Present Focused – There is benefit to talking about your past and future. But when you need help now, what matters most is a present-focused approach, like CBT.

Anxiety itself affects the way people think and act in ways that contribute to even more anxiety. CBT addresses these directly and head on.

Above all else, CBT is evidence-based. This is a form of therapy that has stood up to rigorous psychological testing, so we can deliver CBT with confidence when we treat our patients here in NYC.

About CBT Therapy with the Brooklyn Therapists at Flourish

What matters is your recovery. CBT may be the gold standard, but maybe your specific treatment needs silver or platinum. Our goal is to talk to you to identify what approach makes the most sense for addressing your struggles and your needs.

But there is no denying that for anxiety CBT is one of the best ways to support our patients, and our therapists at Flourish Psychology can provide CBT in ways that encourage your recovery and help you move forward in your life. Learn more about Flourish by contacting our team today.

Anxiety Can Be A Huge Pain in the Eyes

Anxiety Can Be A Huge Pain in the Eyes

We often talk about the different symptoms of anxiety, from rapid heartbeat to sweating to tension and more. But anxiety affects your entire body, inside and out, and the longer you live with anxiety, the more you might start to notice more unusual symptoms that do not always fall under what we typically think about with mental health, but are still directly related to how you feel.

That is especially true of symptoms of the eye. Anxiety is known to cause a variety of eye problems. Both short term anxiety attacks and long term anxiety can lead to challenges related to sight, pain, and more. It’s not uncommon for the symptoms to appear even when you do not feel like you are struggling with anxiety in the moment.

How Does Anxiety Affect the Eyes?

Our eyes are surprisingly sensitive to change. Some of the effects of anxiety have a direct impact on the eyes through neurotransmitter changes in the brain. Others are related to the ways that anxiety affects the muscles surrounding the eyes. At any time, both during anxiety attacks and others, you may see eye symptoms of anxiety that include, but are not limited to:

  • Eye Pain – Your eyes themselves may feel pain for many reasons. Lack of sleep can cause your eyes to ache and hurt. During anxiety attacks, your pupils dilate, which may cause them to experience sharp pains if they take in more light than they need. Migraines, which can be triggered by stress/anxiety, can also lead to eye pain.
  • Headaches Around the Eye – Sometimes, it’s not the eye itself that hurts, but a soreness near or surrounding the eye. This can be caused by muscle tension, as any causes the muscles around the eye to contract. It can also be caused by a lack of sleep, which is especially common for those with anxiety.
  • Vision Problems – Anxiety doesn’t just cause pain. It can also lead to vision problems. These may include tunnel vision (which are common during anxiety attacks), blurry vision, twinkling in your vision, and a sensitivity to light. Vision issues can also lead to further eye pain, as your eyes may not know how to adjust to them, causing you to squint or experience eye strain.

Eye pain and discomfort are typically not the most problematic of anxiety symptoms, which is why not everyone even realizes it may be related to anxiety at all. But it’s important to realize that long-term stress and anxiety can touch almost every single part of your body, inside and out, and some of the strange or uncomfortable issues that you may be experiencing with your eyes, or with some other part of your body, may be directly related to the stress of living with long term anxiety.

Reduce Anxiety, Reduce Symptoms

Rarely is any symptom related to anxiety permanent. If you’re able to control your anxiety and stress, you should also be able to reduce your eye pain, eye headaches, and other issues that are related to that anxiety. Talk to Flourish Psychology today for anxiety treatment in NY, with services for anyone in the entire state.

Are You Shy or is it Social Anxiety?

Are You Shy or is it Social Anxiety?

There are some people that can talk to anyone. If someone is in a room with them, a friend or stranger, they can fearlessly walk up to that person and start a conversation, with no timidness or hesitation in their voice.

But not everyone is that social, and some people struggle to have conversations – especially with people they do not know. Often, these individuals are described as being “shy.” Sometimes, however, these individuals are struggling with social anxiety disorder, and their shyness is actually a form of moderate to severe anxiety that would benefit from treatment by a mental health professional.

Yet how do you know if it is shyness or social anxiety?

Shyness and Social Anxiety Similarities and Differences

Shyness and social anxiety share many common traits. Both make it harder to socialize with strangers or groups. Both can make it more difficult to have the relationships you want, or participate in some of the activities that you want to enjoy.

But there are key differences between the two, and most of them relate to the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that occur during social situations.

  • Shy people can often motivate themselves to be social with only a little bit of self-talk.
  • Shy people may feel a little bit of anxiety, but it is fleeting and easy to manage.
  • Shy people often still go out and participate in social activities.
  • Shy people do not necessarily feel significant shame or embarrassment at being shy.

On the other hand:

  • Social anxiety tends to cause moderate to severe anxiety at the idea of being social.
  • Social anxiety comes with a lot of negative self-talk.
  • Social anxiety causes increasingly severe physical responses in social situations.
  • Social anxiety leads to many negative emotions and overthinking about the experience.
  • Social anxiety is difficult to overcome, and can get worse over time.
  • Social anxiety makes people avoid possibly enjoyable social situations.

A person that is shy may feel like they want to talk to someone but have a bit of a hard time speaking up. A person with social anxiety is often fearful about talking to that person, worried they’ll embarrass themselves, and may experience severe anxiety that prevents them from engaging with others.

Still, while the two are different, they are not entirely unrelated. Shyness can lead to someone developing social anxiety disorder if their shyness starts to negatively impact their life, and what we call “shyness” could be a form of mild, manageable social anxiety that has the potential to worsen depending on life experience. It may be a personality trait, but it may also be a form of social anxiety that is currently manageable, but could develop into worse symptoms over time.

Evaluating and Treating Your Social Anxiety

It is difficult to live with social anxiety. It is even more difficult to live with social anxiety here in Brooklyn and NYC, as our area is densely packed, brimming with events and social experiences, and often requires socialization in order to navigate the busyness of the city.

At Flourish Psychology, we believe that what matters most is helping you achieve your goals. Whether you have social anxiety or you’re just feeling shy and want a bit more self-confidence to be social, we want to be here to work with you, helping you achieve these goals and live your life the way you want to live. Contact us today to learn more.

Expressing Anxiety in Unexpected Ways

Expressing Anxiety in Unexpected Ways

One of the challenges therapists often experience is trying to describe the symptoms of a condition that can manifest in so many different ways. Anxiety is one of the best examples of this. When we try to describe the symptoms of anxiety, we’re often limited by the symptoms that are “most common,” for example:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Worries and nervous thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling restless
  • Sweating, etc.

These are the common, nearly universal symptoms of anxiety. While not everyone may feel tension, and not everyone will have worrisome thoughts (see our past blog post on people that live with only the physical symptoms of anxiety) but, in general, a person with anxiety can expect to feel at least some of those symptoms.

What makes anxiety more complicated is that it can manifest in ways that seem like they have nothing to do with anxiety – symptoms that sound nothing like the more common symptoms described above. In fact, there are so many of these symptoms that even as therapists, we are often tasked with trying to differentiate what is anxiety and what isn’t.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • Trouble Walking

Long term stress and anxiety can change both how your body reacts to stress and how you process those changes. When someone has panic disorder, they often experience what’s known as “hypersensitivity.” They self-monitor their body for physical symptoms, start to notice that any feeling they have, and feel that feeling stronger than they would without anxiety.

Some people find that this process causes what should be natural, subconscious movements to become conscious. For example, walking. Walking is 200 muscles in your body moving together. Your brain knows how to walk. But sometimes, people that are hypersensitive because of their panic attacks, start to feel odd when walking. Suddenly, they have to remember how to walk, as they have conscious control over their movements. This leads to trouble walking.

Another example of this might include trouble swallowing.

  • Eye Pain

Another symptom of anxiety that you may not expect is eye pain. One symptom that most people do experience is muscle tension. But muscle tension isn’t limited to your back and shoulders. Some people get muscle tension in the muscles around the eyes. This tension pulls on these muscles, leading to eye pain. Some people may even have vision problems, including blurry vision, as a result of this eye muscle tension.

  • Sudden Urge to Urine or Cold Feet

What do an urge to urinate and cold feet have in common?

Not very much, actually. But they do point to something that many people do not know about their own bodies.

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, your body is trying to determine how best to use its resources. It’s trying to decide where to send blood, where to activate neurotransmitters, where to send hormones and vitamins, and so on.

When a person struggles with anxiety, their body is reacting as if they’re in the middle of some type of extreme danger. In order to escape that danger, your body moves resources to the places it thinks need them most. For example, blood may rush to your muscles and heart, because your body thinks you’re going to fight or flee. This takes warm blood away from your feet and toes, causing them to feel cold.

Similarly, your brain is trying to determine how to keep you safe from danger. In order to do that, it moves resources away from other parts of your brain – including the part of your brain that controls your ability to hold in your urination. It’s why animals (including humans) are prone to urinating when they are very scared. The part of their brain responsible for relaxing the bladder is no longer activated so that resources can move to other parts of the brain.

The Many Symptoms of Anxiety

All of these symptoms we are describing here are not rare symptoms. Thousands of people across Brooklyn and NYC struggle with the same issues. That is why it so important to see a therapist. Working with a therapist, we can identify what these symptoms may be, how they’re linked with anxiety, and what you can do to find some relief from them.

There are hundreds of anxiety symptoms just like these that can affect people of all ages. If you’re looking for a NYC therapist to help you understand your symptoms more and start the process of addressing them, contact Flourish Psychology, today.

Anxiety Therapist in Brooklyn, NYC: When Do You Need Anxiety Therapy?

Anxiety Therapist in Brooklyn, NYC: When Do You Need Anxiety Therapy?

Flourish Psychology is a boutique private practice in Brooklyn with experienced anxiety therapists that are here to help you manage and recover from anxiety, panic attacks, and similar disorders.

At Flourish Psychology, one of the many conversations we have with our callers and clients is that there is no such thing as a wrong time to see an anxiety therapist because therapy itself isn’t solely about treating a mental illness. It is about making your life better. Even if you feel that you have your day to day life under control, therapy can help you grow, stay motivated, cope with stress, and find further meaningful relationships.

But, for those that are not sure if they’re a good candidate for therapy – especially anxiety therapy – there are some signs that you can watch for to know when it’s time to make the call.

Anxiety is Manageable – But Doesn’t Have to Be Managed

Most people experience some form of anxiety now and then. A person may find themselves feeling worried about a plane ride, or that something happened to a family member when they don’t answer the phone. They may even have days where your stresses start to feel overwhelming.

But most of the time, they may feel fine. Their relationships, their work, and their social life are thriving, and they do not feel like your anxiety holds them back from causing any significant distress. In these cases, this person may not need a therapist for anxiety, because anxiety is not an emotion that weighs heavily on their day to day experiences.

On the other end of the spectrum are the people that have extreme anxiety. It is anxiety that is severe, and hold them back from healthy activities. It is anxiety that affects their relationships, their work, their sleep, or their happiness. In those situations, it is much clearer that a NYC anxiety therapist is needed, as anxiety significantly impacts their life.

What about the people in between?

  • Do you ever feel like you’re nervousness distracts you from enjoying many activities?
  • Do you find yourself worrying often, or about things that feel irrational.
  • Do you ever have periods of extreme or intense anxiety that are overwhelming?
  • Do you have stomach issues, sweat, or have physical anxiety symptoms with no physical cause?
  • Do you ever feel like you *wish* you didn’t have anxiety, and that your life would be better without it?

One of the reasons that many people do not seek treatment for anxiety is because, out of all mental health conditions, anxiety is the one that is most often “manageable.” It is typically – although not always – possible to hold a job, go out with friends, or have various experiences even when you’re living with mild to moderate anxiety symptoms. That often causes people to put off treatment, thinking that it’s not important or severe enough to get help.

In the psychotherapy world, anyone that answers “yes” to any of the above questions is a good candidate for therapy. Therapy is about helping you better cope with anxiety, learn to control stress, and maintain the life you want for yourself. Even if you feel like you can “manage” the anxiety, Flourish Psychology doesn’t believe you should have to. Therapy can help you find a better sense of balance, learn to control anxious thoughts, and address the issues that cause you to feel anxious in inappropriate situations.

If you’re interested in seeing a therapist for anxiety in Brooklyn or New York City, contact Flourish Psychology, today. We are a boutique private practice that supports all people, from all backgrounds, with therapy that is built around your specific experience, contact Flourish Psychology, today.

Is it Seasonal Depression or Family Issues?

Is it Seasonal Depression or Family Issues?

We’re getting into the colder months of the year. The sun is setting earlier. There are more clouds. This is a time of year when many people all around NYC start to struggle with “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” also called “Seasonal Depression” or “SAD” – a type of depression that is caused, at least in part, by a lack of sunlight.

Seasonal affective disorder is a very real condition. It is linked to a change in chemicals in the brain that occur when the days are shorter and there is less time spent outside. It is treatable, especially with therapy, but it is also based largely on external factors that are outside of a person’s control.

But while seasonal depression is real, not all depression around this time of year is caused by SAD. Some of it is caused by other things, and one of those things is often family issues that are related to the holidays.

Why the Holidays Can Cause Depressive Symptoms

Seasonal depression may be the cause of your negative feelings. But it could also be related to issues that simply occur around this time. For example:

  • Those that are estranged from their families often experience sadness or depression during the holidays. It’s not uncommon for this time of year to bring back these difficult memories, or cause feelings of loneliness knowing that your family is not around.
  • Holidays can be a time of immense pressure for different families – having guests, organizing parties, buying gifts, quickly finishing off work vacations, etc. These can also lead to negative emotions that may be difficult to handle.
  • The holidays can be expensive. Financial stress and pressure is another potential cause of anxiety and depression that can show up during the holiday season.
  • Some people have experienced trauma during the holidays. Few seasons have so many consistent reminders of these types of traumas as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • If you’ve experienced loss, especially of someone close to you that you used to see over the holidays, that can also cause this time period to be one that is heavy and potentially stressful.

These are all examples of issues that can cause depression that are related – both directly and indirectly – to the holiday season, but are not specifically “Seasonal Depression.” 

Depression Treatment in NYC – Knowing the Signs

Both seasonal affective disorder and holiday-related depression are treatable conditions. But it is important to know the difference, as doing so can help guide treatment and make sure that you’re getting the help you need. 

If you feel the “holiday blues,” call Flourish Psychology today. Our depression therapists in Brooklyn will help determine the cause of your winter depression, and find solutions that will address your needs and struggles.