Occasional anxiety is a normal part of most people’s lives. But if you experience anxiety on an ongoing basis that interferes with the way you make decisions or dampens your day-to-day joy, you may have an anxiety disorder.
At The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling, our caring and skilled counselors help women, men, and teens who suffer from anxiety disorders feel better about life. Whether you choose to meet in person at our Greenwich Village offices in New York City, New York, or schedule tele-therapy sessions, we teach you new strategies to cope with and resolve your anxiety disorder. Our counselors offer customized interventions — based on your unique needs — that treat everything from panic disorders to phobias, using effective, proven cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
How CBT changes thoughts and feelings
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that counselors have used to treat anxiety and other mental health disorders since the 1960s. Unlike some other forms of talk therapy, CBT is a short-term intervention that emphasizes collaboration between the therapist and the client.
Our counselors use what’s called the “Socratic method” in which they ask you questions about a thought that you’ve expressed. By learning to question your own automatic thoughts, you can evaluate them realistically and discard them when they don’t serve you.
Through CBT, you quickly learn how to change unhelpful, destructive thoughts into positive thoughts. Thinking better, more productive thoughts, in turn, influences your emotions, making you feel calmer and more in control.
For instance, when faced with a daunting situation, you might automatically think, I’ll never be able to fix this. After CBT, you’d challenge that assumption, realistically evaluate the situation, and come up with other thoughts that could help you devise solutions. You develop a “growth mindset” that gives you space to learn and grow, so that you can accept occasional failures as part of the process of success, instead of as a judgment on your worth.
Learning CBT also lets you evaluate other people’s responses more realistically. For example, instead of thinking that someone is laughing at you, you might realize that they’re laughing at something else entirely.
How DBT changes actions
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a more supportive, longer-term form of CBT. Encompassing both thoughts and behaviors, DBT emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Part of DBT is learning to “accept” certain situations. Acceptance, however, is not approval. Acceptance is the first, crucial step toward meaningful change.
You may benefit from DBT if you have other symptoms beyond anxiety, including depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation or impulses. A course of DBT may involve:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Phone consultations
If you undergo DBT, other members of your health care team, such as substance abuse counselors, may be involved, too. With DBT, you learn how to challenge and re-evaluate automatic thoughts, but you also change risky or impulsive behaviors.
After they teach you new skills, your therapist may give you specific homework assignments that could include role-playing new behaviors or practicing self-soothing. Your therapist evaluates your progress with each session.
With CBT or DBT, you learn to manage distress and anxiety with new, empowering strategies. To get help, use our online form, or call our friendly staff during office hours. We also offer teletherapy through confidential and affordable video/phone consultations.