Exposure Therapy: A Personal Experience with Fear

Exposure Therapy | Self Help | Phobias | Fear

Woman reaching out with right hand while swimming under the surface of a pool.
Do you have a phobia that you have wondered if you can do without? Read about my experience with Exposure Therapy, and consider whether a self-guided plan or a structured and mediated plan could help you. Photo by Imei Hsu (2018).

There is a type of phone call I receive at least a half dozen or more times a year. It sounds something like this:

Caller: Hi, I’m calling about a problem I have, and wondering if you do this.”

Me: Sure, what is the problem?

Caller: Well, I feel kind of embarrassed to say this, but I am afraid of [insert fear]. I don’t even know what can be done about it.

Me: OK, thank you for sharing what you are afraid of. Up to now, what have you done to address your fear of [insert fear] so far?

Caller: Mostly, I just try to avoid it.

Me: OK, how’s that working for you?

Caller: [laughing] Obviously not too well if I’m calling you!

Me: Fair enough!

Caller: So, do you offer any help for this? Like, do you do some kind of desensitizing program?

Me: Do you mean, Exposure Therapy?

Caller: Yes.

Me: That depends on the type of response and the type of phobia.

After we get to that last sentence, everything afterwards is dependent on the type of phobia and the individual’s response to that phobia; everything else is generalized information that isn’t specific enough to be helpful. Over the course of my counseling practice, I’ve been able to help individuals confront specific phobias by creating in vivo and systematic desensitization scenarios, and watched phobic reactions decrease so that the former terror associated with those situations turns into a whisper.

In other words, Exposure Therapy often works because I apply it to those who have the highest chances of responding well to it, and I don’t recommend it for those who have a low chance of a extinguishing that fear response using Exposure Therapy alone.

To give you an idea of what Exposure Therapy is like, and why guided Exposure Therapy might be of help to you if you have a phobia that you’d like to seek treatment for, read on for my personal experiences with Exposure Therapy.

Continue reading “Exposure Therapy: A Personal Experience with Fear”

Happy New Year 2018

New Year 2018 | motivation| goals

Woman running along remote road through a mountain canyon in the distance.
Want to see personal change in your life? Tired of the same old, same old, complaining about things you never did? The counseling process can help with personal insight about how you tick, where you get in your own way, and how you can unlock the door to pursuing your own passions and dreams. Photo from Pixabay, no attribution required.

Once again, it’s a new year.

Once again, you might find yourself among those who wish to use the start of a new year to institute a change. Maybe you want to start a new habit, learn to eat better, drink less or abstain from alcohol, drop some weight, gain some muscle, strengthen a relationship, or end a toxic one.

You look back at the previous year, and wonder, “Why couldn’t I have accomplished this last year?”

I hear you. I understand the hunger for change. I also understand that it is easier to talk about change than it is to actually change.

If you came by this counseling website in hopes of starting counseling because you would like to work on change, I’d like to be of help. This is a simple post.

I believe that with minimal motivation or inspiration (the why behind the change you want to see in your personal life), the element you need is to take an action regarding the what and the how.  And if you are to have half a chance at successfully reaching a reasonable goal of change, you need to get going on a plan.

Let me repeat this simple thought. Once you understand the why, you really need to take ACTION. If you don’t, you will be asking the same question about why you did not see change in 2018 when 2019 rolls around. And that is an icky feeling, like finding an old piece of gum stuck to the bottom of your favorite pair of boots, when you could have removed it a long time ago.

One of the things I love about counseling is that a certain amount of coaching is baked into the process. While it always begins with understanding your past and how it plays out in the present, it doesn’t have to stop there.  You can design a plan of action around your counseling insights, and work towards change in measurable steps.

If you have a hunger for personal change, I’d love to discuss with you how counseling can help.  My counseling practice has transitioned to all online telemental health  and private coaching, accessible through a HIPPA compatible platform.

Happy New Year,

imei

Adapting To The Unexpected

If I had run here instead of on a trail closer to home, I wouldn’t have an infected dog bite. Life’s unexpected moments happen. Are you prepared to handle them? Photo credit: Imei Hsu, iPhone 7 Plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergencies | Unexpected Events | Assessment |Anxiety

The morning sunlight hit the red-tinged leaves that signal Fall’s inevitable approach. Trail running along one of the paths nearby my home, I listened to the sound of my footfalls and my breath cycle, deeply immersed in the joy of running.

After the first fifteen minutes or so,  the effort of running changes from the initial discomfort of ramping up the pace from a standstill to the zen-like quality of meditation in motion.  Running has often been a place of solace and rejuvenation for me, a place to deposit myself before I return to the real world: responding to crisis and employing my skills and attention to the privilege of helping others.

As I began to run up a short embankment with a neighborhood access point to a street, I passed a dog owner walking three dogs. As it is my custom, if a dog is not on a tight leash, I give dogs a very wide berth to avoid startling them or giving them reason to attack. As I moved far to the right of the owner and the dogs, the dog furthest on the dog owner’s right lunged towards the back of my leg and bit me.

After the owner saw blood running down my leg, the dog owner asked if I needed her help: a ride home, bandages, etc. My first response was to tell her I would just walk home, that I was “OK” but it hurt, that I only had five more miles to go.

But that was ridiculous. The wounds  gaped, the torn fascia hung outside of the broken skin, blood was filling my shoe, and the pain was so bad that tears were involuntarily shedding and rolling down my face. I sat down on a rock nearby, and then told the dog owner that I needed a ride home to pick up my car and my ID for the Urgent Care facility nearest to me.

I needed  help. And I needed to be flexible to handle the very real emergency that had just occurred.

Does this sound familiar to you? Do you find if difficult to ask for and receive help, even when it is clearly needed? Do you find yourself frozen or rigid, trying to keep to a schedule or a plan instead of adapting to the circumstances you find yourself in during an unexpected moment.

Read on for what you can do when you encounter the unexpected. Continue reading “Adapting To The Unexpected”