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Phobias are the most common anxiety disorders. Although they are among the most treatable anxiety disorders, overcoming a phobia without professional treatment can be challenging. There are a variety of phobia types, including phobias focused on the fear of an animal (e.g., fear of dogs, spiders, or snakes), an element of the natural environment (e.g., fear of heightsor storms), medical practices (e.g., needles, dental or medical procedures), or a variety of other situations (e.g., driving, closed spaces, flying). Regardless of the type of phobia, most individuals’ fear is focused on the idea that some aspect of their feared object or situation will cause them harm. Therefore, one of the key elements of overcoming a phobia is by confronting one’s fear directly.

The most effective way of overcoming a phobia is through exposure-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy. The first step in treatment is to develop a list of your feared situations, with the most anxiety-provoking ones at the top of the list and the least anxiety-provoking ones at the bottom. This “hierarchy” provides a roadmap that guidesyou through a series of exposure exercises that involve directly confronting the feared situations, starting with the easier items on the list and working up to more difficult ones. As you progress through the list of exposure exercises, you have the opportunity to learn information that disconfirms your fearful beliefs about the object or situation.As a result, the anxiety that you experience when confronted with the feared object or situation reduces over time. With the support of a trained therapist, phobias are highly treatable and can be overcome relatively quickly.



Bieling and Antony (2003), in their book Ending the Depression Cycle, provide an enlightening look at the interplay of depression and intimate relationships. Depression, as described by many professionals, is often conceptualized as mainly an intrapsychic issue—that is, “it is an experience that the person feels inside of themselves, including the many internal signs and symptoms related to the emotion, as well as the physical symptoms (Bieling & Antony, 2003, p. 213). At its core, this definition holds true. However, for anyone that has ever experienced depression or known someone who has, it is apparent that depression is an interpersonal issues well (i.e. pertaining to the relations between persons). As Bieling and Antony denote, there appears to be a bidirectional link between depression and relationships. On one hand, as the symptoms get worse, someone experiencing depression may not want to be around people at all, including those close to them. Additionally, those people who reach out to support someone with depression, over time, may feel as though they are being pushed away or become frustrated that they cannot help. As such, depression can severely impact one’s relationships with others including intimate partners, friends, family, and colleagues. On the other hand, interpersonal relationships can have a great influence on the experience of depression and at times, even trigger depression. So what can be done? Interpersonal Psychotherapy is an evidenced-based, scientifically proven treatment option for depression. Unlike couples or family therapy, this type of therapy is carried out individually and can decrease symptoms of depression by directly focusing on exploring and improving one’s relationships, whatever the issues may be. Check out our web page www.drcohen.ca for more information on how we can support you or someone close to you with depression.



Beginning in the New Year, Dr. Eliana Cohen & Associates will be offering a CBT Support Group for women receiving infertility treatment:

Emotional support.
Cognitive Behavioural Techniques to help lower and manage stress.
Evidence-based:

Research demonstrates the positive impact of psychological interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy support groups,on both pregnancy rates and psychological health in women dealing with infertility challenges.

A randomized clinical trial (Domar, Clapp, Dusek, Kessel&Freizinger, 2000) demonstrated the effectiveness of group psychological interventions (support groups and cognitive behavioral therapy groups) on pregnancy rates in infertile women. A recent meta-analysis also found evidence for a positive impact of psychological interventions on pregnancy rates (Hämmerli, Znoj, & Barth, 2009). Our group would focus on both support and some general Cognitive Behavioral Techniques to help lower and manage stress (e.g., relaxation, cognitive restructuring). Another meta-analysis demonstrated that technique-based group interventions with infertile individuals are significantly more effective than emotional expression or simple support groups in producing positive change across a range of psychological outcome measures (Boivin, 2003). Additional research provides further evidence of the effectiveness of CBT groups in lowering distress in couples scheduled for assisted reproduction (Tarabusi, Volpe, &Facchinetti, 2004).

Evening groups
5 two-hour sessions
Partner involvement optional
Covered by insurance
Located at Bloor and Avenue Road
Contact us for fees and start dates.

References

  • Boivin, J. (2003). A review of psychosocial interventions in infertility. Social Science and Medicine, 12, 2325-2341.
  • Domar, A.D., Clapp, D., Slawsby, E.A., Dusek, J., Kessel, B., &Freizinger, M. (2000). Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women.Fertility and Sterility, 73, 807-811.
  • Hämmerli, K., Znoj, H., & Barth, J. (2009). The efficacy of psychological interventions for infertile patients: A meta-analysis examining mental health and pregnancy rate. Human Reproduction Update, 15, 279-295.
  • Tarabusi, M., Volpe, A., &Facchinetti, F. (2004). Psychological group support attenuates distress of waiting in couples scheduled for assisted reproduction. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 25, 273-279.



Below, our resident expert in CBT for anxiety, Jenny Rogojanski, reviews some of the benefits of this treatment. Jenny has trained with some of the top international researchers in anxiety and CBT, and has attended training seminars at one of the top North American centres for CBT:

Anxiety is a normal emotion that is experienced to a certain degree by all individuals. Everyone can remember a time when they felt anxious before making an important speech, or when they worried about the health of a loved one. However, when one’s anxiety begins to feel out of control because the level of anxiety is not appropriate when considering the situation that the individual is in, it can begin to interfere with one’s life. Luckily, anxiety disorders are considered to be among the most treatable of psychological problems. One of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT. This therapy teaches you strategies for challenging thoughts and changing behaviours that are maintaining your anxiety in the here and now. Some of the benefits of CBT:

  • It is a brief, time-limited treatment that will provide you with a new way of understanding your anxiety problem
  • CBT teaches you practical strategies that you can employ to manage your anxiety on a daily basis, and provides you with the skills necessary to challenge your anxiety in your everyday life.
  • The biggest benefit of all is that we know that CBT for anxiety works based on hundreds of research trials conducted all around the world! That is why CBT is known as one of the most effective treatments for anxiety.