Your Anxiety Toolkit

Your Anxiety Toolkit aims to provide you with helpful tools to manage anxiety, stress and other emotions that get in the way.
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Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 20, 2017

GUILT, SHAME and being “SO OCD” with Shala Nicely

I am honored to share with you a recent interview I did with OCD ROCKSTAR and dear friend, Shala Nicely. Shala is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta and treats OCD and OCD Spectrum Disorders using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I briefly outlined the conversation and left all the links discussed during the podcast. Enjoy! Shala recently wrote an awesome blog post article about a top women’s magazine that posted an article encouraging readers to “be a little OCD!” Shala declared enough was enough and got writing. Shala and her ROCKSTAR mom are doing so much to advocate for the OCD community. See the below link to check it out.

How do you respond when people say, “I am SO OCD?”

Shala reports that she always aims to never shame anyone. For this reason, she talked about polite and non-shaming ways to educate others on what OCD and how painful and debilitating it can be.

How does it feel when you hear someone say "I am so OCD"?

“First, frustration”, but then desire to educate others about the severity of OCD and other mental health disorders.

Are people with OCD, “SO OCD?”

In today’s society, being “SO OCD” is generalized to describe someone who is meticulous and likes symmetry and neatness. This is not typical for someone with OCD. Someone who has severe OCD might be entirely ok with a dirty bedroom and not need symmetry or cleanliness at all.   It is important that we educate people about the specific sub-types of OCD so that people better understand the complexities and variety of OCD symptoms. Go to for more information

How can we manage the shame and guilt that comes with having OCD or another mental health disorder?

Brene Brown has written some AWESOME literature and has done amazing research about shame and guilt. Because Shame and Guilt are so common amongst those with OCD, Anxiety, Eating Disorders and Body- Focused Repetitive Disorders, we both strongly encourage listeners to read any of her books. Kimberley also discussed Brene’s explanation of how to identify if you can trust someone. Check out the link below to watch.

Shala’s FAVORITE mindfulness tool:

Dan Harris' 10% Happier book and App.  

How to find out more about Shala Nicely   You can also watch the unedited version of this podcast below
Jul 3, 2017
Hello everyone! I am excited to share this months podcast, as we are joined by what I call a CBT SUPERSTAR, Sara Vicendese.  Sara is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) in addition to traditional PsychoDynamic therapy. CBT HRT Finding your village Calabasas, Thousand Oaks, Encino, Los Angeles, Sara Vicendese Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley QuinlanThis podcast is based on the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child".   This phrase is used often to explain the importance of community when raising a thriving and successful child.  We believe that you can create your own "micro-village" to help you along with your recovery. Today we talk about ways to create YOUR "Village" (in whatever form you think is helpful) to help you with your on personal recovery.  We discuss how to find the correct treatment, access the most helpful resources and how to include your family members, friends or partners in your recovery, in a healthy and helpful way. Below is a basic layout of our conversation.  Enjoy!!!

 Today we talk about ways to create YOUR "Village".  What is the most effective form of treatment for OCD, and how do I find a therapist who provides it?

Sara talks about the difference between Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and psychodynamic “talk” therapy, specifically focusing on:
  • How to interview your therapist: what questions to ask, how to ask them, and the importance of interviewing therapists without assuming that everyone with a degree is going to be the right fit.
  • How to know what kind of therapy you’re in.

How do you find a good ERP Therapist

  • Check out for a list of therapists who are trained in CBT and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
  • Once in contact with a therapist, ask if they know what ERP is?
  • Ask what books they rely on when treating OCD? (This might allow you to screen them for their knowledge)
  • Ask if they have they worked with OCD before and for how long? Where did they get their training

How do you know your current therapy is or isn’t working?

Sara writes, “A lot of dynamic therapists will stress that things can “get worse before they get better,” encouraging clients to wait months – or even years – to see the benefits of their work. It’s true that in any therapy, including ERP, you will likely feel worse before you start to feel better…but if months go by and you aren’t experiencing any reduction in symptoms OR if you notice – at any time – that you are getting significantly worse, it is likely time to move on.”

What advice do you have for those who cannot find an ERP therapist in their area? Or, for those who can only afford a therapist in-network who does not know about ERP?

 What advice do you have for those who want to start ERP treatment, but currently have a non-ERP therapist?

Sara writes: “There are really two options here; you can leave your current therapist and start with an ERP therapist, OR you can explore the potential of seeing both at the same time.” Sara discusses the importance of collaboration and making sure that both therapists are in regular touch with each other – to prevent each therapist from working against each other. Sara encouraged therapists to coordinate care and maintain the effectiveness of both.

help for family members and partners OCD Eating Disorders Calabasas Thousand OaksWhat advice do YOU give to the family members of those who are struggling with mental health issues such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB's) or Eating disorders?

Living with, and loving, someone with these disorders can be extremely challenging and it’s critical that all members of the family are as healthy as possible for everyone to thrive. Jon Hershfield’s book is great in this situation, as psycho-education is so important. Sara discusses the importance of involving family in treatment as appropriate (assuming family is supportive and including them wouldn’t be detrimental to treatment). Sara also discussed how she often recommends that family members seek out their own support – either through support groups or personal therapy. Kimberley discusses to use of the Family Accommodation Scale (FAC) to identify ways the family are accommodating the OCD compulsions. Click here for a link to the Family Accommodation Scale.

Is there a kind of therapy can benefit the spouse or parent or family member of someone with OCD or other anxiety disorder, or a BFRB?

Individual therapy (and/or support groups) for the family member can be very successful. In addition, there is great benefits from continuing to be educated about the loved ones disorder and get consultation on the best ways to support them though their recovery process.

What can a sufferer do when their family member or friend is not supportive of their recovery?

This is a tough, but important, question. Being unsupportive can take many different forms, from simply not understanding / participating in treatment to (on the other extreme end) working against treatment or purposely interfering with it. Someone who is not supportive of treatment is someone who is, in some way, colluding with the illness. Maybe recovery would mean that their life will be more difficult for them, or perhaps the treatment itself is hard to tolerate. Sara discusses how she often see families where more than one member is suffering from the disorder – however, only one is diagnosed and in treatment. If one partner is going through ERP, that can stress the relationship if the other partner has similar undiagnosed issues. Sometimes people aren’t supportive of recovery because it is hard at first and requires more energy/work than they are willing to put in. I can think of an example where a parent consistently disrupted treatment for their child because they didn’t want to see them in distress and the increased anxiety in the household during exposures made them uncomfortable. A highly anxious parent may have as much trouble with their child’s exposures as the child – for their own reasons. In most cases, most people get on board given enough time and education. That said, we are faced with tough decisions if our loved ones / friends interfere with treatment. Again, it is important that loved ones be brought into treatment, encouraging them to get their own support, and even the option of moving on from the relationship if it is keeping the sufferer stuck. Sara Vicendese has a private practice in Westwood, CA.  Learn more about Sara on her website at You may also see the unedited video interview here