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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: August, 2018
Aug 30, 2018

Don't Try Harder, Try Different with Patrick McGrath

Welcome back to YOUR ANXIETY TOOLKIT PODCAST! Patrick McGrath Dont Try Harder, Try Different OCD CBT ERP Mindfulness Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan.pngWe have some SUPER exciting news this week.   We are offering a NEW and FREE training called “The 10 Things you absolutely need to know about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).”  This webinar will be great if you are new to OCD and looking for some direction.  It will also be a fantastic refresher into the key concepts of OCD treatment, if you are already on your road to recovery.   If you are interested, click HERE to check it out. Next piece of exciting news! ERP school will be here in less than ONE WEEK!  Heck yes!!  Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) School is an online course for those who don’t have access to a therapist who practices ERP and science-based skills for OCD.  I will be talking a lot about this in the next few weeks, as the doors are only open to purchase ERP School from September 6th, 2018 until September 20th, 2018.   Keep it in mind that this course will only be available to purchase during that time.    ONE WEEK!!  It is right around the corner and I could not be happier and more excited. Do you ever feel like you are doing the same thing, over and over, with no change in result?  You realize your fruitless outcomes and you decide you are going to try harder this time.   You might even make a pact with yourself that you will NEVER do that one thing again and you promise yourself that this is the time it will be successful. But, just like last time, you get the same result and you are left feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.   Well, if this is you, this episode is going to change some things for you. This week we have a wonderful interview with Patrick McGrath, Ph.D., who is a psychologist based out of Illinois specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  In addition to being the president of a private practice group called Anxiety Centers of Illinois, Patrick McGrath is also the Clinical Director of the AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital's Center for Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Program and President of OCD-Midwest, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. I met Patrick at the IOCDF Conference and we immediately hit it off and agreed to do an impromptu interview.   It was so much fun!  You might even notice it was more of a conversation than an interview, but I loved it and was so thrilled to hear Patrick’s wisdom.  If you are at all interested in taking the Exposure & Response Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) course, Patrick’s talk today might help motivate you towards that goal.  He beautifully talks about how to DON’T TRY HARDER, TRY DIFFERENT and this is definitely a concept you have to consider when starting ERP. Patrick also discusses the steps his clients need to know to move towards a “Don't try harder, try different” approach.  Click HERE for more information on his stress management workbook titled Don't Try Harder, Try Different and HERE for more information on his book titled The OCD Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 250 Top Questions about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! If you are at all interested in taking the Exposure & Response Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) online course for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), click HERE.
Aug 25, 2018
Addressing Fear Like A Scientist

Addressing Fear Anxiety Depression Intrusive Thoughts CBT Mindfulness Uncertainty Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanIn this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, we talk about Addressing Fear like Scientists.  Not the scary white haired kind!  In this week's episode, we talk about becoming scientists who run studies that are rational, evidence-based, and experienced-based.  Each time we have a thought, we have an opportunity to be a scientist.  Don’t worry about those white coats.  You don’t need them for these experiments.  And you don’t need to have a fully fledged scientist degree either.

The human brain has up to 70,000 thoughts per day.   That is a LOT of thoughts.  When it comes to managing anxiety, much of the work is being able to identify which thoughts that are distorted (or errors) and which are not, so we can respond skillfully and mindfully.  This is not an easy feat and takes ongoing work and courage.

The other day, I started thinking about all the lovely people who are being tormented by scary intrusive thoughts, unwanted emotions, and sensations that make them think and feel like there is something wrong with them.   Sometimes these intrusive thoughts make us believe that something bad will happen, or that terror is on its way.  Often when we have these unwanted, intrusive thoughts, we go into a pattern of trying to disprove these possibilities.  We start to shift our day, just to prove that this is in no way possible.  We try to make the uncertain, certain.

The problem with this is that we are not actually resolving the issues in REALITY.  What we do when we have these obsessions is we create a new reality where the fear is less likely to occur.  We do this by avoiding events or people or places. We also try to ensure that our fear won't come true by mentally reviewing all of the possible scenarios and how they might play out.  Once we have mentally exhausted ourselves with identifying what specific scenarios might cause troublesome outcomes, we promise ourselves to never put ourselves in those situations.

How To Address Fear Like A Scientist

Addressing Fear like a scientist involves asking yourself a few very hard questions.  Take a look at these questions and do a quick review on how you are responding to your anxiety and depression.

  • What hypothesis (theory) is my depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) trying to prove?
  • Is this hypothesis true and based in reality and reason?
  • Can I test the evidence in a non-biased way?
  • Can I look at it from every angle without running away from fear? Or trying to solve it? Or steer the outcomes?
  • Can I sit with the results of the experiment?
  • Am I spending my time trying to prove my hypothesis or am I open to actually doing the work of a scientist, who is unbiased and accepting of the outcomes?

I invite you this week to be more vigilant about addressing fear like a scientist who tests the hypothesis in a non-biased, rational and reality-based way.  I know this is hard, but you know what I am going to say here. It is a beautiful day to do hard things.

Also, CBT School is also excited to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, an online summit specifically for OCD therapists.  The OCD Summit will be a  6-week webinar series where Stuart Ralph, host of The OCD Stories podcast, will interview some incredible scientists and clinicians in the OCD field, with you the therapist as the audience.   Kimberley is honored to be selected to be one of the panelists for this exciting event.  Registration will include 6 topics curated for your continued development as an OCD therapist, where you can ask questions and network with other therapists in the private FB group community.  Click here to join.

Aug 16, 2018

The Anxiety of Decision Making Is REAL and EXHAUSTING!

Anxiety of Decision Making CBT Mindfulness Uncertainty Perfectionism Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanExperiencing and managing anxiety is a hard and courageous task.  And you guys know what I am going to say next.  It is a beautiful day to do hard things! One activity that is made difficult by anxiety is the process of making decisions.    Making decisions can be exhausting and brings up a lot for us.
When making decisions, we might be faced with anxiety about making the “right” decision.  We might also be faced with the anxiety of making the decision that won't hurt others or impact others negatively.  We might also be faced with anxiety that our decision will cause us to miss out on something better or more beneficial to our long term goals.  This constitutes the anxiety of decision making. Basically, making decisions is the ULTIMATE exposure to uncertainty and tolerating discomfort.  There is no way to make a decision without acknowledging and facing uncertainty.  Here is a teaser from the episode.  Even when you put the decision making aside, you are actually making a decision.  Not making a decision is technically making a decision you didn’t even know existed. This weeks podcast is all about The Anxiety of Decision Making.  We go over some of the themes that come up surrounding decision making such as Hyper-responsibility, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Perfectionism. We also talk about how we must embrace uncertainty in our lives and accept that life doesn’t need to be perfect.  This can be easier said than done, so we discuss some important mindfulness tools which can help us manage perfectionism, hyper-responsibility and Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) when it comes to decision making. We hope you enjoy this week's podcast episode or Your Anxiety Toolkit. Also guys, we are excited to share that ERP SCHOOL is going to be released VERY soon, so keep your eyes out. CBT School is also excited to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, an online summit specifically for OCD therapists.  The OCD Summit will be a 6-week webinar series where Stuart Ralph, host of The OCD Stories podcast, will interview some incredible scientists and clinicians in the OCD field, with you the therapist as the audience.   Kimberley is honored to be selected to be one of the panelists for this exciting event.  Registration will include 6 topics curated for your continued development as an OCD therapist, where you can ask questions and network with other therapists in the private FB group community.  Click here to join.
Aug 9, 2018

“Trust your capacity to change” - Tara Brach Interview

Tara Brach Interview CBT Mindfulness Meditation Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Eating Disorder BRFBs Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley Quinlan
I am thrilled and honored to share with you an interview I did with my absolute idol, Tara Brach.  If you don’t know who Tara Brach is, let me introduce to you an amazing and inspirational human.
Tara Brach is a leading Western teacher of Buddhist Meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening.  Tara is a Clinical Psychologist, meditation teacher and Author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge, two of my favorite books.   In addition, Tara Brach, along side Jack Kornfield, co-founded the Awareness Training Institute (ATI) and the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP).
For me, Tara’s podcast (tarabrach.com) was (and is) one of the most important parts of my own personal development and growth.  For hours I would (and still do) walk the neighborhood while listening to her podcast.  Tara helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and allowed me to access her tools and wisdom through a freely offered podcast and streaming service that inspired me to create CBTschool.com.  Tara taught me to be a fearless mental health advocate, so you may see that much of CBT School follows her goal of offering skillful and generous work.
While I was in Washington, DC for the International OCD Foundation conference, I was lucky enough to meet with Tara in person before her Wednesdays with Tara Meditation Talk and ask her some questions about anxiety and mindfulness.  I am still freaking out with excitement that I had the opportunity to meet her in person and then get to interview her for the Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.
My goal for this podcast episode was to zero in to the questions I often get asked and see what Tara’s response would be.  True to form, Tara gives us some BEAUTIFUL responses that are easy to understand and apply.
In this interview, we talk specifically about how uncertainty can be one of the hardest and most challenging parts of anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic attacks and depression.  Tara gives some amazing mindfulness tools to help us approach uncertainty.
We also talked about her book, Radical Acceptance and what some of the road blocks are to radically accepting our discomforts or fears.  If you haven’t read her books, I strongly encourage you to.  Tara has a way of bringing compassion into the room, even if she isn’t physically there.
Tara gives us tips on how to implement Mindfulness practices into our everyday life and normalizes the struggles we all have with this.
One of the questions I was most interested in asking Tara was her advice for those who are deeply suffering with mental health right now.  She so beautifully responded with compassion and deep knowledge of mindfulness practice.  This answer brought me to tears and I am so grateful for having this experience with her.
And, last of all, I just had to ask Tara about why she uses humor in her meditation talks and Tara kindly shared with us one of her favorite jokes.  Tara used humor a lot to help us understand our own reactivity or idiosyncrasies and I just loved having a little chuckle with her.
So, as you can see, I am just a teeny bit in love with Tara (wink, wink).  I really hope you get as much as I did out of this episode.   Thank you so much Tara for your kindness and generosity.
Ok folks!  DO NOT FORGET to stay til the end of the episode because Tara so kindly gives an AMAZING GIFT at the end of the interview for our wonderful CBT School community.
Aug 2, 2018

My IOCDF Conference Key Takeaways

International OCD Foundation IOCDF Anxiety Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Your Anxiety Toolkit ERP CBT ACT BFRBs Eating Disorder Kimberley Quinlan One of the biggest honors I have as a therapist who treats anxiety disorders is to present at the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) annual conference.  I just adore these conferences, mostly because they provide a mix of both treatment presentations and support groups for those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and for therapist who provide evidence based treatment for those who have OCD.   Another amazing thing about these conferences is that they also provide support groups and presentations on Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s) such as Trichotillomania (Hail Pulling) and Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and also co-occuring Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse.
In this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, I wanted to share with you some of my reflections from running several support groups and attending some amazing presentations by some of the top treatment providers in the world.   The IOCDF.org put on such an amazing event and I have to admit, this one was by far my favorite.
At this years conference, I was honored to co-facilitate a new support group called the Compassion Collective with a dear friend and colleague, Michelle Massi.  Michelle and I gathered every morning at 7AM (yes, it was VERY early) to meet with attendees who wanted support with self-compassion.  Each morning we provided a new compassion tool to help those who are struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  This was such an beautiful experience, as we got to really see inside the minds of the attendees and hear what is getting the way of them practicing self-compassion.  Interestingly, perfectionism and fear of failure were two of the key components or self-compassion sabotage (which I speak a lot about in this weeks podcast episode).
I was also honored to be a part of a presentation called “Let’s Talk about Sex Baby!”  This presentation was a question and answer formatted presentation where attendees asked very intimate questions about how OCD and anxiety can impact sex.  One of the most interesting themes of these presentation was just how uncomfortable people were about discussing sex with their therapist.  We had a very OPEN and HONEST dialog with attendees about sex and normalized it.
Finally, I was lucky enough to get to run the Co-existing OCD and Eating Disorder group this year with Beth Brawly.  Beth and I have ran this group several times and I love it SOOOO much.   There is a fine line where OCD and Eating Disorders combine and we met to help attendees break down faulty views of body, health, body size, food and body image.    It was so wonderful to see some very brave families join together to support their family members who are struggling.
Fore more information on the IOCDF, click here.
Lastly, this is a friendly reminder that ERP School (our online course for Exposure & Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned.  Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.
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