Exposure Therapy: Learning to Feel Safe

Exposure Therapy: Learning to Feel SafeBrain_thinkdesign_shutterstock_176571203

As discussed in previous posts, a core component of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is overcoming avoidance and starting to face your fears. This is known as “exposure therapy” and is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobia. Continue reading

“Bringing Your Anxiety With You” For The Holidays

Bringing Your Anxiety With You For The Holidaysman with suitcase

We have waited all year and they are finally here: The Winter Holidays. Holidays can be a time of
excitement, fun, and celebration. They often brings us together with loved ones near and far, giving us the opportunity to reconnect and strengthen our relationships. The holidays are also a
time to relax and unwind from the busy year behind us. For those who struggle with anxiety, however, holidays can also be a time of great trepidation. Family get-togethers, office parties, gift exchanges, and more can lead to increased anxiety. While it may seem necessary to “get rid” of your anxiety before you can enjoy the holidays, this blog will teach you how to “bring your anxiety along with you,” allowing you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your anxiety. Continue reading

Evidence-Based Treatment of Depression

Treating DepressionHappy neutral sad faces

Signs of Depression

You may have heard people say, “that makes me depressed,” or “I feel so depressed,” but what is the difference between being sad and being depressed? An emotion like sadness is usually temporary, lasting seconds or minutes. However, clinical depression includes feelings of sadness, as well as other symptoms, that last two weeks or more. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders lists common symptoms of depression as including:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, almost every day
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in activities on most days
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling agitated/keyed up or really slowed down
  • Loss of energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death *

Depression is a common and serious illness. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health describes depression as one of the most common mental health concerns, impacting nearly 7% of adults in the United States each year. If you are experiencing depression, it is helpful to see a medical doctor to determine if the symptoms are caused by a medication or medical condition (including thyroid disorders).

Help is Available!

The good news is, several effective treatments for depression exist, including psychotherapy. A qualified and experienced licensed mental health professional can help you determine which treatment is a good fit for your presenting concerns. One type of therapy shown to help people recover from depression is Cognitive-Behavioral therapy.

A Look Inside the Treatment

So what would it look like to get help? Cognitive Behavioral Therapists use several interactive ways to help patients recover from depression.


The first phase of this treatment is an assessment phase. During this part of treatment, a therapist will ask questions about relevant learning history and family background, current symptoms, common beliefs and thinking patterns, emotions experienced, situations that may trigger emotions, what a typical day looks like, and current ways of coping.


Therapists use different ways to help decrease symptoms of depression and increase a client’s ability to connect with meaningful aspects in life. A therapist may focus on helping you change your relationship with your thoughts, change your daily patterns and behaviors, eliminate or decreases environmental stressors, recruit appropriate support, and interact effectively with others.

Therapy sessions are interactive and collaborative. Typically, your therapist will ask you to come up with a problem you want to discuss each session. Your therapist may ask you to complete worksheets together in sessions, participate in engaging exercises, and provide feedback about how therapy is working.

Get The Support You Need Today

If you think that you or someone you know may be suffering depression, please contact us to find out more about treatment options that may be helpful. You may also find helpful tools at The Beck Institute or books like Mind Over Mood on our CBT Resources page.

Michelle Dexter, Ph.D. | Behavioral Associates Los Angeles

Behavioral Associates Los Angeles is a group of cognitive-behavioral therapists specializing in the
treatment of anxiety and mood disorders. To find out more, contact us by phone at 310-205-0523 or by email at treatment@behavioralassociatesla.com.

You can also request an appointment with a Behavioral Associates LA psychologist by submitting a brief patient assessment form on our Website. Our clinical staff will follow up with you within 24 hours of submission.

Unified Protocol: An Evidence Based Treatment for Emotional Disorders

Unified Protocol: An Evidenced Based Treatment for Emotional Disorders

What are Emotional Disorders?Mood chart

Emotional disorders include anxiety and mood disorders (i.e. depression) that have one major feature in common: a lack of emotion regulation skills. Individuals who experience emotional disorders use certain strategies to deal with their symptoms that typically involve avoiding uncomfortable emotions as much as possible. Yet, avoidance maintains these uncomfortable symptoms longer, and often exacerbates them.

One evidence-based treatment for emotional disorders is Unified Protocol (UP). UP is a treatment that teaches you to better understand your emotional experiences, helps you to understand how the way you behave or think may unintentionally contribute to your symptoms, and offers you skills to help you to manage these symptoms when they arise. Continue reading

CBT for Panic Disorder: A Summary of an Effective Treatment Approach

Identifying an Effective Treatment for Panic Disorder Cardio

If you have been diagnosed with a panic disorder, or if you think you might be struggling with panic attacks, therapy can be a helpful way of getting relief and finding ways to cope with future anxiety. Deciding on the right treatment for you can feel overwhelming, particularly if you have never been in therapy before. Fortunately, standards for evidence-based practices have been established to help you determine exactly what treatment will be most helpful in treating your panic. According to the best practice guidelines, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the treatment with the most evidence for its efficacy of the treatment of panic disorder. Below we will take a look at the common components of CBT treatment for panic. Continue reading