“Do the thing you fear to do and keep doing it. that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” - Dale carnegie

The evidenced-based practice that I utilize the most frequently is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) called exposure therapy, which is a robust treatment for helping people overcome their fears. Through this collaborative, science-informed approach, I help each individual become his or her own therapist. Ultimately, this enables my patients to live more fulfilling lives, not only while in therapy, but also for many years to come.

Fear and anxiety often lead us to avoid the people, objects, activities, and situations that scare us, and can also compel us to perform certain rituals or behaviors in order to make ourselves feel “safe.” Although these avoidance and ritual behaviors may decrease fear and anxiety in the short-term, over time, these well-intentioned behaviors maintain and exacerbate fear and anxiety.

Accordingly, exposure therapy works by breaking this habit of reducing fear and anxiety with avoidance and rituals. Treatment involves gradually and systematically approaching objectively safe but feared situations, without relying on any rituals or other safety behaviors. Though this may seem scary at first, this approach allows for the following pieces of corrective learning to occur regarding the things we fear:

  • First, we learn that anxiety and distress do not last forever, even if we don’t do anything to make these uncomfortable feelings go away.

  • Second, we learn that the things we fear might happen if we approach feared situations are unlikely to happen, and that even if they do happen, we can tolerate them.

  • Third, we learn that our tolerance for uncertainty increases the longer we sit with it.

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Over time, these powerful learning experiences can help free you from the grips of your fear and anxiety, allowing you to regain control of your life.


In addition to exposure-based treatment, I also provide Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills training. DBT is an evidenced-based, cognitive behavioral treatment that was designed for individuals who have difficulty managing their emotions.

The skills training portion of DBT consists of the following:

  • mindfulness skills, which help us be more fully aware and present in the here and now

  • emotion regulation skills, which help us decrease our vulnerability to painful emotions and change unwanted emotions

  • distress tolerance skills, which help us sit with uncomfortable emotions when we cannot change them

  • interpersonal effectiveness skills, which help us build and maintain healthier relationships

Please note that I currently offer DBT skills training within the context of individual therapy only. This approach differs from comprehensive DBT, which includes weekly individual therapy, weekly group skills training, weekly therapist consultation team, and 24/7 phone coaching.

While one-on-one DBT skills training can be very helpful for many individuals, it may not be a sufficiently high enough level of care for others. Accordingly, I am happy to provide those who require full DBT, as designed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, with referrals to more comprehensive DBT treatment programs near them.

 

The ART & Science of Emotions, LLC | Alissa Jerud, PhD

1420 Locust Street, Suite 410 Philadelphia, PA 19102 | (267) 591-5646 | mail@alissajerud.com