Q: How do I begin treatment?
A: Please call 301-610-7850 and leave a message on mailbox #10 for new patients. Our intake coordinator will call back as soon as possible and discuss treatment options and help determine if our center can provide the services you require. We currently have a waiting list and we would be happy to provide referrals to other professionals as appropriate.
Q: How long can I expect treatment to last?
A: Not surprisingly, there is a great deal of variability in duration of treatment, and it is not possible to predict an exact estimate for any one individual. That being said, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a focused and generally short-term method of treatment. Most individuals can expect treatment to last months, not years.
Q: Exposure Therapy sounds scary. What does in entail?
A: Exposure therapy can be thought of as “going on offense against the anxiety” and has been shown to be an integral component of the evidence-based treatment of anxiety disorders. It is often thought of as the “active ingredient” of fear reduction. The patient is always in control of the process. We work together to create a hierarchy of feared/avoided situations, and together decide on the order of the activities to and when to move on to the next activity. Eventually the patient will complete “exposure homework” in which they confront the fear in a preplanned fashion.
Q: How does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) differ from other forms of treatment?
A: It is important to note that there are many different forms of treatment for mental health disorders. We firmly believe that “If you’re lost in the woods there is more than one way out.” However, CBT that includes exposure therapy has repeatedly been shown to be the most effective treatment modality for anxiety disorders. CBT is an active, collaborative process in which the patient is an active member of their treatment team. It includes teaching the patient specific skills and techniques, many of which are counterintuitive, to respond to high levels of anxiety. These include utilizing non-avoidant coping skills, changing the manner in which anxiety is appraised, practicing cognitive flexibility, and using specific problem-solving techniques.
Q: What role does medication play in treatment?
A: While we don’t prescribe medication, we are aware that for many individuals, a combination of medication and CBT work better than either alone. We have relationship with many outstanding psychiatrists in VA, DC, and MD, and we often make referrals for our patients to receive a psychiatric consultation.