Happy New Year to everyone in the CBTDenver community! We hope that your holidays were festive and enjoyable and that you were able to take some time to breathe and relax. The New Year is typically a time to reflect and for many of us that means making a list of resolutions. We have all been there; the inevitable tally of self-improvement goals that we commit to with some measure of tenacity for a few weeks or months and then we fall back into old, perhaps less effective habits. We at CBTDenver would like to encourage a new perspective this year.
What do you value and how can knowing what you value influence your behavior and your short and long-term goals? We know this is a big question and there’s no short cut or easy way to understand values in something simple like a blog, but perhaps begin with asking yourself this question. What is the thing or things that when you move toward them (as hard as that might be at times), you just feel more contented? You might notice that values and fears are two sides of the very same coin. Pursuing our values may, and often do, involve facing our fears or memories or sitting with difficult feelings and emotions.
CBTDenver was highlighted in December on the popular CBS daytime show, The Doctors.
This episode explores symptoms, struggles, and treatment for a common, often debilitating anxiety disorder – Social Anxiety.
In brief, the diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder includes the following:
- Persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others.
- Exposure to these situations almost always provokes anxiety and may result in a situationally bound panic attack.
- The person recognizes this fear as excessive
- Feared situations are either avoided all together or they are endured with immense distress
- The fear, anxiety, and/or avoidance lasts six months or more
- The avoidance or intense anticipatory anxiety greatly interferes with functioning, social activities, and/or relationships
(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Addition, American Psychiatric Association)
Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) includes a hierarchical approach or exposure to the feared situations; social interactions with strangers, performing, public speaking, etc. This approach is effective in helping individuals face their fears head on and ultimately to enjoy a broader, more enriching life.
But I was thinking of Social Anxiety in terms of values as well. I imagine the coin metaphor. On one side is the value of connecting with others, forming relationships, moving up the ladder at work, or sharing one’s skills/talents through performance. The flip side includes fear, anxiety, and the anticipation of making a fool of one’s self. Certainly it would feel better, at least temporarily, to find excused not to attend events or to give that presentation at work – but eventually it becomes evident that we are moving away from what we value and our mood and lives suffer.
So….as you contemplate that list of resolutions for this new year, perhaps try something different. Think about this idea of values and how they fit in to your pursuits.
We look forward to sharing more ideas and thoughts with you in 2015!
Happy New Year!
If you’re looking for expert and compassionate therapists in the Denver, Colorado, area, please contact CBT Denver online or call our office at 303-355-5133 to schedule your appointment.