Specializing in Couples Therapy, Anxiety and Mood Disorders
Hansen Counseling
Anxiety and Mood Disorders (Depression)
     My work with both anxiety and mood disorders usually involves the utilization of cognitive behavioral techniques to address the problems presented. This is a process of assessing maladaptive thought patterns that lead to feelings of anxiety and/or depression. These thought processes often involve overgeneralizing, magnifying negative thoughts, minimizing positive thoughts and, especially with anxiety, catastrophizing various experiences and thoughts. When these patterns are discovered, we work together to develop more appropriate thought that are designed to diminish the individualís stress and maladaptive behavior. By effectively changing these thought patterns the individual alters how they feel and, correspondingly, how they function.

     Occasionally, especially in mood disorders specifically, I ask that the personís partner/significant other join us in our work. This utilizes interpersonal techniques in the treatment of depression. It is important to be clear that this is not relationship or marital counseling, which is a completely different modality of treatment. Relationship counseling involves the dynamics of the relationship itself, which include cohesion, adaptability and communication. Interpersonal psychotherapy of depression utilizes the partner as both a source of information and as a support for the individual in his or her own environment.

       With certain types of anxiety conditions, I utilize exposure techniques or exposure/response prevention techniques in my treatment. Exposure therapy is effective in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specific phobias and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It involves exposure of the individual to the object they fear without any danger, aiding in the elimination of the anxiety. It is developed from an assessment that involves producing a hierarchy that ranges from little to no anxiety up to and including the most extreme fear the person experiences.

     This is akin to systematic desensitization and is often accompanied with the development of relaxation methods. Exposure/response prevention is utilized for obsessive compulsive disorder, and is similar to exposure treatment, but differs in that there is a Ďresponse preventioní attached to the exposures. This is difficult and when assigned outside of the therapeutic setting, is best performed with a support person to assist in the homework. Please note: if therapeutic assistance is necessary outside of the clinical office, those services are billed directly, including travel time and expenses, due to the fact that health insurance does not reimburse for that service.

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