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  • Our Approach

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    Our Approach

    While anxiety may feel like a problem, it is attempts to avoid anxiety that really create trouble. In desperately trying to avoid anxiety, we can create rigid patterns of behavior, miss out on important life experiences, and systematically reduce our ability to tolerate distress. Think about that for a moment. Anxiety is a typical part of the human experience, we all have it. The difference between one who suffers from anxiety, and one who does not is quite simple. The former tries to control, reduce, or eliminate it (often known as avoidance, escape, ruminations, compulsions). The latter simply accepts it as it is, without defense. If our choices are made by anxiety, anxiety will define our lives. If we learn to tolerate anxiety, we can define our lives ourselves.

    Here’s an overly simple example (likely your struggle is more complex than this; the simplicity of this is just to show you how anxiety works): Emily is scared of spiders. If Emily sees a spider, she runs far away in the other direction. Soon enough, she avoids her basement because she saw a spider down there. She then becomes scared of going outside, because she’s seen spiders out there too. She stays indoors, and gets the exterminator to come out weekly to check for and spray for spiders.

    In short,

    1. Emily feels anxiety when faced with spiders, or faced with the possibility of encountering one. She has evaluated the spider as dangerous, and her brain uses anxiety to signal that danger.
    2. When she does, she escapes or avoids the situation entirely, which brings immediate short-term relief.
    3. The next time she encounters a spider or is in a situation where there might be one, she’ll be even more anxious because instead of learning how to cope with it, she avoided it. She got in the way of teaching herself that not only are spiders typically not dangerous, but she can handle the anxiety that comes with them.

    At Maryland OCD & Anxiety Therapy, we can (and will!) design exposures that will help you, though we know it’s hard to get excited to do the very thing you’re frightened of doing. We will help connect the exposure work to what matters to you in life so that when you do the exposure, you know exactly what purpose it serves. We’re not interested in doing exposures for the sake of doing exposures, rather, we’re interested in doing ones that bring meaning to your life. We will show you how trying to fix your thoughts and emotions keeps you from that meaning, and how being in the here-and-now and freeing yourself from the attempts to control can bring you closer to what’s important to you.

    Here are some promises we can make you:

    1. Our work will be collaborative. We only proceed with a given direction when we both agree that it is in your interests to do so.
    2. We may encourage you to work harder than you think you can do, but we only do this if we think you’re capable of doing so. You’re braver than you know, and we hope to illustrate this for you through practice.
    3. We will never ask you to do anything we wouldn’t be willing to do ourselves. You are welcome to call us on this.

    We’re excited for the chance to work with you. If the above interests you, please reach out to us to schedule a phone consultation.

    We Value


    We are dedicated to evidence-based practice. We strive to use the most scientifically-supported techniques in our work. while staying up-to-date on relevant research.


    We are dedicated to providing a welcoming and inclusive space for people of all races, ethnicities, cultures, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, religions, and abilities. Our clinicians are strongly committed to diversity and participate in ongoing continuing education for the further development of cultural competencies.

    Your Values

    We want to help you live a life consistent with your values, overcoming the ways that avoiding anxiety leads us away from what is most important to us.