There is a “core fear” at the root of all anxiety, expressing itself in five universal themes of loss:
1) abandonment (loss of love),
2) loss of identity,
3) loss of meaning,
4) loss of purpose (the chance to express oneself ), and
5) fear of death (including fear of sickness and pain).
The anxious client builds a “chief defense” in the attempt to protect themselves from these core fears, but, as the Deconstructing Anxiety model demonstrates, the strategy backfires, creating and exacerbating the anxiety it was designed to prevent. Anxiety disorders result when one’s core fear and chief defense are left unchecked against reality. The various anxiety disorders correspond to the specific chief defense strategies one adopts. A special section on “releasing the resistance to resistance” helps clients clearly see and detach from the subtle forms of these defenses.
The theory and techniques offered in this workshop will teach you how to help your clients uncover their core fear and chief defense quickly and reliably. Three ways of “doing the opposite” of the chief defense are proposed, providing new insights for tailoring an appropriate exposure therapy with precision that have been demonstrated to be highly effective.
Participants will be able to:
- Describe the core fear defense model of how anxiety disorders develop.
- Utilize targeted, effective strategies for dismantling the anxiety and resolving the fear.
- Apply new forms of the exposure therapy with insight into what does and does not work in clinical practice.
Todd Pressman PhD