On this episode I was able to spend 30 minutes or so chatting with Joshua Fletcher. Josh is a working therapist in the UK that runs a practice specializing in anxiety disorders. Josh is also the host of The Panic Pod podcast. We covered therapy issues, recovery in general, and we managed to tell a few joke along the way.
- Clarifying expectations in terms of what will come out of therapy is important. When faced with a client reluctant to go toward the difficult, scary things, Josh has to work with the client to gently re-frame expectations.
- Sometimes perfectionism and the fair of failure come into play. Therapy designed to recover from an anxiety disorder is about practicing things we are not good at … yet. There is no “failure” in experiences where learning happens.
- There is always progress happening, even when you think there is none.
- Recovery is not anxiety or no anxiety. Recovery is how you respond to anxiety.
- Being anxious and learning how to “get better at being anxious” leads to lasting recovery. Being anxiety free is nice, but not terribly productive in these cases.
- Disordered anxiety tends to flourish when we let it be the most interesting thing in our lives. It becomes the dominant “problem” in our lives. We then try to figure it out, which tends to fuel the fire.
- Recovery is not about forcing yourself or pushing yourself through anxiety. It’s about learning to tolerate, navigate, and not resist.
- You CAN turn off your fear center – what Josh calls the threat response – by practicing and repeating the experience of tolerating and productively experiencing anxiety without fighting and resisting.
- There can be other issued at play – self image, self-confidence, etc. – that stand in the way of learning the lessons of recovery and taking them on. When faced with those, we must address those too alongside the mechanics of exposure and CBT.
- If you think you can’t, just maybe consider that maybe you actually CAN. If you wan’t a “What if?”, try … “What if I did it?”
Thanks to Josh for taking the time to share his knowledge and perspective with us.
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Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)
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