Therapy at The Anxiety & OCD Treatment Center of Central Pennsylvania

The Anxiety & OCD Treatment Center of Central Pennsylvania specializes in treating anxiety disorders and OCD. Located in Central Pennsylvania services are available virtually to treat folks across the entire state including Harrisburg (including Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg,  Hershey, Carlisle) Pittsburgh, Erie, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Williamsport, State  College, and York. We are also licensed in South Carolina and provide virtual treatment in the  Hilton Head and Bluffton areas of the state. 

We are trained in evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy including Exposure and  Response Prevention, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, SPACE Treatment, and  Prolonged Exposure. Our therapists are experts in providing exposure-based treatment for OCD, anxiety, phobias, and PTSD. We provide treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Specific  Phobias, Perfectionism, Hoarding, Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, as well as sleep issues, eating disorders, loss, relationship difficulties, communication issues, depression, and life transitions. 

What is Anxiety?

It’s like a false alarm in your body telling you something is wrong. You may think you need to decide to do something! It’s your brain saying I need to pay attention to this thing, whatever it is-a feeling, thought, or situation. This is called the fight or flight response. Thoughts may be irrational, but they may also be more general and related to common life things; we might call this worry. Sometimes folks refer to anxiety as stress. Either way we can help with all of these things! Behaviors such as avoidance and reassurance-seeking often evolve during anxiety and tend to make it worse.

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is generally characterized by having obsessions and compulsions. Sometimes it’s just one or the other. Obsessions are thoughts images, impulses, urges that come into your mind repeatedly, against your will and cause significant distress/ anxiety. Compulsions are the behaviors that relieve this distress. Some examples of compulsions are engaging in avoidance, reassurance seeking, reviewing thoughts or situations, checking, washing, and cleaning. These behaviors and thoughts cause significant disturbance to daily life. There are many themes or subtypes of OCD – these consist of Harm, Sexual, Pedophilia, Contamination, Just Right, Perfectionism, Sensorimotor, Existential, and Perinatal OCD and Mental/Pure OCD. Although these are common themes of OCD, an obsession can be about anything.

What is ERP?

The gold-standard treatment for OCD is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called  Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) also sometimes called Exposure and Ritual  Prevention (EXRP). The exposure component of ERP involves exposing yourself to the intrusive  thoughts, images, feelings, and/or situations (feared stimuli) that make you anxious and  distressed. We like to say we “face our fear”. The Response Prevention component of ERP,  refers to choosing not to engage in any compulsion or safety behavior to alleviate the anxiety  or distress caused by your fear/obsessions. We work towards creating lots of situations that  will create new learning for you. What this will do is help to replace the fear learning that you  have-this is called fear extinction. The model behind this type of work is called the inhibitory  learning approach. To maximize exposure success we use a combination of the habituation based model and inhibitory learning model. All exposures are client driven and initially done  with the support of your therapist. We will never make you do anything you do not want to do,  but we will ask you to be willing to get uncomfortable! Once you have mastered exposures with  your therapist, you will be able to do ERP exercises on your own! Our goal is to equip you with  the skills to manage your OCD, and become your own ERP therapist. Here at The Anxiety &  OCD Treatment Center of Central Pennsylvania we like to think of exposure as a lifestyle!