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Treating the Reassurance Junkie
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Some anxious clients have such an overpowering need to know they’re not making a mistake, missing something important, or thinking or feeling something wrong, that they constantly seek reassurance from therapists, family, friends, doctors, and the internet. Most compulsive reassurance seeking attempts to answer unanswerable questions, solve unsolvable problems, or know for sure something that’s unknowable. In fact, reassurance often works backwards with clients who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or OCD, actually increasing distress. Rather than helping them to achieve greater certainty, the best approach is to teach them how to tolerate uncertainty.

Sally Winston, PsyD, Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland

Sally Winston, PsyD, cofounded and codirects the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland. She’s the inaugural recipient of the national Jerilyn Ross Award of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. She’s the coauthor of What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Anxiety Disorders and Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts.

 

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Sally Winston is the founder and executive director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland and receives a speaking honorarium from the University of Maryland. She receives royalties as a published author. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Sally Winston is an author with Psychotherapy Networker. She is a lifetime member of the American Psychological Association, a fellow with the Maryland Psychological Association, and a founding clinical fellow of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. She is also a member of the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, the International OCD Foundation and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
Martin N. Seif, PhD, ABPP

Martin Seif, PhD, ABPP, cofounded the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. He’s associate director of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center at White Plains Hospital and a faculty member of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Medical School. He’s the coauthor of What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Anxiety Disorders and Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts.

 

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Martin Seif maintains a private practice and has an employment relationship with New York Hospital. He is an author with New Harbinger and John Wiley & Sons and receives royalties. Dr. Seif serves as a consultant to Fly Without Fear, Inc. He receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Martin Seif has no relevant non-financial relationships.

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