our philosophy

Our philosophy is to collaboratively work with our clients to move them in the direction of their goals and values. Active listening, validation, empathy, non-judgmental, and openness are core skills of our therapists. All of these serve as the function of helping a person engage in treatment and make change.

The Anxiety and OCD Center of Iowa is a firm believer and supporter of using evidence based treatments in all work we provide. What this means is that all of the therapies we use are backed by scientific studies that proves their efficacy and effectiveness. As with any treatment there is no guarantee, but operating in this way allows us the best possible chance to provide what people need.

Evidence based therapies that are used:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - The Center specializes in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or (CBT). Numerous research studies done over the preceding years have demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT in treating Anxiety Disorders, and OCD. CBT focuses work in the areas of a person’s thinking, and behavior. In relation to Anxiety and OCD, a person’s thinking plays a significant role as well as what they do or don’t do behavior wise. In working in these two areas CBT aims at developing skills related to changing a person’s thinking into something more helpful, yet still believable. This is coupled with behavioral experiments or exposures that solidifies new learning to change beliefs.

Due to the success, volume of work, and continuing efforts made by many in the field, CBT has become a large umbrella term that includes several more specific types of therapy:

Exposure Therapy - first discovered in the 1950’s, exposure therapy has developed since that time into a safe, effective treatment by itself or in conjunction with other aspects. In short, exposure therapy is designed for a willing participant to gradually exposure themselves that produce fear. These can be actual things, situations, thoughts, physical sensations and scenarios as a means of eventually reducing the fear over time, and/or learning that these are also safe as well.

Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP)- is recognized by many organizations (IOCDF) and experts as a the most effective treatment for OCD. It involves the elements described in exposure therapy above AND gradually reducing the rituals/or compulsions a person does with these.

Motivational Interviewing - Making any behavior change is difficult for human beings. Motivational Interviewing provides people with a way to see reasons for changing and reasons against in a non-judgmental way. Knowing what these are and continuously addressing the issue of motivation as a person goes down the difficult path of change helps with the change process.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy comes at addressing thoughts and feelings in a little bit different way that CBT was described above. The main goal in ACT (pronounced like the word) helping a person strive towards psychological flexibility. This is done through a variety of processes that include such skills as mindfulness, defusion, acceptance, and others. This is a behavioral therapy at it’s core.