Posts Tagged ‘Behaviour therapy’

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By Dr. Barry Lubekin

Human beings experience hundreds of different phobias and overwhelming fears and anxieties. Many are deep rooted, and find their origin in long forgotten childhood traumas. Others develop more recently and are traced to reactions to frightening events or complex relationship dilemmas. When these phobic reactions actually interfere with normal daily functioning,professional intervention is the best course.

Here is an example of the 2 origins of an airplane flying phobia: the first patient was traumatized at age 11 when flying with her newly divorced parents,the plane hit very unsettling turbulence and she was very uncomfortable flying as an adult.  The second patient, panicked at the possibility that her husband was cheating on her,refused to fly to various job assignments, fearful that the husband would carry on his affair while she was gone! Note….the same fear with two very different origins, and treated in very different ways.

The most effective treatment for irrational simple phobias is called “flooding” and involves gradual exposure in imagery and in real life to the phobic object or situation. More complex phobias( eg. The fearful wife above) are best treated with cognitive behavior therapy(CBT) involving assertiveness training, meditation and relaxation techniques, and challenging irrational needs for dependence,and superstitious beliefs.

Do you have a phobia? Describe it to me in a private email. Send to IBT 104@aol.com and I will be happy to let you know the best treatment options available. Make your message attention to Dr. Lubetkin. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Barry Lubetkin is in private practice in NYC. He is the co-director of the Institute for Behavior Therapy.  He is a published author and frequent guest on TV and radio shows as an authoritative voice on mental health issues.


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This week, Dr. Barry Lubetkin gives us some insight on our need to please!

Do you have the “Disease to Please”????

Approval cravers are terrified that if they garner disapproval from certain friends and family, these people will disappear. Many of my patients have told me that they genuinely fear that if they anger a significant person in their life, that person would drop away forever. The mental distortion operating here is that all of the wonderful years of friendship and warm shared experiences will be negated by a single incident of disagreement.

Margaret Adam

Margaret Adam (Photo credit: Joi)

While that may occasionally occur,most good friends are able to overlook single incidents and talk things over.

In a 1971 article Margaret Adams wrote about the “compassion trap “where females in particular believe that their very existence is defined by service and compassion for others. Overcome this self defeating philosophy whenever you are annoyed or upset with another’s behavior by the following steps:

1. Express your upset directly without candy coating it.

2. Clarify your expectations of the other person and the goals you desire

3. Challenge your internal irrational fears of retribution

4. Prepare for resistance or refusal from the person to go along with your desire or goals by having in your mind an alternative or compromise plan .

Barry Lubetkin is co-director of the Institute for Behavior Therapy in Manhattan.  If you have a question or concern that you would like his opinion on, please leave a comment here.

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Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality (Photo credit: charlesfettinger)

Dr. Barry Lubetkin offers us some sound advice and a very good tip on how to keep the “caring for each other” in our marriage. 

Mental health for marriage.

Marriage is in trouble. Not only has the divorce rate of 45 to 50% not abated but the rate of cheating amongst both men and women continues to increase. And what of the future ,where couples texting and not talking has become the standard way of courting and communicating.
Many of my married couple patients report that “lack of appreciation and compassion ” for the other is a major potential destroyer of relationships. While I believe that EVERY couple should enter couples therapy for regular tune ups throughout their time together, that is an ideal that most won’t follow. So here’s a tip to help strengthen your relationship:
Each person creates a CARING LIST, where you list the 5 specific ways that your partner can make you feel cared about and cherished……….ex. “Kiss me each morning when you leave for work”……”prepare dinner once a week for the kids”…….”tell me about your day and ask me about mine”……..give me a brief massage every Monday evening to unstress me after work”.  Make the requests specific and behavioral, not vague like “make me happy”
Exchange the lists, post them somewhere in the apartment or house, and each person is to fulfill at least three of the others requests each week. Make new lists when needed. Don’t play tit for tat by waiting for your partner to do your requests first. Note and discuss at the end of the week how each of you did in fulfilling the caring needs of the other.  It works! Try it!
Barry Lubetkin, Phd, ABBP is co-director of the Institute for Behavior Therapy in Manhattan.  Dr. Lubetkin has written two widely acclaimed books. Bailing Out (Simon and Schuster and Prentice Hall Press) and Why Do I Need You To Love Me In Order To Like Myself (Longmeadow and Borders Press). In addition, his 3-disc audio series on treating insomnia Dr. Barry’s Sound Asleep has recently been published. 
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Sorry I am posting this mental health tip from Dr. Barry Lubetkin so late in the day….clearly a sign that I didn’t get enough sleep last night.  Had an early important meeting so of course I didn’t get to bed till after midnight and then couldn’t sleep!!

“Insomnia or sleeplessness is occurring in epidemic proportions. Stress, unemployment,drug,alcohol, and internet addictions, and a variety of mental and emotional disorders make getting a good nights sleep more and more difficult to achieve. 
Here are some solid scientifically sound non medication tips to avoid tossing and turning for hours……..For 3 continuous weeks try the following:
1.Stop napping throughout the day
2.Wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends and get into bed at the same time every night.
3.If not asleep within 30 minutes of lying down,get out of bed and sit and relax quietly in another room for 20 minutes before returning to bed
4.Bed is for sex and sleep! No reading,no visible clock,no eating in bed.
5.No caffeine or exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
6.Challenge irrational ideas about sleep……eg.I MUST get 8 hours of sleep every night; My next day will be ruined completely if I don’t sleep enough.
Of course,consultation with a professional sleep specialist must be considered when sleeplessness persists despite self help efforts.”
Lubetkin is the recipient of several awards and honors within the profession of Psychology including The Annual Meritorious Service Award from The Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (currently ABCT). He served as President of The American Board of Behavior Therapy for 12 years and has served on numerous editorial and review boards. He also served as the Editor in Chief of the Diplomate, the first journal published by the American Board of Professional Psychology. In addition to his 2 books, he has published over 50 articles in the fields of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and General Psychology.


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worried square

worried square (Photo credit: cathredfern) 

 A long time ago I read that two very useless emotions were worry and guilt; Prevalent among us all and hard habits to break!  The following words of advice are from Dr. Barry Lubetkin, Phd, ABBP.

” More about worry!
Remember ,worrying is a mental habit…….some thing that is repeated involuntarily without our being aware that it has started. So it will take frequent practice of actions that are incompatible with worrying to reduce the habit of worrying. Psychologists at Pennsylvania State University have developed a series of anti worrying steps.:

1. Write down the specific thoughts that you have when you worry..

2.Analyze each thought……is there evidence for it? What is its real probability of occurring? Have you handled such situations in the past without dire consequences.? A year after the event will it really make a major difference in your life.? Couldn’t you survive and move on even if the worst happens?
Write down your answers.

3.Use these new more adaptive thoughts whenever you notice a worrisome thought throughout the day. Remind yourself that they are more valid based on your logical evidence based analysis. With repeated practice they will begin to feel more true.

4.Designate a 15 minute period each day as your “worry time”. And only focus on your worries during this period. This will allow you to postpone worrisome thinking from other times,and do creative problem solving and rational thinking.

Dr Barry Lubetkin is the Director and founder of The Institute For Behavior Therapy in New York City. He is Board certified in both Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Psychology. He is the author of numerous academic and popular articles as well as two popular self-help books: “Bailing Out”and “Why Do I Need You to Love Me in Order to Like Myself”. He also has recorded the popular insomnia treatment CD set “Dr. Barry’s Sound Asleep.” The Institute for Behavior Therapy is the oldest privats.e Cognitive Behavior Therapy center in the United States founded in 1971. s have received treatment at the Institute.

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