What patients say …

Worriers, GAD, and OCD

I often suggest that people who tend to be ‘worriers’ or who have ‘generalized anxiety disorder’ (in addition to those with OCD) listen to this first episode of the OCD Stories, hosted by someone with OCD. I think it’s helpful to see how those with OCD (similar thought patterns to worry) – used CBT (its therapy cousins, ERP and ACT) to learn how to thrive. There are many more OCD Stories (click here), including interviews with parents, kids, adults with OCD, as well as various specialists.  Also, for those with OCD, I recommend attending an annual IOCD Conference. In 2017, it was held in San Francisco (hover over titles to see more content in that schedule) and in July  2018 it will be in Washington DC.

 Watch how your brain processes worry and OCD tendencies

Obsessive Patterns

A former patient writes …

After spending years slogging through psychotherapy and making little, if any, progress, I finally decided that I needed a new practitioner with a new approach. Cognitive behavioral therapy didn’t seem like it was something that would work for me – the perpetual worrier – when in fact, it was what I’d been looking for all along. Dr. Cary helped me to understand how my brain works, in a circular, obsessive fashion, and helped me to challenge my thoughts and alter my behaviors in ways that allow me to function so much more productively.

I used to be a terrible procrastinator, who felt like I couldn’t accomplish anything. Dr. Cary helped me come up with ways to deal with my procrastination problem, and now I am incredibly productive. Occasionally, I need to remind myself of my techniques or even get Dr. Cary’s help to remind myself of what I need to be focusing on, but then it’s back to smooth sailing.

In addition, she helped me to understand that I have many obsessive tendencies, which cause me to be a perpetual worrier. Before my CBT treatment, I would spend hours and even days trying to deal with something I was worrying about, and I could never come to any type of resolution or feel comforted about these troubling thoughts. She helped me to see that my brain’s natural tendency is to move in this circular pattern and that the content of my thoughts were ultimately irrelevant when I was obsessing.

From the outside, I’ve always seemed like a very successful, put-together person, but inside, I felt like a failure who was fooling everyone. Dr. Cary taught me to use CBT techniques to really live life to the fullest. I no longer let my obsessive tendencies ruin my mood, day, or life. This type of therapy has really given me a great deal of freedom, so much so that when I become a practicing therapist, I plan to specialize in this as well.

Once again, Dr. Cary is such a compassionate, warm, skilled therapist that her abilities need to be highlighted on their own. Thank you for all that you have done for me, Dr. Cary.

Lifestyle Changes

A former patient writes … 

After smoking for 35 years, my primary care physician recommended CBT and Dr. Cary to help me kick the habit.  Having no experience with CBT I was skeptical.  After meeting Dr. Cary and quickly developing a comprehensive plan I was pleasantly surprised.  Dr. Cary was extremely skillful at teaching the concepts of CBT and applying them to my particular situation.  She made it seem so simple and achievable.  Not only did I quit smoking, but Dr. Cary helped me use the methods of CBT to lose 50 pounds at the same time!  These methods have helped me overcome insomnia and generally increased my sense of wellbeing.  CBT works and Dr. Cary is a gifted and talented healer.  Her kindness and support, while facilitating the achievement of my goals, really helped overcome the challenging times.  Seeing Dr. Cary and using the techniques she taught have changed my life. I am forever grateful.

Anxiety Management

A former patient wrote to her psychiatrist, Dr. Kozauer …

I want to thank you for recommending Dr. Meredith Cary who has guided me out of the most anxious and unsettling period of my life. Thanks to you too for your optimism and help with the medication that gave me a somewhat stable platform on which to start CBT.

During these few weeks of therapy, the job of disconfirming negative automatic thoughts (NATs) and core beliefs, most of which I knew were excessive, and framing believable alternatives was surprisingly difficult. At times I felt as if I was desperately trying to open a door without a doorknob. Occasionally it was even hard to find the door. On my own, I would have lost hope, resigned to being a victim of potentially threatening thoughts and anxiety, and worse, scorning myself for not being able to control them. However, with Dr. Cary’s attentive guidance and feedback, I began to gain confidence not only in the CBT approach but also in my ability to make it work. Her emphasis on self monitoring and slow breathing with biofeedback also has been very important to my recovery thus far.

The next several months will be key. I may have fledged, but I anticipate awkward flying for a while. However, with practice using the information and skills Dr. Cary’s thoughtful tutelage have provided, I’m reasonably confident I can avoid a major setback and equally important, live an optimistic, satisfying life from here on. Your confidence in Dr. Cary is well founded.

Specific Phobia (driving)

A former patient writes … 

I just wanted to thank you again for the help you provided me with my driving anxiety. I have definitely felt on a daily basis the impact the treatment had on me. I just wanted to let you know that last Friday, I drove on several highways for about two hours! I decided to drive us to Leesburg, VA from Bethesda to get our marriage license. I took 495 South to Dulles Airport, then continued back from Dulles to the various points (using  routes with heavy traffic that I wasn’t familiar with) that our guests will be traveling to during the weekend of our wedding. As I drove, —— looked around and made sure we had the details of the directions right. I was calm and cool for a majority of the time…and even enjoyed it. —– and I were absolutely thrilled with this achievement. Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know.

Thank you again!!!


A former patient writes … 

I have been meaning to send you a note for the longest time! (You may not remember – we met for several sessions last Fall – over a year ago – regarding my sleep troubles.) I just wanted to give you a quick update to let you know how well things are going and to say thanks. The change in my sleeping is tremendous – I probably haven’t taken a sleeping pill in nearly a year (I had been taking them about 4 times per week) and it very rarely takes me more than an hour to fall asleep (versus as much as 6 hours before my “treatment”). Typically, I am asleep within about 30 minutes of going to bed. Needless to say this has made a huge difference in my life! Thanks so much for your help!!


A former patient writes …

As you well know, working with you was transformative for me, and I’ve been able to choose — and truly enjoy — so many wonderful life experiences as a result. I feel like I’m now living a life that’s really mine — one filled with a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction — and that’s due in no small part to you.

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