Therapy That Works...

The Higher Risk of Suicide In The Baby Boomer Generation - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on KTXD 47 discuss the recent teen suicides in Rockwall, TX and why suicide is more common in the Baby Boomer generation - click here.

OCD - What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe what Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is, how it begins, and when it may be time to seek professional help - click here.

Does your mind obsessively focus on the same thought?

Do you find yourself worrying about a task or chore that shouldn’t be bothering you? Does calming down involve performing senseless rituals such as checking locks, washing hands, or counting items?

You may be one of the millions of people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder or “OCD”. Approximately 90% of individuals with OCD experience obsessive thoughts and perform compulsive acts. Around two thirds of individuals with OCD experience multiple obsessions and perform many types of compulsive acts.

Men and women develop OCD at approximately the same rates. However if OCD begins in childhood, boys tends to develop it at a higher rate than girls. Most cases develop in late adolescence between 18 to 24 years of age.

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Imagined Horrors:

OCD symptoms begin with obsessive thoughts. Your mind creates an intrusive, horrific thought that appears without warning. The thought is often totally at odds with your current situation and often is some form of catastrophic thinking. The thoughts are almost always disturbing since they usually involve some type of natural disaster, unimaginable crime, or world shaking event occurring.

Simple Penance:

The OCD mind offers a solution to the obsessive worry. The compulsive behavior is the mind’s solution to preventing disaster. If you only check the door locks again or clean the bathroom several more times, the imagined disaster can be avoided. Compulsions are usually either mental rituals like obsessively counting or behavioral sequences like cleaning your hands multiple times in a row.

Undertreated Disorder:

Millions of people struggle with OCD every single day, and the relentless pattern can torture sufferers for years. Many people are embarrassed about the disorder and are reluctant to seek professional help. According to the Harvard Medical School Health Guide, around 10% of OCD patients are ultimately cured and about 50% of OCD cases improve but still struggle with their symptoms every day.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a very serious condition. If you think someone you know may have OCD, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


"Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive Compulsive Behavior" by Jeffrey Schwartz and Beverly Beyette, 1997

E.B. Foa, and M.J. Kozak, 1995, DSM IV, Field Trial, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152. 90 to 96.

"Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts: How to Gain Control of Your OCD" by David Clark and Christine Purdon

Panic Attacks - How We Treat Panic Attacks - By Chris Gearing

Friday, May 24, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how Gearing Up treats panic attacks and some of the most effective treatments for panic attacks - click here.

Panic attacks can begin without warning and without any apparent cause.

These intense episodes of discomfort and anxiety can be highly disruptive and severely upsetting, especially when they interfere with everyday tasks that should be easy.

Panic attacks can redefine how we see ourselves and how we measure our effectiveness in life. If they become frequent and severe enough, they can alter how we act and create significant obstacles in our lives. People with this condition tend to narrow their activities to reduce their exposure to vulnerable situations. They avoid the elevator and the highway in an effort to limit their anxiety. They plan their lives around the central goal of remaining calm.

Panic attacks can be highly disruptive since they tend to interfere with work and professional responsibilities. The public embarrassment of having a panic attack in front of your colleagues can derail an otherwise distinguished career.

At Gearing Up, we are familiar with the challenges of panic disorders. We use the latest research and scientifically proven therapy techniques, and we are confident that panic attacks can be treated with the correct approach. Here are some of the steps we take to treat panic attacks:

Panic Fingerprint:

Panic attacks can start for many reasons. The first thing we do is to help you understand your individual cycle of panic. At some point, your stress and anxiety led to a physical state of panic. Frightening thoughts of being helpless flooded your mind, and now you are probably experiencing anticipatory anxiety or the worry that another panic attack is around the corner.

Defeating Self-Fulfilling Prophecies:

Anxious people tend to expect their next panic attack to occur at the drop of a hat. They worry that they won’t be able to resolve the issue and that things will only get worse. They are convinced that they will fail and that the worst outcome is inevitable. We work with you to change how you think about situations and to shift the thoughts and beliefs going through your mind. Your thoughts can lead to panic or to peace, and they are key to defeating panic and anxiety.

Accurate Perceptions:

Our therapists will teach you how to correct your perception of other people and events so that they are more accurate and effective. We work with you to look at your perceptions and evaluate them for accuracy. We teach you the best strategies for combating negative thoughts and how to reduce your fear and anxiety.

Positive Emotions Flourish:

Accurate perceptions enhance your ability to manage your emotions. Positive emotions can finally take root and flourish once we have banished our automatic negative thoughts. When we have our thoughts under control, we can begin the real work of creating a happy and sustainable life.

Panic attacks can be very serious. If you think someone you know may experience panic attacks, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Anxiety - What Are Panic Attacks? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describes what panic disorders are, how they can begin, and how to know if you get them - click here.

Have you ever been unable to calm down while your heart races and your thoughts spin out of control?

You may have experienced a panic attack—a sudden wave of fear and foreboding that overwhelms your ability to reason and to think calmly. Panic attacks can occur any time and in any place without any obvious pattern.

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Always On Guard:

Once a panic attack occurs, we tend to become more aware of our how our bodies and minds feel. We vividly remember the heart palpitations, the feeling of choking, and our inability to breath or calm down. Our mind is on red alert and keeps reliving our biggest fears.

Constricted Lives:

Constantly thinking about your fears and past panic attacks can often lead to an increase in anticipatory anxiety. We are always waiting and preparing for the next problem. We carefully search for the first signs of trouble while we begin to constrict our environment. By avoiding troublesome situations that might stir up our anxiety, we feel safer and in control.

Agoraphobia And Panic:

According to research, up to fifty percent of those who have panic disorders also suffer from agoraphobia. They worry about being in places and situations that they cannot escape and they have no help or resources to fix the problem. They often experience this sense of panic in extremely crowded or enclosed places. It is the ultimate sense of vulnerability and we feel helpless to fix the problem or to change our circumstances.

If you think you may experience panic attacks, here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Racing Heart and Spinning Thoughts
  • Sweating & Sweaty Palms
  • Tightness In Your Chest
  • Inability To Catch Your Breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shaking
  • Fear of Dying or Going Insane


"Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders," Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J. F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn

How To Talk To Kids About Deadly Oklahoma Tornadoes - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how to explain the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma to your children and how to make sure they feel safe - click here.

Anxiety - What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe what Generalized Anxiety Disorder looks like and what you can do to help - click here.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects over 6 million Americans every day.

They live with constant worry, unending concerns, and ongoing apprehension about the future. To escape their crushing anxiety, they withdraw from other people and avoid the things that make them anxious.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or G.A.D., grows over time and is built on every negative experience in a person’s life. Since it often begins in childhood, most sufferers wait 25 years before reaching out for professional help.

Here are a few important points about Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Paired Disorders:

Ninety percent (90%) of G.A.D. sufferers have some kind of co-existing mental health disorder. Around 42% of people suffering with G.A.D. also have issues with depression, and one disorder usually is more prominent than the other.

Double Trouble:

Women tend to develop generalized anxiety at twice the rates of men. The rates of depression and anxiety double for girls around puberty, so their anxious thinking habits are more likely to take root in their teens and grow over time.

Suspicious Minds:

One of the principle features of generalized anxiety disorder is the tendency to worry and ruminate. Worry is a prominent characteristic of G.A.D. and occurs in 40 to 60% of cases. The worry creates a vicious cycle - we worry to soothe our own anxiety, which only makes the fear grow. If your mind is tied up with worrying all the time, you have little energy to rest, learn, or implement more effective ways of coping.

Intolerable Uncertainty:

Anxious minds cannot tolerate uncertainty or ambiguity. They have difficulty with leaving loose ends or having a lack of closure. They lack confidence in their ability to handle adversity or the unexpected, so they worry constantly to prepare for anything.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Robert Leahy, Stephen J.F. Holland and Lata McGinn, Guilford Press, 2012.

Wittchen, H. U., Zhao, S., Kessler, R. C., and Eaton, W.W. 1994, DSM III-R Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey, Archieves of General Psychiatiry, 51/(5), 355-364

Rubio, G. and Lopez-Ibor, J.J. 2007, Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A 40 year follow up study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinaviaca, 115 (5), 372-379

Blazer, D., George, L., and Winfield, I. 1991, Epidemiologic data and planning mental health services: A tale of two surveys. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 26, 21-27.

Breslau, N and Davis, G.C., 1985, DSM-III generalized anxiety disorder: An empirical investiagation of more stringent criteria. Psychiatry Research, 15, 231-238.

Kessler, R.C., Walters, E.E. and Witchen, H.U. 2004, Epidemiology. In R.G. Heimberg, C.L. Turk, and D.S. Mennin (Eds) Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Advances in research and practice (pp29 to 50). New York: Guildord Press.

Butler, G, Fennerll, M., Robson, P and Gelder, M. 1991, Comparison of behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of generalized anxity disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 167-175.

Rapee, R.M. 1991, Psychological Factors involved in generalized anxiety. In R.M. Rapee and D. H. Barlow (Eds.) Chronic Anxiety: Generalized Anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety depression (pp. 76-94). New York: Guilford Press.

Intolerance of Uncertainty and Problem Orientation n Worry, Michael Dugas, Mark Freeston, Robert Ladouceur, Cognitive Threrapy and Research, Vol 21, no 6, 1997, pgs. 593-606

Anxiety - The Differences Between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders - By Chris Gearing

Friday, May 10, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how to tell whether your anxiety is normal or when it might be time to seek professional help - click here.

Anxiety is an appropriate reaction to situations that are negative and unexpected.

Normal anxiety is present during and shortly after an adversity. However, once the situation resolves, the tension should dissolve and the mind should return to a calm state of being. There should be no lingering anxious thoughts or after effects. You simply move on.

If anxiety persists for days or even weeks after an event, it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders differ from normal anxiety in specific and important ways including the following:

A Way Of Life:

Anxiety disorders don’t give up easily. They are tenacious and can become a way of life. Anxious thoughts can define the way we look at life, how we act, how we view other people, the way we think about ourselves, and much more.

Missing Evidence:

An anxious mind is always searching for evidence to support its anxious thoughts. Entrenched anxiety disorders cause us to discount evidence that disputes our negative thoughts and to only encode what confirms our pessimistic view.

People Problems:

Chronically anxious people seem to have a lot of trouble getting along with those around them. Anxious and distorted thoughts interfere with our ability to relate realistically and effectively to those around us. They cause us to misinterpret others and inappropriately react to their actions.

Quick Triggers:

Anxious minds can go from calm to a full-blown anxiety attack within minutes. The symptoms can be brief or progressive waves of tension that are overwhelming.

Brain Freeze:

High levels of anxiety can disrupt your ability to think clearly and accurately. While small amounts of normal anxiety may mildly compromise the person’s effectiveness, severe and chronic anxiety may render the person unable to function. They literally freeze and fail to react at all when an immediate response is important. The mind is locked up in wave after wave of debilitating anxiety.

Impulsive Distractions:

Anxiety disorders can provoke a wide variety of impulsive self-destructive behaviors. These behaviors often represent their desperate efforts to escape their overwhelming anxiety and to be calm even if it is for a little while.

Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America,

Anxiety - Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and when it may be time to seek out professional help - click here.

Most people experience some amount of anxiety every single day.

They feel tense and overwhelmed by racing to pick up a child from school, meeting a business deadline, or resolving an argument with their spouse. However, anxiety can redefine our thinking and can change how we view the world and one another.

When we cross the line from normal anxiety to an anxiety disorder, we anticipate the worst in every situation and live in a world of catastrophic thinking and dread.

Anxiety disorders can be highly persistent and difficult to overcome. They often take root in childhood and grow in size and intensity as the mind develops. Research indicates that most sufferers wait an average of 25 years before they seek out clinical treatment.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have an anxiety disorder, here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pronounced and Overwhelming Fears
  • Rapid or Out of Control Heart Beat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Trembling and Dizziness
  • Chest Pain
  • Sweating
  • Fear of Choking or Drowning
  • Feelings of Unreality or Being In A Dream

Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America,

Anxiety - What Is Anxiety? - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 06, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe what clinical anxiety is and how it can happen to you - click here.

Anxiety disorders are the number one diagnosed mental health disorder in America.

Forty million Americans regularly experience high levels of anxiety but only one third of sufferers ever receive treatment. Anxiety is extremely expensive for our country’s healthcare system and it accounts for close to one third of all mental health costs in the United States.

Anxiety causes us to feel high amounts of tension, uncertainty, and fear often without any specific threat or problem.

Anxious individuals feel like their mind cycles in a continuous loop of speculation, worry, and confusion about what is going to happen next. Despite their best efforts, they just cannot seem to give their mind a break. The endless nervous thoughts are disruptive to sleep, work, and their sense of wellbeing.

Anxiety disorders can develop for many reasons, but here are some of the most common:

In Your Genes:

Anxious thinking and anxiety disorders may run in the family. If you have an anxiety disorder, then one out of ten people in your family may also have anxiety issues.

Trauma Sequence:

Trauma is often deregulating and interrupts our ability to effectively manage our emotions, especially anxiety. Before trauma, we may have handled adversities with ease. However once our minds have been deregulated by the traumatic event, we may be waging constant battle against our anxious thoughts.

Begins In Childhood:

When there is child abuse, excessive uncertainty, change and struggle with difficult parents, or unpreventable trauma in childhood, anxiety may gain a foothold. Although most of us develop higher rates of anxiety in our twenties, many anxious adults began dealing with their anxious thoughts in childhood.

Loss of Relationships:

Traumatic breakups that leave us feeling confused, lost, and helpless can start the cycle of anxiety. Our positive beliefs about other people can be shattered and we may develop serious trust and anxiety issues.

Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America,

The Rising Adult Suicide Rate - By Chris Gearing

Friday, May 03, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the rising adult suicide rate and what you can do to help - click here.

Teens and the elderly are no longer the most likely to commit suicide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report that found an almost 30% increase in the suicide rate among middle-age adults (ages 35-64). The top three methods of committing suicide among adults were poisoning, suffocation or hanging, and firearm.

Over the last decade, the adult suicide rate has grown at an alarming rate.

Suicide rates spiked a few decades ago when the baby boomer generation hit their teenage years, and the suicide trend has followed the boomer generation as they have aged. As many boomers are being confronted by unique mid-life challenges like dual caregiving for children and their parents, their own health problems, and one of the toughest economic climates in decades, they may be more likely to commit suicide.

If you are concerned about someone you know, here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Frequent thoughts about death and dying
  • Talking about committing suicide
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Trouble with or uninterested in eating or sleeping
  • Suddenly making end of life arrangements
  • Drastic changes in behavior or daily activities
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or social activities
  • Loss of interest in work or hobbies
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Unnecessary risk taking
  • Loss of interest in their appearance
  • Previous suicide attempts

Suicide and suicidal thoughts are very serious issues. If you are worried about someone you know, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


American Psychological Association, “Suicide Warning Signs”, (

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Suicide Among Adults Aged 35-64 Years – United States, 1999-2010”, (

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