WEEK 116: Strategies to Help Clients Confront Fear

August 13 – August 18, 2018 . . . . .

WEEK 116

August 13 – August 18, 2018


Monday, August 13, 2018

Three Essential Skills for Managing Fear

Lynn Lyons, LICSW outlines the intimidating demand that fear makes . . . and how to help clients push against it.
Running time: 09:06

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Playful Way to Shift out of Fear

Lynn Lyons, LICSW shares the story of how she helped a young client separate herself from the fear that was holding her back.
Running time: 08:57

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

When to Listen to Fear . . . And When to Ignore It

Terry Real, MSW, LICSW and Bill O’Hanlon, LMFT dig into how to best approach the vulnerabilities that often intensify a client’s fear.
Running time: 09:45

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

How to Help Clients Change the Way They Respond to Fear

Marsha Linehan, PhD shares her creative approach to overriding fear before it takes hold.
Running time: 08:08

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Critical Insights

Ron Siegel, PsyD and Kelly McGonigal, PhD highlight the key concepts in this week’s videos.
Running time: 26:26

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Reference: Neural Underpinnings of Cortisol Effects on Fear Extinction


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Focus on Application

Joan Borysenko, PhD, and Rick Hanson, PhD connect exercises and techniques with this week’s discussion so you can begin using these ideas right away with your clients.
Running time: 18:05

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7 Responses

  1. Great week again!
    I think emotional fears can be existential fears, especially if you look at it from an evolutionary perspective. I had a client who was in fear of losing her job. I validated her heightened emotional response to this by talking about how from an evolutionary perspective we as women really relied on our social networks for survival, and the threat of social exclusion (job loss from a female dominated workplace) really activates the primitive fear response. Then we looked at whether she really would die if she lost her job, or even lose her house. She was then able to recognise her capacity to manage that situation, if it came to pass, and we were then able to work on strategies to manage the job threat, as the company was out of line in the way they were handling it.

  2. I appreciate everyone’s input. I like the story Lynn Lyon’s told … asking the little girl to name the voice that tells her to be afraid. I wonder how adults would respond to that practice?

    1. Hi April,
      I had a client who had a really fierce inner voice that was really getting in the way of her living her own life – she had been co-opted into caring for her mother, brothers and father from a too young age – and this voice would really get activated whenever she tried to do something for herself. I already knew this client was very comfortable with metaphor, so I asked her if this voice had a body, what would it look like? And she described in great detail a miserable, older woman who spends her day watching the neighbours and commenting negatively on them. And if she had a name? Marta. From that point on when we talked about how responsible she was for her adult siblings and how she felt about things, I could ask when it was Marta’s concerns or her own. (It wasn’t until we were finishing our work that I asked her if she had made the link to martyr, but she hadn’t!). It was really fruitful work and we finished when Marta was no longer trying to run her show.

  3. Watching Bill Hanlon’s video it became increasingly important to separate these types of fears when I got a request today to help a pregnant mother who is growing increasingly fearful. It would seem appropriate to distinguish between the two for her, yet these two fears are now intertwined.

    If anyone has any helpful hints on this revelation Bill touched on when it comes to people facing the birth of a child before it affects the vagus nerve in both mother and infant and has been simmering within my own desire to work not only with pregnant mothers, new mothers, but also couples who sometimes see their partners as an extension of themselves.

    Really like the wisdom of Ron Siegel as I find clients present existential fears in such a different, profound way.

    Kelly pinpointed the brakes which was a great analogy for understanding the vagal brake to the car and reminding me of a driving technique they taught for many years, to ride the brake while driving and how worn out the brakes became when this technique was taught to young drivers. I see a lot of people, including myself, with worn-out vagal brakes.

    Love Ron’s thoughts of “signal and noise,” a great analogy which helps me understand why these last few years, I have not been as silent as I had been my whole life. Now I want to make noise clearly and make changes in my goals in life while at the worst health of my life. This takes it back to real physical fear as opposed to emotional fear, just like the mother who has to worry about the physical fear for her baby and own body, but the emotional fear is quite high.

    On it from Kelly’s research referral source. Thanks, Kelly. I can couple this with an exercise I have clients do each morning to work with the cortisol affectively.

  4. I look forward to this section. I have a client who has suffered from panic attacks for 40 or her 45 years. I want to apply “Sally” to her but I’m waiting and eager to hear more about how to handle adults with ingrained long term fears.

  5. So appropo, I just had a phone cliet who is feeling frightened due to a situation in her office. One of her colleagues has been off on a leave and at the end of July the management informed the staff that they would be conducting interviews as one of them has been accused of sharing a video or picture of this absent colleague and it is because of the impact this photo or video that she has been unable to work. No more information has been given, and they have been told not to discuss it among themselves. The affect on the staff members has been profound, from sleeplessness to work avoidance and suspicions and isolation. I listened and told her that I would consult with my supervisor about the possiblity of involving our crisis intervention team to help her colleagues manage their anxiety and to achieve some clarity about the situaiion.
    After that call I had a 30 minute break so I opened up Week 116 and listened to Lynn Lyons. Most importantly I was reminded that uncertainty is part of the human condition and I can help her create, find or use, tools to help her tolerate this period of uncertainty. I told her that I would call her back at the end of the day and I am going to brainstorm with her and suggest that her team identifies a container or safe place to put their fears in until they are able to address them or have more information to share that might reduce the intensity of the fear or elliminate it totally. thanks again, SC