Our Practice

Anxiety Specialists of Los Angeles, is a concierge practice specializing in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders and related conditions. Our licensed mental health clinicians treat adults and adolescents utilizing the latest evidenced-based therapies. In 1989, Dr. Lynne Freeman founded Open Doors Institute, a statewide network of licensed anxiety specialists while training and supervising interns at the flagship office in Beverly Hills, California. Over time, Dr. Freeman dissolved the network to focus on her book, Panic Free: Eliminate Anxiety/Panic Attacks Without Drugs and Take Control of Your Life, and to deliver services directly to clients. Eventually, she relocated her practice to Encino, California, where she earned a reputation for successfully treating resistant cases of  anxiety and obsessive- compulsive disorders . Subsequently, she developed an extensive waitlist of clients.

 

Dr. Susan Holt, a specialist in anxiety disorders and trauma, joined as a partner in 2018 to form Anxiety Specialists of Los Angeles. Doctors Holt and Freeman have combined their unique expertise to provide effective treatment for all types of anxiety disorders, OCD and related conditions. Clients are seen by licensed  professionals  and appointments can be arranged within a reasonable period of time.

 

Anxiety disorders afflict approximately 40 million Americans over the age of 18 and affect 25 percent of all teens. Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder afflicts 2.2 million individuals – approximately 1% of the population. However, according to a recent study in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, researchers found that nearly all of the people in the study — about 94 percent — reported experiencing at least one unwanted thought in the previous three months. The average amount of time to receive an accurate diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is 15 years. This is because many mental health professionals are not specifically trained in the assessment and treatment of symptoms associated with these conditions.

Treatment Approaches

When you contact Anxiety Specialists of Los Angeles, you will be asked a number of questions to determine which of our therapists would be most appropriate to treat your symptoms. You will receive assessment forms to complete that you will bring to the initial consultation. The initial consultation is one hour in duration and, during this appointment, you will be provided a diagnosis and treatment plan. Depending upon your symptoms and history, your therapist will discuss the various approaches and recommendations that will most benefit you. This may include a recommendation for an evaluation for medication.  The treatment approach and decision to pursue medication  is a collaborative decision between you and your therapist. Some of the treatment approaches utilized  include the following:

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Psychotherapy is a form of cognitive therapy derived from mindfulness based stress reduction. MBCT teaches the client how to remain in the present and focus on their experiences in real time. It is a practice that has its origin in meditation and has evolved into a form of psychotherapy emphasizing acceptance of uncomfortable states of mind. MBCT exercises can help with symptoms of depression and has recently gained popularity in treating anxiety disorders, OCD, and related conditions.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy uses acceptance and mindfulness, not to eliminate bad feelings, but to reach levels where the client no longer reacts to these feelings or goes to lengths to avoid them. This form of therapy can be used to treat a wide range of problems; however, it is growing in popularity as an effective treatment for OCD particularly when certain symptoms may remain unchanged for a period of time.

Exposure Response Therapy (ERP) is a subset of CBT and is premised on recognizing that anxiety will improve when it is confronted rather than avoided and assists patients in facing their fears. This form of therapy requires specific training and there are a limited number of clinicians qualified to use it. It is considered the mainstay of treatment for Obsessive –Compulsive Disorders and is evidenced based. ERP may include writing a story or “script” detailing a worst case scenario and rereading it until the anxiety is eventually extinguished. Other forms may include Imaginal Exposure, or In Vivo Exposure Therapy.

This is a form of Exposure Response Therapy. However, it tends to be less threatening than live (in vivo) exposures. The client is asked to focus on the scenario they are trying to avoid and the therapist guides them through it in conjunction with CBT and/or mindfulness.

When someone with OCD engages in magical thoughts, they worry that, if they do not comply with certain rituals or control their thoughts, they will incur a negative consequence. Without debunking the magical thinking, the behaviors may seem to improve; however, the individual may still be experiencing anxiety. Utilizing psychoeducation and ERP, superstitious thinking is challenged so that, over time, it no longer seems logical.

Featured Article

Treatment for Health Anxiety (also known as Illness Anxiety Disorder)

For most people, experiencing a headache is uncomfortable but not anxiety producing.  However, when an individual suffers from health anxiety, previously known as “hypochondriasis,” a headache can trigger panic.  An assumption may be made that the cause of the headache is a life threatening disease or condition such as an aneurysm or brain tumor. The individual may visit her/his

Read More