Effective treatment for anxiety disorders is very specific and should be individualized for each client. There are many programs and treatment centers that add anxiety to the list of conditions they treat, but very few are utilizing evidence-based practices or have clinicians trained appropriately in the “gold standard”, Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP

Exposure and Response Prevention is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where the client gradually confronts the fear, worry or situation and eventually, the client learns that the fear, worry or situation does not produce the negative outcome they believe will occur, thus their relationship with that fear, worry or situation is such that their quality of life is improved. Getting to and through this process requires a skilled clinician, defined period of time, and a good rapport, trust and communication between the client and the clinician. 

A clinician supporting ERP is a key imperative for the process as is the ability of the clinician and other staff to provide education about anxiety, its impact on the body and senses, and terminology related to ERP. The staff must be able to provide this psychoeducation in such a way that the client understands based on their age and cognitive functioning. 

Over the past several years working with families and clients to determine if Mountain Valley Treatment Center is a good fit for their needs, I have found myself in a position of highlighting our program structure and educating families on what to look for when selecting an appropriate program. 

4 tips for choosing the best anxiety treatment center:

1. Look for a Center Where the Clients Tend to Have Similar Presenting Issues

The center should have a population of clients with similar presenting issues, those being anxiety disorders, OCD and related disorders. Many centers have clientele with a wide array of challenges such as substance use disorders, aggressive behaviors, and varying degrees of cognitive functioning. 

2. Make Sure the Center Provides CBT & ERP Therapy

Do they provide CBT and ERP? A center that says they specialize in treating anxiety disorders must be providing sound exposure and response prevention therapy. ERP should also be conducted in a variety of environments and based on the client’s individual needs. 

3. Make Sure the Center Provides Individualized Treatment Plans

Ensure that the center creates and updates specific, individualized treatment plans for each client. Additionally, there should be a system in place whereby the client, and family have access to the plan and sign them. Typically, an initial treatment plan will be developed upon admission and be based on information collected during the admissions process. Once admitted and after a period of time to gather information, the clinical team and the client/family will create a master treatment plan with goals and objectives. Treatment plans should also be updated as necessary and based on evolving progress in treatment.

4. Do they have an integrated team approach to care?  

A clinically sound treatment center will follow best practices and have a multi-disciplinary team working with, monitoring, and documenting a client’s treatment and care. This team should be communicating with each other on a regular basis. A typical treatment team will consist of the individual clinician managing the client’s case, an individual representing the programming who can provide information about a client’s functioning outside of therapy such as during activities and after hours, and a medical representative who can contribute information in the area of medications or physical/medical conditions.

At the end of the day, everyone connected to the client wants them to have a successful treatment experience and get the help they need. Finding the right treatment center is one of the first steps.

If you found these tips helpful, and would like to learn more about treatment, and about Mountain Valley, contact us today.