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Marsha Marcoe, MFT
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Specializing in the Treatment of Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Trained in EMDR Therapy, Lic# MFC 31140

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Stay the Course for Real Change

Stay the Course for Real Change

After treating clients with anxiety and panic disorder for almost 30 years, I have discovered that those clients who stick with a cognitive talk therapy program have success, and now there is a neuroscientific research that shows that cognitive talk therapy produces changes in the areas of the brain. In other words, conscious mental effort induces a biological effect on the brain. I call that success, and deep second order change.

I have treated patients that only want to rely on drug therapy and not do the hard work of the cognitive therapy or the behavior modification. Those patients are usually not as successful at living the life they deem as abundant.

I am not against drug therapy, but I want to stress the importance of the conscious mental exercise that will give one second order change instead of first order change. (Paul Watzlawich, Ph.D., John Weakland, Ch.E, and Richard Fisch, M.D.) The shift of perception and understanding is deeper with second order change. First order change is change within the same system that one has created with all the myths and lies regarding anxiety disorder. Second order change is the change of the system itself. It allows new information to push out old perceptions and lies.

Changing the disorder takes a second order change, and the conscious mental exercise is the only way I know to make that deep change.

Allowing information to become part of your true perception takes a process of assimilation and accommodation. One must take in information and accommodate it to what they already know. A patient with anxiety disorder has false information about the disorder that needs to be challenged before they can accommodate the truth about the disorder. This process takes time and hard work. The new information must be part of what we actually believe before it can produce change.

Helping people assimilate new information and accommodate toward second order change is a thrilling journey I get to watch with my clients. Change to the fearful can feel threatening but to a confident client it is inspiring because it makes their lives better, and more abundant. I watch clients come in with fear and watch them leave therapy with confidence.  

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