How to Navigate New Information That May Challenge Your Best Practices

Kimberly Morrow

Have you had the experience of listening to a podcast this year and learning something new that challenges your best practice approach with your clients? What did you do with that feeling of discomfort? Did you wonder if what you are telling your clients is really the most helpful treatment for them?

With information about mental health treatment available to us 24/7 via our computer or cell phone, we have access to the latest research and changes in our field. As with everything, this can be a game changer for us and our clients. It can also create havoc in our lives as we chase after the latest treatment we heard about in a podcast or blog. Maybe this information energizes you or maybe it creates anxiety which fuels your insecurities as a therapist.

I have been enjoying listening to podcasts from some of the leaders in the field as I walk my new dog every day. I was proud of myself for staying on top of the latest information. I started sharing articles/podcasts with my colleagues, on our Anxiety Training Facebook page, and during case consultation.

What I noticed is that I lost my grounding in what I already know, through my education and training, my years of experience with clients, and my interactions with all of you. Grounding comes from our relationship with our clients and our trust in the process of facing our fears and helping our clients change their relationship with fear. Having confidence in the basics, being patient with the process of treatment, and being open to new ideas is a good template to follow.

There are many ways to help our clients with anxiety and OCD, some more helpful and some more researched. I believe that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy using Exposure and Response Prevention is one of the best evidenced based treatments you can use. However, you may also be getting trained in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Mindfulness, Cognitive Processing Therapy, or Inhibitory Learning Theory. There are conversations about how GAD is very similar to OCD. There are also new insights about the role rumination plays in keeping our clients stuck.

With all of these treatment approaches available to us, the important thing to remember is listen to your client. They will let you know what is helpful for them and what is not. Start with the basics using the CBT session structure and ERP. If your client is struggling to get better, be open to learning new and more advanced approaches. Be sure you have access to colleagues to ask questions and that you feel safe enough with them to be challenged. Be grounded yourself, because when you can handle the anxiety of not knowing, you will be able to help your clients with this as well. has advanced classes to help you with the latest teachings in our field.

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