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I‘ve spent much of the last 14 years of my career providing talk therapy in my office for problems like anxiety and depression. Or at least that’s the term that has been informally used for everything from the active Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) I have been providing to the complex Freudian lie-down-on-couch-and-tell-me-about-your-dreams therapy still offered a few places. I never liked the term talk therapy anyway—I thought it trivialized the work. Well, today it hit me… it was a bad term all along. I realized that what I am providing would better be called do therapy, not talk therapy.

You see, if psychologists and therapists of various stripes are trying to help problems like anxiety and depression… and we want to do therapy “by the book” (because that’s what the research shows is most helpful), it has to be focused on action, not just talk. Instead, the most powerful tool we have for depression is action-based (it’s called behavioral activation and it involves a more active life). For anxiety, the action-oriented therapy component is exposure, though I call it fear-facing.  And when we get our hands dirty and do the exposure, it works better. Then CBT can really show its power.

If you’ve been getting talk therapy, feel free to ask if do therapy is also available.