Anxiety, Worry, OCD & Panic Attacks: The Definitive Recovery Approach by Dr. Lauren Callaghan & Adam Shaw is broken into three main sections. In the first section, Adam shares his personal story of struggling with OCD and anxiety. Then, Lauren introduces her approach to treating anxiety which she describes as a combination of CBT and a kindness-focused approach. The remainder of the book is split into sections for children or teens. There are age appropriate explanations of symptoms and diagnoses plus exercises they can work through.
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About the author:
Dr. Lauren Callaghan is a clinical psychologist and director of two private practices in London. She specializes in helping families and young people deal with anxiety. You can learn more about her here.
Adam Shaw was previously a client of Ms. Callaghan. He shares his own struggles with OCD and works to raising awareness of mental health challenges through his organization, The Shaw Mind Foundation.
What we love:
Anxiety, Worry, OCD & Panic Attacks starts with Adam’s personal story of developing OCD and struggling with it into adulthood. This could be really helpful, especially for parents who do not understand what their children are struggling with. I can imagine the details of his thought life helping families empathize with kids and teens who are stuck.
Dr. Callaghan is an accredited practitioner of CBT and that shows through in this book. Readers are encouraged to challenge thoughts and create experiments too help them overcome anxiety symptoms. It is full of fun illustrations and practical exercises that clients can do in session or at home. I especially like the way anxiety disorders were explained.
What we didn’t:
Mr. Shaw and Dr. Callaghan attempted to address anxiety, OCD and panic attacks to families, kids, and teens in one book. At times that seemed like too much. I wondered if it would they would have been better to narrow down their focus or audience so that they could go deeper.
I was also concerned about how some readers might react to Adam’s testimonial. While I think it is helpful for parents to read, and probably some teens, I might be cautious about sharing that with kids. He is so explicit with his thoughts that I would be concerned about younger or more impressionable readers taking on some of his anxieties. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t use the book with younger clients, I would just be more specific in the parts that I shared with them.
While there is some precedent in our field of therapists working with clients, I am always leery of this type of arrangement. It seems like this is a mutually beneficial relationship, and I have seen no hint of impropriety, but I would be remiss if I did not mention my discomfort with that.
Anxiety, Worry, OCD & Panic Attacks: The Definitive Recovery Approach can be used in sessions or given to families as homework. It is a great resource for therapists working with young people who struggle with anxiety. The book is written from a strong CBT perspective so therapists who work from that theory, or are at least open to it, will definitely get the most out of it.
If you like Anxiety, Worry, OCD & Panic Attacks: The Definitive Recovery Approach, you might also like other books for children in therapy or those for teen clients.
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Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.