17 year old's excessive anxiety about family


My 17- year old son is a generally well-adjusted teen, very personable, does well in school, and seems overall happy and content. He has one particular area of concern: he worries excessively that something is going to happen to his sister, his father or me. If he knows we will be out of the our general area, he constantly tracks us with his phone, and if he cannot get a hold of us or does not know where we are, he gets terribly anxious and worried. I suffer from this a little bit too, and kind of live with this. Today he told me that he wants to see someone about this because it is interfering with his life too much. Do you have any recommendation for a therapist? What kind of therapy would you recommend for this? He has had this anxiety for as long as he can remember. He will be going to college in a year, and I really would like him to get a handle on this. Thanks!

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I would like to suggest CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), which helps people work directly with negative/anxious thoughts. There are some recommendations for specific therapists in the archives, and for lower-fee therapy there is the Wright Instutite: https://www.wi.edu/training-cbt

Your son's difficulties remind me of my own (which I also began to struggle with at a young age).  I've found somatic therapy really helpful for finding a way through anxiety.  Jane Lazar is a wonderful practitioner in Berkeley (janelazar.net).  I highly recommend her.

A close friend has had great experience with hypnotherapy.. she says it helped her get over writer's block and other friends who have a variety of fears

have been able to resolve using hypnotherapy.. I heard the most effective is when they give you a CD to take home and listen while you fall asleep and it

reinforces the session and can resolve issues in just a few sessions.. much faster than other therapies.  I don't know of any but you can probably look on yelp for

your area.  My friend's hypnotherapist was Larry Garrett in Chicago, Ill.

My 17-yr old son is working with a male therapist named Scott Fischer, who is very relatable with teens, and this is the first therapist (out of three) that my son has "clicked with". Scott specializes in working with teens/young adults with anxiety, ADD, etc. His methods work for my son, because they talk while walking or moving around rather than sitting face-to-face in an office (which my son found intimidating). Scott is very laid back and has helped my son really express himself and get to the "core" of his feelings, rather than focusing on quick behavioral fixes. We have tried CBT in the past to treat anxiety and my son will be the first to report that the behavioral habit reversal techniques only addressed his symptoms but not the cause. You can learn more about Scott at https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Scott_Fischer_MFT_Berkel... or at scott.fischer81 [at] gmail.com                                                 I also echo Jane Lazar for somatic therapy, having worked with her myself. Key is to find someone your son can relate to.  Good luck!      

My 16 year old son has experienced similar issues (along with other anxiety) and has been helped tremendously by Eliyahu Sills, MFTI in Berkeley.  You can find him online.   He's immensely calm, specialized in working with men and boys, does mindfulness...all of which has helped my son get to a much better place.

Good luck!

I recommend that you also consider Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is an offshoot of CBT.  The skills based approach has been very helpful for me to manage my pervasive anxiety and I use the tools I learned at least every day.  DBT is not for those interested in long-term therapy as most DBT therapy lasts for only a year or so at the most.   I've both taken classes and had therapy at the Oakland DBT Center.  I've worked with Lauren Gonzalez but they are all well-trained in DBT.