Therapy and Professional Services
Anxiety Disorder Treatment, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Services, and Therapeutic Techniques
Accepting Referrals and Self-referrals
I am accepting referrals and self-referral of adults and teens 16 and over for therapy to help overcome anxiety disorders, including panic and phobic disorders (including driving phobia and social phobia), OCD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The treatment I provide is primarily cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), with elements of mindfulness- and acceptance-based therapy. I not only provide therapy for anxiety disorder but also for relationship problems, everyday depression, and mood disorders. I also provide Meditation-Based Therapy (see the post on this site titled Meditation-Based Therapy). Please call 818-716-1695 or E-mail Panicbuster@socal.rr.com for further information.
Fees and Insurance
Can I Afford Therapy?
My full fee is $165 for a 45- 50 minute therapy hour. I accept private payment and Medicare. As a licensed California mental health professional, I can provide treatment for you as an “out-of network provider” if you’re covered by PPO insurance. I am sometimes able to apply a sliding fee scale to help with affordability.
Concerned about the cost? Consider the benefits of shorter-term treatment with a skilled professional who has the expertise to help you overcome your unique emotional distress. All you actually know about the therapists on your insurance’s provider panel is that they’ve contracted to work at reduced rates.
You may be able to use your PPO insurance to help pay for therapy with David Mellinger.
If you would like to use your PPO insurance to help pay for your care:
a. You can pay the agreed-upon fee in full at each session, and I will regularly provide you with a “Super Bill” every 3-4 weeks to submit to your insurance carrier, or else my office can bill your insurance.
b. I am a Medicare provider and may be able to accept your Medicare coverage. Unfortunately, I am not a MediCal provider.
c. As a retired 20 + year veteran of Kaiser Permanente Behavioral HealthCare. I can accept Kaiser members as my clients.
Reasons to Choose Therapy with Me
I am skillful at helping and empowering clients – especially those with anxiety – to accomplish a great deal over a relatively short time through effective anxiety disorder therapy. Some mental health problems can be treated swiftly by a skilled therapist, while others require extensive treatment, which I can provide, as well. I bring exceptionally extensive, sophisticated, active knowledge of the latest psychological science to the practice of psychotherapy. I’m grateful that I can often help clients overcome anxiety problems that other therapists – including even anxiety specialists – can’t.
I am now accepting referrals and clients for general psychotherapy and anxiety therapy at my Woodland Hills and Westlake Village offices. Call 818-716-1695 or email me at PanicBuster@socal.rr.com.
Therapy with David Mellinger
Our thoughts influence our feelings and actions.
CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the term for a group of psychological treatments based on scientific evidence that have proven effective in treating many psychological disorders, including most anxiety disorders. CBT is vital, strong therapy driven by science and research, shaped by people’s emotional needs and wishes for a life of wellbeing. Treatment is goal-oriented and often short-term to resolve present-day problems; through this process, clients can overcome long-standing problems and disorders, as well.
CBT differs from many other therapy approaches by its focus on the ways that a person’s cognitions (thoughts), emotions, and behaviors are connected and affect one another. Because emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are all linked, CBT approaches allow for therapists to intervene at different points in the cycle of emotional disturbance.
Clients actively participate in treatment in and out of session. The CBT therapist and the client work together with a mutual understanding that the therapist has theoretical and technical expertise, but the client is the expert on him- or herself. The therapist seeks to help the client discover that he/she is powerful and capable of choosing positive thoughts and behaviors. Together, the therapist and client develop goals for therapy, work collaboratively to achieve goals, and track progress throughout the course of treatment. Because the skills taught in these therapies require practice, homework assignments often are included in therapy.
[The information in the above section is liberally excerpted, with permission, from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy website. Learn more about CBT and emotional disorders, visit the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy on the Internet – www.abct.org]
- A CBT skill you can use: Cognitive Reappraisal is a time-honored, effective CBT technique for modifying the errors in thinking which often occur when we’re feeling disturbed. Click here to learn about four of the most frequent thinking errors that arise automatically during acute anxiety, panic, and disturbing worry, each with perspectives and remedies for modifying them and relieving your anxiety.
Emotional Awareness-based CBT (EACBT)
Everyone brings their issues with emotional life to therapy. In the 1990s, psychologists and neuroscientists became keenly aware that CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) – then the rising star of evidence-based psychotherapy – seemed curiously lacking in focus on people’s real, substantial, palpable emotions. This deficiency was very serious: We can only start to feel better once we realize that we’re feeling bad and actively endeavor to gain a clearer sense of the ways our feelings are affecting us.
By 1994, the focus of psychology and psychotherapy expanded to encompass richer awareness of emotions. In his work, Descartes’ Error, neuroscientist Antonio Dimasio posited that the essence of our humanness is best captured in the statement, “I feel, therefore I am”, rather than the classic “I think, therefore I am.” From then on, many psychologists explored the relationship between emotional feelings and emotional disorders and the role enhanced emotional awareness can play in human functioning. Concurrently, researchers and clinicians began researching and bringing mindfulness and Buddhist psychology into psychotherapy practice.
A wealth of new therapies has developed that focus on understanding and working directly with emotions. These therapies integrate the neuroscience of emotion, traditional CBT, mindfulness and acceptance, and Buddhist psychology. They do not focus on rigid control nor suppression or evasion of feelings. They all formulate and articulate very effective emotion-focused treatment of emotional disorders.
In my emotional awareness-based CBT (EACBT), my clients and I learn to work as a team to focus on becoming familiar with their immediate sense of emotions – on disturbing feelings and the ebb and flow of emotions that come to play in their emotional lives. Clients who find themselves overfocusing on scary, disturbing stressors learn to open up space in themselves and mentally steady themselves to become clearer and more aware of emotional feelings within them.
Through EACBT with me, you can develop skills to guide your emotions and become your best self, the person you strive to be. In our working together, your emotions will come to assume their essential role in enabling you to understand, heal, revitalize yourself, and achieve your unique and most valued goals.
Through EACBT, you can:
Expand your awareness of your values, the things you hold dear to your heart, and what you care enough about to change.
Learn to sidestep the cascade of mental events that draws us down into depression (Mark Williams, et. al., 2007) or unnerves and spooks us into anxiety and to experience it with fresh perspective.
Learn how to overcome emotional avoidance by expanding your awareness of the thinking traps and physical tension that sustain anxiety and worry. You can learn to tolerate the tough moments and anxious stretches when you are progressing and proceed in valued directions.
Learn to face your fears using psychological and mindfulness-based techniques of emotional exposure.
Learn to be kinder to yourself as you face your fears, yet face them more actively. Augment your trust that you will be okay at anxiety-provoking times. Enhance your acceptance of vulnerability and uncertainty while overcoming your anxiety and worry.
A Brief CBT Self-Help Protocol for Anxiety
You might wish to try out CBT as self-help if you don’t feel able or ready yet to engage in therapy but are determined to do what you can to overcome disturbing anxiety and worry. CBT is most effective and precise when executed through dialogue with a skilled therapist with expertise in CBT, but people often find they can benefit from self-help cognitive therapy and behavioral interventions (like focus on the breath) implemented as self-help. If you would like a taste of CBT perhaps you’d like to begin HERE.
For more information on CBT, or to make an appointment, call David Mellinger, MSW at 818-716-1695.
Let’s Discuss Entering Therapy with Me
Phone: (818) 716-1695
Problems & Disorders I Work with the Most
Anxiety disorders occur when too much anxiety (fear, edginess, panic, restiveness, worry, or obsession) comes too often and conflicts with our vital interests, threatening to derail us. Anxiety disorders are very treatable.
Anxiety can disturb us deeply through introducing a sense of threat and uncertainty into everything from enjoyable activities to taking care of the most vital matters. Anxiety disorders interfere with our confidence and sense of wellbeing and the quality of our engagement with things we care a great deal about oand truly value.
Anxiety Disorders and Depression
Most people feel anxious or depressed at times. Going through difficult situations or profound losses can cause sadness, loneliness, fright, nervousness, or anxiety – all normal reactions to life’s stressors.
But when people experience these feelings daily or nearly daily for no apparent reason, normal, everyday functioning becomes difficult. If feelings of deficiency or inadequacy arise along with sadness and nervousness, an anxiety disorder, depression, or both may be the problem.
“It is not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The good news is that these disorders are both treatable, separately and together.” (This section borrows from the Anxiety and Depression Disorder of America homepage, www.adaa.org)
> A Sidebar about “Sticky Thinking“ – It’s the label I’ve given to the repetitive negative thinking of anxiety or depression – often comes up in therapy with me. Interwoven with strong negative feelings like anxiety, sadness, guilt, or self-blame, sticky thinking can enmire us with too intense, long, complicated thinking about disturbing matters and intensify the distressing power of disturbed sensitive feelings to disrupt our functioning.
GAD and OCD
Men and women with GAD or OCD may find that themselves worrying intensely and incessantly. Overthinking may create doubts and put the squeeze on their richest emotions. Treatment for GAD and OCD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) – with me is likely to be exceptionally effective. When I do therapy for these disorders – as well as depression and mood disorders – I help my clients overcome sticky thinking – active worry, rumination, obsessiveness, dwelling on the negative, and intense self-blame and self-doubt – whenever it’s present.
To be highly effective, according to psychologist David Fresco (2014), an authority on the psychological science of optimizing therapy for anxiety and depression, treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder likely needs to focus explicitly on sticky thinking, when present. The role of sticky thinking in anxiety has been known since the early 1980s thru psychologist Thomas Borkovec’s research on the role of active worry. In the early 1990s, the late Susan Nolen-Hoeksma and her colleagues demonstrated the seminal role of rumination (brooding, dwelling on the negative) in generating and sustaining depression. Focusing therapy on contending with rumination, active worry, and obsession is important in overcoming depression and anxiety.
Let’s Discuss Entering Therapy with Me.
Phone: (818) 716-1695
INTENSIVE ANXIETY AND WORRY WORKSHOP (IAWW) – ACCEPTING REFERRALS FROM MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
The IAWW was created to help men and women overcome anxiety disorders and stop worrying themselves sick. IAWW is a 6-week program of group psychotherapy utilizing a unique, cutting edge integration of traditional and emotional awareness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Thisworkshop that has benefited hundreds of men and women with GAD who worry themselves sick and those who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, agoraphobia and other phobias, social anxiety, and mild obsessive-compulsive disorder.
If you’re in therapy, ask your therapist or doctor to consider referring you to this intensive workshop.
THE PEACEFUL WORRIER WORKSHOPS – Open to women and men at all levels – Held Often – Dates & times to be arranged
Becoming the Calm in the Storm & On a Path with Heart – Two Half-Day Workshops for Overcoming Disturbing Anxiety and Worry
My colleague Julie Brams, LMFT and I have developed the “Peaceful Worrier” workshops to enable men and women to gain the upper hand over disturbing anxiety and worry. Join us in explorations of the healthy, strong ways that our unique blend of emotional awareness-based cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness meditation can help you address worry, vulnerability, and trepidation. Face your fears with heart, so you can go forward with less inhibiting anxiety and accomplish what you care about the most.
Becoming the Calm in the Storm and On a Path with Heart – interweave cutting-edge psychological science with real-time mindfulness meditation training proven to expand emotional awareness and improve coping with fear, anxiety and persistent worry. Participants in Becoming the Calm in the Storm learn to be better with themselves through use of mindfulness and psychological techniques to face fear with heart, address vulnerability, and ease trepidation – to reduce “fear of fear”, “worry about worry”, catastrophizing, and persistent worry and obsessing so they may cope better and accomplish more of what they value. In the Path with Heart workshop, participants learn to use mindfulness and psychological techniques to exercise their strength, go forward and face important challenges that have been difficult, and thereby to start changing in needed and vital ways.
The Peaceful Worrier workshops provide experience in use of a variety of meditations, traditional and new-wave psychotherapeutic techniques to ease persistent anxiety and excessive worry while being good to oneself. Open to women and men at all levels, our workshops can be taken in any order.
Speaker and Educator
I can speak to community groups and educate mental health professionals about psychological science, anxiety, and pathological worry. I’m very knowledgeable about CBT, EACBT, and other new wave cognitive-behavioral therapies, including those involving mindfulness and acceptance, as well as transdiagnostic treatment for anxiety disorders.
If you’re interested, call me at 818-716-1695 or email me at PanicBuster@socal.rr.com.