A Comprehensive Approach
Anxieties are as complex as the people who have them. Comprehensive approaches to treatment respect this complexity, addressing surface level manifestations of anxiety, but also going deeper - because those parts of our anxiety that we are able to articulate are only the tip of the iceberg.
Blake employs a three-phase model of treatment, designed to address anxieties at multiple levels of depth.
The first phase addresses anxieties that result from certain ingrained patterns of conscious and semi-conscious thinking. For this purpose, a version of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is used.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders, especially for individuals who suffer from more acute symptoms. It is an active form of therapy in which thinking patterns are identified, analyzed, and deliberately changed through targeted interventions.
The scientific evidence supporting CBT is overwhelming (4, 5). It works well and it works quickly. In contrast to many other forms of therapy, CBT can usually be completed in just a few months.
The second phase addresses anxieties that are the result of unresolved, and often unconscious, interpersonal issues. These are issues that have been problematically carried from the past into the present. In order to identify, understand, and resolve them, a contemporary and scientifically vetted version of psychoanalytic therapy is used.
Created by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalytic therapy is one of the oldest psychological interventions in use today. It is an exploratory form of therapy in which the client's personal history and the complex dynamics of their interpersonal relations are examined in depth. The purpose of this analysis is to arrive at profound insights that have the power to resolve long standing issues, such as those that underlie anxiety.
Although difficult to study, given the open-ended and exploratory nature of the therapeutic approach, psychoanalytic therapies (sometimes also called "psychodynamic therapies") have been shown to be effective in a number of clinical studies (6, 7).
The third phase addresses anxieties resulting from fundamental assumptions about one's self and one's world. These assumptions shape one's perception of reality in a way that can have a profound effect on anxiety. Deconstructing one's perception of reality creates the space for a more radical kind of transformation - and for this purpose, a version of existential therapy is used.
Drawing on the insights of thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre, it is an avant-garde approach to treatment not often found outside of the European continent.
Although difficult to study given the complexity of its conceptual foundations, versions of existential therapy have been shown to be effective in a number of clinical studies (8). Some psychologists have even claimed, quite controversially, that "only this type of therapy can replace emptiness with fulfillment and meaning and thus engender authentic, creative solutions to the challenges of this age" (9).