Expert the treatment of anxiety, Amélie Seidah and Isabelle Geninet, both doctors of psychology, UQAM, provides insights into how to develop more tolerance for emotional discomfort and more compassion towards the self in their new book, The anxiety tamed. In the current context, Amélie Seidah also proposes to replace the phrase “It will go” by “It will go”.
The specialists explain in their book that the anxiety can crush us, paralyze us, but also to inform us and we propel. Instead of be stubborn to try to fight it, they propose to accept it and transform it into a ally.
Amélie Seidah is agreed : the crisis of the COVID-19 has created a situation quite exceptional, that nobody has ever lived. “It is awash in uncertainty, one must remain in the present moment, it requires a lot of flexibility and a lot of adjustment. We live an emotional roller coaster – the days go by and are not alike”, she says in an interview.
Each day brings another problem to manage, another change of situation, creating an effect of wear and tear, due to the fact to be continually in mode adaptation in all spheres of existence. “We try to keep the focus, and balance in all spheres. I don’t know up to what point it is realistic…”, she said.
“In the era of performance in which one lives, people come to ask to have tools to perform better in the management of their anxiety. This performance can be found everywhere and I observe it even in quarantine. There have been different phases : I make my bread, I buy my sourdough, I do crafts… there is performance everywhere, even in how to successfully quarantine.”
However, it would be necessary to have the reflex reverse, she says : put a brake on this quest for performance at any price, not that the tools to take care of his mental health are taken as a source of additional stress.
“It’s going to go”
“I have changed my practice for the télépratique and a lot of my sessions are done via Skype. With a lot of customers, they talked about the famous slogan, “It’s going to go well”. And we had the idea to remove the “well” in the sentence to say, “It’s going to go.”
“Even if it’s from a good intention, in the moments where we saw a wave of emotional, where we find it more difficult, “it’s going to go well” can become disabling and not in coherence with what we feel. Time and again, “it’s going to go”, that is more just, perhaps, as about. It is less “rainbows and unicorns” : this is not easy, but it’s going to go.”
“We’re going to take it one day at a time, one piece at a time. I think that we need a lot of compassion for self at this time. With the pandemic, what has a lot to work, it is to coexist with the emotional discomfort, with a lot of uncertainties that is there,” adds the psychologist.
What to do when there is a discomfort within the self, thoughts, inconvenient, unpleasant emotions? “Our first instinct as a human being, is to try to remove the discomfort. The more we try to resist our discomfort, paradoxically, the more it has the effect to persist.”
Amélie Seidah proposes to make room for the discomfort, of living with the discomfort inescapable, to name the emotions that go with it.
“Just the fact of being anchored as a rock : slow down, observe, choose (ROC). Just observe what is going on in my body, what I feel, take the time to name what it feels like, will not get rid of the discomfort, but can reduce some of its intensity.”
► Amélie Seidah and Isabelle Geninet are both doctors of psychology, graduates of the UQAM.
► They specialize in the assessment and treatment cognitivocomportemental of anxiety disorders and are working in private practice for the past fifteen years.
► Expertise in a hospital environment coupled with their private practice has allowed them to develop a solid expertise as clinicians and trainers in this field.
Amélie Seidah, Ph. D., and Isabelle Geninet, Ph. D., Editions Trécarré, 152 pages.”>
Amélie Seidah, Ph. D., and Isabelle Geninet, Ph. D., Editions Trécarré, 152 pages.
“As psychologists, our customer, we continue to be witnesses of erroneous beliefs and myths bandied about in regards to the anxiety. So no, this book will not help you better “performer” in the management of your anxiety ; we would be wrong! Rather, we want to humanize anxiety, demystify, present you with concrete strategies to better cope with it… and thus avoid to take too much of the “bad folds” that are driving the emotional discomfort.”