The following testimonials have been submitted voluntarily by CSAM graduates:
"Today I flew for the first time in over 10 years. That should really sum up my experience with Dr. Lopez. For about 10 years I have experienced panic attacks and agoraphobia dealing with it either on my own or with various therapists. A few months back I decided to give therapy one more shot as previous therapy helped yet I really never overcame the symptoms of anticipatory anxiety and avoidance. I was not sure this therapy, like my previous experiences would have much impact. But I was open to trying again, as I had very little to lose and much to gain. We spent time going over foundation work in office using an ACT book to get a good idea about the theory/process. That was good but really the biggest improvements I observed was with repetitive exposures that Dr. Lopez set up on a weekly basis. We started out with low hanging fruit and worked up to exposures that were more difficult but were still manageable. In the end I just did what she asked, trusting that she wouldn’t ask me to do anything that I was not prepared to do. The results was with me flying for the first time in 10 years today, something I had assumed I would never again do just a few short months ago. Stepping in that office and giving therapy another shot was one of the best decisions I have ever made. One final thing is what really made the difference between this and the previous therapy experiences was the willingness of the therapist to go along on the exposures as opposed to going it alone and then reporting back to the therapist on the experience."
"Coming to CSAM was a very positive move in my life. The experience really helped me in so many ways and I continue to use many of the tools that Dr. Michelle Lopez provided. Since seeing Dr. Lopez, I have made gains in so many realms of my life, but most recently I have started my first year towards getting my master's degree. With her help I was able to take the steps I needed to reach greater life satisfaction and for that I am very grateful!"
"I met Dr. Jan Estrellado at the worst point in my life thus far. I had just experienced a terrifying panic attack, and was genuinely worried I was losing my sanity. I was completely crippled by my fears, unable to leave my bed or function as a human. Dr. Jan brought the compassion and confidence I needed to help pick me up out of the pit of depression I was stuck in. Dr. Jan was flexible with meeting times, and was caring, loving, and human. Dr. Jan gave me tools which I desperately needed to understand and react properly to my thoughts and feelings. Dr. Jan brings an incredible and effective blend of wisdom, knowledge, and care which has not only allowed me to gain control of my life again, but quite literally saved it. Words can hardly express how important the guidance and care of Dr. Jan has been to me recently. Thank you, Dr. Jan Estrellado."
I am so grateful to have worked with Dr. Janina Scarlet to deal with anxiety. I began individual treatment when I started to experience physical pain in my body and wasn’t sure if it was because of anxiety. I had terrible pain at the base of my skull, along parts of my spine, stomach pains, migraines and even my first panic attack with numbness in my face and arm. I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing a stroke or heart attack at the age of only 42. It was all a result of anxiety! The more pain I had in my body, the more anxious I felt, and then I’d have more anxiety. I was in a terrible cycle of pain. Dr. Scarlet provided a safe environment to deal with the anxiety as well as past childhood trauma. I never fully understood anxiety until I started working on it with Dr. Scarlet and realized I had always had some form of it but never this intensity. She gave me specific examples of how to deal with the anxiety and when we practiced in her office, I could make the pain in my body go away. I continued with those lessons on my own and they really worked for me. In the beginning, I was so consumed with why did I have anxiety, why was it happening to me, when would it go away, would I ever get back to the way I was before it began negatively affecting me emotionally and physically. I’m happy to say that she and I both agreed at about 6 months, that I no longer needed appointments because I was using the techniques she taught me and feeling much better. I do not know where I’d be today without her. Before working with Dr. Scarlet, I had tried going to another provider close to where I lived and it was not a good experience. I traveled 40 minutes each way to see Dr. Scarlet and always left feeling so much better after meeting with her. I do occasionally experience anxiety but it’s not to the severity it was when I first met with her. She taught me to be more aware of the anxious thoughts or feelings in my body early on and deal with them before I experienced the terrible pain and migraines.
"I developed anxiety over several years stemming from chronic intestinal issues. My anxiety caused me to avoid unfamiliar places to eat and I would not venture too far from home and would only drive alone. I was absolutely terrified of anything that might trigger nausea and vomiting, and I wouldn't dream of getting on a boat for fear of getting sea sick. Did I mention I had a list of foods I would absolutely not eat? Stress would always make my anxiety worse and I actually wouldn't eat when I felt my intestines reacting to stress and/or just didn't feel good in general. I knew that I couldn't and didn't want to live this way for the rest of my life. I had seen cognitive behavioral therapy on television and decided to give it an honest shot. I spoke with Dr. Jill Stoddard over the phone and she couldn't have been more understanding. When I met with her she made me feel at ease and was confident she could help me. We spent the first few sessions in her office getting down to the core of my anxiety and educating me on how CBT works. The difficult part came when we began to work on ‘exposures’ that had triggered previous attacks. Jill would go to great lengths to create the most accurate exposures, and she was with me every step of the way. A couple times I wanted to quit, but Jill was always there to help me through it. She was firm in not letting me back out of the exposures, all the while remaining calm and supportive so I didn't feel like I was being forced. It's been a year and a half since I finished CBT and I have grown immensely as a person thanks to Jill! CBT was a challenge because it required me to face all of the things that used to terrify me, but finally conquering them has been empowering. Today I'm willing to try just about anything and now it's rare for any anxiety to creep up. Every so often I still feel a little anxious, and perhaps I always will, but now those anxious feelings fuel me to push through whatever is causing it. I can't thank Jill enough. I no longer have to relinquish control of my life to things that might cause me to feel anxious or uncomfortable, and I feel like Jill has given me the tools to live my life in the driver's seat."
"When I had first talked to Dr. Stoddard, I was in an Emergency Room because I had the worst panic attack of my life and was extremely scared. My anxiety had gotten so out of control and I was afraid of what was happening. I couldn’t hold down a job or go to school, and had become severely depressed to the point where I would go days without eating. I didn’t understand how all this had happened to me, I had always thought this sort of thing happened to other people. It was in Dr. Stoddard’s office that I learned a great deal about what was causing my anxiety. The understanding of what was causing my problems allowed me to really work towards targeting the cognitions and behaviors that were causing them. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Dr. Stoddard isn’t structured like your typical therapy session. Instead CBT is designed to give you the tools to get back on your feet and eventually be strong enough to not feel the need to come back to therapy. Dr. Stoddard is one of the most compassionate and professional therapists I have ever met. She really does care about her patients and wants to see them succeed. Since my time with Dr. Stoddard, I have been able to get back on my feet. I graduated from college, own my own business and am conquering obstacles on a regular basis that I had struggled my entire life with. I can’t speak highly enough about Dr. Stoddard and how much she helped to improve my life."
"Dr. Fuhr has helped me to change my life, and I am so thankful. I have anxiety and PTSD in relation to all medical things. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I have made incredible strides in my anxiety and can now visit doctors and have medical procedures done while managing my stress and anxiety. Dr. Fuhr helped me to create an exposure hierarchy in which I worked towards facing situations that cause me the greatest anxiety. I never felt pushed or rushed to face exposures that I was not ready to face. My sessions with Dr. Fuhr helped me to build confidence that I can face all medical things that cause me anxiety. After each session I walked away feeling like I was making progress and I appreciated the constant professionalism, support, perspective, and encouragement I received from Dr. Fuhr. My decision to seek treatment from CSAM has been a decision that has changed my life and allowed me to break free of the confines of anxiety."
"Early last year, I spent nearly a week in the hospital for a chronic physical illness and was out of work for three months. During my time off I was supposed to relax and take it easy, but discovered if I didn’t keep busy I would get overwhelmed with anxiety. I didn’t know what was happening – it felt like I was losing control of my body, couldn't breathe and having a heart attack. My primary care doctor ordered respiratory exams, but all checked out ok. I am probably more anxious than the average person, but had never experienced an anxiety attack until last year. It continued for months, and I only decided to do something about it when I realized how it was affecting my life. I was avoiding certain things and places. I developed new habits that made me feel less at risk. A few attacks happened while I was driving, something I always used to find peaceful. Once I began to fear and dread driving (especially on the freeway) I knew something had to change. In retrospect, I should have gotten help earlier. First, I went to a psychiatrist. I left disappointed that I would only be treated with medicine. Having a chronic physical illness already, the last thing I wanted was to take another pill. Instead, I decided to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I started at CSAM, and could not have made a better decision. I worked with Dr. Terra Fuhr who is amazing. We established treatment goals, a therapy plan and tackled one thing at a time. CBT educated me about anxiety. We examined how it applies to my life and how to cope more effectively. Through exercises and exposures, I began correcting my behavior, changing my thinking and managing my symptoms. After just a few months, I stopped experiencing the day to day symptoms and my behaviors normalized. I have not had a panic attack since my first week in therapy. That’s not to say I don’t feel anxious from time to time, but I am no longer fearful of the next attack, and my quality of life is no longer compromised. I am so thankful to have found CSAM, and Dr. Terra Fuhr. She is an excellent therapist who always made me feel comfortable and empowered me to make progress. The tools she gave me are priceless and will be used throughout my life. Anyone struggling with stress or anxiety should absolutely consider CBT first. You will not be disappointed."
"I can only begin to tell you how grateful I am for CSAM and more specifically for Dr. Janina Scarlet. Following, narrowly escaping death in a house fire 2 years ago, I found myself becoming introverted, having fear to leave the house, drive alone, as a matter of fact, I found myself retreating into my bathroom for hours and sometimes, days at a time. When I did try and leave the house I would get as far as the front door and would begin shaking and sobbing in fear and complete panic. Needless to say, my anxiety and fears prevented me from making or maintaining any friends, I avoided social interaction with family and missed out on Thangsgivings, Christmas, birthdays, graduations, etc. My wife was left to apologize and give reasons to loved ones on why I had not shown up. From the start, Dr. Scarlet put together an organized well thought plan of attack, incorporating my fears and apprehensions and explaining the benefits of completing the entire program laid out before me. She was loving but firm and was empathetic to all my resistance, but kept me on course through a tough but incredibly liberating therapy. The ACT workbook was amazing and Dr. Scarlet was invested in the outcome as much as I was, which really blew my mind! I wasn't alone! She was right there in my corner, fighting with me! She did home visits to start with and step by step walked me out the front door, literally! Her dedication was extraordinary, unconditionally caring and supportive. My therapy started just over a year ago, and ended about 9 months later. And guess what? Next month, I leave for a 3 week trip to Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala with my dad where I will be speaking in front of 600 pastors, and I couldn't be more excited. God had done a great work in my life and used the wisdom and insight of Dr. Scarlet to get me focused on living a life of purpose, pursuing things I value and gaining perspective whenever my mind throws up fears or objections to doing what I know is right and from following God's call on my life to share His love by preaching. Thank you Dr. J !"
"I'm sitting on the plane while writing this testimonial. Planes still aren't my favorite place, but they're much better than they used to be. I'm a classic claustrophobe and for me it's all about airplanes and elevators. After a business trip when I found myself carrying a suitcase up 17 flights of stairs I decided enough was enough. I first met with Michelle Lopez about five months ago to finally start dealing with my problem. In the beginning it was hard to believe that things would ever be different. Surprisingly, after a few sessions I could see the changes. Elevators that left my heart racing and hands tingling gradually became more tolerable. Eventually all but the smallest, slowest and creakiest elevators ceased to cause any real distress. The waves of panic as the plane door closes lessened in intensity over time. In short, normal activities started becoming normal. I should add one important caveat for anyone planning to begin counseling at CSAM - my progress definitely involved some hard work. No hypnosis, pills or quick fixes that suddenly turned things around. Michelle served as my guide and led me through exercises that were sometimes challenging but never beyond my abilities. Most importantly, she taught me solid, dependable skills that I'll be able to use in the future and apply in a variety of situations. I've come away from our sessions feeling like I'm now the master of my fear. As a final note, I'm finishing this testimonial from a room on the 8th floor of my hotel. Got here by the elevator without batting an eye."
“I worked with Dr. Lopez to deal with specific phobias, panic attacks, and stress. Dr. Lopez helped me to understand panic attacks and gave me tools to help me deal with panic attacks and anxiety. She is extremely knowledgeable but also very personable and easy to talk with, I felt very comfortable in all of my sessions. With her support I was able to overcome my greatest phobia of having a procedure done in a hospital. Working with Dr. Lopez has increased my confidence and empowered me so that I can deal with anxiety.”