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8 Ways You Can Support Someone with Anxiety and Obsessional Problem: Book Review of ‘How Can I Help?’ by Lauren Callaghan

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you have a family member, partner, friend or loved one who’s suffering from an anxiety or obsessional problem? Do they need your help but you’re not quite sure what to do? Are you wondering how you can best support them while also looking after your own mental well-being in the process? 

At some point in our lives, many of us will witness someone we’re close to experiencing these types of mental health issues. It can be distressing to see those you care about, facing these challenges but there are ways you can help and also hinder their progress. 

In this accessible, no-nonsense, first of its kind guide for carers, friends, partners and families, Dr Lauren Callaghan – a clinical psychologist with expertise in anxiety problems – provides tools, tips, and strategies you can use to help the person you love along the path to recovery. Whether they have already been diagnosed or whether you think they might be suffering but haven’t yet received a diagnosis, there is something here for you. 

Part one looks at what anxiety is, and anxiety and obsessional disorders in depth – their common features, and the impact they’re having on you and your family as well as effective treatments. It also explores how you can be part of the problem unknowingly by giving reassurance, feeding into the anxiety and taking part in safety behaviours, which are actually keeping the problem going and hampering their recovery. 

In the second half, Lauren shows you ways you can support your loved one but also how to look after yourself, and she advocates that no matter how much you care for them, you are not responsible for making them better. In order for recovery to happen, your loved one has to find the motivation within. 

Lauren demonstrates how to be a more effective communicator around difficult conversations and not be afraid of conflict when you stop facilitating anxious behaviours.

She provides effective strategies for becoming a co-therapist by demonstrating firm boundaries, kindness, and supporting your loved one with behavioural experiments to challenge unhelpful beliefs. Finally, How Can I Help? reminds us to remember your loved ones special qualities when it all seems too much and not to abandon your own self-care and goals in the process. 

About the Author 

Dr Lauren Callaghan is a specialist consultant clinical psychologist. She has worked at leading world-renowned research centres in London, including the Maudsley Hospital where she was recognised as a leading psychologist to deal with obsessive compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and anxiety problems. Lauren received further qualifications in systemic family therapy and uses her expert skill set to work with individuals and their families to overcome obsessional and anxiety problems. Lauren is the co-author of OCD, Anxiety and Related Depression Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder How to Help Your Child with Anxiety, OCD and Panic Attacks.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show

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