WHAT MAKES DR. ABEL AN EXPERT IN TREATING ANXIETY?
Dr. Abel has over 25 years of experience focused on the treatment of anxiety disorders. She’s an international speaker who trains other mental health care professionals to treat anxiety and has published three books and therapy cards. The first book, Active Relaxation, was written for the general public, while Resistant Anxiety, Worry, and Panic: 86 Practical Treatment Strategies for Clinicians, was written for practitioners. Her most popular product is the Melt Worry & Relax Card Deck: 56 CBT & Mindfulness Strategies to Release Anxiety which is perfect for people short on time and with short attention spans. She is co-author on the Melt Worry & Relax Card Deck for Kids which is in press and includes art therapy in addition to CBT and mindfulness strategies. Also a best-seller is her Anxiety, Worry, & Depression Workbook: 65 Exercises, Worksheets & Tips to Improve Mood and Feel Better.
Dr. Abel’s focus on anxiety disorders and behavioral medicine (involves helping people with illness improve their health behaviors, including coping with illness) began during her graduate work. She served a year of practicum at the Anxiety Disorders Center at Chestnut Ridge Hospital where she took a particular interest in treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. During her practicum at FCI Morgantown Prison Dr. Abel worked primarily with inmates with behavioral medicine issues, including running a Heart Healthy Group and a Smoking Cessation Group. During internship she continued a focus in anxiety serving on the following rotations: Panic Disorders, Eating Disorders, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders. She also saw individuals with social anxiety disorder and phobias during her internship.
At Penn State Dr. Abel worked exclusively with individuals suffering from a primary diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder – the disorder most commonly associated with worry. Her mentor is a leading expert in worry (T.D. Borkovec). Following the post-doc, she was promoted to Assistant Director of the Stress and Anxiety Disorders Institute at Penn State.
Dr. Abel was in private practice specializing in anxiety from 1994 to 2018. While she treated all of the anxiety disorders, she is particularly interested in Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), OCD, and performance anxiety among athletes and performing artists. Dr. Abel also really enjoys working with athletes and performers who seek to enhance performance and/or lower performance anxiety without using drugs.
Dr. Abel is published in several professional journals and wrote a pamphlet on worry for The Association for Advancement of Behavioral Therapy. She’s quoted in several popular magazines (e.g., Health, Prevention, Glamour). Dr. Abel’s first book, Active Relaxation: How to Increase Productivity and Achieve Balance by Decreasing Stress and Anxiety, was published in 2010 and is available in paperback at Amazon.com and on Kindle and Nook. Her second book, Resistant Anxiety, Worry, and Panic: 86 Practical Treatment Strategies for Clinicians, was published in 2014 and was written for mental health care professionals who want to learn more about treating anxiety
•Post-Doctorate – Penn State University
•Residency/Internship – University of Mississippi Medical Center
•M.A. and Ph.D. in Adult Clinical Psychology – West Virginia University
•B.A. in Psychology and Music – University of Missouri, Kansas City
WHAT PROBLEMS DOES DR. ABEL TALK ABOUT?
♦Panic Disorder, with and without agoraphobia
♦Worry and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
♦Phobias (e.g., flying, animals, heights, claustrophobia, speech)
♦Social Anxiety (periodically I do groups)
♦Performance Anxiety (especially athletes and musicians)
♦Performance Enhancement using personal coaching and mindfulness (athletes and musicians)
♦Depression – particularly anxious depression (Dr. Abel does not treat severe depression)
♦Physical Problems and Disease in which anxiety and depression exacerbate illness and vice versa – including chronic pain, headaches,and chronic progressive illness (e.g. diabetes, MS)
♦Impulse Control Disorders (Trichotillomania, skin picking, nail biting, etc.)
♦Adjustments (e.g., move from out of town, change in jobs)
WHAT IS DR. ABEL’S THEORETICAL ORIENTATION AND WHAT METHODS DOES SHE USE?
Dr. Abel uses cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, mindfulness, and schema therapy (see www.schematherapy.com). Above all, she is pragmatic; that is, she will do what she thinks is most likely to work for you. Your treatment program will be tailored according to your personality, your views, your specific problems, how your brain works (e.g., are you more of a visual learner or verbal learner) and which strategies are most effective for your symptom profile. Much of the course of therapy is determined by you, according to what makes sense to you, the amount of time you’re willing to invest between sessions, and what kind of work you are comfortable doing.
She teaches a variety of coping strategies to help you manage stress and anxiety, including mindful acceptance, cognitive therapy (learning to think healthier thoughts), relaxation, experiential techniques, and numerous exposure strategies (i.e. systematically facing your fears together). Learning to become more accepting is an important goal. That is because reactions to feelings and situations, reactions to these reactions, and so forth, are usually far worse than the initial feelings (often healthy emotions). When you can learn to accept the initial feelings, the load lightens automatically; the downward spiral is prevented and you can begin to enjoy life again. Of course, there are some things that are better to change than accept and Jennifer can often help you to change what you want to change. She also have MP3’s of relaxation, acceptance strategies, etc. that she will provide for you at no additional cost.
The tools Dr. Abel teaches are often more effective if you explore the origins of your unhealthy habits her. For some people the only focus on the past will be during the evaluation. For others, healing often requires exploring the origins of fear, anxiety, and bad habits by delving into childhood or early adulthood in some detail.