Clinical Work

Finding Meaning in Behavior

Here is an example of how looking for the meaning behind a symptom like anxiety can allow treatment at Riggs to work when symptom-focused treatments have failed.

Anxiety is part of being human. Sometimes, though, anxiety is incapacitating. Symptoms of anxiety may arise as a signal of some inner conflict that is outside conscious awareness. Anti-anxiety medication often alleviates some of the symptoms of anxiety, but, many of those who seek treatment at Riggs, continue to have difficulty re-engaging more fully in relationships, work or play. For these people anxiety is like the “check engine” light on your car’s dashboard. Turning it off may make the light go away, but the underlying problem is not addressed. At Riggs your psychopharmcologist may prescribe medication to reduce anxiety, but the overall treatment program will focus on discovering with you problems that lead to unmanageable anxiety.

Related Resources

Published on 
July 2013

Steven Ackerman, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist talks about the importance of the alliance in an open setting.

Published on 
November 2012

Dr. M. Gerard Fromm, editor of Lost in Transmission, Studies of Trauma Across Generations, and former Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research, explains how psychotherapy and family treatment at Riggs can help to break the cycle of transmission of trauma.


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