Patrick McGrath says "Don't Try Harder, Try Different"

anxiety guest interview mindfulness ocd

This week is filled with some VERY exciting news!  First off, today is the last day to access the NEW and FREE training called “The 10 Things you absolutely need to know about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).”  If you’re new to OCD and looking for some guidance, this webinar will be great for you. If you’re already on your road to recovery, it will be a wonderful refresher into the key concepts of treating OCD.  Click HERE for more information if you are interested.

Next, ERP School is HERE and available for purchase for 5 more days!  YAY!! Exposure and Respond Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) is an online course for people who do not have access to a therapist who practices science-based skills and ERP for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  It is only available for purchase from September 6th, 2018-September 20th, 2018.  I am so incredibly excited to share this with you!

Now onto this podcast episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit!  Do you ever find yourself repeating the same behavior time and time again with no change in result?  You might come to realize that your outcomes are fruitless and decide that you will ty even harder this time to get the results that you want.  You might even tell yourself that you will NEVER do that one thing again and promise yourself that this is the time that your efforts will be successful.  However, just like the last time and the times before, you get the same result and are left feeling disheartened, hopeless, and overwhelmed.  Do not worry!  If you have experienced this, this episode is going to be tremendously helpful for you and change the way you approach some things.

Don’t miss this podcast episode!

You can listen to the episode for FREE on iTunes HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE on Stitcher HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE streaming HERE

I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick McGrath, Ph.D., for this podcast. Patrick is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and is based out of Illinois.  Patrick McGrath is the Clinical Director of the AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital’s Center for Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Program and President of OCD-Midwest, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation.  Additionally, he is the president of a private practice group called Anxiety Centers of Illinois.  When I was at this past IOCDF Conference, I met Patrick and we immediately hit it off.  He agreed to do an impromptu interview and it was a blast!  You might even find that this feels more like a conversation than an interview, but I loved it and was so grateful that Patrick shared his wisdom with us. 

The theme of this episode is based on this basic idea from Patrick: if you keep trying harder at what isn't working, it's probably not going to work too much more.  Instead of trying harder, maybe you should try something different.

Here are a few tips from Patrick to move us a helpful direction:

  • How many times of the day do you say the word "should?" Should is a really negative work and anxious people tend to love it.  If you replace it with "must," "ought," or "need to," it's the same principle.  An example is "I should have done it this way" or "I must never have that thought."  These all-or-nothing words get in the way.  We should work on replacing them with "I wish," "I want," "I'm working towards," etc. 
  • Can't vs. Won't: Anxious people love the word "can't."  In reality from an anxiety standpoint, there is nothing you can't do.  There is plenty that you won't do.  How many times a day do you tell yourself that you cannot do something when you have no proof that it is the case?  The more you tell yourself this, the less likely that you will do anything because you have this cognitive mindset now.  Avoidance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Practice makes routine.  The more you practice something, the more likely you are to do that thing again in the future.  The routine of anxiety disorders is avoidance, reassurance, and distraction.  They get worse over time because that is our routine.  These safety-seeking behaviors are immediate fixes instead of long-term fixes and we want to move people away from these to what would be better in the long run.

This interview with Patrick might help you motivate you towards the goal of taking the Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP SCHOOL) course if you are at all interested.  Patrick so beautifully talks about how to “DON’T TRY HARDER, TRY DIFFERENT,” which is a concept that will be of use to you when starting ERP.  Additionally, Patrick talks about the steps necessary to move towards the “Don’t Try Harder, Try Different,” approach.  Click HERE for more information on his book titled The OCD Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 250 Top Questions about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and click HERE for more information on his stress management workbook titled Don’t Try HarderI hope you love this interview as much as I did!

For more information on the Exposure & Response Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) online course for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), click HERE.


About Kimberley Quinlan

Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s).  Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years.  Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders.  Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client.  Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village.